Leela of Vedanta & Tantra
I go begging in the streets
I am in the temple with Yogananda Puri and Vibhutānanda Puri
One day, when I was sitting in the temple with both My Gurus, Vibhutānanda Puri and Yogananda Puri, the temple bell rang. It means that naivedyam (food) is being offered to Sadāshiva. Both My Guru s immediately looked at Me and said, “Go and bring the prāsādam (consecrated food).” After the naivedyam is done, the prāsāda would be shared with all the devotees.
I bring one portion of the temple prāsād – food offered to deity
When I stretched My hand, the priest gave Me one share. One share itself would be almost half a kg of rice in a big leaf! The pūjāri (temple priest) had seen before going to the pūjā that I was sitting with both My Gurus. He was very greatly devoted to both my Gurus. So he said, “Here, take two more, for them also. Take one for you and two more for them.”
I was a little reluctant, because My classmates were standing in the queue next to Me. They would laugh at Me and say, “Taking so much, all for one person!” I felt a little pride. I am from a well-known family, and again and again I had been told, from the beginning, “You are from a big family, and you have to behave like that in public.” So I told the pūjāri, “No, no need. This is enough,” and I brought the naivedyam to both My Gurus.
They ask me for their portions
They asked, “Hey, where is our share? Did the pūjāri not give it?” So I said, “But you rarely eat, so this is more than enough for all three of us.” They asked, “But did that pūjāri give it or not?” I said, “Yes, he wanted to give it, he told Me, ‘Take two more for both the Swamis.’” Then they asked, “Why did you refuse?” I replied, “Well.. Behind Me, My classmates were standing in the queue. They would make fun of Me that I was taking so much, and ask if I was going to eat so much! I didn’t want to get teased by them, so I brought only My portion.”
Vibhutānanda Puri asks me to go beg in the streets
Till that moment, they were very casual, laughing, smiling. But when I said this, immediately I saw Kuppammal staring at My eyes. Then she said, “Go to the street where the shop, and beg alms there and bring us food.”
Those were the words she uttered! That whole street was literally run by My grandfather. He was the head of that whole association of shops. So, I always walked on that street with pride, and all the shop-owners were either family or friends. But in that same street, I had to beg now?! All would make fun of Me, asking, “What happened to your grandfather and all his wealth?” They would ask all these questions, and they would tell My grandfather, “Your grandson is begging in the street; are you not giving him food?”
My greatest boon was following Guruvāk
Of course, one good thing I had – I think this is the greatest boon Paramaśiva gave Me – just obeying Guruvāk (instructions of the Guru). I think that is the greatest wealth I brought with Me. The moment My Guru said, “Go and beg, in the same street, in the same shops, and bring food”, I knew that now it was serious, it was not casual, it was not fun anymore. It meant that I had done something out of My pattern, or out of the wrong context, which My Masters were correcting.
I go begging
I tell you: I stood up, went straight to that street, begged and brought whatever I got. Naturally, all were friends or family, so they all gave so many things that I had to get a small hand-pulled cart! So I hired a small vehicle, and put the whole thing at the feet of both My Gurus.
I am liberated from the imaginary opinions of others!
The next day I had a chance to talk to both My friends. They were asking Me, “Hey, why were you going for bhikshā to all the shops? Did you make any prayer, or is it any divine commitment?”
In villages we have a habit: If somebody is sick, they pray to Veṅkaṭeśvara (a powerful incarnation of Viṣṇu) and their kuladevatā (family deity) that they will go for bhikshā (begging) and bring and offer it in the hundi (collection box).
In My mind I was thinking, “Only you fellows were responsible for My begging, and now only I understand that you guys did not even have the idea which I was thinking you will be having!”
I realized: I should not be bothered about the imaginary opinions of others. I tell you: The liberation that happened at that moment is still useful for Me!
If you understand this one truth of surrender to Guruvāk, the amount of time you are wasting in your life without moving towards your goal will be cut by 80%.