“While Krishna was going to the fruit vendor very hastily, most of the grains He was holding fell. Nonetheless, the fruit vendor filled Krishna’s hands with fruits, and her fruit basket was immediately filled with jewels and gold.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.11.11)
So you want to be the best cyclist in the world? You’ll have to work at it. You’ll have to spend hours in the gym conditioning your body. You will have to acclimate yourself to the tough conditions that will be present on race day. Then you will have to repeat everything again, as the long races span many days. Then, with enough hard work, with sufficient control over the mind to avoid failing due to fear, you might reach the top.
But then what will you do? Eventually your body will give way. Soon others will rise to the challenge and defeat you. Though you work hard, it’s no longer enough. The body simply will not perform at the same level. You then have the rest of your life to decide what you want to do. You won so much that you can eat comfortably without worrying. Then again, others eat comfortably as well. They sleep, defend and have sexual relations when they feel like it. So what did your achievement really get you?
We can apply the same logic to any achievement of the material kind. Not limited to sports, but any kind of work, wherein a desired objective eventually comes to fruition, features the same limitation. Interestingly enough, the one gift we really need doesn’t require much effort at all to get. You don’t have to train so long that you are left without time for anything else. You don’t have to worry about success, either. Indeed, the more you are detached from the outcome, the more easily this gift will come.
An incident from a long time back tells us how this gift comes about and why it is so important. A young child in the farm community of Vrindavana once heard the calls of a fruit vendor. She asked if anyone wanted fruit. The young boy had seen how this went down before; a fruit vendor coming to the house and exchanging fruit for the currency of the time. So in His tiny hand He took some grains and rushed towards the vendor.
Unfortunately, most of the grains were lost in transit; they fell out of His hand. Since He was so excited, He didn’t keep His attention on what He was bringing. The fruit vendor, out of pure affection, filled the boy’s hands with fruits regardless. She did not care that the trade was unfair. She made a kind offering to the boy. In the immediate aftermath, the reward she received was a basket full of jewels. The fruit was gone; transformed into something much more valuable.
The young child was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. Though on the outside the reward looked material, the more important result was continued love and devotion. The vendor lady did not ask anything of Krishna. She did not fast for days on end in the hopes of increasing her fortune. She did not scheme to intentionally go to the home of Nanda Maharaja so that his magical child named Krishna would help her out.
The fruit vendor had spontaneous attraction to Krishna. She made an offering with love. She was not worried about a loss in commodity supply. She was not expecting anything in return. The joy on the child’s face was enough. The chance encounter was a gift to keep on giving, for many lifetimes. Krishna’s reward increased her love for Him, and so it was appropriate.
Even in supposed religious life things aren’t so easy. To get material opulence, you have to pray for a long time to a specific deity. You have to do everything right, and then maybe you’ll get what you want. The interaction is something like a business transaction. Devotion to God is beyond this. It is a genuine sentiment coming from the heart. That sentiment exists within every heart. Every kind gesture is derived from that original sentiment, which from the time of birth lies dormant, ready to be unlocked through the words of the spiritual master, the person who loves Krishna as much as the fruit vendor in Vrindavana does.
If we should think that Krishna is not before us, that we can’t see Him, we can still make a kind offering to Him. Whatever we have in our possession can be offered to Him, either formally or informally. Whatever we do can be in honor of Him. We will never be a loser in this regard. The purer the sentiment, the more quickly He will be pleased. His favor is the one most worth having. He can do much more than just transform fruits into jewels. He can turn a life spent in misery into one of replenishing enthusiasm and excitement. He can turn a doubting soul into an assertive speaker of the truth, who never lets a day go by without chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
When filling His hands with fruit,
Vendor’s basket transformed by youth.
Filled with valuable jewels now,
Easy for Krishna, no need to know how.
To His heart this showing the way,
A single offering, His name with faith to say.
Bhakti that gift more important to give,
So that any in happiness can live.
Categories: the fruit vendor