The Well-Cooked Feast

Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Once upon a time, there was a guru who lived with one of his disciples in the same kutir, cottage. The disciple served the guru day and night and duly studied and mastered the various scriptures.

His proximity with the guru made him think that he was the only beloved disciple of the guru. This led him to believe that the other disciples, who were wandering hither and thither all through the year and occasionally visited the guru, were not truly devoted to the guru. And this strengthened his ego even more. One wintry night, the disciple returned to the kutir after finishing some outdoor work. He heard the voice of another disciple, an occasional visitor, inside the kutir. He knocked at the door.

The guru asked, “Who is that?” The disciple replied, as usual, “It is I, please open the door.” The guru replied, “I am enjoying a well-cooked feast. There is no room for a second one in my feast.”

The disciple misunderstood the guru. He thought he was belittled and insulted before an occasional visiting gurubhai, almost a stranger for all practical purposes. Being annoyed and offended, he left the place immediately and went about wandering aimlessly.

As days rolled by, his heart, mind and ego got thoroughly burnt by the fire of separation from the guru. His heart and mind, his very being, were cooked well by the fire of viraha, separation. He forgot himself and went almost mad with guru bhakti.

One day, all of a sudden, he rushed towards the guru’s kutir and kept on knocking at the door aloud, ‘’Gurudev, Gurudev,” in a rich love-laden tone. His mind was filled with the presence of his gurudev alone. He was blind to everything, neither he nor the universe existed for him; only the guru existed. That sound drowned even the guru’s usual and formal question, “Who is that?”

The guru knew well the voice of his disciple. He could no longer wait. He, too, rushed out and affectionately embraced the disciple, saying, “I am now enjoying a well-cooked feast. There is no room for a second one in my feast.”


God is omnipresent and non-dual. There is no room for a second one to exist by Him. There is no room for that little self of an individual in this vast universe. As long as the little ego persists, you, too, should be wandering in the dark, undergoing hardships like the proud disciple. In that state being religious, visiting temples and places of worship, observing austerities, cannot make you the beloved of God.

You should have ananya bhakti, love of God for God’s sake, and exclusive devotion to the Lord. Mere service of God with the thought, “I am serving God,” cannot become ananya bhakti.

When your ego is consumed by the fire of viraha, when your heart and mind are well cooked in that fire, when your love for God is well cooked over the fire of separation, and becomes delicious and palatable to Him, when, in that state, neither you nor this universe exist to you, but only He exists filling heart and mind, then and then alone, will you become the beloved of God. He will then rush towards you and embrace you like the guru embracing the disciple.

Then both will enjoy a well-cooked feast at which there will be no room for a second one. Kill the little self and say, “O Lord! All this is Thy Own Self.”