Caring means sharing

Suppose one person tells another, “I care for you.” But suppose the first person is having food and the second person is hungry. The claim of caring rings hollow if the first person doesn’t share any food with the second.

Caring naturally means sharing. The same principle applies to spiritual life. The topmost spiritualists don’t turn away from the world to pursue their own liberation but instead strive to share with everyone the spiritual happiness they are relishing.

The Bhagavad-gita (06.32) states that the topmost yogis are those who see the essential equality of all living beings in their happiness and distress. They realize that, just as they themselves were dissatisfied earlier when they neglected their spiritual side but have now found satisfaction through spiritual nourishment, others too will experience dissatisfaction and satisfaction similarly. And just as a caring person shares food with a hungry person, the topmost yogis share the spiritual nourishment they are relishing with others who are spiritually undernourished.

Significantly, this realization of equal vision comes most efficaciously by the practice of bhakti-yoga, which the same Gita chapter indicates is the highest yoga (06.47). In this yoga of devotion, spiritual seekers bypass the laborious process of renouncing the world for pursuing enlightenment. Instead, they use bhakti wisdom to look above the world to its source, Krishna, and see that all living beings are connected with him. Thus, they recognize that they can progress towards Krishna by serving him in this world itself – by relishing the joy of devotional fulfillment in loving and serving him, and sharing that joy with others. Of course, the bhakti tradition is so inclusive that it even incorporates renunciation – devotee monks adopt renunciation not to turn away from the world but to free themselves from worldly distractions so that they can better share spiritual wisdom with the world.

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