IN an ashram near the bank of River Yamuna lived two sages. One day, after completing their prayers and performing the due rituals, the two sat down to eat their meal. They had not even taken one morsel when a beggar came and stood in front of them, asking for food.
Both the sages told him, “We have just enough food to feed ourselves, so how can we give you anything when there is nothing to spare?”
The beggar pleaded, “Oh saints, at least tell me which God you worship so that I too can do likewise and get food to eat just as you do?”
The sages replied, “We worship the Wind God, Pavana, who also gives prana, the breath of life to us all.”
The beggar persisted, “Did you not offer this food to some God before eating it yourself?”
The sages replied, “Yes, we gave it to Lord Pavana or prana.”
The beggar said, “I hope you realise that prana is present in all living beings. Just as you have prana, so do I have it.”
The sages replied, “Yes, we agree.”
The beggar added, “Do you not realise that by not giving food to me, you are not giving food to prana, who is as much present in me as it is in you.”
The sages pondered over the beggar’s reply for a minute or so and after realising the significance of his words, they offered the food to the hungry beggar, who ate the food with relish and went his way, thanking them.