CHAPTER - 8
Jitendra had been staying in Benares for the past few days. He had come to deliver some lectures in the Philosophy Department of the Benares Hindu University.
He stayed as usual in his ancestral home. Jillu, the new care-taker, had been discharging her duties with care and responsibility. Mohinder, her husband, had put her on a course of cookery, house-keeping and gardening in a reputed institute. Jillu had learnt quite a lot. She applied all she had learnt in the upkeep of the sprawling mansion she was in charge of. She had made everything shine and sparkle.
The outhouse in which she and her husband lived was a fairly big one. Mohinder had taken over a big hall for his use as a studio. He had so many orders that he had to paint night and day. He had since become a painter of note in all the leading Art circles of Benares. His paintings were in demand, and were rated high. He was making plenty of money and becoming rich. Jitendra had done all he could to boost him in the trade. It was because of his purposive and sustained efforts that Mohinder climbed to his present standing in the field.
Jillu was still the same old simple girl. She had stopped her chattering. She had reduced the quantity of her speech, and had much improved its quality. She knew that Swamiji hated noise. And in time she too had come to hate noise. She never talked except in just an audible low key. When Jitendra was in the house, she devoted all her time to attending on him. She loved to be with him, and keep a running converse with him on sundry things. Jitendra found her a very diverting company. She had still the same old imbecile smile, which Jitendra was used to and which he had come to like.
One day Jitendra was taking his morning stroll inside the house-garden. He was shocked to find Jillu collecting flowers in her old dirty rags. He asked her what it meant, her wearing these rags when she had such a heavy and costly wardrobe of shining clothes, she replied:
"I wear these old clothes once in a week, Swamiji. I have made a habit of it. There is something precious and sacred in one's past, and it should be remembered, and piously worshipped. Though one was in the present, one should also keep alive one's past. After all, one belonged to one's past as much as to the present and the future. And all the three deserved of one's worship."
Jitendra was moved. He thought what a touching thing she had spoken. For the first time in his life, he felt taught by a simple village girl whom he had once thought irretrievably stupid. It was one of the highest persons in a moral philosophy.
Her ragged clothes brought his mind a neglected tailoring machine that was in the lumber room. He asked Mohinder to secure a tailoring instructor, and teach her tailoring. In a short time, Jillu had become an accomplished dress-maker. Then Jitendra thought more. He asked her to start a garment-export center. He provided her the funds and arranged for an Export-license. He secured her state assistance. The trade picked up. Soon she had become a very important figure in the Export Market. On Jitendra's suggestion, she made a lot of clothes for the poor too, and made gifts of them on auspicious days.
One day when she was distributing clothes to the poor in a temple premises, a press photographer caught the scene in his camera and gave it to the news papers. Overnight, Jillu had become a minor celebrity. Her picture was in all the papers, dailies and weeklies. Women forced her to become a member of many fashion-clubs and service-guilds. She had come to acquire a new face and a new figure. She was now classed a beauty. When she went to the temples with her husband she was accorded special honors. Many women surrounded her because she had become a sort of sartorial trail-blazer. She was mystified. She could understand nothing. Her life was changing out of all proportion. But yet she knew, her worship of Jitendra had been growing intensive day by day. And his aura was operating in her life. That accounted for all the marvels that were happening.
There were four American families in Calcutta who were all very close and intimate friends of Swami Jitendra. The four families lived together side by side in four different expensive flats. They were in Electronic business. They were importers and exporters. They had business connections with important countries in Europe, U.S.A. and the Middle East. They all belonged to the same common family stock and were the progeny of a multimillionaire by name Lincoln Ferroce. He was now a grand old man of about ninety, and lived with them. He would be with one or the other of all the four families. All the four families together went by the name of 'Lincoln Ferroce Families. They were all interested in Art, particularly Painting and Sculpture.
They had a fine library in which they had a very great collection of books on Hinduism. There were almost all possible Hindu classics dealing with Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and Mahabharatha, Adi Shankara's works, Vivekananda’s lectures and all his writings, books on Ramakrishna, Patanjali Yoga Sutras, expositions relating to Krishna-cult. They were great admirers of Hindu philosophy and they knew a lot about Hindu sages. They loved Advaita embodied in Upanishads and believed in it. They had with them all the works of Max Mueller on Hinduism. They were much interested in Tantric literature and Hindu Mysticism, and read the works of Arthur Avlon. They visited Hindu temples and worshipped as much as what they did in the church.. They had a good collection of paintings and sculptures.
They were Art-Collectors. They knew almost all the Art-dealers in Calcutta and had friends among Art dealers in U.S.A.. Technically they were not Hindus, but they loved Hinduism as much as they loved Christianity. And Hinduism was the staple on which their minds avidly fed. Whenever Jitendra happened to be in Calcutta, he spent a lot of time with them, and sometimes even stayed for a day or two with them. All the four families had visited Jitendra's Ashram on several occasions. They used to sit and eat on a great rock near the Ashram on the shore of the river Ganges. It was one of the special loves of Jitendra in that vast mountainous terrain where, they used to say, Nature had lavished a great deal of her bounty. On each occasion they used to take a number of photographs. They had once been to celebrate Jitendra's birthday in the Ashram. It was then when they were lunching on the particular rock on which Jitendra used to pray, some of the women in the company thought up and suggested the name of Hanuman, the great character in the Ramayana, to be christened to the rock. From that day on, the rock became "Hanuman Rock". They were all great admirers of Hanuman. The part he had played in rescuing Sita from Ravana had very much enthused them.
Now Jitendra wanted the artist Vidyapathi to be introduced to them. He had already written them a letter commending his talent and asking them to effect a liaison between him and the leading art-collectors and Art-dealers in Calcutta. They, the Lincoln Ferroce families, too could ask him to do some paintings for them. They could also please get him to do on commission some works for some companies and public bodies. They could arrange to sell some of his pictures. Vidyapathi was his one-time tutor in Art, and in fact he learnt his first lessons in painting only with him. Even now he was his mentor. This was enough. All the four families began to look forward with great interest to meeting the artist.
In the meantime Jitendra had asked Vidyapathi through a letter to set to work at once on four new paintings and bring them to him to the Ashram. They should be well studied and well thought out works. They should all be new paintings. He should not make them out of the old ones he had with him. They must have a current relevance and at the same time be centered in the basic spiritual values; All the four should be studies of contemporary life.
Vidyapathi had made the paintings. He took them to Jitendra. Jitendra deeply studied them. He was satisfied. They had relevance to current happenings in society and to the life of the middle and the lower classes. They had a high esthetic value, and each had a distinct moral to suggest and emphasise. And there stood out in each of them a diffusive nobility that was subtly touching. They had a lingering effect on the mind.
Jitendra said he would write an exhaustive critical review on all of them in his journal, Madhura Vauhini. Usually the leading Art-magazines of Benares, "Hesperus" and the "Starry Host" and the "Silver Mantle" reproduced his articles on Painting and sculpture. Any way he would arrange all that. That was sure to give the artist a great lift in the public eye. Overnight the artist would get known to the Art-World. Rather he would be back in public remembrance. That was sure to happen because he had already been once an artist of note and well respected in leading art-circles. Jitendra wanted this to be immediately followed by a series of exhibitions. Eminent artists and public men should be invited and got associated with these public shows. The media would immediately pick it up all and broadcast. That would be an effective booster for the artist. The exhibitions must be arranged in popular centers of Art. Jitendra would be personally present in all of them and introduce him to all the well known patrons in the field.
The artist had already secured a house in Benares, a large building part of which he could use as his residence and the rest as his studio and shop. He gave the address. It was No. 27, Surya Bimba Colony, Harshavardhan Extensions, Benares. Jitendra would make a visit and take a look. Jitendra then asked the artist to proceed at once to Calcutta and meet the members of Ferroce Lincoln families. He should take with him the four new paintings he had made now. There lay his treasure-trove and the source of much of his future success and fortune. Vidyapathi went and met them all. They showed him abundant goodwill and had done all that Jitendra had suggested in his letter. After a week, Vidyapathi returned and reported success. In fact they had done for him much more than what Jitendra had expected. All through the journey from Calcutta, Vidyapathi had nothing on his mind except Jitendra. Every time he thought of his greatness his eyes filled. A reverence for the great Sanyasin brewed within him like a foaming current.
The sure-fire plans Jitendra had made were put into effect one by one. The publicity through the media was secured in a great measure. There was cooperation from all sides. The exhibitions were held. Vidyapathi had come triumphantly back into limelight. Soon he grew and towered.
Jitendra’s thought now and then centered on a girl by name Sholanki Bella, his classmate at the university, who loved him, wanted ardently to mate with him, and become his wife. She was from Darjeeling, the famous hill station, and summer resort, in the Himalayas. She was a woman romantically cut out, and looked like the flame of the forest. There were many girls who loved Jitendra, but she thought he was secretly attracted to her and cherished her. She thought that they were going to be in love, and engage in all sorts of exciting love-sport. She was voluptuously roused at the very thought of him. Hers was a mad sort of love, a dreamily saturated one, it had robbed her of all reins. It burnt and left her to reap a harvest of sighs. For she was mistaken about Jitendra. He liked her a great deal because she was bright in studies and a good intellectual companion. But he didn't love her in the sense she expected. When she went too near him and entered on what she thought her premarital flirtations, he receded and cooled off. She saw his refusal plainly in his subsequent conduct. That was all. All meaning out of her life was gone. She fell into an unrelieved sepulchral mood. The traumatic effect was complete. He thought of her because she was in every respect a likable sort. He thought of her only as an interested fiend. There was nothing else in it.
In a letter which Jitendra had received from Georgina Maxie the day before, she had mentioned Sholanki Bella. She had met her at Darjeeling in a dinner at the house of a common friend. Sholanki Bella was introduced to her as a playwright in English. But Bella refused to call herself a playwright. She had written about nine plays and they lay in her library collecting dust. None would buy them and no dramatic troupe would put them on boards because they were the crusty products of a hardcore misanthrope. Georgina then took hold of all of them. She sat in her room and studied them for a week. She honestly felt that a few of them were productions of a very robust and contemplative mind. They were now in her possession. She promised to restructure them and arrange for a performance. In three of the plays Jitendra was the hero.
About a month ago he had been to his bank at Haridwar to sign some papers. The moment he was inside, the staff told him that the previous manager had been transferred and a new one had taken his place. When he entered the manager's room, he found to his surprise a battered young woman blinking over some registers. She was the manager. It took him a minute to recognize that she was no other than Sholanki Bella. The woman was bewildered for a moment. For she never expected that Jitendra, her one- time idol would materialize before her after so long a time. She knew that he had become a Sanyasin. But she had never thought they would ever come face to face again. But the unexpected had happened. She could not contain her joy. She was all astir with delight. She ordered him coffee, shut off visitors, and getting a bit visibly excited. She was almost hysterically joyous to be physically so close again with the beau of her rabidly gilded fancies that had consumed her in her college days. Without her willing it, her affection became too demonstrative. He became very uneasy.
She was now a heavily pimpled woman, All the vital glow and charm of her person had gone. But her color was still there. She retained some of it yet, but the sparkle had vanished. She was like an apple scarred and rotting away, a canker she bred inside sucking out all her sap. He felt guilty as she plied him with more and more of her tender attentions. Both were soon on their old familiar terms. The woman chattered away harping on a number of old things, and warming up to the sunny loveliness of the days they spent at the university. She completely disapproved of his taking to the saffron-robe. Jitendra too loved to talk but he never let go of his discretion. A habit with him was he never talked except within permitted bounds. Yet he talked buoyantly. He loved to see warm and bright people around.
He had been feeling bored for quite sometime, and was a little less than his usual self. He was in the grip of some unaccountable lassitude. There had been quite a few unpalatable happenings in the homes of some of his close relations, and that had affected him a little too much. He felt in sagging spirits. He could not pay full attention to his work. Many things were stagnating, causing him endless irritation. Many of his projected tours had been canceled. The old friend he had now unexpectedly run into helped him pick up some of his old cheery self and become a little expansive.
The woman had been reading every single issue of his magazine, and could talk with knowledge. She was a woman of intellect, he knew. She could debate very intelligently, but would wantonly be perverse too at times for the sheer pleasure of it. A spirited character that would not like to be slighted. By and large she was a woman of noble cast and good breeding. A wealthy girl brought up opulently and that explained perhaps why she had such a sensitive ego that felt bruised at the slightest inattention. In those gay carefree days her self-possession and dignified manner had earned her a very good reputation. She was very good at studies and generally topped her class. There was hardly anyone in the university that did not like her. She was a good mixer, a poetic sort of a sweet babbler, a valorous defender of her convictions about women's rights. A good talker but she hated trash, and a good many students spoke nothing but trash. She shone in college debates. She never flaunted her talent. Her verbal resources were great. Though witty she never offended. She was the director of the college-theater group and wrote three-act plays.
Normally polite of speech she was particularly careful of men students who showed off like gallant and chose to gad about girls. Her gaiety generally stopped with women-students of her own set which spanned one fourth of the women population of the college. In university dramas she always played the title role and came off sensationally, a blazer. Advances from men-students generally produced in her no encouraging response. She came of a good family and was generally well above censure in everything. She was, of course, a desirable woman from every point of view but generally supposed to be out of reach. The only male she coveted and cared for was Jitendra. But she never knew until at last that he didn't care for her that way. He was not the romancing type. Her obsession drove her mad. She pined in complete ignorance of how he felt.
She attempted suicide but it was thwarted. Her life became disorganized. She stopped away from studies. Frustrations piled one upon another. She tried to reassemble herself and become whole again. She saw a little success but that was fleeting. Then she could not keep from drifting.
She told how she got her present position as bank manager, It was after a long and wearisome struggle. Everyone put obstacles in her way. But she could do nothing. She had already been feeling weak and done for. She had no fight left in her nor was there any light in her life. Then some of her influential relations showed concern and took pains to get it. It was they who got it for her.
"But all the same, I don't think I fit in, Jitendra", She said.
"But why, Bella?"
"All my preference was for doing literary research and taking a Ph.D. I wanted to become an English professor. But that couldn't be". She trailed off and sighed.
"That would have suited you best, Bella. I know you were very good at English and loved it. I remember you once spoke in the college union on Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. That was quite a highly enlightening and sensational speech. You made a dent in everyone's thinking. You were deeply read in English drama. Everyone thought you were going to become yourself a great dramatist. If you had tried your talent in that line, I think by now you should have made a name. It was a field for which you had every aptitude. I honestly feel you should have taken to it.". Jitendra really meant what he said. She was a woman of vast capabilities.
Bella's face showed sadness. She became melancholy and reflective. With unwinking eyes she stared at him and laughed.
"Thank you, Jitendra. I am happy to know you had had such a great opinion of me. But now I am not all that. I am scared of the world. I am enraged at it and at what I see around me. I feel bitter. I hate, I hate everything. I hate life. I have become a cynic. Any one that thinks, and thinks deep, would certainly become a cynic."
True, she had missed her path. But what could she do? She was then caught up in a spate of poignant reminiscences. She did not weep, but could have. There was so much feeling in her, she wanted to unburden her mind. And she could not do it with anyone except with a person like Jitendra. He was one of the most understanding of men and one most sympathetic. She continued: "You ask me why I became a cynic? I don't want to be plain or specific. Some thing happened when I was in the university, some hope of mine was rudely shattered. That ruined my spirit, it killed my morale. For the first time I came to believe in fate. It had a destructive effect on all the fight and tenacity I had in me. I lost interest in everything. I have squandered away all the wealth my father had left me. I took comfort in calling down heaven's imprecations on people and living in pessimistic cocoons. All my life fell into a disarray. My mind could think only the worst and most foolish thoughts. I feel like one banished and abandoned. It was the cruel jest of an evil fate. I just exist, but I don't live. I spend my time in reading horror stories. The scenes of torture delight me. I want to inflict all those tortures on the people I hate. When I read them I feel as if there is an avenging angel on my side. Monstrous angers and beastly ferocity keep brewing in me all the time, Jitendra. What do you want me to do, please tell me?" She now wept. "I am not fit to sit before you, Jitendra. I have become so bad, so awfully bad".
She then forced a laugh on her face that fell discordantly on Jitendra. He could gauge the extent of the raging despair in her. But he would never know that she owed the ruin of her life to him though Jitendra could never take the responsibility or the guilt for it. She could never build out of that crash in her life. In its wake came all the chaos, all the ruin. She felt like a woman that faced a hell within and without.
"Well, I read your magazine too. But more than the contents I see your face in the lines that you write. Because I don't understand them, but I could understand you. Your articles are all high wrought stuff. If I have the head I had had once, I would perhaps have understood. But, now Mr.Jitendra, even the commonest things of life I don't understand. I am now a morbidly maladjusted woman. Wherever I happen to be, I think I don't belong there."
Jitendra began to feel ill at ease. She was an extremely honest woman. She spoke without reserve. He thought she needed the solace of religion. She could be salvaged and remade. He could teach her what best she could make of the remains of her life and what happiness she could extract out of it. She could pick back her life, the life she had thrown away, and live it. It all depended on the amount of resolve she could summon. Her verbose lamentation kept gaining on. He thought he should now wedge in more to still her agitation than to stem the torrent.
"Dear Bella.....", He began. She stopped him.
"Mr.Jitendra, please don't use the word, 'dear'. I am dear to nobody. And nobody is dear to me. We all live in a world of delusions". The embittered woman started on a laugh, but could not make it. She felt like a rag thrown on the wayside.
"Sholanki, sorry, I always used to call you Bella, isn't it? Bella, You are still young. You speak as though you have exhausted the world. As if you have exhausted life. But the truth is you have not. Only set your mind aright, then your life and everything will set themselves aright".
She laughed a small derisive laugh. But he continued:
"Bella, if you resolve to make yourself happy, happiness will mysteriously generate itself and come to you from somewhere. It is a divine thing. If you want it and insist on God giving it to you it will distill out of thin air. You need not even believe in God. Simply want happiness, and keep wanting it with a strong will. It is sure to materialize. Most people do not know the magic of it, the alchemy of it. It manufactures itself inside you. Or it manufactures itself elsewhere and comes to you. It has a habit of gravitating to those who earnestly want it. Even for the most afflicted soul it is not far to seek. I repeat, seek it, you will get it."
"Mr.Jitendra, your religion and God are all tranquilizing agents. No tranquilizing agent ever tranquilizes. It just deadens your feeling for a time. That's all. If one believed in all that you say, one practiced delusions on oneself. When soul rebels, all your religion and God just go to pieces. It is all just muck. Just muck and nothing else, Jitendra".
In the fluttering of her eyes, Jitendra saw that her whole being was aflutter. She was not altogether an extinct volcano. Still there was so much fire in it. It could profitably be harnessed. She teemed with life though she all the time said that she just existed and didn't live. The first and foremost thing was that she lived. That she existed followed from that. If she had found life all sterile and with nothing in it she would have died long ago. The choice before her was Life or Death. She had chosen the former and that was why she was still alive. She was a woman irrepressibly voluble and that showed she had still an abundance of spirit. She felt strongly about things, the world and life. This precious woman could certainly be built anew and made to climb great heights. Jitendra felt impelled to speak a little more:
"Bella, learn to make happiness out of your home first. Concentrate on your husband and children. Cultivate affection. And make it in large measures. Become a most affectionate wife and mother. See that all of you at home pour forth affection to one another all the time. It is love that makes life livable. It is love that makes happiness. Lead your home like a kindly light. That alone would give you a lot of happiness. To achieve that you must first cease to be a cynic and a life-hater. There is nothing more for me to talk, Bella".
"I don't have children, Mr.Jitendra, but I have a husband. But he stinks like a rotten fish. He is a Christian preacher, and he preaches me all the time. He advises me not to give room from bodily passions. He wants me to be praying to God all the time. But he doesn't know that I have only one enemy in life, and that is what you call God. My husband has no brains. Or perhaps he has, but doesn't know how to use them. He is neither a male, nor a female, nor even a eunuch. He is a boneless worm."
It came out in the talk that her husband was a phlegmatic man, a Christian deep rooted in Bible, a bore among bores, an intolerable bore, a sermonizer in season and out of season, and he had never shown the least interest in her. Neither could he understand the ills of her mind nor would try to assuage her pains. He could give wonderful expositions of the various psalms in the Bible but knew not the rudiments of the feminine psyche.
"Have you not become a Christian, Bella? How could you get on with a Christian husband unless you are a Christian too?". Jitendra, of course, spoke only tentatively. He added: "Of course there are any number of couples to whose happiness religion is no bar at all. Their homes are very happy and free of wrangles. No disruption whatsoever. But that is possible only with a few broad-minded understanding couples, not with all".
"True, Mr.Jitendra. But what comes in the way of our relationship is that I don't believe in God at all. I am an unbeliever and a non- conformist, a freethinker. We never know when we would explode at each other. I am a woman of will and I act in accordance with my will. If I didn't do so, I am undoing myself. It would be an act of self-destruction, a sort of suicide. I think, think and think. That is the bane with me. And I talk what I think. Sometimes I am at the top of my form, and I get in my head irrefutable arguments coming in a serried procession. Those invigorated operations of my intellect I talk out. My husband can not answer a single one of them. He has a large head. You would not have seen one like that. But it contains nothing but very fertile soil. You can grow cabbages and cauliflowers on it. It is fit for nothing else. We are getting divorced in a few months. Papers are already under way".
Jitendra thought it prudent not to laugh, but he couldn't help laughing.
She spoke unconcernedly. It was as if nothing mattered for her. She was so resigned that she could take anything in her stride. But Jitendra could find that she was not an extinguished woman, nor there was anything in the world that could extinguish her. She could stand alone and fight the whole mankind. That was why he thought she was an excellent human material and one could still make out of her one of the best and most vital products of God".
"Can I contribute to your magazine, Jitendra?", She asked. Jitendra could not say "Yes', for she might begin to preach atheism through his journal. Neither could he say, 'No'. If he did she might start on it a tiresome verbal duel. He said tactfully, "Oh, by all means, Bella. Only if you know what to write".
"True. My thinking needs a lot of straightening out."
"You may discuss with me beforehand what it was you proposed to write", He added discreetly. The young woman took in a few large eyefuls of Jitendra’s noble form. She felt in her vitals the left-over embers of all her frustrated fantasies. They seemed to pick up life.
"I understand, Mr.Jitendra, that, of course, I will do. In the meantime, will you give me some books on Hindu philosophy that I can understand ?."
This she did not really mean. She resolved never to see him again. If she did she might ruin his celibacy. Intuitively she felt his Sanyasa would not last. Only she did not want to be the cause of it. He was in the prime of life. He looked like a power-house of sex, overwhelming and peaky. He stood grave risks. The mighty reserves of sex apparently slumbering in him would at any moment volcanically erupt. He would then be burnt and charred. Any beautiful woman would conquer him. When the storm raged, the vessel might voluntarily sink and capsize. Sholanki Bella, the crazy young woman, cracked all over, had already stripped him of his saffron robe. She had torn it to pieces and had flung it through the window. It was as if she were passing through an inspirational moment and a prophesy was being composed in her mind by some intelligence infinitely superior to her own.
Jitendra was pleased. She was perhaps on the way to recovery. "Yes, Bella, I will give you".
The talk had lasted long enough. There were files for her to attend to, and there were people waiting to see her. She wound up magnificently:
"I will be your disciple, Mr.Jitendra, How happy I would feel to take you as my Guru. You are the only one whom I can accept as a preceptor and to whom I can surrender my will and all. I will come and meet you at your Ashram. Will you please tell when?"
She made as if she felt very humble before him. But it was true, she really felt very humble. Jitendra gave her a date and time. Then she shook hands with him in which act she held his hand for long in a sudden access of emotion. Then Jitendra took leave.
It was just before daybreak. There were still some stars burning bright. A pale half-moon was dissolving in the slowly bleaching gray sky. It was a Wednesday and the ruling constellation was Swathi, the birth-star of Jitendra. He had got up early and was now proceeding to the Hanuman rock for his meditation. He had thrown a large saffron towel over his saffron- robe. The air was still. Some trees, standing in large sturdy outlines in the weakening darkness, growing in a sort of runaway fashion into the clouds, seemed to stand attentively and offer their worship to the on- coming monk. Their foliage in the upper branches gently glistened with a little gold in the starlight and the expiring moon. Jitendra walked at a measured pace with a six-foot silver-mounted stick in his hand. Even as he walked he was chanting mentally one of the most powerful incantations, the Sudharsana Maha Mantra, one of the Mantras of Lord Vishnu. He chanted it in that solemn benign hour to spiritually fortify himself against sins, demons, evil powers, and to realize the potency of God in surging measures and make it shine in him. Many of his disciples had testified that they had seen his Aura at that nightly hour splashing forth in a blinding light all around. Many of the disciples at that moment had stood in their places and had worshipped that light. It was the light of Maha Vishnu, the light of Lord Krishna. Its terrible potency sometimes one couldn't stand. The disciples alone knew it, and that too, only a few of them. Jitendra would look then not like a man but like a mighty power in motion. A potent god advancing in a stately gait casting terror all around. To others' eyes he was just Jitendra walking along to sit and say his prayers on the rock. There was no doubt among the disciples that their Guru, swami Jitendra, had already become a Siddha Purusha.
As Jitendra walked and sat on the rock and fell into meditation, the first red shaft of the rising sun fell on him. Minutes passed. His eyes were closed. He felt someone coming and sitting close beside him on the rock, both bodies slightly grazing and withdrawing. The intruder did not disturb the Swamiji. Jitendra didn't open his eyes. Nor would he open at all whatever happened till the meditation was over and till he got the inner signal to open his eyes on the world. But even when his eyes were closed, he could sense that the intruder was quite a heavy chap. He seemed to be fastening his eyes on the Swamiji's face. The meditation was over. Jitendra opened his eyes. He saw a large fat monkey sitting next to him and staring at him in a mute sort of respect. He looked like a long-time Bhaktha of the Swamiji. Jitendra had not seen this monkey before. He asked the disciples to smear on its forehead some temple Prasadam and feed it with sugar-rice and sweets. The monkey looked a very peaceable specimen. It thankfully accepted the Prasadam and the temple foods. Thereafter it became a frequent sight.
About two weeks later when Jitendra went to the rock for meditation at the same early morning hour, he was pleasantly surprised to see the great monkey sitting in meditation, exactly like himself, closing his eyes, crossing his knees, and folding the arms that rested on his thighs and looking like lost in concentration. Monkeys were expert mimics and mockers. The Swamiji didn't want to disturb it. He stood before it smilingly for a minute and then left.
Jitendra prayed to God every day that Sholanki Bella's life should take a new turn for the better, and the expected divorce should never come off, and that the couple should live happily for ever. This prayer rose to God night and day. He was bound to take all possible efforts to make her one of the happiest of women. She had been her class mate, she had shown him a very genuine affection from their university days, and actually he must give her the status of a blood sister. He was now resolved to remake her broken life.
On the appointed day when Bella was to meet him, she did not turn up. Jitendra rang up to find out. Only the servant of the house answered. There had been a fight between the couple the previous night. She suffered a serious head injury and was at the moment lying in a hospital. He thought of going and seeing her. But on second thoughts he gave up the idea. Not to see her would be good for her. It would avert further complications. Anyway he drew his breath in pain. After that neither of them met each other.
Three years later quite by chance he met her at the Lucknow railway station. She greeted him with a smile. She was with a middle-aged man whom she introduced to him as a civil engineer and a friend. She clung to him rather too closely. The faces of both looked haggard and debauched. One could see the effects of a heavy booze on them. Something told him that the man could not be a civil engineer at all. He looked like a rake. She said that the divorce between her and her husband had come off within a month after they had both met at the bank.
Six months later he happened to run into her in a supermarket with another man. He stared at her suspiciously. Then she came to him and took him aside. She told him something that shocked him. "You told me, Jitendra, to make myself happy, and that if I wanted happiness it was sure to come. It has come now".
Jitendra couldn't understand what she meant. Then she said.
"I have become a call-girl." She laughed a laugh that looked like a withering satire on his philosophy. It was evident she was losing her mind.
Jitendra received a letter from Georgina Maxie about ten days after she had taken leave of him. She had said that the paintings he had entrusted to her had made their passage through high-standing critical circles of Art with great success. She had sold all the four paintings at very handsome prices. In Indian currency as Jitendra worked it out it came to about one lakh and twenty three thousand rupees. This was informed to the artist Vidyapathi who came at once to the Ashram to see the Swamiji. His joy was so much that he became almost dumb. Georgina had asked for the remaining works of the artist. They were immediately dispatched. She had also arranged for favorable press reviews. Jitendra wrote a warm letter thanking her.