CHAPTER - 7
Now Jitendra, the artist, was rocked by a desire to make a painting like that of El Greco's "The view of Toledo". Could he find some village or town set in a good landscape which he could paint! There was no necessity that it should be a place physically beautiful or eye-catching. But he could make it beautiful in spirit. He would make out of the ugly real something ideal and fantastically unreal. He would chase the devil and put a god in it. He would make it a beauty one's heart would be smitten with. In every landscape, object or human figure there was sometimes a great deal of unrealized soul. And in most cases the soul would not have been realized at all. He would take his inspiration from the soul or the unrealized portions of the soul and paint the subject. He would make the painting of it in perfect accordance with the rules, philosophy and technique of El Greco. He had discovered that the soul of El Greco absolutely resembled his own. In his essence and attitudes he was like him. Like him he believed in the spiritual predominance of the artist in the art he created.
Jillu came and stood at the Ashram and stretched her head in. Jitendra saw her and smiled. She laughed her usual big and wide laughter. He put aside the album and came out.
"What, Jillu, what's the matter?"
"Nothing the matter, Swamiji. Through your blessing and help the child had become all right. The woman too had fully recovered. You have saved both of them from death. They have come to thank you, Swamiji. A few other men and women too have come to thank you as well as to take a look at you. They had been almost begging me to have the goodness to take them to you, keep them in sight of you for a couple of minutes and then take them back. I could not stand their pestering, Swamiji. Will you please come on to the grounds and stand in full sight of them so that they could see you over and again till their eyes are full to overflowing with your face, body, your red cloth, your color and the sacred ash and the vermilion paste on your forehead." Jitendra laughed gently aloud at the imbecile, little simpleton of a girl.
Jillu, who had saved two lives, by getting access to the inaccessible Swamiji, had become a famous figure in the village. She was loaded with praise from everyone. She had grown to the proportions of a heroine and a daring adventuress, a credit to the village, an asset to them of great value. Everyone wanted to talk to her and become her friend and be in her favor. The Swamiji would never talk to any one else. And even if he talked it was Jillu who would be his advisor. If anyone in the village tried to get help from the Swamiji he would first consult Jillu. There were a few girls in the village who were her friends. They too now became important because they were Jillu's favorites and her own advisors. The Swamiji had become a highly monopolized treasure of the girl. She was the luckiest girl. In getting installed in the affections of the Swamiji, she had knocked off something like a bumper prize in a lottery. She would get a lot of food and clothes from the Swamiji, and he would himself choose a husband for her and marry her off. He would give her plenty of money and even give her a high position in the Ashram. Jillu walked with a pride now, and didn't want to make herself cheap by talking to everyone. She gave herself queenly airs.
Jitendra came into the grounds and stood before the people that waited to see him. They bowed and saluted him. They kept seeing him again and again. He was so good to look at, so handsome, so very handsome, and so impossibly handsome. Jillu managed to get too near the Swamiji and stood almost nestling against him so that all could see. Then she stood side by side with him and almost held his hand when one of the disciples brought the camera and took snapshots of the Swamiji and the people standing in reverence before the Swamiji. It was the usual practice. Jitendra didn't mind her holding his hand. She was a silly small child, foolish and prankish. But all the villagers were dumbstruck with wonder at how much she had earned of the kindness and good will of the Great Man. Jillu's stocks rose and rose, and her marriage prospects shot up to the skies. Whoever married her was sure to get sacks of money from the Swamiji. Every male wanted to become her lover. But she hated romance. She resisted overtures. She had no parents but every one now offered to become her parent and adopt her.
All the villagers invited the Swamiji to come to their village Sheegampur. He should bless the village and make it grow and prosper. He assured them that he would send word through Jillu well beforehand. Jitendra was really too pleased with Jillu. What a wonderful girl she was, and what love she possessed for the village and the villagers! What a crowd she had collected and brought in to the Ashram. A daring girl indeed!. None had taken so much liberty with him as she did. She had a wish to help everyone. And now she wanted to help the whole village through him. He was full of love and praise for her. He permitted her to come as near him as she liked, and take any liberty. He likened her to a benevolent spirit of the woods and the Wildernesses.
The villagers took leave. Jillu who led their forward journey now led them back. A war-general leading his army would not have felt more proud. she had the air of a conqueror.
Jitendra had asked Jillu to come two days later and know from him when he would be visiting her village.
He now saw through the window her coming. She was entering the Ashram premises. She came and stood as usual at the Ashram door. He called out to her from inside:
"What Jillu, how are you?"
"I am not well, Swamiji. Last night I had a bad headache. It is still on me, Swamiji"
"All right, before you go, take some medicine from me. Your headache will vanish in just five minutes. Why, Jillu, when you are not well, why do you bother to come here?"
"No, Swamiji, I can't sleep without seeing you. Come out, Swamiji, I have brought something for you"
Jitendra came out laughingly. "What is it, Jillu?"
"I have brought you a jar of honey, Swamiji". Jitendra saw it. It was a very big jar. It had a lid. Then it was covered over with teak leaves and tied up. "Shall I take and put it in your room, Swamiji?"
He didn't want to refuse it. It was a token of love. "Oh, do it Jillu. By the way where did you get it?"
By now Jillu had taken the jar inside and put it in a room inside the Ashram.
"You know, Swamiji, our village is full of big trees and some of them are among the rocks, the mountain rocks, Swamiji. Once in a way we would see some honeycombs on them. I had been seeing one for the past two weeks. I did not tell anybody. The moment I saw it I told myself that it was for you. Yesterday I took a pot with me, and climbed on the tree and went to the top. It was on the top. Then I fought with bees. They quarreled with me and I quarreled with them. I told them it was for you. They wouldn't hear. But they could do me nothing, Swamiji. I had smeared my face, arms and legs with ash. And then, Swamiji, I know some leaves, medicinal leaves, they call it herbs. I squeezed them and applied the juice to my face and all the exposed parts of my body over the ash. With that thing on my body no bee could do me harm. They fought with me for a few minutes. They couldn't stand the effect of the juice. They all saluted me and flew away. I had also taken this jar with me. Then I poured all the honey into the jar. All this I did in secret, Swamiji. I didn't want anyone in the village to know it. If they knew there will be not a single drop left. I hid the jar among bushes and put a few heavy branches of thorn on it so that no one could see and take it. I went to the place a short while ago and took it, Swamiji. I am coming straight from there. I didn't go into the village. I didn't come by the regular route. I came by a stealthy short cut". Jillu laughed. The time was just approaching 7 A.M. "It was an unusually large honey-comb, Swamiji, I have never seen one like it".
Jitendra was moved. It was all so touching. Could he ever repay such kindness? Would God ever give him a chance?"
"Jillu, shall I come to your village tomorrow?"
"At what time, Swamiji?"
"Any time you suggest"
"Come in the evening, Swamiji. It will be cool. There won't be any sun. Shall I come and take you ?"
"No, Jillu. I have got men here in the Ashram. I will take one or two of them with me. You need not come".
"Swamiji, you are coming to my village. Therefore you must do only what I tell you. And then you must do all that I tell you. I will come and take you. You shall not take any of your men with you. Do you hear me, Swamiji ? Right ?. You will be in my charge. I will take responsibility for your safe return. Right, Swamiji ?"
"Right". They both laughed a riotous laugh.
"Right, Jillu. You will be my escort and law-giver. Come tomorrow. Five in the evening. Take some medicine for your headache, Jillu."
"No, Swamiji. Come and put your hand on my head and bless me. The headache will go"
"You are a very silly and senseless girl"
He went inside and fetched out some ointment from his medicine kit. It was in a small bottle. "Keep it with you. You can use it whenever you have a headache".
She took it and tucked it into her clothes. "I won't show it to anyone, Swamiji. I will keep it till I die. Shall I go, Swamiji?"
"Do it, Jillu, God bless you"
The girl went coughing, sneezing and holding her head.
Jitendra stood watching her. "There is God in that soul and all the world's greatness. All the innocence of angels. All the purity of the snows in the Himalayas. A dirty looking, shabbily dressed girl, but there is grace on her face, grace on her spirit. May she be blest. May her village be blest", He told himself.
Next day Jillu came and took the Swamiji to the village. It was a fine breezy evening. Everyday she impressed him more and more and became dearer.
The villagers had already assembled. They had been waiting for the Swamiji. When he arrived with Jillu, there was a tremendous ovation and the greetings went up. Men and women elbowed out each other and tried to go near him. They had kept sweets and flowers. They gave them to him which he thankfully accepted and which he put into the hands of Jillu for keeping. Many fell at his feet and took his blessings. They had kept ready a chair for him to sit. It was an old rickety one. They begged him to sit on it, but he refused. He liked to keep standing and talk. There were a few elders to whom the villagers gave priority of place, and asked them to explain to the Swamiji the state of the village. Jitendra could easily see that they were in stark poverty. They were all generally afraid and shy, and did not talk much. Even the elders who were supposed to talk on their behalf talked the barest minimum, but they seemed to take delight in the fact that so great a personage had condescended to step into the village and bless them. There were many young girls who seemed to envy Jillu's closeness to the Swamiji. She was a girl too privileged and petted. They whispered to each other she was going to get very soon from the Swamiji a set of new clothes and some gold bangles.
They all expressed a wish to have a temple for the village. They didn't have a temple at all, and they had all forgotten God. Jitendra thought for a while. Then he asked Jillu if she had any ideas to solve the problem. She spoke suddenly as if by an inspiration and said they wanted a Vinayaka temple. Jitendra then assured the people that within a month they would have a Vinayaka temple. There was again a great ovation and a tremendous clapping of hands. Some of the women who stood beside Jillu held her fast to their bosom and kissed her furiously left and right. Many men and women spoke in great praise of the girl Jillu. She seemed to sum up in her the collective spirit of the village.
Now arrived from the Ashram three cooks who carried each on his head a great vessel in which there were freshly made sweets and savories, cakes, Vadas and a number of other tasty eatables. The villagers cried and squealed with joy. There was enthusiasm that went overbound. Everyone talked and no one could know what the others talked. There was now quite a melee when the cooks distributed the delicious foods they had brought. Time passed. The women offered to perform a folk dance. It was a very fine dance in which all the young and old women joined. They all dragged Jillu into it. And she too danced. It was a spontaneous one in which broke out all sorts of wildest rhythms and the songs consisted of rich ballads rendered with a liberal mixture of rustic flavor. It was all an expression of hysteric joy that broke all bounds.
The villagers had no proper clothes. Perhaps that was the only occasion in their colorless and melancholy annals when they had felt and seen so much of happiness. Jitendra wanted all the young girls to collect in front of him. There were about forty. He said the Ashram would supply all the girls each with a set of new saree, blouse, skirt and a cash-gift of rupees twenty five to purchase bangles and other trinkets they might need for their everyday wear. All were turned to stone with unspeakable emotion. Within the following week the promised presents were made. Jillu too had her set of clothes and money. They knew it was all because of Jillu. Everyone cuddled, kissed and carried her bodily across this way and that for joy. They would never see such a treasure of a girl at any time in all their life. Jitendra had never witnessed such exuberance and jubilation.
Now the moon came. It was a full moon. It came near the village, very near. It hung in a sort of romantic seclusion among the tangled branches of the great trees, rather it rested there and rested for long. This was the first time he had seen moon in such a lyrical setting. It was like a large honey-comb or a pot of nectar from the gods. It looked like the guardian spirit of that little collection of habitations. The village stood dreamily outlined against the shadows of the trees and the rocks, and looked like an illusion built out of the mysterious and awesome stuff of the surrounding skies. Its appeal was now strangely weird, wild and magnetic. The landscape, the village and the moonlight, all seemed to match in a masterly rhythm. It teemed with an epic quality, and looked something out of a fairy-tale. It was a vivid picture spread out in elemental grandeur. It was as if nature was in the process of composing a poem. Even the humble, grass-roofed little cottages seemed to throb in unison with the orchestral scene. Jitendra had forgotten himself and was lost in the maddening glee.
All of a sudden his mind woke up. He thought of the El Greco's painting, "The View Of Toledo". He would paint this village on the same lines. He would keep all that he had read of the famous painting of El Greco in his mind and apply all those principles in his painting of this village. Within a week he had started the work on the canvas. He didn't want to do it in a hurry. He wanted to make it one of utmost perfection. It would be a masterpiece. It would exceed El Greco. After all both of them shared the same concepts and principles. His picture would be unique in its own way. He would let his soul commingle with that of the village. The painting of the village would go on for months. When it was finished he would put the picture in an international exhibition and make the village immortal. The picture would carry the title, "The View of Sheegampur". Within a month the promised Vinayaka temple had been built in the village. Jillu was asked to be the first to touch the stone image and to perform the first Puja. That would be the most auspicious beginning.
Jillu walked with Jitendra as they returned to the Ashram.
Mohinder carried a gloom on his face and looked like one gone sick at heart. His mind kept spinning all the time around Jillu. He didn't know why he was so interested to paint a girl that was so slattern and so insolent. But he knew why. She overflowed with life. Her pride was her chief adornment. Her face and figure had something matchless in them from the painter's point of view. She was ample, hard, wild, rude and energetic. She had the nobility as well as the ferocity of a beast. She had a body-line on which he could try all his talent as an artist. That would be a testing field for him to find out if he was really a good painter. But he was hard put to finding some means of access to her. He had attempted to speak to her a few times. She had a way of staring that gave one gooseflesh. Her big eyes, as they dilated on him, became the eyes which Picasso would have loved to paint. As far as he knew he was the only famous artist that went about in search of eyes that had a phenomenal quality. Eyes that possessed a disintegrating and killing effect. He thought that all the eyes Picasso painted were his own inventions. They were born out of the rich stores of his own exploring fancy. The eyes he painted could not have existed in reality. But there was one place where they existed which Picasso didn't know but which he knew. It was certainly the face of Jillu.
He could paint her and make a small fortune. And he should paint her only in her rags. Her rags gave her body and figure a tremendous lift. He should paint her as she was. In which case he would be painting only a mass of dirt. But he could then show the world that a beauty of the first order could exist even amid poverty and squalor. Her unseemliness did not affect the potential she possessed for an artist. There was sterling worth and purity beneath it.. Only he did not know how to tame the belligerence of the perpetually staring Jillu. During nights he slept before an empty canvas hoping that when he got up in the morning the staring Jillu would have stopped her staring, and greet him with a "Good Morning" from out of the canvas. He believed that the imprint of her figure which sank into his mind during the nights would transpose itself overnight on the canvas. He expected to get his morning cup of coffee from her hands. But as he got up at dawn and opened his eyes on the easel, he found again the same empty canvas. All that he felt was nothing but a drunken feeling with a terrible hangover. All through the night any number of Jillus stood delineated against his sleepy consciousness.
Since the idea came on him that he should paint her, all his work on the canvas had ceased. She had become a hateful obsession. But if that hateful obsession by some chance left him for a while, he yearned for it and recovered it. She dominated his mind and kept sticking there all the time. He was afraid to go and ask the Swamiji to recommend his project to her. He was sure he would laugh him away. So he was facing a stone-wall. But there was the possibility of a half-way success. He could paint her from a photograph. She had now become a pet of the Swamiji. She was now and then coming to the Ashram and sometimes eating too at the kitchen or in the dining hall. He could watch for her coming, stand at a discreet distance, and make sketches. He could make any number. Then he could take a few snapshots of her with his camera. Then, of course, there was his imagination. He would train his eyes to capture her down to the last detail. He would file away all his visual studies in his fancy. Then he would proceed on his canvas. Of course it might not be too great a success. But still he could arrive at a rough approximation. But where and when to photograph her? He could not certainly do it in the Ashram. Nor could he take the photograph right in front of her face. She would snatch the camera and smash it against his nose and eyes. But he could photograph her in the woods when she was there with her sheep. He would do it in full sunshine. He should photograph her from a hiding place. She should not know the least bit of what he was doing.
Next day he went with his camera to the woods. He was lucky. She was there with her sheep, sitting on a rock. There was a clear sun beating down. So there was no problem of light. He hid himself behind a tree. He adjusted the camera and saw through the lens. Her whole body was well within focus. He was happy. All factors were admirably responsive and cooperating. He checked up once again if he was fully insulated from her view. He was now more than satisfied about the safety of his position. He congratulated himself that all was well.
But when he was about to click, her watchful and keenly perceptive dog which had been sitting behind him among the bushes caught sight of him. It growled and opened its terrible fangs. Before he could run and escape, it chased him, caught him and plunged its mouth murderously into his neck and arms and his legs too. He had been very badly mangled and was bleeding profusely. She saw it and came running toward him, her heart thumping and her blood racing. The dog had already snatched his camera which had fallen on a hedgerow. When she saw him, she was seized with terror. She knew that he was a man from the Ashram. What would she tell to the Swamiji if he asked her? She tore at once a long piece of cloth from her saree, and wiped all the blood. He already lay on ground moaning. Half his consciousness had gone. Then she ran into the bushes, brought some herbal leaves, put them generously on the bleeding areas and bandaged them with one more piece of cloth torn from her skirt. She always kept some water with her in an aluminum can. She sat him up and fed him with some of it. Till he could muster strength to stand up and walk, she thought she would sit beside him. She didn't have the heart to leave him. Otherwise she would have run to the Ashram and reported the incident. The dog had gone and brought back the camera and dutifully deposited it into the hands of its mistress. It still seemed to be raging against its victim. It now sat beside its mistress. Its penetrative and widely roaming eyes continued its watch. The ill starred artist was breathing hard. His struggles frightened the girl. She dragged him gently and laid his head on her lap. She felt his breath. He still had life.
The artist opened his eyes slowly and when he saw the girl, he closed his eyes again, feeling it better to die than to get caught in her hands. But she, sweetly and suavely, got him to his feet. Then supporting him with both her arms, and talking to him all possible words of comfort, and asking him to pardon his dog whom she would later introduce to him, she conducted him to the Artist's colony. Then she led, with difficulty, the tottering and limping artist in to his room, and laid him in front of the empty canvas.
"Where is your wife, sir, I will tell her what had happened and hand you over to her". She said.
" I have no wife".
"No servants, I am my own servant and my only servant", He said, still moaning miserably.
She then went to the Swamiji, and reported the matter. Jitendra came at once to the Colony with a few of his disciples. The injuries were serious. Mohinder could not even lift his hands. The dog had torn him away in four or five places. He was bleeding still. The girl started again wiping the blood. She said the herbs she had put on the bites were very effective and the healing would start at once. She would daily bring some. She would wash the affected parts and bandage them with the herbal leaves. Jitendra asked one of his disciples to phone up and get a doctor. But the artist said, No. The girl too said, No. She offered to stay all day and look after him. During nights they could post somebody to keep watch and be of help. The elders of the village too, who came to know of the incident, advised her to be with him and look after him. She had all the responsibility in the matter since it was her dog which was the cause of this calamity.
She was true to her word. She daily came and posted herself beside him. She washed the wounds and dressed them up. The herb she had applied seemed to be really working. But he was still not able to eat with his own hand. But she fed the food into his mouth herself. She massaged his legs and gave him the pain-killing drugs the doctor had sent. Then he asked her to stop coming. She asked, "Why". But he answered her, "I can't be telling you, why. I just don't want you. I hate you". She glared at him angrily and with moist eyes.
"You can't stop me from coming. I will come till you get absolutely well, well enough to walk on your own, and go about your usual business"
"What usual business?". The irritated artist rolled his eyes back at her.
"To go about photographing young girls ", She laughed.
But he didn't laugh. He would have laughed too perhaps, but he restrained himself. Her devoted sentinel, the bloody monster of a dog baring its deadly fangs now and then always stood beside her. She had not yet effected the promised introduction.
"You could come here only on one condition"
"I want to make a picture of you on this canvas. Will you pose?"
"What is posing?"
"You should keep standing as long as I want"
"Want what? I should keep standing till you want me to sit? Oh, that is nothing. I am more used to standing and walking than sitting."
The artist then started to paint her. It lasted for a couple of weeks. In the course of which he had thoroughly examined and studied her entire anatomy. The picture was a spectacular success. He was convinced that she would be much more an Epicurean fare for him than any of the educated urban girls. Already a romance between them was in formation. When the picture was completed, it was also complete.
Jitendra celebrated their marriage at the Ashram temple. He took up the status of a father to the bride Jillu and linked up her hand with that of the bridegroom at fire ceremony. He presented her with gold ornaments and about ten sets of costly dresses. Decked in marriage garments, she became unrecognizable. She was really a very charming girl. Jitendra wondered if she really possessed such a lovely face. Mohinder could make a hundred pictures of her. The villagers of Sheegampur ate a very good feast at the Ashram. Everyone showered congratulations on the couple. The couple fell at the feet of the Swamiji, and took his blessings. Jillu sat at his feet, and holding his legs, wept till she became hoarse. Jitendra presented them with a check for ten thousand rupees. He settled both of them in the modernized outhouse of his Benares home. The artist became very lucky with the coming of Jillu into his life. His pictures began selling fast and at very high prices. He did not sell the painting he had made of Jillu. It had for both of them a historic and sentimental value. In just a year, Jillu had learnt to read and write. She kept writing to the Swamiji every ten days, Jitendra talked to the couple frequently on the phone. Jitendra was now her father as well as her God. The old caretakers of his Benares home, who were his distant relations but with whom he was not satisfied, were now placed to work under Jillu. Thence forward Jillu would be the chief controller and auditor-general of the one-time Gopilal household.
There were considerable patches of teakwood and sandalwood trees in the forests adjoining the Ashram property. Jitendra loved to go into them and take leisurely meditative strolls. The land rose a little in those lovely places. They were a little secluded, and as he penetrated inside he noticed something mythical and unreal slowly fastening itself on his thinking and emotion. He seemed to sense the olden day wizardry of the hermitages in which lived the sages of the Vedic times. Of course, the hermitages were not there. But he had an illusion that he saw a great many odd outlines of them still existing in the abstract. He felt like a god and thought like a god as he came into these places. He didn't know why he so mysteriously changed as he set foot on these usually inaccessible tracts. Normally he would stop when he arrived at a large ravine choked in places with rank growths of wild flower shrubs and little trees dead and fallen blocking the way. And some of the standing trees slanting too low, and getting tangled with their companions, formed a sort of canopy over the ravine in a few places. The places here were usually shady, and the ravine particularly was far shadier and almost dark, and sometimes the sun would filter in and intermingle with the dark. It would make the dark just less dark and the place would be still scarce of light. And one such day Jitendra, as he wandered about the place, happened to see a small herd of spotted deer, five in number, lying on a bed of dry and moldy leaves on a spot of the ravine amid a few withered trees that lay about. He watched them from a few feet away. He held them in an affectionate stare.
The animals looked like feeling very shy in his presence and he could see how uncomfortable they felt. They looked at him, every now and then, with tender liquid eyes. In a sort of trepidation they huddled together yet closer when he advanced a step or two. However they seemed to have already been caught in his loving aura, and seemed to love him back. He stood fascinated and entranced. The sight was splendidly picturesque. And as they were caught by a few filtering driblets of the ascending sun, they looked quite a luminous chunk of the beauty of the forest, mystifying the place at the same time and accentuating its weird character. It looked like a place blessed twice over, decked in something invisible that was all good and unalloyed. He felt caught in the golden web of some divine power that ruled the place. He had hardly felt such inebriating experiences before. Then suddenly he seemed to hear a voice. The voice actually generated from somewhere inside his own psyche, but he seemed to hear it from a little afar. The voice seeming to communicate in quite an awesome whisper, carried a command nevertheless.
"You, monk in the saffron robe, quit at once, the sages are coming." Then after a silence it resumed. "You presumptuous mortal, Tarry not. Take warning, this is the sanctum of the great Rishis, quit." Again a silence. Again it resumed. "The place is barred to mortals. It is time, get off. There will be curse on you, the wrath of the sages. Quit".
The voice closed. He didn't know that the voice was of his own making. Or he knew, but didn't believe. For, sometimes disembodied voices, living outside, spoke from one's inside. He did not know if it was really he that commanded himself to quit or some external agency. All the same he left the place. That night on bed he fancied that out of his nine favorite Rishis five visited and blessed him, Viswamitra, Vyasa, Valmiki, Dhurvasa, and Sukabrahmam.
Then came someone a fortnight later. A Sanyasin, very very old, old enough to be Jitendra's great grandfather, his voluminous matted hair reaching beneath his waist, in large streaming bundles. He had heard one of Jitendra's discourses in the thousand-pillared hall of Sri Meenakshi temple at Madurai in Tamil Nadu, South India. He had never heard one like it at any time before. The visiting Sanyasin admired the mass appeal there was in it, and the way he taught religion to the common man. He came to the Ashram to pay him a hearty tribute and encourage him on his spiritual path and in the mission he had taken up.
As Jitendra took him round the Ashram, the old Sanyasin stopped before two portraits Jitendra had hung up on the wall. They were the portraits of Jitendra's parents. The Sanyasin inquired who they were and Jitendra said they were his parents. The old Sanyasin took strong exception to it. How could the young monk claim to have renounced the world and all its bondages if he still clung to these two persons and called them his parents. A true Sanyasin had no father, no mother, no wife or children and no relations. He belonged to none, and none belonged to him. Then he saw two chairs, padded and gilt-laced. Jitendra said that they were the ones on which his parents used to sit, one was his mother's and the other his father's. The old Sanyasin then very vehemently articulated what he felt in a huskily soaring voice. A monk, he repeated, should own nothing and call nothing his own. He belonged not even to his own self and his self too didn't belong to him. These were the most basic things that a monk should learn. The old Sanyasin told Jitendra he had yet a lot to grow and a lot to learn Then in his own presence he got the two portraits removed from the wall. Jitendra mechanically, quite automatically, obeyed the old Sanyasin. He also advised Jitendra to pack off the two chairs to where they belonged. They certainly did not belong to him. So too the two portraits should leave the Ashram the very next day.
The Sanyasin then saw the portrait of Jitendra's Guru in his meditation hall. It was set up against the wall on a carpeted table in front of which were Puja things and a plate of flowers. Who is it? The old Sanyasin asked. Jitendra said it was his Guru. Then the old Sanyasin placed his hand on Jitendra's head and blessed him. Then he took leave. He walked to the gate. Jitendra went behind him to see him off. Then Jitendra stopped at the gate as the old Sanyasin walked along a little pathway. Suddenly he found that the old Sanyasin had vanished. He returned to the meditation hall. He found his Guru coming wonderfully alive on the picture, vibrating divinely and throwing off at him his benevolent rays. Jitendra shed tears. The old Sanyasin who had come to see him was most probably none other than his Guru. The thought kept gaining on him with increasing certainty.