Scene 1

(Vishwamitra is meditating in his forest hermitage. Enter Brahma.)

BRAHMA: Vishwamitra, you have been humiliated by Vashishtha.

VISHWAMITRA: Brahma, at last! At last you have come! You have listened to my prayers. I have prayed to you for so many years. Today you have come to me.

BRAHMA: Yes, I have come to fulfil your desire. I have come to give you the knowledge of Brahman. Today you equal Vashishtha.

(Vishwamitra bursts into joyous laughter.)

VISHWAMITRA: Ah! Today at last I have equalled Vashishtha. That Vashishtha, who smashed my pride, whose cow Nandini smashed my pride! Now I equal him in the knowledge of Brahman. (Touching Brahma’s feet.) Oh Lord Brahma, I am so grateful to you. You have given me the knowledge of Brahman today.

(Brahma blesses Vishwamitra. Exit Brahma.)

VISHWAMITRA: Now I have got the knowledge of Brahman. I have equalled Vashishtha. Now I am not inferior in the knowledge of God and Truth. But still, I want to take revenge on him. He humiliated me like anything. I am on this side of the river Saraswati, and he is on the other side. Let me invoke the presiding deity of Saraswati.

(He invokes Saraswati, the presiding deity. Saraswati appears.)

VISHWAMITRA: Saraswati, I want you to do me a favour. Go to the other side of the river and bring Vashishtha here. If you do not do this, I shall annihilate you.

SARASWATI: O Sage, certainly I shall do it.

Scene 2

(Vashishtha is meditating, deep in trance. Enter Saraswati.)

VASHISHTHA: Can I be of any service to you?

SARASWATI: Yes, O Sage of the highest magnitude. Please come with me. Come, I shall take you to the other side of the river in a special boat, my boat. Vishwamitra needs your presence.

VASHISHTHA: Vishwamitra? What for?

SARASWATI: I do not know. But if I cannot take you to him, I am sure he will destroy me. You have more compassion than any human being on earth; your compassion is boundless. I know you will come with me. If I come to you with Vishwamitra’s message, I know this message of mine will not irritate you. You will not kill me with your occult power. You have the capacity to destroy but you are all forgiveness, you are all compassion. But if I don’t bring you, Vishwamitra will certainly destroy me.

VASHISHTHA: Saraswati, do not worry. I will come with you.

Scene 3

(Vishwamitra’s forest hermitage. Enter Saraswati and Vashishtha.)

VISHWAMITRA: Ah, Saraswati. You have done your job well. Any boon you ask for I shall fulfil. But first I am going to get a weapon to kill Vashishtha here and now.

(Exit Vishwamitra.)

SARASWATI (grabbing Vashishtha): Come! Come! Come! Let us go!

(Exeunt Saraswati and Vashishtha.)

Scene 4

(Vashishtha’s side of the river. Enter Saraswati and Vashishtha.)

VASHISHTHA: What a divine Lila — you take me and you bring me back.

SARASWATI: If I hadn’t taken you, he would have killed me. So I took you, and then he wanted to kill you. But I don’t want him to kill you. It is better for me to be killed. You have done no harm to him. You are all forgiveness, you are all compassion. Since I won’t be able to fulfil his desire, since I won’t be able to bring...

VASHISHTHA: Why not? You can take me. You did take me.

SARASWATI: Yes, you went, and you are ready to go again. You are most kind to me. But I don’t want you to be killed by him. You are a Brahmin. He is a Kshatriya. For a Kshatriya to kill a Brahmin is very bad. I will not allow it. No, I shall not. If he invokes me, I shall go to him and say that I am ready to be killed by him.

(Vashishtha blesses Saraswati. Exit Saraswati.)

Scene 5

(Vishwamitra is invoking Saraswati. Enter Saraswati.)

VISHWAMITRA: Saraswati, you have deceived me. You have deceived me! Now you deserve punishment. I shall destroy you. No. Just by destroying you I won’t get enough satisfaction. I shall degrade you. I shall dishonour you. Everybody says your water is extremely pure. Everybody drinks your water. I am going to turn your water into blood. Nobody will ever drink your water again. It will be disgusting — all red.

SARASWATI: My water, my existence, will be all red?

VISHWAMITRA: Yes, everybody will loathe you. Nobody will come near you. Nobody will dare to touch your water. Nobody will ever want to look at you.

Scene 6

(A group of pilgrims come to the river Saraswati which is all red.)

FIRST PILGRIM: This Saraswati was once upon a time such a beautiful river. It had such clear, pure water.

SECOND PILGRIM: Everybody drank, everybody swam here. It gave everybody such joy, such fun, such comfort, such delight.

THIRD PILGRIM: Now the river Saraswati has become an object of fear and disgust. Let us pray for its restoration.

(They sit down and pray to Lord Shiva. Shiva descends.)

SHIVA: I have heard your prayer. I am making Saraswati once again clear and pure for you to use, for everybody to use. Long ago, Vishwamitra did not have the knowledge of Brahman. Because he didn’t have the knowledge of Brahman, Vashishtha and Vashishtha’s divine cow defeated him. Now he has got the knowledge of Brahman from Brahma. Now he has equalled Vashishtha. But nature’s transformation is a different matter. God-realisation is one thing. Vishwamitra didn’t have it before. Now he has it. But for God-manifestation, one needs the transformation of human nature. Vishwamitra lacks this transformation of nature. Vashishtha has it. Unless and until Vishwamitra has changed his nature, he will not be able to manifest God on earth. Vashishtha is all love, all compassion for mankind. He has transformed his nature and is manifesting God on earth. Vashishtha still remains unparalleled, infinitely superior to Vishwamitra.

The saint and the king

Dramatis personæ

SAINT

KING (A DISCIPLE OF THE SAINT)

A SERVANT OF THE KING

Scene 1

(The saint and the king are together.)

KING: O Guru of my heart and soul, please tell me how I can please you most.

SAINT: You can please me most, my son, by allowing me to sit at the foot of a mango tree in your garden. There is a particular mango tree where I wish to sit every day and meditate without interruption for hours and hours. I do not want to be in your palace. It is so full of noise, so full of clamour. I feel I will be infinitely happier alone. To tell the truth, I will only be really happy if I am left alone to meditate under that particular mango tree. And every day you may come and see me, once in the morning, and once in the evening.

(The king touches his Guru’s feet.)

KING: Yes, O Guru, I shall do it. Every day I shall come in the morning and in the evening to have your darshan. And I shall send food for you three times a day. Please call me whenever you want to. I am always at your command, O Guru.

Scene 2

(The saint is meditating under the mango tree. The tree is full of ripe mangoes. One of the servants of the king is tempted to have some mangoes, so he throws stones at the tree. Some of the stones strike the saint and some mangoes drop on the saint, and he is hurt. The servant takes away the mangoes hurriedly.)

Scene 3

(Soon the king comes and sees that his Master’s arms and legs are bruised. He is shocked to see this, and bursts into tears.)

KING: O Master, why didn’t you call me? How could this happen? How could you suffer so much? Who threw stones at you? Who could have done this kind of thing to my Master? It must have been one of my servants. Please tell me. Do you know the person? I shall kill him.

SAINT: No. I know the person, but I won’t tell you who he is.

KING: Why not? Why not?

SAINT: He threw stones at the mangoes, not at me. The mangoes are the children of the tree, but the tree has forgiven him. Look, the tree is still here: it did not fall on him. The tree has forgiven him, although he took away quite a few mangoes. If a tree has the capacity to forgive a man, since I am a religious man, a superior being, I should also have that capacity.

KING: O Guru, if you forgive this servant of mine, he will go on with his wrongdoing. Is it fair, please tell me, to allow a criminal to go without punishment?

SAINT: You call him a criminal, but I call him an ignorant fellow. And again, it is I who sat here while your servant was throwing stones at the mangoes. I could have moved away.

KING: You? Why should you? You are my Master, you are my All. I am at your feet. What kind of audacity did he have to throw stones at the mangoes while you were sitting at the foot of the tree? I shall now go back to the palace and order all my servants to come here. And the one who did this will have to make a confession. If he does not make a confession, then I shall find out by some other means who the real culprit is.

SAINT: The real culprit is your Guru. He allowed this ignorance. He allowed this man to throw stones. If I had told him to stop, he would have gone away. But he was hungry; he was tempted to have a few delicious mangoes, and I did not stop him. I could have asked him to climb up the tree and take some mangoes, or I could have moved away, but I did neither. If you want to say that it is his mistake, I wish to say, no, it is my mistake. It was I who allowed him to throw stones at the mangoes. And the result is that I am hurt. So, O King, do not blame him; it is I who am the real culprit. If you feel that I have done the right thing by forgiving him, which you should, then I wish to tell you that this quality of forgiveness I learnt from this tree. And I impart this quality of forgiveness to you, King. Forgive your servant. It is through forgiveness, mutual forgiveness, that we live on earth. There can be nothing superior to forgiveness. If it is a matter of crime, then forgiveness is the only cure. And if it is a matter of experience, then I wish to tell you that through this servant I have experienced hunger, temptation and wrong action. From this servant’s ignorance, I got one experience. And from the forgiveness of this tree, I got a divine experience. Ignorance teaches us; knowledge and forgiveness teach us. Ignorance teaches us how to destroy ourselves; knowledge and forgiveness teach us how to build ourselves, how to place ourselves within everyone, how to become one with everyone, how to become universally one.

(The king touches his Master’s feet with a new light, a new vision.)

The seeker and the thief

Dramatis personæ

SEEKER

THIEF

Scene 1

(The cottage of an advanced seeker. A thief is rummaging around. Enter the seeker. The thief begins to run away.)

SEEKER: A thief!

(As the thief runs away, he drops a watch and a mango. The seeker picks them up and begins to chase the thief.)

SEEKER: Oh thief! Oh thief!

(The thief stops and turns around.)

THIEF: You fool, why do you bother me? I have returned your things. I am not taking away your watch or your mango. I have dropped them. Why are you chasing me? You cannot say that I have stolen anything. I am going now. Don’t bother me.

SEEKER: I want you to take this mango. I want you to take this watch.

THIEF: Why?

SEEKER: You must need them more than I do. That’s why you were taking them away. You need this watch and this mango, but I need something else. I need /amrita,/ the divine nectar. I want to drink amrita, and not eat mangoes. By drinking amrita I will become immortal. I do not need this watch; I need eternal time. I want to live in eternal time. The things that I need most I shall pray for. But you need this most delicious mango to eat, and you need this watch so that you will know at what time you should go out to steal and when you are supposed to come back. You need them more than I do, and I am glad that I am in a position to fulfil your needs.

THIEF: And who is going to fulfil your needs? I am grateful to you for fulfilling my needs. I need a mango, true, and I need this watch. But I certainly can’t fulfil your needs.

SEEKER: My friend, since I have fulfilled your needs, there will be someone on earth to fulfil my needs, too. The time has come for your desires to be fulfilled, and God has chosen me to fulfil them. A time will also come when my needs will be fulfilled. My aspiration will bear fruit at God’s choice Hour. At that time, He will send someone into my life whose very touch will give me my realisation, my liberation. I am waiting for that person to come into my life.

THIEF: You are great indeed, and now I will also become good. Because of your inspiration, I will lead a better life. Will you bless me? (The seeker blesses him.) From now on I shall be a good man. I shall eat this mango, and I shall sow the seed in my garden. One day the seed will germinate. It will grow into a plant, and then it will become a tree. And at the foot of that tree I shall sit and meditate. You have given me a watch, but I shall not use it to tell me when to go out stealing and when to come back. I will use it only to see the hour at which I must meditate. Early every morning I will get up and meditate at a certain time. When I have the mango tree, I will meditate at the foot of the tree. But until then I shall meditate in my room, and your watch will make me punctual.

SEEKER: Those are both excellent ideas. Use this watch to see that you get up early every morning to meditate. After five or six years, you will be able to sit at the foot of the mango tree and meditate. You will see, as the mango tree bears thousands of mangoes, your aspiration also will bear fruit. You will have Peace, Light and Bliss in boundless measure.

Gautami

Dramatis personæ

GAUTAMI

HER SON

SNAKE

HUNTER

YAMARAJ (THE KING OF DEATH)

TIME

Scene 1

(Gautami and her son in the forest.)

GAUTAMI: My son, you and I have come to the forest to meditate on God. You are dearer to me than my life. I have nobody on earth except you. Your father left us two years ago. He is now with God. One day we two will also go to God and be with your father there in Heaven. My son, in you I have everything.

SON: Mother, you are my everything. You are my everything, Mother.

GAUTAMI: My son, I wish you to sing me a most soulful song. While you are singing, I shall meditate. And when your singing is over, you also join me in meditation.

SON: Certainly I shall do so. Do you want me to sing any particular song, Mother?

GAUTAMI: I wish you to sing that song which you sing so soulfully, Nayam atma bala-hinena labhyo [This soul cannot be won by the weakling.]

SON: Yes, Mother, I shall sing that song to please you.

(The son sings the song most soulfully. Gautami meditates with her eyes closed. Suddenly a snake comes and bites the son. He screams and Gautami’s meditation is disturbed. She sees the snake. The son’s face becomes pale. He faints, then dies in front of his mother.)

GAUTAMI: O snake, you have killed my son! O God, there was no doctor here; there was nobody to save my son’s life. My son is no more. O Lord, You know what is best. Let Thy Will be done, O Lord.

(Enter a hunter.)

HUNTER: O venerable lady, is this your child?

GAUTAMI: My only son. He has been bitten by a snake.

HUNTER: Your only son has been bitten by a snake, and he is dead? Let me kill the snake. And after I have killed it, shall I destroy it by burning it or shall I cut it into pieces? Tell me how I can please you.

GAUTAMI: I do not want you to kill the snake.

HUNTER: Why not? Your only son is no more, and you don’t want me to kill the culprit? Why?

GAUTAMI: If you kill the snake, do you think that I will get my son’s life back?

HUNTER: No, you won’t get your son’s life back. But the snake deserves punishment. The snake has killed him, and I have the capacity to kill the snake.

GAUTAMI: No, I don’t want you to kill the snake. The time had come for my son to leave this body. The snake was just an instrument. It was an innocent instrument, and I really don’t want you to kill it.

(The snake lifts up its hood.)

SNAKE: Mother Gautami, I didn’t want to bite your son, but the King of Death, Yamaraj, sent me to bite him. So I have bitten him, and he is now dead. But it is not my fault.

HUNTER: Whose fault is it, then? This boy was such a young child. Now he is dead. What did he do? Why should Yamaraj want to kill an innocent, beautiful, divine boy? Yamaraj sent you. True, it was his crime; he did the wrong thing. But it was you who executed his order; it was you who killed the boy. Your crime is more serious, so it is you who deserve my punishment.

SNAKE: O hunter, you are a wise man. When you wish to perform religious sacrifices, when you wish to perform /pujas,/ you appoint a priest, and the priest prays and meditates for you. He adores and worships God for you. Then you get the benefit, you get the merit, you get the result of the puja. The priest does everything for you, but since you are the employer, you get the benefit. The priest does not get it. I was employed by the King of Death. I have only worked for him. The consequences of my acts belong to him.

(Enter Yamaraj.)

SNAKE: Master, I listened to you. You asked me to bite the boy, and I did. Now he is dead, and they blame me. I just executed your will and they blame me. They want to kill me — at least this hunter wants to kill me.

GAUTAMI: I don’t want to kill you. I want the hunter to let you go.

HUNTER: I want to kill you. I will kill you. (To Yamaraj.) Why are you so cruel? You sent this snake to kill this young boy who was so beautiful, so divine.

YAMARAJ: Look, hunter, I am not responsible. Time, Eternal Time, ordered me to send the snake to bite this young boy. I am under the express command of Time.

(Enter Time.)

TIME: What is this all about?

YAMARAJ: O Time, I executed your order, and now they are blaming me. Is it my fault that I asked the snake to come and bite this boy? It was your order. We are all at your feet, O Time.

TIME: It is not your fault; it is not my fault. It is nobody’s fault. In his previous incarnation this boy did something wrong, and this is the result. He is paying the penalty for his action in his previous incarnation.

GAUTAMI: O hunter, go away. I knew this; I felt it. Everything here on earth is caused by God’s Will. O Yamaraj, go back to your home. O Time, go back to your abode. Please allow me to pray to my God. He will give me strength; He will console my heart; He will illumine my life. My son is with God and my husband is with God. As long as God wants me to stay on earth to work for Him, I shall stay. And when He wants me to go back to Him in Heaven, with my heart’s deepest joy I shall go back. I have no son, I have no husband. In my outer life I am alone; but in my inner life I am never alone. God is within me, guiding me, protecting me and illumining me. I need only one Person on earth and in Heaven: that is my God. In Him I see my husband, my son, my Everything. God is my All, my only One.

Kuru

Dramatis personæ

KING KURU

MINISTER

INDRA