“O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.16)
चतुर्-विधा भजन्ते मां
जनाः सुकृतिनो ऽर्जुन
आर्तो जिज्ञासुर् अर्थार्थी
ज्ञानी च भरतर्षभ
catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ
janāḥ sukṛtino ‘rjuna
ārto jijñāsur arthārthī
jñānī ca bharatarṣabha
“Please God, make that person pay. I want them to experience what it is like to be jealous. They have made my life a living hell. Day after day, I am always concerned that they are more interested in other people than me. They act as if they have this tremendous power over me, that I will continue to follow them no matter what. Make it so that one day they have to experience jealousy, as well. That will make me happy.”
2. Illegal or in violation of the standards of decency
“Please God, take away all of their possessions. I want them to be homeless. Literally, if they could come home one day and see that their house has burned down, that would make me so happy. I would be giddy inside. If someone were around to take pictures of their reaction, even better. I would frame those photos and derive joy on a daily basis. Those images would be the centerpiece of the wall art in my living room.”
3. Destined to cause me harm in the future
“Please God, let this group of friends accept me. I want to be in some sort of club. I know that they smoke, drink, and party on a constant basis, but for the time being at least I won’t feel so alone. Everyone needs that in society, don’t they? We can’t go live in a cave and be isolated for years and years. I require some type of acceptance, and right now this is the only group around.”
4. Against my personal interest
“Please God, let me find a store that is open. I need my fix of cigarettes; I am dying without them. If I don’t get to smoke right now, I might not make it through the night. I swear, I will quit right after that. I mean it. Just come through for me now and I will never ask for anything again.”
5. Not worthy of the time of someone who has everything
“Wow, you are God? Pleased to meet you. I always knew you were real, that you existed. I argued with deniers, some in my own family. I stuck up for you. You say that you are ready to grant me any benediction, eh? If that is the case, can you take away this heavy load that I am carrying? It is part of my work today, and it is really bothering me. Then I will be able to make it to my destination in a shorter period of time.”
Looking back on life, we have certainly begged for many things that didn’t quite work out. We weren’t thinking clearly. We didn’t see the bigger picture. We wanted something bad to happen to someone, only to later regret the decision.
From the teachings of the acharyas of the Vedic tradition, we learn that no matter the nature of the request, the personal God is always the ideal person to approach. He does not provide a money-back guarantee. He will not agree to satisfaction in the long-term. Buyer’s remorse is real, so be careful what you wish for.
The stipulation is necessary since the tendency is to turn away from God the person. Worship another god, instead. Turn a mortal into an immortal, at least in terms of temporary stature. Seek out the same rewards from people who are flawed, but at least there isn’t a turn towards God.
From Bhagavad-gita we learn that even those who approach the personal God have motives pertaining to self-interest, in the beginning. That is to say rarely is the person approaching the Supreme Lord a pure devotee at first.
Yet the recommendation is to make the approach anyway. This is because the association is purifying. The thing I am asking for might be ridiculous. I would laugh at the proposal a few years later. Caught in a swoon of material desire, kama, I am otherwise not able to think clearly.
If I approach anyone else, even a demigod, I might get what I want. If I don’t, I will try again with someone else. Either way, the interaction will be quick. Afterwards, there won’t be any loyalty. There won’t be any thought given to the benefactor. If I am someone like Hiranyakashipu or Ravana, I might even try to use those benedictions against the interests of the benefactor.
Shri Krishna might deny my requests. He will assess based on the long-term impact. He is something like the parent who refuses to allow the child to stay up too late into the night or eat ice cream in excess. The child is disappointed at first, but in the long run they are thankful for the oversight.
Irrespective of our intent, Krishna is always the person to approach. His association is purifying, and the acharya shows the way in how to make the most of the relationship, in how to strengthen the bond, and how to speed up the transformation from kama to bhakti: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
With crazy idea today,
So let me intently pray.
That to happen right now,
Not caring for how.
Though maybe later to regret,
Perhaps a better way set?
For Shri Krishna to choose,
Who discrimination to use.
Categories: the five