Scene 1

(The cottage of the sage Ayodadhommya.)

AYODADHOMMYA: Aruni, my son, you are fond of me; I am proud of you. You have pleased me in every possible way, and I am proud of you at every moment.

ARUNI: Father, O Father of my heart and soul, O Father of my earthly existence, O Father of my Heavenly Delight, it is all due to your Grace that I am able to serve you.

AYODADHOMMYA (giving him a smile): My son, today I am in serious difficulty. I do not have a servant. I cannot afford a servant.

ARUNI: Father, why do you need a servant? This servant of yours will do anything for you. You know that. He may not do it according to your satisfaction, but he will do it gladly, cheerfully, wholeheartedly and unconditionally.

AYODADHOMMYA: Aruni, I know. I know you will do everything for me. To please me you came into the world. But, Aruni, this is a difficult task.

ARUNI: Please tell me. I shall do it to the best of my ability. I am at your command.

AYODADHOMMYA: If you think you can help me out, then go to my paddy-field, Aruni. You will see that the water is flowing out of the field through one levee which has given way. I tried my best to fix it but could not succeed. Water is passing through the levee. And if no water remains in the paddy-field, then we shall not have a good crop this season. A paddy-field needs much water.

ARUNI: Father, I shall fix it for you. Don’t worry.

(Exit Aruni.)

AYODADHOMMYA (to himself): I have never seen such a devoted, dedicated disciple. But, poor fellow, how will it be possible for him to stop the water from flowing out of the paddy-field? We need a servant, a strong man to fix the levee. Anyway, let me see what my dedicated spiritual son can do for me.

(Enter Ayodadhommya’s wife.)

WIFE: Is Aruni here?

AYODADHOMMYA: I have just sent him to the paddy-field to fix the levee.

WIFE: I have just come from there. I did not see him on the way.

AYODADHOMMYA: Perhaps he is going by some other route.

WIFE: Anyway, do you really think he will be able to fix it?

AYODADHOMMYA: I do hope so.

WIFE: I know he would give his life for you, for us. But if it is a task beyond his capacity, poor boy, what will he do?