2

Chintamani: "Friend, how much can I praise thee! Thou doeth me great favour.

Moteram left after instructing his friend. Chintamani took to the road. After he had travelled some distance, he saw a tobacco shop; a few ascetics with long and untidy matted hair were sitting in front of the shop smoking marijuana. On seeing Chintamani one of them yelled out his slogan, "Move, move; go away, otherwise will make you feel uneasy."

Another sadhu boomed, "Aa-ra-ra-ra-dhum, here I come, why be glum!"

This cry was still ringing in the air when a third ascetic declared thunderingly, "Country Bengal, who has not seen the spear, quickly fill the cup."

This was too much for Chintamani, he puffed his chest and declared, "Give, else I will sit on you."

When the holy men heard this slogan, they affectionately welcomed Chintamani into their group; a cheelum was instantly prepared and the honour of lighting it and taking the first puff was granted to Chintamani. Chintamani was in a fix, he had never smoked a cheelum before; he knew that if he refused to accept the cheelum his secret would be out, and it would become instantly apparent that he was an imposter. He accepted the pipe unwillingly. But a person who has never smoked cannabis before, cannot draw smoke however hard he sucked at the pipe. Chintamani closed his eyes and sucked so hard at the pipe that it flew off his hands; his eyes nearly popped out of their sockets from the effort and he foamed at the mouth, but not even a wisp of smoke came out. This exhibition of immaturity was sufficient proof that he was not competent to be included in the community of ascetics. Two or three sadhus approached him angrily and pulled him up very roughly.

"Curse on you," one of them said.

"Don't you feel ashamed of pretending to be a sadhu?" another said.

Pandit Chintamaniji was very embarrassed; he slunk away and went and sat in a nearby sweet shop. The sadhus struck their tambourines and began to sing: "This world is an illusion, this world is an illusion. Everything is false, and the only truth is that the world is an illusion. Curse on them who throw away ganja or bhang; this world is an illusion."

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(If you enjoyed this story, you might also like to read Invitation, another story of the two friends - Pandit Moteram and Pandit Chintamani)

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