“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. In the kitchen
“Mom, I want to help you. Let me pour the batter into the pan. I can stand on the chair. This way, I will reach. Why can’t I put the pan in the oven? It’s too hot? Oh, okay, but when it is done, I want to cut the cake into pieces. I will help you do the decorations, also.”
2. In the laundry room
“Did you just open the door to the laundry room? Wait for me, I am coming upstairs. I will help you take the clothes out. Oh, these are so wet. That’s why we are putting them in the dryer? Okay, let me do that. Don’t take all of the clothes at once. Give some to me, one by one.”
3. At the mailbox
“Why are you opening the door? Are you going outside? Oh, it’s time to check the mail. Let me do it. I know where the mailbox is. Let me take out the letters. Then I will put them on the kitchen table, and you can decide who should open.”
4. At the supermarket
“Oh, we’re going to the supermarket? Let me take the cart. I will help push it. No, I don’t want to sit inside. I am not a baby. I know what we have to pick up. Milk, bread, chips, and some water.
“Oh, it is time to check out now? I will help you scan each item. Let me do it. This one is too heavy for me, can you help? We finished. Let me scan the credit card so that we can pay. Okay, let’s go home now.”
5. At the library
“Let me pick out a book to read. You hold the book, but I will turn the pages. What is this book about? Can I read the next page? I know some of the letters. I will point to the things that I know, and you can tell me about the things that I don’t know.”
The common factor in these scenarios is the lack of need on the part of the superior. The parent does not require assistance in carrying out basic chores around the house. They are not gaining anything in the process with the children offering help.
In many instances, the total time doubles. I could easily take the clothes out of the washing machine and transfer them to the drying machine. When the child is in the middle, there is extra effort. I already know how to read; the child is not teaching me anything new when picking up a book.
At the same time, parents typically do not interfere. They find the behavior quite endearing. They are providing the materials, and the dependents are using those as gifts. They give back to the benefactor, though there is no underlying need.
This helps to explain the process of bhakti-yoga, and in particular the recommendation to offer a leaf, flower, fruit or water to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. We needn’t speculate on the mechanism. The Sanskrit words are as plain as day.
If we make the offering with love and devotion, Krishna will accept. There is no stipulation on pedigree, country of origin, native language spoken, or gender. Any person can make the offering. The Supreme Lord is not a beggar; He is never in need. As He is Narayana and married to the goddess of fortune, He is never daridra, or poor.
“To describe a man as an incarnation of God, or Narayana, and at the same time present him as poverty-stricken is contradictory, and it is the greatest offense. The Mayavadi philosophers, engaged in the missionary work of spoiling the Vedic culture by preaching that everyone is God, describe a poverty-stricken man as daridra-Narayana, or ‘poor Narayana.’ Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu never accepted such foolish and unauthorized ideas.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 12.35 Purport)
This practice appears mysterious at first. Why take something from someone and give it back to them? We haven’t done anything. We haven’t produced the flower or the water. Yet there is something magical to the exchange. The love and devotion strengthens; the bond is tighter from both ends.
The relationship grows to the point that someone feels the need to repeat the offerings day after day, with effort and abundance commensurate with ability and procurement capabilities. It is not that a person must settle for some fruit or water. They can make elaborate preparations, offer on a timely basis, and share the resulting prasadam with those around them.
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
“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)
They can offer words and deeds. Bhagavan is so kind that He never rejects a sincere approach made in His direction, from those who are only looking to interact in a devotional mood.
As wealthiest person alive,
Self-sufficient to survive.
Flower nature provided already,
Water falling periodically steady.
But still willing to accept,
My devotion not to reject.
Bliss found in this way,
Such that in bhakti to stay.
Categories: the five