Bama's magic circle

Bama lived across the river from his family. When his mother became seriously ill, he did not go to see her because he was practising austere disciplines. Then she died. Bama’s family wanted to bring the dead body to the other side of the river so that Bama could offer his last expressions of love and devotion to his mother. But a hurricane was in full swing and it was raining heavily. Therefore, they decided not to bring the dead body to the other side.

From his side of the river Bama saw quite a few people crying and lamenting, so he knew that a dead body had been brought to the river bank to be cremated. He wanted to see who had died, so he jumped into the water and swam across the river. Lo and behold, he saw his younger brother in the crowd of people. His younger brother had not informed him about his mother’s death, for Bama often did peculiar things, and he was afraid that Bama would do something unpleasant and embarrass the entire family.

When Bama saw his younger brother crying and weeping, he immediately realised what had happened. He didn’t say a word. He just grabbed his mother’s dead body and put the body into a nearby sack, which he placed on his shoulders. Then, chanting “Tara, Tara,” the name of his beloved Goddess, he brought his mother to the other side of the river where he practised his yoga. His brother and relatives were compelled to come to the other side by boat during the hurricane.

When they arrived, Bama said to his younger brother, “On the thirteenth day we must feed thousands of people.”

His brother said, “How? You know how poor we are.”

But Bama replied, “You don’t have to worry about it.”

His relatives, who did not appreciate Bama’s craziness, started laughing. They knew that Bama had practically nothing to eat for himself. Bama got furious and said, “I tell you, I will feed them.”

Early in the morning on the thirteenth day, many, many people began bringing all kinds of food to Bama’s house. They said that they had had a vision of a goddess that previous night. The goddess had told them that Bama was her dearest son and that, because his mother had passed away, today there was going to be a religious festival. The goddess had commanded them to bring food to Bama’s family so that the family could feed all the relatives, well-wishers and villagers who would come.

As soon as everybody had come, all of a sudden it started raining very, very heavily. Bama’s brother came to Bama and started crying, “O brother, you wanted to feed so many people. Now, by your grace, food has come, but we have no place to feed them. It is all open space. How can we feed people when it is raining so heavily? We can’t feed them in our house because it is too small. Food we have, but we have no shelter. So everybody is sad and unhappy.”

Bama said, “All right, come with me.” His brother followed him to his house. Some onlookers started laughing at Bama, while others showed him respect. No one knew what this crazy man was going to do and his presence created a commotion. Then Bama took a small stick and made a very big circle and said, “All of you come inside this circle. If you are inside the circle, you will not be affected by the rain at all.”

When they all came inside, everyone was amazed, for it continued raining heavily right outside the boundary of the circle. But inside, all of them were perfectly safe; inside the circle they ate to their heart’s content. But as soon as the meal was over and they walked out of the circle to go home, they got thoroughly drenched. So they all came back into the circle and stayed there for a couple of hours until the rain finally stopped.