Often when visit temples we take with us some or the other kANika. It might be phala pushpa-kANika i.e fruits and flowers or it might be dhana-kANika i.e money.
I have often observed people comparing the kANika offered by them. Recently I happened to overhear person A gloat about the fact that he offered so much amount while others offered so little.
Which made me wonder, what’s the point of the kANika ? We believe that this whole universe including the movable and immovable are under the sway of the supreme lord. Despite being the ruler of this world with all its defects, these defects do not taint Him. When such is the case, what’s the point in offering His His own property to Him ? If there is no point, does this mean that we can walk into the temple empty handed ?
A little thought made me realize that, yes, all this is under His sway. It is His property. But there is one thing which is not His. The ownership of that one thing, he has completely assigned to us. He won’t interfere in that one thing. That one thing is our ahamkAra, loosely translated as our ego. Thus if at all we can truly offer him anything at all it is this ahamkAra of ours.
Thus the kANika we offer is not because we are afraid of the supreme Lord and we want to appease him. Because then it would imply that Lord is some kind of dictator who would punish us if we do not appease him. Also we offer the kANika not because the supreme Lord is in need of it, because that would contradict the Ishvarattva of the Lord. Nor is it a bribe offered to the Lord asking Him to grant our wishes, because that would imply that the Lord is partial towards those who can offer him greater bribe.
Offering the kANika is the gesture of renouncing the ownership of that thing which we are offering. The ownership is one which we had only assumed at some point in time. By renouncing this this ownership we are aiming to realize that this was never ours in the first place. Thus we are actually sacrificing our ahamkAra (I-ness) and our mamakAra (mine-ness) at the altar of the supreme Lord.
Thus gloating about the kANIka offered or comparing the kANika offered defeats the very purpose of offering the kANika. One can only hope that people realize the reason why they are doing things rather than indulge in popularity contests.