Scene 9

(Shaivya comes to the cremation ground. At the gate of the cremation ground a long-bearded chandala, a most ugly-looking fiend, blocks her way.)

CHANDALA: Stop here! Have you brought rice? Have you brought cloth? Have you brought money?

SHAIVYA: Alas, I have no rice, I have no cloth, I have no money.

CHANDALA: What? How dare you then enter the cremation ground? Where is your husband? Where is the boy’s father?

SHAIVYA: My husband (bitterly weeping and sobbing) was once a great man. I don’t know where he is now. I work as a slave in the kitchen of a rich man. I asked the master of the family to give me some rice, cloth and money before I came here, but he refused. He said to me brutally, “I can’t give you rice, cloth and money. I can’t give you all that. Never. I feed you. I feed two big bellies. Is that not enough?” So I am helpless! I came here with nothing.

CHANDALA: I understand all that. I fully sympathise with you. But how can I perform my job without my fee? If I do it free, my master will be furious. I have to listen to my master. It is my bounden duty to please my master. I have to give him everything that I get from this cremation ground. I have no choice.

SHAIVYA: O Harish Chandra, where are you? Our beloved son Rohitashwa is now with God. Here I am left alone, utterly helpless, with his body. O Harish Chandra, O my beloved, where are you?

(The chandala, hearing his name, falls down on the ground and loses consciousness. Shaivya stoops to help him. A few minutes later he regains consciousness and takes his son in his arms.)

HARISH CHANDRA: Shaivya, forgive this lower-than-lowest creature. Your Harish Chandra is here. Shaivya, my Shaivya, you are the citadel of strength. You are the lighthouse of purity.

SHAIVYA: You! You! My husband! My beloved! Our lost son brings his parents back. Our lost son reunites his parents!

(Harish Chandra’s master and Vishwamitra appear.)

CHANDALA: Harish Chandra, leave your son on the ground. Listen to me. (Harish Chandra places his son most carefully on the ground.) Harish Chandra, your past experiences are past indeed! All your tests are over. Victory dawns on you. I am Yamaraj, the King of Death. Vishwamitra and I have tested your sincerity, your love of truth and your sacrifice. Victory, eternal Victory, transcendental Victory, dawns today on your devoted head and surrendered heart.

HARISH CHANDRA: Alas, the third member of our family is no more with us. Our dearest son Rohitashwa fails to share our joy. Our lives without him will be filled with excruciating pangs, utterly meaningless and fruitless.

VISHWAMITRA: Where is your child?

HARISH CHANDRA: There he is lying, O mighty sage.

(Vishwamitra sprinkles a few drops of sacred water over the dead body of Rohitashwa. Rohitashwa immediately jumps up and clasps his mother.)

ROHITASHWA: Mother, Mother, where were you? Where was I?

(The King embraces his son with his heart’s boundless love and pride. The three bow to Vishwamitra. The parents kiss the dust of his feet. Vishwamitra garlands the King, the Queen and the Prince.)

VISHWAMITRA: Harish Chandra, I shall cherish your life of sacrifice. The entire world shall praise your Kingdom of Heaven. Forever and forever your heart the world will treasure. I am giving you back your palace and your kingdom. Your faith in yourself and Truth’s faith in you will march together along the road of Immortality. You will transmit the message of truth on the inner waves of the heart.

You are God’s Love.
You are God’s Joy.
You are God’s Pride.
You are God’s All.

(Harish Chandra and Shaivya kneel down before the sage. Shaivya sings.)

God then was Love
So nice and fine.
God then was mine
Below, above.

God now is Light
Delight, Delight.
My All, my All
God now is Light.

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