It was the time when Kanchi Maha SwamigaL was staying in Kalavai, many years before. It was a Sunday. A large crowd had gathered for darshan. One by one the devotees prostrated to the sage, received his blessings and moved away. A middle-aged couple prostrated to AcharyaL and stood up with folded palms. Keenly looking at them, SwamigaL said, "adede... who (is this)... Palu...r Gopalan! You came a year back. That time you spoke about some problems. Aren't you fine now?" and laughed.
That Palur Gopalan replied, "We are very fine Periyavaa. As directed by you, from the time we started feeding an atithi in the noon time everyday, only good things are happening, Periyavaa! Good harvest in (my) fields. The cows don't die as before! The money that dripped out of hands without control for expenses stays in hands now. All that is (due to) the greatness of the atithi bhojana you have asked us to do, by your anugraha. I am doing it daily. Nothing else (is the reason for the prosperity)." Tears filled his eyes as he spoke. His wife who was standing by his side was also in tears of joy.
AcharyaL said, "besh, besh. It is fine if you have understood that good things happen due to the act of atithi bhojana. Alright. Today both of you have come over here. There in Palur--who will do the atithi bhojana?" AcharyaL inquired worriedly.
Gopalan's wife replied promptly, "We have made alternative arrangements for that Periyavaa. atithi bhojana will not be missed even for a day."
Maha SwamigaL was very happy to hear it. "That's the way you should do it. You must have a resolution to feed the hungry. Doing atithi upacAra will give such an anugraha and safeguard the family! One day SAkSAt Parameshvara himself will come in the form of an atithi, will sit and eat, you know that?" It is a maha puNya dharma that could lead to mokSa!
Author: Sri S. Ramani Anna .
Source: Sakthi Vikatan .