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Dāna

Dāna is a Sanskrit and Pali word that connotes the virtue of generosity, charity or giving of alms in Indian philosophies. It is alternatively transliterated as daana. In Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, dāna is the practice of cultivating generosity, it can take the form of giving to an individual in need. It can take the form of philanthropic public projects that empower and help many. According to historical records, dāna is an ancient practice in Indian traditions, tracing back to Vedic traditions; the ancient Tamil moral text of Tirukkural speaks about dāna in two separate chapters, Chapter 22 and Chapter 23. Dāna means giving in the context of donation and charity. In other contexts, such as rituals, it can refer to the act of giving something. Dāna is related to and mentioned in ancient texts with concepts of Paropakāra which means benevolent deed, helping others. Dāna has been defined in traditional texts as any action of relinquishing the ownership of what one considered or identified as one's own, investing the same in a recipient without expecting anything in return.

While dāna is given to one person or family, Hinduism discusses charity or giving aimed at public benefit, sometimes called utsarga. This aims at larger projects such as building a rest house, drinking water or irrigation well, planting trees, building care facility among others; the Rigveda has the earliest discussion of dāna in the Vedas. The Rigveda relates it to satya "truth" and in another hymn points to the guilt one feels from not giving to those in need, it uses the root of word dāna, in its hymns to refer to the act of giving to those in distress. Ralph T. H. Griffith, for example, translates Book 10, Hymn 117 of the Rig veda as follows: The Upanishads, composed before 500 BCE, present some of the earliest Upanishadic discussion of dāna. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, in verse 5.2.3, states that three characteristics of a good, developed person are self-restraint, compassion or love for all sentient life, charity. तदेतत्त्रयँ शिक्षेद् दमं दानं दयामिति Learn three cardinal virtues - self restraint and compassion for all life.

Chandogya Upanishad, Book III states that a virtuous life requires: tapas, dāna, arjava and satyavacana. Bhagavad Gita describes the right and wrong forms of dāna in verses 17.20 through 17.22. It defines sāttvikam charity, in verse 17.20, as one given without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, to a worthy person. It defines rajas charity, in verse 17.21, as one given with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruits and results, or grudgingly. It defines tamas charity, in verse 17.22, as one given with contempt, to unworthy person, at a wrong place and time. In Book 17, Bhadwad Gita suggests steadiness in sattvikam dāna, or the good form of charity is better; these three psychological categories are referred to as the guṇas in Hindu philosophy. The Adi Parva of the Hindu Epic Mahabharata, in Chapter 91, states that a person must first acquire wealth by honest means embark on charity. In Chapter 87 of Adi Parva, it calls sweet speech and refusal to use harsh words or wrong others if you have been wronged, as a form of charity.

In the Vana Parva, Chapter 194, the Mahabharata recommends that one must, "conquer the mean by charity, the untruthful by truth, the wicked by forgiveness, dishonesty by honesty". Anushasana Parva in Chapter 58, recommends public projects as a form of dāna, it discusses the building of drinking water tanks for people and cattle as a noble form of giving, as well as giving of lamps for lighting dark public spaces. In sections of Chapter 58, it describes planting public orchards, with trees that give fruits to strangers and shade to travelers, as meritorious acts of benevolent charity. In Chapter 59 of Book 13 of the Mahabharata and Bhishma discuss the best and lasting gifts between people: An assurance unto all creatures with love and affection and abstention from every kind of injury, acts of kindness and favor done to a person in distress, whatever gifts are made without the giver's thinking of them as gifts made by him, constitute, O chief of Bharata's race, the highest and best of gifts.

The Bhagavata Purana discusses when it is improper. In Book 8, Chapter 19, verse 36 it states that charity is inappropriate if it endangers and cripples modest livelihood of one's biological dependents or of one’s own. Charity from surplus income above that required for modest living is recommended in the Puranas. Hindu scriptures exist in many Indian languages. For example, the Tirukkuṛaḷ, written between 200 BCE and 400 CE, is one of the most cherished classics on Hinduism written in a South Indian language, it discusses charity. Tirukkuṛaḷ suggests charity is necessary for happiness, he states in Chapter 23: "Giving to the poor is true charity, all other giving expects some return". Greater still is the power to relieve other's hunger". In Chapter 101, he states: "Believing wealth is everything, yet giving away nothing, is a miserable state of mind".

Ince Castle

Ince Castle is three miles from Saltash in Cornwall, England, UK. It is not a castle in the conventional sense, it was built in 1642, at the start of the English Civil War and was captured in 1646. Attached to the house are four three-storey towers with walls 1.2 metres thick. There is a classical portico and the windows are rectangular; the house and estate were sold in the 1850s and let as a farm but it became run down and covered in ivy by the 20th century. It burnt down in 1988 but it has now been rebuilt; the house in on a peninsula by the River Lynher, from which the name comes, Ince being a form of the Cornish enys. The first house may have been built by the Courtenays in the late 14th century, it came into the possession of the Killigrews who remodelled the house entirely. Henry Killigrew, the Royalist MP for West Looe, who modified the first house in about 1642, kept four wives, one in each tower, each unknown to the others, according to tradition. From the 1840s, the tenants farming the land were all from the same family.

Richard Pryn owned and farmed Tredown close to Ince and in 1841 was farming Ince. His son, Richard Pryn was unmarried and farmed Ince with his unmarried sister Anne from 1846 to 1858; the property was 90 acres at this time. After Richard's death from drowning, his sister Anne was joined by another unmarried sister Mary Ann. After Anne's death in 1889, the tenancy passed to her great nephew, Hannibal Steed whose descendants continued to farm Ince until the early 20th century; the owner from 1922 to 1937 was H. R."Bobby" Somerset, whose yacht, Jolie Brise, was a multiple winner of the Fastnet Race and was kept in the boathouse at Ince Castle. Ince's next occupants were Scottish yachtsman James Bryce Allan and his wife and silent screen actress Rita Jolivet. In 1960 the house was bought by Patricia, Viscountess Boyd, wife of the former Colonial Secretary, Alan Lennox-Boyd, 1st Viscount Boyd of Merton. About this time, the lower floor French windows were installed to bring more light into the house and the service wing was extended.

A disastrous fire in 1988 was followed by rebuilding of the roof and a second kitchen was added. The present owners, the Viscount and Viscountess Boyd of Merton, moved to Ince Castle in 1994; the house and gardens are only open to the public. In October 2018 the house was sold for £7 Million to a South African. In the gardens there is a paved courtyard with a Magnolia delavayi and two specimens of Magnolia grandiflora. On the south side there is a sunken garden with a great variety of plants. There are curved beds in the lawn planted with shrubs and herbaceous plants. On the northeast a cherry walk leads towards a woodland garden. By the house there are two contrasting gardens: a white garden and a garden of warm colours and contrasting grey leaves. Castles in Great Britain and Ireland List of castles in England Hammond, Muriel Castles of Britain. London: Ian Allan Ince Castle website

Pulau Hantu

Pulau Hantu is located to the south of the main island of Singapore, off the Straits of Singapore. Pulau Hantu is made up of two islets: Pulau Hantu Besar and Pulau Hantu Kechil, with a total area of 12.6 hectares. At low tide, it is possible to wade across the shallow lagoon between the two islands, but not at high tide; the name of Pulau Hantu means "Ghost Island" in Malay. It may refer to the "disappearing" moment of the middle part of the island during the high tide. During the low tide, Pulau Hantu can be seen as one island with two large bays on its northern and southern sides. However, during the high tide, the water level in both bays would rise and the mid-section of the island would disappear under the rising tide and thus result in two separate and smaller islands. Pulau Hantu was where ancient Malay warriors once had fierce duels to the death and their ghosts are said to wander on the island. In particular, there were once two great warriors locked in a ferocious battle at sea. Many people died from their savage fighting and the blue seas surrounding the area turned red and became polluted with human blood, upsetting the Jinns at the bottom of the ocean.

In anger, one specially-powerful Jinn created a large whirlpool and it sucked the two warriors into the deep sea to drown them. Not deterred, they continued on with their battle; the Jinn sprayed water on one of the men. The other warrior, seeing his opponent blinded by the water-spray and momentarily dazed, thrust his sword into his abdomen. At the same time, the blinded and wounded warrior managed to plunge his sword into the other man, with both collapsing and dying soon after; the gods, felt that it was wrong for the sea-spirits to interfere in human affairs. Thus, the Jinn, being repentant, transformed the two warriors into islets so that their spirits can continue to live on them; as one of the warriors was smaller than the other, his islet was known as Pulau Hantu Kecil, while the bigger one for the larger warrior was called Pulau Hantu Besar. Despite its forbidding name, Pulau Hantu is a favourite haunt for fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling enthusiasts because of its sheltered beaches, swimming lagoons and inviting waters.

The islands are popular with campers and day-trippers who prefer a unique outdoor experience. Pulau Hantu has rich reefs despite its proximity to Pulau Bukom's refineries. A wide variety of corals can be found on Pulau Hantu, mushroom corals are abundant in the waters surrounding the islands. Common sea life that can be found include the clown fish or anemonefish, damselfishes and angelfish; the rare giant clam and the seahorse can sometimes be seen. There is a small patch of mangroves between Pulau Hantu Kecil and Pulau Hantu Besar, where native seashore plants line their beaches. Visibility, like most of Singapore's waters, is chronic, ranging from as low as 0.1 m to more than 3m. It was reported in the June 3, 2006 edition of The Straits Times that a plan to create a "marine sanctuary" has been dropped due to opposition from conservationists; the plan, known as Project Noah, was to install mechanical filters at the two ends of the lagoon separating Pulau Hantu Kecil and Pulau Hantu Besar, to clear the waters of excess silt and pave the way for coral growth within the lagoon.

The National Parks Board, National Biodiversity Centre, Blue Water Volunteers and volunteers from the public started a coral reef surveying programme in 2005 to monitor the status of hard corals, mobile invertebrates and reef fish at several locations around 5 southern islands, including Pulau Hantu. Internationally recognised techniques developed by Reef Check and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network were adopted for this programme. Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life A non-profit, environmental awareness initiative for Pulau Hantu, an island recognised by most divers as Singapore’s most popular Southern Island, known for its sheltered and biologically diverse reefs. Hantu Blogger's photostream Hantu Bloggers Info for visitors on wildsingapore Photos of Hantu's marine life on the intertidal from wildsingapore Blog posts about Hantu's marine life from various blogs compiled on the wildsingapore google reader Pulau Hantu Coral Reef Survey Data on Coral Reefs of Singapore Project NOAH sunk Satellite image of Pulau Hantu - Google Maps