Monday, 11 March 2013

3. Offering Food to God

Why do we offer food and other things to God? Is God in need of these things that we offer and then becoming pleased grant us boons? So even here, does being prosperous give you an advantage? Does even God favour the rich? Actually, the answer is NO. In fact, Bhagawan Baba has always stressed on offering a pure heart to God. He has always said: 
Come to Me with empty hands and I shall fill them with My gifts of Grace and Love
When I make lunch at home, I too offer a token plate, (from which Bhagawan had taken a fistful of toffees on my birthday, during my student days and thrown them merrily around, many years ago) with the items I have cooked that day. I started doing this after a dream in which I was offering a plate of food to Swami. I often feel that He makes me do this so that I don't miss meals, and partake this food as 'prasadam' ! The following incident, narrated by a small boy reveals something more about how God always GIVES and when He asks you for something, He has some other motive in mind! A Divine, 'ulterior' motive, for the devotee's good !

This was the year 1996, when Bhagawan bestowed special Grace on all His devotees in Prasanthi Nilayam. One day, He suddenly announced that He would give a discourse in the evening, EVERY DAY. We couldn't believe our ears, but He really did this and continued it for around three months. The topics of those discourses were very practical -- like doses of everyday spirituality. He could make even the toughest spiritual topic very simple and interesting, keeping the gathering of students and devotees spellbound. Some naive critics of Swami have called Him simplistic because of this, they miss the profundity in these seemingly 'simple' parables ! To write and speak in abstruse language is relatively easy, while it takes a genius to express the loftiest concepts in simple one-liners, or sweet examples -- okka chinna udaharanam -- that even a child can comprehend. 

Before Swami spoke, there were other speakers, including students from the Institute or School. One day it was the turn of a young boy from the Junior College at Prasanthi Nilayam. He related an incident that remains etched in my memory till today. This is what he said

Bhagawan had called him and some other boys inside the Interview Room, one evening and treated them to a plate of 'pakodas' (tasty Indian snack)! Yes, lot of such sweet interactions happen inside the 'Interview Room' of the Lord! This boy took one and then suddenly remembered that he must offer it to Bhagawan first, because that is what they were taught in the school. Before eating food, chant Brahmaarpanam (http://www.sathyasai.org/devotion/prayers/brahmar.html ) and offer the food to God. So he did the exact same thing and offered the pakoda to Swami. Swami gave a pleased smile and bit into the fried snack. To the horror of the boy watching Him eat, His whole demeanour changed. His face became red, He coughed and hurriedly drank some water. Swami had bitten into a chilly fragment in the pakoda! The small boy was crestfallen at this catastrophe when Swami patted his cheeks and reassured him with a smile: "See boy, this is why you must always offer food to God first. He will take away (absorb) whatever is pungent or impure and you are left with pure, palatable food !"
 

The Lord of Parthi with His little ones !

Food, as defined by Bhagawan includes all that is absorbed into the body by the various sense organs and does not mean just the food we eat. Thoughts in the mind are generated by sense-impressions, by what we taste, see, hear, touch and smell. Thoughts lead to words and actions. Offering 'food' includes offering these thoughts, words, actions, et al. Isn't this the simplest way for self-purificationThe same lesson was imparted by Shirdi Sai Baba to his devotees, Hemadpant and Nanasaheb Chandorkar and there is the mention of this in the Shirdi Sai Satcharitra. To Hemadpant (who protested that he always shared his food with others and never ate alone), Baba said in His characteristic manner, "It is true that you give to the persons present, and if none be nearby, what could you or I do ? But do you remember ME before eating ? Am I not always with you ? Then do you offer ME anything before you eat?"


The lessons are the same, the love and watchfulness unchanged, whatever the garb assumed by the Divine One !

2 comments:

  1. Bhagwaan taught noble values through small acts in our daily lives!!!

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    Replies
    1. Sairam Gosha, yes, so true. Bhagavan taught us practical spirituality.
      Regards, Lakshmi































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