- patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
- yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
- tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
- aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ
- (BG 9.26)
Now, the Lord Kṛṣṇa says that "Anyone who offers Me in devotion these four things," patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ 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. Lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānam (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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Vṛndāvana 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-gītā," oh, he may not agree. But if I offer some palatable dishes, foodstuff, kṛṣṇa-prasāda, 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 prasāda 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 prasādam 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 prasādam and chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa. 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. Bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram (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 Yamunā. 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 patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ 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..." Aśnāmi: "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, Kṛṣṇa says, aśnāmi. 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 Kṛṣṇa? (laughter) I am a third person, and you are also a third person, and Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa? 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 ācāryas 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 ācāryas. Ācārya means great devotees who come to teach the people in general about God consciousness or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He is called ācārya. He behaves in his life how? To think of Kṛṣṇa and he teaches his students about that. He is called ācārya. Acinoti śāstrāṇi.(?) He knows the purport of the scriptures, and he behaves in his life and he teaches his student in that way. He is called ācārya.
So we have to... In the Bhagavad-gītā in the Thirteenth Chapter you have read it that ācāryopāsanam. Ācāryopāsanam. You have to approach an ācārya. That is the way of learning transcendental knowledge in all Vedic scriptures. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet: (MU 1.2.12) "If you want to learn that transcendental science, then you have to approach the bona fide spiritual master." Tad-vijñānārtham. Tat means transcendental; vijñāna means science. If you want to learn. So the Vedic literature teaches us to accept the authorized bona fide spiritual master ācārya. Kṛṣṇa is the head of all ācāryas. He is the principal ācārya. From Kṛṣṇa, Brahmā learned this Vedic literature. From Brahmā, Nārada learned this Vedic literature. From Nārada, Vyāsadeva; from Vyāsadeva, Madhvācārya. From Madhvācārya, so many. In this way the paramparā system, the ācārya system, is coming down. So we have to believe that. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186). You have to follow the footprints of ācārya. Not only in the... Everywhere, the footprints of ācāryas are followed. Just like in your country you are following the footprints of Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, that is the way. Or any ācārya. Because the ācārya, they come here to teach us about Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or God consciousness. That is their business. They have no other business. That is bona fide ācārya. 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 ācārya.