The Guru finally agreed: “Well, tomorrow I shall come to your house and take bhiksha from you.” The disciple’s joy knew no bounds. He thought: “At last, my Gurudev is pleased with me; he has agreed to be served by me. Maybe, he will give me jnāna too.”
Harihar Tirtha Maharaj Ji used to enlighten devotees through many stories, and sometimes through incidents from his own life. One day while explaining the importance of purity of the mind, he narrated a story.
A Mahatma had a rich disciple who, in spite of repeated advice of the Guru, would make no effort to purify his heart and mind. But at the same time, the disciple used to pester the Guru for bestowing on him Brahma- jnāna (knowledge of Truth – Brahman). The Mahatma, however, would not accept any service from this disciple, saying: “How can I accept your service or give you jnāna? You don’t listen to my advice at all.”
One day, the man was very insistent, and the Guru finally agreed: “Well, tomorrow I shall come to your house and take bhiksha from you.” The disciple’s joy knew no bounds. He thought: “At last, my Gurudev is pleased with me; he has agreed to be served by me. Maybe, he will give me jnāna too.”
Next day, the man made all arrangements to receive his Gurudev and prepared many delicious dishes. When the Guru arrived, the disciple washed his feet and worshipped him. At the time of bhiksha, the Mahatma ‘sat’ on the asana, removed the costly silver plate kept in front for his food, and took out his own bhiksha-bowl, which he had smeared with mud before coming. He asked the disciple to serve all the food materials in this muddy bowl. The man hesitated, but the Guru insisted.
Finally, the man pleaded: “Maharaj, we have prepared all these delicious items for you with special care and cleanliness. How can I serve this food in such a dirty vessel? Will it not be spoilt?” The Mahatma got his point; he said immediately: “Tell me then my dear son, how can I pour jnāna – the purest of all – into an impure receptacle (adhama-ādhāra) as yours, unless you strive hard and make it clean?”
– From the book-“In the Company of My Lord”