पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं यो मे भक्त्या प्रयच्छति |
तदहं भक्त्युपहृतमश्नामि प्रयतात्मन: || 26||
patraṁ puṣhpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayachchhati
tadahaṁ bhaktyupahṛitam aśhnāmi prayatātmanaḥ
patram—a leaf; puṣhpam—a flower; phalam—a fruit; toyam—water; yaḥ—who; me—to Me; bhaktyā—with devotion; prayachchhati—offers; tat—that; aham—I; bhakti-upahṛitam—offered with devotion; aśhnāmi—partake; prayata-ātmanaḥ—one in pure consciousness
Whosoever offers Me, with devotion, a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water— that I accept, the pious offering of the pure in heart.
This verse is very important for all aspirants. In the previous verse, it was stated that the worshipper invariably goes to the object of his worship. If the Lord is the objective, the worshipper reaches Him. The same discipline and devotion needed for the worship of other Devas is enough to please the Lord. This being so, why should he have a lesser and lower objective than the Lord Himself? The Lord explains the very easy nature of His worship. No elaborate sacrifices are needed, no large charities are needed, no great offerings are needed. A leaf, a flower or a fruit or even water, is enough to please the Lord, and when the Lord is pleased, all the Devas, Pitris and Bhutas are pleased. All the rewards which the worshippers hope to derive from the worship of the Devas are derived by the worship of Paramatma and His worship is absolutely within the reach of every human being. Two conditions are stated here:
- The giver should be pure-minded.
- The offering should be made with devotion.
Kingdom, treasures and empires do not satisfy the Lord when there is no purity and devotion; where these are, even a leaf or a fruit is enough to draw the grace of God. He is pleased and satisfied with such offerings when the worshipper is a true Bhakta. Lord Krishna did not accept the hospitality of the proud Duryodhana, but dined with the humble Vidura. corn offered by Kuchela was accepted by the Lord with great pleasure, and the reward which he received is well known to all.
What is required is (1) purity of heart, and (2) true devotion. Even the humblest and the most ignorant man receives God’s grace by purity and devotion. The richest and the most powerful shall have to go without it, if they are arrogant and self-indulgent. That is why one comes across some learned scholars plunged in the mire of samsara in spite of their Sastric learning. That is why kings and emperors have sought refuge at the feet of sages in their troubles and sorrows. The pure man alone is happy. The devotee alone is fearless.
The Lord is the King of Kings. He is the maker and unmaker of all the worlds. Love and devotion are the only things by which the Lord is pleased. If he is pleased, all the world and all the beings are pleased.
We recall to mind the wonderful episode in the Mahabharata when the Pandavas were in exile, sage Durvasa came with all his disciples to the hermitage of Pandavas and wanted to be fed; Draupadi had nothing in the pot except a few bits of cooked food. She thought of the Lord and he came and tasted the few bits of cooked food, and lo, the miracle! and his disciples felt surfeited and could take no more food, even when they were requested by Pandavas to accept their hospitality. Please the Lord, and all other beings shall be pleased.
Those who worship Him with single-minded devotion are God’s own children. God’s mercy is on them at all times, and in all places. They receive Atmajnana. The Upanishads declare the same truth.
Draupadi and Vidura offered a leaf; Gajendra offered a flower; Sabari offered a fruit; Ranti Deva offered water. With their purity and devotion these great devotees attained the Lord by simple offerings.
Swami Vivekananda Says —
If you are strong, take up the Vedanta philosophy and be independent. If you cannot do that, worship God; if not, worship some image. If you lack strength even to do that, do some good works without the idea of gain. Offer everything you have unto the service of the Lord. Fight on! “Leaves and water and one flower — whosoever lays anything on my altar, I receive it with equal delights.”[Source]
So she (*) bathed and dressed the image, burned incense before it, and for offering? — Oh, she was so poor! — but with tears in her eyes she remembered her husband reading from the books: “I accept with gladness even leaves and flowers, fruits and water, whatever is offered with love”, and she offered: “Thou for whom the world of flowers bloom, accept my few common flowers. Thou who feedest the universe, accept my poor offerings of fruits. I am weak, I am ignorant. I do not know how to approach Thee, how to worship Thee, my God, my Cowherd, my child; let my worship be pure, my love for Thee selfless; and if there is any virtue in worship, let it be Thine, grant me only love, love that never asks for anything — ‘never seeks for anything but love’.”[Source]
Question: What pleases the Lord?
Answer: Any simple offering given with purity and devotion pleases the Lord.
Question: What then are the conditions to receive God’s grace?
Answer: Purity and devotion.
* Gopal’s Mother, in the story narrated by Swamiji, “The Story of the Boy Gopala”.