Anandamath (Dawn over India)/Part 1/Chapter 6

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It was late and the moon shone high in the sky. It was not a full moon; so it was not bright. Light, however, had fallen on the vast meadow making a shadow of the darkness. In such a light you could not see the borders of the meadow. Nor could you see what rested there. It was the very abode of fearful, endless loneliness. The highway to Calcutta and Murshidabad passed through it. Nearby was a little hill covered with mango and other trees. The tree-tops swung to and fro, bright in the moonbeams and their shadows danced joyously on the dark stones below. Mahatma Satya climbed to the top of the hill and became absorbed, intently listening. The broad meadow was almost soundless. Only now and then could you hear the whisper of leaves.

At a certain point a vast jungle touched the hill. The hill stood at the top; the highway at the bottom; and the jungle in between. A little noise mingled with the murmur of the trees. No one could know the nature of the noise. Satya walked in the direction of the murmur and entered the jungle. There he found rows of men seated amid the dark shadows of the trees. The men were tall and armed. Here and there their polished equipment shone brightly in the moonlight that filtered through the openings between the branches. Two hundred men were sitting in perfect silence. Satya walked gently into their midst and made a sign. No one rose and no one uttered a word. Past the files of men he walked, looking at each face. He seemed to be searching for someone. At last he found the man he sought and touched his body by way of command. The man at once stood up. Satya took him aside.

This man was young, his face covered with a black beard and moustache. He was strong and handsome, dressed in yellow, the holy colour, his body anointed with sacramental sandal paste.

'Bhavan,' asked Satya, 'have you any information about Mahendra Singh?'

'Mahendra Singh,' replied Bhavan, 'left his home this morning with his wife and child; and on their way to the inn —.'

‘I know what happened at the inn. Who did that?'

'Perhaps the farmers of the village. Hunger has driven farmers into robbery. These days, who is not a robber? We ourselves robbed to eat today. We deprived the British chief of police of his two maunds of rice for our meal.'

'I have rescued Mahendra's wife and child,' said Satya smiling, 'from the hands of the hungry farmers. I have left them at the ashram. Now, I assign you to find Mahendra Singh for his wife and child. Jiban alone will be able to take care of the duties here and win success.'

Bhavan agreed to undertake the duty. Mahatma Satya departed.