The grain of rice, who gave up his life

What did you eat this morning? Was it a brother? A mother? A father? Every living entity is intimately related to us. We owe it to them to make their life worthwhile, even if they were just a grain of rice…

There was a family gathering, a few family members got together. On the family WhatsApp group, one said “Oh, I wish you were there”, another said “it would be great to get the whole family together”.

That got me thinking. Who is “whole” family? Just the ones who were born to your father and/or mother? Maybe the cousins? How about the more distant relatives?

Instead of the “relative” platform, I was reminded that every single living entity came from the same one source, the source of all moving and nonmoving beings, the source of all things in the material Universe, the source of light, the source of space, the source of sound, the source of everything we can imagine and beyond.

Even that grain of rice, who, before he was harvested and processed, had the ability to sprout into a rice plant, he was not conscious of his family, but still had a right to live out his life as a plant.

When I think about it, the wooden furniture I am using right now, the cotton fibres that make up my clothes, the grains of rice I had for lunch today, each and every one of them, was a living being. They sacrificed their lives so I could live.

What a debt of gratitude I owe them! What can I do today to make their sacrificed worthwhile?

The farmer who planted the rice seed, the one who watered it and the one who harvested it. The one who husked that grain of rice, the one who packaged up the rice. The truck driver, the shipyard hand, the grocer, the cook of that rice… they were all involved.

When anything is used in the service of God, then everyone who helped make that service possible is benefited. But if all I did was take the grain of rice for my own gratification, then I will surely pay for my action and everyone else will partake too.

It is the law of the material world…

अहस्तानि सहस्तानामपदानि चतुष्पदाम् ।
फल्गूनि तत्र महतां जीवो जीवस्य जीवनम् ॥ ४७ ॥ ahastāni sahastānām
apadāni catuṣ-padām
phalgūni tatra mahatāṁ
jīvo jīvasya jīvanam

Those who are devoid of hands are prey for those who have hands; those devoid of legs are prey for the four-legged. The weak are the subsistence of the strong, and the general rule holds that one living being is food for another.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/13/47/

If I were to accept that grain of rice just for myself, then it would implicate me in karma, an endless cycle of action and reaction

So, this morning, that grain of rice, in a bowl of rice, was lovingly offered to Krishna in an act of sacrifice.

पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं यो मे भक्त्य‍ा प्रयच्छति ।
तदहं भक्त्य‍ुपहृतमश्न‍ामि प्रयतात्मन: ॥ २६ ॥
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ

If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/9/26/

And when Krishna accepted that grain of rice, his life as a grain of rice had become successful.

Do you feel compassion for the countless living entities who die so you may live? Do you want to take a karma-free diet? Please ask me how!

Author: Mahabhagavat Das SDA

I am a formally initiated disciple of His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari. My spiritual master was initiated by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1971. He is the author of the famous Ultimate Self Realization Course. Check it out at www.joincourse.com.

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