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The Nat - Illusionist

There was once a nat. He would show his tricks to kings and win prizes from them. One day the Nat went before a king, taking along his wife and sons. He said to the king, ''There is a war in heaven. I have to go there immediately and help call a truce between the devas and danavs. Kindly look after my wife and children whilst I'm away.'' The king agreed. The Nat then unwound a bundle of rope he had with him and raised it into the air. A miracle. The rope climbed higher and higher, remaining straight and taut all the while. The Nat climbed the rope and disappeared into the sky.

The king and his ministers saw all this. After about an hour, gunshots and cannon-fire could be heard in the sky. Everybody could hear the booms and thunders. Another half-hour passed in this way. And then... And then all of a sudden two hands fell out of the sky and dropped at the king's feet. Incredibly, they were the Nat's hands! And then his legs fell too, followed by his body, but without his head. The Nat's wife recognised the Nat and began to wail. In between sobs she told the distressed and confused king, ''Bring some logs. I'm a faithful wife, and I will die with my husband
on his funeral pyre!''

Even the Nat's children said they would die in the fire! The logs were brought. The hands, feet and headless body of the Nat were placed on the pyre. The fire was lighted, and the faithful wife and her children climbed onto the pyre and began to burn with the wood! As the assembly watched the fire, the Nat climbed down the rope, as whole and alive as ever! ''Where are my wife and children,'' he demanded. The king and his people really were confused now. If this was the Nat, then who was burning in the fire? The king plucked up courage and said to the Nat, ''Your wife and children are burning in the fire over there.'' ''No, they're not,'' said the Nat. ''You've hidden them somewhere and now you're lying to me. Bring them here at once!'' No one could say a word.

The Nat again said angrily, ''If you don't call my wife and children, I will!'' Before anybody could say anything in reply, he shouted, ''Hey kids, where are you!'' And his kids shouted in reply from the third floor of the palace! ''See they are here. You've hidden them on the third floor.'' The king really was flabbergasted. ''You bring them here then,'' he commanded the Nat. ''Then give me the keys.''
''I don't have them!'' ''Yes, you do, they're under your throne!''

The bewildered king looked and sure enough the keys to his palace were there. The third floor was duly opened and the Nat's wife and children were brought downstairs. The king and his ministers couldn't believe their eyes. Had they all gone mad? The Nat and his family were supposed to be dead and burning, but here they were, alive and well. ''How did you do it,'' the king asked the Nat of his illusion. ''Oh, its just a little game I play everyday,'' the Nat said proudly. His family was course used to all of his tricks. They weren't worried or confused in the least. The children told the king,
''Daddy plays such tricks on people everyday.''

Nobody has even now worked out how the Nat performed his tricks. If a Nat's illusion can never be understood, how can we ever hope to understand the workings of God! It is only when we become a devotee of God that we are not taken in and misguided by the illusory world around us.

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© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith