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In Love with a Monk

It was month Sravana, the city of Mathura was looking like a young maiden as if blushing at her own beauty. The night sky was lit up with a crescent moon, playing hide and seek with the dark clouds. The moist sweet breeze from east blew the tender branches of the trees. But that doesn’t make any difference to the saffron clad, hair shaved, tall young monk. He only knew what the enlightened taught.

‘What ever be the situation treat it equally, for nothing lasts for ever. Behold Dhamma, it will show you the path’.
And he held it above his esteem. Where ever he went, the crowd admired his words, respected him, showered flower in his paths. But the enlightened had taught him, ‘Upagupta never ever remain in that place where you get much respect’.
So he has traveled so long to this city. The city, which was new to him, so as he to the city. He have walked for days with little food. Though tiered physically, but his conscience was alert and active. He thought to rest for a while, and began to search a resting place. As it was late in the night, not a single man was in sight. He randomly selected a street side house and decided to sleep on its veranda. He swept the floor, with a little piece of cloth and made a pillow out of his bag and slept peacefully.
Upagupta didn’t know that where he was actually sleeping, was the veranda of the very house, where lustful men came to satisfy their sensual pleasure. It was the best brothel of the city and famous for the beautiful ganika, Vasavadutta. She was the unmatched beauty and the sensual icon of the city. Her beauty was so, that she was regarded as an incarnation of some celestial nymph, cursed to lead a sinful life.
It was dawn by then, the east sky was clearing up with red rays of Aruna. But the monk was still in his sleep. His tiredness was showing up. At that very moment, the door of the house opened. With jingling sound of an ankleted feet stepped out of the door and just halted for a moment and then hurried back inside. After few moments, again few more jingling steps were heard slowly proceeding toward the veranda from inside. They were of two beautiful ladies. But one was distinguishingly beautiful than the other.

The mistress asked, ‘Chitra, who could be this person? He seems to be an outsider’
‘Yes madam’ the maid replied.
‘Why he dressed like that?’ the mistress asked again.
‘How would I know? Should I ask?’ the maid asked.
‘Oh! No, wait. He is sleeping so peacefully. Look at his face how handsome he looks. I have never seen any man so handsome’ the mistress remarked excitingly.
‘Indeed madam, he is the most handsome man; after all the great Vasavadutta, the beauty icon of Mathura has said it and it’s not a joke’ the maid said flatteringly.
‘Stop you stupid girl, wake him up softly and escort him inside the house………and yes…. ask him, who is he?’ the mistress ordered.
‘Ok madam as you wish’ the maid replied.
The maid sat on her knee and softly shook Upagupta and said, ‘gentleman wake up…..wake up’.
The very moment Upagupta opened his eyes to the morning light, he found a lady kneeling in front him and the other standing nearby. He modestly sat up, picked his bag and stood up.
‘Sorry holy ladies, do not mind please. I was bit tired, as I have traveled for days and reached this city yesterday night. I randomly selected this veranda to take little rest. Hope I might not have troubled you’ saying thus Upagupta began to leave.
‘Wait gentleman’ the mistress called out and asked politely, ‘respected gentleman, who are you?’
‘I am no gentleman holy woman; I am Upagupta, a simple Buddhist scholar, visiting places to spread the message of my master, Buddha, The Enlightened.’
‘Ok holy man, I welcome you to my house, rest for a while and accept my cordiality’, the mistress requested.
‘Oh! Thank you holy woman, for your unmatched humility. Houses are no place for wandering monks; our home is this open air, if you could, please offer me little food in my thala, that would be great said Upagupta politely.
‘Don’t call me holy, I am no holy, I am no pure. I am Vasavadutta, a ganika of this brothel’ said the mistress sadly.
‘That doesn’t mean you are impure holy Vasav’ replied Upagupta with a saintly spark in his eyes.
None had addressed her like that. None have called her with such divine respect. Vasavadutta felt elevated.
She ordered the maid, ‘Chitra go and bring some fresh fruit for the monk’.
The maid hurried back inside the house and brought basket full of fruits and offered it to Upagupta. But he picked only two from them and said,
‘Thank you holy woman, these two will be enough’.
As he was about to leave, Vasavadutta with queer excitement asked Upagupta “Oh! Holy monk when are you coming next?”
With a divine smile in his face, Upagupta gazed to the eyes of Vasavadutta and said, “When the time is ripe, I shall come to you.” And he left.
Vasvadutta couldn’t understand what the monk spoke. “When the time is ripe” and gazed till the monk was out of sight.
She had never seen such a person in her life. Suitors came and gone, admirer came and gone but none could match her beauty and personality but this monk has stole her heart and said that he will come when the time is ripe.
She murmured “I will wait till that time; I will wait till that time”
As she did this Chitra, her maid, laughed out and asked, “What happened dear mistress, did the Kamadev’s arrow wound your heart finally?
Mind it dear madam, these monks are dreaded than the these foolish riches, never to lose your heart to them, ‘cus you will never get one in return”
“Shut up you lowborn”, said Vasavadutta, “He has called me holy woman, and he will come to fetch me, when the time is ripe.”
Its true nothing happens before time and more than destiny, and it happened thus.
Times passed by, Vasavadutta’s charms and beauty lost its fame, young girls, young beauties, replaced, the once famous sensual icon of the city. But in contrast the charms and knowledge of that young ascetic, Upagupta, grew like a large banyan tree. Masses consider him next to The Enlightened, The Buddha.
Lost with all charms, devoid of wealth, ill by health diseased by un-healing wounds, Vasavadutta lived like a beggar near the banks of Jamuna, feeding on the mercy of alms given to her by the groups who came to cremate the dead, at the nearby cemetery. She knew that, no one will come to cremate her after her death, as she is the sinful. Hence preferred to stay near the cemetery, and requested the guard of the cemetery, to drag her body to the pyre and spare a two or three pieces of wood, so that her mortal form at least get purified after her death.
It was spring time; Whole Matura was colorful in the mood of spring fest. It was the day of Phalguna purnima, the day once Lord Krishna, played Gulal his beloved, Radha. Vasvadutta, who used to amaze city with her dancing extravagance in this event, sat alone & isolated & cried like a child and remembered of the love she has never forgotten. She remembered of the young monk, who has promised to fetch him when the time is ripe. But she has rotten. Thinking thus he gazed towards the city which has abandoned her long back and slept leaning to the cemetery’s wall. The day next was, Hoil, The festival of colours, the city was coloured with red, blue and green but Vasavadutta in her unwashed white, waited for the man clad in saffron with her moistened eyes.
And, He came; emerging from the cloud of colours, unstained, pure in saffron followed by few of young monks. As he  neared, Vasavadutta could not believe her eyes, she was almost in trance. With full love in his eyes he sat beside her but she kept distance.
With many folded charms in his face, Upagupta tried to take hesitating Vasavdutta in his arms and said “Holy Vasav, My Love, I am here as the time is ripe, the enlighten himself asked me to fetch you.”
“I am rotten and old; nothing is left of me, Oh! Holy monk, I have seen you that’s enough, let me die here and be the enlighten follower in the next life”, said Vasvdutta in tearful eyes.
“Oh! Holy lady you have many great works to do in this birth, having suffered a lot, you have purified you heart which equals thousand years penance of an ascetic, It’s time to surrender yourself to Buddha, Surrender yourself to Sangha, & surrender yourself to Dhamma” saying thus Upagupta carried Vassvadutta by her hand through the city of Mathura, while the young monks followed them chanting -
“Budhham Saranam Gachhami”
“Sangham Saranam Gachhami”
“Dhammam Saranam Gachhami”


Wrote this story as after being inspired by the poem “Upagupta” By Great poet Rabindranath Tagore.
Glossaries:
Sravana – Rainy month of Indian calendar (July – August)
Ganika – Dancing girl
Kamdev – God of Love in Hinduism
Phalguna - End of Spring (March - April)
Gulal - Coloured powder
Purnima – Full moon day

Comments

sareeta said…
A great masterpiece indeed. The story eveals many aspects of spirituality, materialism, physical illusions and the true pathway of human life. Excellent work bro...:)
It also inspires that true love is beyond the false illusions of attraction, malice intentions, etc. True love is Divine, it gives everything but does not want to receive anything from the beloved.

Please keep on expressing your mesmerizing and inspiring thoughts. It surely imparts a lot of motivation to be good and to do good.

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