“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
A newly formed organization looks for ways to bring the participants closer together. The personnel do not know each other. Direct hires through people on the inside is the best way, but if your network of friends and colleagues isn’t wide enough, it may be difficult to fill every vacancy. Moreover, that expert programmer you recommend for the job could be quite content at the place they work for currently.
One way to get to know each other is an ice-breaker game. Go around the room and ask each person to describe their perfect day. What would go into making a twenty-four hour period ideal in every way? The mind is the limit; nothing is off the table.
Another game is to ask someone who would they like to sit and have dinner with. The corresponding person could be anyone, real or fictional. They could be alive today or a historical personality.
You might be surprised to learn that someone following the bhakti path of the spiritual tradition emanating from the Vedas could reject a meeting with God. In other words, if offered the chance, they would decline getting to sit and eat dinner with the Almighty.
1. The time is limited
I have been taught that this person is all-attractive; hence the name Krishna. He is ever-youthful, nava-yauvanam. This means that He does not age, in the typical sense. He is the oldest person, anadi, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at Him.
He is also completely satisfied in the self, atmarama. He is not upset at anyone, and neither does He stare down from His perch in heaven in a disapproving manner. His eyes, they never close, but this is through the extension known as Paramatma. He witnesses everything, but His demeanor is not impacted by our behavior, either pious or impious.
The acharyas, the representatives in the tradition emanating from Krishna, have opened my eyes to the Divine and serving Him to the level that my appreciation is too much to describe in words. This means that a dinner meeting with God would be too limited.
The time is so short. After that meeting, I would feel much worse, for I would certainly long for continued association. I would be so heartbroken at the separation that it is better not to think about it.
2. What could He really tell me?
In this dinner, what could Krishna really tell me? Again, time is a factor. I could ask Him to explain hidden secrets regarding history in the material world, but this is ultimately trivial information. It will not get me anywhere. It will do nothing for me in the long run.
I already know how creation takes place. There is the personal witness to the process, Lord Brahma. I already know about the eventual dissolution. Again, there is eyewitness testimony, coming from Markandeya Rishi.
I am familiar with birth and death. The cycle takes place all around me. I know about the different emotions, the stages of life, the dreaded disease of lust, and the utter futility in seeking any type of permanent happiness in an existence that has a beginning and an end.
ये हि संस्पर्श-जा भोगा
दुःख-योनय एव ते
न तेषु रमते बुधः
ye hi saṁsparśa-jā bhogā
duḥkha-yonaya eva te
na teṣu ramate budhaḥ
“An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.22)
If there is not much God can tell me, I don’t really have anything to ask Him. Sitting at the dinner table, on an equal level, with nothing to say is not really an experience to look forward to.
3. I would rather offer Him food to eat
As advised in the Bhagavad-gita, I would rather offer foods in the mode of goodness for Krishna to eat. Maybe stop off at the dinner table and drop off the meal. I would rather not eat with Him. Let the Supreme Lord enjoy in peace, without botheration. Let those most dear to Him remain close by.
4. I prefer the path of Tulsidas
Goswami Tulsidas describes the day when the king of Ayodhya meets with every citizen. The rule is that they can ask for anything and the king will grant the request. This is a holy city during a particular time period of the world. Ruled by Shri Rama, an incarnation of the Supreme Lord, the citizens are worthy to stay under His protection. This means that their requests will not be outlandish, and neither will they go against dharma.
The poet Tulsidas places Himself in that situation, approaching the king as a beggar. Tulsidas asks for one boon: continued devotion. He wants to serve Rama in life after life. This is a wonderful request, taking full advantage of the opportunity. The king has already promised to grant every request. This means that the dream for Tulsidas is guaranteed to become a reality.
Following in his path, I wish the same. Shri Hanuman already met Rama and family. Hanuman does not insist on remaining close by. Serving from a distance is fine by him, since he knows that the name and the person are non-different. By saying the name of the Almighty, I am already with Him, and He can never leave me.
My side never to leave,
This blessing to receive.
From the acharyas teaching,
For how spiritual world reaching.
Then on single dinner invitation why?
Where time quickly to fly.
Better that in devotion choosing,
A request Rama never refusing.
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