Scene 1

(The elder Haridas is extremely sick. He is lying down. Enter Govinda with some prasad [sacred food] sanctified by Chaitanya.)

GOVINDA: I have brought your food. Here is prasad for you. (Haridas gives him a thankful smile.) Don’t worry, you will be all right. Eat the prasad.

HARIDAS: I can’t eat my prasad yet.

GOVINDA: Why not?

HARIDAS: Because I have not yet finished my japa [repetition of a sacred name]. Today is the first day I have ever done my japa lying down. Today I am unable to get up from my bed, so I am doing my japa lying down, and it is not at all intense.

GOVINDA: You are sick. How can you expect your japa to be intense, Haridas? First you have to get well. As soon as you become strong, your intensity will return.

HARIDAS: No, I can’t eat the food. Oh, but I have to eat the prasad of my Lord Chaitanya, or it will be an insult to him. At the same time, if I eat it before finishing my japa, then also it will be an insult to him. In that case I shall eat a little, very little of his prasad, and then continue doing my japa. In that way I will not insult my Lord by rejecting his sanctified food and, at the same time, I will not insult him by eating his food without earning it by doing my spiritual disciplines. (Takes a small mouthful of prasad. Enter Chaitanya.)

CHAITANYA: How are you today, Haridas?

HARIDAS: Lord, physically I am worse, but spiritually I am better. Spiritually I feel I have more love for you, I have more faith in you. But forgive me, my Lord, today for the first time in my life I have not been able to complete my japa. I am unable to get up from bed.

CHAITANYA: Don’t worry, Haridas. Countless times you have done japa. Lord Krishna is most pleased with you and I am most pleased with you. You have already achieved perfection in your spiritual life. Now you don’t have to do japa at all. You don’t need any meditation. This is the time for you to take rest and wait for the call from the Beyond, from the other world.

HARIDAS: My Lord, I am ready for your call from the other world. But you have to fulfil a desire of mine. Will you not fulfil my last desire? You have always pleased me; you have always spoken highly of me, although I don’t deserve your praise at all. I came of a very low family. I was an untouchable. Everybody hated me. But you lifted me up. You gave me status. You gave me name and fame. You made me very close to you. My Lord, this life of mine is only a life of gratitude to you. You have made me what I am. What I was is unthinkable. What I have become is all through your compassion.

CHAITANYA: Your power of receptivity has deeply pleased my heart of love and compassion. Now tell me, please. I want to know your last desire.

HARIDAS: My last desire is that you should place your feet on my heart before I die. You are my whole world. When you place your feet on my heart, I will get infinite Joy, Peace and Bliss. You have been telling us for the past few months that you will soon leave the world. But my only desire is for you to place your feet on my heart and let me die before you, my Lord. That is my last desire.

(Chaitanya embraces Haridas.)

CHAITANYA: Govinda, go and bring a few disciples of mine. Let us sing Hari Bol. Let us sing our kirtan [religious song in honour of Sri Krishna].

(Exit Govinda. Re-enter with ten disciples. They start singing Hari Bol, Hari Bol. Chaitanya places his foot on Haridas’ heart.)

HARIDAS: My Lord, you are my world. You are my light. You are my heart’s breath. You are my soul’s delight.

(Haridas dies. Chaitanya lifts up Haridas’ body and begins to dance, singing Hari Bol, Hari Bol.)

CHAITANYA: He has gone to my other home. I have two homes: one on earth and one in Heaven. He has gone to my Heavenly home. He will make everything ready for my arrival. In the spiritual life there is no caste; there is no rank. He came of a low family, but in God’s Eye we are all one. Truth is not the monopoly of the Brahmins. Truth is everybody’s property. He who realises the Truth is above all others. Haridas has realised the Truth. He is above everything, above everybody. To have a disciple like Haridas is something. To fulfil his last desire is something. To be with him in the other world is something. Something good. Something divine. Something immortal.

Sri Chinmoy, Lord Gauranga: Love Incarnate, Sky Publishers, New York, 1973