A Child’s God
By Mridu Bhashini Devi
(Translated from the original Bengali by Sri Chinmoy)
Gulu had completed his fourth year and stepped into his fifth. He had been introduced to the alphabet. Gulu’s father said, “Well, Gulu, I shall now put you in the primary school of the schoolmaster Aghore.”
Gulu’s joy knew no bounds. Now he would go to school with a satchel under his arm.
Gulu was very intelligent and spoke sixteen to the dozen. He was very fond of stories. He often teased his grandmother to tell him stories. He listened to her words with wonder. The story of Prahlad appealed to him most. He said to his grandmother, “Tell me only the story of Prahlad. I don’t want to hear any other story.” Gulu listened to the story of Prahlad with implicit faith. The whole story always filled his mind. Gulu said, “How cruel is the father of Prahlad, Grandmother! What tortures he has inflicted on Prahlad! But nobody can slay him who has God for his helper.”
One day it occurred to Gulu to find God. “As God is worshipped with flowers, He must be hiding in the roses in the garden,” Gulu reflected. “Once I am able to discover God, I will so befriend Him that He will not be able to desert me any more.”
Gulu spent the day in the garden, shaking the plants in his search for God. But he met Him nowhere. At last he returned home disappointed.
One day Gulu asked his mother, “I search for God so much. Why do I not find Him, Mother?”
“Gulu, God is fond of playing. So he plays hide and seek with us. He is an expert player. He hides Himself in such a way that even the great saints and sages fail to find Him.
“Who then can discover Him, Mother?”
“Nobody can find Him unless He reveals Himself. Still He stays with each and every one and protects all as He did Prahlad. He hides Himself in your heart, too.”
“In the core of my heart! Believe me, Mother, when I search for Him in the garden, it seems someone responds from within my heart.”
“It is this indweller who is God. Adore Him. Learn to love Him as you love me. He is there not only in your heart but in all hearts. Learn to love all, then He will surely be pleased to reveal Himself to you.”
Gulu’s mind was set at rest by the words of his mother. He cherished the hope that some day God would come to him.
Gulu visited his maternal uncle’s house along with his mother. He returned home on the eve of the Pujas. The train was packed with passengers and there was not enough room. Gulu was not concerned about that. He peeped out of the window to gaze at the scenery. His uncle said, “Don’t bend forward like that. You may fall down, Gulu.”
“How can I fall? I am holding onto the door.”
Suddenly the door somehow opened out. Unable to check himself Gulu fell down below. People inside the compartment raised cries of horror and lamentation. Gulu’s mother, under the spell of despair, was about to jump from the train, but someone held her back
It was night time. Nothing was visible in the dark. The train was running at top speed. Owing to the excitement no one thought of pulling the chain. Alerted by the confused noise, the passengers in the next compartment pulled the chain. The motion of the train was immediately arrested.
The train went backward. Nobody hoped to see Gulu alive. After some distance had been covered a figure became visible on a bridge. Gulu’s mother cried out, “Look, my Gulu is there!”
The train stopped. Gulu’s mother rushed up to him and took him in her arms. “Did you get hurt, Gulu?” she cried.
“How can I be hurt, Mother? The moment I fell down, my uncle jumped and took me in his arms.”
In a surprised voice the mother said, “Your uncle did not come down. He was there inside.”
“Don’t tell a lie, Mother. All this time my uncle held me on his lap. As you all drew near he put me down and went that way. You can look for him.”
A thrill passed through the whole body of Gulu’s mother. She said, “Gulu, your God saved you in the form of your uncle.” At the words of his mother Gulu was beside himself with wonder.
from Gopal’s Eternal Brother
And Other Stories for Children
by Sri Chinmoy