Gadai in the Garb of a Monk
When Gadai was seven years old, Khudiram died. Gadai felt the loss of his father very keenly. Everything seemed empty to him. But to spare his mother further pain he concealed his feelings and tried to look happy and smiling. Inwardly, however, he became more thoughtful and meditative.
He did go to school as before, but he could not give his mind to his studies. He used to go to places where stories from Indian mythology were read, and theatrical performances were held. He listened to them with rapt attention. He used to go to the houses of clay-modellers and learn the art of modelling the images of gods and goddesses. There was a rest-house near the village on the way to the shrine at Puri. Sadhus (monks) going on a pilgrimage would often stop at that place. To get peace of mind Gadai visited them, listened to their talk and served them in whatever way he could. He had listened to readings from books of mythology and learnt that the sadhus renounce every thing and meditate on God. Their hearts are full of peace. One can have peace by associating with them.
Chandra Devi was happy to see that her son was so devoted to the sadhus. But the eight-year-old Gadai behaved strangely. Sometimes he would smear his body with ashes, sometimes he would paint a sacred mark on his forehead, and sometimes he would tear up his dhoti and put on a loin-cloth and come to his mother and say: “Look, mother, I am a sadhu.” At this Chandra Devi became alarmed. What would happen if the sadhus persuaded her dear son to become a sadhu and follow them?