Scene 2

(Time: Dawn. The children of the cosmic gods are playing in Heaven at the command of Lord Indra. For a whole year, they will be observing great festivities for India’s independence.)

FIRST CHILD: Delight, delight everywhere! The moment we desire anything, we get it! We get everything for the asking. We do not have to pray and meditate in order to achieve anything. Yet, a burning desire I cherish to accept human life. Do you know, my friends, why I entertain this kind of desire?

SECOND CHILD: I do know why.

THIRD CHILD: And I also know! Our Lord Indra accepted the human body. The Guru of the cosmic gods, Brihaspati; the great sage Narada; Lord Brahma; Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva from time to time also accept human life. Leaving Heaven, they play their respective roles for Mother Earth by taking human form.

FIRST CHILD: But why? Here there is no dearth of anything. Again, perhaps there is no true joy in enjoyment if no austerity is needed to achieve something. Therefore, perhaps there is no joy here in Heaven after all. Yes, this is the very reason for Heaven-dwellers to descend to earth. How strange! Although human beings are desperately longing for a divine life, their desire is not fulfilled. At the same time, we divine beings have everything, yet there is somehow a sense of sorrowful unfulfilment.

THIRD CHILD: In order to inseparably and eternally remain with the Lord Supreme, one has to take a human body. One must aspire to be His close companion on earth.

FIRST CHILD: Let us go and take a human body on earth! We know how weak all human beings are, how helpless they are, how insufficient and incomplete they are. Nevertheless, God has very special Blessings, very special Compassion and very special Concern for them. Therefore, He Himself descends to earth in human form, in a human body.

SECOND CHILD: I, too, have a strong desire to enter into the world. Let us all go together!

THIRD CHILD: Are you insane? Do you know that there is an animal in the desert that eats cactus? Its mouth bleeds, yet it continues to eat the cactus! (All of the children burst into laughter.)

FIRST CHILD: I have heard that the Mother of Illusion takes away all the knowledge and power of the cosmic gods when they enter into human life. Therefore, fear is torturing me!

THIRD CHILD: Then why are you pining for human birth? You can see from here what they are doing on earth. Today, here in Heaven, a play is being staged about the life of Bengal’s beloved son Deshabandhu. Let us go and watch!

SECOND CHILD: I am also eager to watch. Since we do not know earth-life well, let us first become fully acquainted with it here, in the safety of Heaven. Let us go and watch the play about the life of Deshabandhu Chitta Ranjan.

FIRST CHILD: Look, look! A new scene!

(They retire to one side of the stage and watch. Deshabandhu song is heard. The curtain rises to show an earthly scene.)

(Place: Darjeeling. Deshabandhu [Friend of the Nation] is bedridden. His days are numbered; death is fast approaching. Beside him are Raja Manilal Singh and Debendra, two of his attendants.)

RAJA: Gurudev, you are the peerless wealth of our country. God will not allow you to leave your Motherland. But I do hope you are observing a proper diet!

DESHABANDHU: I am regularly irregular in my diet.

RAJA: When you are well, you must go to England for a change of scenery, to recuperate completely.

DESHABANDHU: Where will I get the money? Do you not know that I am utterly poverty-stricken?

RAJA: But there is so much money in your party fund.

DESHABANDHU: That fund is sacred. I cannot touch it!

RAJA: All right, we shall raise funds. Your health is of first and foremost importance.

DESHABANDHU: No, no. I have given up all my lofty dreams. Mother India’s bondage-life has stabbed my heart with excruciating pangs. I must not flee to England for comfort. Again, who would give me the money? I am a veritable beggar.

DEBENDRA: Gurudev, I beg to be excused! Do not allow the pitiful word “beggar” to cloud your self-offering-sun. You have renounced all your vast riches to liberate our Motherland. The other day Mahatma Gandhi said, “Deshabandhu has sacrificed everything. He is, indeed, an all-sacrificing sannyasi. He has even offered his own house to the poor and needy.” I told Mahatma that my boss has offered millions and millions of rupees to the undeserving people, and the result is that now he is penniless; he has absolutely no money of his own.

DESHABANDHU: Shut up! How dare you say “undeserving”? Who is deserving and who is undeserving? We must needs give our all to see the living Presence of God inside each and every human being if we dare to dream of fulfilling God’s Will here on earth.

(At that moment from behind the curtain several voices: Bande Mataram! Deshabandhu ki jai! “Victory to Deshabandhu!”)

FIRST CHILD (deeply inspired): Blessed, Deshabandhu, are you. Blessed is your life on earth.

THIRD CHILD: I do not know why here in Heaven they are creating such a fuss over an ordinary human being!

SECOND CHILD: An ordinary human being? Deshabandhu is not an ordinary human being! He should be our ideal. I am going to take incarnation in his Motherland, Bengal. I shall take Mother Bengal as my own, very own. I wish to be blessed by her, just as Deshabandhu has been richly and gloriously blessed.

FIRST CHILD: I shall accompany you.

THIRD CHILD: I am not going! From here in Heaven I shall enjoy watching you. Whenever you are in need of anything, I shall send it from here. When the great Mother of Illusion makes you forget that you were once upon a time the children of the cosmic gods, in secret I shall arrive and remind you of what you were, and I shall save you.

(From behind the curtain: Bande Mataram! Deshabandhu ki jai! “Victory to Deshabandhu!” Then the song to Tagore’s words Ennechile sathe… [You came into the world with an immortal heart, and you left it here on your way back] is heard.)