A story from Shri Sai Satcharitra -
Always try to share what you have/eat and never try to conceal anything in greed.
In the masjid of Lord Shri Shirdi Saibaba, once there happened an incident. When Shri Saibaba was being served by his beloved devotees on a sunday at noon-time, one of the devotees, named Shama, pointed out another devotee, named Hemadpant, and said, "See, that some grains seem to have stuck to the sleeve of your coat". Then Hemadpant stretched his fore-arm and some grains of gram came rolling down his sleeve and were picked up by the people who were sitting there.
Everyone around there wondered about how could grains found their way into the sleeve and could lodge there for so long. Even Hemadpant could not guess how those grains have come there.
When everyone was wonderstruck at this incident, Lord Shri Saibaba said, "This fellow has got the bad habit of eating alone. Today is a bazaar-day (a fair held by sorrounding villages) and he was there chewing grams. I know his habit and these grams are a proof of it. What wonder is there in this matter?"
Then Hemadpant said, "Baba, I never know of eating things alone, then why do you thrust this bad habit on me? I have never yet seen Shirdi bazaar. I did not go to the bazaar today, then how could I buy grams, and how could I eat them if I had not bought them? I never eat anything unless I share it with others present near me".
Then the kind Lord Shri Saibaba said, "It is true that you give to the persons present, but if none be near-by, 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?"
Let us understand what Lord Shri Shirdi Saibaba has taught us by this incident. Before the senses, mind and intellect enjoy their object, He should first be remembered, and if this be done, it is in a way an offering to Him. Our senses can never remain without their objects, but if those objects are first offered to the Guru (Master or God), the attachment for them will natually vanish. In this way, all the Vrittis (thoughts) regarding Desire, Anger, Avarice etc., should first be offered and directed to the Guru and if this practice be followed, the Lord will help you in eradicating all the Vrittis. When before enjoyment of the objects, you think that Baba is close by, the question whether the object is fit to be enjoyed or not will at once arise. Then the object that is not fit to be enjoyed will be shunned and in this way our vicious habits or vices will disappear and our character will improve. Then love for the Guru will grow and pure knowledge will sprout up. When this knowledge grows, the bondage of body-consciousness (that we are the body) will snap and our intellect will be merged in spirit-consciousness (that we are the spirit). Then we shall get Bliss and Contentment. There is no difference between Guru and God. He who sees any difference in them, sees God nowhere. So leaving aside all ideas of difference, we should regard Guru and God as one, and if we serve our Guru as stated above, Lord (God) will be certainly pleased and purifying our minds He will give us self-realisation. In abstract, we should not enjoy any object with our senses without first remembering our Guru. When the mind is trained in this way, we will be always reminded of Baba and our meditation on Baba will grow apace. The Sagun Form (Physical Form) of Baba will ever be before our eyes and then devotion, non-attachment and salvation will all be ours. When Baba's Form is thus fixed before our mental vision, we forget hunger, thirst, and this samsar (world). The consciousness of worldly pleasures will disappear and our mind shall attain peace and happiness.
A reference by the author
As this incident and its moral were being narrated by the writer of "Shri Sai Satcharitra" (Biography of Lord Shri Shirdi Saibaba), Hemadpant, in it, he remembered a similar story of Lord Shri Krishna which is worth giving attention. It is as follows.
Lord Shri Krishna and His elder brother, Balarama, were living with a co-student named Sudama in the ashram (campus) of their Guru, Sandipani. Once Shri Krishna and Balarama were sent to the forest for bringing fuel. Then the wife of Sandipani sent also Sudama for bringing some fuel, into the forest with some quantity of grams for the three to eat. When krishna met Sudama in the forest, he said to him, "Dada (brother), I want water as I am thirsty". Then Sudama replied, "No water should be drunk on an empty stomach, so it is better to rest a while". He did not say that he has got grams with him and that He should take some. As Krishna was tired, He laid down for rest on the lap of Sudama and was snoring. Seeing this, Sudama took out the grams and began to eat. Then Krishna suddenly asked him, "Dada, what are you eating, whence is the sound?". He replied, "What is there to eat? I am shivering with cold and my teeth are chattering. I can't even repeat distinctly Vishnu Sahasra Nama (Composition of thousand names of Lord Visnu)". Hearing this, the omniscient Lord Krishna said, "I just dreamt a dream, in which I saw a man eating things of another and when asked about this he said, "What earth (dust) should he eat?", meaning thereby that he had nothing to eat. The other man said, "Let it be so"." Krishna continued saying, "Dada, this is only a dream. I know that you won't eat anything without Me. Under the influence of the dream I asked you what you were eating?" If Sudama had known a bit of the omniscient Shri Krishna and His leelas, he would not have acted, as he did. Therefore he had to suffer for what he did. Though he was a chum of Lord Shri Krishna he had to pass his later life in utter poverty. But when he later offered Krishna a handful of parched rice, earned by his wife with her own labour, Krishna was pleased and gave him a golden city to enjoy.
So, always offer things first to God and then enjoy them after they are renounced by Him. God will give us innumerable times of what we offer him. Baba also taught us the same lesson in His inimitable and humorous way.
Om Jai Sai Ram
V Rama aravind,
posted on: 2006-04-16.
This story is an extract from the english translation of Shri Sai Satcharitra originally written by the beloved devotee of Shri Saibaba, Hemadpant, in Marathi language.