From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Tulāpuruṣa literally means ‘weighing a person in a balance against gold’.

Scriptures have always considered dāna or giving gifts to worthy and needy persons as an act of great religious merit. Gifts of certain kinds are called mahādānas or great gifts. Out of them the tulapuruṣa or tulābhāra is also the one. It consists mainly in weighing oneself against gold and distributing it to the guru, the priests and other worthy persons.

The whole procedure consists of religious rites like:

  1. Homa[1]
  2. Worshiping the tulā or the weighing scale specially set up
  3. Honoring the brāhmaṇas and poor and helpless people

Obviously only great kings could perform it. Gradually, weighing oneself against silver, camphor or other useful materials and donating them came into vogue. This practice is sometimes seen even now. Matsyapurāṇa[2] gives some interesting details.


  1. It means offering oblations into a duly consecrated fire
  2. Matsyapurāṇa Chapter 274
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore