The Special Bread
When I was a child of fourteen my family used to visit the temple regularly. We would bring offerings of food with us. In our eyes it was food for God, but my father explained that God would not want it to be wasted, as he had no need for actual food. The staff and the families of the temple workers and the poor of the town would use our fruit and bread.
One day my mother baked some bread and put some delicious flavorings into some of it. I was disappointed to find that the most flavorsome of the loaves were to be taken to the temple especially for the ceremony to honour the great God Shiva. I complained. My father overheard my complaint.
“I do understand that boys of your age think of little else than their stomachs,” said he. “But I would like you to remember this! Remember that everything you eat comes by the grace of God. Remember that it is by the grace of God that you are alive today and that it was not you but poor Kumar who was thrown off the ox and trampled. Remember that by the grace of God your sister recovered from her illness last year. Her sight was restored to her after we took her to the temple and the priests laid their hands upon her and prayed. No, my son you must not resent these meagre gifts which we take to Lord Shiva* He has been kind to our family. He has provided everything for us. He has not used his powers of destruction on us; we have been spared.
Remember, my son, when your belly calls for more food and looks hungrily at the sacrifice we have made to the Lord, that we must show our gratitude to the Lord because He loves us. The least we can do is to love Him back. He likes to hear our prayers and to see our unselfish acts. He wants us to feed the poor and the hungry and the workers at the temple because He has fed us.”
I felt very small by this time. My father did not have to remind me ever again. I was indeed grateful for my good life, my healthy family and our good fortune.
Guidance on devotion to God