Scene 1

(Vidyasagar’s house in Calcutta. Vidyasagar is studying most attentively in his room. Enter Vaishnab Charan Pundit. They bow to each other and exchange greetings.)

PUNDIT: I have been here in Calcutta for a few days. I am sorry that I was not able to come and pay my respectful homage to you earlier.

VIDYASAGAR (smiling): I am so glad, so proud, that you have come to my home at last. Is everything going well with you? Please have a seat.

PUNDIT (taking a seat): Everything is fine, by God’s Grace. How is your health, Vidyasagar?

VIDYASAGAR: Not good. My body is not functioning well. I am old. Now I am preparing myself for the other world.

PUNDIT: Don’t say that, Vidyasagar. Don’t you know that in your absence thousands and thousands of people will be fatherless? This health, this body you have to maintain for at least one hundred years.

VIDYASAGAR: Don’t curse me, brother, don’t curse me. Already things have started to go wrong in my family. My son has become disobedient. He has cast a slur on our family. I do not know how much more suffering is in store for me.

PUNDIT: Ungratefulness is the order of the day. Bengalis have become an object of pity just because they have become totally ungrateful. The other day we had a special meeting of Pundits, and at that meeting the Pundit Panchanan said that you have ruined the Hindu religion. He said that with the help of a number of Hindu youths you are destroying the whole country. He said that there is nothing divine in your activities, no true feeling or self-sacrifice in your selfless service for Bengal. He feels it is all for name and fame. I am so sorry to tell you this. You have no idea how I suffered, and how I have been suffering for the past few days, since I heard Panchanan, of all people, speaking against you.

VIDYASAGAR: There is nothing to feel sorry about. Everything is God’s game. I do nothing, my friend. It is God who works in and through me. I am just an instrument: Nimitta matram. But I feel that you have made a mistake. I feel that you have heard something wrong. (Pauses.) I have never done any service for that Pundit. How is it that he speaks ill of me? I have come to the conclusion that only those whom I have helped in some way will criticise me. Those whom I have not helped in any way will never criticise me. And I clearly remember that I have not helped Panchanan in any way. I am sure he was speaking of somebody else.

(Enter Hriday.)

HRIDAY: O sage, my maternal uncle is constantly praying to God and meditating on God. By thinking and praying all the time he has become insane. Today he feels like seeing you, Vidyasagar.

PUNDIT: Your uncle? The Thakur of Dakshineshwar?

HRIDAY: Yes, he is outside.

PUNDIT: Outside! Why didn’t you bring him in? (Vaishnab Charan Pundit goes out and brings Ramakrishna in. He then speaks to Vidyasagar.) Today Paramahansa, the great liberated soul, the realised soul, has come to you. You can be extremely proud that he has come to you.

(Sri Ramakrishna bows to Vidyasagar. Vidyasagar in turn bows and offers Ramakrishna a seat.)

SRI RAMAKRISHNA: For so long I have been living in a small pond. Today I have come to the ocean.

VIDYASAGAR: Since you have come to the ocean, please accept some saline water. It is all I can offer you.

SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Vidyasagar, you are doing well. It is good to show love and compassion. But attachment is very bad. When someone loves only the members of his own family it is attachment. One has to see God in everyone. When a person sees the presence of God in everyone, that is called compassion. I have come to visit you because I see that you serve God in everyone. I have come to appreciate your divine wisdom. Do you think that you have grown horns, and that that is why I have come to see you?

VIDYASAGAR: Today any home has been sanctified by your feet. Today my home becomes a place of pilgrimage.

PUNDIT (to Vidyasagar): He is all divine Love. His madness is the intoxication of divine Love. Like Sri Chaitanya, he enters into the great samadhi, the transcendental trance.

VIDYASAGAR: Yes, I know it. I can see it. I can feel it. (To Ramakrishna.) This boy, does he serve you? (Indicating Hriday.)

SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Ask him if he serves me or controls me. I am terribly afraid of him.

HRIDAY: Uncle, it is very bad on your part to say so. Have I ever disobeyed you? Have I ever governed you’? Do you ever listen to me? You do not pay any attention to the outer world. You forget about the weather; you forget about food. That is why I take care of you. Sometimes I kindly command you to do a few things, but it is only for your health. Don’t make me feel ashamed whenever we go places, or I shall go away. I do not have to help you, and if you don’t care for my services I shall not remain with you any longer. (He begins to leave.)

SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Oh, don’t go, don’t go, Hriday. Don’t leave me alone. (To Vidyasagar and Pundit.) My nephew is so nice. He loves me day and night. If he had not been with me, who would have taken care of me? I even forget to put on my clothes. If he did not control me, then how could he show his face in respectable society? I would shame him and all my family. (Hriday comes back and sits down, appeased.) Vidyasagar, again I wish to tell you that you are doing the right thing. You are serving God in humanity. You are serving God with utmost Love. That is why God is pleased with you. Your life of sacrifice will be remembered by the world forever.

(Ramakrishna rises. Vidyasagar and Pundit both rise and bow to Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna bows to them. Exeunt Ramakrishna and Hriday.)

PUNDIT: He is really a great spiritual Master. I have heard much about him, and I inwardly feel what he is.

VIDYASAGAR: I also feel what he is. He is really great. He is not only the pride of Bengal and India, but the pride of the entire world. (Pauses.) Work, work, work! Alas, my days are numbered. Yet I have not been able to serve God devotedly and soulfully. I am unable to think of my Inner Pilot because I am constantly thinking of other people and helping others. And people don’t even speak well of me. They don’t even appreciate me. If I do not bring my Inner Pilot into my life, my service to mankind will be of no use.

PUNDIT: Vidyasagar, you are really great. Your sincerity has touched the very depths of my heart. You are playing your role most devotedly, most soulfully. The creator in you is truly great, but unfortunately the critic in you is creating problems. Do not be the critic, but be the lover of humanity. You are the creator, creating love in mankind. Perfection you want, and perfection God will give you. It is the constant dedicated service you are doing for Him and for humanity that will give you perfection. You act. In your action self-perfection will dawn. Self-criticism will never give you perfection. Vidyasagar, I am advising you, but it is you who should advise me every second of my life.

VIDYASAGAR: No, God is speaking in and through you. I am so grateful to you, Pundit. From now on, now that I have seen Ramakrishna, I will pay more attention to my spiritual life. My spiritual life and my life of dedication to mankind will go together. My life of realisation and my life of dedication, which is the manifestation of Love and Light on earth, will go together from now on.

PUNDIT: Vidyasagar, a man like you is very rare. Bengal is blessed because she can claim you as her own. Mother Earth is blessed because she has you as her chosen son.

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