When deBit arrived in Spokane he had no plan of procedure. He simply set about methodically walking the city streets. He did not know for whom or for what he was looking, but it seemed reasonable that the larger the area he covered the more likely he was to encounter whatever it might be. In a week's time the high certainty with which he had begun the search was greatly abated. Now he wandered disconsolately, dejected at the folly that kept him here, but daily putting off the inevitable trip home.
One evening his eye was caught by an advertisement in the Spokane paper. It read:
THE BHAGAVAD GITA
Lectures by A. K. Mozumdar
Saturday afternoons and evenings
the Month of January
2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
"When I was quite young," deBit said, "I read a sketch of Emerson in which he said that the Bhagavad Gita was his constant companion. I had not read the book so I decided to attend the lecture. It would be an informative evening and perhaps take my mind off many doubts that assailed me."
When he arrived at the auditorium he found it to be a store front converted into a makeshift hall, with folding chairs and a small wooden speaker's platform. When coats had been arranged and the general murmur subsided, the speaker moved to the podium. He was a small, dark man, appearing to be in his early thirties. He was exceptionally handsome and dressed conservatively in a European suit and tie. He carried a small leather-bound book in one hand and a thin wooden cane in the other. He began to speak in halting, broken English with the high lilt of the East Indian. He used the cane as a pointer to a chart he had arranged.
He had spoken only a few words when he paused in mid-sentence and raised his head to stare in Ralph deBit's direction. For a long moment he stood silent, moving his head ever so slightly to one side and then the other, as though listening to a far away sound. Suddenly he leaped from the podium, cane in hand, and raced down the aisle. He stopped in front of deBit and gave him a resounding rap on the shins with his cane, shouting, "Where have you been? What has kept you? I have been waiting for you."
Remembering the incident, Vitvan always laughed, saying, "When I saw that little Hindu vault into the aisle and come running towards me I was certain he was a madman. I was preparing in my mind how I would deal with him. He pulled up just short of where I was sitting. He hit me hard on the shins with his can and shouted at me.
"Before I could respond the most extraordinary thing happened. He smiled at me with great warmth and affection and laid the open palm of his hand over the lapel of my coat. My surroundings blurred and everyone and everything disappeared; I stood again in that dimension of timelessness that I had experienced on one other occasion.
"Then, in a moment I was sitting again where I had been, with everything intact. I looked up at him and was caught again in that odd vibration I had felt from the old parson. Mozumdar was smiling still and looking deep into my eyes. 'Now you recognize me,' he said.
"He turned to the stunned audience and said calmly, 'People, you must go home now. I will talk here again another time.' Then he took me by the arm and we walked out of the building and down the street."
The awakening one had found his Master.
next Chapter 5