The Boil Illumination

This short play is based on one of the many stories Sri Chinmoy has written over the years.

Taj Mahal

We have added a humorous aside, based on the fact that the Dublin Centre leaders, Ambarish and Mangala are a husband-and-wife architect team. During the (ten-minute long) rehearsal for this play, we saw we had one less actor than we needed, so Mangala was (very capably) played by a sweeping brush with a blond wig fixed to the head.


There was once a great seeker who was on the verge of realisation. Every day this seeker used to pray and meditate with his friends. His friends were also his admirers and adorers, and they used to beg him to open up an ashram.

Friend 1

Why dont you open an ashram?

Friend 2

As soon as you open up an ashram, we would all become your disciples.

Great Seeker:

Why can't you become my disciples now?

Friend 1:

No, only if you open up an ashram will we become your disciples. If you have an ashram of your own and if we become members, then you will be responsible for the illumination of our lives.

Friend 2:

Now you are not taking us seriously. So please get an ashram, and we will become your disciples.

Taj Mahal

Great Seeker:

Maybe this is not such a bad idea after all. Let me have an ashram and all the disciples will stay there. Let me think. I am going to need a good architect. I have here the name of someone who was recommended to me; he normally does bathroom extensions but maybe I can persuade him to transcend his capacity.

(rings architect on phone)

Ambarish (from hallway):

Mangala, can you get that?

Mangala: (pokes 'head' out of door)


Great Seeker:

Ah, you must be the secretary. Can you get me the architect?


But I'm an architect too....

Great Seeker:

Well, my dear girl, Im sure he lets you do a few drawings, but I would really like to speak to the real architect.

(Mangala wordlessly puts down phone, says something (not very nice) in Russian and goes into hallway. Ambarish comes out and gets the phone)

Great Seeker:

Hello, good sir. I am thinking of building an ashram and I was hoping you could help me.

Taj Mahal


Well the situation is, unfortunately we are on extended leave next week until February, but well definitely be able too look after you after that. Im looking at some sample ashram drawings here (looks at big sheaf of papers). I should just inform you of some issues that need to be looked at. Were going to need fire safety certs just in case the aspiration-flames of everyone meditating rise too high....*(more architectural waffle in that vein)*

Great Seeker.

Thank you very much. I will talk to you in February.


O God, in the meantime the seeker developed a very painful boil on his right foot. The boil became very big and it gave him terrible pain. The doctor was called, and he got ready to operate. When he was about to begin, the seeker literally cried like a child.


Why is he acting like a child? I thought he was such a great practitioner of meditation. No, even a child behaves better than this. What will his friends and admirers think of him?

Friend 1:

If once more you insult our friend, we shall strike you.

Friend 2:

Pain is pain. Only the sufferer knows what the pain is actually like. If it is real pain, why should he not cry? So you remain silent and just do your job!

(Friends go away. Doctor produces a saw and drill, and puts a hard hat on his head.)

Great Seeker:

Look at me. I could not take care of even one boil on my own body. I suffered so much because it was a foreign element. My friends are also separate human beings, separate from my life. When they enter into my life, it will be the same kind of situation. I don't have the capacity to save myself from one boil, so how will I be able to save their inner lives?

O God, I am so grateful to You. By giving me a boil, You have taught me a lesson. It is only You who can take responsibility for other people. One boil is enough to illumine me. I don't need illumination from human beings. Now I know that I will never open an ashram. I want only to pray and meditate and realise You. I will remain in supreme ecstasy, for I want only God-realisation. This boil is my illumination; my illumination is this boil."