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Fiction Fantasy Drama

Can a man return after death? A monk claiming to be all knowing called on Mr.Citizen exhorting him to become a monk. “Your worries and concerns will thereby cease.”

Mrs.Citizen overhearing the appeal joined in saying “Monk, you claim to be all-knowing. Can you answer my queries on being with a woman?”

Monk sought time as he had never been with a female. Later he saw the funeral procession of a young king. At once using his ability at metempsychosis, he moved his soul into the dead king and was back in the palace to consort again with his wife. Very soon he had learnt all he wanted to, and returned his soul into his own body. He answered all queries of Mrs.Citizen who at once said “You have departed from monkhood by having lived with a female.”

Monk explained how it wasn’t his body which had experienced being with a woman. Mrs.Citizen had been vanquished!

“Incredible!” Hardy said to himself after he had heard the story that day. He was a judge working in British India far from Leeds, his provenance. He had just finished dinner and lighting his pipe sat contemplating on a case he was currently hearing. It was of a young ruler Raja. Pulling a sheet of paper from a folder he read data on Raja prepared for him by the court:

‘Raja was sprung from royalty. He had lived with his wife in a palace leading a luxurious life. He loved hunting and would often go on safari. He was popular among his subjects as he would share his wealth and often distribute gifts. In keeping with his royal tradition he had a mistress but she was a woman of easy virtue. It is known that through her he had contracted a disease which caused him much suffering including difficulty in micturition. A specialist doctor had opined the disease as incurable. Raja died when about 25 years old.’

But now- a decade later- the man seemed to have returned to life! It had now started raining heavily and power was interrupted. Hardy went to sleep.

Newspaper report:

‘A monk has come and is seated on the ground opposite the palace which had been Raja’s. Nobody took notice of the man who was assumed to be a charlatan. But now the monk claims he is Raja himself. He wants to be taken back into the royal household! It will be remembered that Raja died and was cremated a decade ago! Our correspondent has a bit more to report: A lady confidante it seems said to Mrs.Raja “The monk claims to be your husband.” when she laughed and said “Let him say what he wants! I know Raja died and was cremated. The monk is an impostor.”

“But how is it his brother and sisters have accepted him?”

“I don’t know. Ask them.”

In view of the tremendous public attention the matter has received we give more details: A group of Raja loyalists questioned the monk to get at the truth of his identity.

Subject 1: You claim to be Raja, but we were told you had died and had been cremated.

Monk: I wasn’t dead. I was probably in a deep swoon. I learnt later that when I was carried to the crematorium there was a severe hailstorm strewing large rocks of ice. The attendants apparently fled to take shelter. The rain revived me when I found myself on the pyre. I climbed down and started walking aimlessly.

Subject 2: Why didn’t you return immediately? You’ve waited nearly a decade to return.

Monk: I had lost my memory. While I was wandering randomly from my pyre a kindly sage gave me shelter and took care of me. He fed me and even healed me of a disease from which I was suffering. As soon as my memory returned I came back here and announced I was Raja.

Subject 3: Can you name any one person you knew while young?

Monk (gives a name): I had later learnt she had in fact been my wet nurse.

The answers were convincing and the subjects opined that the monk was indeed Raja. They believed Raja’s return was a miracle.

Knowing that Raja would now be allowed back into the palace Mrs.Raja has moved into an unknown location. However Raja’s troubles aren’t over. He is fighting in court for legal recognition to ascend the throne.’

 I am hearing this case. There are dozens of people deposing in various languages and dialects keeping translators busy. I say to my co-judge – an Indian - on the bench “It’s an uphill task indeed.”

He merely smiles. I thought he was condescending as I was a Briton - part of the rulers!

 Raja is deposing. Here is a fragment of Raja’s deposition in court when he was questioned about his reappearance after having been reported dead:

Court:  You are said to be a good ruler who would deal fairly with subjects. Despite it, you said there were attempts to kill you. Why?

Raja: Some of my kin would’ve liked to eliminate me. I had heard confidentially that they had secretly planned to do it to become ruler themselves.

Court: You said you could have been poisoned.

Raja : Yes. A toxic substance could have been infused in my food causing me to go into a dead faint.

Court: Didn’t you get medical attention?

Raja: I don’t know. I was considered dead and my funeral was it seems arranged.

Court: It is said your body was taken to the alfresco crematorium.

Raja: That is correct. I again say I climbed down from the funeral pyre.

Court: But your attendants claim your body was cremated and it is a miracle you are back in life.

Court adjourned.

Yet another news report:

‘The court proceedings were over recently and the monk alias Raja was officially recognised as ruler only yesterday. Following this, he went to the temple for thanksgiving and after it suffered a stroke and died. People who doubted Raja’s identity said his death was divine retribution.’

 Before I close, let me tell you that Raja’s body was subjected to forensic examination. It established the fact that it was indeed of Raja the ruler. Within himself Hardy said “I’ve judged right.” However there were many who believed the return of Raja was a miracle.

END

NOTE: This story is based on the celebrated Bhowal Sannyasi case which was eagerly followed for years by both the public and those in the legal profession till the Privy Council decided in favour of restoring the monk as ruler.

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June 27, 2022 16:27

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