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Monday, September 2, 2013

Organ Donation : Yes or No

 SANATHANA DHARMA has not mentioned anything about the organ donation but I recently read that Sage Valmiki mentioned about in Ramayana! But the procedure of anthyeshti mentions that the body be sanctified and disposed of in the prescribed manner .....

There was no concept of donating organ as told by my elders and it was at the back of my mind to donate the organs and it was a long wish and I keep mentioning about it quite often. But I also felt like clarifying with a Ganabadigal - a learned vedic scholar and I met him with my queries. I just asked him whether it's good to donate organs or body for the research after clinical death?

I told him that whenever I bring this topic my husband who is a staunch believer of our Hindu Dharma, is dead against stating that after death, he might not be able to see the path to heaven, he reinstated that the very concept of giving, walking stick ,umbrella, chappals, water lotta, bed sheet, pillow etc during the 13 days ceremony is beaten if the organs are donated after death.

When I completed this the Ganabadigal said, our tradition has not mentioned anything about this because, it should not be done and what is to be done is mentioned clearly.
He posed a question to me, 'what is donation?' I said, Donation is giving something in kind or cash when I am alive or a person is alive.'

He asked me in return, ' so when a person is alive ,you give and how can you call it a donation when a person is no more living?'

Veda sashtram says 
if a person loses his limbs... at the time of cremation the lost organ has to be made by using the Holy Grass- darbai. 

Secondly one has to offer the body to the Agni devatha as it arrived in this world!
His answer to my question is a clear ,'NO' .

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 Subsequent to this discussion I heard from my sister that her Co-sister who donated her mother's eyes after death- a few years back- is haunted very frequently in her dreams,the dead mother blames her for the sorry state of affairs wherein she is  still struggling to find  her way and is lost roaming here and there. 

I have watched the reality show,pichala janam....where a person is hypnotized and goes back to find out about his earlier births. In that a famous , short  Hindi comedian takes the test and it was found out that he had lost his limbs in both his previous births and that was the reason for him to be very short in this birth.He cannot be called a dwarf, but has short legs.. 

These two things make me rethink on my decision of donating my organs.. I am just confused, I hope before my last breath, I am clear of what I want to do! :-)


  1. Mathangi,

    I have read a book on Maha Periyavaa, where a female devotee asks him if she can undertake to donate her eyes as she was very happy with the idea .Periyava said, NO. That lady excused herself from donating her eyes and donated Rs.500/- instead.Our shastrams say we have no right to take our lives on our own.Also we have received this body from God and whatever one gets from anybody should be returned in good condition .Shirdi Baba says that like a man who takes care of his horse to reach a place and return,we must take care of this body by giving enough care and not just external beautification, till we return it to God.

    So that shows we should not do organ donation .Maha perivaa was a Gnani and I am sure we have to follow what he said.

  2. We quote from our scriptures for various commission and omission of our acts. We should ask ourselves how much of the ways recommended by our scriptures do we follow in our daily lives? Scriptures tell us to empathise with the havenots and help them with all our might. Organs are our most valued possessions and giving them to those in need is the best gift one can give in our lives. I think there cannot be a better service to mankind than giving one's organs.

    We should also keep in mind surgical procedures using organ donation was not in vogue in olden days because surgery has perfected these methods only now, and hence to look for views from the past will not be of any help.


    shivashankara rao

    It is a fact that our ancestors did not have the concept of organ donation and so, none of the smrithis mention anything on that. Even the grihyasootra does not deal with the subject. However, we have the example of Dadheechi who donated a part of his body for the good of the society! Hence, our Dharma could not have been against the donation as such.

    But the procedure of anthyeshti mentions that the body be sanctified and disposed of in the prescribed manner and hence a different interpretation may be possible.

    In the light of unclear position, it is better we adopt a policy which is good for the humanity. Hence, Dadheechi's example can be followed AT LEAST AFTER DEATH !!


    Attaching artificial limbs which is mentioned in Rig-Veda (Mandala 1, sookta 116, ashtaka 1, chapter 8 mantra 15) came to the modern world only during 20th century.

    In Mahabharata gunavidhi indicates chromosomes. This came to our knowledge only in 1910 AD.

    Cloning came to the modern world only in 1997. But Rig-Veda mentions the birth of Pruthu from the dead body of king Vena.

    1. If organ donation is inappropriate in sanathana dharma then we won't have ganesha as a deity as he got organ donated by an elephant. I think we are taking scriptures to quote without knowong the meaning in full