Maturity means to acknowledge that no one is obliged to fulfill our needs

When infants are hungry, they just cry and expect others to come running to fulfill their need. However, when adults are hungry, they aren’t expected to do the same – they are expected to make some practical arrangement to get food.

Growing up centers on recognizing that others aren’t obliged to fulfill our needs. It’s not that our needs aren’t important; it’s just that fulfilling them is our responsibility, not anyone else’s. This shift in responsibility applies not just to our physical needs, but also to our emotional needs.

For example, when we face problems, we may need attention, not just solution – we may need our loved ones to empathize with us by giving us quality time. Instead, if they just offer a solution and move on, we may feel neglected, even rejected. Feeling that they don’t care for us, we may sink into loneliness, self-pity and depression. The Bhagavad-gita (18.35) cautions that habitual negative emotions characterize the mode of ignorance.

Raising us above ignorance, Gita wisdom explains that all our needs are ultimately fulfilled by Krishna. And he may fulfill different needs by using different people as instruments. Many of our needs may be fulfilled by those closely related to us such as a life-partner or a parent or a spiritual guide. But they may not be able to fulfill all our needs, nor are they obliged to. Instead of expecting too much from them, we can look upwards to Krishna, pray for help and express that prayer tangibly by engaging in his loving service. Reciprocating with us, he will duly connect us to someone appropriate who will act as his instrument for harmoniously addressing our need.

When we thus become mature and engage purposefully in Krishna’s service, he will, through his multifarious manifestations, provide us fulfillment.

Think it over:

  1. How does growing up change the way our needs are fulfilled?
  2. How is Krishna the ultimate fulfiller of all our needs?
  3. What can we do when some loved one doesn’t fulfill our particular need?

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