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B V Vasudevacharya
Magazine : Matrusri English
Language : English
Volume Number : 2
Month : July
Issue Number : 4
Year : 1967

As the train halted at the platform (Bapatla), all of them took their seats in the compartment. But Anasuya Devi stood in the door way.

“You may fall down, child……” cautioned Chidambara Rao

“Many people stand here like this, and are they falling?” asked Devi.

“Don’t ask silly questions. Come and sit inside.” Devi went and sat by Chidambara Rao. On the opposite seat there was a boy. He is aged eight and he sat by the side of a window. Devi sat by the side of another window on the opposite side.

The train reached Machavaram station. On the way the boy was staring at Devi for a long time and afterwards he looked out through the window. He observed the rows of trees and the tele graph wires moving in the opposite direction. “What is this grand father that the trees are running in the opposite direction?” He said. innocently.

“Ah! this is what we call illusion,” murmered the old man.

“It is true, grand-father! Look at it……….. You tell us the truth please,” he said to Devi. The boy said it and put his hand through the window. The door of the window fell down his hand and the boy shouted. The old man also on cried out instantly. All the boys shouted. All the passengers in the compartment got up in haste. The door was lifted and the boy’s hand was pulled in. The boy was looking at Anasuya Devi and suddenly closed his eyes. They moved the boy and looked at the old man with all pity and concern. The oldman regained his consciousness and looked at his grandson. There was no breathing and the oldman felt he had no more to do with the boy. “There was no injury on the hand and it was not a fatal one. There are mang who survived even after severe injuries on their heads. But this episode is very unfortunate.” Somebody pitied the old man.

“Shall we stop the train by pulling the chain?” another said.

“What can I do between the stations? Let me get down at the next station,” wailed the old man. The rest of the passengers returned to their seats.

“Which is your native place, grand father?” Devi asked him,

“My place is far off. With very great difficulty I have been bringing up this boy. He is my daughter’s son. His mother and her mother also passed away.”

“Your difficulties are solved now,” they consoled him.

“Now, is this not a painful thing? Should there be some pain to relieve some other pain? When the pane of the window had fallen, the boy was pained. Later it was painful for the old man. Then his pitiable state pained the passengers. Among various pains which is the most painful (thing)? Are all pains the same?’ Devi said to him.

“What is a pain, grand father?” Devi asked her grand father Chidambara Rao.

“All that we have seen so far is pain………

“To whom?”

“It was painful for that boy and his grand father.”

“But You are also feeling painful (about the pathetic condi. tion of the old man).”

She also added: “You are not feeling that pain which you felt when I was at the door way. You felt uneasy that I would fall down. But it couldn’t be avoided even for one who was inside.”

“That’s true, child… Yet the mind wont be calm and still.”

“Is that characteristic that the mind continued Devi wont be calm?”


The train halted at Nidubrole station and the people left the place minding their own work. The old man got down with the corpse of his grandson and sat on the platform helplessly. Chidambara Rao got down along with Devi and Khasim. Khasim went out to get a cart for them, “Grand father, shall we au range for the funeral of that boy” “Why should we bother with it? It is getting dark and let us go”. “We don’t have the same mind. I feel like staying here. You dont feel like staying here. You feel like goin away. If we have the same mind, I would not have asked you about it. As soon as I got that feeling, you should have got the same feeling. But it is said that the mind is the same for all!” Chidambara Rao smiled and said that Devi acquired Maridamma’s way of thinking and speaking. But Maridamma said that she never taught Devi anything and once in a way the girl sat by her while speaking. In the meanwhile there was thunder and lighting. Chidambara Rao went to the end of the platform. In the mean. time Devi went to the old man breaking through the crowd that had already surrounded him. The oldman stopped sobbing and said: “Are you not the girl that sat opposite to us in the com partment? Even though you are a small girl, you appear as an old lady that knows everything.”

With all affection, Devi stroked his back and said: Why are you crying? Is it because the boy is dead or as you have none to look after you, you are sorrowful? Why do you cry?”

“I thought this boy would serve me in my old age. I was suffering from fever; this boy gave me some gruel.”

“That means you are crying for yourself? you brought him up for your own sake; that was for your satisfaction. Some times you gave him sweets because you liked to see him eating them. You chided him and corrected him because that gave you satisfaction. Now when his life is lost, you cry over his corpse in your lap. You are weaping because you have no money for his funeral or because your responsibility is ceasing or because the object of your love is lost”.

The people were all surprised at the unusual talk of this tiny girl. Then Khasim came to her and said: “Your grandfather is chiding you and he is searching for you.”

“That’s for his own satisfaction, Khasim. Will you please help this old man so that we can go later?” “Your grandfather is angry with you, Devi”.

“Going home immediately satisfies our grandfather and

helping this old man satisfies me.”

Chidambara Rao was seen coming to them. “He is coming. Please meet him and tell him that I am coming there soon” said Devi to Khasim, “It does not matter even if I don’t go. You can go. I shall do something for this boy and come to you later.”

Now Anasuya Devi wanted to help the old man without being seen by Khasim. Hence she said to Khasim: Please go to that shop and get me a fruit.”

“I have no money” replied Khasim.

“Just go and find out what it costs.” “Why should I enquire when I don’t have money? ?” “It will come”.

Khasim left and Devi gave away her gold ring to the old man saying:

“Make use of this ring for your necessities.”

“You are a small girl and why do you bother?”

All elderly persons have gone away without helping me.” “I do it for my own sake. This is for my Own satisfaction.”

“How does giving me something satisfy you?”

“I think, in the world, everyman does everything for his own sake.”

As Devi spoke to him, the old man tried to put the ring back on her finger. She took her hand back and smilingly said.

“Suppose your grandson comes back to life (or regains his consciousness), you can put it on his finger.”

“Having lost his life, how can he regain it!”

“If at all he regains, you give it to him or else make use of it for any of your necessities.” Then Devi went away in haste. Khasim and Chidambara Rao were at a shop and Devi joined them a little later,

“Shall we start now?” he said.

“I have to ease my bowels, grandfather.”

“We can’t delay any longer. You start soon and by the time you reach Doppalapudi, I shall join you,” said Khasim to Chidambara Rao, Asking them to start carefully, Chidambara Rao left along with Maridamma in the cart. In the meantime, Khasim found his relatives and began to talk to them. With a pretext, Devi went to see the oldman.

The oldman watched his grandson and felt that his hand was moving. As he reminded himself of Devi’s words to him, the giri came and stood before him. Then he also found the boy’s other hand moving. The old man was overwhelmed with joy and with tears of gratitude, he said: “That’s why people say that the words of a child are the very words of Brahma Himself”. He folded his hands before her. It is not so. The words that are free of illusion are Brahma Vakya”. “What did you say? Please repeat it.” She repeated it at his request. The oldman was greatly impressed with it and with all joy he said:

You may be that Brahma Himself!” I say, one who has no illusion is Brahma. That may be anybody. Anyway I am going. As soon as the boy gets up, give him that ring.”

With your own blessed hand, please give it to him before going back. I don’t know how I can pay back my debt to you.”

Devi put the ring on the boy’s finger and kissed him. She said. “For all things, proper time is the cause, but there is no indebtedness. The old man is all the more overwhelmed with joy and said:

Please tell me where from you have come. I shall also come with you. You have to save us and you have to help us out of the mire.”

“There is only one that saves all people. He is the one that creates distress and helps people out of it. He is the one that sets difficulties in the path and helps people cross them with all ease,” Declared Devi.

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