How sweet and tempting is sugar cane

It was the time of Kali Puja, the festival of Mother Kali. A certain family was performing the Kali Puja festival. There were many sacrifices offered. Among them the most important was the sacrifice of a live goat. Someone would hold the legs of the animal tightly while the head was placed at the other end of the scaffold. In order for the sacrifice to be successful, the priest had to perform the sacrifice with one stroke of the sharp scimitar. If the priest failed in the first stroke it was said that the devil’s doings would befall on the family that was performing the festival.

Afterwards it was customary that fruits also be sacrificed to the Mother Kali. These fruits, in order to make the sacrifice successful, must also be cut in half by the priest with only one stroke of the scimitar. Then the priest flings the fruit out to the audience — the lucky ones catching it.

Soon came the time for the sugar cane sacrifice. The sugar cane was placed on the scaffold that held the goat and the fruits. The top portion of the sugar cane has a few leaves and is not edible, but the main body of the sugar cane plant is most delicious.

A young boy of about seven noticed that some of his friends who had been standing near the top portion of the sugar cane had quietly moved around the back of the audience to the other side so that they could now stand near the other end of the altar. They knew that the body of the sugar cane would be flung in their direction.

The priest had grasped the scimitar in both hands and swung it back above his head, even extending his hands behind his head in order to get better leverage for the final thrust of the scimitar necessary to perform the job successfully. Just as the priest was beginning to swing, the boy of seven jumped over the scaffold. In the nick of time the priest halted his reflex and returned the scimitar back.

What a panic from the whole audience! The boy had had a hair’s breadth escape from a great calamity! Had it been otherwise, he would now have been in the "other world”. Fortunately, the Divine in the priest had immediately endowed him with the life-saving skill.

The father of the boy, approaching him in a calm and quiet manner, embraced his son with both arms. There was not a trace of worry or anxiety in his face, but there was tranquil joy streaming forth.

The father approached the priest and taking him aside in a corner said, "You have saved my son’s life. Whatever you want I shall immediately give you — money, property, or anything else I have. I shall give you here and now.”

The priest, still trembling from the experience, cried out to the father: “Reward! What reward? I have saved my mentor’s dearest son! What greater joy can there be on earth than to save my deeply esteemed mentor’s youngest son!"

From:Sri Chinmoy,AUM — Vol. 7, No.12, July 27, 1972, AUM Centre Press, 1972
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