True Master — Part 5

November 29, 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 Five

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After leaving the ashram, Sri Charan met several holy men . . . some were good and some were bad. But always he would live separately from them and would do his practices according to the saint who had accepted him as a disciple. One day, while he was roaming in the jungle, he saw a little hut on high ground, just two hundred feet away from a small river. He went inside the hut and saw an old saint wearing thick eyeglasses. Sri Charan tried to ask a few questions, but the saint seemed to be deaf and could not hear, or he would not listen. Instead, he showed different kinds of magic, like starting a fire without a match, simply by blowing through his mouth, or changing a rock into a flower. He told Sri Charan that if he would dig under a tree, which was three hundred yards north of his hut, he would find a large precious stone. Out of curiosity, Sri Charan went to the tree and dug in the ground. And there he really found a bright, shining stone. He took the stone to the hut and asked by gestures how the saint could know everything hidden under the ground. The saint said, "These are all powers given to me by God. I can see the future of the world."

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Sri Charan was much impressed by this saint and decided to live nearby in a separate hut. One day the saint said, "Sri Charan, go and tell people about me—that I can liberate the human being from worldly pain, that I can forecast the coming of danger." Sri Charan went to the village to get food, and there he told about the miracles of the saint. Slowly the villagers began to visit the saint, and they were very impressed with his miracles.

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Once, while all the villagers were collected there, the saint said, "In this Kali Yuga, the greatest sin is sitting on one's gold. I'll make a sacred fire, and all should offer their gold to the fire in order to get rid of their sins." Hundreds of men and women started coming to the saint and they would offer gold ornaments to the fire. In this way, they would feel that their sins were burnt up and that God would give them peace.

Some days later, while Sri Charan was still meditating in his hut, he heard people talking and yelling. "He was a cheat! He was a cheat! He ran away with the gold! Where is the boy who is his agent? We will beat him!" Sri Charan came out of his hut and saw that there was no sacred fire. The ash had been carefully collected and taken away. He went inside the hut and saw that the saint was not there. He could not understand what was happening.

A few boys pushed him and hit him. Sri Charan was in his blooming age and so he could not tolerate this misbehavior. He pushed one boy so hard that he dashed against three or four others. Everyone was in a rage and wanted to beat Sri Charan. Sri Charan-was also full of anger and stood in front of them like an angry cobra.

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An old man said, "Listen, all of you! If this boy had been in partnership with that cheat, he would have gone with him. He would not sit here to get beaten up by people."

Then Sri Charan said, "I really don't know what is happening here. Where is the saint? Where is the sacred fire? Who did all of this?"

The old man said, "The man was not a saint. He was a cheat. He bluffed us all. He collected all of the gold we offered on the fire and ran away. You are innocent . . . we understand that now. But you should not live with such people."

For the first time in his life, Sri Charan saw how one can cheat others. But his faith in God remained unshaken. He said, "I tell you all, I'll stay at this place as long as I want. I don't expect anything from you, but I won't ignore any one of you either. God will give me food right here, I have faith in God."

The villagers begged him to forgive them for their misdeeds, and they left for their villages.

That same night, when Sri Charan was sitting in his hut, the saint who had accepted him as a disciple came and sat down. Sri Charan bowed to him with much love, but at the same time he had doubts as to whether he was being trapped again. The saint at once guessed his inner thoughts and said, "Tell me what is bothering you so much. Your mind is not in peace." Sri Charan related the whole story and told how he had become very angry at the villagers and had also pushed them very badly.

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The saint said, "Sri Charan, you are a yogi. You should control anger. Now I will tell you the easiest method to control anger: 1) don't talk to anyone by mouth; 2) don't invite anyone to come to you; 3) don't tell anyone to go away; 4) reply only when someone asks a question. Otherwise sit in a peaceful mood. This is your next sadhana. I'll meet you when I feel you need my help." The old saint, who was the real master of Sri Charan, went out of the hut and disappeared in the dark.

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