Chandra Shekhar/Part 6/Chapter 1
the untold story
On the very day Amyatt had left Monghyr with Foster, Ramananda Swami came to know, in course of an inquiry, that Foster, Dalani Begum and others had all gone with Amyatt. He met Chandra Shekhar on the bank of the Ganges and informed him of it; he said,
"It is now absolutely useless for you to remain at Monghyr. I shall send Shaibalini to the sacred city of Benares, to undergo a penance there. You have taken a solemn vow to dedicate your life to the service of your fellow beings, and I will like you to practically enter into your great philanthropic career, to-day. Dalani Begum is a virtuous lady—she has now fallen on evil times; you should follow her and make every effort to rescue her, whenever you will find an opportunity to do so. Then again, Pratap is one of your best well-wishers—he has fallen into difficulty for your sake—you cannot forsake him, at this critical juncture of his life. So, you should, without any delay, follow him."
Chandra Shekhar expressed a desire to inform the Nawab of this, but Ramananda Swami advised him not to do so and said that he would see that the Nawab might come to know of Dalani's fate. In obedience to the command of his spiritual preceptor, Chandra Shekhar set out in a small boat, and began to follow Amyatt. Ramananda Swami now set himself to find out a trustworthy and reliable disciple, with a view to send with him Shaibalini to Benares. But all on a sudden, he came to know that Shaibalini had left in a small boat and was following Amyatt. Ramananda Swami found himself in a great fix—whom was the wicked Shaibalini running after—was it Foster or Chandra Shekhar? Ramananda Swami said within himself, "I fear, I shall again have to concern myself in the gross affairs of this world, for Chandra Shekhar". So thinking, he followed the wake of the English, by land.
All through his life, Ramananda Swami travelled on foot—he was a hardy pilgrim. He walked along the bank of the river and soon passed Shaibalini. He was free from the influences of hunger and sleep and had, in fact, brought them under his control; so, he was able to overtake even Chandra Shekhar. Chandra Shekhar saw Ramananda Swami on the bank; he came there and made obeisance to his venerable preceptor.
Ramananda Swami said, "I have a mind to go to Navadwip, to confer with the learned Pandits there; I would better go with you." He got into Chandra Shekhar's boat, which left the place forthwith.
When they found the boats of the English lying at anchor, at a distance, they took their little boat to an isolated place by the river-side and alighted from it on the bank. Soon after this, they noticed Shaibalini's boat to arrive there, and found that it was taken to another secluded nook, for a halt. Ramananda Swami and Chandra Shekhar closely observed, from their hiding place, what occurred before their eyes. They saw Pratap and Shaibalini swimming away from the boat of the English and subsequently making their escape in a boat. As soon as they saw this, they followed Pratap and Shaibalini in their own boat. After a while they found that Shaibalini's boat was taken to the shore—thereupon, they too stopped and remained watching from a distance. Ramananda Swami was a man of unlimited wisdom—he asked Chandra Shekhar, "Could you make out what conversation took place between Pratap and Shaibalini while they were swimming away?"
"No," replied Chandra Shekhar.
"Then don't go to sleep to-night—keep an eye on them," said Ramananda Swami.
Both of them remained awake. In the latter part of the night, they found that Shaibalini alighted from her boat and disappeared in the forest on the river-shore. They waited till the small hours of the morning, but Shaibalini did not return. It was then that Ramananda Swami said to Chandra Shekhar,
"Don't you see, there is something very significant in Shaibalini's sudden disappearance? She must have gone away with some motive—let us follow her."
Both of them then followed Shaibalini, very cautiously. After dusk, Ramananda Swami found that the sky was overcast with clouds, and he enquired of Chandra Shekhar,
"How much strength do you possess in your arms?"
Chandra Shekhar smiled, and taking up a large block of stone, in one of his hands, threw it off to a good distance.
At this Ramananda Swami said, "That's all right—you now go and take your seat somewhere near Shaibalini, under a cover—if Shaibalini do not get help during the approaching storm, we shall have to see a woman dying before our eyes. There is a cave not far off from this place—I know the way which leads to it—you shall have to follow me there, with Shaibalini on your arms, when I shall ask you to do so."
Chandra Shekhar. An impenetrable darkness will soon envelop this place. How shall I see the way?
Ramananda Swami. I shall be very close to you. I shall hold one end of my staff, and the other end will be in your hand.
When Chandra Shekhar came out of the cave leaving Shaibalini within it, Ramananda Swami thought within himself, "I have been studying all through my life the sacred works of divine authority—I have come in contact with all sorts of people and studied life in all its moods—but I see, all in vain! Strange, I have failed to read the mind of this girl! Is there no bottom to this ocean?" He then said to Chandra Shekhar, "There is a hill-monastery very close to this place—you better go and rest there to-night. You shall again have to follow Dalani Begum, after we have done all that we should, in respect of Shaibalini. Know it, you have no other mission in life, except to do good to humanity, whenever you can. Don't be anxious for Shaibalini—I shall be here to watch her. But you must not meet her without my permission. If you act up to my advice, immense good could be done to Shaibalini".
After this, Chandra Shekhar took leave of his preceptor. Ramananda Swami then imperceptively entered into the cave, in that dismal darkness. The incidents which took place after this, are already known to our readers.
Chandra Shekhar took along with him, poor distracted Shaibalini to Ramananda Swami, in the hill-monastery, we have spoken of. He appeared before the Swami with Shaibalini and weepingly said, "Oh my venerable preceptor! what have you done—what is this?"
Ramananda Swami closely observed Shaibalini for a while and then said with a smile,
"It is all right—you need not be anxious in the least. Rest here with Shaibalini for a couple of days. After that, take her home along with you. There, keep her in the very house she used to be before—request those who were her constant companions to be with her always. Ask Pratap to come there every now and then. I shall come and meet you there later on."
Chandra Shekhar brought Shaibalini to his home, at Bedagram, as advised by his preceptor.