Scene 2

(Ratnakar’s home.)

RATNAKAR (to his parents): Mother, Father, I have been working hard for you.

FATHER: Yes, my son, you are working very hard and we are pleased with you.

RATNAKAR: They say that killing people is bad, robbing is bad. I have been killing, robbing, doing many, many things, only to support you and the rest of my family. Now, O Father, O Mother, tell me. I am your dearest son. Will you not take responsibility for my actions when I die, when I am punished by the law of karma in the other world?

BOTH PARENTS: Son, why should we accept the responsibility? When you were a young boy we brought you up, we fed you. We looked after you and we did not ask you to take responsibility for our actions. At that time it was our duty. Now you are grown up, mature, and now it is your duty to feed us, to take responsibility for us.

(Ratnakar is taken aback. He goes to his wife.)

RATNAKAR: Now, darling, will you not accept responsibility for me? You say that I am dearer to you than your life. I have done so many wrong things. Every day I harass people, I torture people, I kill people and take their money. What for? Only to feed you and to feed my family. I am sure you will take some of the responsibilities in my next life, in the other world, when I am punished. I am sure you will also share the burden.

WIFE: Me? Why should I be held responsible? I am your wife, but it is your responsibility. Did you ever hear of a wife going out to make money for her husband? It is the duty of the husband to make money and feed the wife. Are you a fool? I thought you had some sense. People will laugh at you if you ever say that I have to take the responsibility for supporting myself. It is your duty to support me. So why should I be held responsible when it is your duty?

(Sadly Ratnakar goes to his son.)

RATNAKAR: My child, will you not take responsibility for what I am doing? I am torturing people, strangling people and killing people. What for? Only to support you, your mother and my parents.

SON: Father, I am only a child. I do not know how to work. I am unable to support myself. You take care of me. For that I am grateful. But how can I be responsible for what you are doing? I am not doing a thing; I am helpless. When I grow up I will be responsible for you — to feed you and support you. I will take care of my grandparents and my mother. But now, Father, I cannot be responsible for you. It is you who have to take responsibility.

RATNAKAR (giving a smart slap to his son): You ungrateful creature! (He kicks his wife.) You ungrateful creature! (He strikes his parents.) You ungrateful parents! I have nothing on earth to hold on to.

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