Scene 1

(Naren is meditating in his room. Enter Bhavananda.)

NAREN (stands up): Come in. Come in, please. I am so glad to see you. I have not seen you for a long time. I have many things to discuss with you. The first thing I would like to ask you is this: does God exist, brother? It seems to me that there is no God. And even if He exists, it makes no difference to me. He never hears, He never feels the excruciating pangs of the poor. He never feels the suffering of bleeding humanity. The God who cannot feed the hungry with a piece of bread is an indifferent God, a cruel God. Who can believe he will have all happiness, all satisfaction in the other world from that kind of God?

BHAVANANDA: Naren, have you gone crazy? What is wrong with you? What nonsense are you speaking? Why do you talk like this?

NAREN: Why not? Why not? Do you know, brother, what happened this morning? Early in the morning as I got up I was uttering the name of God most soulfully. My mother said to me, “Shut up. Since your childhood you have been praying to God and meditating on God. And now look what God has done to us. Your father has left this world, and misery, suffering and poverty have embraced us. We have no food, no money, no means of supporting the family. My heart is breaking into pieces. I cannot even feed my little children, my sweet children. I will have nothing to do with a God who cannot take away our sufferings.” Now tell me, brother, what am I supposed to say to my mother?

BHAVANANDA: Naren, let us not find fault with God. If you find fault with God, then some serious calamity will take place in your family. I am warning you.

NAREN: I am not afraid of anything. Let the worst possible calamity take place. I don’t give a damn. I don’t care.

BHAVANANDA: Naren, please go to Thakur from time to time. Thakur will be so sad to hear what is happening in your life. He is the only one who will be able to console you.

(Enter Bhupen.)

BHUPEN: Brother, please bring me some candy today. I am so fond of candy. Please don’t forget.

NAREN: Please, Bhupen, do not bother me. We are having a very serious conversation. Please, please go away, Bhupen. Don’t bother us right now.

BHUPEN: I will go away, but first you have to promise to bring candy for me. You have to bring candy without fail.

(Exit Bhupen.)

NAREN: So, brother, you see? I am his elder brother, and I will not be able to fulfil his loving demand. I have no money at all, not even enough to buy a piece of candy for him. He who cannot fulfil such a simple desire of a younger brother is not worthy of being called an elder brother. His life is a real disgrace. So why should I care for God? No! We Hindus worship stone gods, so our God has become stone-hearted.

BHAVANANDA: Don’t say so, Naren. God is all Compassion. I see that what I have been hearing from people is true: you have become an atheist.

(Exit Bhavananda.)

NAREN: A real friend, indeed! He came here to test me. He came here not to show his concern, but to know what kind of life I am leading. He came not as a friend, but as a critic, as a rogue, as a detective. No, I shall not go to Thakur any more. (Pauses.) But alas, what am I doing? What am I doing? Is not God-realisation the sole object of my life? To earn money, to feed a family, can never be the aim of my life. I must renounce the world. There is no other way. I must renounce the world and search for God. There can be no other way.

(Naren sings.)

Tamasa rate nayan pate
herile jadi amar pane
apan kare amai laho
he dayamoy karuna dane
tomar ami abodh shishu
ekla chali gahan pathe
duhate more jariye dharo
bhasiye jena na jai srote

(In the dark and dense night,
You cast Your benign Eyes upon me.
Take me and make me Your very own, offering Your Compassion.
I am Your innocent child. Alone do I walk on a thick, dense path.
With Your two Arms, embrace me.
Allow me not to be drowned and washed away by the turbulent currents of life.)

Sri Chinmoy, Drink, drink my Mother’s Nectar, Sky Publishers, New York, 1973