Harshida Aunty's Meal Plan: Wednesday-night Soul Food

Posted by Mark Peters on Sep 14, 2020
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Every Wednesday night, without fail, for more than two decades, Harshida Aunty – along with a rotating cast of selfless volunteers – have served up savory soul food for Awakin Circle attendees at the Mehta's home in Santa Clara.

Imagine the intentionality that has gone into acquiring, scrubbing, cutting, slicing, dicing and cooking the few hundred thousand vegetables that went into preparing these savory meals over the years. Imagine the challenge of serving the various dishes warm from a residential kitchen, when the Circles are unpredictable in both length and size. Imagine all the glasses, plates, bowls, forks, spoons and knives that were washed, dried and stored away again until the process starts anew in a few days.

Karma yoga and bhakti yoga commingling in a bowl of delicious dal for hungry ghosts. Is this not the highest form of sadhana?

In one of the parables shared two millennia ago by Yeshua (aka Jesus), he says, "For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me."

His students respond, "Teacher, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?"

And Yeshua says, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."

At the Mehta house countless "strangers" have passed through the door to sit, share and sup at the Awakin Circles, and each has been received with the warmth and respect befitting a timeless guru. Harshida Aunty's heart and Dinesh Uncle's generosity have unreservedly served saint and sinner, samaritan and scalawag alike with good cheer and chapati.

Even historic fires, apocalyptic orange skies and a raging pandemic have been unable to keep Harshida Aunty from her impulse to lift spirits through ballooning bellies with her home-cooked fare. Heck, it doesn't even have to be a Wednesday night for her to minister to a rumbling tummy... as I discovered recently in a message received at high noon on a scorching Saturday:

"Hey Mark can you stop by for a few minutes today around 3pm?"

And that, my friends, is where the above video begins, but the larger story itself may never end – as although its provenance is rather murky, it is rumored that Harshida Aunty has come into possession of the Akshaya Patra from Lord Surya. This inexhaustible vessel allows for endless feeding without depletion, which is really the only reasonable way to explain the Harshida Aunty's unreasonable meal plan.

Audio track is from Keith Jarrett's "Last Solo" concert recorded in Tokyo in 1984.

Posted by Mark Peters | | permalink

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Comments (5)

  • Nipun Mehta wrote ...

    Epic! :)

  • Shyam Gupta wrote ...

    Wow. Super inspiring. Awakin circle meals, a combination of Bhakti yoga and karma yoga. Beautiful concept.

  • Nisha Srinivasan wrote ...

    Thank you Mark!

  • Vinya Sankaran Vasu wrote ...

    This brought back beautiful memories of Wednesdays, much gratitude 🌈

  • Trupti Pandya wrote ...

    Smiling wide:))