While going through the story of Nachiketa again, I recalled this phrase was quite important and should be explored further.
“Priests are supposed to accept readily whatever is given to them as offerings, whether they like it or not. Moreover, they must bless the ‘yajmaan’; the patron or donor. This is one of their priestly duties".
While contemplating over it, I remembered few personal incidences relating to this topic.
I occasionally used to accompany Bhapa Ram Chand ji Kapurthala during his short Prachar tours in Punjab. During one of such tours, one morning, after having breakfast we were leaving from the house where we stayed in. The host approached Bhapa ji and after doing 'namaskar', placed a small bag containing a piece of fabric in front of him and very humbly requested him to accept it. Bhapa ji looked at him and very lovingly said you have already done so much seva arranging the Sangat - serving Langar and serving us and the others in many ways. You should not have bought this for me.
The host, with folded hands said “this is my heart felt desire. Please be kind and accept this humble token of our ‘shradhaa’. At that moment, Bhapa ji very graciously took the fabric in his hand, rubbed his fingers over it lovingly and blessed him over and over saying ‘Sachaa Paatshaah mehar kare’, may Nirankar bless you with all the happiness and take away all your sorrows and sufferings.
Then, to my surprise, the host turned towards me and handed me a small bag also saying this is a small seva (gift) for you. I immediately put that bag on the table and said “No… No. I will not take it”. The host insisted and tried to give it back to me three or four times but every time I walked backward saying “No way... I don't need any thing”
Bhapa ji looked at me and said it’s all right. Since he is insisting it so much, you should accept it. I said “no Bhapa ji. I will not take it. He asked me why? I said I am here to serve, to do ‘seva’, I don’t want to take any one’s seva.
He said “Hmmm. I did not know that you have so much ego. Do you think that you are a great sevadaar; that you are so great and independent that you will only do the seva but not accept any gift or seva from anyone else?
I said no Bhapa ji. That is not what I mean.
Then beta! just accept it thankfully and prey for them.
Since I did not want to disobey Bhapa ji, I reluctantly took it - but was still feeling uncomfortable.
Later, while traveling in the bus on the way to next stop, he started telling me what is appropriate behaviour and what is not. "During such visits" he said, "people don't give us some seva or gifts because they think we need them. It is their shradhaa, their love and devotion. One should never demand or ask or even have any expectations from any one but if someone gives you something out of love or devotion, then simply accept it with gratitude and prey for them. Refusing to accept will hurt their feelings. They might think you are too egotistic and do not appreciate their gesture of love.
This was one of the many great lessons I learned from him during these travels. That day he taught me the golden rule:
Do not demand, ask or expect, but do not reject either.
To be continued