In the wheel of life, our very survival depends on food — a primary and basic need. Therefore, anything related to food — agriculture, marketing, distribution — in fact, the entire food industry will continue to remain for all times. This explains the expansion and rapid growth of food industries. In the hierarchy of various modes of charity — annadanam mahadanam — the giving of food holds a very high place.
Even though it is the most fundamental need, food alone cannot completely satisfy a person. Human beings have a heart that demands love — a loveless life is a joyless life. Children and grown-ups alike all need love. For many, a lack of it leads to bitterness and deep unhappiness. To love and receive love from others is the greatest and most wonderful gift of life.
We offer love at various altars. Unfortunately, the vast majority develop an insatiable love for wealth and material possessions. The result — the love for wealth takes away the wealth of love from our heart! Money, of course, is important, but it cannot replace the priceless treasure of love. Love is relevant, essential and required at all times, at all places, for all people.
The third necessity is knowledge. School and college education provide information and expertise to enable us to live, survive, earn a livelihood and stand on our own feet. But that alone is insufficient. Often, we find ourselves at a crossroads, in a dilemma about the path to choose. Blessed with the freedom of choice, we have options, which though wonderful, frequently create problems.
No option — no problem. For instance, a cow has no choice whether to be vegetarian or non-vegetarian; similarly, the lion or tiger face no such conflicts.
More serious is our indecision when we face conflicting or unpleasant duties and do not know how to act — most serious is being confused about moral and ethical issues; and finally, the biggest problem is: I don’t know myself. Who am I?
Despite all our intelligence or accomplishments, we have experienced situations in which we realise the importance of the right direction. Even empirical problems — medical or legal — are resolved with appropriate advice.
The Mahabharata illustrates how timely and correct advice saved Arjuna. Sri Krishna anticipated his needs, became his advisor and prepared him for the battle. He was not just Arjuna’s physical charioteer, but also his guide. The Lord’s teachings saved and protected him at every turn. Hence, the right instruction from the right person, at the right time is most crucial and beneficial.
To achieve success, we need right knowledge, support and guidance. Through the message of the Bhagavad Gita, we receive advice and direction at all times — for all times. Therein lies its strength.