OFFERING TO GOD
(Published in “The Indian”, Hongkong 2015)
Attending any Hindu religious event or visiting a temple usually goes hand in hand with receiving or placing oblations and offerings. While receiving oblations is simply termed as receiving blessings it leaves one to wonder what the significance of placing an offering is. Is it to share something we like with God? Does it please God? Is it the right type of offering? A devotee may bring his offering to a temple or so to say to God for various reasons and in various forms. Does God actually accept and receive with pleasure? Is God selective like us? How can one be sure that an offering made, will be recognized by GOD?
In the Bhagwad Geeta, Lord Krishna says in verse 9:26 “If anyone with love and devotion offers me a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.
This indicates that God is not greedy for riches or exotic foods and garments. Any offering big or small is honored and accepted when done with sanctity of the mind, purity of the soul and a selfless heart. With such attributes one does not need to struggle and publicize. A simple offering as a bunch of flowers placed with a true devotion is better than making an offering of diamonds placed with a motive of impressing the society. After all God is the giver and not hungry for anything but our love and adulation for him. It is said, when one cries to merge with the Lord, even a single tear shed in the longing is a very precious offering to the Almighty.
An offering does not necessarily have to be in a physical or material form. One could sing the praise of Lord in earnest and devoted inclination. Doing so, one doesn’t need to have a melodious voice or sing for hours. Many a times someone is told to sing at a ‘kirtan’ and they shy away saying that they can’t sing well or they don’t have a singer’s voice. In contrast, when one sings the glory of God with a true sense of singing for His ears the melody comes automatically. The mere fact when a dedication is sung for God, the process of our song reaching his ears, makes it melodic and such are times when we hear people saying, “seems like he/she is singing from the heart”. That is the reason we are taught by our mothers that while cooking anything for an oblation urge the Lord to add the nectar of his benevolence as it is being cooked for Him. It is a well known fact that the ‘Kadhan Prasad’ in any Sikh shrine tastes better than the same made at home. What makes it unique is the devotion involved during preparation. Upon invoking His grace, if a simple food item becomes tastier one can imagine a lifetime of the same grace in our daily routine.
Another subtle form of offering made to God is by serving the society. Any deed done towards making the world a better place is in itself a dedication to God. It is in doing acts of helping others, improvising the atmosphere, caring for all creatures, maintaining cleanliness that we make offerings of a different scale. Whatever one does, whatever one eats, whatever one gives away, whatever one learns or teaches, whatever austerities one performs if done as an offering to God will make the world such a lovely place to live in as that will sow the seeds of truthfulness, honesty and love for all. Placing your jacket over a beggar trembling from cold is an offering. Taking the street children to a restaurant and serving them a meal is an offering. Adopting a child from an orphanage and nurturing him or her is an offering. Sponsoring education of students who cannot afford it is an offering. Giving free medical care to the less fortunate is an offering. Bringing in reforms at political, spiritual, moral levels for the betterment of masses is an offering.
The best part of such offerings is that they are universal and not restricted to any man made religion. The religion of those who practice such deeds is Humanity.