Scene 1

(Yagnyavalkya and Katyayani.)

YAGNYAVALKYA: Katyayani, I am now an old man.

KATYAYANI: My Lord, there comes a time when every human being becomes old. You are no exception.

YAGNYAVALKYA: Yes, you are right, Katyayani. Katyayani, I wish to make a simple suggestion to you. May I?

KATYAYANI: Certainly, by all means.

YAGNYAVALKYA: As you know, I have now reached a ripe old age. According to tradition, at this stage of life one must enter into the forest and offer one’s life to God in prayer and meditation. It is high time for me to do that.

KATYAYANI: Who stands in your way, my Lord? Certainly I am not the one who will ever prevent you from doing the right thing.

YAGNYAVALKYA: Thank you, thank you, my dear Katyayani. Now here is the problem.

KATYAYANI: What is it? Tell me, my Lord.

YAGNYAVALKYA: Before I leave, I wish to offer you half my wealth, property and possessions, and the other half I wish to give to my other wife, Maitreyi.

KATYAYANI: That is fine with me, although it is I who take care of you most of the time. Maitreyi only wastes her time in fruitless meditation.

YAGNYAVALKYA: Katyayani, my dear, Maitreyi’s meditation is not fruitless. Nor does she waste time when she meditates.

KATYAYANI: It is simply useless to tell you anything about Maitreyi. What I have said is not at all against her. I have just brought to your attention a mere fact, an undeniable fact. Anyway, since she too can claim you as her own, you may as well divide all your possessions between your darling Maitreyi and your maidservant Katyayani. I hate Maitreyi, I literally hate her! I do everything for you, and she takes all the credit. I have never seen such an irresponsible, careless and callous woman. Yet you love her dearly, more dearly than your very life. I tell you once and for all that I hate Maitreyi with all the hatred of the world at my command!

(Enter Maitreyi.)

KATYAYANI: Just think of the devil and the devil appears! Maitreyi, you have appeared unexpectedly, and I disappear deliberately!

(Exit Katyayani.)

MAITREYI: My Lord, I wish to meditate for a few minutes. Will you kindly join me?

YAGNYAVALKYA: Certainly I will.

(Yagnyavalkya and Maitreyi meditate together. Meditation over, Yagnyavalkya blesses Maitreyi.)

MAITREYI (thrilled and overjoyed): My Lord, O matchless sage, I have seen, I have seen!

YAGNYAVALKYA: What have you seen, Maitreyi?

MAITREYI: I have seen your third eye wide open. Fathomless is its beauty. Measureless is its power.

YAGNYAVALKYA: I am proud of you. I am proud of your aspiration. (Pauses.) Maitreyi, I have something quite important to discuss with you. Do you have the time?

MAITREYI: Of course, my Lord, for you I have always the time. I am always at your disposal. This life of mine is ever at your express command.

YAGNYAVALKYA: I knew it. I knew it. Now Maitreyi, I have already discussed the matter with Katyayani. She has fully agreed.

MAITREYI: Please let me know what it is all about.

YAGNYAVALKYA: Ah, of course, forgive me. The time has at last come for me to enter into the forest and spend my remaining days meditating on the Absolute, offering my existence, inner and outer, to my inner Pilot.

MAITREYI: My Lord, indeed, that’s a splendid idea.

YAGNYAVALKYA: But listen, my divine wife. I want you to have one full half of my wealth, property and possessions, and the other half, needless to say, goes to Katyayani.

MAITREYI: My Lord, do listen to me first, before I accept or reject your kind offer. You have always taught me that material wealth is of no avail. It is nothing in comparison to the inner wealth. Why, then, do you bind me with material wealth? Tell me one thing, my Lord: will this material wealth in any way add to my heart’s mounting cry?

YAGNYAVALKYA: Unfortunately, no.

MAITREYI: Then why do you impose on me things that will take me away from the path of Truth, from the path of Divinity, from the path of Immortality? My Lord, my heart pines only for the immortal, transcendental Self. I want nothing but Immortality’s Life. Yenaham namrta syam kim aham tena kuryam. What shall I do with the things that cannot make me immortal? Let Katyayani have all your material wealth. Let her cherish your earthly possessions, and I shall treasure your Heavenly possession — your loftiest realisation, your total oneness with the Absolute.

YAGNYAVALKYA (while blessing Maitreyi): Maitreyi, you are my heart’s pride. You are my soul’s pride. You are the pride of the absolute Supreme. Your footprints on the sands of time are indelible. Maitreyi, here is my last request: please sing a few soul-stirring songs for me.

(Maitreyi sings.)

Yenaham namrta syam
kim aham tena kuryam

(What shall I do with the things that cannot make me immortal?)

Hiranmayena patrena
satyasyapihitam mukham
tat tvam pusan apavrnu
satya-dharmaya drstaye

(The Face of Truth is covered with a brilliant golden orb.
Remove it, O Sun, so that I who am devoted to the Truth may behold the Truth.)

Vedaham etam purusam mahantam
aditya-varnam tamasah parastat

(I have known this Great Being, effulgent as the sun, beyond the boundaries of tenebrous gloom.)

Anandadd hy eva khalv imani bhutani jayante
anandena jatani jivanti
anandam prayantyabhisam visanti

(From Delight we came into existence.
In Delight we grow.
At the end of our journey’s close,
Into Delight we shall retire.)

YAGNYAVALKYA: Maitreyi, dearer than my life, to you I offer my heart’s eternal gratitude. This heart of mine shall remain sempiternally with your supremely illumined heart in the direct Vision, pure Revelation and total Manifestation of the Absolute Supreme.