Anandamath (Dawn over India)/Part 1/Chapter 17

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At the ashram of the Mother, Bhavan was engaged in singing devotional songs. Suddenly there stood in front of him a spirited child by the name of Jnan.

'Why do you look so grave?' Bhavan asked.

'It seems that trouble is in the air,' Jnan said. The British have gone almost insane over that episode of yesterday. They are arresting yellow-robed men at sight. All our comrades have given up yellow robes today. Mahatma Satya alone went towards the city dressed in yellow. That will be the end of him.'

'The Englishman is not born who can keep Mahatma Satya a captive! I know that Dhiren has followed him. And yet I must go to the city. You remain to protect the ashram.'

Bhavan immediately entered a secret chamber and selected some clothes. In a short time he was transformed. Instead of the yellow robe of the order, he had dressed himself in a pleated pajama, a mirjai and kaba. He put on slippers and a turban. He removed from his face the marks of sandal paste and added a jet black beard and moustache. He looked exactly like a young Mughal nobleman. Thus dressed and fully armed, he stepped out of the ashram.

About two miles from the ashram, there were two points on a hill, peaks covered with thick forests. Between these two peaks there was a secret depot. Numerous horses were raised there. It was the military stable of the Children. Bhavan caught a horse, saddled it and galloped towards the city.

On the way he was stopped by a strange sight. Like a fallen star from the blue above, or like a streak of lightning from its home in the clouds, there lay on the banks of the singing river the body of a radiantly beautiful woman. There was no sign of life in her, and an empty box of poison lay beside her. Bhavan was surprised, angry and afraid. Like Jiban, he had never seen Mahendra's wife and child. But the reason that had led Jiban to take care of the wife and child of Mahendra were not valid for Bhavan. He had not seen Mahatma Satya and Mahendra being led prisoners by the sepoys. Besides the child was no longer there. From the little box he inferred that the woman had taken poison in order to commit suicide. He alighted from his horse. Sitting by the dead body, he debated within himself for a long time. He examined her forehead, hands and sides. This holy man knew many mysterious secrets of life, death and healing. 'There is still time,' he thought, 'to revive her. A spark of life still lingers in her body. But what is the use of restoring life to her?'

At first he did not know what to do. He thought and thought, and pondered over a thousand and one things. Finally he entered the forest and plucked leaves from a certain tree. He crushed some of these leaves between his hands for juice. Then he forcibly parted the woman's lips and jaws, and with the aid of his fingers, forced some of the juice into her mouth. He applied some of the same juice inside her nostrils. Then he massaged her body with it. He repeated this process over and over again.

Now and then he placed his hand to her nostrils to find if breathing had started. For a while it seemed that his efforts were fruitless but he persevered in the experiment. At last his face brightened, as he felt a faint breath on his fingers. He applied more of the juice. Slowly her breathing returned. The pulsation of heart started. Kalyani opened her eyes slowly, very slowly. It was like the faint rays of the sun at dawn brightening; or like the gentle opening of the lotus buds in the morning or like the first dawning of love in a human heart. Bhavan placed the half-conscious woman on the back of his horse, and galloped to the city.