The kitchen at the Annakshetra. This evening D is preparing ‘Alu parathas’ for dinner. There is a little apprehension that the quantity should not fall short. After all, cooking for about 20 people is not a usual event! However, the overriding thought is – ‘Will Swamiji be pleased?’ B and V are also helping with the preparation. Some parathas have been fried and sent to Swamiji’s kitchen. Ma is serving Swamiji his dinner. He may taste a little of the parathas. Ma sends word that the parathas are not coming out well. There should be more filling to improve the taste. More filling? Will it not cause the parathas to split? D was in a quandary.

Suddenly D sees Swamiji standing behind her and watching. He takes up a ball of dough in his palm and starts to make a cup out of it. V, B and D watch in amazement as their Guru gives lessons in cooking. As he is making a deep cup, Swamiji says, ‘I have never made this, but I think I know how this should be done.” He then puts in quite a large quantity of the filling into the cup and rolls the dough to a smooth ball. This he hands over to D and asks her to roll it out. As she rolls out a perfect paratha, she is amazed at the wonder of learning from her Guru. 

Swamiji speaks about giving attention to minute details and not allowing laziness an inch of space. D starts giving the excuse, ‘So many parathas to be made…’ but stops short, realizing her mistake. It does not matter how many have to be made, but each one has to be given equal attention. Each one must be perfect. There cannot be any short cuts. Not in spiritual sadhana either.

A stream of corrective thoughts is coursing through her mind. She marvels at the thought that her Guru’s ‘knowing’ did not allow compartments. Spirituality and householder-ship merged into one inseparable entity. Here is a sannyasin teaching the art of good cooking to a householder! Once again the lesson learnt was that spirituality is an integral part of everyday life.

The remaining parathas come out well and there is happiness all around.