Bhagavad-gita 9.26-27 Lecture
New York, December 16, 1966
patram pushpam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
Now, the Lord Krishna says that "Anyone who offers Me in devotion these four things," patram pushpam phalam toyam, "a bit of leaf and a bit of flower, a little fruit and little water..." So He is pleased to take, accept. Why? Because we are offering Him with devotion and love. That is the only way. Just like if you offer me varieties of foodstuff and very palatable dishes, but if I am not hungry, then all these palatable dishes and varieties of foodstuff is useless. I cannot accept anything. Similarly, if you offer anything to the Supreme Lord, He is full. He does not require your offering. He is always being served by hundreds and thousands of goddess of fortune. Lakshmi-sahasra-shata-sambhrama-sevyamanam [Bs. 5.29]. We are, in the material world, we are seeking the favor of goddess of fortune, but in the spiritual world, hundreds and thousands of the goddess of fortunes, they are eagerly trying to serve the Supreme Lord. So He is full. He has nothing to accept from you. But He likes that you should offer Him something.
Just like a rich father. He does not like any help from the son, but if the son, after he is grown up, he is earning, and if he offers something to the father, oh, he becomes very happy. This is natural. So our connection with the supreme father is like that. He is not in want. He does not require anything from me. But it is for my interest. If I offer something, then I become a very pet son of my father. This is called bhakti. This is devotional service or Krishna consciousness. And why should we not offer? Then we are ingratitude. Suppose the father is supplying everything, and if I do not offer anything to my father is it very good business? No. So here the ultimate, even the poorest of the poorest, he can offer these four things.
Otherwise if you have got means, oh, you should prepare very nice foodstuff for the Lord. At Vrndavana in India there are temples still. They are spending thousands and thousands of rupees for palatable foodstuff, offering to the Deity. And those foodstuff are distributed to the, I mean to say, devotees. Not only devotees, even nondevotees come and take because by eating, one shall be devotee. Nobody shall eat... If I ask somebody, "Please come and hear Bhagavad-gita," oh, he may not agree. But if I offer some palatable dishes, foodstuff, krshna-prasada, oh, everyone will accept. Everyone will accept. So that is one of the process of devotional service, that we should offer very sumptuously to the Lord, and the prasada should be distributed. The Lord is not taking away to His abode, to His kingdom. It is for you. But if you eat and if you distribute that sort of prasadam to the public, you are doing great service and the public is getting spiritual consciousness, God consciousness. Just establish, just propagate this everywhere. In the hospital, in the charitable societies, in industrial places, everywhere distribute this prasadam and chant this Hare Krishna. Just see what is the result.
You want peace? These are the process of peace. But we do not take care of this, what is peace. Bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-maheshvaram [Bg. 5.29]. Just we have discussed previously. We should simply acknowledge. There is a process of worship of the Ganges. You have perhaps heard the name of the Ganges River. The Ganges river is the sacred river, Ganges and the Yamuna. The most two sacred rivers in India. Millions of people take bath early in the morning in the two rivers, all parts of the country. It is very wide and very long river, from Himalaya to the Bay of Bengal. So it is very long river, and all the tracts of land, they are considered to be sacred place, and in each and every part, thousands and thousands of people, they are taking their bath early in the morning. Either in the winter season or in the summer season, it doesn't matter. So there is a process of worshiping the river Ganges. And what is that? After you take your bath, you stand up to your waist filled up with water and take little water from the Ganges water, and you offer. "Mother Ganges, I am offering this respect." This is the process. Now, suppose you take a handful of water from the Ganges. What is the loss of Ganges water? And if you offer some handful of water in the Ganges, where is the gain? So this patram pushpam phalam toyam, a bit of flower, a bit of fruit and a bit of leaf, if you offer to the Supreme, do you mean to say He gains something? Or if you take it out of nature's—you are taking so many things—is He in loss? So He has no gain or loss. It is for your interest. When God accepts, He says, "Yes, I..." Ashnami: "I eat."
One Arya-samajist... You see, in the Hindu society since a very long time, especially since the days of India's destruction of the original culture, so many offshoots they have come out under the name of so many isms. So there is one section who are called Arya-samajists. Their business is only to criticize all the scriptures. That is their business. So one of the members of the Arya-samajis, he... They do not favor the temple worship. So he asked me, "Swamiji, do you think God eats?" I said, "Yes." "Then how do you think?" "Because God says, 'I eat.' " Here is, Krishna says, ashnami. So God says, "I eat." Who are you that He does not eat? I replied him like that. Who are you? You say that God does not eat, but here God says, "I eat." So whom shall I believe, a loafer like you, or Krishna? (laughter) I am a third person, and you are also a third person, and Krishna is recognized the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Whom shall I believe? I accept that I am the fool number one, but whom shall I accept, you or Krishna? You said that... What you are? What is your position? You are an ordinary man. So you say that God does not eat, but God says, "I eat." Why shall I not believe?
So this is the question of faith. This is the question of faith. And without faith, you cannot reach the kingdom of God. Your experimental knowledge, your so-called defective reasons and arguments and philosophy, that will not be applicable in the transcendental field. You have to believe. You are believing in every sphere of your life. When you purchase a ticket for transferring yourself in the aeroplane, if you go on arguing, "Sir, I am purchasing ticket. Whether this aeroplane will reach? Whether it will not, I mean to say, crash on the way?" If you go on arguing, there is no question of, I mean to say, getting on the aeroplane. You have to believe that "Aeroplane will take me to the other side." You are doing that. There is no argument.
So similarly, you have to believe. We must have faith. And we see that many faithful, great acaryas and devotees of the Lord, they achieved success by this faith. Why shall I not follow them? Therefore the Vedic literature says that you have to follow the footprints of great acaryas. Acarya means great devotees who come to teach the people in general about God consciousness or Krishna consciousness. He is called acarya. He behaves in his life how? To think of Krishna and he teaches his students about that. He is called acarya. Acinoti shastrani.(?) He knows the purport of the scriptures, and he behaves in his life and he teaches his student in that way. He is called acarya.
So we have to... In the Bhagavad-gita in the Thirteenth Chapter you have read it that acaryopasanam. Acaryopasanam. You have to approach an acarya. That is the way of learning transcendental knowledge in all Vedic scriptures. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet: [MU 1.2.12] "If you want to learn that transcendental science, then you have to approach the bona fide spiritual master." Tad-vijnanartham. Tat means transcendental; vijnana means science. If you want to learn. So the Vedic literature teaches us to accept the authorized bona fide spiritual master acarya. Krishna is the head of all acaryas. He is the principal acarya. From Krishna, Brahma learned this Vedic literature. From Brahma, Narada learned this Vedic literature. From Narada, Vyasadeva; from Vyasadeva, Madhvacarya. From Madhvacarya, so many. In this way the parampara system, the acarya system, is coming down. So we have to believe that. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. You have to follow the footprints of acarya. Not only in the... Everywhere, the footprints of acaryas are followed. Just like in your country you are following the footprints of Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, that is the way. Or any acarya. Because the acarya, they come here to teach us about Krishna consciousness, or God consciousness. That is their business. They have no other business. That is bona fide acarya. If somebody claims that "I am God," then he is fool number one. At once reject him. One who teaches about the message of God, he is acarya.
So the Vedic literature teaches us that tarko 'pratishthah: "In the spiritual matter, you cannot argue." Your argument will be failure because you may be very good arguer, but I may come. I can cut all your arguments. And somebody else comes—he cuts all my arguments. It is a question of logic. So there are many logical experts. So by arguments we cannot reach the Supreme Truth. Tarko 'pratishthah shrutayo vibhinnah. Not by purchasing books from the market and reading it. No. That also will not help you. Tarko 'pratishthah shrutayo vibhinnah. If you purchase Bhagavad-gita, you purchase Bible, you purchase Koran, or... So many, there are, literatures. They are also authorized. That's all right. But you cannot learn them by your own study. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. One must go and learn it from the spiritual master, exactly you purchase some scientific book, medical science, or engineering and study at home. Oh, you will never be acknowledged as a medical practitioner. You have to admit yourself into the, that disciplic succession, medical college. You have to attend lectures. Then, when you pass degree, then you will be admitted.
So shrutayo vibhinnah, and nasav rshir yasya matam na bhinnam. And if you consult different kinds of philosophers, you will be bewildered. Because one philosopher is giving one opinion, another philosopher is... Because nasav rshir yasya...: "A philosopher is not philosopher if he does not cut another philosopher." That is going on. Nasav rshir yasya matam na bhinnam, dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam: "Therefore the purport of spiritual life is very confidential." How I can learn? Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah: [Cc. Madhya 17.186] "Therefore we will accept the footprint of those recognized acaryas." Acaryopasanam.
So Krishna is the best and foremost acarya, and He is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In India all schools of, I mean to say, transcendentalists, the impersonalists and the personalists, all of them, they have accepted Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no doubt about it. So here the Lord says Himself that "I eat." So we cannot say that He does not eat. "He does not eat"—in favor of my conclusion, there is no evidence. But here is the evidence, accepted evidence, that God eats. If God eats, then why don't you offer Him to eat? Where is the harm? What is the harm? If your little fruits and flowers offered to God, He accepts it, why don't you offer it? You want to please so many. You flatter so many bosses by supplying good dishes and so many things, and why don't you try to please God? What is the harm? Is there any loss? You are eating every day, and before eating, if you offer to God, what is the harm there? Why people do not take this formula and see the result? If actually God eats from your hand, oh, how much advanced you become in spiritual life you do not know. He accepts your things from your hand. How much fortunate you are.
So here is the... It is clearly said, tad aham ashnami. Ashnami, the Sanskrit word, means "I eat. I eat." Why? Bhakty-upahrtam: "He has brought with devotional love." So you try to love God. You become a lover of God and offer Him whatever you eat, whatever you do. Then see the result, how peaceful you become and how the world becomes peaceful. Simply by theoretical resolution you can make peace in the world? Now resolve, "We shall not fight." Oh, next moment you are fighting. UNESCO resolution is going on for the last twenty years, and where is the peace? That is not the way of peace. Here is the peace. Try to establish your lost relationship with Krishna, or God. Then there will be peace. Now, Krishna says in the next verse,
yat karoshi yad ashnasi
yaj juhoshi dadasi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kurushva mad-arpanam
Now, every human being, he has got a philanthropic view. Now, the other day I met one gentleman. So I did not know that he is not a family man because in India we are supposed to accept anyone, any gentleman, as family man. So he said, "Yes, I am not family man." Then what he is doing? He is earning nicely, but he is helping one orphanage. That's nice. He said that "I have got many sons in this orphanage." That is very good. So this natural inclination for loving an orphanage is there, is there. So this give and take, this inclination, is there in the human being.
So the Lord says that yat karoshi... And we have to work. It is not that without working, we can have our body and soul maintained. This is not possible. This material world, we have to work. Everyone is working. Yat karoshi yad ashnasi. And we have to eat also. That is a fact. And yaj juhoshi. And for our salvation or advancement we do something, religious rituals or attending church and temple or mosque. Something there is in human society. And dadasi yat, and charity. Everyone is more or less charitably disposed, and he makes some charities according to his capacity. Dadasi yat yat tapasyasi. And everyone accepts some penance, voluntary penance in his life. Yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kurushva mad-arpanam. Now, Lord Krishna says, "All these activities—your work, your charity, your eating, your penance, and your rituals—everything should be done for me." That's all. That is Krishna consciousness. Everything should be done for...
If you want to work, well, work day and night, but you work for Krishna. That is Krishna consciousness. If you don't work, if you are simply eating, if your father has got money and you are eating, oh, eat for Krishna. What is that? You offer the same to Krishna and eat palatable dishes. Krishna will not take away your dishes. Simply offer it. Yad ashnasi [Bg. 9.27]. Yaj juhoshi. Oh, you are trying to elevate yourself to higher standard of life? Just try to go back to Krishna, God, Godhead, and try for that. Accept all kinds of austerities and penances. Yaj juhoshi dadasi yat. You are making some charity? All right. Make charity for Krishna. "Well, Krishna is God, and He is very rich. Why shall I make charity to Krishna?" No. Krishna says, dadasi: "Give Me that charity. Give Me that charity." Krishna is not poor, but you are very proud that you try to make charity with Krishna's property.
I am thinking... I come here for a short duration of life. Say, I am born a hundred years before or fifty years before, and I live here for fifty years and then go away, but I claim, "This is my property." Wherefrom your property comes? Before your birth the property was there, and after your death the property will remain there for thousand and millions of years. Wherefrom you claim your property? You have no property. You are simply an outcomer, a guest. So you should accept that this is Krishna's property; this is God's property. You are falsely claiming that it is your property. It is not your property. So when Krishna asks you that "Give Me in charity," so that—you are foolishly thinking that it is your money—Krishna is just trying to take your money so that your false consciousness may be dispelled. Therefore He is.
Just like there is a nice story, Bali Maharaja. Bali Maharaja, he became a very strong king, and he... Nowadays, as in the modern age, we find a strong government or a strong king, he simply tries to conquer other countries. Formerly they were able to conquer other planets also. They were so powerful. So this Bali Maharaja became so powerful that he conquered many of the higher planets of the demigods, so he became a disturbing element. So God, as incarnation of Vamanadeva, He... Bali Maharaja was also a grandson of a great devotee, Prahlada Maharaja. He had that blood of devotional blood. He had some devotion to Lord Krishna also. But at the same time he was king. He was conquering life. He was making disturbance like that. So all the demigods prayed to Krishna to settle up this thing. So Krishna as Vamanavatara, incarnation of Vamana... Dwarf. Vamana means dwarf. He went to Bali Maharaja, and He was brahmana. So as a brahmana boy, so He asked some charity because the kshatriyas, the kings, are meant for give in charity. So he was very much pleased to see that beautiful dwarf boy: "Yes, what do You want? I will give You charity." But his spiritual master, so-called spiritual master, he could understand that "This boy is Vishnu, God Himself. He has come to cheat this Bali." So he asked his disciple, "Don't promise any charity to Him. Because He is God, He will take your everything. Once you agree to offer something, then He will take yourself also." God is very intelligent. Once you engage yourself in Krishna consciousness, there is no way out. You cannot go out. You cannot go out. He is so kind. As once you become sincerely a surrendered soul to Krishna, then there is no way out. You have to be Krishna conscious. You have to continue to be Krishna conscious. You cannot do otherwise. So this guru, the so-called guru, he thought, "Oh, if Krishna, the vamana God, if He takes away everything from my disciple, then how I shall live? I am living at his cost, and if he becomes a beggar, then I also become beggar." So he was very cautious. He said, "Don't promise. Don't promise." "Why? He is a little boy. Let me give Him something." "No, no, He is not little boy. He is God." "Oh! He is God! Oh, then you ask me not to give Him? And you formerly taught me that everything should be given to God. Now God is at my door, and you ask me not to give? Oh, I reject you. I don't want you, a spiritual master like you." So any so-called spiritual master who is against God, he should be at once rejected just like Bali Maharaja.
So Bali Maharaja is one of the mahajanas whose footprints we have to follow. He has given tacit example. Anyone who is against God, he should be at once rejected. Never mind what he is. Yes. Never mind what he is. He should at once be rejected. This is the example of Bali Maharaja. So Krishna also approached him as a beggar. So here is also... He is... "All right. You are very powerful king. You have got much wealth. You think that yourself, that you are very much charitably disposed. All right, give Me something." So Krishna is so kind. Dadasi yat. If you are in cha..., give for..., charity, charity for Krishna. Eating for Krishna. Working for Krishna. Sacrificing for Krishna. Everything for Krishna. Then you become perfect. Yat karoshi yad ashnasi yaj juhoshi dadasi yat, yat tapasyasi kaunteya [Bg. 9.27].
Tapasya. Tapasya means penance. Now people are... There are great scientists, great philosophers, great thinkers. They are engaged in great penances. They are taking very severe type of pains for discovering something. We have got that tendency. Just like we have discovered this atomic bomb. That required some penance or austerity. But Krishna says that "Don't discover atom bomb, but discover Me. If you are so painstaking, if you are so great scientist, discover Me." "Oh, that is not possible. We can kill. That is possible." So this is going on. That tapasyasi, kurushva mad-arpanam. Everything should be done for Krishna. That is the greatest civilization. That is the perfection of civilization. That is peaceful civilization, everything for God. Thank you very much. Any question? (end)