One afternoon in 1946, at 2 pm some savouries prepared in the Asramam were distributed amongst the devotees. A few of them were given to Bhagavan also. Bhagavan ate them, drank some water,went out and came back, when some monkeys came to the window near his sofa. Seeing them, Bhagavan asked his attendants to go and bring some of the savoury preparations, saying, that the monkeys would relish them very much. The attendants returned saying that the people in the kitchen refused saying that they had not prepared enough savouries to feed the monkeys also. “Oho! How did we get them then?” said Bhagavan. “This is ration time,” said a devotee. “What if it is ration time? When we have rations, why should they (monkeys) not have rations as well? The problem will be solved if a ration card is obtained for the monkeys as well. They also eat these things with greater relish than we. If they do not have it, why should we have it either? When we are eating, see how those children (i.e., the monkeys) are looking at us,” said Bhagavan. Thereupon, they also got their share.
From that time onwards, Bhagavan used to accept things only after the monkeys’ share were given to them. It seems there was a practice before of taking out their share first before anything was distributed.
You know what happened one morning in 1946? Squirrels came on to Bhagavan’s sofa for cashew nuts. The nuts, which used to be in the tin near Bhagavan, were exhausted. Groundnuts were given instead. The squirrels would not eat them and began to express their discontent in all possible ways.“We don’t have them, my dears. What to do?” said Bhagavan, and tried to cajole them. No. They would not be appeased.
They were crawling over the legs and hands of Bhagavan continuously as a sign of their displeasure.So Bhagavan asked Krishnaswami to go and find out if there was any stock of cashew nuts in the store-room. Krishnaswami went and brought a few nuts. “Is that all?” asked Bhagavan. Krishnaswami said they were preparing payasam that night and so they could spare only that much. Bhagavan felt annoyed and said, “I see. Payasam will not be less tasteful if the cashew nuts are a little less in quantity than usual. What a pity. These squirrels do not like anything less and they are worrying me.The storekeepers have declined to give cashew nuts saying that they will have to put them into the payasam. Who will be worried if there are no cashew nuts in the payasam? See how these children are worrying themselves for want of cashew nuts?” With that, the cashew nuts which should have gone into payasam, went into the stomachs of the squirrels and also into the tin by his side (for future feeding of the squirrels).
Source: Letters From and Recollections of Sri Ramanasramam by Suri Nagamma Translated from Telugu by D. S. Sastry