The new devotee reached the Teacher’s abode. He wanted quick self-actualisation, and asked of the
Teacher – “tell me the Word, so that I may be free of all bondage.”
The Teacher said before the Word could be whispered in his ear, and could enter his consciousness, the devotee would need to take self-cleansing steps. The steps appear simple; he is to speak the truth, not indulge in slander, and not covet what belongs to others. These steps would remove anger, envy, and greed, and make the devotee a recipient fit enough to imbibe the Word.
But the devotee wants the Word first, and despite much guidance from the Teacher, is adamant.
One morning, the devotee finds the Teacher waiting outside his house. He has a begging bowl and asks the devotee for gift of one pound of flour. The devotee brings a sack of flour and wants to gift it to his teacher, but now finds the teacher adamant; he wants the flour to be placed in the begging bowl. Just as the devotee is about to place the flour, he sees that the bowl is full of muck. He quickly takes away his hand, and asks the Teacher to clean the begging bowl. The Teacher insists on receiving the flour in the bowl, but the devotee holds back. He says that if dispended into an unclean vessel, the flour will go waste.
And the teacher says, “You will not place a pound of flour in an unclean vessel, but you would have me place the Word in an unclean body vessel. Just as muck would reduce the flour to waste, the anger and untruth in your consciousness would reduce the Word to just a sound or a spot of ink. Therefore, begin to clean your thoughts, and return for the Word as a worthy recipient.”
Guru Granth Sahib says:
Wash the vessel, sit down and anoint it with fragrance.