Warrior of the Soul

Book 1

into the whirlwind


David Pratt

© July 2001

Part 4   Journey to the inner circle

~ 1 ~

Shambhala, sacred Shambhala. That night Sahula could think of nothing else. He had been taught that Shambhala was the headquarters of the occult Brotherhood. But its exact location was shrouded in mystery. In its broadest sense, Shambhala denoted any sacred, spiritual place. Every individual had their own inner Shambhala – at the spiritual core of their being. There was said to be another Shambhala at the heart of the sun. On earth two Shambhalas were spoken of: one of them was situated in Tibet or the Gobi desert, west of the Lhassa meridian; the other was situated at the north pole.
    Sahula had also been told that the first ‘human’ root-race in the fourth round – consisting of huge ethereal, ovoid beings devoid of selfconscious mind, who began to evolve some 150 million years ago in the Paleozoic era – lived on a land at the north pole. Around its periphery were seven zones, like the petals of a lotus, while the central part of the land capped over the north pole. But Sahula had been given hints that the ‘central land’ really had a much more mystical meaning. It was also called the ‘Imperishable Sacred Land’ – yet there was not known to be any land at the north pole today.
    At dawn the next morning, Dazak and Sahula departed.
    ‘Where exactly are we going?’ asked Sahula.
    ‘To Shambhala – the Land of the Eternal Sun.’
    ‘How far away is it?’
    ‘About eight hundred miles.’
    ‘Is it in the Gobi?’
    ‘No. Below the Gobi.’
    ‘You mean in Tibet?’
    ‘Below Tibet.’
    ‘In southern China?’
    ‘You’ll see.’
    ‘So why are we heading north?’
    ‘Because that’s the way to Shambhala.’
    Sahula fell silent and tried to puzzle out the riddle. No master or chela was permitted to tell a direct lie; but they were allowed, and sometimes required, to make misleading statements in order to conceal what they were not allowed to reveal and to encourage others to think for themselves. Sahula eventually reached the provisional conclusion that first they were going to visit sacred localities in the north, before travelling to Shambhala, in a remote region of China.
    Three hours after their departure, they were walking along a valley towards a solid wall of rock. Dazak was a long way in front, as Sahula’s left knee was giving him pain; it had never fully recovered from the blow delivered by the man with the axe. Sahula stopped to rest for a moment and watched Dazak walk toward the rock face – he walked straight into the solid rock and disappeared.
    Puzzled, Sahula ran up to the cliff face. It felt quite solid. He had no doubt that a physical human body could not dematerialize sufficiently to pass through solid rock. Perhaps Dazak had thrown a veil of akasha around his physical body and rendered himself temporarily invisible. Or perhaps what he had believed to be Dazak’s physical body had really been his physicalized astral form all along.
    Then a thought occurred to him. He began to feel his way along the rock face. It all felt quite solid, until suddenly his hands seemed to disappear into the ‘solid’ rock – where there was really no rock at all, just the appearance of it. His hands and lower arms were now invisible. Using his hands and feet he felt out the contours of a fairly large opening. He stepped inside. It was pitch black. He looked back towards the opening, but no light at all penetrated into the tunnel.
    Suddenly, a torch lit up with flame a few feet away. It was Dazak.
    ‘Learn to distinguish illusion from reality. Listen to your intuition, not your outer senses. Let us continue.’
    Dazak handed Sahula the torch, then walked on ahead and disappeared into the blackness. Sahula followed, torch in hand, wondering how Dazak could see where he was going.
    The tunnel was just high enough to stand up straight in. After a few yards it began to descend.
    Sahula had been told by his master that the entire globe was honeycombed with a network of tunnels and caverns – partly natural, partly man-made. Perhaps the tunnel led all the way to Shambhala.
    After walking briskly for over an hour, Dazak stopped and allowed Sahula to catch up. It was very warm in the tunnel and Sahula was sweating profusely. A trickle of water was seeping from the roof of the tunnel and disappeared into a hole in the floor. Sahula drank from it and bathed his face.
    ‘Where are we heading now?’ he asked.
    There seemed to be little danger of Dazak divulging too much.
    A few minutes later they were on their way again. Now the tunnel began to descend more steeply. The floor was uneven and in places damp and slippery, but gradually Sahula gained in confidence and quickened his pace as the descent steepened again.
    The next thing he knew he had lost his footing and was hurtling through the air. He landed heavily on his left knee, rolled over several times and came to rest as his head hit a rock. Feeling dazed, he sat up, his face screwed up in pain. The torch lay nearby but the flame had gone out. Dazak picked it up, blew on it and it burst into flame.
    Sahula looked at his knee, which was gashed and bleeding. Dazak passed him the torch and placed both his hands over the injured knee. He closed his eyes and concentrated. Sahula felt a tingling sensation and after a few minutes the pain disappeared. After a few more minutes Dazak took his hands away. Sahula could not believe his eyes – there was not the slightest trace of any injury or any blood.
    ‘That’s impossible,’ he said.
    ‘That’s amazing!’
    ‘The body’s capacity to heal itself is “amazing”. I’ve merely accelerated the process by increasing the flow of vitality.’
    ‘Aren’t you interfering with my karma by undoing the damage done by the man with the axe?’
    ‘In a sense people are “interfering” with one another’s karma every time they interact. We have to exercise our judgement in deciding how far we should go – especially when the use of occult powers is involved. Anyway, I owe you one.’
    ‘What for?’
    Dazak looked at him with a faint smile but said nothing.
    Sahula wondered whether Dazak intended to heal the slight scar under his left eye – another reminder of his encounter with the man with the axe.
    ‘It suits you, Sahula. Every warrior bears his scars – visible or invisible.’
    ‘Aren’t you intruding on my privacy by reading my thoughts?’ Sahula asked silently.
    ‘You shouldn’t think so loud,’ Dazak replied with a laugh. ‘As you will learn, there’s a special bond between us – we go back aeons.’

~ 2 ~

Soon they were off again, down and down, sometimes through winding tunnels and passageways and sometimes beneath huge galleries crowned by immense rock arches. At times they walked alongside murmuring streams and at other times their thoughts were drowned by the roar of cascading torrents. Occasionally Sahula stopped to drink. He had never tasted such delicious water: it was so rich in minerals that it had an inky flavour. He had not eaten anything since the start of the journey, but the water seemed to still his hunger.
    His legs ached but he barely noticed, as his mind was fixed on the novelty of the journey and their mysterious destination. Occasionally during his rest periods, he felt so exhausted that he drifted off to sleep. He had no idea how long they had been travelling, but the days were surely ticking by.

During a pause in a huge cavern, Sahula asked where they were.
    ‘Nearly twenty miles below the earth’s outer surface,’ came the reply.
    ‘I thought the earth was supposed to be molten hot at this depth.’
    ‘And so it is in certain places – but not here.’
    ‘Where does the earth’s heat come from?’
    ‘Radiation from the sun accounts for about a third, and the rest is generated by the interplay of electromagnetic forces between the earth and the thick veil of meteoric dust surrounding it. The heat generated in the earth’s interior is not produced primarily by radioactivity but by a subtler process unknown to modern science.’
    Sahula thought for a moment.
    ‘Khamseen told me that the earth’s outer layer, about a hundred miles thick, is divided into several huge slabs or plates, which slide around on a plastic layer of partly molten rock. That’s how the continents drift. Is that right?’
    ‘No, total bunk. Seismic data show that the so-called molten layer only exists in certain areas. Geologists are well aware of this but most of them prefer to ignore the implications. What’s more, the layer concerned is interpreted to be molten because seismic waves slow down in it – but this interpretation is wrong. So the idea that vast areas of the earth’s rocky shell can be displaced horizontally by thousands of miles is a complete fantasy. Continents are about as mobile as a brick in a wall.’
    ‘Khamseen said that everyone agrees the present landmasses were once joined together in a single huge continent because the coastlines on opposite sides of the Atlantic fit together perfectly.’
    ‘The overall fit is far from perfect: one version even has an overlap of eight hundred thousand square miles in Central America and the Caribbean. All the proposed continental reassemblies face serious geological objections, and none of them leaves any room for ancient landmasses in the present oceans. But the truth is that continents mainly rise and fall. In Tertiary times – between about one and eight million years ago according to occult reckoning – the earth’s landmasses included a continental system in the Atlantic ocean.’
    ‘You mean Atlantis – the home of the fourth root-race.’
    ‘Yes, and in the heyday of Atlantis there was more land than water on the face of the earth. In the earliest Atlantean times, much of present-day Africa and South America was still slumbering on the ocean-bed. Before that, in the Mesozoic, the Age of Reptiles, which began forty-four million years ago, there was a vast continental system centred in the Pacific Ocean, but extending at one time in the shape of a horseshoe up to the northern polar regions.’
    ‘You mean Lemuria – the home of the third root-race.’
    ‘Yes. So land and sea alternate. It’s well known, for example, that nearly all the sedimentary rocks composing the continents were laid down under water. These seas were often quite shallow, but the enormous thickness of the sediments in some areas shows that the crust has subsided locally by up to fourteen miles. Marine sediments are also found on what are now mountain summits several miles high. It’s interesting to note that if there’s land in one part of the globe, there tends to be water at the opposite side of the globe. This would be a remarkable coincidence if the continents had randomly drifted thousands of miles to their present positions.’
    ‘But Khamseen said that whereas the oldest continental crust is several billion years old, the ocean crust is no more than a couple of hundred million years old, and this proves that ocean crust is constantly being created at midocean ridges and consumed or “subducted” in ocean trenches.’
    ‘Yes, but to maintain this belief, geologists have to ignore or explain away thousands of very ancient rocks that have been found in the oceans and the growing evidence for large areas of submerged continental crust. Deeper ocean drilling will eventually confirm that the crust beneath the present oceans is just as old as the crust of the present continents.’
    ‘I wish you’d explain all this to Khamseen.’
    ‘We exert our influence only on already fertile minds and even then almost never in person.’
    ‘What sorts of forces bring about the uplift and submergence of continents?’
    ‘Rocks can expand and contract and move up or down as a result of temperature changes and phase changes. Major stresses and strains are sometimes produced by the accumulation of electric charges along the fault lines crisscrossing the earth’s rocky shell. Sudden electric discharges can bring about cataclysmic effects, including the collapse or creation of vast cavities in the earth’s shell and the sinking or uplifting of crustal blocks. The long-term cycle of emergence and submergence is governed by the elemental energy-waves emitted by the earth’s so-called core, which in turn is linked to planetary and solar influences.’
    Sahula decided he had enough to think about and sat silently for a while.

~ 3 ~

They set off again. They descended a seemingly endless flight of steps, hundreds upon hundreds of them, carved into the rock. When they reached the bottom, Sahula’s legs were trembling like jelly.
    They sat down on the rocky floor. Dazak took the torch and extinguished it with his bare hand. Sahula noticed that even without the torch he could see several yards around him. His eyes must be growing accustomed to the dark, which was now a dim twilight.
    As they left the outer surface further and further behind, Sahula found he could see farther and farther around him. He was immersed in a soft, self-luminous haze. Finally he asked:
    ‘Where’s this light coming from?’
    ‘The earth is beginning to generate its own luminosity and the intensity will increase as we descend deeper. Since the light is produced all around us, there are no shadows.’
    As the descent continued, Sahula was surprised to notice simple forms of vegetation growing on the rock in places.
    ‘We are about to enter the cavern world,’ said Dazak. ‘You will see plant and animal life of every shape and size, including types that have long since disappeared from the outer circle and some that have never lived in the outer world.’
    ‘Plants and animals inside the earth? Impossible!’
    And amazing it truly was. Some fifty miles below the earth’s surface a strange new world opened up. They were now descending along a narrow ledge on a cliff face, which formed one of the walls of an immense cavity in the earth’s crust. Far below was a forest of colossal fungi and a variety of other shrubs and plants. The vegetation appeared to grow out of the bare rock. There were birds flying through the air and animals could be seen in the undergrowth far below. There were also streams and lakes and waterfalls in abundance.
    They passed through many such caverns, each containing different varieties of lifeforms. Sahula asked whether humans, too, had ever inhabited the cavern world and Dazak replied that at certain times in the past, during violent natural and man-made catastrophes, certain groups of people had been allowed to take refuge there. He also explained that some parts of the cavern world were veritable hells, zones of dugpa influence, inhabited by vicious beasts and humanoid creatures.
    Sahula noticed that some of the shades and tints of colour looked quite unfamiliar to him and were of unknown richness and delicacy. Dazak explained that the outer world was currently in too material and dense a state for such colours to be visible there. However, since the earth was now on its ascending arc of evolution and was beginning to grow more ethereal again, they would again become manifest towards the end of our own fifth root-race, just as they had been perceptible in the days of the more ethereal third root-race.

As they pursued their journey, Sahula noticed that he seemed to be gaining strength; he found himself taking giant steps and sometimes making great leaps from rock to rock.
    At that moment Dazak stepped off a huge boulder, dropped over thirty feet through the air and landed softly on his feet. With scarcely a moment’s hesitation, Sahula followed suit.
    ‘What’s happening?’ he asked.
    ‘Gravity is decreasing and will reach zero at the circle of rest, seven hundred miles below the outer surface – which is now nearly a hundred miles above us. Strictly speaking of course there’s no such thing as gravity as understood by science.’
    ‘What do you mean?’
    ‘There are two basic forces in nature – attraction and repulsion, of many different grades. What scientists call “gravity” is the sum-total of two forces: an attractive force and a repulsive force. Under normal conditions, the force of attraction is slightly stronger than the repulsive force, resulting in an overall very weak gravitational effect. Gravity and antigravity depend on charge rather than inert mass. By altering the polarity of an object with respect to the earth, it can be made to levitate.’
    ‘What happens to gravity beyond the “circle of rest”?’
    ‘It increases again – for another hundred miles, as far as the next circle. After that it decreases again, just as it does above the earth’s outer surface. If the “scientific” theory of gravity were correct, the huge caverns you are passing through could not exist – their roofs would collapse under the enormous weight of overlying rock.’
    Sahula was also struck by the fact that he no longer felt tired or hungry. Dazak explained that as they descended, they were entering slightly more ethereal conditions and their bodies were absorbing nutrients directly from the air. He told Sahula that his heartbeat, and in fact his entire metabolism, had slowed down.
    Sahula thought for a moment.
    ‘I still don’t understand how science could be so wrong about the inner structure of the earth. What about volcanoes – don’t they prove the existence of large amounts of molten magma?’
    ‘Yes – but only on a local scale. Sometimes pockets of molten rock are produced by the high temperatures resulting from the buildup of electromagnetic charges, especially in fracture zones. Sometimes electric currents generate heat when they meet the resistance of less conductive material. If water from either surface or subterranean sources comes into contact with locally superhot rocks, this has explosive effects. Also, large quantities of water sometimes come into contact with huge deposits of sodium and other metallic bases, and the violent chemical reaction that ensues forces melted rock and steam to the surface through fissures and crevices, resulting in earthquake or volcanic activity. The movement and eruption of subterranean gases also play an important role in many cases. The electromagnetic, magmatic and other fluid currents in the earth’s shell correspond to the various currents of electricity, blood and pranic life-energy in the human physical and astral bodies, and to the similar circulations of energy and vitality throughout the cosmos.’
    ‘So how did scientists arrive at their false model of the earth’s interior?’
    ‘Mainly on the basis of seismology. Earthquakes produce shock waves that travel outwards from the focus in all directions and are reflected and bent by the various layers of rock they pass through. From their interpretation of the different types of wave recorded at different places on the earth’s surface, scientists have gradually built up a detailed model of the earth’s interior: a solid inner core, a liquid outer core, a mainly solid mantle and a thin solid crust. This model is almost completely wrong.’
    ‘How come?’
    ‘The distance from the earth’s surface to the earth’s centre is nearly four thousand miles, whereas the deepest borehole drilled so far is less than ten miles deep. But even at these shallow depths the findings have already disproved various predictions based on interpretations of seismic data. So why should we have any faith in all the “scientific” theorizing and speculation regarding the earth’s composition hundreds or even thousands of miles beneath our feet?
    ‘Seismic data do not allow the exact path taken by seismic waves to be reconstructed. Nowadays supercomputers are used to interpret the vast amounts of data available. And the computer programs are written of course by humans and are based on certain assumptions. The main assumptions are that pressure and density and temperature increase all the way to the earth’s centre – and all these assumptions are wrong. If you spin a substance in a centrifuge, for example, the denser material ends up furthest from the centre – and the earth is, after all, a spinning sphere. And in the remote, ethereal past, it used to spin far faster than it does today.’
    ‘So what is the real structure of the earth?’
    ‘You will learn that for yourself – provided you negotiate the “well of hope” successfully. But I can tell you that the centre of the earth is closely associated with one of the kingdoms of elementals.’

~ 4 ~

The journey continued, through narrow crevices and winding passages, through great cliff openings and lofty caverns. Sahula had lost all track of time. There was no day or night down here – just continuous, steadily intensifying luminosity, soft and radiant. It was a paradisiacal world, with a constant, moderate climate and stunning scenery and lifeforms – a delightful blend of sights and sounds. At times Sahula wondered whether it was all an illusion.
    The next time they stopped, Sahula had a question about Shambhala to put to Dazak:
    ‘Is the south pole really the north pole? Is Antarctica the Imperishable Sacred Land?’
    ‘No. The north pole remains the geographic north pole and the south pole remains the geographic south pole throughout the whole life of the earth. The tilt of the earth’s axis is continuously changing, usually very slowly, but sometimes with great rapidity, and at times it becomes inverted. But even when the earth is upside down, what we now call the north pole remains the true north pole. Scientists deny that the earth’s axis can become completely inverted, or even change by more than a few degrees, because they know of no force that could produce such an effect. Then again, they cannot even explain how the earth manages to rotate on its axis – but it keeps on turning just the same. Scientists do believe that the north and south poles of the earth’s magnetic field can suddenly become reversed, but they seem to have great difficulty distinguishing local disturbances of magnetic polarity from global reversals.’
    ‘What produces the earth’s magnetic field?’
    ‘One of the main factors is the earth’s rotation in the ether of space, the earth being an electrically charged conductor. It has nothing whatsoever to do with imaginary currents of electrically conducting material in the earth’s imaginary liquid outer core.’
    Another thought came into Sahula’s mind:
    ‘Is Shambhala the cavern world as a whole?’
    ‘No, it is not.’
    ‘So where or what is it?’
    ‘Put together all the scraps of information you have received and you will discern the truth. And then you will be ready to make the leap – into the dark. At the sphere of rest you must listen for my voice, Sahula – for I shall be close by you, though far away.’
    They looked at one another in silence. Sahula had no idea what Dazak was talking about but nevertheless had unshakeable faith in him. He supposed he would find out what all this mumbo-jumbo was about in due course.
    Dazak took hold of Sahula’s hand and smiled.
    ‘Come, brother, let us continue our journey to the inner circle.’

Some time later, they stopped to bathe in a huge lake. Its surface was so unruffled and pellucid that from afar it had looked like a vast sheet of dark glass.
    After a refreshing swim in the cool, perfectly transparent water, Sahula sat down on a rock and again focused his mind on the mystery of Shambhala. He considered the possibility that instead of being the cavern world as a whole, it was one vast cave, somewhere far below the surface of the earth. He thought back over his master’s words during their last meeting together: Shambhala was of this physical earth, but not on this earth, yet was two thirds the size of the earth. He recalled the vision he had had just before his initiation. And Dazak’s words about Shambhala and about the outer and inner circles. Shambhala had been eight hundred miles from their point of departure. The distance from the earth’s outer surface to the sphere of rest was seven hundred miles, and from there it was a further one hundred miles to the ‘next circle’. Shambhala had been below the Gobi, below Tibet, below . . . In a flash the answer came to him.
    Impossible! Amazing! Could it be true? He wandered casually over to Dazak who was sitting on a large rock, his eyes closed.
    ‘Dazak, is the earth hollow?’
    ‘It is no more hollow than space is empty, Sahula.’
    ‘Precisely!’ said Sahula to himself. That was just the sort of evasive answer he might have expected. For most of outer space was empty – at least to our physical senses. Sahula understood that, in reality, boundless space was filled with, and in fact composed of, worlds within worlds – infinite consciousness-substance in infinitely varied grades of density. But only energy-substances of the same rate of vibration as our own outer bodies were tangible and visible and ‘physical’ – the rest of space appeared empty.
    Sahula had his answer. The earth’s convex outer surface was the outer circle. Shambhala was literally the inner circle – the concave inner surface of the earth’s solid physical shell. ‘Gravity’ worked from both surfaces ‘downwards’ and ‘inwards’ towards the sphere of rest; like the outer surface, the inner surface was probably habitable and covered by a breathable atmosphere. At the earth’s core there was probably a central sun; hence the inner world was the Land of the Eternal Sun. The only question that remained was how they were going to cross the circle of rest – the zone of weightlessness, where up and down lost all meaning.

~ 5 ~

Several hours later they emerged from a narrow passage into a circular cavern, about half a mile in diameter. They were high up on a rocky embankment from which a path led down to the floor of the cave far below. There was no vegetation here – just bare rock. At the centre of the cave there was a circle, about twenty feet in diameter, from which billowing clouds of what looked like black smoke seemed to be emerging, up to a height of several feet.
    As Sahula gazed down he heard Dazak’s voice behind him.
    ‘This is an initiation chamber. We are seven hundred miles from the inner circle. From here on you must follow your inner guide. Have courage and keep faith.’
    Sahula turned to face Dazak – but Dazak was nowhere to be seen. Yet he was sure he had just heard his voice. Dazak’s latest disappearing trick filled Sahula with a sense of eager expectation and he wondered what the next challenge was to be.
    He carefully made his way down to the floor of the cavern and walked to the strange circle of black smoke in the middle. He discovered it was not smoke at all – something seemed to be neutralizing the light. The circle appeared to be an opening of some kind. He knelt down at the edge and peered in – but could see nothing. It was probably some sort of pit. But how deep was it and where did it lead to? He would have to be careful not to fall in! He stood up and walked all the way around the circumference of the cave, hoping to find a clue as to what he was supposed to do next. But the chamber was completely empty. Feeling puzzled, he sat down to think and closed his eyes.
    Enwrapped in perfect silence, he relived the past few weeks and reflected on everything that had been said to him. His options were limited: either he could try and retrace his steps back to the earth’s surface, or sit here until someone came to fetch him, or . . . He felt a rush of adrenaline as the answer dawned on him. The pit in the centre of the cavern was the ‘well of hope’ – a six hundred mile leap into the dark, to the circle of rest! Was he supposed to jump? Or was it a test to see if he was stupid enough to jump?
    Sahula ambled over to the well and gazed down into the blackness. He edged closer so that his toes projected over the rim of the opening. Should he take the plunge? . . .
    ‘No, Sahula!
    Sahula spun round. A figure was running towards him.
    ‘Don’t jump!’
    It was Fujal!
    Sahula could not believe his eyes. The two friends embraced. Fujal was panting heavily and beads of perspiration were rolling down his face.
    ‘Thank god I found you in time. If you jump you’ll be incinerated. It is hot at the centre of the earth – only a fool would believe otherwise.’
    Sahula gazed at him intently. Fujal’s voice sounded hollow, almost metallic, within the chamber.
    ‘Dazak is a traitor and is in league with the dark forces. He’s been cast off by my master – who has not rejected me at all. He said I was still on the right path whatever my shortcomings and now I’ve reformed myself. He knew that Dazak was out to destroy you and ordered me to come and rescue you. We have important work to do together in the real world. You won’t be much good to anybody if you get fried alive!’
    Sahula continued to gaze at him, his face inscrutable.
    ‘Dazak is already on his way back to the earth’s surface. He knew you were so innocent and trusting that you would probably jump. The real Shambhala is not at the north geographic pole but at the earth’s spiritual pole, which is in northern Tibet – not in a fiery furnace at the centre of the earth! When we get back to the outside world, I have orders to take you to the real Shambhala, where you will meet my master, who is going to make you his chela. Serapis asked him to do this before he left for his final initiation. My master also said you’d be allowed to visit your mother and sister from time to time.’
    Still Sahula stood silent and expressionless.
    ‘Modern science is partly wrong about the inner structure of the earth, Sahula. But it is not completely wrong. The idea of a hollow earth is a gigantic absurdity, a hollow fantasy. And all the plants and animals you’ve seen in the caverns were an illusion; Dazak is a master of black magic. As for the woman who claimed to be “Helita” – she’s really one of Dazak’s accomplices and is no better than a two-faced little scrubber.’
    Fujal held out his hands to Sahula.
    ‘Come, my brother, there is a bond between us that nothing can break. Let us return to the real world and do the work that we are destined to do.’
    Sahula folded his arms and smiled. Fujal’s anxious expression also broke into a smile.
    ‘Well, you certainly seem real enough. And what you say is certainly an interesting story. Nevertheless, you’re a fraud, a phantom, a dugpa delusion!’
    Sahula turned and stepped to the edge of the abyss.
    ‘No, Sahula. Don’t jump!
    Sahula obeyed his intuition – and jumped . . .

~ 6 ~

Down and down and down he sailed . . .
    Deeper and deeper into the pit . . .
    Further and further into the jet-black blackness . . .
    Mile after mile after mile – until he lost all sense of time.
    A six-hundred-mile fall to the sphere of rest! He expected that his momentum would carry him somewhat beyond the circle of rest, but then his speed would slow and he would come to a momentary halt and begin to rebound. After oscillating up and down a few times, he would eventually come to rest at the circle of weightlessness. After that, he had no idea what would happen.
    Initially he felt a sensation of falling, but it soon disappeared due to the quiescent state of his heart, lungs and blood, and the fact that the pull of gravity was weakening mile by mile. The rushing wind that initially surrounded him also began to lessen, even though he was steadily accelerating, for the attenuated atmosphere that existed here was becoming thinner and thinner.
    As he fell, the memory of Fujal flashed through his mind and he wondered what the real Fujal was doing now . . .

Many hundreds of miles away, Fujal stepped to the edge of a precipice and prepared to launch himself into the air. He would surely be killed instantly when he hit the ground hundreds of feet below . . .
    After being expelled from the inner circle, he had decided he wanted nothing more to do with monastic life. So early the next morning he had left the monastery where he and Sahula were staying. He was sure it was Sahula he had seen on top of the hill, following him. But he wanted to be alone.
    Maybe he would have been better off if he had never heard of occultism and had lived a normal life. His attempt to follow the path of discipleship, of accelerated evolution, had ended in miserable failure and humiliation. After being admitted to the inner circle, he had initially made swift progress. But then his pride began to get the better of him; he had begun to feel important and had relaxed his efforts at self-control. Time and again he had resolved to correct his ways, only to fall back into his old habits after a shorter or longer period. Each concession to his lower impulses had led to still greater concessions, culminating in the events that had led to his expulsion. He could not understand how he could have done such things, just weeks before his seven-year probation was due to end. But he had not allowed himself to stop and think. He knew full well that his master could see straight through him at a glance. Yet he had still gone ahead and corrupted others. He had thrown away everything he had achieved – for a few barren moments of lust.
    For several weeks he had wandered aimlessly, living like a wild animal. Fierce emotions took hold of him – shame and regret, anger and defiance, self-hatred and self-pity. At times he felt envy, malice and even hatred towards his former companions, and railed inwardly against their callousness and ingratitude, but deep down he knew he was merely projecting onto them the contempt he felt for himself. He despised himself for being too weak to overcome the degrading urges and impulses that had periodically plagued his life.
    Sometimes he resolved to betray every last secret he had been taught. But he realized that this would be futile, because he’d most likely be locked up as a lunatic! At night he was frequently tormented by hideous visions and hallucinations. All manner of foul and sordid scenes and suggestions – of lust and violence and murder – tormented his fevered mind. Finally, he could bear the strain no longer and, on the verge of insanity, he resolved to put an end to his wretched existence. He deserved more than expulsion: he deserved to die.
    He stood on the edge of the cliff, one leap away from death. He flexed his muscles and prepared to jump. At that moment, there was a blinding flash in front of him; the mists of madness parted and he enjoyed a moment of utter lucidity. It lasted only an instant, but long enough to bring him back to his senses. He had become possessed by hostile forces, which had robbed him of his noble aspirations and the determination and willpower to achieve them.
    He knelt on the ground and ran his hands through his tangled hair, struggling to resist the overpowering sensation of anguish and despair. He knew perfectly well that death would not bring oblivion: after death he would be exactly what he had made himself during life. Suicide would cast him into a nightmare of mental suffering, in which all the thoughts and emotions and deeds that had led to his final, desperate act would be relived again and again, till finally he reached what would have been the natural term of his life and was released from his earth-bound state.
    But even if he were to continue living, he had no guarantee that he would have the strength to live according to his ideals. Then again, did such a guarantee ever exist? This constant battle was at any rate more challenging and adventurous than dwelling for ever in some eternal ‘heaven’ of sterile perfection. He resolved to return to the living. All the struggles and sacrifices would be worth it in the end – but how terribly remote that end now seemed.
    He decided he would go back to the monastery, admit the error of his ways, and ask to be allowed to remain in residence there in some menial function. Whether he would really be able to reconcile himself to his demotion and disgrace he did not know. But at least he could try.
    He stood on the very edge of the cliff, wondering how long his new-found resolve would last. His master had warned him that the higher we try to climb, the greater the potential fall. By committing himself to the path of chelaship he was inviting intensified assaults from all the weaknesses within him and all the malevolent forces outside him. He had failed to withstand them, but he had been told that each failure should be made the stepping-stone to future success. The dugpas within and without had almost destroyed him, but he had turned back from the brink. That at least was something. He became aware of the breathtaking scenery around him and smiled. Now it was time to continue his life.
    There was only one problem – getting down! He was standing on top of a column of rock, several yards across. Before him was a sheer drop of several hundred feet. On the other three sides the rock rose vertically from the gentler slopes of the mountain some seventy feet below. It was from here that Fujal had somehow scaled to the top of the crag. He could not remember what route he had taken; he had been half-crazed and had felt no fear – it had not mattered whether he fell or not, since he intended committing suicide anyway! Now, however, he felt sick with fear.
    Gingerly he lowered himself from the top of the crag and found his first foot-hold. With his left foot he tried to find his next foot-hold. At that moment, his right foot slid off its support. His arms took his full weight and desperately he clung on as his feet flayed the air. By swinging his legs to the left he managed to find new foot-holds. His perilous descent continued slowly for several minutes. His route took him round to the face with the largest drop, but for the time being this was the least of his concerns.
    Then he discovered to his dismay that he had reached a part of the crag so smooth that he could descend no further. He would have to climb back up and find a different route. Labouriously he began to ascend again. He lifted his left foot onto a projecting knob and, pushing against the side of a thin crevice with his right hand, he threw all his weight onto his left foot and raised himself up, his right foot and left hand feeling blindly for support.
    And then it happened. The projecting piece of rock supporting his left foot abruptly snapped off and Fujal fell.
    He screamed in abject terror and lashed out frantically with his arms and legs. But there was nothing to cling on to – his fall could have only one outcome . . .
    As he accelerated towards his death, his initial feeling of terror gave way almost to a feeling of gladness that his miserable life was to end so soon and so violently. ‘May it wash away some of my sins!’ he thought to himself. As he tumbled through the air, scene after scene passed before his inner vision. He saw himself as he really was, unadorned by flattery or self-delusion. He saw his failures and sorrows, his triumphs and joys, and he made his peace with his past. Next time he would surely do better . . .
    Fujal’s body slammed into the rocks at the foot of the cliff. It bounced very slightly, then lay there, limp, broken and motionless. Blood trickled from his mouth. He was still alive, but only just. For a moment he imagined he saw his former master standing beside him. But his eyes were closed. His consciousness was fading fast and a profound peace descended upon him. A moment later he breathed his last.
    A figure emerged from the shadows, lifted Fujal’s lifeless body gently aloft and walked slowly away . . .

~ 7 ~

Sahula wondered how many hours had passed since he had jumped into the abyss. How many days had passed? Was he still falling?
    He felt like he could stay here for an eternity – suspended in perfect stillness, stretched out in perfect bliss. He was barely breathing; his heart was barely beating. He had lost all sense of his physical body and was floating outside it.
    Just one hundred miles from the inner circle.
    The thought ruffled his becalmed mind.
    Just one hundred miles from the inner circle. Where a new life and new duties and Dazak awaited him.
    Listen for my voice, Sahula . . .
    He had pledged himself to the masters, to the cause of humanity. Was he now to evade his responsibilities and break his pledge?
    To serve humanity with all our heart and all our soul is the only lasting joy that we can know on this earth.
    Sahula tried to shake the troubling ripples of thought from his mind. He was free of his body, at one with the world; he just wanted to die and sleep and dream . . .
    Visions of his past began to tumble through his mind, but he drove them out. Suddenly he heard Ranjit’s head being cracked against the tree. His body shuddered.
    Was he to lie cocooned in peace and bliss while the world suffered? Was he to die to the world while the world cried?
    Somewhere Dazak was waiting for him.
    Listen for my voice, Sahula . . .
    With all these restless thoughts and strange voices, how would he ever find peace?
    Again he heard and saw Ranjit’s head being cracked against the tree by the man with the axe. Again he saw an explosion of ethereal light as the vitalizing energies were instantly withdrawn from Ranjit’s body and his soul soared free. For a moment something within Sahula wanted to cry out, but he remained impassive. All was karma, each was part of all, and all was one; justice would prevail. What could he do?
    Every positive thought and deed lifts a little of the heavy karma of the world.
    He saw his master’s wrinkled face before him, his compassionate smile, his unruffled serenity.
    The will is the one irresistible power in nature . . .
    Sahula felt dazed, his life-forces were ebbing away. But from the depths of his being arose a burning, overpowering determination to continue his mission. Summoning up every ounce of willpower at his disposal, he brought his attention to a focus – and his mind snapped back into control of his body. He focused his thoughts on Dazak.
    ‘Move to the side of the well, Sahula.
    Sahula had lost all sense of direction, for there was no point of reference anywhere. Just a spaceless, timeless, airless blackness.
    ‘You are lying horizontally. Move forward and to the right.
    Sahula instinctively stretched out his arms in front of him and willed himself in that direction. Was he moving?
    ‘Keep moving. Would you be a slave to selfishness or a master of life?
    Every assertion of his will destroyed the pleasurable sensations and caused him pain.
    ‘We are occultists not hedonists, Sahula.
    Sahula gritted his teeth and continued to will himself to the side of the well.
    His hands touched rock.
    ‘Move your hands higher.
    He felt an opening. He floated towards it, put his head inside and opened his eyes. A blinding, dazzling light flooded in upon him and he drew his head back into the blackness in pain.
    Again he floated into the entrance and opened his eyes, shielding them with his hand. He was in a narrow tunnel and floated along it, completely weightless. He wondered which way was up and which was down. The answer came when he reached the end of the tunnel, for he found himself floating very gently to the ‘ground’.
    He removed his hand from his eyes and found that the light was now endurable. He saw a passage leading upwards and bounded along it with slow, gigantic steps. He came to an immense flight of stairs, hewn into the rock, and began to climb them, leaping up several at a time, almost without effort.
    For hour after hour he ascended through passages and caverns, his weight increasing rapidly all the time. Whenever there was a choice of routes, he followed his instinct, confident that he would reach his destination. Finally, he grew tired and lay down to sleep.
    For day after day the journey continued. Sahula was enchanted by the beauty and grandeur of this luminous subterranean world, with its beautiful plant and animal life. Sometimes he would sit and meditate, soaking up the invigorating forces that pervaded this pure and peaceful realm.

~ 8 ~

Sahula was walking along deep in thought. Suddenly his reverie was brought to an abrupt end by the sight of an object lying on the ground a short distance ahead of him. He approached it cautiously, barely able to believe his eyes. On the ground at his feet lay a long-handled axe. He knelt down and examined it, swamped by a flood of unpleasant memories. Sensing that there was worse to come, he stood up and, with growing apprehension, turned round slowly . . .
    There was no one in sight.
    Breathing a sigh of relief, he turned round quickly to continue his journey. His heart missed a beat . . .
    For the second to last time he found himself face to face with the man with the axe.
    The man laughed wildly. He took a step towards Sahula and Sahula stepped back. The man took another step forward and Sahula took another step back. Then the man bent down and picked up the axe.
    Sahula sensed that he was confronted not with a physical being but with a materialized astral form. But was the real man with the axe working through it? He wasn’t sure. But he did feel sure that either the dugpas, the brothers of the shadow, were the real powers behind the scene, or the mahatmas, who were staging a new test for him. It didn’t really matter. He could smell danger.
    The man spoke:
    ‘You almost made it, Sahula. But was it worth it? You sacrificed your brother by trying to play the hero. Then you calmly abandoned your mother and sister to their fate. Are you not a perfect model of selfishness?’
    Sahula stared at his taunter impassively.
    ‘I have dreamed of this moment for a very long time,’ the man went on, ‘and have devised the most excruciating tortures.’
    Sahula laughed out loud. The man was underestimating him and the powers that had been germinating within him during recent weeks. His mind was calm and focused and his will was strong. Not since the climax of his initiation all those months ago had he felt so powerful and so invincible.
    He concentrated his attention on the man’s arm. The man frowned as his hand, clutching the shaft just below the axe-head, moved involuntarily towards his own throat. He struggled to resist, but Sahula intensified his will. The man was completely at his mercy. Sahula felt as if he was the focal point for mighty steams of inflowing energy and that he could crush this tiresome man instantly if he so wished. The razor-sharp blade of the axe was just inches from the man’s throat. Sahula instinctively hesitated.
    ‘Well finish the job, you coward,’ the man snarled angrily. ‘Unless you want me to slit your throat. Or shall I crack your head open like an egg, like I did with your whining little brother?’
    Sahula knew that he had no intention of harming this pitiful figure. Revenge and retaliation were against everything he stood for. It was true that the weapon would have little or no effect on the astral form itself, but if the real man with the axe was involved it might injure his physical body by repercussion. And he couldn’t risk that. Resigning himself to whatever karma had in store for him, he relaxed the grip of his will on the man’s arm. The man, whether real or not, was an instrument of his karma and could do nothing to him that he had not deserved. Whether he lived or died was of no great importance; he would have plenty more lives to continue his quest.
    ‘I do not resist. You may kill me if you wish,’ he said simply.
    ‘ “I’m a wimp, please kill me”,’ the man mocked, trying to imitate Sahula’s meek voice. ‘You pathetic weakling!’ he sneered contemptuously. ‘Call yourself a man?!’
    Sahula decided there was no point trying to explain to him that, as a chela of the masters of wisdom, he had a very different ideal of manhood. He looked at the man sadly and awaited his next move. He felt only pity for those who had wilfully chosen the path of evil.
    Then all at once the man’s form became transparent, shimmered for a moment and faded away. Sahula looked about him as he thought he could still sense the man’s clammy presence. But he could see nobody.
    He strode off towards a sharp bend in the corridor, confident that he was very close to his destination.
    ‘Not so fast, Sahula!
    Sahula spun round. He saw an object hurtling towards him through the air. As he instinctively dived to one side, he heard a loud splintering sound as a long-handled axe embedded itself in the rock about a foot away from his head, creating a shower of sparks. His heart pounded as he picked himself up and looked about him. There was no one to be seen.
    A moment later, there again came the sound of an axe whipping through the air. He barely had time to move, as the axe smashed into the rock, just inches from his head.
    His body was trembling as he got to his feet and looked around him. There was total silence – except for the noisy thumping of his heart.
    In the distance he again heard the familiar sound. He instinctively threw himself to the ground. This time the axe embedded itself in the rock right beside his face, its cold blade touching his cheek.
    Sahula staggered to his feet, his body shaking from head to foot. He was quickly being reduced to a quivering wreck.
    Suddenly his heart started racing even faster as he once again heard an axe hurtling towards him. It was time to put an end to this madness. He folded his arms and stood completely still. There was no use fighting: what must be, must be.
    The axe loomed larger, its head glinting as it sped towards him. Certain death was just moments away. Then a fraction of a second before impact, the axe instantly lost every ounce of momentum and fell limply to the ground at his feet.
    ‘So much for the laws of physics,’ Sahula thought to himself. Clearly his time to die had not yet come.
    He wiped the sweat from his face and stood there for several minutes, allowing the tension to dissipate and his heartbeat to return to normal. He felt a strange sense of dissociation. Was it really he who had just survived a run-in with an axe? He seemed to have a vague recollection of having watched serenely from above as the whole scene unfolded before him, while some other person – or part of himself – had been occupying his body.
    Looking around he could see no axes embedded in the rock – just the one at his feet. But nothing could surprise him any more. Everything was no doubt exactly as it should be. His master had told him to expect all manner of trials and tribulations, and he must simply take them all in his stride. He was certainly still alive, his limbs were intact, calm had been restored, and once again he was pervaded with that increasingly familiar sensation of heightened power and energy.
    Now that he had survived yet another ‘incident’, something within him simply wanted to sit down and cry. But apparently he had other plans, for he started walking and, turning a sharp corner, he saw an opening a short distance ahead of him and beyond it – blue sky. A few moments later he stepped out into the open air . . .

~ 9 ~

He had reached the Inner Circle.
    The air was very warm and felt pregnant with vitality. He was overwhelmed by the vividness of the colours, scents and sounds. He was standing at the bottom of a hillside, with a forest of fruit trees a short distance away.
    He gazed up into a deep-blue sky at an enormous red sun – the earth’s central sun – directly above his head, poised at the centre of the earth, some three thousand miles away. He took a few steps and noticed that his weight was still somewhat less than on the outer surface. He walked over to the trees. In addition to the light from the central sun, luminosity appeared to be generated at every point in space, for there were only very faint shadows beneath them.
    He stood under an apple tree, filled with wonder at this inner Garden of Eden and its lower gravity.
    At that instant an apple hit him gently on the head.
    He glanced up into the dense leaves and branches.
    One day, he mused, quite a few theories about the earth would have to be rewritten, and . . .
    Another apple hit him softly on the head.
    ‘This seems more like the work of intelligence than coincidence,’ Sahula thought to himself.
    He heard the sound of giggling coming from the branches overhead. He looked up. The leaves parted and the brown face of a boy peered down at him. He leaped from the branch and alighted gently beside Sahula. He was dressed in dark blue robes and looked about fourteen years old.
    ‘Welcome to the Inner Circle, Sahula,’ he said in Senzar, bowing his head and grinning broadly.
    Sahula smiled and asked him his name.
    ‘My name is Jintar.’
    He picked up the two apples he had thrown down and handed one to Sahula.
    ‘They are ripe. Please take one.’
    Sahula thanked him and took a bite. It tasted unusual but refreshing.
    ‘Please follow me, Sahula.’
    The boy led him to the top of the hill – where Dazak was waiting. He walked over to Sahula and looked at him solemnly and silently. Then he smiled and brought his hands together in greeting.
    ‘Welcome, Sahula.’ He, too, spoke in Senzar. ‘Welcome to Shambhala – the Imperishable Sacred Land.’
    Dazak gave some instructions to Jintar, who nodded, bowed politely to Sahula and hurried off.
    Sahula surveyed his surroundings. On one side of the hill, beyond the forest, lay a vast lake, stretching into the distance, while on all the other sides further green hills could be seen. In this concave world, the ground curved upwards, as far as the eye could see. Sahula looked at the luxuriant vegetation, most of it quite unfamiliar to him.
    ‘The plant and animal life in the inner world differs in many ways from that in the outer world,’ Dazak explained. ‘However, the basic types are the same – which is not surprising since they were all originally incubated here, in the womb of the earth. Some of our highest adepts reside here. And there are several settlements, inhabited by people undergoing special training for future lives in the upper world – or “hell”, as we sometimes call it. One day – millions of years hence – the outer world will be as luminous and semi-ethereal, and as peaceful and harmonious, as this inner sacred land.’
    ‘How many entrances does it have?’ asked Sahula.
    ‘Many. There is even one not far from the north pole, but carefully concealed and protected.’
    ‘How long will I be staying here and what will I be doing?’
    ‘During the next year or so you will accompany me and Jintar on our travels. You will also meet my master, who will become your new teacher – provided everything goes according to plan. The inner world is in many ways a paradise, but it is not without its dangers, temptations and illusions – as you will learn. During your stay here you will undergo many changes. Perhaps you may finally realize who you really are.’
    Dazak then left Sahula on the hill, telling him to meet him later at the lakeside.
    Sahula sat crossed-legged on the lush green grass. The central sun shone down brightly upon his head.
    He could barely believe that all this was happening to him – a simple village lad. He had no idea what he had done to deserve the right to be here, but he would simply continue to live as usefully as he could.
    His thoughts turned to his mother, whose selfless nobility of spirit had given him the right to set out on his quest. And to Ranjit, for whom he would so gladly have given his life. He thought of his master, who had done so much to awaken his soul-nature and who was probably undergoing trials of his own. And he thought of the man with the axe, who, blinded by ignorance, was sowing the seeds of so much future suffering for himself.
    Sahula recalled his first meeting with his master. He had been told that the highest and noblest ideal he could cherish was the bodhisattva ideal. A bodhisattva was a highly evolved human being who had attuned himself to his higher nature and learned all that the earth had to teach, thereby earning the right to a long period of nirvanic peace and bliss, but who chose to renounce nirvana and remain on earth to help struggling humanity. Not long afterwards Sahula had taken the sacred bodhisattva vow:

Never will I seek or receive private, individual salvation;
never will I enter into final peace alone;
but forever, and everywhere, will I live and strive for the redemption
of every creature throughout the world.

    Sahula understood that there was no real separateness in nature: all members of the human family were woven from the same divine essence and interwoven by magnetic ties of thought and sympathy. By committing himself to the path of compassion, he was allying himself with the mighty spiritual powers that govern the universe and with all those who were striving to promote human brotherhood.
    Sahula happily got to his feet. He would press onwards, firmly but gently, and with a quiet cheerfulness. The future was unknown but full of promise. And of one thing he could be sure: many adventures awaited him.

Warrior of the Soul: Book 2

Warrior of the Soul: Contents

The mahatmas

Theosophy and the seven continents

Mysteries of the inner earth