We would say this was simply a very strict test of the would-be student in their willingness and ability to follow and agree to specific instructions, without taking a shortcut or carrying out a manipulation to circumvent what is asked of them if they fear they cannot measure up, rather than deal with the dilemma honestly and directly. In this case, the student said nothing about the impossibility of the challenge given him, so his fearful reluctance to raise the issue out in the open was, in a way, a demonstration of inner weakness, fearing he would be judged unworthy by the guru and was looking for a way out. So rather than own up to his present physical condition and negotiate for a greater time in carrying out the guru’s instructions and seeking the counsel and wisdom of the guru to help him with his dilemma in the highest and best way, he came up with a compromise to skirt the issue, seemingly, in offering the largest potato to the homeless person.
While seemingly an act of charity that could be considered faultless and an act of generosity, if it is done unilaterally it could well be taken as an offense by someone who is homeless but quite sensitive to being seen and judged that way by a stranger assuming they need charity and then offering something meager. This could be seen as quite presumptuous and a kind of judgment of the homeless person having the lowly status of being impoverished, even to the extent of needing some help to avoid starvation. So this was an assumption by the would-be student, and so his actions were interpreted as being self‑serving more so than altruistic, and done more out of weakness to serve the self without taking into account other options that would be seen by the guru as arising from inner strength and self-confidence, and therefore a greater readiness to be accepted for high-level instruction.
There are many acts by humans done as a contrivance and a convenience because people feel what is seen by others, while only a surface layer, is adequate to meet expectations and will enable them to be accepted in meeting the criteria from a moral and ethical perspective. This is a shallow perspective that fails to reckon with the reality of the Law of Karma seeing the person’s intention first and foremost, and then secondarily looking at the consequences of what they feel, think, and do. The person’s intentions are far more important in weighing the overall equation of positive and negative results from what happens and goes on record for all of time within the akashic records. So even when your actions might look good on the surface to others, the Law of Karma might see them as being a weak or inappropriate choice because the inner intentions are not lofty but self‑serving in some way, given deeper considerations having an influence on the outcome. When the inner motivation and influences give rise to a less than desirable outcome, with respect to personal responsibility and being in divine alignment as a criterion for success, the variance represents a healing need and this is the obligation of each person to see to.