12.10 – Krishna wants our presence more than our presents
We may injure our relationships by an unwitting error: giving things more of our attention than the people for whom we are doing those things. For example, parents, desiring to provide better for their children, may get so preoccupied with their jobs that they may not be adequately available emotionally for their children.
This same error can hurt our relationship with Krishna too. If it does, then it is an entirely unnecessary error, because Krishna unlike our other relatives doesn’t actually need anything from us; he already owns everything. We make offerings to him not to fulfill his need, but to express our devotion. And we express our devotion best by being emotionally available when he manifests.
To help us keep our priorities straight, the Bhagavad-gita (12.10) places cultivating the remembrance of Krishna above working for him. Our sadhana – our daily chanting and scriptural study – are the times when we can offer our presence to Krishna. When he manifests as transcendental sound vibration, we can serve him by being attentive and receptive, by welcoming him into our consciousness with our devotional disposition. If at such times we let our mind run here and there thinking about the various things that we have to do later in the day – even if they be for Krishna’s service, then we miss the precious opportunity to please Krishna by offering him our presence. And by such distractedness, we deprive ourselves of the purification, the enrichment and the empowerment that comes from relishing Krishna’s presence. This slows down the awakening of our dormant devotion for Krishna.
To prevent this error of misplaced priorities, we can sustain our sadhana with the firm resolve: “Let all other things, even all other services, wait. The best present that I can offer Krishna now is my presence.”