One never requires thought about hunger in order to become hungry. It is as natural as breathing. However, it has great connection with the intensity of Bhakti or longing on the part of the aspirant. The more intense becomes the divine longing, the more reduced become the physical needs.
Even on this phenomenal plane, we often find worldly people becoming indifferent for a long time to what we call the indispensable necessities of life, in the heat and attraction of an absorbing work and pleasure. This is just what happens on the spiritual plane too. One may become so very preoccupied with the ideal in view as to forget all about these supposedly indispensable necessities of life for months together, without permanently harming oneself physically. No harm can come where there is no thought of any harm. And when we say that those who really insist on seeing God must renounce all and go about with their very lives in their shirt sleeves, we certainly mean that no consideration for any personal loss or danger should be entertained. We do not mean that the aspirant should commit suicide; but he should certainly cease to cling to life and be prepared to lose it if and when circumstances demand it.
This may seem impracticable, and it is certainly next to impossible for most persons to reach this height of Bhakti Yoga. Yet every human being is potentially capable of demonstrating this high achievement; and some, though very few in number, do manifest divinity in this way from time to time. To give a recent example, His Holiness Sadguru Upasni Maharaj of Sakori seated himself in seclusion about forty-five years ago on a hill near Nasik, for fully one year continuously, and during this whole period took neither food not water, even once. And yet he remained alive! A God-realized person can, if he or she so wishes, remain without food, water, or even breathing, for years together, but there is no wonder about it, as the God-Realized One possesses infinite powers.
But in the above example the noteworthy point is that at the time of remaining without food or water for one year, Shri Upasni Maharaj was not God-Realized. It was simply owing to the intensity of his divine longing that Shri Maharaj was able to forget the consciousness and needs of his corporeal frame.
The question may be asked as to what a man, who is completely renounced and retired into solitude, should do to secure the bare necessities of life, i.e., food, when he feels a great pinch of hunger. He must go a-begging for food, and for this purpose, may mix slightly with others tem-