patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktyaa prayacchati |
tadaham bhaktyupahritamashnaami prayataatmanaha || 26 ||

 
One who presents a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water with devotion to me, I will consume that loving gift from that pure hearted being.
 
patram : leaf
pushpam : flower
phalam : fruit
toyam : water
yaha : one who
me : to me
bhaktyaa : with devotion
prayacchati : presents
tat : that
aham : me
bhaktyupahritam : loving gift
ashnaami : I will consume
prayataatmanaha : pure hearted being
 
Having described the incorrect method of worship earlier, Shri Krishna now explains the correct method in yet another gem of a shloka in this chapter. He says that Ishvara does not want any expensive gifts. To become his devotee, we can give him something that nature offers in plenty for free: a leaf, a flower, a fruit or even some water.
 
Why is it important to give a gift to Ishvara? Building strong relationships requires actions and attitude. Take the example of a newly married husband and wife. How do they ensure that they maintain a strong bond? To start with, they can exchange gifts during events such as Valentine’s day, their wedding anniversary with cards, flowers and so on.
 
But material exchanges in themselves are not sufficient. There has to be quality time spent with each other. Also, there has to be an exchange of meaningful thoughts, meaningful dialogue, not just talk about movies and sports etc.
 
The same thing also applies to worship. When we do all kinds of rituals for ourselves such as taking a bath, applying fragrance, eating food and so on, we can at least begin worshipping Ishvara by offering a flower or some water daily. Unless our mind and our actions are both engaged in Ishvara’s worship, it will be difficult to build a strong bond with him.
 
Now, why is all this needed? One could say that we should just practice karma yoga by doing actions selflessly. But, karma yoga is incomplete without surrender to a higher ideal, and Ishvara is the highest possible ideal. Moreover, without the right emotional link to Ishvara, our pursuit will become dry and academic.
 
So therefore, when we offer a simple gift to Ishvara, but with an attitude of devotion, Ishvara happily consumes the gift. Our attitude should be similar to a small child presenting a gift to his father or mother, because in reality, we are offering to Ishvara what was his to begin with.
 
Once we have created this habit of worshipping Ishvara daily in our house, we should slowly bring it out of the house and into every action, as described in the next shloka.

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