The Mystique of ‘M’
Many are the masters M came across on his path, but none stranger than Kaladi Mastaan, a gem among Sufis. Having already acquired some knowledge about Sufism (incidentally one of his great-uncles was a well-known Sufi), M used to attend local Sufi groups of different schools. It was in one such meeting that he heard about Kaladi Mastaan. He was told that the Mastaan lived naked on the beach near Bimapalli in Thiruvananthapuram. M went there.
When M first saw him, the Mastaan was holding a cup of tea in his hand, blissfully unaware of the derisive stares of the passersby. He smiled at M and offered him the cup after sipping it himself. He then said, “Big thief has come to steal the treasure. Take it, take it legitimately.” After prolonged silence, he lit a cigarette. After a few hard puffs, he held out the cigarette to M and commanded him to smoke. M smoked. He took it back from M again to smoke it to the end. M sat before him and meditated. Before long he was startled out of his meditation when a shower of sand trickled down on his head. The perpetrator of the outrage was none other than the Mastaan. What would have been construed as a mad man’s act by others—the Mastaan was notorious in that area as a mad man to the uninitiated—M took as a blessing. And he was not far from the truth; that mad act of the Mastaan, cleared, as it were, the conduits to spiritual growth. (Though the Mastaan is gone a long time now, his tomb is visited by many even today.)