Scene 11

(Benares. A school for religious study. Several students, including Jesus, are seated in a semi-circle.)

TEACHER: Today I shall teach you something new. I have already taught you the Chandi and the Yoga Vashishtha. Today I shall start with a new book, the Bhagavad-Gita, the song celestial. The Gita is our Bible. So, dear Jesus, I am sure you have read your Bible. Beginning today, you will be studying our Bible. Jesus, my goodness! What is wrong with you? Why are you so sad and depressed? Is anything wrong with you? Has anything happened?

JESUS: Nothing particular, sir.

TEACHER: Tell me, tell me what is torturing your heart.

JESUS (bursting into tears): I have received news from home that my father has died.

TEACHER: Your father! When? Where?

JESUS: Three and a half months ago my father died. He died in Israel. Sir, you have been extremely kind to me. I am most grateful to you. You have taught me some of the Hindu scriptures with tremendous love and care. But unfortunately, tomorrow I shall have to leave for home.

TEACHER: How will you go back home, my son?

JESUS: I shall go back the way I came. I came to India with a caravan and I shall go back with another caravan. Tomorrow I shall start. I have been in India for about a year. Here everyone has been extremely kind to me. I shall carry with me India’s love, India’s concern, India’s compassion to offer to my people.

TEACHER: Dear son, thousands of students have passed through my hands, but none can come near you. You are a real genius. You are unparalleled. Today you are badly suffering from the loss of your dear father. How I wish I could be of some consolation to you. Ah, a brilliant idea has flashed across my mind. I shall read out a few verses from the Gita.

Vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ’parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī

(As a man casts off his worn-out garments and puts on new ones, so also the embodied soul casts off the worn-out body and enters into a new form for manifestation.)

Nai ’naḿ chindanti śastrāṇi
nai ’naḿ dahati pāvakaḥ
na cai ’naḿ kledayanty āpo
na śoṣayati mārutaḥ

(Weapons cannot cleave the soul. Fire cannot burn the soul. Water cannot drench the soul. Wind cannot dry the soul.)

Would you like to recite with me?

JESUS: Certainly. I will be happy and grateful if I can join you.

(The teacher and Jesus recite together. The other students listen to them with rapt attention. Jesus’ eyes are beaming with joy.)

JESUS: Sir, I am so grateful to you. These divine words from the Gita have consoled my heart completely.

TEACHER: I have always seen and felt something special in you. Outwardly I have never told it to anyone, but you are my most favourite student. I cherish your sincerity, your humility and your purity. Now Jesus, since you will not be able to study the Gita with me I wish to tell you something which will undoubtedly inspire you. You know that the Gita is the colloquy between the Lord Krishna and his dearest disciple-friend, Arjuna. The Lord taught his disciple something unique. He said God is the real doer. Human beings are mere instruments. Whether we are here on earth or there in Heaven, it is God who acts in and through us. We are mere instruments: Nimitta matram bhava savyasachin.

JESUS: I have heard this before. I have heard this somewhere else. Alas, I can’t recollect it. (After a pause.) Ah, I know! My Supreme Father told me about this mantra just before I left Heaven.

(All the students burst into a roar of laughter.)

A STUDENT (in a mocking manner): His Supreme Father in Heaven! What else? You fool, how can you remember what happened in Heaven? Today you are no longer our Jesus, but the King of Imagination.

TEACHER: You rascals, keep quiet! Hide your ignorance in silence. What is strange about remembering one’s existence in Heaven? You fools have not yet read the Gita. That is why you are behaving like brainless sheep. In the Gita the Lord clearly says that all of us have gone through many, many incarnations. This is not our first and last life. In the Gita the Lord tells Arjuna all about his previous incarnations.

A STUDENT: Our Lord Krishna can do that kind of thing. We believe in Krishna. But for our Jesus, the King of Imagination, to act like our Lord Krishna is absurd.

TEACHER: You fools! Today you are calling my Jesus the King of Imagination. You are making fun of him. I tell you, one day you will come to know who he is. Your King of Imagination will become not only the King of Israel but also the King of the world. My heart tells me that he is not a mortal like us. He is a world-saviour. He is another Krishna.

(Jesus comes and touches the feet of his teacher with utmost humility.)

JESUS: Sir, I am all gratitude.

TEACHER: Today you are touching my feet with all your heart’s humility. In the near future not only I, but the entire world, will touch your feet and worship you.

Sri Chinmoy, The Son, Sky Publishers, New York, 1973