There was a knock
at the door. His mother jumped up, and out of the corner of his eyes
he could see that she took the dust of someone's feet.
God you have come! she cried. Madhav
is dead! Is he dead? Then with alarm: Why
have you come? Did you sense that he was dead?
No, Mother, I
sensed nothing. It was the voice of the sannyasin. I was
passing this way and met Javni. She told me Madhav was ill. Let us
see. The sadhu bent over Madhav and listened to his heart, felt
his throat, prodded him here and there, and then, his face hidden
from the others, winked at him. Only a little longer, he
did you say? the mother asked. Is
he dead? It happened so suddenly. He was standing near me, trying to
tell me something ...
The sannyasin shook
his head sadly. He is not dead yet, he said, but there is
not much time left.
The mother buried
her head in her hands and wailed. I too,
will die. You must save him, Maharaj. I beseech you! You alone can
You have great
faith in the power of renunciation, Mother? Yes, I can save him. But
there is only one way.
way! the mother cried.
The only way is
that some member of his family give his or her life for him.
For the first time
Madhav felt sick. What was the sadhu up to? Was this whole charade a
subtle form of murder? In another moment his mother would plunge a
knife into her heart to save a son who in truth was in no need of
saving. Freedom thus won would be no freedom at all. He fought to