“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)
समो ऽहं सर्व-भूतेषु
न मे द्वेष्यो ऽस्ति न प्रियः
ये भजन्ति तु मां भक्त्या
मयि ते तेषु चाप्य् अहम्
samo ‘haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu
na me dveṣyo ‘sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā
mayi te teṣu cāpy aham
1. Government leader or enemy of the state
One person is in charge of a specific area. The primary purpose of government is to protect innocent life and property. If these two basic factors are not accounted for then the government is a failure. It is useless; the people would be better off not having any sort of authority. The strongest would survive, in the manner of applying force.
Another person is an enemy of the state. They want to overthrow the government. They are planning a hostile takeover. An elaborate conspiracy involving crooked police officers and courts, they expect to depose the current leader and institute a new form of government.
2. Friend or foe
One person is friendly to me. I can count on them when things are rough. They understand my inner-most desires. We argue from time to time, for sure, but they are still like family to me. They know that I am there for them, as well. We can always call each other at any hour of the night and expect the other person to pick up.
Another person is a foe. We have a bitter rivalry. Should we happen to run into each other, there are no words exchanged. Just dark stares and dirty looks. We gave up on mending fences a long time ago; the offenses are too grave to be forgiven.
3. Follower or denier
One person believes wholeheartedly in whatever the medical community prescribes. Sure, there is variety in the prescriptions. Not everyone says the same thing, but when one group attempts persuasion through invoking “consensus”, then this person goes along. They trust the “experts,” however they are defined.
Another person is skeptical of anything coming out of the medical community. They think there is politics involved with these associations involving doctors and scientists. Their skepticism strengthens when they find leaked photos and videos of these professionals violating their own recommendations to the public. Hypocrisy at the highest level, and so they are never to be trusted.
4. Priest or thief
One person believes so strongly in their faith that it has become their primary occupation. They are known as a religious man. They have the corresponding garb to let everyone identify the affiliation immediately. This person tries their best to lead a pious life, to avoid sin, and to help others to find the light in a world otherwise filled with darkness.
Another person has no interest in religion. They don’t even care so much about morality. They justify their own sinful behavior by believing that everyone else is a sinner, a cheater involved in scandal. They are ready, willing, and able to steal from others. As a matter of fact, burglary is their profession.
One might be surprised to learn that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is a well-wisher to each of the above mentioned individuals. Not that He necessarily wants them to succeed in their desires. The thief should know better. Government leaders are often more corrupt than anyone trying to overthrow them. Friend or foe, I should treat others with respect.
The idea is that God is within everyone. This is not simply a philosophical point of view, where we think that every action of a living being is indicative of a higher spirit. In the literal sense, the Supreme Lord as an individual resides inside of me, you, and everyone else.
We identify that presence as a feature. Known as Supersoul in Sanskrit, the distinction is that it is the same individual. God does not divide. He is not stretched too thin. He is not distracted by witnessing my activities to the point that He fails to witness something else. Bhagavan is amazing in this way. He witnesses everything and He is the well-wisher for everyone.
“If that is the case, why is the thief sometimes successful and sometimes not? Why are there differences in outcomes to the same action? How can God support people who are opposed to one another?”
Shri Krishna explains further in Bhagavad-gita. To begin, He does not envy anyone. He is equal to everyone, but those who render service to Him become His friend. He breaks from His position of neutrality and helps them directly afterwards.
This does not violate the position of well-wisher. We can think of it like the electricity within the house. One person has no idea where the outlet is. They don’t even know that there is power supplied. Thus they curse at the terrible situation they have been placed in.
Another person, with the same power supply, plugs in their appliances and uses them. They are taking full advantage of what is available to them. We cannot blame the power company for the difference in outcome. The same opportunity is there in both situations.
When rendering service to God the person, we get the added benefit of discrimination. I may desperately want to steal from someone else, but Krishna may not agree to the request. He will look out for my long-term interest, which means sometimes taking away things that I consider dear. He will always give me a chance at devotion, which is the most important, and so His position as best friend remains.
Something beyond belief,
That inside priest and the thief.
Because omnipresent is He,
Witnessing everything to see.
With discrimination to enhance,
Sometimes removing the chance.
When choice for devotion made,
And from within orders obeyed.
Categories: the four