Did You Enjoy the Meal?

I count myself to be blessed because I know the man pictured to the left.  He is known as Chandrakant.  He is a great teacher, not because he is charismatic but because he has personally experienced what he teaches.  He is exceptionally devoted to Bapuji, Gurudev and, from what I have observed, to anyone who happens to be in front of him.  He is a very intense man and that intensity can, at times, feel very intimidating until one realizes the intensity comes from his insatiable desire that everyone be free.  Chandrakant is also a great storyteller and, I have found, his stories are usually worth much more than just their great entertainment value.

He recently shared the following story with me about his time as a cook at the Kripalu Center.  When he first joined the cooking staff, the staff would cook the meals, put the food in the dining hall and then leave.  The result was that the nicely prepared food would quicly look like a mess as people served themselves.  Chandrakant soon decided that he would stay in the dining hall during the meal and keep the serving area tidy.  As he did this, a number of people would come up to him and compliment the meal, “That was the best meal I’ve eaten.”  Lentil Soup ServedA few would come to him and complain, “That was the worst meal I’ve eaten.”  He soon noticed that if 10 people said something about the meal and just one of them complained, that one complaint carried more weight than the nine compliments combined.

Those complaints weighed heavily but the food was the same for all 10, just one or two didn’t like it.  Those one or two people, however, were having a great effect upon Chandrakant and, being the experimenter that he was, he decided to try a little experiment.  When someone would compliment the food, he would say, “Thank you for sharing that but it really says more about you than it does about the food.”  When someone would complain about the food, he would again say, “Thank you for sharing that but it really says more about you than it does about the food.”  Now he found that he was no longer craving the compliments nor was he weighed down by the complaints because he had realized that, compliment or complaint, what was said really had nothing to do with him at all.

When we say or hear anything, may we all see that whatever was said really says more about the speaker than it does about the food.

Jai Bhagwan