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knocks at the door

Who knocks on the door?

She is a village girl. They name her Daya. Every day, she takes her father’s cattle to the grazing ground. Every evening, she returns with song and music on her lips.

One day, while alone in the grazing field, she hears voices in the void. Whence are they? What do they signify? The next evening, as she returns, she looks into the waters. She gazes at a vision. She hears a voice saying “Krishna, I Krishna!”

On reaching her house she meets her mother, and asks “Who is Krishna? Where is He?” The mother answers, “Krishna is the Lord of life. And in the forest dwells He.” Daya gets no sleep at night. Her thoughts are filled with Him, the Lord of life. In the house they are all asleep. Daya gently bows at the feet of her father and mother. Daya looks tenderly at her brothers and sisters. Daya stands on the threshold. Then, with eyes gleaming with love, she looks once more at her father and mother and brothers and sisters. In the dark of the night, she ventures out alone, to meet Krishna in the forest!

She enters the forest. She shouts out thrice “Krishna! Thou art a Forester! I come to dwell with Thee, Lord of life!” But there comes to her a voice from the woods, “Return to thy home! Not in the forest mayst thou find Me!” Daya, obedient to the Voice, returns. And, day after day, she hears the voice, not knowing what it means. Again and again, she moves out to see: but the vision is not there!

Shining lights are there. And music floods the place. And in the house is seated Krishna playing upon the flute!

It is noon. There is a knock at the door. Daya gets up to open the door. What does she see? A poor, old, shrunken widow! “Mother!” asks Daya, “what may I do for you?”

“I am thirsty,” says the widow, “and I have hungered the whole day: and I have not a piece of cloth to cover my half-naked body.” Daya enters her kitchen and prepares meals. Daya opens her box and takes out a garment given her by her mother some days ago and intended to be worn by her on special occasions. Daya places the meals and the garment at the feet of the old woman.

Then Daya goes to fetch water. She returns. “Mother!” she says, “here is water!” And she presses the cup to the widow’s lips. When, lo, the widow is not there! Nor her little cottage! A beautiful house suddenly rises to view. Shining lights are there. And music floods the place. And in the house is seated Krishna playing upon the flute!

Daya falls at His feet. Krishna blesses her and says, “That poor old widow was my rupam (form). “I was thirsty, and thou didst give me water to drink. I was hungry and thou didst feed me. I was naked, and thou didst clothe me. My vision is thy reward.”

Is this story a parable? Who knocks at India’s door with a pale face and hungry eyes? Behold! Thirsty and hungry and naked stands Krishna, the comrade of the poor!


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