Fanatical devotion or true devotion?After taking the fruit, Sri Ramakrishna said to Nag Mahashay, "You are thirsty. You are hungry. I want you to go and eat." Sri Ramakrishna asked Shashi, another one of his disciples, to prepare some food for Nag Mahashay.
Nag Mahashay listened to his Master and went downstairs. Then he realised that it was Ekadasi — the eleventh day of the new moon, which is a day of fasting. So Nag Mahashay would not touch any food.
Shashi went and reported to Sri Ramakrishna, "He is not going to eat today."
Sri Ramakrishna said, "Go and ask him the reason why he does not want to eat."
After a few moments, Shashi came back and said to Sri Ramakrishna, "He is telling me that today is Ekadasi. He will eat only if the food is blessed by you."
"Then bring it, bring it," said Sri Ramakrishna. "I will bless it."
So Shashi held the banana leaf plate with the food before Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Ramakrishna took a little from each dish and touched it with his tongue to sanctify it. Nag Mahashay was so happy that his Master had blessed the food. He took it as prasad and ate voraciously. When he had finished the meal, he also ate the banana leaf on which it had been served. His spiritual brothers said to him, "What are you doing? How can you eat a banana leaf?"
Nag Mahashay replied, "Why not? It has the same taste. The Master touched it. To me, it is as delicious as the food itself."
After that time, whenever the disciples served Nag Mahashay prasad on leaves, they used to watch him very carefully. As soon as he had finished eating, they used to snatch away the banana leaf before he could eat it. Or they used to give him his food deliberately on a proper plate so that he could not devour the plate. And whenever they offered him any fruit, they used to take out the seeds and pits so that he would not eat them also. For, if anything was given to him as prasad, he would not leave any portion of it because he felt it was a blessingful gift from his Master.
No other disciple of Sri Ramakrishna had that kind of devotion. You may call it fanatical devotion, but I call it true devotion.