Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A single grain of rice

What do you do when a great rishi suddenly visits you with thousand disciples and you have nothing to offer him? As though the situation is not already difficult, he happens to be a rishi known for flaring tempers. This was the position that Draupadi was in when the Pandavas were on their exile.

On a particularly windy night the Pandavas ate their food followed by Draupadi and were ready to take rest. Suddenly Sage Dhuruvasa visited them along with his thousand disciples. The Pandavas had a bowl that gave unlimited food every day, until Draupadi finished her dinner. Since Draupadi had eaten and was ready to sleep, there was no food available to offer to the sage and his disciples. Draupadi did not know what to do and requested the sage to wash his hands and feet. Meanwhile she prayed to Lord Krishna to save her from the anger of the holy man.

Krishna, who always considered Draupadi as his best friend and sister, appeared before her and asked her to bring the vessel. “But “, said Draupadi, “I have finished my food and washed the vessel. Until morning the vessel will not give any food” said Draupadi.
But since the Lord insisted Draupadi brought the vessel and handed it over to Krishna. Lord Krishna took the single grain of rice from the vessel and ate it. Draupadi was feeling quite embarrassed as she had not washed the vessel properly. But it was this imperfection that saved the day for her. After eating the grain of rice that was stuck to the vessel, Lord Krishna disappeared just as he had appeared.

The single grain of rice that God ate satisfied the hunger of the sage and his disciples!

Draupadi came out of the hut to where the sage and his students were washing their feet and hands. By the time Draupadi came out they had all finished washing their hands and the sage walked up to Draupadi and told her that they were already full and did not feel like having any food. So saying the sage blessed them all and took leave.

There is a belief among a very large number of families that every night some food has to be kept and the entire food should not be emptied. Even today many households have the habit of pouring some water in the left over rice and keeping it aside at night. The water can be drunk the next day and the rice, usually is eaten with curd. The water and the rice thus made are said to be nutritious and especially during hot summers this is a popular means of combating the heat.