Dependence Upon God: A Christian-Hindu Perspective
On Friday, our dear friend and Hindu devotee Gaurangi-priya dasi posted a compelling article on the Harmonist, a Gaudiya Vaishnav online magazine published by the Sri Caitanya Sangha under the inspiration of Swami Tripurari.
Gaurangi, whose hot water heater broke last week, was propelled into a mood of discernment on the Lord’s provisions. From a Hindu perspective, she explores the Scriptural and experiential basis for cultivating surrender to God for one’s most basic needs. You can read her thoughts here.
Her post prompted my own reflections on the subject–which I have always wrestled with. Raised with a “consider the lilies” (Matthew 6:28) mentality, I have always believed that God would provide my daily bread–as long as I remembered to whom I was dependent upon.
But here’s where I struggle–and maybe you do, too: what about those who have nothing? And by nothing, I mean children and adults whose (very) basic needs are not met. I’m referring to those in our hometowns and around our globe who are starving and dying. What would they have to say about “consider the lilies”? Perhaps you (or they) may say that their hunger is a temporary condition, marked by being trapped in bodies that are merely shells for our souls. Or perhaps you (or they) would say that God has abandoned them. Or, maybe you (or they) would attest that their hunger is an indication of their lack of faith or dependence upon God? What do you think?
I’d love your insight on this. Please share your perspective–theological or otherwise.
From the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6, Verses 25-32 (NRSV):
Do Not Worry
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”
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1 thought on “Dependence Upon God: A Christian-Hindu Perspective”
It is difficult to determine why someone may be suffering as you have described.
From a Hindu perspective, people who have not embraced a life of devotion to God are under the influence of their karma accumulated from innumerable lives. For those who are treading the path of bhakti (devotion), the influence of karma on their lives is lessened by Krishna. This lessening of karma is a byproduct of engaging in a life of devotion to Krishna. Another byproduct is the elimination of the tendency to sin.
And even while a bhakta may feel some of the effects of karma, he/she considers it a nudge from Krishna in the right direction; towards a fuller life of surrender, as Gaurangi has so eloquently described.
Here are some references from scripture that support these points:
“Let there be calamities, again and again, O Lord, [for by such calamities] we see you and never again see birth and death (karma).” –Srimad Bhagavatan 1.8.25
“One who earnestly hopes for Your compassion, while enduring the karma created by past misdeeds and offering obeisances with his heart, words and body, is eligible for eternal service to You, for it has become his rightful claim.” –Srimad Bhagavatan 10.14.8
“The Lord destroys the karma of those who are engaged in bhakti.” –Sri Brahma-samhita 5.54
“Forgoing all religious injunctions, take exclusive refuge in me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” –Bhagavad-gita 18.66