Wednesday, May 22, 2013

taking things for granted

Verse 3.11: The demigods, being pleased by sacrifices, will also please you, and thus, by cooperation between men and demigods, prosperity will reign for all.

How often do you consider where the water you are drinking is coming from? When you're handing over your money to buy your fruits and veggies, do you think "Wow! I'm so lucky to receive the gifts of nature"? Truthfully, those thoughts rarely cross my mind. I just assume that food and water, what to speak of all the other basic necessities, will just be there at my beck and call.

In other words, I often tend to take things for granted.

The Gita, at this point, is leading us into a deep exploration of gratitude. Here, we learn that everything from the air we breath, to the water we drink, to even the inner functions of our body, are controlled by various personalities known as demigods. Demigods, simply put, are empowered beings.

Just like a prime minister or president of a country will delegate authority or power to trusted members of his/her cabinet, similarly, demigods are individuals who have been delegated specific responsibilities by Krsna to ensure that the material world works efficiently.

When we receive anything from anyone, this puts us in their debt. That is why Krsna is bringing up the work of demigods and the necessities they provide to us. Although we may not have the vision to see them, they are there in the background. One can think of it like this: just like we may not see or take note of the individuals who work at the power plants to bring us electricity in our homes, we immediately feel an effect the moment our electricity is cut off. Our "gratitude", as one may choose to call, is reflected to those workers by the electricity bills we pay.

That is: we give recognition and offer our appreciation for the services that are provided to us.

Krsna is indicating here that it is only be recognizing the service of the demigods that one can live in prosperity. If that's the case, then the obvious question is "How does one go about doing this." Did you know that there are millions upon millions of demigods? To acknowledge and recognize them all is simply not practical. That's why the Gita provides us with a short cut.

See, the demigods themselves are aware that the power and responsibility that they carry is also not their own. They too practice gratitude by acknowledging that the source of their empowerment comes from the Supreme. That is why by simply living our lives in gratitude by offering everything we do (and even say) to Krsna automatically relives us from the debt we owe to the demigods. By going straight to the source, everything is covered. In fact, the Vedas state that the demigods themselves are even more pleased when we offer everything to Krsna rather than offering it to them.

It's quite beautiful if you think about it. It's a chain of gratitude where everyone, from all of us to even more highly empowered beings such as the demigods, acknowledge and offer our appreciation. It is this practice of gratitude and appreciation that enriches us and makes us open to become empowered bhakti yogis.

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