Scene 4

(The King, the Queen and the little Prince wander from place to place, land to land, with no destination whatsoever.)

HARISH CHANDRA: Alas, how can I pay my dakshina to the sage? The fateful month is nearly over. I have left no stone unturned to get a job. No, not a single soul is kind enough to employ me. They say I am weak. They feel I shall be of no use to them. Alas, stark starvation is responsible for my poor health.

ROHITASHWA: Mother, Mother, I am very hungry. I am very tired. I cannot walk, I shall not walk any farther. My head, my stomach and my feet are burning like a hot oven. Look at my feet, look! They are full of blisters. I think I have run a thorn into my left foot. Where are our horses? Where is my father’s chariot?

SHAIVYA (shedding unavoidable tears): My child, we are nearing a temple. It is the best temple in Varanasi. I am sure they will give us something to eat. And perhaps your father will get a job there. Then we shall be rich and happy again.

(The three arrive at the temple gate in the small hours of the morning.)

PRIEST: Who are you? What brings you people here at this odd hour?

HARISH CHANDRA: We have been travelling and travelling. We are hungry and exhausted, Our son is totally exhausted and extremely hungry. We shall be so grateful to you if you bless him with some prasad from your holy temple.

(The priest goes inside the temple and brings some prasad for the child and gives it to him. The hungry child eats with greatest joy.)

HARISH CHANDRA: Thanks, thanks a million times to you, O chosen son of God! Would you care to fulfil another desire of mine?

PRIEST: Certainly, by all means, if it is within my capacity.

HARISH CHANDRA: Could you give me some work here?

PRIEST: Work! What kind of work? Oh, no, I can’t give you any work. impossible. Your face shows all the marks of a Kshatriya. I can’t employ a Kshatriya to work under me. This is a temple. Here only the Brahmins are supposed to work. Kshatriya, no. Vaishya, no. Shudra, no. Only a Brahmin. I am sorry, you must look for a job elsewhere.

HARISH CHANDRA: I shall. Anyway I deeply thank you for the food. Our son’s precious life is saved. Thank you again.

(Exeunt King, Queen and Rohitashwa.)

Sri Chinmoy, Supreme sacrifice, Sky Publishers, New York, 1973