“My dear Lord, this one morsel of chipped rice is sufficient to cause him who offered it to become very opulent in this life and to continue his opulence in the next life. My Lord, You are so kind to Your devotee that even this one morsel of chipped rice pleases You very greatly, and Your pleasure assures the devotee opulence both in this life and in the next.” (Rukmini speaking to Krishna, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 26)
Friend-One: I heard something interesting on the radio today.
Friend-Two: What’s that?
F1: The host was talking about a recent story that involved a television news personality.
F1: That person got in a dustup with someone who drives a truck. Basically, the news personality pulled the “do you know who I am” card. They then berated the person driving the truck for being less educated and working a job that requires less skill.
F2: Oh boy. Yeah, that’s the sad reality. We see people on television and think they are a certain way. But in real life they are totally different.
F1: Yeah, so this radio host made an interesting point. He said that a good way to tell the character of someone is to see how they treat others who can’t do anything for them.
F2: What do you mean?
F1: Like with this television host. They are nice to the people they interview. They are nice to their bosses. But are they nice to ordinary people? The ordinary person can’t do anything for them. There is nothing to be gained from their association.
F2: I see. Yeah, that’s true. It’s something like the question of how you behave when no one’s looking. When doing the right thing won’t be seen by anyone, do you do it?
F1: Yeah. As usual, this got me to thinking of God. In bhakti-yoga, the worshiper is doing all sorts of things for Him. They chant His names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. They worship the deity. They offer flower garlands. They make food and then place it before Him.
F2: Right. And if they’re serious, they do these things on a regular schedule. On a given day they won’t forget to chant the holy names a fixed number of times. They won’t suddenly start offering meat to the deity. They’re practicing love and devotion with a routine.
F1: People make the mistake of thinking that this is done specifically to win God’s favor. That if you don’t worship on a specific day, you’ll miss out on the benefits offered by Him.
F2: Yeah. That might be true with a godly personality in general, but not so with the original Supreme Lord. He is not an order supplier, though He can supply anything. He is not mean and vindictive, though He can punish when the situation calls for it. He is not a businessman, though no one can outsmart Him in a deal.
F1: I thought it would be fun to take the principle mentioned before and apply it to Him.
F2: Basically, how does God treat those who can’t do anything for Him?
F1: Right. I think it’s a great question.
F2: You know, it definitely is. The reason is that no one can really do anything for Him.
F1: That’s what I was thinking too! He doesn’t need our devotion. If we fail to offer Him food on a particular day, He’ll survive. God won’t lose anything if we don’t chant His names on a set of japa beads in the morning. He won’t be upset if we direct our worship elsewhere.
F2: He’s atmarama, which means self-satisfied. He is eternally blissful and knowledgeable. He has enough going on already.
F1: So none of us can do anything for Him, and yet He treats all of us with so much kindness. He says in the Bhagavad-gita that He envies no one and that He is impartial by default. Yet since the devotees are always with Him, He considers them to be friends.
samo ‘haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu
na me dveṣyo ‘sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā
mayi te teṣu cāpy aham
“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.29)
F2: Yeah, His association shows His kindness. He gives us bhakti-yoga taught through the spiritual master for our benefit. Worship is for self-purification. And there can never be enough worship of Him because His association is what matters most. It’s like saying that you’re spending too much time with someone who makes you so happy.
F1: I was thinking of the incident with Sudama Vipra. He visited Krishna in Dvaraka and brought some chipped rice as an offering. This was only after his wife insisted that he bring it.
F2: Yeah and when he went to the palace, he hid the offering. Yet Krishna knew it was there and He snatched it away from Sudama. The poor brahmana could do nothing for the Lord. There was no interest he could serve for Dvarakadisha, the king of the city of Dvaraka.
F1: And then Krishna, who is the husband of the goddess of fortune, had Sudama’s meager home transformed into an opulent one. All because there was pure devotion. No one was looking, either. This was not done to impress anyone. It’s such a nice story.
F2: It really is. There are many other similar interactions described in Vedic literature. This is one way to tell that Krishna is the kindest. No one can do anything for Him, and yet He treats everyone nicely and with respect. He is especially fond of the devotees, and so the wise accept the bhakti path and stay on it.
Yelling because of anger’s spell,
From this true nature can tell.
The person doing nothing for me,
How to treat when no one else to see?
Of Supreme Lord’s position consider,
Nothing that any to Him can deliver.
Treating all still with touch kind and nice,
Like with accepting Sudama’s chipped rice.