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Kashi, Reborn and Rediscovered
do not go into the water. Let us bathe by dipping our buckets."
I was addressing
the young Ranchi students who were accompanying me on an eight-mile
hike to a neighboring hill. The pond before us was inviting, but
a distaste for it had arisen in my mind. The group around me followed
my example of dipping buckets, but a few lads yielded to the temptation
of the cool waters. No sooner had they dived than large water snakes
wiggled around them. The boys came out of the pond with comical
We enjoyed a
picnic lunch after we reached our destination. I sat under a tree,
surrounded by a group of students. Finding me in an inspirational
mood, they plied me with questions.
tell me, sir," one youth inquired, "if I shall always
stay with you in the path of renunciation."
I replied, "you will be forcibly taken away to your home, and
later you will marry."
he made a vehement protest. "Only if I am dead can I be carried
home." But in a few months, his parents arrived to take him
away, in spite of his tearful resistance; some years later, he did
many questions, I was addressed by a lad named Kashi. He was about
twelve years old, a brilliant student, and beloved by all.
he said, "what will be my fate?"
soon be dead." The reply came from my lips with an irresistible
unexpected disclosure shocked and grieved me as well as everyone
present. Silently rebuking myself as an enfant terrible, I refused to answer further questions.
On our return
to the school, Kashi came to my room.
"If I die,
will you find me when I am reborn, and bring me again to the spiritual
path?" He sobbed.
I felt constrained
to refuse this difficult occult responsibility. But for weeks afterward,
Kashi pressed me doggedly. Seeing him unnerved to the breaking point,
I finally consoled him.
I promised. "If the Heavenly Father lends His aid, I will try
to find you."
During the summer
vacation, I started on a short trip. Regretting that I could not
take Kashi with me, I called him to my room before leaving, and
carefully instructed him to remain, against all persuasion, in the
spiritual vibrations of the school. Somehow I felt that if he did
not go home, he might avoid the impending calamity.
No sooner had
I left than Kashi's father arrived in Ranchi. For fifteen days he
tried to break the will of his son, explaining that if Kashi would
go to Calcutta for only four days to see his mother, he could then
return. Kashi persistently refused. The father finally said he would
take the boy away with the help of the police. The threat disturbed
Kashi, who was unwilling to be the cause of any unfavorable publicity
to the school. He saw no choice but to go.
I returned to
Ranchi a few days later. When I heard how Kashi had been removed,
I entrained at once for Calcutta. There I engaged a horse cab. Very
strangely, as the vehicle passed beyond the Howrah bridge over the
Ganges, I beheld Kashi's father and other relatives in mourning
clothes. Shouting to my driver to stop, I rushed out and glared
at the unfortunate father.
I cried somewhat unreasonably, "you have killed my boy!"
The father had
already realized the wrong he had done in forcibly bringing Kashi
to Calcutta. During the few days the boy had been there, he had
eaten contaminated food, contracted cholera, and passed on.
My love for
Kashi, and the pledge to find him after death, night and day haunted
me. No matter where I went, his face loomed up before me. I began
a memorable search for him, even as long ago I had searched for
my lost mother.
I felt that
inasmuch as God had given me the faculty of reason, I must utilize
it and tax my powers to the utmost in order to discover the subtle
laws by which I could know the boy's astral whereabouts. He was
a soul vibrating with unfulfilled desires, I realized --- a mass of
light floating somewhere amidst millions of luminous souls in the
astral regions. How was I to tune in with him, among so many vibrating
lights of other souls?
a secret yoga technique, I broadcasted my love to Kashi's soul through
the microphone of the spiritual eye, the inner point between the
eyebrows. With the antenna of upraised hands and fingers, I often
turned myself round and round, trying to locate the direction in
which he had been reborn as an embryo. I hoped to receive response
from him in the concentration-tuned radio of my heart.1
felt that Kashi would soon return to the earth, and that if I kept
unceasingly broadcasting my call to him, his soul would reply. I
knew that the slightest impulse sent by Kashi would be felt in my
fingers, hands, arms, spine, and nerves.
zeal, I practiced the yoga method steadily for about six months
after Kashi's death. Walking with a few friends one morning in the
crowded Bowbazar section of Calcutta, I lifted my hands in the usual
manner. For the first time, there was response. I thrilled to detect
electrical impulses trickling down my fingers and palms. These currents
translated themselves into one overpowering thought from a deep
recess of my consciousness: "I am Kashi; I am Kashi; come to
thought became almost audible as I concentrated on my heart radio.
In the characteristic, slightly hoarse whisper of Kashi,2 I heard his summons again and again. I seized the arm of one of
my companions, Prokash Das, 3 and
smiled at him joyfully.
as though I have located Kashi!"
I began to turn
round and round, to the undisguised amusement of my friends and
the passing throng. The electrical impulses tingled through my fingers
only when I faced toward a near-by path, aptly named "Serpentine
Lane." The astral currents disappeared when I turned in other
I exclaimed, "Kashi's soul must be living in the womb of some
mother whose home is in this lane."
and I approached closer to Serpentine Lane; the vibrations in my
upraised hands grew stronger, more pronounced. As if by a magnet,
I was pulled toward the right side of the road. Reaching the entrance
of a certain house, I was astounded to find myself transfixed. I
knocked at the door in a state of intense excitement, holding my
very breath. I felt that the successful end had come for my long,
arduous, and certainly unusual quest!
The door was
opened by a servant, who told me her master was at home. He descended
the stairway from the second floor and smiled at me inquiringly.
I hardly knew how to frame my question, at once pertinent and impertinent.
tell me, sir, if you and your wife have been expecting a child for
about six months?"
is so." Seeing that I was a swami, a renunciate attired in
the traditional orange cloth, he added politely, "Pray inform
me how you know my affairs."
When he heard
about Kashi and the promise I had given, the astonished man believed
child of fair complexion will be born to you," I told him.
"He will have a broad face, with a cowlick atop his forehead.
His disposition will be notably spiritual." I felt certain
that the coming child would bear these resemblances to Kashi.
Later I visited
the child, whose parents had given him his old name of Kashi. Even
in infancy he was strikingly similar in appearance to my dear Ranchi
student. The child showed me an instantaneous affection; the attraction
of the past awoke with redoubled intensity.
the teen-age boy wrote me, during my stay in America. He explained
his deep longing to follow the path of a renunciate. I directed
him to a Himalayan master who, to this day, guides the reborn Kashi.
The will, projected from the point between the eyebrows, is known
by yogis as the broadcasting apparatus of thought. When the feeling
is calmly concentrated on the heart, it acts as a mental radio,
and can receive the messages of others from far or near. In telepathy
the fine vibrations of thoughts in one person's mind are transmitted
through the subtle vibrations of astral ether and then through the
grosser earthly ether, creating electrical waves which, in turn,
translate themselves into thought waves in the mind of the other
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Every soul in its pure state is omniscient. Kashi's soul remembered
all the characteristics of Kashi, the boy, and therefore mimicked
his hoarse voice in order to stir my recognition.
Back to text
Prokash Das is the present director of our Yogoda Math (hermitage)
at Dakshineswar in Bengal.
Back to text
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