Below is the translation to Veda Paati's story, narrated in tamil, available in below platforms:
Did I save the sweet fruits for offering to Rama like Sabari
Swami RAmAnujA was elated to hear so many stories from RAmAyaNA. Would another one yet be a reminder of his past, he thought to himself, as the little girl narrated the story of Sabari!
In the South of India, there is a beautiful river called the Pampa river. At the banks of this river lived a Sage called Mathanga muni. Mathanga muni often did Yagas along with several other Rishis and his Sishyas, collectively praying for the wellbeing of the world.
One day, a little girl chanced upon his Ashram. She was fascinated by this peaceful, lively and divine Ashram, that she had no heart to leave. This little girl, Sabari, not only stayed in the Ashram but volunteered service for all the Bhagavathas of the Ashram. She would remove stones and thorns, so that they could walk without being hurt. She would beautify the Ashram by always keeping it clean and drawing kolams. She would pluck beautiful flowers for their Puja and fruits for their partaking. And so Sabari did all that was in her ability to serve those in the Ashram.
The pure-hearted Sabari, who witnessed the Yagas and heard the beautiful recitation of the Vedas and Shlokas, earned good Punya and Bhakti. As days passed, Sabari grew old. Even during her old age, she continued doing her service without fail.
Mathanga muni called her one day and said “Dear Sabari Ma, It is time for me and my Sishyas to leave this worldly abode and journey towards the Lord. You have served us selflessly all these years and your Punya has grown multifold. Please remain here and welcome Lord Rama who will eventually visit our Ashram. He is none other than Lord Sriman Narayana. Please be hospitable towards Him and serve Him.” Hearing this, Sabari’s joy knew no bounds!
From then on, she would keep the Ashram always ready for the arrival of Lord Rama. She was very eager to prepare food for her divine guests but was anxious because she did not know when they would arrive. What to prepare and when to do so?
While walking around the Ashram, an idea occurred to her. There were many trees, hence why not offer fruits? These would always be available for her guests. She tasted the fruits, and if they were sweet, would pick more fruits from the same tree. She would dry them in the sun and keep them prepared and ready. She even got the seats ready for her guests and was waiting upon them day and night.
Meanwhile, Lord Rama and His brother Lakshmana are in the Dandakaranya forest, searching for Mother Sita desperately. They were serving a 14-year exile in the forest as per their father King Dasharatha’s orders. In the 14th year, Mother Sita was abducted by the ten-headed tyrant of Srilanka, RAvaNA. The distraught Rama and Lakshmana meet Kabandha, the headless creature, and free him from his curse. He then guided the divine brothers towards the Pampa river, asking them to get help from the monkey king Sugreeva.
Lord Rama and Lakshmana, while on their search for Sugreeva along the banks of Pampa, chance upon the Ashram of Sage Mathanga. Sabari saw them walking towards the Ashram from a distance, and was ecstatic.
She invited them with boundless affection, washing their feet and seating them. Sabari rushes to bring the fruits that she had painstakingly collected over time and offers them to Her Lord.
“My guru Sage Mathanga anticipated Your arrival to our Ashram, dear Lord. Be my guest, and please offer me moksha to be with my Guru once again!”, she begs in joy. The Lord enjoys the simple fruits offered by this innocent devotee with so much affection. “How sweet these fruits are”, exclaims Rama sharing some with his beloved brother. Sabari brings her guests around the Ashram, where many special divine spots bring calmness to the mind of Rama.
“Did I, like Sabari, offer flowers or fruits or wash the feet of my Lord, Vaithamanidhi Perumal?”