Scene 12

(John the Baptist alone by the Jordan River.)

JOHN: This world is not meant for me. I am sick of this world. I tell people something repeatedly, yet they won’t believe me. They just go on bothering me and harassing me. I tell them that I am not the Messiah. I am not Elijah. I am not the Prophet. They ask me why do I then baptise people? I tell them that I have been commanded by the Lord from Above to baptise. I also tell them that I baptise with water, but soon after me somebody will baptise with the Holy Spirit. I am no match for him. I am not good enough even to untie his sandals.

(Enter some of his disciples.)

DISCIPLE: Master, we just overheard you. You were saying that you are not good enough even to untie his sandals. Who is that great man? Nobody can be higher than you.

JOHN: Children, there can be and there is one higher than me, and he is Jesus. I am just a voice that shouts in the desert. I am trying to make a straight path for the Lord Jesus to travel.

DISCIPLES: Master, you feel anything you want to. You say anything you want to say. It is up to us to believe you or not. You are inferior to none.

JOHN: You impossible fools! Your stupidity constantly pains me. Ah, look, look! He is fast approaching me. There is the Lamb of God. There is the Son of God. There is the one about whom I have been talking all along.

(Enter Jesus.)

JESUS: I wish to be baptised by you, John.

JOHN: O, Jesus, how can I baptise you? I know who you are. You are the Son of God. You are His beloved Son.

JESUS: Let us not break the order. Let us do everything in order. It is by you that I must be baptised. You have recognised me. Therefore, John, you are divinely great. You are making the road ready for me. Therefore you are supremely good. Your mother, Elizabeth, was divinely great and supremely good, too, for she recognised me and inspired my mother immensely even before I was born.

JOHN: O Son of God, you are seeing me and my mother through your own transcendental greatness and universal goodness. I have just one more thing to do on earth and that is to place all my disciples at your feet as I place myself at your feet.

(He touches Jesus’ feet.)

DISCIPLES (shocked): You can touch his feet, but we will not. He may be greater than you in your view, but we will have nothing to do with him. We shall offer you our loyalty constantly. You are our Master, our only Master.

JOHN: You fools. You should be loyal only to the Highest. Only the best should be your Master. And I want to tell you something more. I am not guiding you to someone who is a little better than I. I am leading and guiding you all to the one whose greatness is nothing other than God-greatness, whose goodness is nothing other than God-goodness. I tell you once and for all, to please him is to please God the Father. To have him is to have God the Father. He is Heaven’s most beautiful flower and earth’s most nourishing fruit.

JESUS (smiling at John’s disciples): Your name is the Lord’s ever-illumining and ever-fulfilling Vision. O children of John, I am deeply moved by your unprecedented loyalty to your Master. Your Master has had the Vision of the Ultimate Reality. Needless to say, he will lead, guide and perfect you on your journey to the Transcendental Goal. My heart deeply admires your love for your great Master. My soul sincerely admires your Master for his unflinching love for Truth.

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