VITOBA, THE NECTAR - 06 Aug 14, 2013 20:14:27 GMT 5.5
Post by jksivan on Aug 14, 2013 20:14:27 GMT 5.5
6. TOKEN FOR FEAST
Before going to the actual story, let us find out what is a Vrat or Fasting because today's story talks about Vrat. What is a Vrat or Fasting? Vrat is a vow taken by the devotee to abstain from food for the fulfilment of any desire. Generally people do the fasting for a specific reason.
Sometimes, people do fasting without any specific reason as a routine. Fasting is done on special days like Ekadasi, Sankatahara Chathurthi. Sashti etc. There is a specialty about Ekadasi fasting. (There is a good story of a king Rukmangatha, connected with this, for which you will have to wait when I get the time to reveal.) The person has to fast from the morning of Ekadasi till the next morning (dwadasi) and can eat food only after serving food to at least two or three guests. This has been the practice with our ancestors for long.
This story is about a Vittal Devotee who has been doing the Ekadasi fasting for a long time. His name was Bodhala and he lived in a small village next to Pandaripuram. He worked as a cloth merchant to earn his living for his family. Both husband and wife used to fast during every Ekadasi. They would go to Pandaripuram on Ekadasi day to join in the Naama Sankeerthanam. Then the next day, after feeding at least two guests they would eat. They have been doing this for years and lived happily.
Life is not smooth always. Is n't it? During one Ekadasi, a rich man announced that he would be feeding 1000 people the next day and give them handful of Dhakshina (money). Needless to say, the next day many people went to the rich man's house. Here Bodhala and his wife were waiting for some guests to turn up, as was their routine practice, but no one came because of the richman's announcement. Time was running and both were tired because of hunger. They were just praying to Vittal.
Around noon, there came an old man singing Vittal Bhajan. Bodhala ran and invited him to his house. At the same time, another old lady came from another direction in search of someone. Yes. She was searching for the old man who was her husband. Bodhala was very happy because he had an elderly couple as his Dwadhasi athithi (guests). Bodhala said
"Sir! today all the people have gone to the rich man's house for food. No one came to my house. Can both of you be our guests and eat the food?".
The old man replied happily "I know about the rich man. But I was not interested to go there. We will eat whatever the food you serve".They had their food. After giving them whatever dhakshinai he could, Bodhala and his wife prostrated to them and got their blessings. Then Bodhala and his wife ate.
Bhodhala enquired the old man "Sir! The rich man not only was feeding but was also giving money to all. Here we could give you only a very simple meal. Why did you not go there?". The old man replied "the rich man is doing this just to show off his wealth. I do not like to go to such places. I would rather have the simple meal given whole-heartedly. That is why I came here. Besides, even if I go, they would say no to me". Bodhala could not understand "Are you sure they would say no to you?". The old man said "Yes. They were providing food only for 1000 people and you have to get a token. Only if you show the token they would give the food. I did not get the token". Bhodhala said "when they prepared food for 1000 people, I am sure they can feed another 10 or 20 people, isn't it?". The old man did not agree to this, saying "you are wrong Bhodhala! they have made a rule that only those with token would be allowed inside". However Bhodhala did not accept this. So the old man decided to show Bodhala the true colours of the rich man.
"You come with me now. We will go there and you will see for yourself". They went to the hall where food was being served. People were rushing, shouting at each other and the whole place was chaotic. The old man went in and sat to eat. There came a person and asked him for token. Old man said that he could not get the token but he was hungry so he sat to eat the food. The man got very angry and pulled him from the seat in the row, and another person gave a big blow at the oldman's back. The old man screamed and fell down. Lo !, every person in the hall shouted at the same time as they also felt the blow on their backs, including the rich man and the beater.
Bhodhala bent down to look for the old man in the melee, to help him, but both the old man and his wife disappeared.
Everyone there including the richman, Bodhala and his wife realised that the old man and his wife were none other than Vittal and Rukmini and the richman repented for his vanity and fell at the feet of Bothala and his wife and the "blow on his back" transformed him into a pious devotee of vittal.
Dear children, remember God comes to you, only in the form of people you see and move with.
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