34


'SIRE,' ANNOUNCED the servant to the King, 'the saint Narottam has never deigned to enter your royal temple.

'He is singing God's praise under the trees by the open road. The temple is empty of worshippers.

'They flock round him like bees round the white lotus, leaving the golden jar of honey unheeded.'

The King, vexed at heart, went to the spot where Narottam sat on the grass.

He asked him, 'Father, why leave my temple of the golden dome and sit on the dust outside to preach God's love?'

'Because God is not there in your temple,' said Narottam.

The King frowned and said, 'Do you know, twenty millions of gold went to the making of that marvel of art, and it was consecrated to God with costly rites?'

'Yes, I know it,' answered Narottam. It was in that year when thousands of your people whose houses had been burned stood vainly asking for help at your door.

'And God said, "The poor creature who can give no shelter to his brothers would build my house!"

'And he took his place with the shelterless under the trees by the road.

'And that golden bubble is empty of all but hot vapour of pride.'

The King cried in anger, 'Leave my land.'

Calmly said the saint, 'Yes, banish me where you have banished my God.'

 

 

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