How Material Gifts Are Like An Avatar of Vishnu

by Aranyakananda

In Part 2 of a series I am calling “Deep Thoughts (Except Not Really)” I’d like to talk about gift-giving. Christmas is over, but occasions for gives are ever-looming. Anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, graduations, baptisms, etcetera ad infinitum.

I am a person who has over time increasingly become of the mind that material gifts are meaningless, and in fact often demeaning of the true sentiment or gratitude behind the giving. This may sound like a quite depressing way to look at something like giving someone a gift, though many people share this outlook.


But I think this is an attitude of mine that needs to be revised. Because just like all of the Avatars of Vishnu came as a physical manifestation – a knowable, perceivable form – of the unknowable Brahman, material gifts are given as a way to express a sentiment that – at the moment – may not be expressible. They are supposed to be a down-payment toward something which you hope to express on another level. A relationship should not be gift after gift after gift. The unexpressable is supposed to eventually be expressed.

And I think that is the promise Krishna reveals in Chapter 11 of the Bhagavad-Gita by revealing His Universal Form.

This entry was posted in American Hindus, Aum, avatars, Avatars of Vishnu, Bhagavad-Gita, Bhaktivedanta, Bharat War, Brahman, Creation, dharma, Dharmic Faiths, Divine Consciousness, dualism, duality, Eastern Philosophy, editorial, existentialism, Gita, God, Hare Krishna, Hinduism, inspiration, Ishvara, Krishna, Krishna Consciousness, Kurukshetra, life, Lord Rama, love, Mahabharata, meaning of life, monotheism, opinion, philosophy, Rama, religion, Sanatana Dharma, self help, social commentary, spirituality, Vaishnavism, valentine's day, Vishnu, Western Hinduism, White Hindus and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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