Baba started in 1966 for the WT trainees and senior workers. I went through it in Benares Training Center for seven consecutive days. Before receiving my instructions regarding SPT, the trainer told me a story:
A king introduced a new minister to his cabinet. The new man was very noble and soon became the king's favorite. This aroused jealousy among the cabinet ministers. The ministers spied on him, hoping to catch him making a mistake. After a few weeks they reported to the king that he was going nightly to the treasury.
Surprised, the king followed him the next evening and caught him red-handed when he emerged from the treasury holding a bag. The king demanded to know what he was doing.
The minister opened his bag and showed that it contained only some worn-out clothes. He then explained, "Sir, these are the old clothes that I used to wear before I became your minister. They are my only possessions. The clothes, the ornaments and the post that you have given me are not permanently bestowed. They can be seized by you at any moment. For this reason, I come here every evening just to look at my old clothes. By this I can remember my previous struggles ans compare them to my present status. This makes me humble and service-minded.
"If I forget my past I will become vain due to my powerful post and the possessions that I am given. I do not want to be lured by these impermanent objects."
Pleased by the minister's words, the king bowed and touched the minister's feet. The king then requested to be accepted by him as a disciple.
Similarly, in our organization, the workers should always remember their original identity as a sannyasi, characterized by having no name, fame, claim, dress, address or trace. Baba, as the supreme Authority, may appoint anybody to a high post, but if the person gets carried away with desire to pursue any of those six attributes, then he will be doomed to demotion or failure. Baba's inention when He introduced SPT was to pulverize one's false prestige and to encourage humility.
The next day, I started begging, obeying the rule that I must not utter any word except the mantra - "Hari om tat sat" (God is the only truth). As I walked the streets, I felt the weight of my ego push my head down. I was extremely ashamed to go begging. Never before had I even asked a stranger for a glass of water.
When I approached the first house, the housewife shouted at me to keep away. Feeling embarrassed, I left and then came across a chapati maker. I recited the Mantra and handed over my bag. He took a handful of wheat flour and gave it to me.
Next, i met a lady sweeper. Sweepers are considered to be one of the lowest castes. She gladly and respectfully gave some more flour. Seeing me taking food from the lady, her friends called me and filled my bag full with still more flour. Taking food from the so-called low caste people is considered sacrilegious for heigher castes. No matter how noble high caste people are, they usually still feel a little superiority towards others. This is because they have been brought up since childhood to look down on lower caste people. These deep rooted attitudes can be changed through the psychic clashes of SPT.
Once, as I was begging, I overheard a college student telling his companion that I was a lazy opportunist like the thousands of other beggars in Benares. I approached him and explained that I was doing penances to perfect myself and not indulging in slothfulness. He apologized and said he was pleased to discover that I was an Acarya. Later he took initiation.
On another day, I went to a house and uttered the mantra. The housewife invited me in and said that she knew that I was a sannyasi of Ananda Marga. She had been kind to the previous monks who had come begging and knew that we don't speak any word except the mantra. In spite of that, She insisted that I say someting about our philosophy - otherwise She would not give any food. I was happy for the opportunity to do pracar, so I sat and spoke. The lady was pleased and brought food for me. I refused it politely because I had spoken, so it was against the rules. Her husband appeared and scolded he for not giving food before I was asked to speak. Then he also urged me to take the food, but I explained that I was not begging merely to feed myself but to educate myself. As I was about to leave, the husband folded his hands respectfully and said that I am welcome to his house at any time and he promised to feed me abundantly.