The disciple illumines the Master

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The disciple illumines the Master

Dramatis personae




















Scene 1

(The home of Ratan and Rohini. The Master has come to visit them and is playing with their daughter, Rula.)

MASTER: Rula, Rula, today you look so pretty. I see a necklace of pearls around your neck. You look so beautiful, so beautiful.

RATAN: Oh Master, it is all due to your grace. We had little money, little material prosperity before you came into our lives. Our wealth is all due to your grace.

ROHINI: We depend entirely on you, Master. It is your grace that has made us rich. It is your grace that has made us happy. It is your grace that will help us accomplish everything we wish to accomplish here on earth. We are so grateful to you. We shall do everything, everything, everything for you, Master.

(Master blesses the couple.)

MASTER: I am indeed proud of both of you. (To Rohini.) Please make me a most delicious meal today. I have not had the pleasure of eating one of your meals for a long time. You feel that I am a great Master, but I feel that I am a great eater.

ROHINI: Master, you eat our food, which takes an hour or two to prepare; but the food that you give us would have taken us centuries to get without your help. There is no comparison between your food and ours. When we eat your food, our life becomes constant gratitude to you. Where else can we get Peace, Light and Bliss if not from you?

MASTER: That is true, but we need each other. The disciple needs the Master, and the Master needs the disciple. (To Ratan.) I shall go out for a walk with Rula. We will be back in half an hour. In the meantime, please help Rohini prepare the meal.

ROHINI: Master, I shall do my best to make a most delicious meal for you. If you like my food, what more do I need on earth? For my Master to say that he likes my food means that I possess Heaven right here on earth.

(Master smiles. Ratan and Rohini bow to him with folded hands. Exeunt Master and Rula.)

Scene 2

(Master and Rula are walking in the street. Master is showing much affection to Rula and she is very happy.)

MASTER (suddenly): Rula, please give me your necklace. It is so beautiful. I wish to have it. I shall give you something more beautiful than this one, much more beautiful, in return.

RULA: No, I want to keep this one. (Pauses.) Let me see the one you have that is better than this.

MASTER: Today you give me this one and tomorrow I shall bring you the new one.

RULA: No, I won’t give it to you. Give me the better one first and then I shall give you this one.

MASTER: If you don’t give it to me I shall take it away and leave you here, and you will have to go home all alone.

(Rula starts to cry.)

MASTER: Stop crying!

(Rula cries louder.)

MASTER (aside): I need money badly. I could sell this necklace for thousands of rupees, but how can I get it away from this stubborn child? She is making so much noise that I shall be caught. I'll have to kill her. Then I can take the necklace and leave the city.

(As the Master grabs Rula, she starts to scream. He strangles her. When she loses consciousness, he snatches the necklace and runs away, leaving the child lying senseless on the ground. Enter two neighbours who catch the Master as he is leaving the scene.)

FIRST NEIGHBOUR: What’s going on here? What’s all the noise about?

(They notice the child lying on the ground and discover the necklace which the Master is trying to hide. Putting two and two together, they begin to curse the Master and strike him.)

SECOND NEIGHBOUR: Now tell us! Whose daughter is she?

MASTER: She is the child of Ratan and Rohini.

NEIGHBOURS: Take us there.

(One neighbour lifts Rula in his arms; the other holds the Master securely. Exeunt omnes.)

Scene 3

(In front of Ratan’s house. Enter neighbours with Rula and Master. Ratan rushes onstage.)

RATAN: What are you doing? This is my Guru! And why are you carrying my daughter?

FIRST NEIGHBOUR: This is your Guru? This rogue? This criminal? Look what he has done! He has killed your daughter to steal her necklace.

RATAN (momentarily shocked, but quickly recovering): Don’t worry. I know that my Guru has the power to revive her. See, I am touching his feet and praying to him. (Touches Master’s feet.) Oh Guru, save my child. I am sure she is not yet dead; she is just unconscious. You have the power to revive her. Please use your power, dearest Master. Just look at her once and my Rula will be all right.

(Master looks at Rula, placing his hands on her. She revives and starts striking him.)

RULA: I hate you! You tried to steal my necklace! You hurt me!

RATAN: No, no, Rula. He was just playing a game with you. See, you are not hurt. Look at our Master’s power. He has just shown you a trick.

(Exeunt Master, Ratan and Rula. Neighbours shrug as they watch them go off together.)

FIRST NEIGHBOUR: These Masters are such rogues! Had it been my daughter, I would have killed the man immediately.

SECOND NEIGHBOUR: I would have called the police and had him arrested! But this stupid Ratan has such faith in his Master, even though he’s obviously the world’s worst rogue. Someday something really serious will happen, and then he will learn.

(Exeunt omnes.)

Scene 4

(The home of Kadu, another disciple. Enter Master.)

MASTER: I have come to visit you, Kadu, and I am in a mood to show some of my occult power. You can invite all your friends, relatives and spiritual brothers and sisters. Today I shall perform a miracle. I have never performed any miracles in public, but today I am going to do it since most of you people have no faith in me at all.

KADU: Master, I do have faith in you, I do have faith in you. You don’t have to show me your occult power. But if you want to show it to others, then naturally I shall invite them. Everyone will be very happy and delighted to watch, I am sure.

MASTER: All right, invite them.

(Kadu calls his servant. Enter servant bowing.)

KADU: Go and invite all my friends and relatives and all my spiritual brothers and sisters. Today Master is going to perform some miracles for us. He is going to use his occult powers. Everyone is invited.

(Exit servant. Moments later, enter friends, relatives and other disciples.)

MASTER (to Kadu): Where is your son, Kavir?

KADU: Oh, he is studying in his room, Master.

MASTER: Bring him here. I wish to see him.

(Exit Kadu. Re-enter Kadu, followed by Kavir with folded hands.)

MASTER: Now watch. Here is Kavir. Kavir, I am going to strike you once very hard. You will definitely be knocked unconscious by my blow.

KAVIR: Oh Master, I don’t want to. I don’t want that to happen.

MASTER: Is there anybody here among my disciples who wants to participate in this miracle? After I knock the person unconscious, I will touch his head and revive him.

(Several disciples step forward to volunteer.)

ONE DISCIPLE: Master, it is such an honour to be struck by you — such a joy, such a source of pride, such an honour!

OTHER DISCIPLES: Please choose me!

KAVIR: No! Master chose me first. I want to be struck by Master. I want to do it.

MASTER: All right, Kavir. Come here.

(Master strikes him and Kavir falls down, unconscious. His mother begins to cry.)

MASTER: Now I shall perform the miracle. I am touching his head. (Places his hands on Kavir.) Kavir, arise!

(No response from Kavir’s inert body. Onlookers become alarmed.)

DISCIPLE: Somebody get a doctor!

MASTER: No, no! I can do it, I tell you, I can do it. Just the other day I performed this miracle at Ratan and Rohini’s house. Where is Ratan? Ask him to come here. (Exit one of the onlookers to get Ratan.) He will tell you that I did it. He said, “Master, use your power. You have the power.” And I did it. Today I have invited everybody here to watch me, but now this power is not working.

(Enter Ratan. The women are crying. The men are terribly angry with the Master.)

RATAN: Master, what is the matter? Why aren’t you using your occult power? Please, please do it. I know you have the capacity. You did it for my daughter; you can do it here also. Master, Master, why are you allowing yourself to be embarrassed when you have such tremendous spiritual and occult power? (Ratan touches Master’s feet and pleads.) Master, look at Kavir. Please touch his head. (Master touches Kavir’s head. Kavir immediately gets up and looks around.)

KAVIR: Oh Father, where was I? I seemed to be in another world. I saw my mother crying for me. I don’t know where I was, but my mother and father couldn’t see me. Master, I don’t want to play your game any more.

Scene 5

(Master and Ratan are at the home of the Master’s richest disciples.)

MASTER (to husband): You are my richest disciple.

HUSBAND: Oh Master, I may be rich on the physical plane, but you are the one who is rich on the spiritual plane.

MASTER: Well, I have come to the richest person on this physical plane. It is my wish to cook for you here today. Your wife has cooked for me many times and her food is always delicious. Now I wish to cook for the two of you. And when your son comes home from school, he can join you.

(Husband and wife are overjoyed and full of gratitude. Exit Master to cook. Husband and wife set a table. After a while, enter Master.)

MASTER: Good. I am finished. Now you are the guests, so begin eating. Ratan will help me serve.

WIFE: No, no, Master. How can we allow you to serve us while we eat? Let us wait for you, and we shall all eat together.

MASTER: No, no, no. Obedience comes first in the spiritual life. Since you are my disciples, you have to obey me. We will join you later. Now you start eating.

(Master and Ratan begin serving the two disciples. After eating a few morsels of food, both husband and wife collapse onto the floor.)

MASTER: Ratan, I have put poison into their food. (Ratan is shocked and dismayed.) Now we can go upstairs and look for their money. I am sure that they have thousands of rupees hidden away. Let us get the money; then I shall heal them as I have healed others in the past with the help of your prayer. I know that I don’t have any occult power at all. The first time, when I cured Rula, I thought it was my own power that did it. But after trying since then, I came to realise that it is only when you are there to touch my feet that I can do anything at all. It is your faith in me that cures everybody. It is from your faith that I get the capacity to perform miracles. Otherwise, I have no power at all. Now, let us go upstairs and take the money. Then you will pray to me and I shall cure them. You have helped me to do it before. I am sure we will be able to do it this time too.

(Exeunt omnes. Enter Dayal. Seeing his parents on the floor, he immediately runs to the door and shouts for the police. Enter two policemen who examine the bodies, look around, then go upstairs. Dayal sits down and buries his face in his hands. Re-enter policemen with Master and Ratan.)

FIRST POLICEMAN: You are both under arrest. Let’s go.

(Exeunt policemen, Master and Ratan.)

Scene 6

(Ratan’s house. Dayal is staying with Rohini and Rula while Ratan is in prison.)

ROHINI: Dayal, you know that my husband is completely innocent. He did not wish to kill your parents. They were always so kind to us. We were very good friends.

DAYAL: I know it. I know it, Mother Rohini. Uncle Ratan was always extremely good to me. It was because of the Guru that he did it. I do not blame you or my uncle at all. I blame the Master, that rascal! It is because of him that I have lost my parents!

ROHINI: Do not call him a rascal, my child. He is our Master. He knows the kind of experiences we need for our spiritual growth. You have lost your parents, and I have lost my two friends and my husband. I know that your loss is infinitely worse than mine. How can I console you, sweetest Dayal? Only God can comfort you, and I am sure He will. The ever-compassionate Father will certainly console you.

Scene 7

(A few weeks later. The Master and Ratan are in the prison yard doing hard labour. The sergeant of the work gang is standing guard.)

RATAN (to sergeant): Please, please allow me to do two men’s jobs. I don’t want my Master to have to do this kind of work. I would be so grateful if you allowed me to do his work.

SERGEANT: You fool! Just because of him you are now here. You are an innocent fellow. He has exploited you, you fool! He is a rogue, a real criminal! You will be freed one day, but not that shameless creature! Never!

RATAN: Call me a fool, say anything you want against me, but please don’t criticise my Master. He is everything to me. My heart breaks to see him here in prison, but it pains me even more to see him working like a labourer. He is not in the habit of doing this kind of work.

Scene 8

(Rohini, Rula and Dayal come to visit the Master and Ratan in prison. Rula runs toward her father, stretching out her little arms to him.)

RULA: Father, Father, when will you come back home? Everybody says that you are innocent. Everybody says it is Master who has done wrong and got you into trouble.

RATAN: Hold your tongue, Rula. He is my Master; he is my all. One more word against him and I shall thrash you. I am sure your mother has told you all this nonsense.

ROHINI (bursting into tears): No, no, my Lord, I have not. I told her nothing. She has been hearing about our Master from our neighbours and friends. (Bows to the Master with folded hands and addresses him.) Master, I do not know anything. I am an insignificant human being. I do not know what is best for us. We gave you our total surrender, and this is the result. My husband is here in jail suffering with you, and we are outside suffering for you. But I wish to keep my surrender unwavering. I am sure that what you have done is best for us. If this had not happened, perhaps something else infinitely worse would have happened. So I am grateful to you that only this has happened. But I do not know how to console Dayal, poor boy. He has lost both his parents. His loss is really severe.

DAYAL: No, no, Mother Rohini. Master, last night I had a dream. My parents came to me and told me that you had done the right thing in poisoning them. They said that they were already dead, that their inner beings had already been poisoned by their money. They had thousands of rupees but did not give you anything. Their minds were corrupted; their hearts were corrupted. They loved their money more than they loved you. So, Master, they feel that you saved them from wasting many years in ignorance and bondage. In their next incarnation, they feel that you will give them more spiritual wealth and less physical wealth so that they will be able to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to the service of God. Master, they feel that you have done the right thing, and for that they are most grateful to you. And I, too, am grateful. My parents say that they are very happy in the other world, and that makes me happy, even though I still miss them. I know that they will come to me from time to time and bless me inwardly. That will be enough. Meanwhile, my aunt Rohini will be my mother now. She is all kindness, all affection, all love. I get everything I need from her. And when my uncle comes back, he will be my father. So I shall still have a father and a mother who are your disciples.

Scene 9

(Ratan and Master are asleep in their prison cell. An angel appears to Ratan, who wakes up and rises to his feet.)

ANGEL: Ratan, the authorities have learned of your innocence, and they will set you free tomorrow.

RATAN: I don’t want to be freed without my Master. He is everything to me. If he is not freed, I am not going to leave this prison. I will stay with him and serve him here. I won’t go without him.

ANGEL: Your Master has ruined your life. He has ruined the lives of many innocent people and caused them terrible suffering. Many people had great faith in him, and now see what he has done to them. His spiritual children dare not show their faces, for his crime has been like a slur on their lives, and they are now ridiculed and mocked. Can’t you recognise your stupidity?

RATAN: You call it stupidity, but I call it my oneness with my Master. This life of mine will last only for a short while. I have given it to my Master unconditionally, and I won’t take it back now. I have surrendered everything to my Master. My body, vital, mind, heart and soul are all for his use only, until I die. I never want to be separated from my Master. If he is in hell, that will be my Heaven. I shall stay with him. And if he goes to Heaven, there I too shall go. I don’t need earthly freedom, I don’t need anybody on earth except him.

(Ratan sings.)

Guruh brahma guruh vishnu
guruh devo maheshwarah
gurureva param brahma
tasmai shri gurabe namah

(Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu,
Guru is the great God Shiva.
Indeed, Guru is the Brahman.
To that Divine Master I offer my obeisance.)

ANGEL: Suppose I were to give you illumination this very moment. Would you not leave your Master then, seeing that he is far inferior to you?

RATAN: No, even if you were to give me illumination I would not leave my Master. He taught me about God, he gave me the message of God, he inspired my love for God. If you gave me illumination, I would give it to my Master.

ANGEL: So you admit that your Master does not have illumination?

RATAN: I do not know whether my Master has it or not. But I feel that he has.

ANGEL: If he had illumination, how could he do such inhuman, absurd, unthinkable things? Would an illumined soul poison his own disciples in order to get their money? Those two disciples whom he poisoned have such nobility that they came to their son and told him lies in order to protect their Master’s reputation and to prevent their son from losing all faith in the spiritual life. I tell you, you yourself are far superior to your Master in spirituality. Your Master is a real fake. You are deceiving yourself and placing your faith in a fraud.

RATAN: I cannot judge my Master. He knows what is best for me and for all his disciples. I am sure that whatever he has done has been for the best.

ANGEL: I shall give you some sound advice. One who has a truly illumined Master will realise God infinitely sooner than one with a false Master. Therefore, one should use discrimination and look for a genuine Master. But because of your tremendous sincerity and devotion, I am going to give you illumination anyway.

RATAN: I shall look upon the illumination you give me as a fruit. If you give me a fruit, I shall share it with my Master. If you free me, I shall take my Master with me, and if he is not allowed to leave, then I also shall stay. So whatever you give to me, you are giving equally to him.

ANGEL: The moment I touch your head, you will be illumined. Then wake your Master if you wish and touch him. You will give him illumination.

(Angel places his hands on Ratan’s head. Master wakes up and watches his disciple receiving illumination. When the angel removes his hands from Ratan’s head, Ratan immediately prostrates himself and touches his Master’s feet. Master is illumined. Master and Ratan embrace each other, and the gate of the prison cell disappears. Exeunt Master and Ratan.)


Dramatis personae



Scene 1

(Yagnyavalkya and Katyayani.)

YAGNYAVALKYA: Katyayani, I am now an old man.

KATYAYANI: My Lord, there comes a time when every human being becomes old. You are no exception.

YAGNYAVALKYA: Yes, you are right, Katyayani. Katyayani, I wish to make a simple suggestion to you. May I?

KATYAYANI: Certainly, by all means.

YAGNYAVALKYA: As you know, I have now reached a ripe old age. According to tradition, at this stage of life one must enter into the forest and offer one’s life to God in prayer and meditation. It is high time for me to do that.

KATYAYANI: Who stands in your way, my Lord? Certainly I am not the one who will ever prevent you from doing the right thing.

YAGNYAVALKYA: Thank you, thank you, my dear Katyayani. Now here is the problem.

KATYAYANI: What is it? Tell me, my Lord.

YAGNYAVALKYA: Before I leave, I wish to offer you half my wealth, property and possessions, and the other half I wish to give to my other wife, Maitreyi.

KATYAYANI: That is fine with me, although it is I who take care of you most of the time. Maitreyi only wastes her time in fruitless meditation.

YAGNYAVALKYA: Katyayani, my dear, Maitreyi’s meditation is not fruitless. Nor does she waste time when she meditates.

KATYAYANI: It is simply useless to tell you anything about Maitreyi. What I have said is not at all against her. I have just brought to your attention a mere fact, an undeniable fact. Anyway, since she too can claim you as her own, you may as well divide all your possessions between your darling Maitreyi and your maidservant Katyayani. I hate Maitreyi, I literally hate her! I do everything for you, and she takes all the credit. I have never seen such an irresponsible, careless and callous woman. Yet you love her dearly, more dearly than your very life. I tell you once and for all that I hate Maitreyi with all the hatred of the world at my command!

(Enter Maitreyi.)

KATYAYANI: Just think of the devil and the devil appears! Maitreyi, you have appeared unexpectedly, and I disappear deliberately!

(Exit Katyayani.)

MAITREYI: My Lord, I wish to meditate for a few minutes. Will you kindly join me?

YAGNYAVALKYA: Certainly I will.

(Yagnyavalkya and Maitreyi meditate together. Meditation over, Yagnyavalkya blesses Maitreyi.)

MAITREYI (thrilled and overjoyed): My Lord, O matchless sage, I have seen, I have seen!

YAGNYAVALKYA: What have you seen, Maitreyi?

MAITREYI: I have seen your third eye wide open. Fathomless is its beauty. Measureless is its power.

YAGNYAVALKYA: I am proud of you. I am proud of your aspiration. (Pauses.) Maitreyi, I have something quite important to discuss with you. Do you have the time?

MAITREYI: Of course, my Lord, for you I have always the time. I am always at your disposal. This life of mine is ever at your express command.

YAGNYAVALKYA: I knew it. I knew it. Now Maitreyi, I have already discussed the matter with Katyayani. She has fully agreed.

MAITREYI: Please let me know what it is all about.

YAGNYAVALKYA: Ah, of course, forgive me. The time has at last come for me to enter into the forest and spend my remaining days meditating on the Absolute, offering my existence, inner and outer, to my inner Pilot.

MAITREYI: My Lord, indeed, that’s a splendid idea.

YAGNYAVALKYA: But listen, my divine wife. I want you to have one full half of my wealth, property and possessions, and the other half, needless to say, goes to Katyayani.

MAITREYI: My Lord, do listen to me first, before I accept or reject your kind offer. You have always taught me that material wealth is of no avail. It is nothing in comparison to the inner wealth. Why, then, do you bind me with material wealth? Tell me one thing, my Lord: will this material wealth in any way add to my heart’s mounting cry?

YAGNYAVALKYA: Unfortunately, no.

MAITREYI: Then why do you impose on me things that will take me away from the path of Truth, from the path of Divinity, from the path of Immortality? My Lord, my heart pines only for the immortal, transcendental Self. I want nothing but Immortality’s Life. Yenaham namrta syam kim aham tena kuryam. What shall I do with the things that cannot make me immortal? Let Katyayani have all your material wealth. Let her cherish your earthly possessions, and I shall treasure your Heavenly possession — your loftiest realisation, your total oneness with the Absolute.

YAGNYAVALKYA (while blessing Maitreyi): Maitreyi, you are my heart’s pride. You are my soul’s pride. You are the pride of the absolute Supreme. Your footprints on the sands of time are indelible. Maitreyi, here is my last request: please sing a few soul-stirring songs for me.

(Maitreyi sings.)

Yenaham namrta syam
kim aham tena kuryam

(What shall I do with the things that cannot make me immortal?)

Hiranmayena patrena
satyasyapihitam mukham
tat tvam pusan apavrnu
satya-dharmaya drstaye

(The Face of Truth is covered with a brilliant golden orb.
Remove it, O Sun, so that I who am devoted to the Truth may behold the Truth.)

Vedaham etam purusam mahantam
aditya-varnam tamasah parastat

(I have known this Great Being, effulgent as the sun, beyond the boundaries of tenebrous gloom.)

Anandadd hy eva khalv imani bhutani jayante
anandena jatani jivanti
anandam prayantyabhisam visanti

(From Delight we came into existence.
In Delight we grow.
At the end of our journey’s close,
Into Delight we shall retire.)

YAGNYAVALKYA: Maitreyi, dearer than my life, to you I offer my heart’s eternal gratitude. This heart of mine shall remain sempiternally with your supremely illumined heart in the direct Vision, pure Revelation and total Manifestation of the Absolute Supreme.


Dramatis personae







Scene 1

(King Ashwapati and his daughter Savitri.)

ASHWAPATI: My daughter, you are so beautiful.

SAVITRI: Thank you, Father.

ASHWAPATI: My daughter, you are so spiritual.

SAVITRI: Thank you, Father.

ASHWAPATI: Savitri, I love you more than I love my own life.

SAVITRI: Father, I love you, too, more than I love my own life.

ASHWAPATI: Savitri, you are my All. In you is my realisation of the Truth. In you is the Perfection of my inner life. Do you know, my daughter, why I have named you Savitri?

SAVITRI: No, Father, I do not know.

ASHWAPATI: For many years your mother and I had no child. So I prayed and prayed to the goddess Savitri to grant us a divine child. After a long time the goddess was pleased with me, and gave me the gift I longed for. And that gift is your life, your dedicated life. So it is from the goddess Savitri, my Supreme Mother, that you get your name.

SAVITRI: Father, I am so happy, so proud to hear that. From now on I shall try to identify myself with that Supreme Goddess Savitri, and I shall try to please you in every way.

ASHWAPATI: Savitri, all along you have been pleasing me. You already please me in every way. I am so proud of you. Savitri, now the time has come for you to have a partner. You need a divine consort. I have tried very hard to get a suitable husband for you, but I have not succeeded. It pains me severely, but I don’t see anybody on earth who is really worthy of you.

SAVITRI: Father, forgive me, but you are mistaken.

ASHWAPATI: I will be happy if you can prove that I am mistaken. I really want to be proven wrong, for when I see that you have someone whom you love and who is really worthy of you, I will be the happiest person on earth. Please tell me, my daughter, what is the name of your future husband?

SAVITRI: Father, it is Satyavan.

ASHWAPATI: Who is he?

SAVITRI: Father, he is the son of King Dyumatsen. I am sure you have heard of Dyumatsen. He is the King of Shalva.

ASHWAPATI: Yes, my child, yes. Of course I know of Dyumatsen. But don’t you know that he has been driven out of his kingdom by his enemies? He is now roaming in the forest like a beggar.

SAVITRI: Yes, Father, I know, I know. It was in the forest that I met his son, Satyavan. He has conquered my heart, Father.

ASHWAPATI: My daughter, my Savitri, to please you is to fulfil my soul. But I know that on the physical plane you will suffer much if you marry the son of a beggar. You are embracing poverty, but I am ready to offer all my wealth to make you happy and to make Satyavan’s parents prosperous again. In your happiness is the fulfilment of my life and the manifestation of my soul.

SAVITRI: Father, Father, Father, I am yours. My life is yours. My life-breath is a garland of gratitude which I place at your feet.

(Enter Narada.)

ASHWAPATI: O sage Narada, do you know anything about Satyavan, the son of King Dyumatsen, who is now dethroned and roaming in the forest?

NARADA: Yes, I know, I know. Dyumatsen has now become blind. And his son — I have seen him quite a few times. He is very intelligent, very beautiful, very spiritual and divine. In every way he is a great, most promising young man.

ASHWAPATI: I am so happy, so happy to hear you say this, because my daughter wants to marry him.

NARADA: Savitri? Savitri wishes to marry Satyavan?

(Savitri looks down, embarrassed.)

SAVITRI: O sage, please tell me, what is wrong with that? What is disturbing you?

NARADA: Nothing is wrong with me, but everything is wrong with you, O Savitri.

SAVITRI: Please, please tell me what is wrong with me?

NARADA: Savitri, you have no vision of the future. But I do have that vision, and I tell you that Satyavan is going to die soon. Savitri, he will live on earth only for one fleeting year.

ASHWAPATI: Only one year, one year? And then I have to see my daughter a widow? Impossible, impossible!

SAVITRI: Father, just a few minutes ago you told me that to please me is to fulfil your soul. Now you are changing your mind. Father, real love does not care for earthly years. I love him, and that is all. I do not need anything more from my life. If my Satyavan is destined to live only for one year, I am fully prepared to accept him as my husband for that short time. If he dies, what can I do? To see him, to be with him for as long as I can, is the only thing I need in my life.

ASHWAPATI: My daughter, I am all for you. You want him; that is more than enough. I am going to speak to his father, Dyumatsen, and then we shall make arrangements for your wedding.

NARADA: Savitri, on the day you get married, start counting the days. When one year is completed, you will lose your husband. But my blessing will be with you, Savitri, because you are most devoted to him.

SAVITRI: Bless me, O sage. Satyavan, Satyavan! He is my heart’s light; he is my soul’s sun.

Scene 2

(Dyumatsen, Satyavan and Savitri in the forest.)

DYUMATSEN: Savitri, my daughter, you have now been one of us for some time. My son is so fond of you, and I am so fond of you. We are all fond of one another. But my heart breaks when I see you working so hard, and when I see my son going every day to cut down trees for fuel. This life of hardship is unbearable. I was a king. I was thrown out by my enemies. Now I am in the forest, helpless. I have lost my sight, but you and my son, Satyavan — both of you are my inner eyes. My outer eyes God has taken away, but He has given me two inner eyes. One is my son; one is my Savitri. Through your eyes I see the world, and through your hearts I feel the world, O Savitri, O Satyavan.

SAVITRI: Father, we shall make you happy. Satyavan and I will make your life happy. You may not get your kingdom back, but you have us. We shall give you constant joy, constant satisfaction. We assure you, Father, at every moment we shall try to please you in your own way, according to our capacity.

DYUMATSEN: I know, I know. You and Satyavan will do everything for me. I live on earth only to feel happiness in your two dedicated lives. You are spiritual, my son is spiritual and I am spiritual. Our life of spirituality is our only consolation. Our life of spirituality is our only illumination. Our life of spirituality is God’s real Pride. (Pauses.) You know, Savitri, Satyavan, I am happy. I am happy because my life I have dedicated to the Will of the Supreme, to the Will of God. I have no will of my own. He is now my All. He gives me inner joy, inner satisfaction. My kingdom I have lost, but I have found God inside my heart. The kingdom of falsehood has deserted me, but the Kingdom of Truth has dawned in my devoted heart.

Scene 3

(Savitri is alone.)

SAVITRI (thinking aloud): Today is the last day of my husband’s life. Throughout the year I have prayed to the god Surya to protect my Satyavan, but this is the fatal day. I have kept it a deep secret. Nobody knows, neither my husband nor my father-in-law.

(Enter Satyavan.)

SAVITRI (to Satyavan): Lord, today I would like to come with you. I would like to follow you into the thick forest where you cut down trees for fuel.

SATYAVAN: Savitri, why do you want to go into the thick forest? Why? Why?

SAVITRI: My Lord, since our marriage I have never made a request to you for anything. This will be my first and last request. If you fulfil my request, I will be most grateful to you. I will never ask you for another boon as long as I am on earth.

SATYAVAN: Savitri, is there anything on earth that I would not do for you? My body, my vital, my mind, my heart, my soul are all for you, for you, my Savitri. Come with me.

Scene 4

(Savitri and Satyavan are in the thick of the forest. Satyavan has just plucked a few fruits, unripe, which they both are eating.)

SAVITRI: Do you come here every day? This place is not safe. I hear the sounds of ferocious animals. How do you come home safely?

SATYAVAN: Savitri, you have more faith in God than I have. It is God who protects me. It is God who has given me the strength to cut down the trees and make fuel. We are poor, Savitri, you know, but there was a time when we were rich and my father used to rule the Kingdom of Shalva. Now the days of outer prosperity are gone, but the days of inner prosperity have started. This last year, since you have come into my life, has been all Joy, all Love, all Delight, all Divinity. Savitri, you have transformed our inner kingdom. Before we met you, our inner kingdom was the kingdom of worries, but now it is the Kingdom of Light and Delight. Our outer kingdom was the kingdom of frustration; now it is the Kingdom of Joy and Fulfilment. (Pauses.) Savitri, I have finished eating. Now you observe, while I go and cut down trees.

(Savitri meditates with folded hands, silently looking at Surya, the sun god.)

SAVITRI (in a low voice): O God, Lord Surya, O Sun, today is the last day of my husband’s life. Protect him, protect him. Narada told me that today would be my husband’s last day. I know the prophecy of the sage Narada can never prove false. But, O Lord Surya, you can save me, you can save my husband. I pray to you.

(She begins chanting Surya’s name. Satyavan comes over to where she is sitting.)

SATYAVAN: Savitri, I feel extremely tired. I don’t know why, but I am unable to move. My hands have no strength at all. My feet have lost all strength; I can’t stand up.

(Satyavan falls to the ground. Savitri takes her husband’s head on her lap. Enter the King of Death, Yamaraj, tall and stout.)

SAVITRI: Who are you?

YAMARAJ: I am Yamaraj, the King of Death.

SAVITRI: What brings you here?

YAMARAJ: Your husband’s life has ended.

SAVITRI: I was told that it is your messengers who come to take people away. How is it that you have come yourself, O King of Death?

YAMARAJ: Your husband led a most devoted, spiritual and divine life. That is why I personally have come instead of sending my messengers. Savitri, now your husband is my possession. I am taking him with me.

(Satyavan rises and follows Yamaraj, like a sleepwalker. Savitri follows Yamaraj and Satyavan.)

YAMARAJ: What are you doing? Where are you going?

SAVITRI: I am Satyavan’s wife. Wherever my husband goes, I have to go.

YAMARAJ: Go home. You will not be able to come with us. I will not take you: your time has not come. We will walk very fast. We will disappear.

SAVITRI: O King of Death, be compassionate. I have been all devotion to my husband. I want to be with him. Now, can you not take me also? To live without my husband is impossible for me. Take me with you, please. Do me this favour. I am at your feet.

YAMARAJ: Savitri, don’t be so silly. I cannot do that. But if you go home, I will give Satyavan’s father back his eyesight. I will grant you that boon, if you will go home now.

SAVITRI: Thank you. I am so grateful that you will give my father-in-law back his eyesight. But I cannot leave my husband. I want to go with him.

(Savitri has been following Yamaraj for a long time. She is becoming exhausted, but she will not stop.)

YAMARAJ: Savitri, I am ready to give you any boon you want, but I tell you, I can’t take you with me, nor can I give back your husband’s life.

SAVITRI: O Yamaraj, either take me with you wherever you carry my husband, or give his life back to me. I will not leave him.

YAMARAJ: Savitri, your love for your husband is unique. I shall give you another boon. I shall bless you with one hundred sons. These sons will make you happy.

SAVITRI: O Yamaraj, what kind of boon are you offering me? How will I have one hundred sons without a husband? How is it possible? I have been all faithfulness, all devotion to my husband. You know, during this one year of our marriage, what kind of life I have led.

YAMARAJ: Savitri, forgive me. Forgive me.

SAVITRI: O Yamaraj, I do not want to have one hundred sons. Even if you give my husband’s life back, I do not want a hundred sons. I want only my husband. My husband is all I need. Either give his life back to me so that we can go home where his old blind father is waiting for us, or allow me to go with you wherever you carry him. I shall follow your footsteps. I am tired, I am exhausted, but I am prepared to die while following my beloved husband.

YAMARAJ: Savitri, your faithfulness, your devotion, your love have pleased me. Yours is the life of love, yours is the life of devotion. Your life has taught humanity what love is, inseparable love, divine love. Your life has taught and will teach humanity what devoted oneness is. Savitri, I give you your husband.

(Yamaraj touches the forehead of Satyavan and disappears.)

SATYAVAN: Where am I, Savitri? I don’t recognise this place. Where have you brought me? Where am I?

SAVITRI: Is this place new to you?

SATYAVAN: Totally new. I have never seen this place. How did you bring me here?

SAVITRI: Well, I shall tell you tomorrow how I brought you here.

SATYAVAN: I was fast asleep, Savitri. Why didn’t you wake me up? True, I was exhausted, but I would have got up. I would not have been offended. Now what will Father think of us? He will think that both of us today have been very immature. Poor Father, I am sure he is thinking of us, he is missing us. Every day in the evening I come back home. Now it is already night. Father will think that, just because today we have been together in the forest, we have forgotten all about him.

SAVITRI: I shall speak to your father. I shall ask him for his forgiveness and he will surely grant it.

SATYAVAN: But tell me, tell me, how have I come here? How is it that we are here? This place is so unfamiliar.

SAVITRI: I will tell you all about it, O Satyavan, O Lord of my life. Let us go home, let us go home. I have a sweet story to tell you. This story will give you immense joy. Let us go home. Father is waiting. He needs us desperately. Let us go home.

Kali and Krishna are one

Dramatis personae





Scene 1

(The home of two devotees, husband and wife.)

WIFE: Kali, Kali, all the time Kali! What has Kali ever done for us? She has only created untold problems.

HUSBAND: Krishna, Krishna, all the time, all the time! What has Krishna done for us? He has only deceived the world, and he is deceiving you.

WIFE: Krishna has deceived the world? My Krishna has deceived the world? My Krishna is all love, all love for mankind. Your Kali is ruthless. She kills people, she destroys people. She is called destruction. I have lost my only daughter because of her. When she was seriously ill you prayed to Kali. You assured me that Kali would cure our daughter. Now we have lost our only daughter. (Cries.)

HUSBAND: Why didn’t you pray to your Krishna? If he is so kind, so generous, so compassionate, why didn’t you call on him? Why didn’t you pray to him to cure our daughter?

WIFE: I didn’t invoke Krishna because I did not want to conflict with your prayer. I thought that since you were praying most ardently to your Kali, your Kali would cure our dearest, sweetest daughter. We have lost our daughter because of Kali. Now if our son gets even a headache I will not allow you to pray to Kali. I will pray to Krishna, my Krishna. He will cure our son. There is no danger on earth which I cannot conquer with my prayers to Krishna. Our son will remain on earth, happy and prosperous, all by Krishna’s Grace. Our son will become great, very great. And I know it is Krishna’s Grace that will make him great.

HUSBAND: I also want our son to be happy and great. If you feel that your Lord Krishna will make our son happy and great, then you pray to Krishna and I shall remain silent. I shall silently pray to my Kali to give me joy, to give me peace of mind, so that I can bear your constant scoldings and insults.

WIFE: If I scold you, then you have to know that you deserve it. You are callous, useless, hopeless in every way.

HUSBAND: Let us not quarrel. Let us not fight in front of our son. I wish you to be happy; I wish my son to be happy; I wish my Kali to make me happy.

SON: How I wish I could do something so that all our problems would be solved! Father is fond of Kali; Mother is fond of Krishna. I do not know of whom I am fond. No, I do know of whom I am fond. But if I say I am fond of Krishna, Father will be displeased; and if I say I am fond of Kali, Mother will be displeased. So I won’t say.

WIFE: All right, keep it secret.

HUSBAND: Even if you say you are fond of Krishna, I will not be displeased. You are free to choose.

WIFE: I also want to tell you, my son, that if you are fond of Kali, you must not think I will be displeased with you. You have a free choice. But it is better for you to be fond of one particular deity, to have total faith in him and love and adoration for him, You should worship only one deity, and that deity will make you really happy, great and prosperous.

Scene 2

(Night. The son is sleeping. He suddenly awakens.)

SON: What a strange dream I had! I dreamt that I struck the statue of Kali which is in my father’s room and broke it to pieces. I was so happy to inform my mother that now there is only one statue in the house. All along I have been inwardly, secretly praying to Krishna. I am fond of Krishna and not of Kali. Let me go and see if the statue is broken or not.

(Opens the door to his father’s room and sees a statue of Krishna, not of Kali. He is wonder-struck.)

SON: How can it be? How can it be?

(Goes to his mother’s room and looks in. Her own statue of Krishna is still there.)

SON: Now we have two statues of Krishna! But perhaps I was mistaken. Let me go again to Father’s room and see. Maybe Father has replaced Kali’s statue. Perhaps he has given away Kali’s statue and bought a statue of Krishna so that Mother will be happy. Perhaps he does not want to quarrel with Mother any more.

(He goes to his father’s room and sees that the statue of Krishna is still there. He wakes his father.)

FATHER: What are you doing here at this hour?

SON: Why have you replaced Kali? Why do I see Krishna’s statue?

FATHER: Krishna? Krishna? How did Krishna get here? Has your mother brought her statue here and put it in my room?

SON: No, the same Krishna statue is in her room. I was just there.

FATHER: Let me go into your mother’s room and see.

(Father and son go into the mother’s room and see the same statue of Krishna there.)

MOTHER: What is the matter? What are you doing here at this hour? What are you doing in my room?

SON: Mother, Mother, now there is only Krishna in our family! In your room is Krishna and in Father’s room is Krishna.

MOTHER: What? Is it true? I can’t believe my ears! That means your father has now become Krishna’s devotee. I am so glad. I am so glad that at last you have replaced Kali with Krishna.

FATHER: I have not done it. I don’t know how Krishna’s statue got into my room.

MOTHER: Then how could this happen?

SON: Father, this must be a miracle. Since it is a divine miracle, let us meditate together. Let the three of us meditate together and see what we can learn from within.

(They sit down to meditate. An angel appears.)

ANGEL: It was your son’s prayer that we heard. Your son has always been suffering from your quarrels. One of you cries for Krishna, the other is all for Kali. Although he was fond of Krishna, your son felt miserable because each of you was always fighting for his own chosen deity. In order to prove to you that Kali and Krishna are one, Kali has taken the form of Krishna. From now on there will be no quarrel between you, no dispute between husband and wife, for you know that Kali and Krishna are one. Now Krishna is in both rooms because both wife and son like Krishna. Let there be no more disputes about which deity is better. You two may worship Krishna directly, and you (addressing the husband) may worship Kali inside Krishna. She is most certainly there. They are one.

(The angel disappears and the whole room is flooded with light.)

Sunda and Upasunda

Dramatis personae










Scene 1

(Sunda and Upasunda, two most beautiful Asura brothers, are at their palace.)

SUNDA: Upasunda, today, I don’t know why or how, I am in a most powerful mood to sing.

UPASUNDA: Strangely enough, Sunda, I too am deeply inspired to sing.

SUNDA: Wonderful, then let us both sing.

UPASUNDA: You sing first, and then I shall sing.

SUNDA: Thank you, Brother.

(Sunda sings.)

What can I do?
Heaven is afraid of me.
What can I do?
I fly beyond its glee
Piercing the Blue.

UPASUNDA (cannot resist the temptation to interrupt Sunda): Marvellous!

(Upasunda sings.)

What can I do?
Earth is afraid of me.
What can I do?
I fell its ignorance-tree
To plant the True.

SUNDA: Marvellous! Let me continue, Brother.

(Sunda sings.)

What can I do?
Hell is afraid of me.
What can I do?
My compassion frees its pangs
From the racking screw.

UPASUNDA: Marvellous! Let me complete the song.

(Upasunda sings.)

What can I do?
My soul is afraid of me.
What can I do?
Body’s eternity
I know is due.

SUNDA: Marvellous, marvellous! No matter who composed the song, it was undoubtedly composed for us to sing. Brother, our love for each other is invincible; our beauty, unfathomable; and our power, immeasurable.

UPASUNDA: In us the world can see the supreme incarnations of authority and power. All we need now is the Life of Immortality. We have to be immortal like Indra. That’s all.

SUNDA: Indra! Don’t use that filthy name! He is our worst enemy. We must dethrone him. We must destroy him. We must prove to the world that he is but a speck of dust, doomed to nothingness.

UPASUNDA: Alas, he is a cosmic god. Hence he is immortal.

SUNDA: God, god? What kind of god is he? He has no sense of morality. His wild vital does not have even an iota of purity. He is a shameless creature. His life can never love the breath of Truth. It can only love the physical beauty of women.

UPASUNDA: You are not an inch from the truth. But we have to become immortal like Indra.

SUNDA: Indeed! Indeed!

UPASUNDA: We must start worshipping one of the principal gods in order to get a boon which will grant us Immortality.

SUNDA: Indeed! Indeed!

UPASUNDA: I personally don’t care for Shiva.

SUNDA: Neither do I.

UPASUNDA: I don’t care for Vishnu, either.

SUNDA: I also don’t care for Vishnu.

UPASUNDA: But I love Brahma.

SUNDA: I, too.

UPASUNDA: Let us then pray to Brahma day in and day out. Let us practise austerities. Brahma’s transcendental Blessing will grant us Immortality.

SUNDA: I am sure it will.

UPASUNDA: Let us leave our palace tomorrow and go to the forest to pray to and meditate on Brahma. Let us sacrifice everything for an immortal life.

SUNDA: A splendid idea, indeed!

UPASUNDA: From tomorrow on we must lead the life of true ascetics in the thick of the forest.

SUNDA: We must, without fail, we must.

Scene 2

(Inside two forest caves Sunda and Upasunda are chanting, praying and meditating only to please Brahma. Each one has a picture of Brahma in front of him.)

SUNDA AND UPASUNDA (chant together three times):

Hiranyagarbhaya vidmahe
veda purushaya dhimahi
tanno brahma prachodayat

(We know Him as the Cosmic Creator.
We meditate on Him as the Purusha of the Veda.
May Brahma awaken the Supreme in us.)

SUNDA AND UPASUNDA: O Brahma, do appear before us. Do make us immortal like Indra. Everything we have, except Immortality. We don’t want to remain inferior to Indra. O Brahma, O Ocean of Infinite Compassion, it is you alone who can and will fulfil our inmost desire. O Brahma, O Father of Creation, do bless us with your divine Presence supreme.

(Enter Indra secretly. Having observed the severe austerities and penances of the two Asura brothers, Indra is terribly frightened. He feels that soon these two brothers will be more powerful than he is, and then they will seize his kingdom, dethrone him and chase him out of Heaven. Indra gets an idea and exits in silence, going back to Indra Puri, the City of Indra.)

(Soon he returns to the two Asura brothers with four extremely beautiful dancing girls who, he hopes, will tempt them and ruin them. The dancers offer their superlative performances to the two brothers. In every possible way they try to lower the consciousness of the two aspiring brothers. But all their efforts are in vain. The two genuine seekers are rapt in meditation. Frustrated, disheartened and defeated, Indra leads away the four dancing girls.)

Scene 3

(The following day. With their eyes slightly open the two brothers are in a very high meditation. They are deeply absorbed in the transcendental consciousness of Brahma. Enter Brahma. The two aspirants immediately leave their seats and touch Brahma’s feet for benedictions.)

BRAHMA: Your aspiration has pleased me. Your determination has pleased me. What can I do for you?

SUNDA: Lord, we want to equal the cosmic god Indra. Something more, we want to dethrone Indra and become the King of the gods.

UPASUNDA: We feel that in order to fulfil our heart’s desire we need only one thing, and that thing is an immortal life.

SUNDA AND UPASUNDA: You have just said that you are pleased with our aspiration and determination. If what you say is true, then please, please, please grant us an immortal life so that we can conquer Indra.

BRAHMA: No shadow of a doubt that I am truly pleased with you. But Indra’s supreme position is well-founded. Ask for another boon.

(Sunda and Upasunda are both sunk in despair.)

SUNDA: Then please give us at least the Life of Immortality. We do not want to be killed by anybody. We want our joint strength to be unparalleled in the entire history of the world.

UPASUNDA (seeing Brahma quite hesitant): All right. At least this much of a favour you can do: if we have to die at all, then we wish to die at the hands of each other.

BRAHMA (blessing them together): Tathastu. So be it.

(Exit Brahma. The two brothers embrace each other and dance with joy.)

UPASUNDA: So, we are now immortal!

SUNDA: Indeed, we are!

UPASUNDA: Brahma’s loftiest vision failed to see into our future.

SUNDA: His third eye didn’t function well today.

UPASUNDA (roaring with laughter): How can we kill each other? Our sweetest, deepest oneness inseparable shall last through eternity!

SUNDA (with another roaring laugh): How can we kill each other? Impossible! Creation has never seen and will never see such inseparable oneness.

UPASUNDA: That goes without saying. So we are now really immortal!

SUNDA: Indeed, we are. We are immortal forever!

UPASUNDA: Although Brahma says that that hostile Indra’s position is well-established, I simply don’t believe him. Do you?

SUNDA: Not in the least.

UPASUNDA: We know that our power is invincible.

SUNDA: Indeed, indeed!

UPASUNDA: We shall be able to conquer Indra. Look at that rascal! Even while we were practising hard austerities he had to bring down four most beautiful dancers to try to ruin our aspiration and determination.

SUNDA: You know, Brother, that Indra is a rascal of the deepest dye.

UPASUNDA: Let us first conquer all the kings on earth, and then with their added power — although we don’t exactly need any more power than we already have — we shall attack Indra, we shall dethrone Indra, and we shall chase Indra away like a cat out of Heaven!

SUNDA: How wonderful to hear that!

UPASUNDA: Let us go back to our palace. Let us wage war against all the kings immediately. Let us totally destroy their capitals. Delay is not for us. We can easily become the undisputed rulers of the whole world.

SIUNDA: Certainly we can.

UPASUNDA: No, nobody on earth will dare to question our supremacy. Once we have conquered the length and breadth of the world with our absolute power, we shall threaten, frighten, attack and dethrone Indra all at once.

SUNDA: Yes, Brother. We must do that. We must and we can. If we don’t, we can’t have everlasting joy.

UPASUNDA: We simply must do it.

SUNDA: And we easily can.

Scene 4

(Early morning. Brahma’s abode. Brahma’s blessingful meditation on the world is just over. Enter four saints.)

FIRST SAINT: O Lord Brahma, save us, save the world. Sunda and Upasunda are destroying the whole world.

SECOND SAINT: O Lord Brahma, the two Asura brothers have conquered all the peoples of the world. These two Asuras have looted all their wealth.

THIRD SAINT: They are now fully prepared to cross swords with the cosmic gods.

FOURTH SAINT: And soon they will be ready for a ruthless attack on Indra, the King of the cosmic gods.

THE SAINTS (together): O Lord Brahma, save us, save the world from these two Asuras, or very soon the human race will suffer an eternal end.

BRAHMA (smiling): My sweet children, I am fully aware of the grim situation. I am fully conscious of the unspeakable misdeeds of the two Asura brothers. Do not burn with impatience. I assure you that their days are numbered.

(Brahma starts meditating. In five minutes he creates through his third eye the most beautiful girl of eighteen the universe has ever seen.)

GIRL: My Lord, my Creator, my All! My life of unconditional and eternal service I place at your feet. I am sure you have a special plan for my life. My duty, my beauty, my reality and my divinity — all I place at your feet. You are my life’s soul and you are my soul’s goal.

(Brahma blesses her. While being blessed she offers her soulful prayer to her creator, the Creator of the universe.)


My life began with duty’s pride.
My life shall live with beauty’s light.
My life shall sport with reality’s soul.
My life shall end with Divinity’s Height.

BRAHMA: Tilottama, O beauty unparalleled, O beauty’s perfection, descend into the world and do me a service.

TILOTTAMA: A service! This life of mine is at your express command.

BRAHMA: Go and create a terrible dispute between the two Asura brothers, Sunda and Upasunda. Go and tempt them with your beauty’s mightiest power and make them kill each other while fighting for the possession of your matchless beauty.

TILOTTAMA: My Lord, my beauty is yours. My capacity is yours. My victory is yours. I am all yours.

(Exit Tilottama.)

THE FOUR SAINTS (together bowing down to Brahma): We are sure that Tilottama’s beauty will kill the two Asura brothers. O Lord Brahma, you have saved us, you have saved the world and you have saved the human race. To you we offer the breath of our eternal gratitude.

(Brahma smiles. Exeunt the four saints.)

Scene 5

(The Asura brothers are in the seventh heaven of enjoyment. Lower vital music and vulgar dancing are all around. Enter Tilottama. Immediately Sunda and Upasunda are swayed by tenebrous passion.)

SUNDA: Who are you? Your body’s beauty is torturing every limb of mine.

UPASUNDA: Do you need money? Do you need jewels? Do you need name and fame? I shall give you immediately anything you want. Stand beside me, please. Stay with me, please. My heart needs you badly.

TILOTTAMA: Please let me think over the matter. After all, it is quite serious.

SUNDA: O paragon of beauty, my heart can brook no delay. I love you. You are mine. You are absolutely mine.

UPASUNDA: Stop, Sunda! I can clearly see that she loves me infinitely more than she loves you. Such being the case, it is I who deserve her, and not you.

SUNDA: I am not sure. Granted, she loves you more than she loves me. But I love her infinitely more than you love her.

UPASUNDA: O beauty unparalleled, how do you declare your life on earth?

TILOTTAMA: My name is Tilottama.

SUNDA: Like your beauty, your very name is torturing my heart and soul. You make me dream, and I make the world tremble. You are in all my thoughts. I must have you. I must tell you that I love you only, and I love nobody else on earth.

UPASUNDA: Tilottama, my darling, Sunda is a stranger to truth and I am a stranger to falsehood. I love you only. I am all yours. You are all mine. The moment I saw you my heart came close to breaking with stupendous ecstasy, my darling.

SUNDA: Upasunda, not once but twice, you dare to call her your darling! She is all mine. I am all hers. You rightly deserve most severe punishment from me for your unpardonable audacity.

UPASUNDA: Who punishes whom? You fool, you rogue, you brute!

(Upasunda severely strikes Sunda with his naked sword. Sunda immediately crosses his own sword with Upasunda’s. A terrible fight starts between the two. The fight is unbelievably fierce. In a few minutes the two brothers kill each other. Enter Brahma and Indra. Tilottama bows down to Brahma.)

TILOTTAMA: O my Creator, O my Source, I was a mere instrument of yours. You have blessed the world with your divine victory supreme. Once again this world of ours shall be flooded with light and delight.

BRAHMA: Tilottama, you are my greatest joy and highest pride.

INDRA: Tilottama, you have saved me. You have saved my divine pride. You have saved my Kingdom’s life. My heart’s garland of gratitude to you I offer.

(Indra garlands Tilottama.)

Radha and Krishna are pure

Dramatis personae







Scene 1

(Krishna sits alone. Beside him is his flute.)

KRISHNA (lifting his flute): When I play on this flute, men and women, especially women, come to listen to my music. People criticise me because they feel that my association with these women is not pure. But I know how pure these women are, and I know what purity I embody. Poor Radha, she is my dearest shakti. She is Purity itself. But human beings, how will they understand divine Love? How will they understand divine Delight? I shall have to suffer criticism from people.

(Krishna sings.)

Je besechhe bhalo
ei dharanire
se peyechhe shudhu byatha
parane tahar dhelechhe abani
kuruper malinata
tabu nirbhay chale sei bir
pritthvir bojha niye
ahaba ante habe upanita
prabhur charane giye

(He who has loved this world
Has only got excruciating pangs.
The world has thrown on him all ugliness and filth and dirt, and impurity.
Yet the hero marches along,
Carrying the burden of the entire world.
At the end of his teeming struggles
He will go and stand at the Feet of the Lord Supreme.)

KRISHNA: I don’t mind. I am above it all. But my Radha suffers, and I feel sorry for her.

(Enter Radha.)

KRISHNA: How do you feel today, Radha?

(Radha does not answer.)

KRISHNA: Yesterday you were in a sulking mood. It seems today you are worse. Radha, please tell me what is going on. Yesterday I asked you what was wrong with you, and you didn’t answer. Today again I am asking you. I am begging you. Now tell me what is wrong with you. Has anybody insulted you?

RADHA: You are so pure, so divine. I come to you to listen to your music, to listen to your divine voice, to listen to your eternal Truth. I know you are divine, and my heart is all for you. But everybody criticises us, even my girl friends who also come here to listen to you. My girl friends are creating such gossip. It is unthinkable, unbearable.

KRISHNA: Do you know why they do it? Can you tell me why they act like that?

RADHA: Just because you show me special attention, they can’t bear it. They are jealous of me. (Krishna smiles.) Can you not stop their jealousy?

KRISHNA: Human jealousy, Radha, is a very serious disease. I shall try to free them from jealousy. But it is a very difficult task.

RADHA: Either you have to free them from jealousy, or you have to make them feel that I am pure.

KRISHNA: To make them feel that you are pure — that is far easier. That I can do easily. I shall show you.

(Krishna begins playing soul-stirring music on his flute. All his divine friends come rushing to hear his music. Krishna plays for a few minutes.)

KRISHNA: Today I wish to play a special game. (Speaking to the women.) Most of you are married. I want you to prove today that you are all chaste. I want you to prove your purity.

(When Krishna says this, some of them immediately run away.)

KRISHNA: Look at this. I wanted them to prove their chastity and they have run away. You can imagine what kind of life they lead. So you people are remaining. I am so glad that you lead a chaste life. Now, here is a sieve and here is a bucket of water. One by one you come and pour the water into the sieve. If the water does not leak through when someone pours, that means that that woman is extremely pure and chaste.

(The girls line up. The first girl comes and pours water into the sieve. The water leaks through. The onlookers start laughing.)

ONLOOKERS: Oh, she is not chaste. She is not pure.

(The girl hides her face in embarrassment. The next girl starts pouring, but again the water goes through.)

ONLOOKERS (laughing): She is not chaste, she is not chaste.

KRISHNA (to a third girl): Now come on.

(The third girl comes and suffers the same fate. The water leaks through the sieve. Everybody starts laughing.)

THIRD GIRL (mockingly): Oh, Radha should come. Let her try!

OTHERS: Yes, Radha should come. Let Radha come. Let Radha try!

SECOND GIRL: Why do you bother Radha? She is not chaste either. Have some sympathy for her. You know perfectly well what kind of life she is leading.

KRISHNA: All right, she is not leading a life of purity. But let her try anyway. Radha, please come and see. You try, Radha. Come.

(Radha comes forward and is about to pour the water. The other women immediately start laughing.)

KRISHNA: Be quiet. Let us see first.

RADHA: Look, already they are laughing and mocking and criticising me. Why should I do it?

KRISHNA (to the onlookers): Don’t mock. Don’t laugh. This is not yet the time to laugh and criticise. You people have proved yourselves. You have proved that you are not chaste at all. You only know how to criticise and mock. Now, let Radha try. At least give her a chance.

(Radha pours the water. The water does not leak through the sieve. Everybody is astonished.)

KRISHNA: Now you can see who is chaste, who is pure. You people, look. You know how to criticise, how to mock. But you do not know how to lead a pure life. I am teaching you the eternal Truth. I am the Lord of the Universe. Radha comes to me for spiritual help, eternal Truth. Her love for me is divine. My love for her is also divine. Your minds are in the gutter. You remain in a filthy consciousness. You care for men, you care for earthly duties, you care for name, fame and so many things. But my Radha, I am always in her mind. She is also a married woman. She has her husband and everything else, just like you. But no matter where she goes, no matter with whom she speaks, her mind is always on my Transcendental Consciousness. She knows that I am the Lord of the Universe. (Pauses.) Whoever thinks of me has the purest heart on earth. Those who think of other things are not pure and can never be pure. Their purity today you observed. A day will come when the whole world will know who Radha is. The world will not only recognise her purity, but also receive from her divinity the purest delight that exists in the earth-consciousness. She is my delight; she is the delight of the Universe. Pray, meditate. All of you will one day have Radha’s purity, Radha’s consciousness. It will take time; it will take centuries, millennia. But it will be possible for you also to have Radha’s height, Radha’s consciousness, Radha’s realisation.

(Radha soulfully looks at Krishna and the other girls listen quietly while the second girl sings.)

Kalo baran nai je kanu
jena kancha sona
bishwa ruper rup madhuri
jyoti diye bona
amar —
maner kali dhela pare
dekhai tare kalo
ta nahale priya je mor
sudhui ujal alo
alo andhar tahar gara
kanu bishwamoy
sabar sathe habe amar
naba parichay

(My Krishna is not black,
He is pure gold.
He Himself is woven
Into the universal Beauty, Light and Splendour.
He looks dark
Because I have spilled the ink of my mind on Him.
Otherwise, my Beloved is All-Light.
He created Light and Darkness,
He is within and without the Cosmos Vast.
With this knowledge,
I will have a new acquaintance
With the world at large.)

Ganapati's marriage

Dramatis personae






Scene 1

(Shiva, Kumara and Ganapati.)

KUMARA: Father, I want to get married.

SHIVA: Why, my son? Why do you want to get married?

KUMARA: I need a woman in my life. I feel that my heart is barren. I need somebody to give me love.

GANAPATI: Father, I also want to get married. I also need love from somebody, from a woman. I need it badly, Father.

SHIVA: So both of you want to get married. It is a good idea. But we can’t afford to have two marriages performed at the same time. One of you will have to wait.

KUMARA: Father, I should get married first, since I made the proposal first.

GANAPATI: No, Father, I should marry first because I am older than he is, and as you know, it is the older child that gets married first. That is our Indian tradition.

KUMARA: Father, please listen to me. It is I who should get married first. All the time his mind remains in his books. I tell you, if you allow him to get married, he will neglect his wife. He won’t take care of his wife. He will ruin her, and you will feel miserable when you see your daughter-in-law come to you shedding bitter tears. Don’t allow him to get married, Father. It is I who should get married. I belong to this world. I know the ins and outs of this world. I will take care of my wife.

GANAPATI: Father, Kumara knows how to talk, and I know how to act. I tell you, he talks and talks and talks, but when it is a matter of action, he will not be seen anywhere. I shall please my wife. Believe me, Father. Give me the chance. I want to get married first.

KUMARA: Father, Father, it is always said that the youngest son in the family gets the first chance in everything. I am the youngest, Father, so I should get the first chance. I should get married first.

SHIVA: All right. I will tell you what you have to do. Both of you go and travel around the world. Whoever comes back first will be given the opportunity to get married first. I will wait.

(Kumara immediately runs away. Ganapati remains.)

GANAPATI (to himself): With this huge belly of mine, how am I going to run like him? Oh God, give me some wisdom. How can I outrun my brother Kumara? He is thin, swift, agile. For me even to walk, to cover a quarter-mile, is an extremely difficult task. I will die if I have to circumnavigate the world. I won’t be able to do it. After I have covered two or three miles, I shall return to God instead of returning home. Let me meditate and see if I can get any ideas.

(He meditates. After some time, a brilliant idea enters his mind.)

GANAPATI (to himself): My father! My father is all divinity. This world belongs to him. Naturally, if I go around him, that means I am going around the world. (To his father.) Father, please be seated, please be seated.

(Shiva sits down. Singing the glory of his father, Ganapati walks around him seven times.)

GANAPATI: Father, I have won.

SHIVA: How have you won?

GANAPATI: Father, I have won seven times over. You are the world. You are the Lord of the world, and you embody the world. You are the Creator; you are the creation itself. I have gone seven times around you. That means I have gone around the world seven times. Father, it is I who should get married first.

SHIVA (deeply pleased): Go and call your mother. (Ganapati goes out and returns with his mother.)

SHIVA (to his wife): Your son Ganapati has won a race against Kumara. This morning both brothers insisted on getting married. When I agreed, each of them wanted to be the first to marry. I said the first one to travel around the world would be the first to get married. Ganapati asked me to sit down. I sat down, and he walked around me seven times. Naturally he is the winner.

DURGA: I am truly happy that we have a son who is wise. The other son is strong and powerful, but he does not have wisdom, alas. He will run and run and run. God knows when he will come back. I feel sorry for that boy, and I am proud of this boy. Let us marry this son. It is my wish that this son will marry two girls at the same time.

GANAPATI: Two? Two, Mother?

DURGA: Yes, my son, two. I need two girls to help me. And who knows, when Kumara comes back, he may be disappointed, seeing that you have married first, and he may not marry at all. So the best thing is for us to get two girls for you.

GANAPATI (very happy): Oh, Mother! They will help you, so you won’t have to work any more. And I will be so happy and proud. Everybody else has one wife, but I will have two wives!

(Shiva smiles and blesses his son.)

Scene 2

(Several days later, before Kumara returns home, he meets his enemy, Narada.)

NARADA: O Kumara, everything is finished.

KUMARA: What is finished?

NARADA: Finished. Your brother, Ganapati, has got married.

KUMARA: How? When? How did he reach our father before me? Has he gone around the world?

NARADA: Well, I do not know about that. But I can tell you that I have just come from your house, where I saw that he has two most beautiful girls as his wives.

KUMARA: Two? He has married two?

NARADA: Yes. Your parents are so pleased with him, so proud of him. Instead of one, they have brought him two beautiful, most beautiful girls. I don’t know. When you get married, I doubt that you will get as beautiful a girl for yourself.

KUMARA: Two wives? Two beautiful wives? I can’t believe you!

NARADA: If you do not believe me, you can go and see for yourself. You are very near your house.

KUMARA: Unbelievable! Unthinkable! My parents, my own parents have deceived me! Let me go and see.

Scene 3

(Kumara, running, enters his home and sees two most beautiful girls with Ganapati and his parents. He is furious.)

KUMARA: (to his parents): You have deceived me! You didn’t even wait for me. How did he come back before me?

SHIVA: My son, he knew that I am divine. He knew that I am the Creator and I am the creation. He knew that I am God and I am the world. So he went around me not once, but seven times. And you, my son, you have come only now, so late.

KUMARA: No! It is all deception, all deception! I can’t tolerate this. I am going into the forest. I will never, never marry in this life. I don’t need women, Who cares for a woman’s beauty? Beauty is, after all, only skin deep. I shall care only for the soul’s beauty, the eternal beauty. Women are bondage. I don’t need bondage. My brother now has double bondage: two women in his life. He was a fool to get married. Now he is stuck, but I can run towards my goal the fastest because I am free from bondage.

(Shiva blesses his son.)

SHIVA: Kumara, in some cases, marriage does help; in other cases, it is an obstruction. For you, marriage would be an obstruction, a curse. You do not need a wife. You need only God. To realise Him, to fulfil Him, is your sole aim. Marriage would not allow you to think of God, to meditate on God, And I want you to realise God as soon as possible without having this added burden on your shoulders. So to remain unmarried is, for you, a real blessing. But in Ganapati’s case, marriage is a blessing, a real boon. With his marriage, he will be able to fulfil himself and God. The added strength it gives him will allow him to run the fastest in his own way. We want satisfaction, real satisfaction, from both of you. Your unmarried life the world will adore. In his case, the world will see that with a wife one can also go to God. God is both man and woman. How can you ignore the part that is woman? Ganapati will take the other half, woman, to God. Both husband and wife can go to God simultaneously to fulfil Him, which is absolutely necessary. God wants you to remain unmarried and He wants your brother to lead a married life. Your brother is fulfilling God’s wish, as you will be from now on. So you please God in one way, and he pleases God in another way. Both of you are pleasing God in His own Way.

(Shiva sings.)

What is marriage?
The smile of love
That allows two souls
To soar above.

(To Kumara.)

What is marriage?
The curse of Night.
A tug-of-war.
No escape to Light.

(To Ganapati.)

What is marriage?
God’s fulfilment true.
In Silence and Power
His Vision’s due.

Dasharatha promises and Rama executes

Dramatis personae











Scene 1

(Queen Kaikeyi and her maidservant Manthara.)

MANTHARA: O Queen, do you know? Do you know what will happen tomorrow?

KAIKEYI: No, I do not know. Please tell me.

MANTHARA: Tomorrow Rama is going to be the yubaraj. He is going to become the crown prince.

KAIKEYI: Oh! How delighted I am to hear that! You are the first person to give me that happy news. Take this necklace from me. (She hands the necklace to her maidservant.)

MANTHARA (throws away the necklace): O Queen I never thought that you were such a fool. I thought that God had given you some real wisdom. Don’t you realise that when Rama becomes the ruler he will be all devotion to his own mother, Kausalya, and not to you? You will have no place here then. Your own son Bharata, will be like a servant. Now he and Rama are like two friends, two brothers. But the day Rama becomes King, Bharata will be nowhere.

KAIKEYI: No, don’t say such things. My Bharata and Kausalya’s Rama are inseparable brothers. I am so happy that my Rama, who loves me more than he loves his own mother, who serves me more than he serves his own mother, is going to be the ruler of this vast kingdom. O Manthara, the news that you have given me has made my life extremely happy. You don’t know how much joy I am getting now. My Rama, my own Rama will become the King.

MANTHARA: O Queen, just wait and see. Kausalya’s life of joy and victory will begin tomorrow. Your life of frustration and destruction will begin tomorrow.

KAIKEYI: Manthara, stop! Enough of your evil tongue. I am the Queen. I know what is best for me, best for my life. King Dasharatha has three Queens: Kausalya, Sumitra and I. But you know Dasharatha loves me most. He would not do anything which would eventually make me sad.

MANTHARA: Yes, I know he loves you most. But when Rama becomes the crown prince, instead of your son, your suffering will know no bounds. This is not my curse; it is just a bare fact. Rama will banish your son from the kingdom and he will treat you as you are treating me, your maidservant. Today you are the Queen, the most beloved Queen of Dasharatha; tomorrow you will become a maidservant like me in the service of Rama.

KAIKEYI: My love for my Rama is boundless. He is the embodiment of Truth and Light. In him I see the message of Divine Perfection. To be his maidservant is to be the great instrument of God. I am prepared to be his maidservant or whatever he wants me to be when he becomes the ruler of Ayodhya.

MANTHARA: O Queen, still there is time. Don’t act like a fool. You are still the most beloved wife of Dasharatha. Have you forgotten that he once promised you that he would fulfil your desires, no matter what they were? When he was ill, you served him, you nursed him and you cured him. Because of your dedicated service he offered you two divine boons. You told him that when the time came you would ask him. Now the time has come. Do you remember how many times you have been unkind to Kausalya? When she becomes the mother of King Rama, don’t you think she will pay you back?

KAIKEYI: That is true. I scolded her and insulted her many times, just because I knew I was the favourite wife of King Dasharatha. But Kausalya’s heart is big. She is full of love and compassion. When her son becomes King she will not pay me back in my own coin. She will forgive me. As a matter of fact, she has already forgiven me.

MANTHARA: Wait, just wait. It is only a matter of a few hours until tomorrow, and then your sorrow begins, your suffering begins. The night of excruciating pangs begins for you, O Queen!

KAIKEYI: I am fully prepared. Whatever is going to happen will happen for my own good. My Rama will not do anything wrong to me. Kausalya will never do anything to humiliate me. Both of them are great in heart and soul.

MANTHARA: You must know that it is not for my sake that I am asking you to ask the King for the boons. My only interest in life is your joy. My life on earth is only to please you, only to make you happy. Now here is my humble suggestion. Go to the King and ask him for your two boons. Then, when he agrees to give them, ask first that Rama be exiled for fourteen years. And for the second boon, ask that your son, Bharata, be made the crown prince.

KAIKEYI (shocked): I? I should ask Dasharatha for these boons?

MANTHARA: Yes, Rama has to go into the forest for fourteen years and your son Bharata has to be installed on the throne. Only then will you be happy, I tell you.

KAIKEYI: Shame, shame, unutterable shame on you, Manthara! Your advice is poison, nothing else! Leave this place immediately, before I kick you out!

MANTHARA (leaving): O Queen, tomorrow you will see!

(Exit Manthara. Kaikeyi sits down and rests her chin on her hands. She is thinking.)

KAIKEYI (to herself): Perhaps she is right…

Scene 2

(Dasharatha and Rama are together. Both are happy. Enter Kaikeyi.)

KAIKEYI: Rama, my darling, I have something important to discuss with your father. Will you leave us for a moment? I shall call you back when our discussion is over.

RAMA: Certainly, Mother, certainly.

(Exit Rama. Kaikeyi’s expression immediately changes to one of bitter distress.)

DASHARATHA: Kaikeyi, why is it that you are so distressed all of a sudden? Please tell me what is wrong with you. Are you feeling unwell? All the physicians of the world are at my disposal. Has anybody done anything wrong to you? If so, I assure you that he will be put to death. I have never seen you unhappy. Your sorrow is piercing the very depths of my soul.

KAIKEYI: My King, it is easy for you to talk about your love for me, but I know you are not sincere. You try to please me daily with empty flattery and falsehoods. But do you have even an iota of love for me? No, it is all deception.

DASHARATHA (shocked): Kaikeyi! I can’t believe my ears! Is this really you? Tell me when I have ever deceived you.

KAIKEYI: You have never deceived me?

DASHARATHA: Never! Never have I deceived you and never will I deceive you. You are my favourite Queen. I am all love, all sacrifice for you.

KAIKEYI: Then prove it.

DASHARATHA: I am at your disposal.

KAIKEYI: Send Rama into exile in the forest for fourteen years and make my son Bharata the crown prince tomorrow.

DASHARATHA (collapses, stunned): Ohhh. Kaikeyi, to hear this from you! Tomorrow was to have been the happiest day of my life, and today you are giving me such a cruel blow. In one blow you have taken away all my joy, all my happiness, the very life from my heart.

KAIKEYI: I have only made a legitimate claim. Don’t forget that you made a promise to me once. You granted me two boons. When you were practically dying, I nursed you back to health. You were so pleased with me that you granted me two boons, and I told you that when the time came I would ask for them. Now the time has come. Keep your promise if you are a man of truth. If not, the world will soon have a different opinion of you.

DASHARATHA: Kaikeyi, I am more dead than alive. You ruined my kingdom, you have killed me. I shall keep my promise, but do me at least one favour.

KAIKEYI: What do you want me to do?

DASHARATHA: Very simple. On my behalf you tell Rama that he has to go into the forest. On my behalf you tell your son Bharata that he will be the crown prince tomorrow. That’s easy enough. (He faints.)

KAIKEYI (calls aloud): Rama! Rama!

(Enter Rama.)

RAMA: Mother, is anything wrong with you?

KAIKEYI: Nothing is wrong, Rama. This very day you have to retire into the forest for fourteen years of exile. My son Bharata will be the King, and not you. Your father has promised.

(Seeing that his father is lying unconscious, Rama runs out and returns with Lakshmana, Kausalya, Sumitra and Sita.)

RAMA (to Kaikeyi): Mother, I shall obey your command. You want me to go into the forest for fourteen years. You want my dearest brother, Bharata, to be the ruler. I am fully prepared to keep my father’s promise to you. I am glad it is I who will have the opportunity to prove to the world that my father knows how to keep his promise.

(Lakshmana, Kausalya, Sumitra and Sita burst into tears.)

LAKSHMANA: Impossible! Brother, you cannot go into the forest! You cannot leave us!

SITA: My Lord, you cannot go! The world wants you, and not Bharata.

KAUSALYA: Rama, my darling son, don’t go!

RAMA: I know, Mother, that you will miss me. I shall also miss you, I shall miss my wife Sita and I shall miss my brother Lakshmana. I shall also miss my brother Bharata and my brother Shatrughna. I shall miss all my family. But Mother, my suffering and your suffering have no meaning in my life. Only the fulfilment of my father’s promise has real value for me. The world must know that my father Dasharatha has kept his promise. There is nothing so great as to keep one’s promise. I want the world to be proud of my father’s promise, my father’s sacrifice. Mother, Sita, Lakshmana, Mother Kaikeyi, Mother Sumitra — I am leaving. It is only a matter of fourteen fleeting years. Then I shall be back with you again. Now my joy is in fulfilling my father’s promise. Fourteen years from now my joy will be in living with my dear ones.

SITA: Lord, you cannot go without me.

LAKSHMANA: Rama, you cannot go without me.

RAMA: Sita, do you want to go with me into the forest? You will suffer much. How can I bear your suffering? A woman like you, who has been brought up with such care, love, affection and adoration, and all the comforts of wealth, cannot live in the forest. You must not think of going with me,

SITA: My Lord, without you my life has no meaning. To live with you in hell would give me greater joy than to live without you in Heaven. To be with you is to be in the highest plane of Delight. Wherever you are, I must be with you. I cannot remain without you. To be at your feet is my constant and eternal goal.

LAKSHMANA: Brother, to live without you is to live in ignorance, bondage and hell. I am not such a fool. This brother of yours will be your eternally devoted and dedicated slave. You are fulfilling Father’s promise. Now you must also fulfil my wish and Sita’s wish.

KAUSALYA: Rama, my son, take them with you. I shall remain here to look after your father. I love you more than I love my own life, but your aged father now needs my care. I do not know whether he will recover from this shock or not. But for the remaining days, the remaining hours, I want to serve him.

RAMA: Mother, you are doing absolutely the right thing. Father needs your care. He needs you badly. After fourteen years we three will come back. Mother Kaikeyi, please tell Bharata that I give him all my love, all my joy and all my blessings. Let him rule the kingdom in his own way. I am sure he will rule well. And Mother Kaikeyi, my only request to you, my last request to you, is that you will treat my mother Kausalya well.

SUMITRA: Rama, my son, you are the embodiment of truth, light and forgiveness. My heart breaks into pieces to see you and my Lakshmana leaving. But my other son, Shatrughna, is with Bharata now at his maternal uncle’s home. Shatrughna will remain here. He is fond of Bharata, he is all for Bharata as Lakshmana is all for you. I shall stay here and look after your mother. I am also a Queen, but from today she will be my dearest sister. In every way I shall try to make her happy. That is my promise. That is my promise to you, my son Rama.

KAIKEYI: Rama, I know that from today the world will hate me. I will be an object of contempt.

RAMA: No, Mother, the world will not hate you. But even if the world hates you I will love you. You have given me the opportunity to keep my father’s promise, and my mother Kausalya has given me the capacity to keep his promise. Her sacrificing heart-power has given me the capacity to keep my father’s promise. Your demanding vital-power has given me the opportunity to fulfil my father’s promise. I am equally grateful to you both.

Scene 3

(Kaikeyi, Bharata and Shatrughna. Bharata is weeping bitterly.)

BHARATA: Shatrughna, brother, go and bring that filthy animal Manthara. Bring that hunchbacked creature here. I shall set it all right. Bring her here.

(Shatrughna goes out and returns dragging Manthara. Bharata violently and ferociously grabs her by the ear, pulls her hair and gives her a violent kick.)

BHARATA: You, you are the culprit! You are the one who inspired my mother, who instigated my mother to send Rama into exile for fourteen years. My dearest Rama, the light of my heart!

(Manthara falls to the ground unconscious.)

BHARATA (turning to Kaikeyi, nearly in tears): Mother, are you a human being? Have I to call you Mother? You have acted like an animal. Do you think that you have made me happy? I shall treat you ruthlessly. Every day I will make your life miserable! (Pauses.) No, no. You are forgiven. Rama’s heart of forgiveness, his heart of compassion has forgiven you. He will be sorry if I treat you this way. But I tell you, I am Rama’s brother Bharata, and not your son! My mother is Kausalya, and not you, you ingrate, you impostor! I am leaving for the forest. I will bring my brother back. It is he who will rule the kingdom. I am not only his brother, I am his devoted slave. I will not come back unless and until I have brought the brother of my heart and soul, Rama, back to Ayodhya, to his kingdom.

(Exit Bharata.)

Scene 4

(Lakshmana, Sita and Rama in the forest of Chitrakut. Rama has started his spiritual life.)

LAKSHMANA: Look! Look, Rama! Brother Bharata’s army! Bharata is invading us. Perhaps he thinks that when you go back after fourteen years you may create trouble for him. He wants to prevent any future trouble. Look at that ungrateful creature! Like mother, like son. It is his mother, Kaikeyi, who has sent you here to this life of hardship and humiliation. Now her son is coming to destroy you with his army. What else can you expect from your Bharata? After all, he is the son of Kaikeyi.

RAMA: Lakshmana, my brother, don’t be so rash. How do you know that he is coming to kill me? He may be coming to take me back to the kingdom.

LAKSHMANA (laughing): Brother, you are not only the embodiment of truth but also the embodiment of innocence. If he wanted to take you back he would come alone. Why has he to bring his huge army? O Brother, sometimes your innocence amazes me.

(Enter Bharata followed by officers. He prostrates himself before Rama and weeps bitterly.)

BHARATA: Brother, I am here at your feet. This army is yours. Come back! The kingdom awaits your arrival. I have not accepted my mother’s foul offering to me. I have not fulfilled her foul wish. We have lost our father. Your physical absence has sent him into the other world.

(Lakshmana, Sita and Rama burst into tears.)

LAKSHMANA: Father is no more?

BHARATA: No more. He is in the world beyond. My mother Kaikeyi has ruined us all. Only your presence, Brother Rama, can bring happiness back to my life, and to our kingdom.

RAMA: Brother Bharata, it is you who have to rule the kingdom. That was Father’s wish.

BHARATA: No, never! It was the wish of my cruel, brutal mother, Kaikeyi. I won’t listen to you, Brother. You must come back with me. I will be your perfect slave. You are the legitimate ruler of Ayodhya, not I. Lord, come back with me, or let me stay with you here to serve you. I shall also lead an ascetic life.

RAMA: Beloved Brother Bharata, I have embraced asceticism to obey my father and my mother Kaikeyi.

BHARATA: Kaikeyi is inhuman! She is not your mother. She is God’s worst mistake; she is man’s worst curse. Never will I call her Mother. She has ruined our family. She has done something terribly wrong to you. I do not approve of our father’s action.

RAMA: Who are you to approve or disapprove of our father? It is my bounden duty to obey him.

BHARATA: If it is your bounden duty to listen to our father, then it is my bounden duty to serve you here. I am not going back. I will not go back to the kingdom. (Speaking to officers and to everyone present.) My brother Rama shows no pity for me; he gives no consideration to my prayer. I shall lie down and fast unto death.

RAMA: Brother Bharata, this is not the way you should behave. You are a King, and you must face the world. You have to face the present situation with your manliness. It is I who am asking you to go back and rule the kingdom. If you wish to serve me, then you can serve me best in this way. The ocean may dry up, the sun may lose all its brilliance, but I will not be false to my father’s divine promise. I shall remain in exile for fourteen years.

BHARATA: Nor can I be false to my promise. I am going to stay with you.

RAMA: Then you are disobeying me, your elder brother.

BHARATA: I am not disobeying you. I cannot live without you, that’s all. You are my Lord; you are my God. I can’t live without my Lord and God.

(Enter Vashistha.)

VASHISTHA: With my occult vision I have come to know what is happening here. O Rama, O Bharata, I can solve your problem.

RAMA AND BHARATA: Please, please, O Sage Vashistha, solve our problem.

VASHISTHA: Bharata, do not sit on Rama’s throne. But go and be his agent. You rule on his behalf.

BHARATA: O Sage, that will not satisfy me. If he will allow me to keep his wooden sandals to represent him on the throne, then I shall go back. But I shall not go back to Ayodhya. No, I shall live in the village of Nandini which is on the outskirts of Ayodhya. From there I shall carry out Rama’s orders. Brother Rama, every day I shall place your sandals on my head and on my heart before I speak to anyone. It is your sandals that will represent you on the throne and give me my authority. You are the King. I am your deputy. I shall look after your kingdom as your deputy. If you should fail to return to Ayodhya on the first day of the fifteenth year, the appointed day, you will not see your brother Bharata alive. I shall consign this body to flames, while uttering your sacred name.

RAMA (embraces his brother): Brother, I assure you of my return. I shall keep my promise. I make one last request to you. Do not torture our mother Kaikeyi. Ignorance has covered her life. Let us both forgive her. Through our forgiveness her inner illumination will take place.

(Rama gives Bharata the wooden sandals from his feet.)

BHARATA (places the pair of wooden sandals on his heart): This is the symbol of my loyalty to you, Rama, my brother, my father, my All. (Embraces Lakshmana and touches the feet of Sita.) Mother Sita, I shall do everything for you and for my brothers Rama and Lakshmana. As an anxious mother waits for her son’s arrival after a long journey, as a dying man cries for a new life, I shall wait for your arrival and cry for your return.

Dasharatha's dream is at last fulfilled

Dramatis personae







Scene 1

(Rama, Lakshmana and Sita return to Ayodhya after they have been in exile for fourteen years. Bharata receives them with boundless joy and love. There is a long procession as every person in the kingdom comes to receive them. The whole kingdom is in the seventh Heaven of delight.)

BHARATA: Rama, you have come back. You have kept your promise. If you had not kept your promise, if you had broken your pledge, you would not have seen me here on earth in the land of the living. (Touches Rama’s feet.) Here is your kingdom, Brother. Now, as before, I shall be your loving brother and slave. I submit totally to your will.

RAMA: Bharata, you have shown your heart’s magnanimity and your soul’s nobility. You could have easily kept this kingdom for yourself. You were the King, in accordance with Father’s wish.

BHARATA (interrupting): No, never! Father’s wish was that you would be King, not I. You fulfilled Father’s promise to my undivine, hostile mother. Her undivine desire compelled you to suffer much. It doomed you to fourteen years of misery, and I suffered as well. Now the darkest night is over; it is all day. The light of joy, the light of progress and achievement has dawned at last. O Rama, you have come to fulfil Father’s dream. Father’s lofty hopes for you will now be manifested in this kingdom on earth.

(The members of the royal family are all around. Urmila, the wife of Lakshmana, bows down to Rama and Sita, and then to her husband. While touching Lakshmana’s feet, she sheds tears.)

LAKSHMANA: Urmila, why do you weep? I have come back to you. Today should be a day of enormous joy.

URMILA: My Lord, I am not weeping tears of sorrow. I am shedding tears of joy. Your body left me, but not your soul. Your soul stayed inside my heart. Now I have your body and soul together with me again.

(Urmila sings.)

Nayane nayane gopane gopane
shayane swapane madhu jagarane
jibaner dole maraner kole
taba prema-lila amar bhubane

(In secrecy supreme I see You.
You live in my eyes,
In my sleep, in my dreams,
In my sweet wakefulness.
In the stupendous mirth of life,
In the abysmal lap of death,
You I behold.
Your love-play is my world.)

URMILA: If you had remained here at the palace you would have done your human duty to me. But your soul wanted you to do your divine duty, which was to serve your dearest brother, Rama. He is all Divinity. He is the incarnation of dharma. You left me to be of service to him. You have come back again only to be of service to him. But your presence gives me enormous joy. I shall have you around me. I shall be with you. When it is a matter of serving, the Divine comes first and foremost. You did the right thing. You are doing the right thing. And in your sacrifice my glory looms large. In your feeling of oneness with the divine Rama, my oneness with the divine Rama shines.

RAMA: Urmila, your silence when we left for the forest was deeply appreciated and admired by me. You sacrificed your husband in silence. Your life of silent sacrifice has touched the very depths of my heart. Your sacrifice springs from your divine wisdom. Your soul-stirring philosophy is absolutely correct. The Divine comes first, and not the human. I see your life of oneness with your husband, your life of inner wisdom. You are all for the cause of my divine manifestation on earth. Urmila, feel my heart’s enormous delight and my soul’s transcendental pride.

Who is the owner: the life-saver or the life-taker?

Dramatis personae




Scene 1

(Prince Siddhartha is walking in the garden in a contemplative mood. All of a sudden a bird falls down in front of him.)

SIDDHARTHA: Ah, poor bird! My heart is bleeding for you. Who has done this? Who has hurt you? Who has aimed this arrow at you? Poor, innocent bird! Let me take the arrow out of your body. (He removes the arrow.) Now let me try to cure you.

(Enter Devadatta.)

DEVADATTA: Siddhartha, this is my bird. What right have you to keep my bird? Give it to me!

SIDDHARTHA: No, this is my bird, Devadatta.

DEVADATTA: Your bird! I shot this bird. It belongs to me. This is my arrow. I aimed at the bird and it fell down here. It is mine, mine, my property, my possession.

SIDDHARTHA: Devadatta, if I had not removed the arrow from the bird, it would have died by this time.

DEVADATTA: The point is not whether the bird would have died or would not have died. The bird is alive, and it is my possession. It was my power, my skill, my capacity that brought the bird down to earth. You cannot have it. Everybody appreciates and admires you for your heart, for your kindness. But now let the world appreciate my capacity, my skill. You be satisfied with what you have: love. And I shall be satisfied with what I have: power. My power, my skill at archery deserves this bird, not your love.

SIDDHARTHA: O Devadatta, you have the power to kill, and I have the power to love. But since I have this animal, this poor innocent bird, you shall not get it back.

DEVADATTA: Siddhartha, there is a time to listen to your philosophy, and there are people to listen to your philosophy. But this is not the time, and I am not the person. You can advocate your philosophy to others who want to be like you, who want to live in the moon-world and have no practical sense. Life has to be practical. Life needs strength, life needs vigour. But your life is a life of laziness and false kindness. You should be strong. You are the Prince, and soon you will have to rule your kingdom. This kind of false attitude will not help you in any way. What I have done today, you will do millions of times more. I was about to kill a bird. You will one day kill men. At that time your philosophy will change.

SIDDHARTHA: No, Devadatta, my philosophy will always remain the same. My philosophy is the philosophy of compassion, and not the philosophy of destruction.

DEVADATTA: You stay with your philosophy, and let me stay with mine. My philosophy is power. Your philosophy is compassion. Well and good. Now give me my bird.

SIDDHARTHA: Sorry, I will not give it to you.

DEVADATTA: Are you prepared to go to the court to fight for this bird?

SIDDHARTHA: Yes, I am fully prepared.

Scene 2

(The court.)

JUDGE: Prince, why do you keep a bird which belongs to somebody else? True, you have compassion, you have love for the bird. You have love for everything. But justice says the bird belongs to Devadatta. It was he who brought the bird down to earth. It is his possession.

SIDDHARTHA: O venerable Judge, I do not know anything about justice, but my heart tells me that he who saves life is the owner, not he who takes life. My heart was bleeding for the bird and I saved it. I am prepared to give my own life for this bird.

DEVADATTA: Siddhartha, you know how to talk. You know perfectly well that no one will kill you in place of this bird. Don’t show your false compassion.

JUDGE: Devadatta, I am the Judge. Let me hear more from him.

SIDDHARTHA: O sir, I feel that this bird belongs to me because I have saved its life. Devadatta practically killed the bird. Please tell me who is more important, the life-saver or the life-destroyer?

JUDGE: Prince, I agree with you. The life-saver is infinitely more important than the life-taker. You have saved the bird’s life; therefore it is you who can claim this bird. The bird is yours. He who saves life or gives new life is the real owner, and not he who takes life or destroys life. Today you have offered your life for a bird. A day will come, I clearly foresee, when you will offer your life for all of humanity. Your heart will cry to save the bleeding heart of humanity. Your heart will cry to illumine the unlit mind of humanity. Your soul will cry to elevate the consciousness of humanity.

DEVADATTA: Siddhartha, today your love-power has won the victory, but a day will come when I shall conquer you with my destruction-power. You will see that power conquers love.

SIDDHARTHA: Devadatta, you are wrong. Love will always conquer, for Love is the Almighty Power.

The Buddha and Ananda

Dramatis personae




Scene 1

(The Buddha and Ananda.)

BUDDHA: Ananda, I am now an old man. I am eighty years old. Ananda, for fifty years I have been teaching and preaching. The time has come for me to depart from this world. I am weak. I am an invalid. My whole body is shattered, Ananda. This body can be of no more use here on earth.

ANANDA (shedding tears): No, Master, no. You have to stay with us for quite a long time more. Your very presence is a great blessing to humanity. This sangha is not yet well established. This sangha needs your physical presence.

BUDDHA: Ananda, do you mean to say that the sangha expects something new from me? Do you mean to say that I have not spoken in clear terms what I have to say about this dharma? I have not kept anything hidden from you people. Never have I shown any sign of reticence, nor any indifference. Besides, I never thought that I would have to conduct and manage the sangha, and that it would always depend on me. So why should I stay? Why should I be involved any longer in the activities of the sangha? Ananda, from now on be self-sufficient. Have faith in yourself. Lead a spiritual life. You will realise the highest Truth. He who follows the dharma, he who takes refuge in the dharma, will alone enter into the world of Bliss, and nobody else.

ANANDA: O Lord Buddha, what you say is perfectly true, but our hearts cannot live without you. We need you. We shall eternally need you.

BUDDHA: Ananda, you need me. I need you. Again, the Truth Eternal needs us both. The Truth Eternal needs me in the world of the Beyond, and the same Truth needs you here on earth. My life has come to an end. All the experiences of the world I offer to the world. Yesterday I ate at Chunda’s house. Since then I have been feeling weaker, but I wish to assure you that this weakness is not due to his food. I am suffering, true, but it is not his fault at all. He gave me food with utmost love and devotion. Nobody should blame him when I die. I offer him my deepest blessings. Before I was illumined, before I became the Enlightened One, Sujata’s food helped me to live on earth. Her food made it possible for me to meditate. And now Chunda’s food is helping me to enter into the highest Nirvana. I see no difference between Sujata’s food and Chunda’s food. Each has served a special purpose of its own.

(Enter a few intimate disciples.)

ANANDA: Look! Look! Today the Buddha’s whole body is flooded with Light. This Light we have never seen around him. Such celestial Light!

THE DISCIPLES: Yes, Lord, today we see something totally new in you which we have never seen before. Your whole face is inundated with Light and Delight.

BUDDHA: Ananda, today reminds me of my days at the foot of the Bodhi tree. Just before I entered into Nirvana this body had the same Light, the same Delight. Today once again this body is flooded with Light and Delight. You are seeing it for the first time. But I am seeing it for the second time. The day ends, and my earthly sojourn ends along with it. Therefore, all of you are seeing this Light in me and around me.

(Ananda bursts into tears and is about to leave.)

BUDDHA: Ananda, stay here. Don’t go away. My life can now be measured in minutes. Ananda, do not cry for me. I tell all of you not to cry for me. Ananda, I have told you repeatedly that everything is transient on earth. There is nothing everlasting here. Anything that comes into life will have to give up life. You have served me, O Ananda, most devotedly, most soulfully, and for that I offer you my last blessings. Proceed on your inner strength, and you will receive liberation. You will have your liberation in due course. My spiritual journey began with renunciation and compassion, and today, at the end of my journey’s close, I offer to the world the same message: renunciation and compassion. O Ananda, do not grieve.

(The Buddha dies.)


Dramatis personae








Scene 1

(Left stage: courtyard of Sribas’ house; right stage: room adjoining the courtyard. Chaitanya is singing Hari Bol, Hari Bol and dancing in ecstasy with his followers in the courtyard of Sribas, a dear disciple of his. All of a sudden from inside the house is heard wailing and screaming. Sribas leaves the party and runs into the house. His wife is in tears; other relatives are also weeping.)

WIFE: Our only son! Our only son is lost forever! What can I do? What can I do?

SRIBAS: Why are you crying? Why are you weeping? What is there to cry about? His time has come. That is why he has gone to the other world. Today the Lord is dancing in our courtyard. Even the worst possible sinner will go directly to Heaven if he dies here. Since our son left the world from here, he will undoubtedly be happy. If you really love your son, then be happy, be delighted. Join us in our singing and dancing, for here, today, the Lord is with us.

WIFE: This is not the time to listen to your philosophy. We have lost our only son. I have love for our Master, Sri Chaitanya. But when one’s only son dies, it is impossible to maintain the same love for the Master and the same faith in the Master.

SRIBAS: You are crying, and our relatives are crying. But our Lord is dancing in ecstasy. He is in a divine consciousness. If he hears your crying and wailing, and comes back to his normal consciousness because of it, then I shall throw myself into the Ganges. If you put an end to his ecstatic dance, then I shall put an end to my life!

(The wife calms down. Other relatives are still crying.)

SRIBAS (to the others): We have lost our dearest; we have lost our only son. But my wife and I are not crying. If you have to cry, then leave our house. It is we who have suffered the loss. But to us it is no loss; it is a real gain, a real reward, because today my Lord has come to my house. Now it is not my responsibility to think of my son. My only responsibility is to think of my Master. My Master will take care of my son. So if you want to cry and weep, then all of you leave this house. This is not the place for you.

(Sribas goes back to the garden and starts singing and dancing with the others. All of a sudden, Sri Chaitanya stops singing and dancing.)

CHAITANYA: I do not know what, but something has gone wrong with me. Has anything happened at Sribas’ house? (To Sribas.) Has any calamity taken place in your house?

SRIBAS: Lord, on the day that you have blessed my home with your divine presence, how can there be any calamity here?

ANOTHER FOLLOWER: Lord, something has happened.

CHAITANYA: What has happened?

FOLLOWER: Something serious has happened.

CHAITANYA: What is it?

FOLLOWER: Sribas’ son has died.

CHAITANYA: When? When?

FOLLOWER: An hour ago.

CHAITANYA: Now why didn’t you tell me?

FOLLOWER: You were communing with Lord Krishna, my Lord. We didn’t want to put an end to your ecstatic dance. We didn’t dare to do it. And why should we have done it? To us your dance is infinitely more important than this death.

SRIBAS: To me your ecstatic dance is all-important. The death of my son is of no importance in comparison.

CHAITANYA (starts crying): He who can forget the loss of his only son in my presence — how can I forget his sacrifice? How can I appreciate his heart enough? How can I admire his heart enough? Sribas, you are really a man of divine sacrifice. I have never seen a man like you. Whose sacrifice can equal yours?

SRIBAS: Lord, there is no sacrifice on my part. For me there is only you. You have come to my home. Today is the happiest day of my life, the greatest day of my life.

CHAITANYA: Sribas, please go and bring the child. Let me see him.

(Exit Sribas. He returns carrying his son and followed by his wife. He places the child in front of the Master. Chaitanya looks at the child and concentrates on him.)

CHILD: Lord, it was Your wish that I should die. Who can violate Your law?

(Everyone is astonished to hear the dead child talking.)

CHILD: You brought me, Lord, into this world of Yours, and it is You who are sending me to the other world, which is equally Yours. Who is my father, who is my mother, if not You? You are the eternal Father; You are the eternal Mother. I bow to You, O Lord. I am going to Your other home.

CHAITANYA: Sribas, now your child’s soul has left the body. He has gone to my other world. I have a place ready for him in Heaven. I will take care of him there as I am taking care of you, your wife and all your spiritual sisters and brothers here. Sribas, you had only one son. Now you have two sons. I am your son and my dearest disciple, Nityananda, is your son. One son has gone to the other world; two sons will take his place here.

(Sribas touches the feet of Chaitanya then dances with joy.)

WIFE (touching Chaitanya’s feet): Lord, in You I see my child. In You I see the Heavens. In You I see the entire universe. Today I see not only Your physical presence, but Your universal Reality as well.

CHAITANYA: Today you have proved to be the real counterpart of Sribas. His aspiration and your aspiration have become totally one today. I shall carry both of you deep inside my heart and lead you to the abode of Hari.

(Chaitanya blesses Sribas’ wife with joy and pride.)

Whoever dies today at four p.m. will go to the highest Heaven

Dramatis personae













Scene 1

(Two citizens meet in the kingdom of King Harabhanga.)

FIRST CITIZEN: Unbearable, unbearable! The King is unbearable.

SECOND CITIZEN: Unpardonable, unpardonable! The King is unpardonable.

FIRST CITIZEN: He has gone crazy!

SECOND CITIZEN: He has become insane!

FIRST CITIZEN: Look at that fool! He wants his kingdom to surpass Heaven in prosperity, beauty and divinity.

SECOND CITIZEN: Look at his audacity! You say stupidity; I say stupidity plus audacity! How can his kingdom surpass Heaven?

FIRST CITIZEN: Impossible!


FIRST CITIZEN: He has created absolute chaos in the whole kingdom. He says that everybody has to be equal, and he feels that the only way to bring this about is for everything in the market to be sold at the same price!

SECOND CITIZEN: Unthinkable! Unthinkable! How can gold and rice be sold at the same price? A seer of gold and a seer of rice! Ha! Ha! What a stupid king we have! There are things on earth which are extremely rare and there are things on earth which are extremely common. How can they be given the same price? Look at the stupidity of this king! He feels that this will make his kingdom most prosperous, and that all will become friends. Ha! Just wait and see what unimaginable things will soon happen.

FIRST CITIZEN: Well, when one loses one’s brains, one does all sorts of things. The king thinks we will lead a perfectly happy life if the price of everything is equal. He is a fool, a real fool. What is worse, he is adamant in his command and we are helpless.

SECOND CITIZEN: We are helpless, true, but I abominate him — his utterance, his decree, everything he does.

FIRST CITIZEN: My friend, you hate him, and I wish to say that his very name has become anathema to me. He is despised and he will ever be despised by his entire kingdom. I am a jeweller. From now on I have to sell all my most expensive jewellery at the price of eggplants, potatoes and tomatoes.

SECOND CITIZEN: No matter, friend, how many aspersions you cast on him, you cannot change his mind. This is our fate.

FIRST CITIZEN: Fate? I don’t believe in fate. I shall abrogate my fate! You will see. A day will come when Harabhanga will realise his folly and this kingdom of ours, this beautiful country, will again have real life — a life of love, a life of harmony. Once more only the right will deserve the fair. A man of knowledge will have prestige; a man of ignorance will have to work for knowledge and only then will he get prestige. People will work hard in order to achieve something and only those who deserve it will get appreciation. Two different things cannot be of the same value. A man of ignorance and a man of knowledge cannot be put on the same footing. A man of sincerity and a man of insincerity, a thief and a saint, cannot be considered equal. Just by having all eat the same food, just by selling everything at the same price, this stupid Harabhanga cannot equalise all his subjects. Impossible! His brain has reached the zenith of stupidity.

SECOND CITIZEN: And I tell you, the lion in me will not eat grass like the sheep who are the king’s ministers. The king’s ministers have no voice of their own. It is they who have agreed to the king’s proposal. I am a lion; I shall devour the king and his sheep!

Scene 2

(Gorakshanath is meditating in his room. Enter Matsyendranath.)

MATSYENDRANATH: My son, are you still here? Don’t you know what King Harabhanga is doing to his subjects? He has said that everything has to be sold at the same price. Gold and eggplants will be sold at the same price.

GORAKSHANATH: I know, Master. I have heard and I have read the newspaper. But I am a little amused. I am curious to see what will happen.

MATSYENDRANATH: Curious, my son! Curiosity even at this stage? You have realised God. Now why do you allow curiosity to enter into you? I know your curiosity is innocent. You are pure; your heart is all purity, all luminosity, my son. But curiosity is still a dangerous thing. Very soon this whole kingdom will be ruined. A catastrophe will take place, and I am afraid something will happen to you. I am concerned for you, and not for this kingdom. I cannot help the innocent subjects. I can only sympathise with them.

GORAKSHANATH: Master, do you know what the king said? He says his kingdom has to surpass Heaven in beauty, prosperity and divinity.

MATSYENDRANATH (laughing): You know how he will make his kingdom superior to Heaven! He is an old man now. He has become senile.

GORAKSHANATH: Master, forgive me, I wish to see the end of this fun. If you allow me to stay here and see the end, I will be so grateful to you.

MATSYENDRANATH: I shall allow you to stay, but I tell you that your suffering is my suffering. If something serious happens to you, it is I who will have to help you or save you.

GORAKSHANATH: O Master, then I shall go away. I don’t want you to suffer because of me.

MATSYENDRANATH: No, no, stay here, Gorakshanath. I want you to enjoy this. I want to feed your innocent curiosity. Don’t worry about me. I will be able to protect myself and I will be able to help you out, too.

GORAKSHANATH: Then with your permission, Master, I shall stay.

MATSYENDRANATH: Yes, you stay, with my permission. Let us see what happens.

(Exit Matsyendranath.)

Scene 3

(First citizen in his jewellery shop. Enter a customer. The customer begins looking at a beautiful ring.)

CUSTOMER: How much does this ring cost?

FIRST CITIZEN: One hundred rupees.

CUSTOMER: One hundred rupees? Why, this could not weigh much more than a few cloves of garlic! Let me go next door to the grocery store and see the price of garlic.

(Exit customer. First citizen is beside himself with rage and despair. Customer returns.)

CUSTOMER: The price of garlic is one anna. Your ring certainly does not weigh as much as a whole bulb of garlic, but I will give you one anna for it. And I won’t make a report to the king against you for telling me the price was one hundred rupees. Here is one anna. Good bye.

(Customer snatches the ring and starts to leave. Jeweller begins shouting.)

CUSTOMER: If you shout I will stab you. You know it is the king’s order that everything be sold at the same price.

JEWELLER: I know it is the king’s order, but I refuse to sell a gold ring for one anna. It’s extremely valuable!

(Customer stabs the jeweller and runs. Jeweller starts shouting.)

JEWELLER: Help, help! Somebody save me! Thief! Thief! Arrest that man!

(Immediately from other shops people come in. The customer is caught and brought back in by the police.)

JEWELLER: That’s the man. He has stabbed me.

Scene 4

(The king’s palace. The king is on his throne. Enter minister.)

MINISTER: Your Majesty, the man who stabbed the jeweller was put in jail yesterday, but today he has escaped.

KING: How?

MINISTER: He was a strong man. It seems he was able to break some of the bars of the prison window, and somehow he escaped.

KING: What is to be done?

MINISTER: That is up to you. Please tell me, I am at your command.

KING: Well, if you can’t find him, look for any strong young man of his size, and bring him to me.

MINISTER: Only one person?

KING: No, bring everyone. Bring all the men of his size, and I will make a selection. I will have the strongest person hanged. It is an insult to me that a prisoner can break out of my prison and escape. So the strongest man will be put to death.

Scene 5

(Gorakshanath is meditating in his room. Enter Matsyendranath.)

MATSYENDRANATH: My son, now see, the worst calamity is about to take place. Has your curiosity been fed? Are you satisfied now? I am sure you have heard that all the strong young men in the kingdom are to be brought before the king. The king will select the strongest and have him hanged. He feels that the man who has escaped from his prison has insulted him, and he cannot brook that kind of insult. You are a very strong man. I do not know what may happen to you. Let us try to escape.

GORAKSHANATH: Master, I am at your feet. You are also strong. They may catch you as well. Although you are mature you are not yet old. I am afraid you are also in danger. Since I made the mistake, if the king sentences me to death, I am prepared. But if something happens to you, Master, I shall never forgive myself.

(Enter four guards and arrest Matsyendranath and Gorakshanath.)

Scene 6

(The King’s palace. The King and Queen are sitting on their thrones. Many strong men have been brought in, including Gorakshanath and Matsyendranath, and the King is about to make a selection. The guards begin pushing the men before the King one by one.)

FIRST MAN: No, your Majesty, I didn’t do it. I wasn’t even there.

SECOND MAN: I was out of town.

(In this way many men are brought before the King.)

KING: Now all of you stand in a line. Instead of having you come up to me, I will go down the line. Let me see who is the strongest.

(The King goes down the line. He picks out Matsyendranath and Gorakshanath.)

KING: Undoubtedly one of you will be hanged today, but it may take me a few minutes to decide who is actually the stronger.

MATSYENDRANATH: O King, look at my health, examine my physique. I tell you, if you want to kill the stronger of us two, then it is undoubtedly I who should be killed. Look at me. Look at my arms, look at my chest, look at my feet, look at my forehead, look at any part of my body. I am far stronger than this man.

GORAKSHANATH: Do not believe him, your Majesty. Look at me, look at my body. I am obviously stronger than this man. And besides, I am younger. You wanted to have a young man, and I have young blood. He is an old man. It is clear to see. Why, he was my teacher. He may be stronger than me in some things — in knowledge or wisdom — but if you want physical strength, I am the man for you.

KING: Yes, I want someone who is physically strong and not strong mentally or otherwise.

GORAKSHANATH: So, King, it is I who should be killed.

MATSYENDRANATH: King, believe me, I am stronger than this young man. Since you want a really strong man, it is I who should be hanged. You are such a great, compassionate king. I have never seen such a compassionate king on earth. You want to make everything in your kingdom equal to surpass Heaven in every way. I wish to say that, since I am older than he, I will not be of use to you much longer. Let the young man stay here in your kingdom to serve you. He is much younger than I, and he can serve you for many more years. Let me go to Heaven.

GORAKSHANATH: King, compassion is one thing and justice is another. This man is showing his compassion. I was his student. We are like father and son. When there is danger, the father wants to embrace the danger and let his son remain safe. But there is something called a promise. King, you are most honest. Now what did you say? You said the strongest man in your kingdom would be hanged. Your Majesty, how did you become great? You became great by keeping your promises. You should continue to keep your promises, so it is I who should be killed.

KING: I really can’t understand it. For the first time I am seeing two men simply dying to please me. Here all are shedding bitter tears because they may have to die. If I selected them, they would be the most miserable people on earth. But here I am seeing two men fighting over the opportunity to embrace death. I have never seen anything like it.

What is the matter with you two? I want to know why you are eager to die. Is there some special reason?

MATSYENDRANATH (pretending to be hesitant): Well, there is a special cause. You think that we are very kind, nice and generous. But, O King, we are not so kind, we are not so nice, we are not so generous; our hearts are not so big. Both of us are very clever.

KING: Clever? What kind of plot do you have?

MATSYENDRANATH: No plot. It is only that both of us know a little bit of astrology. I am an astrologer and I taught him how to cast a horoscope. That is why he was telling you that I was his teacher.

We also meditate a little. This morning we had a vision and heard an inner voice. But King, perhaps you do not believe in visions.

KING: Visions? Certainly I believe in visions. I believe in God. God has created Heaven so beautiful. It is my prayer to God that my kingdom should surpass Heaven. Now tell me, what kind of vision did you have? What did the voice tell you?

MATSYENDRANATH: Both of us had the vision at the same time, and we heard the voice say that whoever dies today at four p.m. will go to the highest Heaven. That is why we are fighting for death. Otherwise, do you think that we would be so foolish?

GORAKSHANATH: So, King Harabhanga, now the secret is out. It is for that purpose that I wanted to die. I wanted to go to the highest Heaven. It was not actually that I have such love for my Master. I wanted to die so that I could go to the highest Heaven.

MATSYENDRANATH: It is the same with me. It was not my affection and love for my student that made me fight for the opportunity to die. I knew that I could go to the highest Heaven immediately if I could manage to die at four p.m. in some way.

KING: You think I am a fool. All the time I have been crying for Heaven, for the highest joy. Here I have pleasure, but I am not satisfied. I want something more. I know that Heaven is full of Joy and Delight. Do you think I am such a fool that I will allow one of you to go to Heaven while I remain here on this corrupt and imperfect earth? In my kingdom everybody is quarrelling and fighting all the time. That is why I wanted my kingdom to be like Heaven — even to surpass Heaven. I am so grateful that you two astrologers have told me this secret. (Addressing his minister.) Get ready. Invite all my subjects and all the royal family. This is my order. I am going to be hanged. I want to go immediately to Heaven. This world is corrupt. I don’t see any hope for it. I wanted to bring happiness to my kingdom, but I see this will never be. It is only when I have something myself that I can give it to others. Now I am distressed, but in Heaven I shall be most happy. And from there, I will be able to send happiness down to my kingdom.

(Exit Minister.)

MATSYENDRANATH: Your Majesty, I wish to say that your happiness is our happiness. If you feel that by going to Heaven immediately you will be the happiest man, then go. We shall miss you, the kingdom will miss you, but we want to be happy in your happiness.

GORAKSHANATH: It is you who wanted to have the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Now you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. And once you enter there, I am sure you will be able to bring down the Kingdom of Heaven into this world. In your happiness is our happiness. We wanted to go to Heaven at four p.m., but we would rather make you happy.

(The Queen starts crying bitterly.)

KING (to Queen): I thought that you loved me. Now that I am going to be happy, why do you weep?

QUEEN: I want you to be happy, but how can I live here alone without you?

KING: Don’t worry. Once I am in Heaven I will bring you there to join me. It is only a matter of time. Perhaps tomorrow I will be able to get you. When I am in the highest Heaven I will have everything, and from there I will be able to send a messenger to take you.

(The Queen smiles.)

Scene 7

(All the subjects and the royal family are outside the palace. Suddenly four bells chime.)

CROWD: The king is dead.

(Wild shouts and cheers.)

Scene 8

(Gorakshanath and Matsyendranath are in Gorakshanath’s room.)

GORAKSHANATH: O Master, I went along with you, but please tell me, why have you done this? Have we done the right thing? Oh, I know whatever you do is right, but please explain to me what we did. I want to know more from you.

MATSYENDRANATH: My son, do you feel sorry for it?

GORAKSHANATH: I do feel sorry…

MATSYENDRANATH: Why? Why do you feel sorry? You should be wise. This king was ruining the whole kingdom with his stupid laws. How can everything be of the same value? How can everybody have the same status? Is it possible? God has given some men more capacity than others. God has made some things more valuable than others. On this hand two fingers cannot be the same. They are all different. If one person prays and meditates, and another does not, naturally the former will realise God sooner than the latter. You have prayed, you have meditated and you have realised God. Equality does not come without equal merit. King Harabhanga thought that just by making the price of everything the same, all people would become equal. But that is impossible. Everything has its own value. You cannot put a lion and a sheep together, feed them the same food and expect them to become the same. The sheep will remain a sheep, and the lion will remain a lion. Spiritual people will be spiritual, and ordinary people will be ordinary. God’s Kingdom is vast and everybody has his own place. One cannot mix with those who are of a different standard and expect them to become equal. Now once again this kingdom will have a sane life. A new king will take Harabhanga’s place — perhaps his own son — and you will see that, like other kingdoms, this kingdom will have prosperity. It will have judgement, peace and divine glory, for everything will have its proper value according to its capacity and according to its merit. My son, you and I have done a great service for the Supreme.

GORAKSHANATH: Master, I have understood your philosophy. I am always at your feet and at your command. To please you, to be unconditionally yours, is the sole object of my life.

(Gorakshanath sings.)

Taba sri charan mama aradhan
taba darashan mama harashan
taba parashan mama naba man
taba alodhan mama niketan

(My supreme adoration is Your Feet.
Your very sight is my delight.
Your very touch is my new mind, and
Your Light of infinite Wealth is my true home.)

Editor's introduction to the first edition

As part of an unceasing search for new mediums to carry his spiritual wisdom and light into the hearts of aspiring humanity, the world-renowned spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy has now offered us this delightful collection of plays. This volume represents the first publication of the more than one hundred plays the Master has written, and as such is a highly significant milestone in the evolution of the world’s spiritual literature. Sri Chinmoy’s exalted and inspiring poetry, lectures and essays, and his instructive and amusing short stories are already familiar to seekers world-wide. Now, with the addition of the visual imagery and dramatic impact of these plays, the Master further manifests spiritual truths ranging from the simple to the subtle in a manner suitable for seekers of all paths and persuasions.

Primarily set in the India of the historical Upanishads and Mahabharata, each of these productions develops a particular spiritual concept which is as relevant in the Western world of today as it would have been in the India of the classics. The use of the dramatic media introduces a visual element which facilitates the perception and assimilation of each of these light-blossoms of wisdom for both the adept and the beginner on the spiritual path.

The concept, frequently encountered in classical Indian scriptures, of life as a lila, or a great cosmic drama performed for the audience of One, is of course echoed in Western thought by such familiar lines as Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”

Because this cosmic performance is actually visible to a God-realised Yogi of Sri Chinmoy’s height, he is able to isolate and reveal in each of these deceptively simple plays microcosms of what to us is an ineffable mystery. Thus, in reading these plays, the sincere seeker has an unparalleled opportunity to obtain insight into the truths that all mankind is consciously or unconsciously searching for. With the reading of this and subsequent volumes of the Master’s plays, we finally may comprehend the quintessence of an oft-quoted line from Hamlet, “The play’s the thing.”