A READING from: "In The Company of The Holy Mother"
(available at all Vedanta Centres)
....We began to talk about Jayrambati. Mother said, "Once there was a terrible famine in those parts (1871). Numbers of starving people would come to our house. We had stored away last year's excess of paddy. Father had it husked into rice and cooked with kalAi pulses to make a large pot of khichuri. He would say, 'Everybody in this house will have this, as well as anybody who comes. Only for my Sarada you must prepare a little fine rice. My darling will have that.'
"Sometimes so many people would arrive that the khichuri ran short, and more would have to be cooked. As soon as it was ready, it would be poured out, piping hot, and I would fan it to cool it, because so many famished people would be waiting. One day a woman arrived with her hair dry and wind-blown, and mad eyes. She arrived and immediately started to eat the broken rice in the cattle trough. We kept telling her that there was khichuri in the house but she could not bear to wait. Such are the pangs of hunger.
"...When I was ill in our village home this year, I felt so terribly hungry one midnight! Sarala and the others were asleep, after working hard all day, and it seemed a pity to wake them. I remained in bed and felt around me. I discovered a little dish of parched rice. There were also a couple of biscuits near my pillow. I was delighted. I ate them and took a drink of water from the pitcher beside me. I was so hungry that I had no idea what I was eating!"
Mother laughed as she related the story.
(to be continued....)