98 (at the dusk of the)

AT THE DUSK OF the early dawn, Ramananda, the great Brahmin

Teacher, stood in the sacred water of the Ganges waiting long for the cleansing touch of the stream to flow over his heart.

He wondered why it was not granted him this morning.

The sun rose and he prayed for the divine light to bless his

thoughts and open his life to truth.

But his mind remained dark and distraught.

The sun climbed high over the sal forest and the fishermen's

boats spread their sails, the milk-maids with milk-vessels on head went to the market.

The Guru started up, left the water and walked along the sand

amidst weeds and rushes and clamorous saliks, busy digging holes for their nests on the slope of the river bank.

He reached the lane which took him to the evil-smelling village

of the tanners where lean dogs were crunching bones at the wayside and kites swooped down upon casual morsels of flesh.

Bhajan sat before his cottage door under an ancient tamarind tree

working at camel's saddle.

His body shrank with awe when he saw the Guru fresh from his bath

come to the unclean neighbourhood and the grizzly old tanner bowed himself down to the dust from a distance.

Ramananda drew him to his heart and Bhajan, his eyes filled with

tears, cried in dismay, 'Master, why bringest upon thee such pollution!'

And Master said, 'While on my way to my bath I shunned your

village and thus my heart missed the blessings of the Ganges whose mother's love is for all.

'Her own touch comes down at last upon me at the touch of your

body with mine and I am purified.

'I cried this morning to the Sun, "The divine Person who is in

thee is also within me but why do I not meet thee in my mind?"

I have met him at this moment when his light descends upon your

forehead as well as on mine, and there is no need for me today to go to the temple.'





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