“Krupananda, come near me” he heard the soft voice of the Swamiji. The sixteen year old Krupananda, fair, tall and handsome in shaven head and ochre robe, went near him and bent before him with his mouth covered by his fingers.As if in answer to the expectant look in his face the Swamiji putting his hand on his shoulder said” I have a sad news for you.Your mother passed away at her village three days ago.Her cremation and last rites were performed duly by the villagers.The ashram got the knews today through the postmaster.”
He heard an audible sob from the young sanyasin and looked at the tears swelling from his eyes.
“Shed not tears.You are aware that soul is immortal and does not die.It is only the body that perishes.Pray for her soul’s peace.I have asked the priests at the local temple to lit a Moksha Deepam and also chant the hymns from Mantra Pushpam besides reciting slokas from ‘Bhakti Yoga’ 12 the chapter of Srimad Bhagavadgita. Go and have a bath in the river and meditate for her peace” said the Swamiji
As the young monk sat under a tree on the banks of the river after a bath, there was a flash back of past memories.He remembered the old decrepiet tiled house, the board high school three kilometres away that he had to walk and the face of his angry father shouting “ You will never amount to anything anyway”.The boy known as Mahalingam was different from others of his age.He had no interest in studies or games.He did not relish the talk of his class mates.He was always alone, silent unless spoken to and muttering some mantra taught to him by a mendicant in the local temple.He spent most of his time in the temple doing with great relish all errands like ringing the bell at the appointed hours,bringing flowers from the flower garden,assisting the priest in several ways.He was at the bottom of the class on all subjects except Sanskrit where he was at the top.The beatings by father made him hate studies more.He had the pictures of the Gods hidden in his room and spent hours in meditating with closed eyes which his fond mother mistook for sleeping.
He remembered her shielding him from the anger of his dad and breaking her husband’s injunction to starve him. When her husband was not around she would plead with him “Kanna, why is it you are infuriating appa? Why can’t you be like the rest of the boys and study well? I know you are intelligent.I know your mind is attuned towards God.But in this materalistic world you must study to get a job.The priest tells me you are always at the temple even during school hours”
“Amma, I am sorry.I have no interest in studies.Life for me as others live is frightening and my mind is always after God.I cannot even pray in peace in our home and am compelled to hide God’s pictures from dad.I spend the time in temple praying as I am unable to tear my mind away from Him.’
“Won’t you study like other boys and take up a job?You are our only son.We have no one other than you to look after us in our old age.Your dad’s health is not good and doctors tell he will not live long.Please understand and change yourself.I am not saying you should not pray.Do it for a reasonable time without neglecting studies.”
He looked into amma’s eyes.Tears were trickling. But he could never change his ways. His father died six months later when returning from the adjacent village with a heavy jack fruit on his head. He had not left behind any wealth except the old house.His mom started helping other houses.Even the changed circumstances did not deter Mahalingam from his old ways.He wished instead to go in search of a guru to initiate him into spiritual path.He confided all his longings to the temple priest. He realised that Mahalingam was not cut for the humdrum life of a householder.He knew that here was a blessed child yearning for liberation from the bonds of life.
A chance meeting in the neighbouring town with a Swamiji from North India proved to be a spark to ignite his passion to seek sanyasa.The Swamiji had come for staying there for a couple of months.Mahalingam never left him and stayed in the place without going home till the Swamiji relented to take him in his fold
Mahalingam’s mom came running to the temple priest for his intervention when she heard that her son has renounced the world.The priest consoled her saying’Amma,Mahalingam is no ordinary soul.Please do not compare him with other boys He is destined to become a great spritual savant.Please do not stop him.It will be of no avail.Please do not worry about your future.I promise in the presence of the presiding diety of the temple that I will take care of you like your son.You can eat the temple prasadam daily.Be a proud mother of a budding spiritual leader.”
He took the distraught lady to the place where Swamiji was staying.When she saw her son there along with Swamiji, she could not suppress her tears.But she said”Kanna Mahalingam, I have not come to take you back with me.Do what pleases you. I deem it my good fortune that you were born to me.I have decided to sacrifice my son for his and society’s well being.I bless you with long life” She could not continue as she pressed her sari against her mouth.Mahalingam with his eyes moist fell at her feet saying”Amma, please excuse me.I could not think of any other way” That was the last Mahalingam saw her
“Krupananda, come on.It is time we go back into the ashram” he heard the Swamiji telling him He folllowed him with a heart that was suffused with peace.