CHARACTERS OF THE PLAY:
BOGEY-MAN (so called by those who did know him. A
A Serai. The MODERNIST, seated on a
stool, is reading a newspaper. The SPECULATOR enters
and goes up to the MODERNIST.
SPECULATOR. What's the rate of exchange today?
MODERNIST. (looks at him and then down at his paper).
I haven't come to it yet.
SPECULATOR. Then what have you read? That's the first
thing one must read.
Yesterday money had gone down and I made a profit. The
other day I bought some shares, which I sold, and I got
four times the amount.
MODERNIST. I'm not at all interested in speculations;
I'm looking for what the papers say about the new Cabinet
that is to be formed. I'm wondering who are to be elected
to sit in Parliament. If the Labor Party gets the upper
hand, the state of affairs will change; conditions will
SPECULATOR. It doesn't matter a bit to me, which party
comes up and which goes down. 'God save our bread.' What
I'm concerned about is if the money market rises or falls.
What difference does it make if one party goes and another
comes? It is always like this with the government.
LOVER. Oh, oh, she never did care for me. She never did
love me. I now realize how she has treated me... I never
thought she could be so heartless. Day after day I have
followed her, and night after night I have dreamed of her.
I thought of her at every moment of the day... It is of
her that I have spoken, if ever I have spoken... Woman,
woman! I wish I could die!
SPECULATOR (hastens towards him). What's the matter
LOVER. O, it is she, it is she who is the cause of it
all! Now I am good for nothing: why should I live any longer?
SPECULATOR. You fool, think of something else. If you
get money, you have everything you want in the world.
LOVER. I have failed... I have failed in life.
SPECULATOR. Have you lost your money? Are you bankrupt?
How have you failed?
LOVER. No, my only love has disappointed me.
SPECULATOR. Make money, and the world will be yours.
It is no use dying because a woman turns away from you.
LOVER. My love, my love!
SPECULATOR. Love money, the only object worthy of love.
LOVER. I've never thought of money in my life. I only
lived for love.
SPECULATOR. How silly you are! If you haven't learnt
how to make headway in the world, you have wasted your life.
Time is money. If you have money, everybody is drawn to
you: if you're poor, no one cares for you. (Goes to the
MODERNIST. What's the matter with that fellow? Is he
lovesick? He, he!
SPECULATOR. He's got inflammation of the heart. Ha, ha,
MODERNIST. Science has proved today that love is a convulsion
of the brain.
(Enter LADY, fashionably dressed.)
LADY (speaking to herself.) I hate; I hate the
sight of woman. I don't mind men.
SPECULATOR. (looks at her with surprise.)
LADY. Turn away your evil eye, you ugly fellow!
SPECULATOR. What did you say?
LADY. Why did you look at me? How dare you look at me?
(To the MODERNIST)
Why are you hanging your head? Why don't you look at
me? You insult me!
Am I not dressed in up-to-date fashion?
MODERNIST. (looks up and down.)
LADY. Disgusting (Sits down.)
MODERNIST. (glances at her out of the corner of his
eye, then looks down, whispering.)
(Enter SAGE, simply clad. He looks at no one, but
sits down for a rest.
The others look at him astonished)
SPECULATOR. Who's this?
MODERNIST. A freak.
SPECULATOR. What did you say?
MODERNIST. A freak. Someone who wanders about, with nothing
Fools his time away.
LADY (laughs, looking at him.) Bogey-man!
SPECULATOR (to MODERNIST.) I think there's something
in this man.
You never know. Sometimes such men can tell you your
SPECULATOR. Well, I'll go and speak to him and see what
(He goes to the right and greets him. The SAGE,
absorbed in his thoughts, does not see him.
He goes to the other side, winking at the MODERNIST,
and greets him. The SAGE remains absorbed in his
thoughts. Then the SPECULATOR goes in front of him
and greets him. The SAGE responds by nodding).
SPECULATOR (sits down.) Excuse my asking you,
but I think men like you can tell many things. What do you
think: will money rise or fall?
SAGE. What will rise must fall, and what will fall must
rise. Rise and fall are natural to life. No rise is permanent,
or fall lasting. It is reality behind it all which is steady
SPECULATOR. (closes one eye and scratches his head.)
Well, can you tell me if I shall make some profit next week?
SAGE. There is only one profit, which is worth striving
after. That profit is to gain what no one can take away
SPECULATOR (points with his finger to his forehead.)
(Goes away, laughing, to the LADY who is seated
there.) Where did you get that precious necklace? (touching
LADY (strikes him on the shoulder.) Go away! Don't
touch my necklace with your awkward hands. I have many rings
and necklaces. I am a lady. How dare you touch my necklace?
Can't you talk from a distance? Keep to where you belong!
SPECULATOR (rolls his eyes and retreats, rubbing the
place where she has struck him.)
MODERNIST. What did he say?
SPECULATOR. Who? That funny lady?
MODERNIST. No, no, that strange-looking man.
SPECULATOR (laughs.) He told me a lot, but I did
not understand one word. He is not all there; he seems to
be floating on air. When I talk to him about the South,
he tells me about the North.
MODERNIST. Let me go and see what he says. (Goes near
the SAGE, greets him and sits.) Excuse me asking
you a few questions.
SAGE (looks at him.)
MODERNIST. I suppose you don't interest yourself in the
present political situation?
But I should like to know what you think. Do you thing
the Labor Party will win the election?
SAGE. Whichever party comes to power, it certainly fulfills
the law from above. The various parties seem different to
our eyes, but there is His Will that is done, and His will
that will be done. When we show preference for one party
over the other, it is our limitation. Men group themselves
into parties: when we see behind all different parties
there is one perfect whole, working out its destiny toward
the fulfillment of the purpose of life.
MODERNIST. What do you think of the great wrong done
the people by those at present in power?
SAGE. Those who wish to better conditions by fighting
against all that is wrong often do a greater wrong. The
more parties there are, the greater the disharmony. It is
dividing one into many. It is by unity that the purpose
of life in achieved.
MODERNIST. But what do you think of the people who have
held wealth and high position for generations whilst depriving
others of them?
SAGE. You are right. Every man must have his chance of
attaining all that is good and worthwhile. But there are
two ways of attaining. One way is to rob, and the other
way is to earn. One earns by deserving it; one robs without
deserving it. There must be a mutual goodwill on the part
of those who possess something and of those who do not possess.
Those who do not possess must deserve and earn it. Those
who possess must make all sacrifices possible, in order
that every man in the world may have his chance of prospering
and rising in life. The undeserving one by robbing will
never be able to enjoy and use his possession fully. For
to possess and enjoy something one must earn it and deserve
MODERNIST. Do you think a sense of mutual goodwill can
be aroused among the people in high position without strong
SAGE. Every hurt and harm caused to another rebounds.
Any slight destruction results in greater destruction. Man
is born with a sense of justice in his innermost being.
And if a just proposition is brought before him, sooner
or later he must respond to it. Harmlessness is the principal
thing in religion. Disharmony causes greater disharmony;
it is harmony that results in peace.
MODERNIST. Thank you. I shall reflect upon it. (Gets
up and goes.)
SPECULATOR. What did the fellow tell you?
MODERNIST. He does not speak my language. While we are
thinking of fighting, he is thinking of peace.
SPECULATOR. Now, I'll have some fun. I'll take this lady
to that fellow and see what he says. (Goes to the
LADY and puts his arm in hers.) Come along, old girl,
if you want your fortune told.
LADY. (strikes his arm and pushes him away.) Why
do you touch me, rude man? Can't you keep at a respectful
distance?... Will he tell me my fortune?
SPECULATOR. Yes, he will.
LADY. I'll come.
SPECULATOR (brings her to the SAGE .) This noble
lady wants to talk to you.
LADY. Will you read my hand and tell me my fortune?
SAGE. No, Madam, I do not tell fortunes.
LADY. No? They all say you can tell fortunes. Won't you
tell me? I am an unhappy woman.
SAGE. Why are you unhappy, Madam?
LADY. The troubles at home. The servants these days have
become so neglectful, so independent and rude that you can't
expect them to do one thing properly.
SAGE. Madam, that is the phenomenon of the time. It is
the weather of the season. The best thing is to take everyone
as he is, and to know that he cannot be any better. Appreciate
all that he can do, and overlook all he does not do. It
is with kindness that you must treat those who depend upon
you. It is kindness alone that can move rocks.
LADY (wiping her eyes.) Servants apart, even my
friends have turned away from me. One day I think I can
have trust and confidence in a friend. Next day the same
person betrays my trust. I am so disappointed in people
that now I cannot say whom I can call my friend.
SAGE. Madam, do not expect much from friends. Why must
they be as you want them to be? They are not made by you.
They are as they are. You must try to be for them what they
expect you to be. It matters little if your friend proves
to you to be a friend. What matters is, if you prove
to be a friend.
LADY. No, I don't want even to look at friends who have
once turned away from me. Even my husband is unsympathetic
SAGE. What do you do about it?
LADY. I have told him so very often.
SAGE. There you are. Instead of kindling the fire to
his heart by blowing, you pour water upon it.
LADY. Now my heart is closed.
SAGE. Is not your heart your self? Or is it a door that
is jammed and cannot be opened?
LADY. When he comes home from his work, he is as cold
as a lump of ice.
SAGE. Madam, ice melts in a moment by heat. If your heart
is glowing with love, blazing with devotion, no ice can
stay unmelted. Madam, do not even acknowledge all that seems
undesirable to you. The best way to right the wrong is to
look at it in the right light. It is we who cause our unhappiness,
and it is we who, if we happen to know the key to life,
can find happiness.
LADY. Thank you, it is all too high for me. I'm going.
SPECULATOR. (comes behind her, as if he was taking
her back. She pushes him away with her elbows; he walks
behind her, with outspread arms and bent knees as if protecting
LOVER. My love, my love, I wish I could die. (LADY
and the two men rush towards him.)
SPECULATOR. Let's bring him to the Bogey-man and tell
him that there is a soothsayer sitting here: that we shall
have his fortune told. (He brings him to the SAGE.)
This man is lovesick, He said he had a disappointment and
his heart is broken. We can't find where the pieces of his
heart have dropped.
MODERNIST. Now, we shall leave him to tell you his love-story.
(To the others.) Let's go out of the serai.
(SAGE and LOVER are left alone.)
LOVER. Please give me something that I may die instantly.
SAGE. Why do you want to die?
LOVER. I failed in love. She has abandoned me. Now there
is nothing for me to live for...I want to die.
SAGE. How have you failed in love? Love is the only thing
in life. For love is all that is. Love lives and all dies.
If all failed you in life, love will not fail you. Perhaps
you have not understood the meaning of love. Love that depends
on being answered by the beloved is lame; it does not stand
on its own feet. Love that tries to possess the beloved
is without arms; it can never hold. Love that does not regard
the pleasure and displeasure of the beloved is blind. Love
that is demanding and self-asserting is dead. If you have
love, you have all. What more do you want? – Learn my boy,
to know what love is before you profess to be a lover.
LOVER. Then what am I to do? I am most unhappy. Life
SAGE. Your unhappiness comes from self-pity. Love is
neither joy, nor pain; it is both. If it is pain, it is
as sweet as joy. If it is joy, it is as deep as pain. It
is above both joy and pain. Love is the ladder by which
you reach the highest ideal. Loving is living. (Remains
LOVER. No, no. I am most unhappy...I cannot endure it
any longer...I will die, I must die. (He puts poison
in his mouth and falls dead near the feet of the SAGE.)
SAGE. Ram, Ram, Ram, Ram.
Before the hut of the SAGE. The CHELAS
are beginning to gather. FIRST CHELA is already sitting
in silence, Enter SECOND and THIRD CHELAS.
SECOND CHELA. He is always engaged in meditation, poor
THIRD CHELA. Perhaps he will hurry up his spiritual journey.
There is a time for everything.
SECOND CHELA. Even God must get tired of hearing his
THIRD CHELA. He listens to the Guru very much. For him
every letter of the Guru is law. I suppose he's very good.
SECOND CHELA. Yes, too good to live: I can't be so good!
– I wonder if the path we have taken is the right one.
THIRD CHELA. There is no doubt about the path being the
right one, but it is difficult to have patience to keep
SECOND CHELA. I can't go on much longer, for there are
many other things to accomplish in life, not only this.
THIRD CHELA. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, as is
said in the Scriptures. This is the principal thing to accomplish,
and all other things are secondary. If you take it as anything
else, then you can be sure that you will never accomplish
SECOND CHELA. Yes, I suppose it is the work of such patient
people as this one (Pointing to FIRST CHELA.)
(Enter FOURTH CHELA.)
FOURTH CHELA. (hastily.) Has the class begun?
Has the class begun? Has the Guru come?
SECOND CHELA. The Guru has not yet arrived; perhaps he
has forgotten the time. There is no such thing as time.
FOURTH CHELA. The later the better. I'm only sorry I've
left my notebook at home.
THIRD CHELA. Do you have to write down what is being
taught here? Can't you take it all in?
FOURTH CHELA. Oh no, I can't do it. I must have it all
on paper, for I need to chew the cud leisurely at home.
(He goes to the FIRST CHELA.) Will you tell me please
about something I cannot understand: I have puzzled every
day over it.
FIRST CHELA. You must ask the Guru.
FOURTH CHELA. I dare not trouble the Guru with my questions.
Won't you tell me what it is? The Guru said: All is one.
If it is one, how can it be all? Because all denotes plurality.
FIRST CHELA. All sums up in unity.
FOURTH CHELA. Oh, this I cannot understand.
FIRST CHELA. You will understand one day.
FOURTH CHELA. No, never. I can't. I can't be a hypocrite
to my own self by imagining two to be one: two is two, one
is one. I have read hundreds of books on the occult sciences.
And I have written fifty books on philosophy myself. I have
gone from one occult school to another, till I passed through
perhaps twenty schools, but I have not yet got to the bottom
of the thing I seek.
FIRST CHELA. You will not get to the bottom as long as
you feel you can't get to the bottom.
FOURTH CHELA. Explain to me, please, how many inner bodies
there are. One school says there are five, another school
says there are seven. What I see is only one, the physical
body (pointing to his body.)
FIRST CHELA. This you must realize by meditation.
FOURTH CHELA. I get tired of sitting quiet, even for
three minutes. – And tell me how many more times we have
to come back here on earth. Shall we be born in other planets,
and then what will happen in the end?
FIRST CHELA. You need not worry about the end, for the
end is the same as the beginning.
FOURTH CHELA. What do you mean by beginning? Birth?
FIRST CHELA. Whatever you imagine.
FOURTH CHELA. That's what makes my head go round and
round. It is like beating about the bush. You never come
straight to the point. Everybody here complains of this.
FIRST CHELA. Even if everybody did, I suppose you don't.
(FOURTH CHELA gets up annoyed and moves away. Enter
FIFTH CHELA (goes to FIRST CHELA.) To me it is
all vague and in a mist. Will you please explain something
about the strange ways of the Guru?
FIRST CHELA. The ways of the Guru are many, each subtle
and incomprehensible. His moral conceptions, his philosophical
thoughts, his lofty ideals, his realization of God, his
wide horizon of vision, and the flight of his consciousness
in the higher spheres, all these cannot be put into words.
He notices all things, whether he sees them or not; he feels
all conditions, whether he knows them or not. He gives a
bitter pill to one, and a delicious sweet to another. He
looks at one and thinks of another; he teaches one in words
and the other in silence; he speaks to one and inspires
another by his piercing glance. It is all his love, whether
it comes in the form of heavy rain or bright sunshine.
FIFTH CHELA (to FOURTH CHELA.) The method that
our Guru gives us must be shaped according to the times.
The times demand something quite different.
FOURTH CHELA. I think you are right. But how do you think
it must be done?
FIFTH CHELA. Everything should be explained in words.
Why is there any need for secrecy? What is there to be kept
secret in truth? If we know truth we can declare it to everyone.
What people are looking for is truth. And if we have it,
we can answer all they ask of life.
FOURTH CHELA. I quite agree with you. It must be modified
and made to suit the modern world, so that no scientist
or literary person can find any ground for criticizing it.
(The other CHELAS come nearer to hear the talk.
The GURU enters and sees them conversing. They all
SAGE. What discussion is going on?
SECOND CHELA. My friend asks why truth cannot be given
in a frame that may be accepted at the present time.
SAGE. In the first place, truth is vaster than any frame
we can make to put it in. Besides, no matter what frame
we make for truth to be presented in, an unawakened soul
will never see it, but will only see the frame.
FIFTH CHELA. But why must we keep it secret?
SAGE. God Himself conceals all beauty from the eyes of
the unevolved. Beauty covers itself, or the unevolved close
their eyes to it. In both cases beauty remains veiled –
and truth is the supreme beauty.
FIFTH CHELA. Why must we not systematize spiritual knowledge?
SAGE. What can be systematized cannot be spiritual knowledge.
This is beyond all classification. It is the earthly things
that can be made cut and dried. The farther you go on the
spiritual path, the finer becomes your perception. Truth
is most simple and most subtle. It is grosser than mountains
and finer than atoms.
FOURTH CHELA. Then how can we know occult laws?
SAGE. By mystical perception.
FOURTH CHELA. How can it be developed: It is twenty years
since I began reading occult books. Every day I have written
down what you have said, and yet I do not find I have got
SAGE. It is not study alone that brings you to the realization
of truth. It often wraps your soul in many more covers.
What gives you an insight into the hidden laws of nature
THIRD CHELA. That requires patience.
(Enter SIXTH CHELA.)
SIXTH CHELA. (greets the Teacher.) Excuse me for
being late, Guru. I want to tell you, last evening I went
to a seance, and heard a spirit talk through the trumpet.
He told me so many things about what will happen in my life.
Do you think all he said is true?
SAGE. You are the one who must know that.
SIXTH CHELA. I have seen such a wonderful vision of you,
Guru! You were all clad in blue, and then you turned red.
Then your whole appearance became scarlet, and in the end
it was a golden light; then your face disappeared altogether
from my sight.
SAGE. You may have seen someone else, not me.
SIXTH CHELA. The other day I saw a lady who psychometrized
things and told all their history. It was wonderful. When
shall I develop clairvoyance? I have been your Chela for
several years. Now I ought to be able to work wonders.
SAGE. I have not yet arrived at that stage myself.
(Enter SEVENTH CHELA.)
SEVENTH CHELA. Guru, when first I cane to you things
seemed to change, but now everything seems to go wrong with
me. I have not been well for some time; money affairs have
gone wrong, and people make me agitated. Prayers annoy me;
I cannot put my mind to meditation. I think there is no
hope for me, Guru; and as my friend has left you, I feel
I cannot go on any longer. Now I must attend only to my
own business, instead of going after such things.
SAGE. It is one's attitude that changes life, but it
is by patient pursuit that one arrives at the desired goal.
CANDIDATE. (greets.) Will you take me as your
Chela, Guru? I have heard of you from my friend, who said
many good things about you. I have read much about these
things and I have talked with many occultists. I think I
am quite ready to take the spiritual path, don't you think
so? I am sure you will not have much difficulty with me,
because I am mature. Do you really think there is a soul
or a hereafter?
SAGE. This I suppose you already know.
CANDIDATE. Yes, but I should like to know what you think
about it (Short pause.) I will not belong to your
group, excuse me for saying so. I don't wish to be bound
by any vows, nor shall I make any promises: for I know if
ever I did so I should not be able to keep them. I don't
want this to be known by my people, and especially not by
those with long robes. I shall be your Chela, for I like
you, but I hate to be among other Chelas.
SAGE. You do not need to be a Chela, as you already know
so many things.
CANDIDATE. No, I have come to be your Chela. Only I cannot
have any discipline. Besides, I wonder if you agree with
all I believe.
SAGE. You keep on believing as you believe, and go on
the way you wish to tread. For this path is most difficult:
it needs self-abnegation.
(CANDIDATE takes his leave. Enter EIGHTH CHELA.)
EIGHTH CHELA. When I am with you, Guru, your inspiring
presence gives me enthusiasm and faith. But as soon as I
leave you I lose it all. When you speak to me I believe
it without any doubt, but when I am among my friends and
hear them talking, then my mind becomes thoroughly confused
– I get discouraged when people speak against these things,
and doubt begins to creep into my mind.
SAGE. The brick has to go through fire in order to become
hard. You must learn to depend upon your own feelings. It
is then that belief becomes faith.
(Enter TWO POLICEMEN.)
FIRST POLICEMAN. Isn't this the Bogey-man of whom people
SECOND POLICEMAN. I suspect this is the murderer of the
young man at the serai.
FIRST POLICEMAN. Ha, ha ha! And here he is preaching
the Gospel. Come along, Bogey-man, you are wanted at the
SECOND CHELA (to THIRD CHELA.) Look, here is an
example of what is said in the Scriptures: Ye shall know
them by their fruits.
THIRD CHELA. It is also said in the Scriptures: Judge
not, that ye be not judged. We know not whether this is
cause or effect. Sometimes what appears as effect may be
the cause, sometimes what seems to be the cause may be the
FOURTH CHELA. I thought so; nowhere in the world is any
good to be found. I now understand why there was all this
talk of secrecy.
FIFTH CHELA. This is the outcome of all that vagueness.
If he had any truth, he could have put it in plain words.
Look, even now he does not admit simply that he has killed
FIRST CHELA (to himself.) How time changes people...True
it is that no one stands by you in your worst hour. Prosperity
gathers friends, adversity scatters them.
(SAGE stands up.)
FIRST CHELA. Guru, I will come with you.
SAGE. No, you must not follow me in my disgrace. I must
face it alone.
(FIRST CHELA is most unhappy.)
SAGE (turning to all his Chelas.) My blessed Chelas,
allow me to thank you most heartily for your response. Providence
has brought us together here, while I was on my way to the
solitude from where I come. I have learnt more from you
than you from me; and still you called me your Guru. Will
you remember these as my last words: observe God in His
manifestation, worship God in man, admire God in nature,
and love God in loving all living beings. Efface yourself
continually, and what will appear to you in the end will
FIRST POLICEMAN. Cut short your sermon.
SAGE: Continue to strive in the path of truth and be
not satisfied with less than truth. In the light of truth
you must see God and man; in the spirit of truth you must
realize self and all.
SECOND POLICEMAN. Now, that's enough.
SAGE. I will go where destiny will take me. Truth is
victorious. God bless you!
(Departs; all are impressed and many sad.)
Compound outside the prison-ground. The SAGE
is seated in meditation. People come to greet him and depart.
A PASSER-BY. He must be a great sage. I wonder what has
brought him to this prison.
ANOTHER. Many such saints sin in order to deserve life
ANOTHER. Look how deeply he is absorbed in his silence!
ANOTHER. He is a silent as the stork waiting for the
fish to come.
ANOTHER. He is God's beloved. Such people care for no
one, for nothing in the world. He is like a God on earth.
ANOTHER. Hush! God is in the heavens. When did you see
Him drop on earth? Don't speak so, it is sacrilege.
ANOTHER. I feel like sitting at his feet forever.
ANOTHER. Because you are so lazy.
ANOTHER. His atmosphere is so calm and peaceful.
ANOTHER. Look at his face, beaming with light. It's as
if he were an angel.
ANOTHER. It seems angels have become cheap on the market
lately; you can buy them at any price.
(A man brings another who has lost control of his
nerves and makes all sorts of faces and distorted gestures.
When he wishes to go the sick man pulls him back, saying
MAN. (to SAGE.) Will you cure him?
(The SAGE opens his eyes, touches the sick
man's head and the man is well. All are amazed.)
SOMEONE. Oh, he is a great healer!
(A man and woman come in, holding a woman between
MAN. Will you please cure her obsession? (To the woman.)
Who is obsessing you?
WOMAN. I am a giant. I lived in the tree where this woman
used to sit and sew. I looked and looked at her, till I
fell desperately in love with her. And now I have fallen
I cannot rise. The woman possesses me and I obsess her.
(The woman moves her head round and round.)
MAN. Away, you giant. Leave off controlling my wife.
WOMAN. No, I will not leave her.
MAN. Do you know in whose presence you are? You will
be driven out if you will not leave her; you will be burnt
SAGE (touches her.)
WOMAN. Yes, yes I leave her; I go, I am gone!
(The woman is cured and they go out. All the people
there are wildly excited about the great SAGE.)
ANOTHER WOMAN. Will you cure me of my illness: I get
fits of temper. Then I tear my garments, I insult my friends,
I torture animals, and I quarrel with my children. I throw
at strangers anything within my reach. When I'm angry, I
frighten devils away.
SAGE (puts his hand on her head.)
WOMAN. I'm cured, I'm cured, I feel I'm cured!
EVERYBODY. Ah, what a great soul.
– This is the man I would follow with my eyes closed.
– To see a man like this is like seeing God
– What power; he is a miraculous man!
(Enter TWO NOBLEMEN.)
NOBLEMAN. We have brought here the order from our gracious
Queen to release you from your imprisonment. She has sufficient
proof now that you are innocent. We are asked to take you
to the palace, where our Queen is waiting to welcome you.
SAGE. What have I, a wandering man, to do at the court?
Prison or palace is the same to me.
NOBLEMAN. Great Sage, if you come it would bless our
Queen and her palace.
SAGE. Yes, I will come.
Palace veranda. The SAGE is received, standing
before the Queen, who is sitting near a little table with
wine and glasses.
QUEEN. I am very sorry indeed, great Sage, that you were
arrested in my kingdom. I apologize to you most humbly for
this unjust treatment which you have received from our people.
As the diamond shines out even if it is amongst garbage,
so you have shown your light. I consider it my privilege
to see you here and to receive your blessing.
SAGE. All things that people do in life, good or bad,
right or wrong, by them they build prison bars around themselves.
Therefore, at every moment of life their captivity becomes
greater. Life itself is a prison, Queen, a prison which
every soul experiences as it dwells in this mortal body
of limitations. It is from this prison that I have sought
freedom. Therefore no prison can bind my soul anymore.
( The QUEEN offers wine to the SAGE.
She stands next to him, near the balustrade of the balcony.
The SAGE drinks.)
QUEEN. I have heard people talk so much about you and
your wonderful healing-power.
SAGE. I never depend on popularity. People generally
are like sheep; where one goes, all follow. They raise a
person one day and throw him down the next. (She puts
her hand in his hand; he presses it to his heart.) I
do not mean rare souls like you, fair Queen. It is the people
(People who had admired him pass by, looking and searching
for the Teacher and Healer.)
PEOPLE. Oh, he happens to be a false saint?
OTHERS. Look, look, he is drinking and making love to
our beautiful Queen.
WOMAN. (who had come to get her head cured, holding
both hands to her head.) He cannot cure my head, he
cannot heal me!
MAN. (comes in limping.) I thought he was healing
and he happens to be merrymaking. I have come from miles
away, and it is all in vain.
ANOTHER. Listen to what they say; it is all humbug.
SAGE. I had hardly uttered the philosophy when an example
manifested before us. Every man weighs another soul on his
own scales, and measures him with his own yardstick, not
knowing the weight and length of the soul, neither comprehending
its height nor its depth. Everyone judges all by himself.
QUEEN. We must not remain here; we will go and have a
quiet talk inside the palace.
Room inside the palace. QUEEN and SAGE,
QUEEN. (with her hand on his chair.) The moment
I heard of your presence here I knew what was attracting
me. Great Sage, I am hungering to understand life, thirsting
for association with the Illuminated.
SAGE. Yes, Queen, your hunger and thirst are of the soul.
It is when a soul is born again that hunger and thirst begin.
(The QUEEN pours out wine and hands it to the
SAGE. The SAGE drinks.)
QUEEN. I should so much like to know about life and death,
about rise and fall, about that which we see and that which
we do not see, about love and hate, about God and man.
SAGE. Wonderful questions, Queen; your response draws
you closer to my heart.
QUEEN. It is these questions that have attracted me to
you, beloved Sage.
SAGE. Your soul, beloved Queen, has waited for me, though
it knew it not before we met. Life is one living stream,
continually running without beginning or end. Death is man's
illusion. The change that hides man's existence from him
he calls death. Life is still, but its flow, which is ever-moving,
rises and fall in waves; it is this that created an illusion
of rise and fall. All this we see is the manifestation of
one Spirit in many and varied forms. – Love, beautiful Queen,
is the first will, the precedent cause. This whole manifestation
is a phenomenon of love. Hate is the want of love; it has
no existence of its own. – God is the ideal. Man makes and
raises Him as high as he can for the expansion of his own
QUEEN. How inspiring! It uplifts my spirit. How can I
show you my gratitude, my devotion?
(The SAGE holds her hand to his heart, and
QUEEN. This is your home, since my heart has become an
abode of your soul. You will bless me and my kingdom by
staying here and will illuminate the chamber of my heart.
– I offer you, beloved Sage, my heart and soul and all I
possess, though it is too small an offering to be made.
(She sends for a silk robe to replace the Wanderer's
mantle, and gives him a pearl necklace instead of his old
rosary. Gold embroidered shoes are brought to replace his
SAGE. This is all to rich for me.
QUEEN. Nothing is too rich for you, beloved.
(Enter BRAHMINS with two garlands of flowers
and a tray with grain to give the blessing.)
BRAHMINS. God bless this auspicious wedding.
(Entertainments are given to the SAGE. Wine
is brought and served by the QUEEN. Many courtiers
Wilderness. The SAGE dreams.
SAGE. Wilderness, my dearest friend, why did I leave
you? When did I leave you? Though I had left you, still
you were always in my heart – the memory of having meditated
in the woods, of having trees of long tradition whose every
leaf is a tongue of flame... Venerated trees, have I not
taken refuge in your shadow from the hot sun, when tired
of roaming about in the wilderness, bare-footed? ... Little
pools of water, I drank nectar from you... Joyful I felt
under the vast canopy of the blue sky... Gentle streams
of water, running from hills and rocks, I bathed in you
and was purified of all infirmities... High mountains with
a background of white clouds. No place in the world could
be compared with your beauty... Morning sun, you are most
glorious in the wilderness. I have never seen your face
so beaming anywhere else.
Ah, am I really here, or am I in the midst of the world?
Yes, there was a reason for being in the world. There is
a reason for everything. Life is not without meaning, and
all that a person does, whether knowingly or unknowingly,
he only fulfills through his life's purpose. The prison
I was in was not a prison, for my conscience stood above
it. The grandeur of the palace had no attraction for me.
The only charm I felt there was my precious Queen. – Wilderness,
you attract me, you call me. Though I long to be in the
solitude, yet I never felt I was away from you.
Room inside the palace. QUEEN and SAGE
sitting next to one another. Courtiers present. The
PRINCE is brought by the GOVERNESS and the
GUARDIAN. The QUEEN rises from her chair,
kisses the PRINCE and brings him to the SAGE.
GUARDIAN. Our little child, by the grace of God, is growing
marvelously, do you not think so?
SAGE (takes the child and kisses it.) Yes, he
is. (Holds him close to him.)
GOVERNESS. The Prince enjoys playing. He loves his little
pony and does not allow anyone to touch it.
SAGE. Does he put his mind to his studies?
GUARDIAN. It is difficult to take the Prince from his
play for his studies, but once he is studying he does it
QUEEN. I don't know what would be the best way of bringing
up our little child. I have been thinking about it very
SAGE. It is a great responsibility, beloved. Even the
shadow of an undesirable person falling upon our child would
make an impression on him.
QUEEN. Does the child not bring with it at birth some
inner tendencies and qualities?
SAGE. Yes, it does, yet they can be rubbed off by its
experience on the earth. They can be covered by impressions
it receives in coming here. To bring up a child is like
molding a new world. For it is in man that God wakens to
QUEEN. Beloved, why are you looking sad today? Is there
anything you need? I will procure all that wealth can bring,
power can possess and love can supply – all you wish to
make your life happy.
SAGE. I am homesick, precious Queen.
QUEEN. Are you not at home then? I never thought that
you had another home.
SAGE. Yes, I had solitude. It grieves me immensely to
tell you, beloved Queen, that I have received a call to
the wilderness, which is my kingdom. I must go.
QUEEN (holds his hands and weeps.) You are not
going, beloved, you will not go...
SAGE. Now the hour has struck, precious Queen, that I
should depart to roam about in the wilderness.
QUEEN. I will follow you to the end of the world!
SAGE. No, beloved Queen, it is your duty to bring up
this child to be the ruler of this kingdom. Destiny had
arranged it so that he should be my son to reign over this
country with wisdom and justice.
(The QUEEN weeps; all present are sad. The
SAGE embraces the QUEEN kisses his son, takes
off his crown and puts it on the head of the child. The
mother cries and holds the child, weeping. Then he asks
for his old mantle and takes off his kingly robe; he puts
on his old rosary and his sandals.)
SAGE. (to himself.) This is the picture of life:
tarry here awhile and then depart.
(He waves his hand and blesses all.)