Me an illiterate person by all means. Yet, by virtue of being a man of other sphere, for which I had to undergo so many trials and tribulations, I could get hold of a thread which is the only essence that is ever-pervading since time immemorial!
From my childhood I have been drifted towards a path full of misery and hazardous complications. I hail from a very poor Brahmin* family of Orissa, which is a province in India, and at my back, I bear within me a tradition of purity and respectability of all that is the highest in the Hindu Brahmin society.
Vedas, I mean, the religious hymns, that comprise the sacred books of the Hindu religion, used to be studied by all the ancients of our family. But, as ill luck would have it, I happened to come in our family when all the means to acquire lessons had coloured into insignificance due to our extreme poverty and straitened condition.
Ah! I remember vividly the pathetic state of affairs which actually led me to this path of being a Sadhu. What an amount of sorrow I had to face, headforemost, in my teens! Probably I was a boy of 9 years old then.
To get a morsel of cooked rice in those days was a question in our house. We have a little piece of cultivating land. The harvest that we would have, and as yet what we have would speak of a tale of having paddy for a period of 4/5 months in a year only. The rest of the months of the year for us has always been a state of half-starved-living. In between we used to be called by the villagers to act as a priest on certain occasions which meant a few clothings and a small amount in exchange. That's all about our own treasure.
So, you can well imagine the sad picture of our livelihood. Sometimes we had been having our distressing condition for days together. To us all those awful depressions would not lead us to gaining in our footing for an earthly life by any foul means.
Today when I speak of my story in this way, then, should I say with the criterion of preparedness, that, this is the only stream of life that is flowing within the so-called life of the general mass - yet, in comparison to the malpractices that are resorted to by a few heinous people, how many amongst us are happy with their utter honest get up in their every day walk of life.
Ages passed by: yet, the standard of the general mass remained the same. I carry with me all the spectres of a woeful and horrible state of affairs. A slight elevation from this degradation of this age-worn outlook means a steady radical change in the general condition of each and every Indian life. How far ahead of us it is standing by has to be searched for.
A man is bound by his own designs and ambitions. I also formed within me my own desires which is undoubtedly too sky high. A Sanyasin (monk) I am by my own will - nay, by my destiny. It is a sin for a monk when he talks about his desires and designs. Because, the cult of a monk lays stress upon 4 pillars of truth. Those are: (1) Brahmacharya (chastity and celibacy) (2) meditation (3) renunciation of worldly pleasures and happiness (4) cultivation of the feelings of oneness and sameness amidst every caste, creed and community of this bigger world.
By virtue of being poor what I did that day while I was but only a child. There was, as I remember now, not a single vegetable in our house with which my mother could cook for us. Oh! that little soul would weep for day in and day out with a view to seeing her rickety sons with a few morsels of food and a little curry at least once throughout a day long. How difficult it was then to secure that means for our sustenance!
Being by nature emotional and simple, once I stealthily had plucked a few green mangoes from our adjacent garden which was someone else's property. I can recount now, as clear as water, that, it was at that time we used to be given breads made of roots of green grass. In order to have a change in our foodstuff I had plucked those few mangoes from that garden and given those to my mother to cook anything in a newer light.
Alas! it was definitely new to me - nay, it would be absolutely new to any of my age, when I should reproduce the sad tale that lay at the background. Our father that day came back early from his usual rounds and inquired about the meals, if it was ready.
My mother out of her most impeccable senses told our father all about my gathering of those few mangoes. Our father could know that those were stolen by me any way or other. What a pertinent question I had to face. I saw thousands of stars in front of my eyes when my father out of wrath jumped on me and hit me with an ax over my delicate hip.
Blood, blood surged in over the floor of our small house out of my body and I bled profusely. Exasperately and out of fear I had left the house and started running hither and thither. Death was far too away, and I was not dead. Question of any medicine was to my mind hue and cry. Chewing the blades of green grass I covered my injury which was definitely a beastly onslaught on me by my own father.
Next chapter: Resuscitation