“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)
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
“What would you say is particularly different about the bhakti-yoga tradition? I know you don’t necessarily prefer the term ‘Hindu’ or ‘Hinduism.’ I realize that is more of a geographical classification, based on the perspective of outsiders. There is no equivalent term within the sacred texts that form the basis of the tradition.
“Even the script used has extended relation to an origin well beyond the scope of conceivable time. Sanskrit is the oldest language in the world in terms of what is still available to read. Its script is called Devanagari. The literal translation is ‘city of the gods.’ The point is to say the visual implementation of that communication style is not rooted in the temporary, manifest world.
“But you would have to acknowledge the lack of preeminence of the traditions rooted in the Vedas. Other religions are more popular. They have establishments behind the controls, if you will. They have their regional leaders, qualification for membership, and expectations in terms of rules and regulations to follow.
“Is not the bhakti tradition another entry into the basket? Can’t we just pick and choose which one we like? Why should a person be interested to read works like Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam when there are other more popularly published books? What will someone learn that they don’t already know?”
It is difficult to explain all of the intricacies and nuances in a single learning session, but His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada gives a wonderful comparison. He says the uniqueness of Krishna consciousness is that the worshipers are trying to live with God as an actual fact, instead of just viewing Him as a supplying agent.
They will give to Him whatever they have. Whether that is a little or a lot makes no difference. The poor person is equally as eligible to live with God in truth as the one residing in a palatial establishment situated on a large estate.
This way of life is recommended by the object of worship Himself. Shri Krishna advises the disciple named Arjuna to dedicate every effort to God. As there is variety in activity over the course of a given day, every aspect can be part of the link.
We can offer everything that we do, such as waking up in the morning, preparing for work, sitting down at a desk, taking care of household responsibilities, teaching our children, tending to the elderly relatives, and even lying down to rest at night.
This offering can be made with God. It is not that we are stocking up and hoping to carry a large sack with us to the final destination, travelling someplace where the elusive Almighty might potentially be located.
Rather, the bhakti tradition reveals that God is already inside of us. This is the second stage of liberation. Beyond perceiving God as distinct from a material existence, a person sees that He is localized in every area and in every space. This means that we do not have to travel far to find Him.
The final realization is of the all-attractiveness to God the distinct person. It is appreciating His features in a way that brings tremendous bliss, enthusiasm, excitement, and satisfaction. In this stage, offering everything to God is second-nature; it does not have to be forced or repeated in a mechanical way.
It is certainly understandable to approach the Almighty for help, for assistance in what might be lacking. But the bhakti way is revolutionary in that a person worships without correlation to reciprocation. Whether He supplies everything or puts me into perpetual poverty, I will continue to worship in the mood of offering.
अनन्याश् चिन्तयन्तो मां
ये जनाः पर्युपासते
योग-क्षेमं वहाम्य् अहम्
ananyāś cintayanto māṁ
ye janāḥ paryupāsate
yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham
“But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form – to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.22)
Shri Krishna carries what I lack and preserves what I have. I will never be a loser in this proposition. The more I offer, the more I will appreciate. The more I will appreciate, the deeper the connection will be. Very soon, I will come to the ultimate realization that such a relationship matches my dharma. There is no longer a need of religion since this constant companion is tied to my very existence.
Like then automatically to proceed,
For religion no longer a need.
Since everything giving,
Through His mercy living.
With only devotion in mind,
No more fear to find.
Krishna carrying what I lack,
To His shelter bringing back.