“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)
पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं
यो मे भक्त्या प्रयच्छति
तद् अहं भक्त्य्-उपहृतम्
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
It is part of the general pitch. In the beginning there is the foundational teaching of the difference between body and spirit.
“You are not the body. You are spirit soul, part and parcel of the Supreme. Give more focus to the spirit inside instead of the way you’ve been going since time immemorial. Animals do not have the chance to make the inquiry. They cannot discriminate. Only the human being can.”
Then there is the recommended routine. Jnana comes first, but practical realization is more important. Vijnana through following guidelines, recommendations and the like.
“Chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Prepare food in the mode of goodness. Basically, no meat, fish or eggs. No onions and garlic, too. The idea is to make the offering with love. The Supreme Lord will accept. He can eat with His eyes, and He leaves the remnants for you and others to honor.”
The person listening for the first time has some questions. Why would the Supreme Lord require offerings? If the material and spiritual worlds emanate from Him, what good is any of this going to do? It is like taking something that belongs to Him already and then trying to pass it off as some new gift.
1. Crinkled plastic wrap
One way to understand is to study the situation of a father and child. The father provides everything. The child is completely dependent on the parents. They may be able to eat and move on their own as time goes by, but someone must first provide. The child typically does not go shopping online for home supplies and neither do they travel outside to the supermarket to pick up essential items for the kitchen.
One day the young child presents to you, the father, some crinkled plastic wrap. This was previously used to package an item purchased online. Before you have a chance to throw in the dustbin, the child takes an interest.
They repeatedly bring the wrap to you. You take it in your hands, return it to the original shape and then give it back to the child. A few seconds later they return it to you in a ball shape. The game continues for several minutes, and it brings you tremendous delight.
2. Wooden blocks
Again, these were purchased by you. The child did not ask for them. You thought it would be a better way to pass the time; superior to staring at a television screen. Let them learn the alphabet and numbers. There are imprints of objects and also descriptive words on the different sides of the blocks.
Every time the child brings one to you, they place it directly in your hands. Not sure what they are asking, you start stacking them on the floor. This prompts the child to bring more blocks over to you. There is tremendous joy since the child is taking an interest in both the object purchased for them and your association.
3. The remote control
When fatigue finally sets in, and you can run around no more, the last resort is to turn on the television. Find something that you can both watch together. In this situation the child sometimes brings the remote over to you, again placing it in your hands. They cannot speak yet, but it is as if they are sending a message:
“Change the channel! Put on a better video. Then we can watch together.”
Once that is accomplished, the clever child snatches the remote away from you and places it on the table. They are sending the signal that the program should not be changed.
4. A drawing from school
As they get a little older, they learn to paint and draw while in school. In fact, this is one of your earliest memories. You once brought home a charcoal drawing to your father. He was so happy to receive it that your mother decided to take a photograph to commemorate the moment.
Now the situation is reversed. The child brings home a drawing. They offer it to you. It certainly does not represent the best artistic quality, but the mood of the person on the other side is everything. They put so much effort into this piece and they are dedicating it to you.
5. A new car
Now a little older, you don’t really need much. The child is an adult; self-sufficient and with a family of their own. Still, one day they present you with a new car. You can’t believe it. Not necessary, but certainly appreciated.
In the same way, there is not much we can offer the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Shri Krishna already has everything. The eternal associates are constant companions in the spiritual land of Vaikuntha. There are the beautiful surroundings populated with living entities in the forms of trees, hills, flowers, and grass. The cowherd friends enjoy with Krishna in the fields, and the gopis are with Him during the quiet, beautiful moonlit nights.
The Supreme Lord is so kind that He still accepts our offerings. He facilitates worship through channels such as the deity and the temple. He understands that the process will purify us. He takes great pleasure in our interest of Him, in our desire to put a smile on His face. He reciprocates in ways that we could never imagine.
Deity His features demonstrating,
Where our offerings reciprocating.
In ways never to believe,
Boundless mercy to receive.
Like child father’s gift taking,
And return offering making.
With so much joy to proceed,
Despite not having a need.
Categories: the five