It was a custom in SriMaTham to give the elephants there large balls of annam (cooked rice) mixed with jaggery every evening. The mahout would take the ball in his hand and put it straight into the elephant's mouth.
One day, when it was time to feed the elephants, Periyavaa came that side casually. He glanced at the sAdam made into balls. He ordered the disciple nearby, "Tell the mahout not to feed these balls to the elephant" and moved away.
He called the manager unrgently.
"The annam kept for feeding the elephant has not been boiled properly. It is dry and peeling off in flakes. The tIni (feed) should not be given in this way, with ashraddhA (want of trust and care). Because it is an animal that is speechless, can you give the sAdam only half boiled? Tell it to the mahout. The elephant should be given sAdam in the same way that the nivedanam (offer) is given to sAkSAt gajamukhan (the visible, elephant-faced Ganesha)... That much bhakti is needed; shraddhA is needed...Let fresh rice be cooked and offered to the elephant..."
The disciples melted at the abundant compassion shown to a speechless animal.
Periyavaa did not touch and examine the cooked rice balls. Why, he did not even stop there for a moment to look at the balls!
How did he know then that they were not boiled properly and gone flaky at the surface?
Will the sarvajnatvam (omniscience) be expressed even in such small matters?