Lotan Baba, a holy man from India, rolled on his side for
four thousand kilometers across the country in his quest for
world peace and eternal salvation.
He started small: fasting here and there,
days, then weeks. Once, he stood under
a banyan tree for a full seven years, sitting
for nothing—not even to sleep. It came
to him in a dream: You must roll
on this earth, spin your heart in rain,
desert, dust. At sunrise he’d stretch, swab
any cuts from the day before, and lay prone
on the road while his twelve men swept
the ground in front of him with sisal brooms.
Even monkeys stopped and stared at this man
rolling through puddles, past storefronts
where children would throw him pieces
of butter candy he’d try and catch
in his mouth at each rotation. His men
swept and sang, swept and sang
of jasmine-throated angels
and pineapple slices in kulfi cream.
He rolled and rolled. Sometimes
in his dizzying spins, he thought
he heard God. A whisper, but still.