Warrior of the Soul


Book 3

heeding the call


 


David Pratt

© July 2003




Part 5   Convergence


~ 1 ~

Easter Island. Lying just south of the tropic of Capricorn, 2300 miles from the coast of Chile, this small volcanic island is one of the most remote islands on earth. Forming a triangle fourteen miles long by seven miles wide, it offers a varied landscape of gently rolling hills, extinct volcanoes, rugged lava fields and steep ocean cliffs, surrounded by the deep-blue waters of the South Pacific. Caves abound, many consisting of subterranean chambers joined by narrow tunnels extending far into the lava beds. The windswept island is famous above all for nearly a thousand gigantic stone statues or moai, most of them fifteen to thirty feet tall, and for over three hundred colossal stone platforms or ahu. It is a land of mystery, known in former times as ‘the navel of the earth’.
    Sushila closed the guidebook she was reading and peered out of the window as the plane began its final descent . . .

‘Look, Raman, look at that huge bird flying through the air with flashing lights. Maybe it’s returning to its nest.’
    ‘That’s an airplane,’ Jintar said to Raya. ‘According to our map it’s the flight from Santiago, the capital of Chile. We shall have to be very careful while we’re here. No one must hear you speaking Senzar. And no one must know where you’re from – not that anyone would believe you.’
    ‘But why not?’ asked Raya. ‘Surely the outer-circlers don’t really think that the higher intelligences that designed the earth would have filled it full of molten lava?! What a ridiculous waste of matter and space!’
    ‘Well, it’s best to leave them to their beliefs – otherwise they might come and visit us. Anyway, I’ve taught you some basic English just in case you need it. But none of us have any official documents. The masters are placing great trust in us by allowing us to visit the island. So let us all act responsibly. Do you both understand?’
    Raya and Raman nodded their heads solemnly.
    ‘It’s odd that we haven’t yet received any instructions about what we’re supposed to do,’ said Raman.
    ‘Yes, I was certain that Dazak and Sahula would be here to meet us. They must know we’re here. Thanks to Raya’s elemental guides, we’ve at least found a comfortable subterranean residence, stocked with food and drink. Obviously someone knew we were coming. They even left us fresh robes. And they’d also left food parcels along the route we took after travelling on the magic seat. Well, we’ll just have to be patient a little longer.’

Sushila, along with Uma and Khamseen, and Usha and Keshava and their baby daughter, were met at the airport by people from their two hotels in the town of Hanga Roa on the west coast, where nearly all the island’s four thousand inhabitants lived. It had been a long journey; they were hot and tired, and eager for some rest.
    After taking a shower, Sushila started to unpack her suitcase. Hidden in a cloth bag at the bottom of the case was the most prized possession she had with her – the crystal. She had not been intending to bring it. But as she was packing her case she thought she heard a voice telling her to take it with her. As first she thought her mother had walked into the room. But there was nobody else there. She went on packing but then she heard the voice again, and this time had obeyed. She was looking forward to finding out more about the mysterious crystal while she was here.

The next day Sushila went on the first of several tours with her companions. They visited a number of famous archaeological sites, including the most impressive of them all – Rano Raraku, a small volcanic crater six hundred feet high, which had served as the quarry for nearly all the statues. Its imposing slopes were covered with nearly four hundred giant statues in various stages of completion, some standing up to their chests or necks in the soil.
    That evening Sushila was getting ready to go out to dinner with her companions and someone she had met on the plane, when there came a knock on her hotel door. On opening it she saw a young man standing before her. It took several seconds before she realized who it was.
    ‘Jintar!’ She waved him into the room and closed the door. ‘I don’t believe it! Is Sahula with you?’
    ‘Good question,’ said Jintar. ‘I’m sure he’s around somewhere, but I haven’t seen him yet.’
    ‘How did you know I was here?’
    ‘I didn’t. I received a note telling me to come to this hotel room to collect a crystal.’
    ‘You see! I knew I had to bring it. It’s in my case. I’m so happy it’s finally going to be returned to its proper owners.’
    She opened her case and rummaged around inside. ‘That’s odd,’ she said. She started rummaging more frantically. Finally she tipped out the contents onto the carpet, and went through them all one by one.
    ‘It must have been stolen!’ she cried, looking very alarmed.
    ‘Holy shit!’ said Jintar.
    ‘Oh dear, oh dear, I should have taken more care and carried it with me all the time! I’m so sorry, I really am,’ said Sushila sadly.
    ‘Don’t worry,’ said Jintar. ‘It’s bound to turn up. Now, tell me how you and your mother have been keeping.’
    Sushila chatted with him for a short while, telling him how the crystal had come into her possession, and about the lottery and the friends she had brought with her. As Jintar got up to go, Sushila asked him what hotel he was staying at, and he told her he was staying at a residence out of town.
    He closed the door behind him and walked through the hotel grounds back to the road. On the way he passed a young man walking the other way and they said hello to one another.

Sushila woke up with a start in the middle of the night, feeling very anxious. It took her a moment to remember where she was. Suddenly she thought she heard a noise coming from the bathroom. Her heart began to race and fear gripped her. Could it be the man who had tried to kill her? Had he escaped the clutches of the police and come to finish the job? Was it he who had stolen the crystal from her case?
    Again she heard a noise coming from the direction of the bathroom. She listened carefully and thought she could hear someone breathing heavily. She would need a weapon to defend herself. She slowly reached out her hand and moved it from object to object on the bedside cabinet. She felt her keys and clutched them tightly.
    Then she gently lowered herself to the floor trying not to make a sound. She paused and listened. Silence. She crawled over the floor to the end of the bed and peered through the pitch blackness towards the open bathroom door. She could see and hear nothing. She stood up slowly and inched towards the wall. Then she felt for the light switch. Finally her hand found it.
    Holding the keys behind her back, her heart racing madly, she abruptly turned on the light, convinced she would find herself face to face with the man who had tried to murder her. But the room was empty. She sprang forward and looked inside the bathroom. It too was empty. But the shower curtain was drawn. She inched towards it. Just as she was about to tear the curtains aside, she thought she felt something brush against the back of her neck. She spun round. There was nobody there. She swiftly turned and wrenched the shower curtains aside. The shower was empty!
    Then she heard another sound – the sound of the toilet in the adjacent hotel room being flushed. A profound sense of relief flowed through her as she realized she was safe, and that the only thing she had to fear in the room was her own imagination.

Early the next morning Jintar went to another hotel in the village. He had woken up to find another note giving him similar instructions to the day before. He knocked on the door of the room. After waiting a minute he tried again, but there was still no answer. He was about to walk away but decided to try the handle. The door opened.
    ‘Hello, is anybody there?’ he said in English as he stepped inside.
    At that moment a young man with a towel round his waist walked into the bedroom from the adjacent bathroom.
    ‘Hey! What are you doing in my room?’ he demanded in English. ‘Get out!’
    ‘I’m very sorry . . .’ Jintar suddenly realized this was the young man he had seen the previous evening after leaving Sushila’s hotel room.
    The young man looked at Jintar. Then he noticed something hanging round Jintar’s neck. He pulled out the talisman dangling beneath Jintar’s blue robe.
    ‘Holy shit!’ he exclaimed. ‘You’re Jintar! You don’t recognize me do you? That’s because you were unconscious the whole time.’
    ‘I walked past you at the hotel yesterday evening. But . . .’ Suddenly the truth dawned. ‘You must be Khanat! The boy who saved my life!’
    Khanat embraced him. ‘How’s your back now? It was a ghastly mess the last time I saw it.’
    ‘It’s fine. I’ll show you if you want.’
    Jintar pulled his robes over his head.
    ‘It looks pretty good, though you’ve still got some scars. Does it hurt if I touch it here?’
    ‘No not at all.’
    ‘It must have taken ages to heal.’
    ‘Just a few weeks. An adept used magnetic healing, and also put a strange concoction of leaves on it.’
    At that moment the door burst open and a cleaning lady walked in. When she saw the scene before her she gave a hearty laugh, said something in her native language, and hastily backed out of the door with a wink. They could hear her laughing as she walked off.
    ‘What a strange lady,’ said Jintar.
    Jintar put his robes back on while Khanat got dressed.
    ‘Is Sahula with you? And Dazak?’ he asked.
    ‘Well, I’ve a feeling they’re around somewhere, but I haven’t seen them yet.’
    ‘How did you know I was here?’
    ‘I didn’t. I got a note this morning telling me to come to this room and collect something.’
    ‘The crystal?’
    ‘Yes.’
    ‘It’s in my case.’ He retrieved it and gave it to Jintar. ‘Do you know the story of how I found it?’
    ‘No, I don’t.’
    ‘Oh, that reminds me. I saw you about three years ago in Cairo didn’t I? Seven years after you were assaulted.’
    ‘No, that’s impossible. I’ve been to southern Egypt, but not to Cairo again.
    ‘But I saw you. Wearing your talisman. As plain as day. Twice.’
    ‘That may be so. But it wasn’t me in the flesh. Maybe you were made to see me for some reason.’
    ‘By members of your Brotherhood?
    ‘Yes. I honestly don’t know anything more.’
    Khanat then told Jintar about the incident near the Great Pyramid when the crystal had suddenly appeared. And his dream about the platform or ahu. And how he couldn’t afford to come to Easter Island. But then an archaeology professor, a friend of his boss at the institute where he worked, had asked him out of the blue to come to Easter Island for two weeks as his assistant, to help him with a project.
    Khanat also told Jintar that his mother could still see perfectly. She believed it was the work of Allah, and he had not tried to disabuse her. After chatting for a short while more, Jintar got up to take his leave.
    ‘What hotel are you staying at?’ asked Khanat.
    ‘I’m staying somewhere out of town. It’s not exactly a hotel, or even a building, but it’s quite comfortable.’
    ‘Sounds like a cave to me, but you don’t need to tell me more if you don’t want to. I respect your secrets. I hope to see you again before I leave.’


~ 2 ~

While Jintar was visiting Khanat, Raman and Raya had ventured out of their subterranean hideaway. It was reached through a concealed opening to be found in one of the caves near the island’s west coast and also through several other tunnel systems.
    Jintar had given them permission to visit some nearby statues. Raya was running on ahead and was out of view. Suddenly she came hurrying back to her brother.
    ‘Raman we’ve got to get out of here as quickly as possible!’
    ‘Why, what’s happened?’
    ‘I’ve just seen a strange crowd of alien-looking beings.’
    ‘What are you talking about?’
    Raman went to investigate. He studied the scene from a distance.
    ‘They’re not aliens – they’re tourists!’
    ‘You mean they’re human?’
    ‘Yes, relatively speaking.’
    ‘Well why are they wearing those funny costumes.’
    ‘They’re not funny costumes. They’re ordinary clothes.’
    ‘But some of the beings are almost round in shape and waddle like ducks.’
    ‘They’re just a little overweight, that’s all.’
    ‘But what are those funny things they keep pointing?’
    ‘Cameras. They’re taking photos so they’ll have a record of what they’ve seen.’
    The two of them had now reached the platform on which the statues stood.
    ‘That tourist over there is using a light meter,’ said Raman, pointing. ‘Now he’s going to adjust the camera. Maybe it would help if I were to explain to you the laws of reflection and refraction, with the help of a few simple diagrams and equations.’ He pulled out a piece of chalk. ‘Now imagine that this . . .’
    ‘Raman! Stop! You can’t do that!’
    ‘Do what?’
    ‘Deface the platform. How dare you!’
    ‘Don’t exaggerate. It’s only a pile of rubble which has clearly been reconstructed fairly recently. And I’m only using chalk. It’ll wash off.’
    ‘That’s no excuse to vandalize the outer circle – it’s in a bad enough state as it is!’
    Two of the tourists had wandered over so Raya and Raman had to interrupt their argument.
    ‘Just look at that cute little girl,’ said the woman. ‘Isn’t she pretty! She must be one of the natives. Maybe you should give her a dollar bill, Jack. You know how poor they are.’
    Her husband took a dollar out of his wallet and held it out for Raya.
    ‘There you are little girl,’ he said.
    Raya stared at the banknote with a horrified look on her face.
    ‘Take it Raya,’ Raman whispered in her ear.
    ‘But look at its horrible, grubby aura. It makes me feel ill just looking at it.’
    ‘Is that wongowongo they’re talking, Hortense? It’s a quaint little language, isn’t it?’ said the man.
    Raman accepted the dollar on her sister’s behalf and thrust it into her hand.
    ‘Thank you very much, sir,’ he said in English. ‘You’re very kind. We wish you both a very pleasant stay.’
    ‘What a polite young man,’ said the woman as they walked off, ‘and so handsome.’
    The group of tourists were soon finished and dashed off in a van to the next site.
    ‘Aren’t the statues wonderful?’ said Raya. ‘The type of person they depict is not at all spiritual; they have a sensual, haughty, Atlantean look about them. But they make a very powerful impression. In fact the whole island radiates a sense of magic. And violence too, I’m afraid. It must have experienced many ups and downs.’
    ‘Can you use your clairvoyant powers to see what the island looked like when the statues were erected? I’d like to know more about its history and when the various statues were made and how they were moved.’
    ‘No, I’m afraid I can’t see that. I can only see what exists now. And there are absolutely loads of elves and gnomes. And goblins – whole colonies of them. They must be native to the island.’
    ‘I’m sure that’s very interesting,’ said Raman, ‘but I’d much rather study the history of the place.’
    ‘They know you don’t like them. That’s why they’re eyeing you suspiciously and keeping their distance. They’re very good judges of character.’
    ‘Thank you.’
    ‘Anyway I’m off to play with them. And don’t you dare deface any of the statues while I’m away or I’ll report you to the island authorities and have you arrested.’
    Raman pulled a face at her as she left. Then he went in search of a rocky outcrop where he could wield his chalk without fear of retribution.

Khamseen was having a drink with his wife outside a café near a little harbour. He was enjoying his stay and was in high spirits. He was relieved that his spell in prison had not put an end to their marriage, as he now realized that Uma was the best thing that had ever happened to him. He felt rather ashamed for everything he had put her through. They weren’t rich now, but they were comfortable and happy, and that was the main thing. And in another eight months he would be a father.
    A young man was walking past their table. He looked at them, and they looked at him. Suddenly they recognized one another.
    ‘Good God!’ exclaimed Khamseen. ‘Fancy meeting you here! Look, Uma, it’s our globe-trotting Buddhist friend who we met years ago in the village. You remember, during the freak light show above the mountain. It must be almost exactly five years ago.’
    Uma shook Jintar’s hand and introduced herself and her husband.
    ‘It’s nice to see you again,’ Jintar said in English. ‘How did your scientific investigation of the strange lights go? Have you published your report yet?’
    ‘Not yet. Our investigation had to be suspended due to lack of funding. And I’ve also been otherwise engaged for the past few years. But no more lights have been seen since, which proves I was right about it simply being a trivial one-off anomaly. Anyway, what are you doing here? Are you sightseeing?’
    ‘Yes, among other things.’
    ‘Have you managed to remember what country you’re from? You weren’t too sure last time we met.’
    ‘Well . . . I seem to remember that it’s very sunny there.’
    ‘Good, that narrows it down a bit. I mean there can’t be that many places on earth where the sun shines. Can there Uma? I still think you might come from cloud-cuckoo-land. Have you found out where that is yet?’
    ‘Near China?’
    ‘Not quite, but good try. And how did you get to Easter Island? Did you fly in from Santiago?’
    ‘I flew some of the way, but then walked the rest.’
    ‘You can walk on water too, can you?! You really are an amazing buddha!’
    ‘Oh I’m definitely not a buddha. It’ll be hundreds of billions – sorry, millions – of years before I even get near to becoming one.’
    ‘It sounds like you’re planning to live to a very ripe old age!’
    ‘Well it won’t happen in this life. I shall need hundreds of thousands of incarnations.’
    ‘Ah yes, of course: reincarnation, I was forgetting about that. By the way, is your mysterious friend with you? You know, the person I saw you with last time. Or is he hiding from me again?’
    ‘He’s around somewhere, but I’m not sure where.’
    ‘He still has a habit of vanishing into thin air, does he?’
    ‘He can be very elusive at times.’
    ‘And what’s he called?’
    Jintar thought for a moment, then replied: ‘I sometimes call him Warrior.’
    ‘Is that because he’s always getting into a fight?’
    ‘Sort of, but he only fights for worthy causes and with peaceful means. Are you enjoying your stay on the island,’ Jintar asked, changing the subject.
    ‘Yes, it’s a very nice place to get away from it all. And the statues are very impressive: it’s amazing what primitive people with nothing better to do can accomplish! There are also some very attractive natives. Not that I’m interested in other women as I’m a happily married man,’ he added hastily, taking his wife’s hand in his. ‘In fact we’re expecting our first baby in a few months. I shall soon be a very proud father.’
    ‘Well I’m very happy for you.’
    ‘Are you a family man yourself?’ asked Khamseen.
    Before Jintar could reply, a telephone starting ringing.
    ‘It’s playing the Stars and Stripes, so it can’t be mine,’ said Khamseen. ‘It must be yours. Aren’t you going to answer it?’
    Jintar reluctantly took the mobile phone out of his pocket. He wished he had left it in his subterranean quarters. Then again, it could be an important message.
    ‘Hello,’ he said quietly, moving away from Khamseen and his wife.
    ‘Hi Uncle George, it’s Alex.’
    ‘Alex?!’
    There was a brief pause.
    ‘Who’s that? . . . Is it Jintar? It can’t be!’
    ‘Yes, it’s me. George left his phone behind in the cave.’
    ‘Yes I know he’d lost it. I meant to ring his new number but I must have dialled his old one by mistake. Though I’m convinced I didn’t. Anyway, what an incredible coincidence! Where in heaven’s name are you?’
    ‘I’m on Easter Island.’
    ‘Easter Island?! We thought you might have been killed. It took us ages to find our way back to the surface. Then we organized a rescue party for you.’
    ‘A rescue party?! How kind of you!’
    ‘Not at all. But we couldn’t find our way down to the same depth again. Of course nobody believes that we descended well over three miles. God, I’m so pleased you’re alive.’
    ‘How’s your mother?’ asked Jintar.
    ‘She died three months ago. I told her all about you and what you’d said. In fact I wrote it all down as soon as I got back to the surface and read it to her several times. She told me to thank you if I ever saw you again. It was all very peaceful at the end. I miss her though. But tell me – where did you reach the earth’s surface again? I presume you didn’t travel all the way to Easter Island underground!’
    Jintar said nothing.
    ‘Did you?! Good God, you did! I was right all along!’
    ‘Right about what?’
    Alex was now talking very excitedly. ‘Ever since I was little I’ve been a fan of Jules Verne. You remember his book Journey to the Centre of the Earth?’
    ‘Not very well . . .’
    ‘Well I always felt that he was right. He was an incredible man. I firmly believe he could see into the future. And I wanted to repeat his “fictional” journey into the earth and vindicate him. That’s why I got interested in exploring caves. If it hadn’t been for that earth tremor I’m sure we could have reached the very centre of the earth.’
    There was a brief pause.
    ‘Jintar . . . Please can we meet up again. I apologize for the silly things I said to you. Please forget it all. I just have a strong feeling that you know more about what’s down there than I do. In fact you still haven’t told me where you’re from. Did you travel to Easter Island all by yourself?’
    Jintar hesitated. ‘Alex, please don’t ask me any more questions. Just know that you’re on the right track. I wish you good luck with all your future expeditions.’
    ‘Oh my God! Jintar, I think, I think you might actually live inside . . .’ Alex’s voice was becoming inaudible. The batteries of Jintar’s phone were apparently flat, and the conversation ended abruptly.
    Jintar decided not to replace them. It would be pointless. He could tell Alex nothing more without special permission.
    ‘Is everything ok, Jintar?’ Khamseen called to him.
    ‘Oh yes, thank you.’
    ‘I’m glad to see you monks carry a mobile phone with you these days. They’ve become indispensable, haven’t they? They provide instant access to the internet. So you always have the latest share prices at your fingertips – should you ever need them. Well, we’ll have to be on our way. We’re going on another tour today. Good bye.’
    ‘Good bye. Enjoy the rest of your stay.’
    ‘Same to you,’ said Uma.
    ‘He’s a funny little guy, isn’t he?’ Khamseen said to his wife as they moved off. ‘You know, I almost like him!’
    ‘He’s certainly incredibly good-looking and obviously in radiant health,’ said Uma.
    ‘Steady on, Uma. We don’t want you to blow a fuse!’
    Jintar put the mobile phone back in his pocket. His hand touched a piece of paper and he pulled it out. It was the first of the two notes he had found. It read simply ‘Collect the crystal’; the name of a hotel and a room number were written underneath. He was about to put it back in his pocket when his eye caught sight of something.
    ‘Holy shit! How could I have been so stupid?!’
    On the back of the note was a further message: ‘It’s in the bottom drawer.’
    He started running. He needed to correct his mistake without further ado. Most likely Khamseen had arranged a rendezvous with Sushila so he needed to hurry. He took a different route to avoid overtaking Khamseen and his wife.
    He soon reached the hotel and walked in the direction of Sushila’s room. On the way, he strode past another man. Suddenly he noticed it was Khanat.
    ‘What are you doing here?’ they said in unison.
    ‘I have to see someone,’ said Jintar.
    ‘What a coincidence. So do I.’
    ‘Who are you going to see?’ asked Jintar.
    ‘My professor said I could go on a trip today with a young lady I was sitting next to on the plane from Santiago. A very nice young lady. She’s called Sushila.’
    Jintar managed to conceal his astonishment. At the first opportunity he headed in a different direction to Khanat as he didn’t want him to find out that he knew Sushila and that she too had acquired a crystal. And if Sushila mentioned that she had a brother named Sahula, Khanat would easily make the connection with Jintar. Perhaps it didn’t matter. Maybe he was supposed to find out. But maybe he wasn’t, and Jintar wasn’t prepared to take the risk.
    Jintar left the hotel grounds as soon as he could. As he was walking out of the entrance Khamseen and Uma walked in, arm in arm.
    ‘Good heavens! You must be ubiquitous,’ said Khamseen in English.
    ‘Ubiquitous?’
    ‘Everywhere,’ said Uma.
    ‘You mean like the Infinite Deity?’
    ‘I’m afraid I don’t believe in “deities”,’ said Khamseen. ‘They’re rather passé.’
    ‘Ok, infinite nature, the ultimate reality, the one eternal, boundless essence – call it what you want.’
    ‘Hmmm,’ said Khamseen thoughtfully as Jintar walked off with a wave. ‘I suppose if you formulate it in those terms it almost sounds acceptable.’


~ 3 ~

Evening had fallen. Raya was sitting quietly in front of a rock communing with some ethereal beings and listening to the grass grow.
    ‘Come on Raya it’s time to go back to our quarters to eat,’ said Raman.
    ‘You go on ahead. I’ll catch you up,’ she replied.
    Raman and Jintar began to descend a cliff and continued their discussion on the geological history of Easter Island.
    ‘I was told it has been above and below water several times,’ said Jintar, ‘though its present surface was largely formed by volcanic eruptions since the mid-Pliocene. It formed part of Lemuria from the earliest times, and a great rock-city was built by the later Lemurians some thirty miles west of the present island. After a period of submergence, it was also above water during Atlantean times. When Atlantis was in its death throes, some Atlanteans escaped from the cataclysm and settled on Easter Island. But later they perished when it was suddenly destroyed by volcanic fires. I think it was last uplifted within the past half a million years.’
    ‘Hey look, there’s someone down there near the cave,’ said Raman. ‘It’s probably a stray tourist. We’ll have to wait until he’s gone.’
    Jintar stopped and looked. He felt a sudden thrill of excitement. ‘That’s not a tourist – it’s Sahula!’
    He quickened his descent and Raman tried to keep up. Jintar hadn’t seen Sahula for about fifteen months. He was filled with all sorts of emotions. He felt like taking Sahula in his arms but thought it would be undignified and inappropriate. But as for the virtue of detachment and dispassion – it was hereby temporarily suspended.
    Jintar threw himself on the ground at Sahula’s feet. Raman also knelt at Sahula’s feet.
    ‘This is most undignified, my friends,’ said Sahula with a laugh as he pulled them to their feet. ‘Welcome to Easter Island,’ he said, putting his arms round them.
    Jintar tried to pack the events of the past year and a quarter into as few words as possible: ‘Sahula, I got lost in the cavern world and had to battle with demons, and then I thought I found myself in the inner circle . . . but I got away from the Americans, then I met Raman and Raya at the crystal palace, and they had a crystal like mine, and we travelled on a flying seat, and I also have Khanat’s crystal but I didn’t see the rest of the note and Sushila has still got her’s. I’m sorry.’ He paused for breath, then added: ‘But you probably knew all that already!’
    ‘You’ve done just fine, Jintar, and all is as it should be,’ said Sahula. ‘In fact all three of you have done your homeland proud.’
    ‘But I haven’t seen my master for five years,’ said Jintar.
    ‘No, but he’s seen plenty of you.’
    ‘Oh?’ said Jintar with a surprised but hopeful look on his face.
    ‘Now, let’s go “downstairs” and I’ll tell you more about our plans for the coming days.’
    They went down into the subterranean complex, leaving the entrance open for Raya. Five minutes later she entered the illuminated room where they were all seated. She was panting heavily.
    ‘Phew! I’ve had so much fun today. I think I might stay on Easter Island. I’m getting used to the stronger gravity now, and the duller colours, the wind and rain, and the wild beasts and outer-circlers. And the goblins are so wonderful!’
    Raman frowned at Raya and motioned with his head towards Sahula.
    ‘I’m famished,’ said Raya, ‘I’m looking forward to some more delicious salad and fruit, and a nice beaker of refreshing juice.’
    ‘Raya!’ said Raman in a hushed voice. ‘Don’t be so rude!’
    ‘I’m not being rude at all,’ said Raya. ‘What are you talking about?’
    ‘I’m very sorry,’ said Raman to Sahula, ‘she’s not usually as impolite as this.’
    Raya looked directly at Sahula. ‘Oh!’ she exclaimed. ‘You’re in your physical body! I thought you were still in your astral body. That’s why I was pretending you weren’t here. Like I’ve done these past few days.’ She and Sahula began to laugh.
    ‘What are you saying, Raya?’ asked Jintar. ‘Has Sahula been here for several days?’
    ‘Of course he has. I’m surprised you couldn’t see him.’
    ‘Raya!’ said Raman crossly. ‘Why didn’t you tell us?’
    ‘You never asked. Anyway, I knew you’d say I was just imagining things – like you normally do!’
    ‘Sisters!’ said Raman with a weary sigh.
    ‘Where’s Dazak?’ asked Jintar.
    ‘We’ll be seeing him in a day or two. He’s making some final preparations.’
    While Raya and Raman were fetching in the food, Jintar began to leaf through a guidebook on Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, that Sahula had acquired from one of the Brotherhood’s ‘friends’ on the island. As they began to eat, he suddenly started to laugh.
    ‘It says in this official guidebook that none of the cyclopean statues or platforms on the island is more than about fifteen hundred years old!’ he exclaimed. ‘What a joke!’
    Raya and Sahula joined in the laughter, while Raman frowned sternly.
    ‘The outer-circlers can’t possibly be that stupid,’ he said. ‘It must be a printing error. They probably just forgot a couple of zeros!’
    ‘You’re too optimistic,’ said Sahula. ‘The official view is that Easter Island was first settled by Polynesians from other Pacific islands, beginning around 400 AD – that’s about thirty-five centuries after the start of the kali-yuga. Then about thirteen hundred years later it was discovered by the Europeans and later the Americans, who brought with them the benefits of their civilization – such as disease, guns and slavery.’
    ‘But who do the outer-circlers think were here before the Polynesians?’ asked Raya.
    ‘No one.’
    Raya and Raman looked at each other in astonishment.
    ‘You can’t be serious!’ exclaimed Raya. ‘What about earlier visitors from our own fifth root-race, and what about the Atlanteans before them, and the Lemurians before that?’
    ‘The official view is that no such civilizations existed. Our teachings on the subject are dismissed as total rubbish.’
    ‘But our great masters can see such things with their advanced clairvoyant powers and they also have access to ancient records!’ said Raman.
    ‘Yes, but the outer-circlers can’t see such things and know of no such records.’
    ‘Even so, they can’t rule out the possibility of lost civilizations.’
    ‘Nevertheless, most of the “experts” do.’
    ‘But who do they think the statues represent?’ asked Raya.
    ‘Well, they admit that the figures don’t look at all like Polynesians. So one view is that they’re stylized portraits of former chiefs and rulers, or perhaps deities. Of course they dismiss local legends about “mana” or mind-power being used to move the statues, by commanding them to walk. And they also dismiss native legends of their ancestors being giants and coming from a submerged Pacific continent, and of statues already existing on the island when the first Polynesian settlers arrived.’
    ‘Oh the poor outer-circlers!’ Raya sighed. ‘So blissfully ignorant and short-sighted!’
    ‘Yes, it does seem rather preposterous to think that a totally isolated, primitive culture could be responsible for all the megalithic remains we find here today. The natives also had an enigmatic script known as rongorongo, and some of its characters are very similar to writing used by the ancient Indus Valley civilization on the opposite side of the world thousands of years before Easter Island was supposedly first populated. And the platforms at Vinapu and several other places include perfectly-fitted, polygonal megalithic blocks – a type of construction found at Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu and Sillustani in Peru. These sites are normally attributed to the Incas, though the original structures actually predate the Incas by several hundred thousand years!
    ‘But at least there are a few outer-circlers who are beginning to develop more radical ideas – and don’t forget I’m an outer-circler myself. And when enough people become receptive, further discoveries will come to light – and be passionately fought over.’

Khanat, Sushila and her four companions had taken an evening stroll to some statues by the ocean on the outskirts of the town. They had split into three couples and were wandering around the site, talking and taking photos.
    ‘I’ll be very sorry to have to say goodbye to you in another week,’ Khanat said to Sushila as they sat down on the grass. ‘What a pity we live so far apart.’
    Khanat did not fully understand all the emotions he had been experiencing during the past few days. He had felt drawn to Sushila straight away, and had immediately felt at ease with her. In his wilder fantasies he had even considered the possibility of moving to her country and marrying her. But his commitments to his own family did not allow that. And his feelings would no doubt wear off once he was immersed again in his busy daily routine. He was determined to try and retain his grip on reality. But he did sometimes feel such a longing.
    Sushila was similarly surprised at how quickly she had fallen for Khanat. She had never met anyone quite like him. Something between them seemed to click . . .
    ‘Excuse me. I’m sorry to disturb you.’
    A sweetly smiling young girl was standing behind them. Neither had seen her approach. She spoke English slowly and deliberately. A teenage boy with a stern expression was standing beside her.
    ‘I have brought you a message.’
    ‘Who from?’ asked Sushila.
    ‘From your brother, Sahula.’
    Sushila gasped in astonishment. She got to her feet, gripping Khanat’s hand and pulling him up with her.
    ‘He would like to see both of you. Now. Please follow me.’
    Raya turned and walked off, with Raman by her side.
    ‘Did I say it properly?’ she whispered.
    ‘You were brilliant,’ her brother replied, patting her on the back.
    Sushila and Khanat followed them, filled with surprise and eager anticipation.
    ‘I’ve not yet told you about my brother Sahula,’ said Sushila. ‘I wasn’t sure how to go about it, or what to tell you.’
    ‘I think I’ve already met him.’
    ‘What do you mean?’
    ‘I met a remarkable young man called Sahula years ago in Egypt. A member of a secret Brotherhood. He has a friend called Jintar. He’s here on the island too – I’ve seen him. I just can’t believe that Sahula is your brother!’
    ‘You know my brother and Jintar!?’ Sushila was lost for words. It was almost too much for her. Khanat put his arm around her to steady her, then quickly let go of her, uncertain what Sahula might think.
    Khamseen had caught a glimpse of Khanat and Sushila moving towards the rocks arm in arm, and said to his wife: ‘I think there could soon be another baby on the way!’
    ‘Khamseen!’ laughed Uma. ‘Don’t be so wicked!’
    Khanat and Sushila were suddenly confronted by Jintar, who stepped out from behind a rock.
    ‘Well, fancy meeting both of you here!’ he said. ‘Our mutual friend is in the small cave over there. I’m going to keep watch.’
    Sahula stood up as Khanat and his sister hurried towards him. He gave his sister a quick hug.
    ‘So here we are together again,’ he said to her, ‘for the first time in five years. It’s a pity our mother isn’t here, but even as we speak she is receiving a letter from me. And, Khanat, it’s now just over ten years since we first met. But I have observed you both closely from time to time. I have seen your trials, your hopes and achievements. And I have watched, and occasionally helped, as others far higher than me have worked through you to bring the two crystals of power safely to this remote spot.’
    ‘You have a crystal too?!’ Khanat said to Sushila.
    Sushila nodded.
    ‘Yes, I moved it from your case to a drawer,’ said Sahula, ‘for reasons I won’t go into, but Jintar didn’t know. It doesn’t matter. This morning I took the liberty of helping myself to it. By carrying the crystals with you, you have added something of yourselves to them. Jintar and the young girl Raya also brought similar crystals, from other parts of the earth. These very same crystals are among many that have been shifted from place to place for millions of years. You are the latest links in the chain. They will remain together beneath Easter Island until the changing cycles demand a new realignment. They are only a small component of the energies circulating through the earth, but their influence is nevertheless felt.’
    Sahula was once again experiencing some sort of dual identity. Was it really Sushila’s brother who was speaking? The person who had spent years of his childhood with her? Part of him still had that feeling, and sensed the strong ties of kinship and blood. But at the same time he seemed to be someone else, speaking from outside his body, more impersonally, a voice representing the Shambhala Brotherhood.
    Sushila, too, felt that the person standing before her was both her brother and yet not her brother. Whoever he was, she loved him and felt in awe of him. She listened intently as he began to tell them more about the earth’s energy grid.

Jintar, Raya and Raman followed Sahula down flight after flight of steps carved into the volcanic rock. The crystals they were carrying filled the tunnel with light.
    ‘Be very careful not to stumble, all of you,’ said Sahula. ‘These steps continue to a depth of about half a mile.’
    At the bottom somebody was waiting for them.
    ‘Dazak!’ cried Jintar, ‘I haven’t seen you for countless aeons!’
    They all greeted one another.
    ‘Master Zoro is here in person to oversee the ceremony of the crystals,’ said Dazak.
    ‘The Great Master Zoro?!’ said Raya. ‘Oh what an honour! Will we be able to see him?’
    ‘Certainly. In fact he wishes to speak to you and your brother privately to thank you for your efforts.’
    The two siblings looked at each other in disbelief.
    ‘Maybe we should have spent less time arguing,’ Raman whispered to his sister.
    ‘We haven’t been arguing that much,’ Raya whispered back.
    ‘Yes we have!’
    ‘First, however, the master will see Sahula, and then Jintar,’ said Dazak.
    Sahula went into the chamber that Dazak pointed him to. He had seen his master several times on the astral plane over the past five years. Zoro spoke to him of the progress he was making.
    ‘You have experienced for yourself how your powers and judgement are impaired whenever your mind dwells too much on personal likes and dislikes, emotional attachments and other entanglements. To be engaged yet detached, a vehicle of unconditional love, of impartial justice – that is the challenge that everyone must eventually rise to. And it is a process that will take many many lives. Stick at it!’
    Jintar had neither seen nor heard from Zoro for five years, not even during his one-year stay in the inner circle. He suspected that this was because his master was displeased with him. So when he found himself standing before him, he began by apologizing.
    ‘I’m very very sorry for getting lost in the cavern world and for all the other numerous mistakes I’ve made. I promise to try and do better in the future,’ he said quietly with lowered head.
    Zoro laughed loudly. ‘It’s not your fault you got lost, Jintar. It was me who clouded your mind and made you get lost!’
    ‘Oh!’ said Jintar.
    ‘Yes, because I thought you were strong enough to undergo certain trials and come out a winner. And fortunately I was right. If I’d been wrong, you would have ended up insane – or dead. You have shown that you are strong enough to stand on your own feet. What good would you be if I had to appear to you every few minutes to give you instructions?’
    ‘I’d be even more useless that I often am.’
    ‘You know, Jintar, you seem to be labouring under a delusion . . .’
    ‘Just one of many, I’m afraid,’ said Jintar.
    ‘You seem to think that false modesty is a virtue, whereas it’s actually as big a vice as excessive pride. You must learn to recognize what you have done well without becoming arrogant, and to recognize what you have done wrong without becoming morbidly depressed. Reflect carefully on the following: He who is not lowly in his own sight will never be exalted in the sight of others. But he who does not know his own worth will never appreciate the worth of others.’
    Zoro was about to dismiss Jintar but said: ‘You have a question you want to ask me.’
    ‘Well, I think I already know the answer. I don’t want to waste your time but . . .’
    Zoro waited patiently.
    ‘Well, can’t I, or you, or the Brotherhood do something for Alex.’
    ‘You mean Alex the caver – the young man who fell for your inner-circle charm and beauty!’ Zoro began to laugh.
    Jintar looked embarrassed but tried to see the funny side.
    ‘What do you suggest we do for him?’ asked Zoro.
    ‘I’m not sure. Maybe give him some sign that he’s on the right track.’
    ‘You’ve already done that. And he would never have descended as far as he did without our assistance. We’re certainly not going to invite him to the inner circle; the only outer-circlers who are allowed to go there are accepted chelas. And Alex is not chela material – not yet, though he has some very positive characteristics. Let him continue to explore, and perhaps from time to time he’ll get “lucky” again, and the news will gradually spread, and encourage others to search for themselves.
    ‘It’s understandable that you are impatient: you would like to see as radical changes as possible in everyone and everything within your own lifetime. But we see the bigger picture, and think in terms of many lives, in fact of many cycles. Evolution proceeds slowly, and we help it along as best we can. Trying to force things to move too fast would ultimately be counterproductive. So I really can’t do anything for Alex. Remember, we have no favourites and show no preferences.’
    ‘I understand,’ said Jintar.
    ‘I do however think you ought to return the mobile phone to its rightful owner.’
    ‘But I don’t have George’s address.’
    ‘You’ll find Alex’s address is stored in the phone. We have a friend on the island who understands these gadgets and he will help you to retrieve it and mail the phone for you. You may enclose a message of no more than seven words. Then you must leave Alex to his own devices. We have many other things for you to do in this life.
    ‘And now, be off with you, my faithful chela! Please send in the last two patients.’
    While Raya and Raman were speaking with Zoro, Jintar thought about what he would write to Alex. Finally he decided on the following message: ‘Explore the mysteries within.’ And he would sign it: ‘Your brother, Jintar’.

Half a mile below the surface of Easter Island, Raya, Raman, Sahula and Dazak placed the four well-travelled crystals in position at the four corners of a large square platform of granite, ten yards long and one yard high. It stood in a circular chamber twenty-five yards across.
    ‘Stand well back now,’ said Zoro to Raya and Raman.
    What happened next was almost too fast to follow. Each crystal emitted two narrow beams of light at rights angles to one another. The beams collided in the centre of the four sides of the granite platform, then shot diagonally upwards, meeting at a single point, from which four rays shot down to the four corners of the base. A pyramid was now outlined in light. Slowly the space inside the pyramid became luminous, and grew in brightness, dazzling the onlookers.
    Zoro stepped forward and swept his hand upwards through the air. As he did so, the white light intensified further and began to pulsate, throwing off immense waves of energy in all directions.
    After several minutes the luminosity began to grow dimmer until finally it disappeared altogether. Zoro beckoned Jintar and Raman to approach. He said something to them then placed his hands on their foreheads. And as their vision opened, they saw and wondered and understood . . .

The other members of the group had ascended to the surface, leaving Sahula and Dazak behind in a dark chamber lit by a solitary ray of light.
    ‘You already know what I’m going to say,’ said Dazak.
    ‘You’re leaving – for good.’
    ‘Yes, I’m going to the outer Shambhala. In a few months, when the planets move into the right alignment, I shall leave my body behind and set out on a long journey after higher knowledge.’
    ‘And if your quest is successful, you’ll return from your initiation as an adept.’
    Dazak turned to the entrance of the chamber and said: ‘You can come and join us Jintar.’
    Jintar shuffled forward, unable to see much in the dark.
    ‘I’m sorry if I’m intruding, I just had a feeling that . . .’
    ‘It’s alright. I summoned you here. You’ve not yet realized how much has changed within you over the past year or so. Your inner senses are slowly opening. You may not gain the same powers as Sahula in this life, but the growing temptations you’ll face will give you more than enough to handle.’
    ‘Thanks for the warning,’ said Jintar. ‘And thank you for putting up with me and instructing me all these years. Will we be seeing you again?’ he asked in a subdued tone.
    ‘We will if our future duties cause our paths to cross. Let’s wait and see. The bonds we have forged will not easily be broken.’
    ‘In the meantime, our love goes with you,’ said Sahula.
    Dazak brought both hands together in a sacred sign, then moved swiftly out of the chamber and was gone.
    Sahula and Jintar stood wrapped in thought, reflecting on their experiences with Dazak. As they began to walk slowly back to the surface to join the others, Sahula recited a verse from a sacred text:

    ‘When the warrior conquers and enlightened stands,
    Waves of joy ripple across the land.
    An arhat is born, a servant of the Law –
    A pilgrim has returned from the other shore.’

‘How do you like the stars, Raya?’ asked Zoro.
    The five of them had just watched a glorious sunset on the surface of the island and were now gazing up at the heavens.
    ‘They’re absolutely gorgeous, Master,’ said Raya. ‘Just listen to the symphony of sound as they pursue their courses through space. And look how they’re all reaching out to one another with streamers of light – rivers of beings flowing along the magnetic pathways from sphere to sphere. How awe-inspiring!’
    ‘Yes,’ said Zoro, ‘each star is a stellar being, a beacon of divine light. And the earth too must become a beacon of light. But this requires each human being to become a beacon of light as well, working in synchrony with others, illuminating others, and acting in harmony with nature. For if we help nature and work with her, we become her co-creators, and reap immense wisdom and immense power.
    ‘Here in the outer circle selfishness and strife are still rampant. But this is no cause for despair. Remember that any beings, anywhere in the universe, who are passing through the same evolutionary stage of free will and selfconsciousness will face similar temptations, succumb to similar delusions and experience similar growth pains. But thankfully nature constantly confronts us with the consequences of our deeds, and so step by step we advance towards enlightenment.
    ‘The path that each individual must tread is the same time-worn path of compassion that all our predecessors have travelled before us, for we follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before. Life after life we must strive towards purity in thought, word and deed, and above all devote ourselves to the needs of others. Therefore rededicate yourselves daily to the ideal of universal brotherhood, and help to make that ideal a reality.’


THE END



Warrior of the Soul: Contents

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