Loving Offering - Part 8

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis, 
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva. 

This is the conclusion of the previous offering titled "Loving Offering" wherein we were meditating on the different types of examples which our beloved spiritual master HH Mahavishnu Goswami had mentioned in his diary for the verse 9.26 of Bhagavad-Gita. In previous offering we also saw the nice example of Sudama. Today we shall try to meditate on how Lord dealt with King Bahulashva and the brahmana Shrutadeva.

In Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 10 Chapter 86 we find how Lord Krishna along with Narada and other learned sages visited Mithila. There were two pure devotees in Mithila - one was poor brahmana by name Shrutadeva and other was King Bahulashva. When they heard about Lord's arrival, both of them paid their obeisances unto Lord and the sages and invited them to their respective homes. To satisfy both of them, the Lord expanded Himself and went to each of their homes simultaneously.

King Bahulashva welcomed the Lord and the sages in a very grand manner. Srila Prabhupada says in his Krishna book, "At that time, King Bahulashva’s mind was very restless, not because of any problems but because of great ecstasy of love and devotion. His heart was filled with love and affection for the Lord and His associates, and his eyes were filled with tears of ecstasy. He washed the feet of his divine guests, and afterward he and his family members sprinkled the water on their own heads. After this, he offered the guests nice flower garlands, sandalwood pulp, incense, new garments, ornaments, lamps, cows and bulls. In a manner just befitting his royal position, he worshiped each one of them in this way.When all had been fed sumptuously and were sitting very comfortably, Bahulashva came before Lord Krishna and caught His lotus feet. He placed them on his lap and, while massaging the feet with his hands, began to speak about the glories of the Lord in a sweet voice."

His Divine Grace further explains how the poor brahmana Shrutadeva welcomed the Lord and His associates. "Meanwhile, the brahmana Shrutadeva, simultaneously receiving Lord Krishna and His associates at his home, was transcendentally overwhelmed with joy. After offering his guests nice sitting places, the brahmana began to dance, waving around his wrap. Shrutadeva, being not at all rich, offered only mattresses, wooden planks, straw carpets and so on to his distinguished guests, Lord Krishna and the sages, but he welcomed them to the best of his ability. He spoke very highly of the Lord and the sages, and he and his wife washed the feet of each one of them. After this, he took the water and sprinkled it over all the members of his family, and although the brahmana appeared very poor, he was at that time most fortunate. While Shrutadeva was welcoming Lord Krishna and His associates, he simply forgot himself in transcendental joy. After welcoming the Lord and His companions, according to his ability he brought fruits, incense, scented water, scented clay, Tulasi leaves, Kusha straw and lotus flowers. They were not costly items and could be secured very easily, but because they were offered with devotional love, Lord Krishna and His associates accepted them gladly. The brahmana’s wife cooked simple foods like rice and dhal, and Lord Krishna and His followers were very much pleased to accept them because they were offered in devotional love."

From this beautiful example, we can understand that neither material prosperity nor poverty is a disqualification to render loving service to the Lord. Krishna values only the loving mood in which the offering is made. Srila Prabhupada very nicely concludes by saying, "The instruction we receive from this incident is that King Bahulashva and Shrutadeva the brahmana were accepted by the Lord on the same level because both were pure devotees. This is the real qualification for being recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Offering is not restricted to food alone. Whatever we do in this life, whatever we are blessed with - be it family, friends, wealth, assets - everything is Lord's mercy and so we should offer everything to Lord with loveIn this way our entire life becomes an offering to the Lord. In Bhagavad Gita verse 9.27 that's why Lord Krishna also says: 

yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam

Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform—do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me.

In conclusion may we remember the golden words of Maharaj, "Prasadam is not only the food. If you are willing to patiently accept the Lord's will throughout your life, then your entire life becomes Krishna prasadam. In this way life becomes sublime. If you force your requests upon Him, then your life is just bhoga, not prasadam. Prasadam nourishes our life."

Hare Krishna.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva, 
Kalacakra Krsna das & Sudarshana devi dasi