The Miracle of Puran Bhagat
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born in Bombay, but educated in England at the United Services College, Westward Ho, and Biddeford. In 1882 he returned to India, where he worked for Anglo-Indian newspapers. Kipling was the recipient of many honorary degrees and other awards. In 1926 he received the Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Literature. Purun Dass is a high caste Brahmin, highly educated, and a powerful figure as Prime Minister of one of the semi-independent Native States. Then, at the peak of his career, he casts aside all possessions, takes a staff and begging bowl, and becomes a wandering holy man, 'Purun Bhagat', depending on charity to live. At last he comes to the high Himalayas, where his people had come from, and finds a deserted shrine high above a mountain village, where he makes his home. For many years he lives there, fed by the devoted villagers, making friends with the wild creatures round about, monkeys and deer and bear, and pondering on the meaning of existence.
Then one year come weeks and weeks of rain, and one night he is awakened by the wild creatures, and sees that the mountain is falling. He hastens down the hillside in the icy rain. With all the authority of his previous life, he wakes the sleeping villagers, and urges them up to high ground across the valley. They are just in time before a massive landslip. The people are safe, but the Baghat, crippled by his exertions, is dead. They build a shrine in his memory, but no-one knows that, in a previous life, he was Sir Purun Dass.
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