Chandrashekhar (Mullick)/Part6/Chapter 6


WHAT the medicine was we cannot say; but Chandrashekhar had carefully undergone a purification for administering it. Ordinarily he was a man without passions. He had succeeded in bringing his appetites under control more than others. But on the present occasion he had prepared himself with an extra course of hard fasting. For some days past he had employed his mind in divine contemplation; no worldly thought could find place in it during that time.

At the appointed hour Chandrashekhar set about in administering the medicine. He directed a bed to be made for Shaibalini; the serving-maid appointed by Sundari did the work.

Then Chandrashekhar directed Shaibalini to be laid on the bed. Sundari had to do it by force, as otherwise Shaibalini would not obey. Sundari had made up her mind to purify herself by a bath on her return home—it was not a trouble, she was in the habit of doing it every day. [1]

Addressing everyone present Chandrashekhar said. “Leave me for a while. You shall come in when I call.”

When every body had gone out, Chandrashekhar placed the medicine pot on the ground. “Now get up and be seated,” he said to Shaibalini.

For all answer Shaibalini softly hummed a tune-she did not get up. Then fixing her with a steadfast gaze, he gently transferred the medicine to her lips with the hollow of his palm. Ramananda Swami had declared the medicine to be nothing but the water in his gourd. “What good can it do?” Chandrashekhar had enquired. “With it the girl will be indued with psychic force,” was Ramananda Swami’s reply.

Chandrashekhar then began to make passes in a variety of oblique evolutions over her forehead, eyes and other parts. After a time her eyelids fell; soon she began to nod, and at last she was carried into a profound sleep.

“Shaibalini!” cried Chandrashekhar.

“Yes Sir,” came the answer from Shaibalini in her trance.

"Can you tell me who I am?” asked Chandrashekhar.

“You are my husband,” replied Shaibalini in her trance as before.

“Who are you?”

“I am Shaibalini.”

“What place is this?"

“It is Vedagram, your home.”

“What persons are waiting outside?”

“Protap, Sundari and others."

“Why did you leave this place?”

“Because Foster carried me away.”

“Why couldn’t you remember all these things before?”

“I could remember, but my ideas got confused, I couldn’t arrange them.”


“On account of my madness.”

“Are you really mad or only shamming?"

“I am really mad, there is no sham about it.”

“What are you now? Are you still mad?”

“Now it is all a dream. I have recovered my faculties through your kindness.”

“Then will you speak the truth?”

“Yes, I will.”

“Why did you go away with Foster?”

“For Protap.”

Chandrashekhar shuddered. He began to see past events in the clearest light and continued,

“Is Protap your lover?”

“Oh, for shame, what a question!”

“Then what is he?”

“We were two flowers on one stock. We bloomed in the same wilderness. Why did you tear us asunder?”

Chandrashekhar fetched a profound sigh. Nothing escaped his deep penetration. He went on,

“Do you remember the day when Protap fled from the Englishman’s boat and you two swam in the Ganges?”

“Yes, I do.”

“What conversation took place then?”

Shaibalini described everything from the beginning to the end. Protap went up very high in Chandrashekhar’s estimation. He again went on,

“Then why did you abide in Foster’s company?”

“It was company in name. I did so in the hope of meeting Protap if I went to Purandarpore.”

“Company in name, you say! Then are you chaste?”

"In my mind, I surrendered myself completely to Protap, hence I cannot be called chaste. I am a vile sinner.”


“Otherwise I am perfectly chaste.”

“How with regard to Foster?”

“I am chaste, body and soul.”

Chandrashekhar threw sharp, quick glances along with the passes and said, “Mind you, speak the truth.”

The slumbering girl caught a sudden contraction of the brow and said, “I have told you the truth and the truth alone.”

Chandrashekhar again heaved a sigh and said,

“Then what led you a Brahmin girl to lose your caste?”

“You are versed in all the Shastras, I will ask you to say if I have lost my caste. I didn't partake of the Englishman’s food, I didn’t drink water touched by him, every day I used to cook my own food and a Hindu serving—woman used to help me. I lived in the same boat no doubt, but that was on the Ganges.” [2]

Chandrashekhar bowed down his head. He reflected for a while and then exclaimed, “Alas! alas! what a grievous wrong have I done, I well—nigh killed a woman!" A little while after he again began:

“Why didn’t you disclose all these things?”

“Who would care to put faith on my words?”

“Does any one know about them?”

“Yes, Foster and Parvati.”

“Where is Parvati?”

“It is now a month since she died at Monghyr.”

“Where is Foster?”

“He is in the Nawab’s camp at Udaynala.”

Chandrashekhar pondered for a while and then, pursued his questions.

“Do you think you will get cured of your disease?”

“You have indued me with psychic force; I have acquired the power of second sight, and with it I have a prevision of events. Your blessings to help, I am sure to be cured by the medicine you have given me.”

“Where would you like to go after your cure?”

“I should like to take poison if I could get it, but I am afraid of hell.”

“Why do you wish to die?”

“Else, where can I find a refuge in this world?”

“Why, with me.”

“Would you care to take me back?”

“What, if I do?”

“Then with my body and soul I will serve you. But I am afraid you will be disgraced.”

At this time the distant tramp of a horse was heard. Chandrashekbar said, “I haven't got any psychic power of my own. What you have got in you now, is Ramananda Swami’s power. Tell me what that sound is"

“It is the sound of horse’s hoofs.”

“Who is coming?"

"Mahammad Irfan, an officer of the Nawab.”

“Why is he coming?”

“To take me—the Nawab has expressed a wish to see me.”

“When did he do it? Was it before Foster went there or after?”

“No, it is neither before nor after; he passed his orders simultaneously for taking Foster and me to him.”

“You needn’t be anxious, sleep on.”

After the above dialogue, Chandrashekhar asked those who remained outside to come in. When they had entered the room he said, “She is sleeping now. As soon as she wakes up give her the medicine in the pot. An officer of the Nawab is now on his way here, he will take her away to-morrow, you had better accompany her.”

Every one was astounded and frightened. “Why should she be taken to the Nawab?” they inquired.

“You needn’t be anxious,” answered Chandrashekhar.

“You will presently learn everything."

On Mahammad Irfan’s arrival, Protap busied himself in according him a suitable reception. Chandrashekhar privately told Ramananda Swami everything from the beginning to the end. The Swami said to Chandrasheakhar, “To-morrow both of us must be present at the Nawab’s Durban”

  1. Sundari regarded Shaibalini as an outcast for having left her home with a Christian and contact with an outcast is defilement to a Hindu, hence a purification by a bath was necessary.
  2. The Ganges is considered by the Hindus to be sacred, and many light transgressions are purged away if committed on its waters