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n old, emaciated outcast resembling a shrivelled tree root was lying in the hot sand in the meagre shadow of an olive tree on the road from Delhi to Lahore. With difficulty he lifted his arm, from which rags fluttered, and sighed: "Life has made a fool of me and deceived me. I am finished. O Brahma, let me die!" But this man's ordeal was not yet over. A young man of almost divine form stood in front of him all of a sudden; he was in the prime of life, and his flaming eyes were full of sympathy. "Is this a human being?!" The youth knelt down before the wretched man, covered him with his cloak, which was encrusted with golden embroidery and jewels, and laid a diadem worth a king's ransom on top of it which he took from his head. In return he took the brown rags, the staff, the pumpkin drinking vessel, and went his way.

The king's son clad in brown rags went on a pilgrimage through the land of wonders called India, walking with his head bent, sunk in dismal thoughts about the sufferings of man. He saw the people in despair because of avarice and greed. When he had reached illumination he went to Delhi, the city of the golden turrets, to seek out those living in blindness and enslaved by earthly goods. He walked all through the city, up and down the lanes, back and forth, until he came to a splendid palace out of which miserable groaning could be heard: "O Brahma, let me live!" The handsome young man in the brown rags recognised the voice. It was the same as that which had once in the dust of the street longed for the opposite: "O Brahma, let me die!" The mere shadow of a human was again so frail that he could barely walk, but he now tottered under the weight of garments of silk and cashmere, lived in wealth and luxury surrounded by the rarest treasures of the land. He was but a shadow, loath to die, unable to abandon wordly dross. Picture 150. A Shadow of his Former Self Around him stood the wisest men of India, but for all their wisdom, they were at a loss as to how this shadow of a human being could still be alive. But the shadow's weak cries for help continued to echo against his accumulated treasures: "O Brahma, let me live!" Through the huge doors of the palace a stranger entered, as handsome and bright as life in all its glory, though he was clad in brown rags and held but a pilgrim's staff in his hand. The stranger asked to see the shadow. The latter rose to greet the youth and with ebbing strength seized him by his garments as though they could bring him life. Then he saw the brown rags he was grasping in his withered fingers and fell backwards. "Do you recognise them?" asked the newcomer. "In these brown rags you once longed for death; today you are attired in velvet, silk and cashmere, bedeckt with gold and trumpery, and you fear death! Divest yourself of your irksome garments; put on your rags again and you will die in peace!" "No! I wish to live!" moaned the shadow, sinking back into his riches. The stranger raised his hand in admonition: "I, Buddah Marga, having attained illumination, solemnly say to you that you are sinning with your worldly desires. You will be reborn, you will have to undergo the torments of the earth until you learn to renounce in order to enter heavenly 'Nirwana'."