Image by Norbert via GloboTreks.com

Sadhu: A cunning salesman of hope

So it was one of the few weekends that I have every year that I go out to have a haircut. After getting a haircut I expressed gratitude by saying thanks to the barber. I felt good because I saw a slight smile on his face when I said that. As I was walking down the street wondering how little things make a big difference, I saw a sadhu (I could tell from his red attire and necklace of rudraksha beads) But I felt that something was off about him (maybe it was his well built physique as the sadhus that I have seen were lean and thin like me or he seemed quite young to be a sadhu) Then as he was closing onto me he started asking me for money. What intrigued me was that he wasn’t asking for 5–10 rupees but 500 rupees to have tea. Okie this piqued my curiosity to the next level and thus I asked him if he would like to have 10 rupees as I couldn’t afford to give him the amount that he asked for.
He nodded yes and then I took 10 rupees out of my purse and gave it to him. Then he started thanking me but didn’t want me to leave. He wanted me to have an offering. Since I’m quite a curious person I wanted to know what his “prashad” would be. He reached out to his side bag, by then I was expecting the prashad to be somewhere in the lines of marijuana or a fruit. But all he took out was a few grains of rice which he placed upon the 10 rupee note that I gave him. Then he wrapped the note and started murmuring the chants and started asking me questions like my name, if I had a job. Then he started asking philosophical questions which would always result in a positive response like if I wanted all the suffering in my life to go away. Who wouldn’t want that so just played along and answered his questions. Then he handed the wrapped note to my hand. I was literally flabbergasted when he did that because I felt like he had no greed for money and was totally devoted to the cause. He asked me to pay respects to the lord shiva which I did and then open the note.

And along with the grains of rice there was a rudraksha on top of it. I was a bit surprised but not that much because “Youtube” (I had seen better sleight of hands than that) So then as I was confused what the offering actually is, he told me that the offering should be placed in the purse at all times. I didn’t know how I believed him that time but I opened up the purse and he started placing the grains of rice. Then he did something that completely broke my image of him as a saint. He plucked a few hundred rupees notes out of my purse and wrapped it around the 10 rupees notes. Then I totally made up my mind that I was about to be tricked.
Now everything that he said previously could be placed into context and I could totally figure out his plan of robbing me. But he was still in the middle of his act so I tagged along. Now all I had to do was get back the money that he had snatched out of my purse. Then he bit his hand and placed the money on top of it and started chanting prayers. While he was busy in his chants I grabbed and pulled the bundle of money from his hand leaving behind the previous 10 rupees note in his hand. I then had the upperhand so I spoke “Cheating in broad daylight?” He then defended himself by saying he’s not a fraud and wouldn’t want to take even the 10 rupees if I don’t want to give but all the money should be offered to god. Okie by then I knew I had enough, so I gave him another 10 rupees and told him that’s all that you can have and to be content with it. I told him I’d rather donate this amount to another cause rather than stay in the disbelief that it will reach to the gods at Muktinath which he claimed it would. He was muttering about things but I didn’t pay any attention now. I guess he too noticed that so then when I asked him if he was okay with the 20 rupees he got from me, he said yes and he too asked me the same and I nodded yes and then we parted ways. Well it was quite a magic show and I admitted myself by paying a ticket price of twenty rupees. Then I reached home and started pondering about the whole thing as I took a shower.

As much as I want to believe in miracles, that unicorns exist, that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I’ve grown older now and should accept the fact that there are no such things. But time and again I want to pretend that I know nothing, believe in everything and see the world from the eyes of a child. Yes I get disappointed but I still hope that I will get to live to see a day when I will not be.