In the famed town of Kadavoor lived a devotee named Kalaya. Day by day his heart melted with love for the Lord and he occupied himself with offering fragrant incense (kunkuliya doopam) to the Lord. But the Lord in His grace made his devotee suffer from want while the latter engaged himself all the more in devotion. Slowly, however, Kalaya had to dispose of all his possessions and he and his family often had to starve for days at a time. Once when the pain of hunger became too great, his loving wife gave him her Thali—the auspicious golden symbol of marriage—and bade him sell it in order to procure rice. Without any qualm, he hastened on this errand. But on the way he met a man carrying a load of incense, resin fit for the Lord’s service. Forgetting his task to find food, with a joyous heart he exchanged the gold ornament for the large consignment of incense and made his way to the temple. There he engaged himself in singing the Lord’s praises and offering incense. In the meantime, seeing his devotion, the Lord had Kubera, the God of wealth, flooded the devotee’s house with grain and rice as his family slept. But his wife, roused by the Lord in a dream, saw the profusion of food and at once set about cooking. Meanwhile, the Lord spoke to his devotee still at worship in the temple: ‘Get thee home, and appease thy great hunger with the feast that awaits you there!”
Illustration courtesy of Ramalingar Pani Mandram.