Is Annadana Supreme?

26th MAY, 1948


Sri Natarajan had come from South India on a fund collection mission on behalf of Akhilandeswari Temple. They had found it difficult to carry on the work—Pancha Prakara Utsavam—which was being done by his father. He had come to Delhi for the purpose of collecting funds. He did not meet with the success he expected to achieve. He requested Siva to bless him for success in the undertaking.

Siva was silent for a while, watching the two, one would have gathered the impression that Siva was unmindful of the visitor’s plea. He was listening all the while, besides doing his own work.

The pen was put away!

‘Do some Anushthan. This sort of running about for money is no good. By sheer Adhyatmic power you must invoke God’s grace and you will get what you need. Money will come to you. You need not run after money. Reduce the food expenses in connection with the function. What money is collected you must try to utilise it for cultural purposes. Food will only create more quarrels and unnecessary crowd.’

‘Start a Sanskrit College. Bring out translations of the Vedas and Upanishads. Then people will be benefited; they will appreciate your work and money will pour in. Study the working of such colleges elsewhere. Take suggestions from Sri S.V. Iyer of Chingleput—he has organised a Sevashram there.’

‘That is the way to work. Then people will come to know of your spirit of service and will themselves come forward to help. No one nowadays will give you charity for the sake of feeding!’

‘Swamiji! Food is also necessary, isn’t it?’

‘Yes, that also. But the main thing is cultural service.’

‘Annadana first and….’

‘No. No. Jnana Dana first and Annadana next. You can give a man food—in a few hours he is hungry again. Further, if you don’t satisfy him and feed him according to his likes, he will abuse you.’
Sri Natarajan actually experienced the truth of this saying—he kept still for a long time trying to digest the food-for-thought Siva had given him.

Excerpt from Inspiring TALKS Of Gurudev Sivananda

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