Sri Nag felt
I tell you to let yourself become defenseless, as you have done,
unable to protect yourself, let alone your wife and children?'
sir, I thought... '
thought! What did you think?'
Sri Nag said humbly, 'I have tried to follow
your instructions. You told me not to strike the village boys, not
to chase them. You said to harm no one.'
ha ha!' The sadhu looked deeply pained, as though he felt
every blow the boys had inflicted on Sri Nag in his own body. 'You
fool,' he said affectionately. 'I told
you not to strike at them; did I tell you not to hiss at them?'
Sri Nag was silent. 'My son,' the sadhu
went on, 'it is your path in life to protect
your home and provide for your family. For that, you must be strong.
It does not befit you to act like an earthworm. You will be looked
upon as a failure in life and will lose the respect of society. Did
I ask you to give up your usual means of livelihood? That is not at
all your part in this great, this beautiful dance of Shiva, this
just what I said!' Akhu put in. 'Didn't
I say that, Nagji?'
Sri Nag ignored
him. 'Shiva left here long ago,' he
do you say!' The sadhu looked at him in rebuke and spoke
sharply. 'Lord Shiva has never left!'
Sri Nag opened, his
jaws in amazement; he said nothing.
has never left,' the sadhu repeated, 'not
for an instant. The villagers have been worshipping Him elsewhere,
that is all. His great Dance is always going on, and you are a mere
gesture of His hand, a turning of His head; it is He who acts, not
you. He is life and He is death. Knowing that, claiming no action as
your own, follow your dharmik path; you will do no harm to others or
Sri Nag gave a
long, quavering sigh. 'I have failed all
around.' He felt more dejected than he had felt all year.