Anandamath (Dawn over India)/Part 3/Chapter 6

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Upon his arrival at the ashram, Bhavan entered a deep forest. In a past of the jungle were the ruins of an ancient building. On the bricks and stones of the ruins grew thorny creepers and dense bush. Countless serpents lived there. One of the broken courtyards was less dilapidated than the others and cleaner. Bhavan chose that spot to sit.

He plunged into deep thought. The night was intensely dark. The forest was endless and impregnable even for wild animals. It was forlorn and quiet. The only noise one could hear was the distant howl of tigers, or the fearful cries of hunger or fear of other animals. Now and then there was the sound of the wings of huge birds in the trees. Amidst these desolate ruins Bhavan sat alone. The world was all but dead to him. With his hands on his temples he sat in deep thought. He was breathless, motionless and fearless.

'I have to face my own destiny,' he said to himself. 'There is no escape from that. I am sorry, however, that I was so scandalously swept into the currents of passion and desire. My body may perish in a moment and the passions of the senses perish with the body. And yet I was so overpowered by my senses! I am a traitor to my sense of duty. Death is better for me than to live this life of shame and disgrace. Shame, shame on me; I must die.'

Just at that moment an owl cried overhead.

'What is that noise?' Bhavan spoke aloud. 'I hear the call of death. Death calls me! Tell me, tell me, O thou Infinite Spirit, tell me who has ordained my death. I know you are the mystic Word. But I cannot decipher the meaning of your mystic message of command. Please protect me from sin. Please lead me into the path of virtue. Yes, my Mahatma and my Master, lead me, lead me — I beg of you — lead me to the path of my duty — my duty to Mother India.'

Just then Bhavan was startled to hear his Master's own voice say sweetly and deeply: 'Thou shalt never again stray away from the path of thy duty — I bless thee, Bhavan!'

Bhavan's hair stood on end. He shouted like a child at the top of his voice: 'What, this is my Mahatmas voice! Oh, my master, where are you? Please let me see you now. I need you, yes, I do need you at this time!'

But no one appeared and no one spoke another word. Bhavan called out repeatedly, but there was no answer to his supplication.

When at dawn the morning sun smiled on the tops of the trees, Bhavan returned to the ashram. He heard someone sing the Bande Mataram. And in a moment he recognised the voice of the Mahatma. Evidently Mahatma Satya had returned from his pilgrimage.