Lessons learnt from the kitchen sink

For as long as I have lived in the ashram I have wondered why the kitchen, which feeds 250 to 300 seekers daily, has only one kitchen sink. But I maintained an attitude of learning and tried not to comment on what I felt could have been done more logically…. but the question never went away from my mind.

How could it? Every time one was at the sink and trying to wash the dishes for a span of two hours or so, someone or the other would gently intervene and request to either fill a small container of water to clean the counter with, or rinse their hands between cooking, or they needed the sink as they felt like a cup of tea, the seeker about to chop cilantro would bring her colander to rinse the leaves and the one who wanted to churn buttermilk would require the sink as well … and so the flow of users remained uninterrupted!

kitchen-sink-31So the heap of dishes would get washed at a staggered but even pace that took into account all the interruptions.  No one ever questioned the absence of another sink. One kitchen sink was accepted as a way of life. Everyone was content.

I tried hard to align myself with everyone, always thinking that a couple more sinks would have been the more efficient way to go.

Suddenly, only a couple days ago a new understanding suddenly slid into my consciousness.  This sink was nothing but God’s ‘Divine Design’!  I had been using my limited intellect all this while. But Spirituality is beyond the intellect. So I had to look beyond the illogical scenario and see the real purpose that this kitchen sink was fulfilling. I realized that God did not merely want dishes to be washed. He wanted to create divinity within seekers.

This sink put one on the spot as it had the potential to precipitate the flaws within one – the slightest bit of irritation could easily be perceived by the interrupting seeker who now stood right beside one. So one’s patience had to develop and one’s love had to develop too, so that each interaction was gentle and friendly and even sublime.

The kitchen sink interruptions have served as a time to nudge the other and say something uplifting, share some advice or correct a mistake like ‘you have the tap open too wide, you‘re wasting water’.  Washing dishes for those two hours was really merely an excuse for the big picture which was that each of us was getting a chance to be washed up and sorted out on the inside.

Our Kitchen Sink has given us practical lessons on how to be in complete acceptance mode and has even got me to learn how to go beyond my intellect. Without this divinely orchestrated discomfort, where would we have got this almost laboratory like situation that induces internal transformation?

Read more:

The concept of Swechchaa, Parechchaa and Ishwarechchaa in spiritual practice and growth
Gratitude and spiritual closeness among seekers experienced in the āshram
If the student is willing, the Guru is always teaching



  • What a wonderful story, Sharon!
    Indeed, if allowing enough patience, each one from the crowd would begin to feel the sense of oneness emanating from the Self.
    Better still, the less words spoken, the more powerful the resonance in the universal tune of the unifying Silence…

  • Endless Love, absolute Truth and ultimate Reality are beyond rational knowledge. Mysticism speaks of a spiritual knowing, which is not rational and is independent of reason, logic or images. Da`at is Hebrew for “the secret sphere of knowledge on the cosmic tree.” Gnosis is Greek for the “intuitive apprehension of spiritual truths.” Jnana is Sanskrit for “knowledge of the way” to approach Brahman. Ma`rifa in Arabic is “knowledge of the inner truth. ”Panna in Pali is “direct awareness”; perfect wisdom. These modes of suprarational knowing, perhaps described as complete intuitive insight, are not divine oneness; they are actualizing our inherent abilities to come closer to the goal. It is consummate cognition, unmediated discernment, with certainty.

    “Great [spiritual] knowledge, round and clear, looks at a fine hair and comprehends the ocean of nature; the source of reality is clearly manifest in one atom, yet illumines the whole being. When myriad phenomena arrive, they must be at the same time, in one space; noumenon [spiritual essence] has no before or after.” Fa-Tsang [Hsien-shou] B

    “…most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty – which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive form – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of all religion.” Albert Einstein J

    “The knower and the known are one. Simple people imagine they should see God, as if He stood there and they here. This is not so. God and I, we are one in [spiritual] knowledge.” [Meister] Eckhart C

    “The Sufi who knows the Ultimate Truth sets and speaks in a manner which takes into consideration the understanding, limitations and dominant concealed prejudices of his audience. To the Sufi, worship means [spiritual] knowledge. Through knowledge he attains sight. The Sufi abandons the three “I’s. He does not say ‘for me’, ‘with me’, or ‘my property’. He must not attribute anything for himself.” Ibn El-Arabi I

    “…therefore, in order to achieve that state of Silence which is beyond thought and word, either the path of [spiritual] knowledge, which removes the sense of “I,” or the path of devotion, which removes the sense of “mine,” will suffice. So there is no doubt that the end of the paths of devotion and knowledge is one and the same.” Ramana Maharishi H

    (quoted from my e-book at http://www.suprarational.org )

  • Wow. What an insight. It’s amazing how much you can learn from a single sink, huh. This was educational, inspiring and eye-opening for me. I love the connection made by the sink. Where we were looking lack God was showing His purpose and divine ingenuity.

  • Good observation and a true example in daily life.

    If their has never been an interference, their will never be irritation. Ultimately, their will never be in use of our intellect.

    Also, if we limit ourselves to our intellect only, we would never feel peace or love without expectations.
    Ultimately, we will never be capable to be one with god.


  • Cheryl Petersen

    Very beautiful. The simplicity and truth of spiritual sense. Thank you.

  • Good thought!
    Yesterday, I happened to wait near the kitchen sink in my house, when my brother was washing his plate. I was impatient. But I thought that there is something to learn here. Truly i was not knowing about this. Thank you for the good direction of thought. It is true that god teaches us every minute. Accidentally I happened to see the blog today!

  • Beautiful.

    If only we think of everything as part of the Divine Design: this nature, trees, birds, soil, weather, this body, and all this. The mind stills. Silence dwells in the heart.

    One little question remains- Who am I?

  • I wondered what the answer would be, had spiritual emotion as went on reading through.



  • aravind rajagopalan

    Look into the energy aspects or transfer of energies related to cleaning and waste disposal. It will you lead to verify the conventional methods of cleaning as right or wrong, harmful or harmless.

  • Beautiful article! It is rightly said by the wise seers that God has created everything and creates every situation in our life with only one objective – that is being able to go closer to Him by learning the spiritual perspective that underlies everything. This article is a superb example of the same.

  • Nice.. getting clarity what is meant by learning through situations. Thank you.

  • Krishna K Mandava

    beautiful and I learnt a lesson too..Gratitude to ShreeKrushna

  • Very thought provoking. Happens at home too,
    balancing irritations and developing love instead is constantly to be nurtured. Thankyou so much.

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