“O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.27)
यत् करोषि यद् अश्नासि
यज् जुहोषि ददासि यत्
यत् तपस्यसि कौन्तेय
तत् कुरुष्व मद्-अर्पणम्
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
Everyone has to do something. Even sleep is a kind of activity. No one can refrain from working, not even for a moment. Concomitant with vitality, if something is living there is some sort of continuous operation. Movement. Start to finish. Something as basic as fluid travelling from one destination to another, like blood-flow triggered by the heart.
Bhagavad-gita explains that the beneficiary of work should be the Supersoul, known as Paramatma in Sanskrit. The individual, atma, is the starting point, the actor, but not every decision results in the same outcome. You could line up one hundred people at a table to eat the exact same dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week. Afterwards, the bodies will look different. One person will be fat, another will be thin, another might have problems with the skin, and so forth.
The aim tends to be the same, to satisfy the self. Shri Krishna mentions to Arjuna five different activities that should have a transition in terms of interest.
The Sanskrit word is tapasya. The general connotation is restriction based on some kind of religious guidance. Fast today because of spiritual significance. After someone in the family passes away, cut your hair. Don’t celebrate any festivities like birthdays or anniversaries for seven days; a period of mourning.
Yet the same principle is there even within material life. An athlete follows a restrictive diet in order to boost performance. A student studies for hours at a time to increase the score on an upcoming examination. A new mother forgoes sleep in order to tend to her beloved child.
Krishna says to make Him the object of tapasya. Follow restriction for His benefit. Then the tapasya will not only be easier to implement, but the reward will be the best possible and also the most enjoyable.
2. Giving away in charity
Too many clothes in the house. Not enough closet space. So many shirts and pants that you no longer wear. The reason does not have to be the same. Some are just worn out and maintained due to sentimental value. Others no longer fit. After all, the size of the body does not stay the same throughout life.
One option is to give away in charity. An old car can be of use to someone else. People devastated by a recent storm to hit the area need help in rebuilding.
Krishna says that charity should be in His honor. This seems antithetical, since the Supreme Lord is the wealthiest person. He lives with Lakshmi Devi, who is the goddess of fortune. Narayana is always the most fortunate; hence one name for Him is Bhagavan.
Though we may not understand the principle at first, the implementation will prove beneficial. Giving things away for the Supreme Lord is the best use of the charitable spirit, as it fosters renunciation and also creates spiritual items of value with which others can afterwards interact, prasadam.
A husband is so pleased with the love shown by his wife that he spontaneously decides to buy flowers. He arrives home after work in the typical fashion, but today he is carrying something in the hand. A beautiful bouquet of bright, red roses, presented as an offering to the wife. She is very pleased by the gesture.
The same kind of offering can be made to the Supreme Lord. He doesn’t ask for much. A simple flower will do. Maybe some water, as that is easy to procure. The benefit to the worshiper will be tremendous, though the reciprocation may not manifest immediately.
पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं
यो मे भक्त्या प्रयच्छति
तद् अहं भक्त्य्-उपहृतम्
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.26)
As water or a flower can be offered to Krishna, so can food. The subsequent process of eating can be done as an offering to Him. Similar to the concept of saying grace, there is the acknowledgment that something so vital could not be produced through human effort alone. The Supreme Lord explains to Arjuna that grains come about through rain, which is produced through nature, which is managed by higher authorities known as devas.
अन्नाद् भवन्ति भूतानि
यज्ञाद् भवति पर्जन्यो
annād bhavanti bhūtāni
yajñād bhavati parjanyo
“All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rain. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.14)
To simplify the complex, just make every activity an offering to Krishna. I woke up today so that I can engage in bhajana. I go to work in order to get money to purchase a television. I use the television to learn more about Hari, to sing songs about Him, to hear the sound of the holy names.
I dedicate a room in the home to worshiping. I use the legs to fold in order to sit on the floor. I use the hands to hold a string of beads. I use each bead to repeat the maha-mantra, which makes the vitality within completely worth it: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
With accompanying vitality within,
Dedicated for a person or thing.
Bhagavad-gita lesson stating,
That for Krishna all dedicating.
Like austerity or charity too,
Offering and eating to do.
Just everything for only His sake,
Best use of this life to make.
Categories: the five