“For one who worships Me, giving up all his activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, who has fixed his mind upon Me, O son of Pritha, for him I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 12.6-7)
ये तु सर्वाणि कर्माणि
मयि सन्न्यस्य मत्-पराः
मां ध्यायन्त उपासते
तेषाम् अहं समुद्धर्ता
भवामि न चिरात् पार्थ
ye tu sarvāṇi karmāṇi
mayi sannyasya mat-parāḥ
māṁ dhyāyanta upāsate
teṣām ahaṁ samuddhartā
bhavāmi na cirāt pārtha
“Parenting in the modern day is difficult. That is my opinion, based on observation and experience. For the father, it is not as simple as going to work every day and expecting everything else to be taken care of automatically. While there may be the supermom or two, who can juggle the responsibility of raising multiple young children and maintaining the household at the same time, in more cases than not there is a shared struggle.
“For as many parents as you meet, you will find that many strategies to parenting. One person says to be very strict with the child, as early as possible. Train them to sleep on their own. This is for survival, more than anything else. The mother and father do not have the luxury of missing out on sleep; they require proper rest in order to function for work the next day.
“Another strategy is to barely acknowledge anything the child asks for. The answer is always in the negative to any question that arises. Perhaps once in a while the child can eat ice cream or go to the park, but never should such be a regular occurrence.
“One father I know tries everything in their power to keep their child happy and excited. If they should happen to discover a park nearby that satisfies the enjoyment of the young one, they make it a daily routine to visit that park. Others are perplexed. Why give in to the demands of the dependent? Why act as if you are the servant when you are the one in charge?
“The response from this father is that they will do anything to keep their child happy. To them, what is a little time sacrificed at a particular area? The child is engaged. They are excited. They are not yelling and screaming during that time of play. The father vows to continue to do anything the child wants to be happy, within reason, for as long as the child continues to ask.
“Where do you think the Supreme Personality of Godhead falls on the spectrum? In terms of a guardian, a protector, is He strict or is He the most lenient? Is there ever too much indulgence for us? Will He intentionally put a stop to something that we thoroughly enjoy?”
The disposition depends on the choice of the individual. We could say that God the person is already the kindest based on His creation of the material world. While the acharya compares it to a prison house, a place meant for punishing and reforming those who have gone astray, the area does remain manifest for as long as there is a desire to play.
भूत-ग्रामः स एवायं
भूत्वा भूत्वा प्रलीयते
रात्र्य्-आगमे ऽवशः पार्थ
bhūta-grāmaḥ sa evāyaṁ
bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate
rātry-āgame ‘vaśaḥ pārtha
“Again and again the day comes, and this host of beings is active; and again the night falls, O Partha, and they are helplessly dissolved.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.19)
We lament the occasion of death, but there is always birth to follow. The circumstances change. The setting is different. The period of time may have distinctions in terms of societal makeup, but the general interaction is the same: eating, sleeping, mating and defending.
Once the turn is made towards spiritual life, we see that God the person is more like the parent who wishes to always see their child happy. Bhagavan is the swift deliverer from the ocean of nescience. He extends a rescuing hand, and our only requirement is to catch ahold of it and be saved.
Once rescued, the relationship is one in devotion. In that connection there is repeated indulgence. The small child who is difficult to manage finds endless fun at the park. They love the slides, the sand, the open space for running, and so forth.
In the same way, the devoted soul takes great joy in repeatedly serving and glorifying the Almighty. They receive the timeless tradition of hari-kirtana from their spiritual master. While to the outside world it may seem like a chore to constantly recite Sanskrit names, to the devotee it is the greatest blessing. They can’t believe they have the permission to every day repeat mantras such as: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
There is the saying, “Where there is a will there is a way.” If we have the will to serve God the person, He creates the path forward. If devotional activities such as chanting, dancing, preparing food, glorifying in writing, and reading are like the parent taking the child to the park, then Bhagavan facilitates that trip on a daily basis, for as many lifetimes as we prefer. This makes Him the most loving guardian any dependent could imagine.
Having the most care for me,
Since daily His mercy to see.
That chance His names to repeat,
And to sit in meditation’s seat.
Again and again His pastimes to hear,
And my ignorance to clear.
No other guardian to compare,
Prefer that in every life there.