“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
“As we get older, it is only natural to reminisce about times past. With me, I have recently been focused on childhood. The moments I have with my own children immediately bring memories of when I was younger and under the care of my parents.
“A host of emotions rush in, and most of them are positive. I appreciate my parents much more now. I also think that they must have received the same joy from the association that I am experiencing on a daily basis. I hope that I didn’t do anything to disappoint them.
“One thing I particularly remember is the rules. I had a strict bedtime growing up. There were few exceptions. If I really begged and pleaded, maybe they would let me stay up to watch important sporting events, like the World Series. There was a show on broadcast television in the category of wrestling. It was on very late, but on Saturdays. My father always let us kids watch it, because he would join us.
“I have come to realize that those rules were extremely beneficial to me in the long-run. They helped instill discipline, which I am able to self-impose to this day. I can wake up at the same time and follow a routine. There is the opportunity for what His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada refers to as ‘numerical strength.’
“Is the relationship with Krishna similar? Is He like a loving father? Does He take away in order to help us in the long-term? If that is the case, I will say that it only adds to His endless glories.”
One name for the Almighty is Hari. This refers to someone who takes away. God the person, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, will play the role of Hari in taking away obstacles from my path of progress towards perfection in the human life.
The people who approach Him are generally impure. This only makes sense. We require our parents to instill discipline and structure during childhood so that we can mature into self-sustaining adults. The adult still requires training in understanding life, in general. More specifically, life and death and how they occur in a repeating cycle.
How are we supposed to understand pure devotion unless someone teaches us? This impurity should not prohibit us from approaching someone who has been our greatest well-wisher since time immemorial. He understands the impurity and He does not hold it against us.
Approach anyone else and the interaction will not have a lasting benefit. There is only so much another benefactor can do. The relationship is more like one business dealing with another. The customer offers sufficient payment and the other side exchanges the good or service.
Hari will look out for my best interests. If I stay with Him, He might remove everything that is currently dear to me. He might bring me to my knees in hopeless desperation, cursing at the entire world and the cruelty of death and the forced separation from loved ones. He might cripple my attachments to the point that I no longer have any.
Yet He will always remain with me. Hari will always be by my side, and the relationship with Him will bring me more joy than I could ever previously imagine: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
That television game to forego,
Since with bedtime rule to go.
No use putting up a fight,
Since parents are always right.
Today appreciation the feeling,
Shri Hari in similar way dealing.
My long-term benefit to see,
That in spiritual consciousness to be.