True Master — Part 2

November 08, 2018 • Baba Hari Dass

True Master

A short story by Baba Hari Dass, Illustrated by Arpan Connor Maxon. Originally published in Sweeper to Saint (1980), available from Sri Ram Publishing.

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Part Two

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Sri Charan was growing up. When he was seven years old, his father was stricken by some disease and died suddenly. His mother received a heavy shock by her husband's death, but she knew that everyone will die. And no one can say when and where he will die. So she strengthened her mind and began to continue her duties as before.

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Once, when the sun was about to set, Sri Charan became very sad. He began to weep. Sunanda thought that the boy was missing his father, so she took him on her lap and kissed him. Sri Charan hid his head on his mother's breast, and then slowly said, "Ma, where is this sun going?"

Sunanda said, "The sun always goes away in the evening and again appears in the morning."

Sri Charan again said, "Ma, why is this sky covering us like a box? My breath is choking. Can you take me out of this sky where I can get open space to breathe?"

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Sunanda said, "My son, what are you saying! I can't take you out of this sky. You are hungry now. Take food and go to bed."

Next morning Sri Charan woke up and washed himself. He went to his mother who was grinding wheat to make flour. Sri Charan said, "Ma . . . you really can't take me out of this sky?"

Sunanda said, "No, my son, I can't. Forget it. Why do you ask such questions?"

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Sri Charan said, "Ma, I am going." His mother did not pay much attention because she thought he might be going to play nearby.

After half an hour, she called Sri Charan but did not receive a reply. She looked here and there. All at once she remembered that his father had also left home at an early age. It could be possible that Sri Charan would also run away.

She ran down to a trail and saw Sri Charan going very fast on the other side of the valley. She yelled, "Sri Charan! Sri Charan! Where are you going?"

Sri Charan yelled, "Ma, don't worry about me. I am going out of this sky. I can't live here any more. My breath is choking."

Sunanda called, "My son, your father just died, and now you are also going away from me."

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Sri Charan said, "Ma, I don't want to leave you. But if I live here I'll be choked to death. I tell you truthfully, I can't live in this box. I have to get out from this box!"

Sunanda was in a great dilemma. She could not think what to say, and Sri Charan was in a hurry. So with tears in her eyes she said, "My son, if you want to go, then I don't want to stop you. But I request that as long as I'm alive, you won't go very far from me."

Sri Charan at once said, "All right, Ma. I won't go very far." And he ran down the trail very fast and disappeared.

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