CHAPTER – 18
Namadharaka said: “Swami, my mind which was at first buried deep under the dense darkness of ignorance and illusion is now awakened by the dawn of your teaching and as such, it is thirsting to know ever more of the divine acts of Sree Guru and not content, however much I have already listened to”.
Siddha was happy to hear this and replied: “My son, you are indeed awakened. The very fact that your hunger and thirst to know more of Sree Guru and his deeds show that divine grace has indeed dawned on your heart. Now listen further:
Once there lived a Brahmin who was content with whatever he had. He never dined at another’s house or expense. Such is the natural tendency of the peaceful and of those devoted to the scrupulous performance of their rites, both in the letter and spirit of the holy writ, as their life-long vow. But his wife noticed that their neighbors freely dined at others’ houses as holy guests at religious ceremonies and accepted gifts of money and new clothes given away by the hosts. She found fault with her husband for not doing likewise and securing for her such a variety of possessions. One day, a wealthy man invited this pair also along with several others for a feast at his house. But as usual, this Brahmin would not consent to attend the same. His wife, finding all her persuasions in vain approached Sree Guru and complained to him of her husband’s indifference to her wishes. Sree Guru tried his best to explain her desirability of his vow, but she persisted. He then summoned her husband and ordered: “Today, break your vow and take your wife to the feast.” The Brahmin obeyed the Master’s word and took his wife to the feast. When every one was feasting, the housewife came to know that the food was polluted by a pig and she at once complained of it to her husband. The pair was much disgusted and later complained to Sree Guru. He said to the housewife: ‘Have you realized the wish of eating another’s food?’ She apologized for her folly. He then exhorted her that it is always good for her to be guided by him in all matters. The Brahmin was wild with her and yelled, ‘It is owing to the stupid obstinacy of this wicked woman that my vow had to be broken, and with such a consequence! I never committed such a vile error ever since I was born’ and then he burst into tears.
Sree Guru comforted him saying, ‘My son, do not fear. No sin or blame accrues to you on this account; on the other hand, your wife has learned a lesson from it and her attitude in that matter is permanently corrected and she will never repeat her folly. Besides, when any pious householders’ ceremonies are to suffer owing to non-availability of a Brahmin or a priest, you should help him by accepting his invitation for lunch’.
‘Then Sir, tell me whose food could be accepted and whose food is forbidden’, said the Brahmin. The Master replied: ‘Pious Brahmins, those well versed in the Vedas, the teachers, one’s own kith and kin, one’s disciples, maternal uncle – one can properly take food from them. The food that is offered by one who is on the ritual bow of performing a Yagna, or one of who is dedicated to the contemplation of Brahman, or the food that is left over after the offerings at a Yagna – such food is by far the holiest. Food cooked exclusively for one’s own self is unworthy. One who is not given to righteous living, one who undertakes the duties that, as per the religious law, belong to a person of another caste or stage of life, the man given to rancor, the impure man, impure food and those who are bent on harassing their kinsfolk – food should never be accepted from any of these. By constantly eating at another’s expense, one exchanges one’s own religious merit for the host’s sins and demerit. Another’s food accepted on the holy day of full moon will destroy all the religious merit that accrues from months of righteous living. Eating in the company of those who are forbidden, or eating without the proper consecration by the chanting of the related prayers, constitutes sin. The meal cooked by even one’s own daughter could be eaten only after the latter is married and is blessed with offspring. One should accept food or money from persons of noble nature and a noble way of living, and even that, only on auspicious occasions like eclipses, and in holy places. Articles and materials of use that are forbidden should never be accepted or received. If, under any inescapable situation, one were to transgress the ancient code in any manner, one can purify oneself by performing japa of the Gayatri Mantra. Those noble ones who take particular care of those who are in dire misery in giving away gifts would never suffer from want, debt or disease. Those who neglect their holy duties, those who are fond of tasks that legitimately belong to others, would come to grief even in this life. Hence, adhere to your religious law with all reverence and faith in it. But remember that faith in Lord is the bedrock of all righteousness”.