by Tara Bose
About a hundred years ago there lived in Gujarat, a fakir by the name of Mohammed Chhel. He had been given supernatural powers, and became known as a magician. He used to travel frequently between Saurashtra and Gujarat by train, but never bought a ticket! When he was caught by the ticket collector and insulted in front of the other passengers he would use these “magic” powers, surprising others. He never misused this gift and used to make people around him happy, help the needy, and give happiness when he could.
I give you some true incidents in the life of this wandering “magician”. There are still some people alive that have seen and heard him.
Mohammed Chhel at the Fair
It was Shiv Ratri and at the foot of Mount Girnar there was a big fair. Lakhs of people from all over assembled there. There were Kathiawaris and Rajputs;
Ahirs and Patels. Every year they came in thousands, as if it would be the last time the fair would be held and so an occasion they could not afford to miss.
Mohammed Chhel, too, was on his way to the fair. He had covered a long distance and he was tired. So he rested on a bridge, under which flowed a small stream. It was a very hot day.
On the bridge sat a man giving water to thirsty pilgrims on their way to the fair. Mohammed Chhel asked the man for some water and was given only half a glass. So he said to the man, “There is plenty of water flowing under this bridge. Yet you give me only half a glass?”
The man replied, “I have been here all morning. I have gone up and down those steps fetching water. But there seems to be no end to the task. There are so many people and the water finishes so quickly. I am tired now.”
“You rest awhile and I will look after the thirsty pilgrims,” said Mohammed Chhel. The man was very grateful and went under a tree and fell asleep.
The water which Mohammed Chhel gave to the tired and thirsty pilgrims was iced and sweet, almost like a sherbet. Everyone who drank blessed him. When the man awoke from his sleep it was almost evening, he went to the bridge and saw the water pot was still full; it seemed to be filling by itself. It was inexhaustible.
Mohammed Chhel told him, “It is almost night now. There are not so many people. Keep the pot covered. This water will last you till the fair is over, that is for eight days. There will be no need for you to go down to the river again.” Saying this he disappeared into the crowd.