Scene 1(Chaitanya is alone.)
CHAITANYA: Krishna, where are you? Where are you? I can no longer bear your absence. I want only a glimpse of your smile, O my beloved Krishna, O my All. Show yourself to me. If not, to death this body of mine I shall give.
(Enter Sribas, Gadadhar and some of Chaitanya’s other close disciples, who sit near the Master’s feet.)
CHAITANYA: I am glad to see you all. I wish to tell you something quite important. I shall leave you soon. With an unparalleled devotion you all have served me. I offer to each of you my heart’s ceaseless gratitude. But I must go. I must go and find my beloved Krishna. Once I find him, I shall be back.
SRIBAS: Lord, your cruel announcement falls on us like a thunderbolt. Perhaps others can survive being separated from you, but I shall never survive it.
GADADHAR: I have lost all faith in God. Our Lord wants to see Krishna, and for that he is leaving us all. He is forsaking even his old mother. God’s ways are not mysterious at all. They are just cruel, unbearably and unpardonably cruel.
CHAITANYA: Gadadhar, for God’s sake, aim not your venomous arrow at my heart. My Lord Krishna is all Love, all Compassion, all Perfection. Indeed, my greatest difficulty lies in leaving my old mother. I must overcome the problem. With Krishna my life is my heart’s delight. Without Krishna my life is the torture of hell. Meaningless and fruitless is my life without him. I need only Krishna.
(Enter Shachi, Chaitanya’s mother.)
SHACHI: Nimai, I have just come to learn that you are leaving me. My son, that can never be done. Impossible! Your elder brother took to sannyasa. He renounced the world. I shall not allow you to follow in his footsteps. Time and again you promised me that you would not desert me like your brother. Tell me frankly, are you determined to leave me, my son? Don’t you know that I cannot bear your absence even for a fleeting second?
CHAITANYA: O Mother of my heart and soul, Krishna is calling me. Mother, please, please allow me to go. I want to go to a sacred place. I feel that then I shall be able to meet my Krishna. Mother, without your full permission I shall not go. But if you allow me to go and find my Krishna, I promise you, Mother, I shall be back.
SHACHI (blessing Chaitanya): My heart’s pride, my life’s only joy, you have my sanction. You go in search of your beloved Krishna. After you have found him, come back without fail. I shall be counting the moments until your safe return. (With folded hands and closed eyes she prays.) O Lord Krishna, show yourself to my Nimai. You are his All. And he is my All.
(Chaitanya touches his mother’s feet and goes away. Shachi opens her eyes.)
SHACHI: Nimai, Nimai!
ECHO: Nai, nai … [nowhere, nowhere]