Our first act was to change into native costume, as Ananta had somehow penetrated our European disguise. A premonition of capture weighed on my mind. Deeming it advisable to leave Hardwar at once, we bought tickets to proceed north to Rishikesh, a soil long hallowed by feet of many masters. I had already boarded the train, while Amar lagged on the platform.

The SADHU was there and allowed us to examine his arm. It bore no scar or trace of hurt! "'I am going via Rishikesh to the Himalayan solitudes. He blessed us as he departed quickly. I feel that my life has been uplifted through his sanctity." The officer concluded with a pious ejaculation; his experience had obviously moved him beyond his usual depths.

Months later I met an old friend, Sanandan, who was one of Pranabananda's close disciples. "My adorable guru is gone," he told me, amidst sobs. "He established a hermitage near Rishikesh, and gave us loving training. When we were pretty well settled, and making rapid spiritual progress in his company, he proposed one day to feed a huge crowd from Rishikesh.

He was probably intimating that he was more fortunate than we: he had met an illumined saint without effort; our earnest search had ended, not at the feet of a master, but in a coarse police station! So near the Himalayas and yet, in our captivity, so far, I told Amar I felt doubly impelled to seek freedom. "Let us slip away when opportunity offers. We can go on foot to holy Rishikesh."