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28. Damodaran

He is a small landholder owning six acres of dry land. After years of hard work, he had earned this property. Along with that, his status had also grown in the village. He was one of the important leaders of the village though he was only middle aged. He took an active part in politics too. Any government scheme that came to the village would seek his cooperation for implementation. With the progress of the nation, his village too received the benefits of education, roads, electricity, bank aid, and the cooperative movement. He was also an important beneficiary of all these schemes. During these years of progress, his dry lands received electricity, a borewell, crop loans, hybrid seeds, etc. He was a rising star of the village, but with a small base, often shaky because of the uncertainties of agricultural life.

One year circumstances were very favourable. He received government loans in time to raise crops. He could cultivate all his six acres in the primary season for groundnut, but the price was not helpful. So his great hopes of paying off some of his old loans remained unfulfilled. For the second season of groundnut, not many villagers would take the risk as pests would be virulent during this season and water supply would not be fully assured. Only those assured of all resources and capable of taking risks would cultivate groundnut in the second season, which extended into the peak of summer. As the prices during this lean season were always attractive, the season retained its charm for the farmers.

This farmer went for groundnut in the second season. He could do that because he was assured of water supply from his borewell. Favoured by conducive circumstances, he was again able to cultivate all the six acres. The crop was good. Luckily there was no pest. If only the customary high price of this off-season were available, he could turn a corner in his life. In that sense this crop was a deciding one. If all went well, his rising position in the village would become an accomplished fact. Otherwise he could slide down and all his energies would go to keep him from sliding down. Just when every circumstance was favourable, his borewell failed to supply water after the bottom of the hole became stuck with clay  preventing water from being pumped out. Normally this could be repaired in a month or six weeks, if everything went well.

This was the peak of summer in the month of May. Soil dries up in minutes after watering due to the heat. During such emergencies, the adjacent farmers used to help save the situation. Unfortunately for him, in his area all lands were dry. He was the only one who owned and operated a borewell. The situation was bleak. An excellent crop was now to wilt before the very eyes of the owner. Indeed, it was a pathetic situation. There was nothing for the farmer to do, not even a line of hope for thought.

Around 10 p.m. this man with this background presented himself at my house, having travelled from his village. His face was dark and sullen, expression pitiable. Before narrating all these details to me, he prefaced it saying, "My hopes were great till yesterday. Now they are dashed to pieces. I feel stung. Life is merciless. No one is in a position to offer me even words of consolation. My heart is heavy. Please be patient with me and let me explain my plight. I may feel somewhat unburdened, if you listen."

He spoke. I listened. He went over every little detail of his misfortune with animation, speaking in a choked voice. When he finished, I noticed he was no longer pitiable, or sorrow-laden. He was somewhat relaxed. Perhaps he had found some relief in speaking. I spoke in turn, inspiring confidence in him. I said as he was a hard-working person and had done meticulously everything he could do in his power, his crop would not wilt. He was intrigued and listened intently. I repeated that God helped those who helped themselves, and he was one like that. It was a riddle to him, but his eyes began to sparkle with a trace of hope.

He had heard of the Ashram but never visited the Samadhi nor did he know of Mother and Her personality. I mentioned in one brief sentence, "Your crop is sure to be saved if you pray to Mother."  All that he had to do was not to exercise his mind how it would be saved. I told him to go to the Samadhi and pray that his crops must be saved. He endorsed my suggestion wholeheartedly and vigorously. I saw his grief vanish and that meant to me that his crops would certainly be saved.

The next night it rained. It was a good rain. His crops would be saved, if only that rain extended to the village. I felt that the rain had come to save his crop and extended itself up to my place.

Ten days later he came with a beaming face twice in size. He said, "Your words put strength in me. I had no question in my mind. I felt I was lifted out of depression. Straight from here I went home and then left for Pondicherry. I scarcely knew which bus I took or who was by my side. There was only one thought in my mind. It was my crop's future. I reached the Ashram and went to the Samadhi. That was the first visit for me. I did not know what to do. I stood nearby and voiced a prayer. I forgot myself. I don't know what words I uttered. My body was still and mind disappeared. I don't know how long I remained there like that. When I came to myself, I saw people meditating around. There were flowers on the Samadhi. I felt extremely peaceful, relieved and relaxed. Slowly I walked away. Until I reached home again, I was in a kind of daze. In my condition, I forgot the crop too. The next night it rained. It poured and poured non-stop. My heart was filled with gratitude. I offered Mother deeply-felt gratitude. The next morning when I visited the fields, the crop had a sparkle on the leaves. Surely no amount of watering could have had this effect. Luckily the crop needed only one more watering before harvest. The yield was slightly bigger than expected. The price too was better than last year."

book | by Dr. Radut