“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
1. Drum kit
“They thought they were doing us a favor. They thought they were being nice. I guess they wanted to be like the other relatives and friends, who are loved and adored by our child. Man never seems to learn that you cannot buy affection. In many cases, there is an inverse, linear relationship. The more stuff you gift to someone, the less they will appreciate you.
“In this case, our kid seemed pretty happy. They opened the gift and started playing with it immediately. There is only so much discouraging we can do. We try not to spoil our children, but it is difficult to stop other people from showing their affection.
“The problem here is that the toy was loved too much. Our child kept playing with it, morning until night. The parents were not the only ones negatively affected. Neighbors began to notice. Siblings complained of pain in their ears.
“This gift, of course, was a drum set. It seems like nothing can go wrong, but it is like that annoying, stabbing pain in your side that never wants to go away. Just when you think there is quiet, when there is finally peace in the home, it kicks back up again.”
2. New car
“This happened to a friend of ours. I tend to know better, having experienced the worst when I was in school. One of my classmates received a new car for their birthday. A week later, the thing was totaled. They neither had the requisite experience to drive responsibly nor the appreciation for the value of such an expensive gift.
“Well, a similar thing occurred with our friend. They regretted the decision soon afterwards. They wish they had given a used car instead, or maybe no car at all. A little hardship does not matter much for a young person. It builds character and appreciation. They would have been fine without a car.”
“You want to have your cake and eat it too? Just make sure that the person you are buying it for isn’t trigger-happy or prone to fits of rage. Then you are in a lot of trouble. I speak from experience. I bought one for our wedding anniversary recently, and soon thereafter I found the thing all over my face.
“This was not in a playful way, either. I am not even sure what I did, but she was angry enough to throw the cake at me. Not just a piece or two. Basically, the entire thing. It was not easy to clean up. What stung the most was that it was a gift I had purchased. Sort of like a boomerang effect, no good deed goes unpunished.”
4. New book
“Well, I certainly learned my lesson. Never buy a book for someone else, especially when they are an adult. You never know what might trigger them. This time around, I learned that they have an intense hatred for the author.
“That thought never crossed my mind beforehand. I found the subject matter to be of interest. I was sure that other rationally minded, mature-thinking adults would agree. We could have discussions on the various topics, comparing and contrasting styles and beliefs.
“Sadly, we never reached that point. The recipient was so offended by the gift that I took note to keep my mouth shut. No point in arguing with someone who is that upset over something so trivial. Message received; I’m taking it back.”
“Have you ever had to clean up bits and pieces of glass from your garage? What if some of it spilled out into the driveway? It creates a rather unsafe situation. It becomes more embarrassing if anyone else should come over and see the mess. There is really no explanation; no words need be exchanged. The other person inherently understands what occurred.
“This is what I get for buying roses for my wife. She was happy for a few days, but at the first hint of an argument she went ballistic. She used the gift as a weapon. I remember being in the store and debating whether or not to get a vase with the flowers. I decided to get it since the flowers would otherwise drip water in the car.
“Well, that decision sure came back to bite me. She not only threw the roses at me, but also the vase. Nothing you can do about it; a tale as old as time itself. I’m just lucky that no one was hurt. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.”
In Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna advises Arjuna to do everything as an offering to Him. This is one way of worshiping God in the internal sense, without necessarily an external display. Instead of merely attending a worship ceremony at a specific place once a week, work in such a way that everything you do qualifies as worship.
यत् करोषि यद् अश्नासि
यज् जुहोषि ददासि यत्
यत् तपस्यसि कौन्तेय
तत् कुरुष्व मद्-अर्पणम्
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
“O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.27)
Offer a leaf, flower, or water. The items mentioned are not accidentally placed or sequenced. The idea is that the simplest offering will suffice; a person does not have to be wealthy or have an abundance of free time in order to properly please the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Unlike ordinary gift-giving, which is prone to errors and lack of appreciation, Krishna will always oblige. He already has everything. He needs nothing, not even companionship. He is both atmarama and surrounded by the best friends and well-wishers.
Yet He is still my greatest friend. This means that He will make room for more association. He will accept water from me even though He already has enough to drink. He will accept the cookies baked with attention and care, and He might appreciate them so much that His servants will personally appear to take part in the enjoyment.
After cookie offering making,
Shri Hanuman kindly taking.
For Shri Rama appreciation,
Of bhakti’s progress demonstration.
That kindness remembering so,
My best friend always to know.
Gifts now only in that direction,
Offered with utmost affection.
Categories: the five