(27) BHAKTI’S TASTE
21st January, 1946
When I was writing to you yesterday about eating popcorn with boiled rice, I was reminded of another incident.
Echamma’s cooking was never very good; it would not contain vegetables and spices in proper proportions. To Bhagavan her devotion was more tasty than her preparations and so he never complained, but some who could not relish the food casually hinted at this now and then while Bhagavan was cutting vegetables in the kitchen in the early morning hours. After hearing their complaints repeatedly Bhagavan said, “I don’t know. If you do not like the food you need not eat it. I find it quite good and I shall continue to do so.” Sometime back, she was sending food for about a week or ten days through someone else because perhaps she was out of town or not quite well. The cooks one day forgot to serve the food sent by her and completed serving all other items of food cooked in the Ashram. Bhagavan who would usually beckon to others to start eating and would himself commence doing so, sat silently that day with his left hand under the chin, and his right hand on the leaf. The people there sitting in front began to look at one another and those in the kitchen, or wondering and enquiring in whispers about the possible reason. Suddenly they remembered that the food sent by Echamma had not been served and, when they served it saying, “Oh, we have forgotten,” he gave the formal signal to the others to eat and he too commenced eating the food.
It is usual for him to eat with greater relish the raw groundnuts offered to him by a devotee than the highly seasoned sweets and puddings offered by rich people, just as Lord Krishna ate with relish the beaten rice handed over to him by Kuchela.