| The Toilet Sweeper
a short story by
Sri Prahlad Chandra Brahmachari
April 18, 1975
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Om Shanti, Om Shanti.
All over India, in this land of India, the year 1382 has begun. And Premananda was asking me, "What is the reason for this changing of the year?"
There was once a great king named "Shakradit." He was a very noble-hearted soul. To test him, Bhagavan, taking the disguise of a Brahmin, went weeping to Shakradit and said,
Maharaj! I am about to become childless! My one and only son has been taken by a tiger! The tiger will eat him. I will lose my lineage. I asked the tiger, Tiger, what do you want in exchange for my boy? The tiger said, The king of this land is a very pious soul, a great wise man. If you can deliver his heart to me, then I will release your son. That is why, Maharaj, I have come running to you today."
King Shakradit, after thinking a bit, said, "Brahmin, your lineage will be assured if my heart is given.."
The Queen, the Kings children, they all came running to talk him out of it. But in spite of that, King Shakradit, without any hesitation, taking a knife in his hand, pierced his own breast and, laughing, went to give his heart to the Brahmin.
When he had struck his breast with the knife and stream of blood was flowing out, then in the sky there was the voice of God saying, "Blessed King Shakradit, for testing your religion I have come today disguised in the form of a Brahmin. From today on I proclaim this day all over India, Shankranti, the last day of the year."
That is why it was the year 1381, and now it is 1382. The day after Shankranti is the first day of the year, the first of the month of Baishakh. And every Hindu, every type of person, in every kind of temple, on the first of Baishakh, the first daythey have a very beautiful festival.
This is our re-awakening. It is an awakening because it is waking up this ancient memory. The Hindu religion is a very liberal religion. And so today we say "Shankranti," believing that King Shakradit, king of all India, without hesitation, cheerfully gave his own heart to that appearance of the Brahmin.
Ramakrishna has said this: "Serve all creatures, be generous to all." And also Chaitanyadev, in our Hindu religion, has said: "Kindness to all, attachment to the Name of God, service to devotees. Listen, oh disciple, there is no true religion without this."
First one must love all mankind. Everyone becoming like brothers. This that we do, singing "Hare Krishna," or Ramakrishnas name, or Bhagavans name, or Jesus Christs name, or the name of any other great man, there is no restriction. Someone is saying "Ram," someone is saying "Hari," someone is saying "Bhagavan," someone is saying "Ramakrishna," someone is saying "Jesus Christ," it is all one, it is all one thing. It is not different. As long as the mind stays in a low state, we see differences.
One day some devotees tested Ramakrishna. "Thakur, what is the greatness of the Name? If you will tell us by your own mouth, we will be very happy to hear it."
Today, in the year 1382, on the fourth day, Friday, sitting with this group of devotees in front of Ma Anandamayi, today I am revealing the words of Sri Sri Ramakrishna, venerable Devata. True stories.
Indeed, everyone is born. Everyone dies. Caste. By being born there is a certain caste. What is there in birth? So many are being born, so many are dying! On this earth so many millions of creatures are coming, going, wandering around, leaving... what is there in that? "He whose heart is noble, he is a great man."
Ramakrishna used to tell this this story:
Once there was a Methor. There is one low-caste called "Methor" for cleaning toilets. There is "Methor" and "Methorani." The Methor cleans the Kings toilet, and the Methorani cleans the Queens toilet.
By chance one day the Methorani got sick. She had a fever. She said to her husband, "Dear, I wont be able to go today. You go and clean the Queens toilet for me today."
But only the women were supposed to go there. The Methor spoke to the doorkeepers and they let him in.
The Methor was going to clean, or had already done a bit, when the Queen had to go to the bathroom. The Methor hid, standing behind a screen. When the Queen was going, so much fragrance was coming from her body! Sandalwood, muskso much scent that the whole place became filled with it. Ah ha! What beauty! Truly a Queen, for it was Gods gift. Her beauty was dazzling to the eye, like lightning, as if ones eyes were scorched. The Methor had never before seen such a beautiful woman.
Seeing this, the Methor is thinking: "Oh! What is this? I already have a wife, but how beautiful the Queen is! We are low caste, mere toilet sweepers." Then he said out loud:
It means, he who has no wife like this is a very unlucky fellow. In this way he became completely mad. Out on the roadside, going completely crazy, he only said, "He who has not got a wife like this has lost favor with fortune."
The Methorani was worried. It was evening, then seven at night. He should have been back by noon, but it is seven at night and he hasnt come back yet.
Getting up in here feverish state she went after him to the Kings house. The doorkeepers said, "He left here in the morning. His mind seemed a bit disturbed. He was babbling incessantly and crying and dancing around. He went in the direction of the bazaar. Look that way."
Beyond the palace was a bazaar. She went on to the bazaar. Many shopkeepers told here, "Yes, a crazy man was walking around. Look that way, a little further."
The Methorani, going further, saw him sitting by a gutter saying only, "He who has not got a wife like this has lost favor with fortune." Only this. He says nothing else.
The Methorani quickly took some watereven with this fever, serving, nursing her husbandand washed his hands and feet and somehow brought him home. Getting him home, pouring water on his head into the night, and finally bringing him around somewhat to his normal condition, she asked him, "Alright, now how did you get yourself into such a state?"
Then the Methor said, "That thing for which I have become mad, can you give it to me?"
The Methorani said, "Tell me what it is. I will try. For the sake of your peace of mind I am prepared to give my life."
Then the Methor says, "I was going to clean the Queens toilet. How beautiful she is! What beautiful eyes, form, such dazzling beauty my eyes were scorched. What a fragrance she has! I want a wife like this! He who has not got a wife like this has lost favor with fortune ..." And again he lapsed back into his earlier state.
Then the Methorani says, "What fear? For this you went mad? The Queen is in the palm of my hand.
Tomorrow in the morning I will be able to get her for you. That which you wanted you will get."
The Methor thought to himself: "Men know mens ways, women know womens ways. Women understand each others inner feelings ..."
"Can you do it?"
"Of course I can. For this you have gone mad? Shame, shame! This is right within my grasp."
Then the Methor calmed down a bit and was peaceful and said, "I will get! Yes, I will get what I want."
How funny! "When she has said I will get her, then, by God, I will get her!"
His madness became better. The Methorani didnt let him go to clean toilets. She said, "You stay at home. I am going to make everything okay. By tomorrow all the arrangements will be done."
The Methorani cleaned the Kings toilet. She cleaned the Kings toilet. Then, wrapping her cloth around her head she is standing there and crying.
The Queen asked, "Oh Methorani, whats the matter with you? Why are you crying? Did someone hurt you?"
"Do you need something?"
"Is your husband sick?"
"So why are you crying? Your tears are falling on your breast! What is this?"
Then the Methorani said, "Mother, if you will forgive my offense, then I can speak what is in my heart."
"Yes, of course Ill forgive you. Now tell me the truth."
Then the Methorani told the Queen the whole incident about her husband. "Ma, yesterday my husband came to clean the toilet. Smelling your fragrance, seeing your golden loveliness, your moon-like beauty, he has become completely mad, like a dwarf hoping for the moon. A low-caste Methor, who cleans toilets, he has become completely infatuated with you."
"Oh, Methorani, he is in love with me? Surely in some previous birth he must have had some relation with me. Its alright, Methorani, here, take this 100 rupees and go buy a tulsi-wood mala from the bazaar. Also buy a nama-boli, a scarf with Gods name on it, and get some tilak mud from the Hari temple. Your husband will go to the bank of the Ganges, sit down, and without ceasing simply say:
"Hare Krishnahe should say this on and on, taking care he doesnt stop at all. After all, I am the Queen. I will tell the King that I want to go and see a holy man. He will give me permission right away. I will say, There is a holy man sitting by the Ganges bank. I am going to see him. Going to see the holy man, I will fulfill his desires."
In accordance with the Queens command, the Methorani got the holy scarf, the gerua cloth, the tilak-mud from the Hari temple, and a tulsi-wood mala. Taking all these she went to her husband and said, "Husband, get up! Now you have to dress up as a holy man." She put the Hari Nam mala in his hand and told him: "You must repeat endlessly, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare
Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare."
"If I do this, dress up as a holy man, I will get the Queen?"
"Yes, you must disguise yourself as a holy man."
So, dressed up as a holy man, the Methor went to the Ganges bank. He had a desire for the Queen. He kept his aim completely on the Queen. At first one has a desire, then desirelessness comes. If one doesnt start out with a desire, then dispassion will not come.
The Methor repeated the Name endlessly. Daily the Methorani would bring food for her husband to eat. On the first day he ate. The second day he ate. On the third day he wouldnt eat anymore. Just continuously saying: "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare."
The Name IS Krishna, the form of Satchidananda. Beginningless beginning, Govinda, cause behind all causes. That which is the Name, that IS Krishna. Sing it without ceasing, with faith. Hari Himself is in the Name.
The Methor, that Methor who was so attached to his desire, who was keeping his aim so fixed on the image of the Queen while taking the name of Godwithin seven days, forgetting the Queen, he saw:
Krishna himself appeared to the heart of the Methor! No doubt the Methor is doing the name of God in a selfish way. But he doesnt stop the name. He doesnt sleep anymore! He doesnt eat anymore!
It became known in that land that a certain sanyasi had come to the Ganges bank. He doesnt pay any attention to anything. So many fruits, so much money, whatever is given to him is just lying in a heap. He simply has become absorbed in the Name. Immersed in the Name.
The King also went to see him. The Minister of State went too. The King, by his own impulse, said to the Queen, "Queen, you are my wife. Today by the Ganges bank a sanyasi has come, continuously absorbed in repeating Gods name. He doesnt sleep, he doesnt eat. He is all the time absorbed in the Name. Will you go and see him?"
"By your command," the Queen said. "If you command," she says, but the Queen is thinking to herself ... there are some impure thoughts in her mind.
A screened pathway was made from the Kings house to the side of the Ganges. The Queen will go to see the holy man. That day she dressed herself up doubly beautiful. She spreads the perfume on her body.
The Methor is continuously doing the Name, tears streaming from his eyes. The Queen went to him calling: "Oh Methor, Oh Methor! I have dressed you up as a holy man for my sake. Now I have come. Now you can enjoy me as you like. Oh Methor! Oh Methor!"
But is the Methor the same Methor anymore? When the Queen saw that he gave no response she shook him: "Methor! Oh Methor! She for whose sake you dressed up as a sadhu and took up Hare Krishna name, I have come! Now enjoy me!"
All of a sudden the Methor turned into black stone! Seeing this, the Queen began to cry. "What is this?
What has happened? What terrible destruction have I wrought?"
Then there was a voice from heaven. "Queen! Oh Queen Mother! Because of your command this lowly toilet sweeper, taking up the Divine Name, has gone beyond this world and attained salvation."
We all crave a little bit of wealth. If I am very poor and I get two rupees, then what do I lack? But if someone who has a thousand rupees gets a hundred, he says, "Whats this?" And if someone who has a hundred thousand rupees gets a thousand, to him that is nothing.
"By following your orders, this toilet sweeper, taking up the Name, (Sanskrit verses here ...) Having the vision of God, this toilet sweeper has attained liberation. His body has turned into black stone. On this black stone make an image of Krishna. Establish here his temple and do his worship. You will also attain to liberation."
Then the Queen began to cry. Tears started flowing and she said, (Hindi verses here...). Tulsidas has said this.
Sat Sanga. This ritual of taking a mantra is for making the mind still. Everything is within the mind.
Sri Sri Venerable Prem Kalpataru Ramakrishna, after telling this story to the devotees, went into samadhi. The devotees went to him and saying Hare Krishna Name in his ear, broke his samadhi.
Today I told this story of Ramakrishnas. I think maybe everyone knows it. My devotees, Premananda, Yogananda, Nityananda, this boy Nityananda is very young. He is very anxious to see God. This is not a worldly thing. Is it something you can buy in the market place and give it out? For that reason he has taken a vow of silence and is sitting there. His purpose is to see God. If he has complete faith, of course he will see God.
"You can find Gurus by the thousand,
But a real disciple is rare."
There is only one disciple. Thakur Ramakrishna has said this. If he had not gotten Naren, that Naren who was a part of Siva, whose name was Vivekananda, who enmaddened the whole world, who aroused everyones fervor ...
Now, today, bowing to Sri Sri Ramakrishna, Venerable Devata, I end my speech here.
Om Shanti, Om Shanti, Om Shanti.