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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Ramanujacharya > The Life Of Ramanujacarya > Chapter Five > LAKSMl'S DILEMMA



When Ramanuja and his party arrived at the house, Varadacarya was still out begging and they were all received with great respect by Laksmi. Paying obeisances at the feet of her guru, she said, "My husband is still out begging  alms. All of you please sit here and be merciful to me by accepting this water to wash your feet. Just nearby there is a lake where you may bathe, and in the meantime I will prepare the offering for Lord Narayana.Having said this she  entered the kitchen. How¬ever, there was not a single grain of rice in the store. So poor were this couple that they had noth¬ing at all in the house. In great anxiety Laksmi began to consider how she could properly serve her guru.

In that same village there lived a rich business¬man who had become attracted by Laksmi's beauty. He had tried many times to tempt her through female messengers, offering her money and jewels, but she would never even  speak to the rascal. Now, however, she began to consider that this might be the only way that she and her husband would be able to render proper service to their spiritual master. Eventually she concluded that, as service to one's  guru transcends all other principles, she would surrender herself to that man in return for whatever was required to serve her guests.Accordingly, she slipped out the back door of her house and ran quickly to the house of the  businessman, which was not far from there. When she came into his presence, she said, "This evening I shall fulfill your desires. My guru and many of his disciples have come to my house as guests. Send to our house without  delay all things necessary to receive them properly.The merchant was surprised to hear this, for he had by now resigned himself to the fact that this chaste lady would never be allured by the things he offered. Greatly pleased by this  unexpected turn of events, he quickly arranged for the most opulent foods to be sent to his neighbor's house.Quickly then Laksmidevi busied herself in preparing offerings for Lord Visnu from the different things that were brought  to her. When everything was completed and the offering made, she invited Ramanujacarya and his disciples to sit down and take prasddam. They were all most surprised to find such opulent foodstuffs available in a poor man's  house and ate with great relish, praising the good lady for her excellent hospitality.