Lahiri Mahasaya had a famous friend, Trailanga Swami, who was reputed to be over three hundred years old. The two yogis often sat together in meditation. Trailanga's renown is so widespread that few Hindus would deny the possibility of truth in any story of his astounding miracles. He was one of the siddhas (perfected beings) who have cemented India against the erosions of time.
On many occasions the swami was seen to drink, with no ill effect, the most deadly poisons. Thousands of people, including a few who are still living, have seen Trailanga floating on the Ganges. For days together he would sit on top of the water or remain hidden for very long periods under the waves. A common sight at Manikarnika Ghat was the swami's motionless body on the blistering stone slabs, wholly exposed to the merciless Indian sun.
By these feats Trailanga sought to teach men that human life need not depend on oxygen or on certain conditions and precautions. Whether the great master was above water or under it, and whether or not his body challenged the fierce solar rays, he proved that he lived by divine consciousness: Death could not touch him.
The yogi was great not only spiritually, but physically. His weight exceeded three hundred pounds: a pound for each year of his life! As he ate very seldom, the mystery is increased. A master, however, easily ignores all usual rules of health when he desires to do so for some special reason, often a subtle one known only to himself.
Great saints who have awakened from the cosmic mayic dream and have realized this world as an idea in the Divine Mind, can do as they wish with the body, knowing it to be only a manipulatable form of condensed or frozen energy. Though physical scientists now understand that matter is nothing but congealed energy, illumined masters have passed victoriously from theory to practice in the field of matter control.
Trailanga always remained completely nude. The harassed police of Banaras came to regard him as a baffling problem child. The natural swami, like the early Adam in the Garden of Eden, was unconscious of his nakedness. The police were quite conscious of it, however, and unceremoniously committed him to jail. General embarrassment ensued: the enormous body of Trailanga was soon seen, in its usual entirety, on the prison roof. His cell, still securely locked, offered no clue to his mode of escape.
The discouraged officers of the law once more performed their duty. This time a guard was posted before the swami's cell. Might again retired before Right: the great master was soon observed in his nonchalant stroll over the roof.
The Goddess of Justice wears a blindfold; in the case of Trailanga the outwitted police decided to follow her example.
The great yogi preserved a habitual silence. In spite of his round face and huge, barrel-like stomach, Trailanga ate only occasionally. After weeks without food, he would break his fast with potfuls of clobbered milk offered to him by devotees. A skeptic once determined to expose Trailanga as a charlatan. A large bucket of calcium-lime mixture, used in whitewashing walls, was placed before the swami.
"Master", the materialist said, in mock reverence, "I have brought you some clobbered milk. Please drink it."
Trailanga unhesitatingly drank, to the last drop, the quarts of burning lime. In a few minutes the evildoer fell to the ground in agony.
"Help, Swami, help!" he cried. "I am on fire! Forgive my wicked test!"
The great yogi broke his habitual silence. "Scoffer," he said, "you did not realize when you offered me poison that my life is one with your own. Except for my knowledge that God is present in my stomach, as in every atom of creation, the lime would have killed me. Now that you know the divine meaning of boomerang, never again play tricks on anyone."
The sinner, healed by Trailanga's words, slunk feebly away.
The reversal of pain was not a result of the master's will but of the operation of the law of justice that upholds creation's farthest swinging orb.