Bhiksha is an ancient Indian tradition as per which ascetics and sadhus go door to door, asking for food and alms from people. The meaning of bhiksha is different from begging, since the ascetics who ask for it do it not because of the reason that they dislike working. Infact, as per Indian spirituality, it is believed that one can attain salvation only when his soul is totally absolved of ego. The concept of bhiksha plays a crucial role here and was, thus, coined for those sadhus or ascetics who had just initiated their spiritual journey.
Asking for Bhiksha meant one had to approach strangers for and ask them
for alms. Even though giving alms is part of customs in India, many
people disrespectfully turn away the sadhus/ascetics. This is just a
training period for the ascetics, who are taught not to take offence to
such behavior, but instead endure it smilingly thinking it to be the
will of God. The social and political milieu has changed drastically in
India now, yet the concept of asking and giving bhiksha is still alive
Many religious people, especially in small town and cities, still make
it a point to take out a portion of the daily food grain and give it out
in charity. Such philanthropic activity, like bhiksha, is deeply rooted
in our customs and traditions. Infact, our ancient holy scriptures, like
Rig Veda, makes references to charity as a duty and responsibility of
the citizen and the benefits that one earns through an act of charity.