“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
They are in a position of power for a reason. They have the potential to help. All you have to do is ask. Sure, there is the issue of concurrency. How many requests can they handle at a single time? Is the policy, “first-come, first-serve”? How to assign priority? Which constituent is more important? Never mind, just see what the politician can do for you.
1. Visa application for a foreign-born spouse
“Don’t even get me started on the immigration thing. I am well-aware that the easy thing to do is for my wife to simply visit the country to the south and then make a run for the border. If she gets caught, she can falsely claim asylum. If anyone objects, racism will be the next charge levied against the authorities.
“I prefer to go the legal route. File the necessary paperwork. The problem is that the process takes a very long time. It may be years until the person I married is able to enter this country and live here with me. I’ve heard that if I contact my United States senator, they may be able to expedite the process. Put in a good word with the bureaucrats to locate my wife’s file and push it along.
2. Permit approval for construction on the house
“I want to do some work on the house. An extra apartment of sorts added to the back for my adult-aged children to live in. This way if they get married they are not forced to move out. We can live together, but with some privacy at the same time.
“The thing is, permit approval from the government is required before I begin the construction. That has not been an easy process. They are taking forever. I would rather not delay the project. By making a donation to the reelection campaign of the local assemblyman, I might be able to get somewhere.”
3. The broken traffic signal on the way to work
“This thing has been busted for months; ever since that major storm passed through the area. The drivers just live with it. We carefully proceed through the busy intersection, hoping that no one collides with us from either side.
“I think it is too dangerous. What is the government doing? Isn’t something like this the reason we pay taxes? I guess we have to bribe someone to take a look. Otherwise, they don’t care. They can’t lose their job over negligence, either. Bureaucrats seem to have a way of getting immunity from termination.”
The determining factor in these instances is the ability to influence. I approach someone because I am in need. Correspondingly, they are in a position to help, but ultimately the decision is up to them.
We can contrast with the behavior of the Supreme Lord in His avatara of Shri Rama. He helps so many people, from brahmanas to kings. His favoritism is not limited to only males. High or low depending upon birth, Shri Rama does not require much. Sincerity in purpose. A good character. It doesn’t matter if they are rich or poor, Rama is always a friend to the devotees.
Most importantly, He is easily accessible. While the direct visit to Vaikuntha may involve passing through gatekeepers, the meaning of Absolute is that the face-to-face meeting is just as good as a connection through sound. This means that by chanting the holy names I can access the most influential person: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Better than the political leader, Rama takes care of my overall wellbeing. He considers the long-term benefit, shreyas, as well as the short-term enjoyment, preyas. He sends representatives to help me in the immediate situation, to show me how to stay connected to Him. The goddess of fortune showers her blessings in such a way that the basic needs will be taken care of. Lakshmana is always standing by ready to protect Rama, and Hanuman is there to give inexhaustible inspiration.
From them a favor needing,
With donation proceeding.
So politician to expedite,
My case seeing day of light.
Or fixing that traffic signal broken,
But needed first a gesture token.
Shri Rama not behaving the same,
Benevolent and reached just by name.
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