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Children of the Light - By S Mukerji

Children of the Light - By S Mukerji

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Published by Subroto Mukerji
A chance encounter with a small-time crooner sends an anthropologist researching the Dreamtime of the Aborigines on a fantastic trip that shapes the future of the world.
A chance encounter with a small-time crooner sends an anthropologist researching the Dreamtime of the Aborigines on a fantastic trip that shapes the future of the world.

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Published by: Subroto Mukerji on Aug 23, 2010
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08/25/2012

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Children of The Light
As Dr. Chandan Bhowmick stepped up to the mike, a hush fell over the hall. The Press had been waiting eagerly for this moment for the last three days of the International Conference on Child Development. Dr. Bhowmick, they knew, was a controversial figure in the field, and there is nothing reporters like better than controversy: it is their very bread and butter. So as he opened his address, their pencils hovered expectantly over their pads even as voice-activated pocket recorders clicked on automatically in their pockets. It was well known that this mild mannered, slightly stooped and balding figure was a fierce iconoclast who had rocked the sedate world of Child Development. His revolutionary hypothesis, that men had failed to become men because civilization had intervened, was the target of the most savage attacks ever launched against any social anthropologist since Darwin. “…and over almost ten years of long and lonely walkabouts in the Great Australian Outback, in my youth, I collected enough material to gain a faint insight into the true nature of the Dreamtime legends of the Australasian aborigines.” The voice was soft, almost apologetic. It was hard to link it with the shattering theories published in his recent papers to Science and The Royal Society. He went on unhurriedly, “I have come to the conclusion, tentative yet backed by my experiences, research and certainly my intuition, that the Dreamtime is nothing if not a verbal record of a lost age of Man, a Golden Age if you please, when Man was a superman, in possession of all his faculties.” Dr. Bhowmick paused to take a quick swallow from the glass of water on the rostrum before resuming his address: “Not just the five basic senses, mind you, but higher senses and sensibilities. He was so perfectly attuned to Nature and to the Universe itself that he failed to see any difference between himself and the rest of creation. His unfettered, untrained, ‘childish’ and unconditioned mind, uncluttered by the dross of civilized society, possessed of its full potential, roamed the cosmos and mastered it even as he led a simple, nomadic existence in harmony with the rest of the planet. I will try to explain that this Dreamtime, Golden Age— call it what you will—is in the Here and Now, very much a part of our Present, and within reach of anyone with a mind so open as to see it.” A hubbub of dissent arose in the vast hall, but the voice of the President, as pleasantly neutral as that of a Wimbledon referee’s, intervened to quell it. Dr. Bhowmick used the brief interval to pull out

3 a handkerchief and polish his glasses, a patient twinkle in his eyes. He went on unperturbed: “Intrigued by the findings of my younger days as a social anthropologist, I returned to India, my homeland, to see whether the legends and sagas of ancient India had anything to contribute to my postulates about the hoary past. I found—in a nutshell—that in the old myths of our people, going back to a time out of mind, an antiquity so hoary that western scientists will contest the chronology on the grounds that the Earth itself had not then been created, I found further evidence of this…this promised land, the Promised Land of the Bible. I speak of a distant time, long before recorded history. It was a time when men, in possession of all their faculties—including the higher ones, now alas lost, though still dormant within us—were privy to the greater experience that we, as human beings, are rightful heirs. Which would be ours—if only we could shed the conditioning, the unnecessary baggage, of a ‘civilised’ way of life. We move as in a dream, half awake and unfulfilled, ignoring a vast universe that lies beyond: The Dreamtime, a long-lost…” Dr. Bhowmick hesitated for a moment, then continued in a strong voice… “a long-lost Atlantis of the Mind!” Pandemonium broke out in the hall. Several prominent scientists leapt to their feet, shaking their fists at the man at the lectern, mouthing obscenities. Accusations of ‘charlatan!’ and ‘subvertist!’ were yelled at him. Deputies were called in as a small, vocal group of Dr. Bhowmick’s supporters clashed with his hecklers. The sound of furniture breaking and fists thudding into bone resounded in the hall as the august deliberations degenerated into ugly brawling. Armed guards formed cordons around the distinguished guests and rushed them to the safety of their vehicles. Dr. Bhowmick had done it again. Which is what the newspaper headlines screamed the next morning. Entire columns were devoted to the Outback and legends surrounding the Great Dreaming of the native Australians. Many editorials were devoted to verbal myths of obscure tribes in South America, Tibetan lore, the Mahabharata, Elijah’s vision, the saga of Atlantis, the lost Minoan civilization, and to the theory of cyclic human evolution. Thinkers and savants from Aristotle, Bruno, and St. Augustine to Lao Tze, Confucius, Sri Aurobindo, Teilhard de Chardin and Paramhansa Yogananda were reviewed and compared. The warnings of Max Planck and Oppenheimer were recalled. They had insisted that a new age had dawned. The only danger, they claimed, lay in not recognizing it for what it was: an age in which Man had to accept the fact that he was changing, and must come to terms with his own evolution. Dr. Chandan Bhowmick was amused to find himself

4 in such august company. He would have been stunned if anyone had told him that one day he would join their ranks. As he slowly ate his frugal breakfast of oatmeal porridge, orange juice and coffee, Bhowmick pondered his next move. He had reached the stage when he had to take a step further in his research. Money was always a factor. He could no longer depend on the family estates. The tea plantations were gone, sold to local mafia that made them offers they dared not refuse. Life had become very cheap in his homeland, and the law was helpless before constant political interference. His father, who had so willingly funded his activities, was long dead. The grants promised by the United Nations Committee on Research into Primal Intelligence had run into opposition from the rival lobby that had a strong representation in the Secretariat. He had few supporters, mostly mavericks like himself. All he had were postulates, well explained but lacking the punch of conclusive evidence. He was stuck, like the last time. His mind went back over the years, remembering…. * It was a sleazy little honky-tonk in downtown Sydney. He had been back from one of his excursions into the Outback a week earlier, and was resting up before the next one. If he didn’t locate new sources of funding, it would be his last trip. He hadn’t a clue what the Dreamtime was. It was hard to get close enough, both metaphorically and literally, to the Australian natives, to try and learn about it. He did not trust the extant theories, coming as they did from western scientists, few of whom were willing to explore metaphysical or psychic avenues of explanation. They were too timid to expose themselves to ridicule. He had lived with the Bushmen of the Kalahari. Like the aborigines, they seemed to have little spoken communication and no written language. But the keyword was ‘seemed’. What ‘seemed’ was not always what ‘was’. Appearances could be deceptive, especially when dealing with shy, primitive peoples who were reclusive and shunned outsiders. The aborigines of the Outback made little more than a few birdlike sounds—at least in his presence. He wondered that they managed to communicate at all! Yet, like the Bushmen of Africa, who had no long-distance communication aids, they could travel from all directions, covering vast distances, to assemble at one spot. Modern science had never unraveled the mystery. As he sipped his beer and planned his next move, the song in the background intruded into his thoughts. It was an old favourite of his —‘You Are My Sunshine’—and it was sung so well that he turned to look at the singer. She was older than her voice suggested. She was

5 probably around thirty-three, and looked it. After the number, he sent her a note of appreciation. She did not reply. The next night he was back, and this time he sent her a request for ‘Ma Cherie Amour’. She sang it extraordinarily well, he thought, and this time he went up and told her so as she settled down by herself at her small table. She looked at him appraisingly, noting the deep mahogany of his skin, his foreign accent, and his shyness. Something—perhaps his sincerity—made her gesture to the chair opposite, and after a moment’s hesitation, he sat down. Up close, he realized he’d been wrong. She looked thirty-two but was not more than twenty-eight, just about his own age. They made small talk as they sized each other up, and she was frankly admiring that he had come all the way from India to follow a scientific hunch. She had grown up in a large family of six brothers, none of whom supported their aged parents. She scraped together a living singing at bars and smaller restaurants along the southern seaboard, and sent half her modest income home. He finished his drink and ordered another round for them, but she refused with a smile; she had to get on with her ‘act’. Night after night, Bhowmick sat with her as she told him her life story, her dreams (she wanted to marry and settle down in either Sydney or Melbourne), and her problems. He was easy to talk to. He listened well and said little. It seemed to Bhowmick that he had never met a nicer person. She encouraged him to keep searching: ‘Y’know, I have a feeling you’ll be famous one day. You just have to keep at it, mate. Only those with faith in themselves ever succeed. I’m going to make it, too, you can bet on that’. She looked around at her depressing surroundings and giggled. Bhowmick warmed to her. She was witty, practical, and very talented. Attractive, too, he conceded to himself. She was sure to make it. He had a gut feeling about it and told her so. She was surprisingly well read. Apparently she had nursed an ambition to take a degree in Law before the realities of her situation caught up with her. For two nights in a row, she did not turn up for work. On the third night of her absence, Bhowmick accosted the manager. He shrugged indifferently. ‘She’s sick, cobber, they tell me. Found a replacement, as you can see.’ Bhowmick got her address. It was on the sixth floor of a red tenement building in a shabby part of town. At his knock, a weak voice asked him to go away. He had to plead before she would let him in. She tottered back to bed. Her face was flushed and she was running over 103º temperature. He could see she was in bad shape. She needed to see a doctor. Fast. Against her protests, her wrapped her in blankets and bundled her downstairs and into the cab. The doctor was more suspicious of the slight, brown-skinned man who had brought the girl than he was concerned about his patient.

6 Bhowmick finally lost his patience and put fifty dollars before the GP. ‘Look here, doctor, she’s a friend, a fellow human being in pain. All I’m doing is my duty. If it’s a problem for you, I’ll take her elsewhere.’ The doctor’s fist closed smoothly around the currency notes: ‘No need to get worked up, mate. It’s just that I have to be a little careful about… er…strangers who bring white girls into my clinic.’ He had been about to say ‘blacks’. Bhowmick didn’t mind being called black. The colour of his skin had never bothered him. He accepted himself as he was on the outside. Colour was only skin deep. He had always been concerned about what people were like inside. It had always been a little hobby of his to try and see the person behind the façade, after stress, provocation or imagined insult peeled away the layers of carefully programmed urbanity. He was smarter than he made out to be. The physician prescribed some medicines, gave her an injection, and told Bhowmick to take her home. ‘A light, low-fat, high protein, high carbohydrate diet with plenty of fresh fruit juice…and a few days rest before she goes back to work. No showers, only sponging with warm water. She’s a strong girl; she’ll be fine in about three or four days. Take her to the beach. Bondi is great this time of year. It’s too early for tourists, and the kids are studying for their exams. All you’ll see are beachcombers and gulls.’ Bhowmick nodded gratefully. ‘And check with me on the phone daily, d’you hear?’ he shouted as Bhowmick lifted her bodily and carried her to the waiting cab. Though slight of build, he had the strength and deep reserves of stamina that often go with a wiry frame. She was semi-conscious when he deposited her on her bed. She was not hungry, but he had bought some provisions from the drugstore where he’d stopped to buy medicines, so he opened a can and heated some chicken soup. She managed to swallow half of it before she fell fast asleep. She had given him the key to her flat, and he pulled the door to firmly behind him until he heard the mortise lock click soundly into place before going downstairs. He was back early the next morning. She was coming awake, weak and feverish. He hand-fed her, spoonful by spoonful, then carried her to the bathroom, peeled off her sweaty clothes and sponged her down. She did not protest, accepting his help without demur. She watched his face steadily all the time he swabbed her down. Her body was typically ‘Caucasian, Female’: compact, firm breasts, narrow waist, flat stomach and long, well-muscled legs. His mind noted all this absently while it grappled with the immediate crisis. He knew she had no one in Sydney, or anywhere else for that matter, to care for her. He was worried. Her skin burned under his fingers as he scrubbed her down gently but thoroughly with slightly cooler water than what the doctor had recommended. He tried not to show it, but he was scared. He had never nursed anyone

7 before. Instead of merely once a day, as advised, he phoned the doctor four or five times daily. * Bondi beach, Sydney, at seven in the morning is a peaceful place to be, off-season. Just the odd beach bum, or a couple taking a quick walk before breakfast. Gentle waves, blue and crested with little white caps, came rolling in steadily from the south. The water lapped at their bare toes as the little sand crabs scurried around sifting through the foam for tiny crustaceans. Gulls wheeled overhead with raucous cries, sometimes darting into the water to take a morsel of food. They were masters of the air, silhouetted against a sapphireblue sky, painted with light. Light! There was so much of it. Everywhere. It seemed to be all there was. Everything seemed to be made of Light. Everything. It enveloped them in its magic, a happy, uplifting golden radiance, as they sat together companionably on the sand. Strange, how it was sometimes. When words were unnecessary. When you first met someone…and found you had always known her. They had met three weeks ago. Time was such a riddle…or was it a hoax? Neither of them noticed the silence between them. They seemed to be in constant conversation with each other. Words were unnecessary. There was nothing that needed to be said aloud. It was so deep a communion that conversation would have been an intrusion. It was on that day that Chandan Bhowmick clearly saw that he was, in essence, soul. Not body. So were they all: all souls. Something in him, inside the outer envelope he called his body, rejoiced at the knowledge. And this insight came to him because of her, the sheer miracle of her! It was the last day of her convalescence. She had applied for, and got, a job as a crooner in the adjoining state, in a suburban town called Murphy’s Bend, and would be leaving early tomorrow morning. Bhowmick, on his part, was slightly behind schedule and had to reach Alice Springs by the next evening. His tickets on the afternoon flight were confirmed. They rose at last and made their way back to the motel, holding hands as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do. The sea air had made her very hungry and she relished the brunch of freshly grilled lobster, salad, and hot toast with lashings of golden butter, all of it washed down with limejuice laced with Gordon’s. Bhowmick watched, fascinated, as her body tried frantically to regain all the weight and strength it had lost. The colour was back in her face, and there was a sparkle in her eyes he hadn’t seen before. The tired lines around her lovely recurved lips, free of lipstick, were gone. Her skin glowed with health. Looking at her gave him a full, contented feeling. He ate sparingly, saying little.

8 Back in their room, they came together as naturally as the sky and the sea. She was in his arms without either of them being aware of it. It was so perfect, so right. She said goodbye to him the way women have always let go of their men: with dignity, acceptance, and love. It was not her passion but his own that jolted him. He had not realized how incomplete he was, how badly he needed her. It was evening when they drew apart. He dressed quietly. There was little to be said. They were like two ocean liners that passed each other in mid-Atlantic: a brief experience, deeply stirring. Only memories would remain. That… and the warm glow that one human being can light in another, a flame that can last a lifetime, a blaze that always thereafter shows the way, always burns brightly within. He would remember June Holliday. She had become a permanent part of him…forever. A verse from Longfellow’s poem, The Theologian’s Tale, ran through his mind: “Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing; Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another, Only a look and a voice; then darkness again and a silence.” * ‘Sir! Your bill!…..Your bill, Dr. Bhowmick’. The waiter was politely insistent. Chandan Bhowmick returned to the present. It was hard to believe that so many years had passed since all that happened. It seemed like yesterday. Time was a big fraud. He knew it for the great illusion that it was. Back then, could he have known what the years held for him? He had set out on what he had presumed was the last walkabout he would ever make. But now, the receipt of a hundred thousand Australian dollars from ‘an unknown admirer’ had miraculously changed everything. This time, he had decided to carry a small movie camera and adequate photographic equipment. He traveled alone, a very foolhardy thing to do in the merciless Outback. His only defence was a Whippet, security agency parlance for a customised .20 bore single (choke) barrel pump-action shotgun with a six-round magazine. He had got the barrel sawn down to 15 inches and had the stock replaced with a walnut pistol grip. There was an aluminium skeleton shoulder stock that could be fitted quickly in case he needed it. He could draw from the hip holster and hit a tin can at thirty yards within a second. It was far better than a revolver. Poisonous snakes were the real danger of the Outback, apart from exposure, hunger and thirst. He wore thick, kangaroo leather boots but carried anti-serum, too, as a precaution.

9 Chandan Bhowmick, slight, unassuming, scholarly and even pedantic at times, was, at heart a man of action. He had learnt as much from books as he had from nature, and from the Bushmen. He owed them a debt he could never repay. They had been his early gurus. They had taught him how to find water even in a desert, the plants that could be chewed for moisture and food, how to find meat in places where there appeared to be no living thing. He learnt how to survive under the merciless overhead sun, and how not to die of hypothermia in the freezing desert nights. He recognised which roots and tubers were nutritious and which berries could kill in minutes. The things of the wild, the birds, the reptiles, the bees, the ants… all carried messages to him about life and death in the harsh and forbidding land he was returning to. It was like a ticker tape of information that scrolled away constantly before his eyes. In other words, he was cast in the mould of the early explorers, though if anyone had suggested it to him, he would have blushed. Of such contradictions are often made those who are born under the mystic sign of Pisces. Dreamer he was, but he was also a doer, determined to do what was necessary to make his dreams come true. He had been a month in the Outback when his luck finally changed. He had ventured into an area of light scrub cover and rocky outcrops. Traces of rich mineral deposits were all around him, hurled to the surface by titanic upheavals of past ages. Then he heard them, the trilling, whistling sounds where there were no birds. The People! At last! If only he could manage to connect with them somehow. Unlike the Bushmen, who were as likely to fade away silently as put a poison dart into you from a blow-gun if they didn’t know you, the aborigines just looked curiously at him and then moved away at a pace he could not maintain. It was rather daunting to be coldshouldered like this. But he had not succeeded in finding a way of winning them over to his side. They took the gifts—chocolate powder, sweets, tobacco—that he handed them, then moved off, offering nothing in return. He topped the rocky outcrop and froze. The tableau before him said it all. The reason for the flurry of sounds was clear. A small aborigine boy lay on the hard earth, surrounded by his kind. He was twitching and frothing at the mouth. Snakebite! He ran over to them. They gave way to him, but ignored him, keening deep in their throats as they watched the boy die. They were used to sudden death. The land supported them for a while, and then reclaimed their flesh and blood at will to enrich the soil. It was an old story. Bhowmick rummaged in his pack for the anti-venom kit, tightened the tourniquet, made two crisscross cuts with the sterilized blade, sucked out the poisoned blood near the wound and quickly spat it out. Then he swabbed the area around the two wicked

10 puncture marks in the ankle, loosened the tourniquet and injected the antidote. The People looked on incuriously. Minutes passed, and the boy did not die. Gradually, his breathing returned to normal and the faltering heart recovered its normal pace. The circle of onlookers was huddled together, whispering. They ran to the boy incredulously as his eyes opened and he called weakly to his father. Then they crowded around Bhowmick, touching him, seeing him for the first time, accepting him. When they moved off, they looked back again and again to ensure he was keeping up. The ground-eating lope the Bushmen had taught Bhowmick was coming back to him. A month in the Outback had toughened him, stretching his stamina to a level not far below that of an aborigine. He kept up with them, pausing occasionally to take a picture or two. He had recorded it all on film; the dying boy, the recovery after the antidote had been administered, the smiles of acceptance, the mother’s tearful caress, the father’s disbelieving stupefaction. They were people, human beings—souls—just like everyone else, Bhowmick realised with joy. They reminded him so much of his little Kalahari friends, thousands of miles away, yet so similar in their culture. One day, he might adopt a line of research to list the close similarities between the two peoples and see whether a logical explanation could be found for them. He spent three years living with The People, three years such as a modern man has rarely lived. He went as they went, hunting, eating and surviving. Their tongue seeped into his subconscious. He did not try to divine any grammar in it. He just accepted that he could make his needs understood, and they could tell him what they were thinking. It appeared to be very basic and survival-oriented. There were no niceties of speech or thought, and, as far as he could judge, no taboos or legends, and especially, nothing to do with the Dreamtime. It was just a rumour, he decided. He was wrong. * They were moving west. It took time for the fact to sink in. There was a purpose in their easy drift now, for a general direction of travel was now discernible to his compass. It no longer was an aimless wandering, sometimes this way, sometimes another, following the kangaroos or the birds. A certain excitement was in the air, a sense of anticipation, like that of a joyous homecoming. As the days passed, the line of direction grew tighter and tighter till the needle held steady at west-southwest. Bhowmick consulted his map and found they were headed for Ayers Rock, five hundred miles away. At their present pace, they would reach it a month hence. It dawned on him gradually that they were not the only ones moving towards Ayers Rock. In some subtle way, it was borne in on

11 him that others, too, were converging on it. Some mysterious command, some message from another dimension perhaps, had communicated itself to all The People. Now they moved in unison, following some primordial pattern as old as the stars, possessed of a single aim, driven by forces they acknowledged but did not understand. It was not instinct, as in salmon. It was the response to a definite call…from whom?…from where?…for what purpose? They were now only a day’s journey from the huge monolith that towered up out of the bleak, sun-baked landscape. There were others on the same trail, and Bhowmick was with them as The People merged, became one large family. He felt their excitement, a growing joy. It was obvious in the way they sang as they ran, the little leaps the children made as they trotted along beside their parents. It was a moonless night as they huddled together, a conclave of tribes, before the dark shape that was faintly outlined against the brilliance of the starry night. Was it just his imagination that the dark mass was beginning to glow…becoming a luminous formation? It was now translucent, with radiance in its depths, and Bhowmick, a scientist crouching on the cold earth among a people who had been old when these hills were being shaped, felt a sense of superstitious awe and…yes, a curious reverence. The same sort of reverence he had felt for June Holliday. What had made him think of her, now of all times? He wished she were with him. He missed her desperately. What was the meaning of it all? What was happening? Why was it happening? They were in the Light, inside the mountain. That was why The People had always believed it was a holy place. They were men, but not black or white or brown. Just men. Made of light. Bhowmick accepted it, knew it was no fantasy. They gave their message, the one they gave whenever it was needed. There were no words, just a thought-transference better than any language. The Dreamtime was in the past, they ‘said’. But it was also in the Now, the one they lived in. If they could find it. Ethereal music, as if of Angels, played in the background. The Dreamtime was a beacon to all men who were not yet Men. They still but slept. The Elders simply passed on the wisdom of ages from where they were now stationed. They taught them how to awake from their sleep. To the real Life that was here…and beyond...in the Dreamtime. When they awoke, they would be Men…at last. * The bookshop was crowded, but not because of his book launch. He was supposed to autograph the first hundred copies of his maiden

12 book, a paperback on Australian lore entitled ‘Images from Yesterday – The Dreamtime on location.’ No seemed particularly interested in his unpretentious little photo-essay. The crowd was there to see the celebrated diva and pop icon Judy Holden who was there to promote her latest album, ‘Mystery Man’. Her last release, ‘Love You So’ had topped the charts for six straight weeks and raked in a cool $9 million in the first week itself. She was the toast of Australia and of the world of pop music. She was said to be worth over $20 billion. A self-made dollar billionaire. Dr. Chandan Bhowmick had never heard of her. Now, as he stood to one side, feeling a little foolish, he didn’t have the heart to upbraid his publicity consultant, Ron Wickham, for the gaffé. It would cost him plenty, in time. Poor sales meant he got lower commission. A ripple ran through the crowd. Judy Holden had arrived. The jostling crowd was kept at bay by a cordon of police and security men. The world’s TV channels were here. Strobe guns popped and motor drives chattered at five frames a second as she entered the store and flashing her dazzling smile, made for the podium. ‘Mystery Man’ started playing on the house audio hookup, and people were swaying to the beat. It was the sound of the surf, a rhythm as old as the sea. The words were simple: ‘Where’d you come from, I don’t know, Where’d you go, my Mystery Man? You’ll never know I miss you so, Can’t carry on like this, just can’t…” She was even more beautiful than he remembered. She had filled out ever so slightly. Her sleek, voluptuous figure gave her an enigmatic, timeless appeal. Wealth and fame had brought her happiness. She was fulfilled. Chandan Bhowmick remembered the half-dead waif called June Holliday in Sydney, and his chest was tight with joy. She had made it. His vision blurred at the sweet memory of her…just as she turned and spotted him. Very slowly, as if not to excite attention, she came off the podium. Reporters bore down on her: ‘Is it true, Miss Holden, that early in your career, you were inspired by someone who felt you had what it takes. Where is he now? Why have we never heard from him?’ ‘Oh, we’ve all been helped by someone or the other, sometime,’ she replied with a laugh, ‘no one ever really makes it on their own. But yes…once, there was a dear, wonderful person, a man who felt… who knew… I would succeed. He accepted it as a foregone conclusion. I have always treasured the strength and inspiration he gave me. I also owe him my life,’ she added quietly. ‘Is that the reason why, Miss Holli…I mean, Miss Holden…you never married?’ the reporter insisted. He had obviously done his

13 homework well, and was preparing to slip the steel between her ribs. She didn’t flinch. ‘Yes, in a way.’ Her disarming frankness took the wind out of the newshound’s sails. ‘I’ve had my share of…um…friends, but this one— he was really special.’ She giggled, the enchanting giggle he had never forgotten! It seemed to echo down endless centuries to him as he stood there, lost in the crowd. She was close to him now; he could almost reach out and touch her. He inhaled the warm, tantalising aroma that came off her like a tender offshore breeze. He was a man of the Outback, and his senses were far keener than those of a city slicker. But she couldn’t possibly remember he existed, it was all for publicity. He was happy for her: he wanted nothing from her. She was almost past him when she stepped smartly sideways and put her arm around his shoulders. Ron was grinning conspiratorially from ear to ear. He was the best, no doubt about it! ‘And here he is, boys!’ she yelled happily to the shoving throng of reporters and cameramen ‘…Mr. Mystery Man himself. Dr. Chandan Bhowmick! From India! Give him a big hand!’ She waited for the thunderous applause to die down. ‘The real reason I’m here, by the way—surprise, surprise—is to launch his book…the one on Australian native peoples. Buy it, folks! It’s fantastic! My l’il album will take care of itself, by the looks of things. Right now, this is more important to me.’ Then she was kissing him, right in the media spotlight, as the whole world watched. The strobe lights were going crazy and the TV cameramen were yelling ‘A bit sideways! Perfect! That’s it! Hold that pose, you two!’ The roar of the crowd drowned out the speakers in the mall…and Chandan Bhowmick knew instant stardom…and fame. His little favour of long ago had come home to roost. She smelt the way she always had, warm and sweet, like early spring. The expensive Coty perfume didn’t register. He held her gently, as if she was a delicate porcelain doll. The softness and warmth of her banished all memories of the hardships of the Outback, the ache of the cold, lonely nights. The magic of her still had the power to intoxicate him and render him speechless. He just stood there mutely, holding her hand. The miracle of her! It was an omen… from the Elders. He was sure of it. It was not coincidence, no chance meeting. There was a hidden purpose that would reveal itself in due course. Meanwhile, it was June again! * It was such an offbeat book…he didn’t expect miracles. The first print run—a modest 3,000 copies—was sold out within five days. The next edition, hastily enhanced with more pictures and text, was gone in a month’s time, all 50,000 copies of it. Orders continued to pour in

14 from practically everywhere. The next print was half a million copies. They were gone by Thanksgiving. With Christmas and Easter still to come! It had the smell of a cult book about it. It debuted in the New York Times Bestsellers list at No.5. The next week, it was at No.1! It was one of those rare publishing phenomena, a ‘first’ book that became a NYT bestseller. It meant instant stardom…and fame. All over again. Wealth was a by-product. Dr. Bhowmick took it in his stride. He knew the money was not his to spend. There was a reason why it had come. He waited for the Elders to tell him what to do with it. He didn’t have to wait long. A large manila envelope from India caught his eye in the mountain of mail. He turned it over and over in his hands before he opened it. He felt…he just knew…it was important. Too important not to savour the moment of receipt. It was from the Indian Institute of Himalayan Consciousness, Rishikesh, in north India. It was typed on an inexpensive letterhead with a manual typewriter! India was a collector’s paradise! If you wanted an antique, whether a vintage loo, typewriter, or car, you were sure to find one in India…in working condition! The Indians never threw anything away. They couldn’t afford to. They repaired and renewed and rejuvenated and recycled but never trashed anything if they could help it. It contained an invitation to come to India and participate in a meditation-for-self-realisation program; a variety of courses and workshops were available to beginners and advanced students alike. As an Indian, Dr. Bhowmick was sure to help (which meant they were lining him up for a donation as well). In fact, he was welcome to do a photo-essay on the work of the Institute, a worthy outlet for his formidable photographic talent. Since it was established in very charming surroundings, with running hot and cold water and all modern conveniences (it continued persuasively), it was also a wonderful opportunity to relax and enjoy the breathtaking Himalayan views. He was welcome to bring a companion (which was a tactful way of telling him that he could bring a lady friend along if he wished). They obviously had television, thought Dr. Bhowmick wryly. Which is what made him think of June Holliday, as he still referred to her. Dared he ask her? He didn’t have to. She dropped in, saw the letter, read it, and said ‘Let’s go! It’s obviously what you need to do next.’ Her insight amazed him, as did her ability to make up her mind instantly (as long it had nothing to do with buying a car, a party dress, or a lipstick!). She brushed aside his diffident objections: what about her dates, her music recordings? ‘Chandan, I need a break. I’ve been on the road for a long time. The last time I was on holiday was when we… (she blushed, bit her

15 lip) …when we went to Bondi.’ He capitulated, and arranged to send a telegraphic confirmation for arrival three weeks hence, at the commencement of the new six-week program. * The glittering, snow capped mountains with their incredibly jagged outlines seemed to fill the sky, the higher peaks shrouded in mist. It was impossible to imagine their stark, brooding immensity without actually seeing them, impossible not to feel humble before their grandeur. Majestic, aloof, they stood like silent sentinels, invulnerable, immutable and eternal, forever guarding a land with a sacred mantra from the dawn of Creation. It was October, with winter just around the corner, and it was getting very cold. Rishikesh nestled in the foothills of the world’s mightiest chain of mountains, and through it passed the roads that went up, up to the holy shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath, shrines so ancient that they were part of the mythology and vedic lore of Indian civilisation. Standing on the balcony of their suite on the third floor of the Institute for Himalayan Consciousness, looking out at the world’s highest mountain range, June Holliday shivered slightly. Those mountains! She had seen them before! When? She’d never been to India before. Not in this lifetime, anyway. Chandan Bhowmick sprang to her side and wrapped the shawl a little more tightly around her. ‘That’s enough for now, dear. I’d better take you inside before you catch a chill.’ Dr. Bhowmick put an arm around her protectively and led her inside, shutting the doors leading to the terrace behind him. She looked at him fondly. He hadn’t changed. He was still as devoted to her as he had always been. Always. It was a powerful word, not to be used lightly, a word with deep metaphysical connotations. Like ‘forever’. ‘Always have…always will…’ The number by ‘Ace of Base’ played in her mind, and she hummed it softly under her breath. He was like that. He had always been with her, life after life, an irrevocable part of the karmic cycle of her soul’s journey. It was inevitable that their paths should have crossed, though he had had to come all the way to Australia to catch up with her. She strongly believed in reincarnation. This man was her destined companion on a long, long trek that would end, some day, on an unknown shore beyond the stars. The muted chimes of the gong reverberated through the building. ‘Time to go, Chandan. The session is beginning.’ She was simply dressed in a sari and shawl, he in churidars, kurta and a sherwani of homespun wool. They went down in the lift, through the lobby and into the carpeted hall beyond it. There were already about a dozen people in the room, sitting cross-legged on the floor. They sat down. June, like most Occidentals unable to sit cross-legged, sat with her

16 legs tucked under her. At the head of the hall was a low rug-covered platform, with flowers in vases and incense burning in two ornamental brass holders. Presently, a man came through the curtained door at the side of the hall and bowed low to them before seating himself in the padmasana yogic pose on the deerskin spread out on the platform. He was Sri Sri ‘Guruji’ Swami Ujjwalananda Giri, the legendary sagesavant whose books on the Bhakti route to Supreme Consciousness— a mystic process intuited rather than explained—for attaining the soul’s desire, had sold well even in the West. He had been a leading economist, scientist and social worker before taking sanyasa, the total renunciation of the world, the fourth and final stage of life as prescribed in the shastras, the Hindu scriptures. He looked at them, and the love shone in his eyes. ‘My children… it is my great good fortune to address you today. We were fated to meet. I am blessed to have this opportunity of serving Him by delivering His Word to you. The way to Him is so hard…and yet so easy for householders like you. He is attainable by all, if we really, truly want to…if we always fix our minds on Him, if we do everything with detachment, doing our best and dedicating our actions to Him. We should never be attached to the fruits of our actions, for that is not what we are here for. We are here to realize Him. His kingdom is within us, as Jesus told us it was. We just have to let go mentally of the world, always doing our best in the physical world but secretly dwelling in His kingdom. He is merciful, He will always respond. Do your best and leave everything to Him, and He will take over your life. If you call, He will never fail to answer. He will show you the blessed way to Him. Then what bliss, what joy, what fulfilment!’ The wise old voice went on: ‘There is no single way to Him, I have come to realize. All paths are different, yet they are the same, as everything leads to Him. There is only Him, no other. There is nothing but Him. The rest is illusion, the play of maya. Those who realize this are well on the way to reaching Him. May you find your own way of reaching Him. I can but help by inspiring you, by telling you of the paths others took in reaching the goal, in the hope that it will open your mind to the possibility of finding Him in your own personal way. You shall certainly succeed…if you want it badly enough.’ Guruji went on to teach them the basic principles of meditation, of breathing exercises developed by the ancient ages to still the mind and take it to another plane of thought, of action, of receptivity to the Om sound of the universe. The next day, they learnt the importance of concentration, a concentration so effortless yet so complete that advanced yogis became one with Supreme Consciousness. They could harness all the forces of nature, achieving such harmony with them that they could do what was regarded as impossible. Once the mind had grasped the

17 Truth, anything was possible, because the Truth encompassed everything! Physics and Chemistry became as putty in the hands of the Realised Master, who transcended them to reach the very Source of all things. If it was not possible to concentrate without an object, Guruji suggested, then they could meditate on the Himalayas. Nothing summed up the unity and grandeur of the Supreme better than these symbolic representations of purity and power…hence the name of their institute. * It was the last day of the program. They felt deeply relaxed, refreshed. Their mental horizons had expanded. Guruji was no humbug. He was extremely learned in economics, physics, engineering and mathematics. He drew upon these things, things that belonged to the world of ordinary men, to deliver his message. He was a towering intellect who felt he was a little child before the Higher Intelligence that had created Him. His enthusiasm, his objectivity, his humility, his sense of humour and his childish sense of wonder were infectious. It was a revelation to them all, a man who could leave wealth and success and opt for poverty, renouncing everything for his quest. Guruji had laughed heartily when someone told him this. ‘My child, you’ve got it the wrong way round! I abandoned useless things, mere baubles, for the incalculable wealth and bliss of His kingdom! I was the gainer, not the loser. After all, I am basically an economics man (he was an alumnus of the London School of Economics). I know a profitable deal when I see one.’ His eyes twinkled merrily. ‘Make no mistake, I got the best of the bargain!’ then he added seriously ‘and so may you. Remember, He always responds when we surrender to His will. This is my personal experience, mind you, not something from a textbook, something I’ve seen time and again.’ The last meditation session was under way. Chandan Bhowmick tried hard not to let his mind drift off to the Outback, his mysterious, unfinished quest…for what? What was the significance of the Dreamtime? How could he play a role in revealing, in a way men could see and understand, what it stood for? A lesson for all men to learn from, to …’ He felt a light touch on his shoulder. He opened his eyes. Guruji was sitting next to him! ‘Don’t think of the problem. It cannot be solved that way. Think of the Supreme Power, pray to it to show you the way…if you ask it of Him, He will never let you down!’ Chandan Bhowmick marveled: Guruji had read his innermost thoughts. Guruji smiled affectionately. ‘I prayed to Him with all my devotion to help me to help you. He tells me you are looking for a way for all men to reach a high stage of evolution, something you caught a

18 glimpse of in a faraway land across the ocean. It is a very difficult task…but not impossible. Nothing is impossible for Him. He will show you how. It will be a simple solution, but extremely demonstrative and unchallengeable. You are blessed. Your years of sacrifice and service to Him are not to go in vain.’ Bhowmick realized with a shock that his life’s quest might look like that to others. In his saner moments, he’d always felt that his search for the answer to the Dreamtime mystery was the overreaction of the chronic bachelor, the obsession of the rabid social anthropologist. ‘I know, you think you were just doing your job. But don’t you see, to do one’s job, to answer the call of the heart, to singlemindedly pursue what your innermost being tells you to…that is listening to one’s soul-voice. That is also worship, a life of Detached Action: the hallmark of a great karmayogi. I bow before you.’ Guruji bent his head to Chandan’s feet. ‘In bowing to you, I worship Him, who is in you. Once, long ago, sitting by the sea with your soul mate, you had a rare insight…there was Light everywhere…the conviction that all are souls overcame you. Is that anthropology?! Draw sustenance from that memory. Build on it…on the Light! The Light will help you!’ * The rear-engined jet aircraft trailed twin contrails of vapour as it arced high over the ocean, a tiny silver dart lancing through the thin, frozen air of the stratosphere. It was travelling at just under the speed of sound, hurling itself at a distant continent towards the sunrise. Inside the cockpit, the co-pilot sat vigilantly at the controls, his face lit eerily by the green glow of the radar screen. His eyes scanned the dials constantly, monitoring the plane’s heartbeat and the autopilot’s ghostly movements as his chief lay slumped in his own chair, snoring softly. The view through the windscreen was a uniform grey, with the hazy suggestion of a horizon where the starry blackness ended. There was no sensation of speed. Behind him, one of the airhostesses, napping in the redundant navigator’s chair, muttered incoherently in her sleep. Aft, in the dim, hushed luxury of the passenger cabin, the occupants slept fitfully, oblivious of the –30ºC cold outside, their cabin a pressurized haven, its temperature automatically maintained at a soothing 22ºC. Twelve kilometers below, the smooth, airbrushed blue-black that was the Indian Ocean gleamed dully in the weak light of a new moon. The plane’s shadow startled a shark cruising at the surface. It crashdived in a flurry of foam, momentarily diverted from its relentless search for food, a sleepless, tireless torpedo. It was the ultimate predator, faultlessly designed 200 million years ago. It had not

19 survived practically unchanged all this time for nothing. It waited patiently. One day, the planet would belong to it…again. In the First Class section, next to June Holliday, Chandan Bhowmick was dreaming. He dreamt he was slogging through deep, powdery snow. His heavy clothing, the crampons on his boots, the snow goggles, they all made it tough going for him, ice axe or no ice axe. Around him towered majestic mountains, their snowy peaks sharply defined against a cobalt blue sky. He was not alone. They were with him…the children. The children? Even in his dream, he was taken aback. What children? Where had children come from? What were they doing here, with him, at 18,000 feet? Why were they in their play-clothes in this bitter Himalayan cold? They laughed gaily at his confusion, amused by the silly grown-up who didn’t understand. They were pointing ahead, drawing his attention to something. Chandan Bhowmick turned to see a sight that transfixed him. A conical monolith of solid ice, a dazzling pyramid of perfect proportions, an epitome of purity, towered above him. Its dagger-like peak seemed to stab deep into the very heart of the cosmos. He went down on his knees before it, for even in his dream he realized he was at the base of Mount Kailash, the holy abode of Shiva. He knelt there in awe and wonder at the glory before him…and all around him, the children danced and sang, bathed in ethereal light. Then he awoke. That he had been blest by a vision never occurred to him. Still less could he have imagined that it held the key to the mystery of the Dreamtime. * They checked into a hotel incognito. Sydney was a big place, but not that big if it meant evading media scrutiny. Fame had its drawbacks, the most irksome being the constant glare of publicity. June had worn a gaily-coloured silk scarf she had bought in Delhi, and covered her eyes with dark glasses, something she usually never wore. Her beautiful blue eyes were one of her greatest assets. Right now, they were a sure giveaway. They now lived together. There was no guilt, because there was no sin…and vice versa. When two people wanted each other, loved each other this much, how could it be sin? They were so deeply committed to each other that the question of it being wrong did not arise. No amount of vows could evoke or consolidate the love and reverence they had for each other. They could hardly bear to let each other out of sight. They just wanted a few more days together, to savour their Himalayan experience before the world intervened and tore them ruthlessly apart. In any case, even going by conventional morality, no one really bothered about such things any more.

20 They discussed what they had learnt from Guruji…and from the mountains. Faith, patience, surrender, humility, gratitude, action without laying claim to the fruits, love, humour, charity, forgiveness… it was a long list. They had done just those very things in their lives unconsciously, things prescribed by all the scriptures, and the universe had repaid them. The formula worked! They analysed, argued, and agreed, the best of mates, the best of friends. They were the lucky ones of the earth and they knew it. They looked at each other and wondered at it all. At the sheer immensity of the scale of things, the interconnectivity of everything… and the underlying pattern, woven long ago by the hand of the Master Weaver, was revealed to them. In that moment, the whole tapestry of Creation seemed to glow before their eyes…a glow that grew brighter, flared up, became a brilliance that dazzled them so that they cowered before its glory and clung to each other in terror. And deep at the heart of the flame, the children ran and leaped and laughed and sang, as they seemed to beckon to them to hurry up and join them. She remembered another time, years ago. Bondi beach. ‘Light! There was so much of it. Everywhere. It seemed to be all there was. Everything seemed to be made of Light. Everything. It enveloped them in its magic, a happy, uplifting golden radiance, as they sat together companionably on the sand. Strange, how it was sometimes. When words were unnecessary. When you first met someone…and found you had always known him. They had met three weeks ago. Time was such a riddle…or was it a hoax?’ Goosebumps came up all over her forearms, and her eyes brimmed with happy tears, remembering, * ‘You see it, of course, Chandan? Don’t you?’ June asked him impatiently. Bhowmick shook his head, puzzled. ‘This is the second time with the children business, June’’ he said. ‘The first was on the plane, on the way back. I told you about it. What can it possibly mean?’ he asked, shaken by self-doubt at his inability to pierce the fog. ‘But it’s clear as crystal, darling!’ June was ecstatic. ‘The children! They are the key…the way to the Light, the road to the Dreamtime for all others to follow.’ She sprang off the bed and fetched her bible, and opening it to Mark 10.14 she read aloud: ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.’ Then she looked up John 1.1: ‘In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.’

21 She looked at him in exasperation, as every woman who ever lived has looked ruefully at her woolly-witted man. ‘Don’t you understand? C’mon, let’s add two and two together, and see what we get. The Kingdom of God, i.e., a world of enlightened, spiritually advanced beings, is the Light…and the children are as the kingdom of God. So the children are the Light, or at least the way to it. We start with the children…when we get hold of some! Q.E.D.!’ She skipped around the room in her exhilaration, clapping her hands. ‘Jesus stresses on the simplicity, the sheer innocence of children. That’s the key! Apply todayspeak to ‘innocence’—and it reads as total quarantine from ‘teachers’, parental conditioning, indeed from civilisation itself—and what do we get? Natural Man…in all his pristine glory, Chandan. Imagine! Rousseau’s ‘Noble Savage’! Alpha Man! Untutored, his brain unfettered, uncramped by extraneous influences that block the Light—which we accept here as a metaphor for the Hindu ‘Third Eye of Shiva’. That explains your blessing from Shiva at Kailash. Right at his doorstep! ‘Alpha Man’, she continued, inspired, ‘is in tune with the cosmos, has the ability to pierce the veil of maya, sees Nature as his parents, is above false illusion, possessed of all the higher senses: intuition, telepathy…what have you. The Dawn of the New Men is coming, Chandan! Alpha Man and Sri Aurobindo’s Omega Man…two sides of the same coin!’ Beside herself with excitement, she clutched the lapels of his jacket in her fists, furious at herself for not having seen the answer before. ‘The Dreamtime, Chandan. Your life’s work! It’s yours for the taking. You’ve done it.’ * They adopted them from all over the world, the abandoned waifs no one wanted. Black, brown, white, yellow, yet all children, and they brought them up in a hermitage they established in eastern Australia, far from civilisation. They had enormous wealth between them, and they bought a huge estate and cordoned it off with an electrified fence, barbed wire and deep moats. Even an army would have found it difficult getting in. They grew their own food, and had their own livestock and poultry. They just fed the children, told them they were their parents, and let them run free, letting Nature be their teacher. There was no radio, no television, and no books. The sun and the moon and the stars were all they had. They learned to depend on themselves and the elements for answers to satisfy their endless curiosity. Their parents never professed to know anything. They could only be relied upon to teach them to love each other; they never taught anything else. They had to discover everything on their own. They had the best facilities at their disposal, the best that modern

22 science could offer, but there was nobody to tell them what they were for or how they worked. They had no telephone, no musical instruments. They had to depend on their own minds and heads and hearts to fill the empty spaces. They learnt speech, but by the time they were seven they had dispensed with it. They never seemed to be separate units. One of them would think of a joke…and they all laughed. They started to teach their parents how things worked, with the patience normally reserved for the stumbling, inadequate children outside. They lovingly explained to them the nuances of calculus, trigonometry, and the structure of the atom. They doted on their parents, but to them they were dear, under-developed oddities. Never did they make fun of them. They knew that their parents’ sacrifice had made it possible for them to become what they had become. They made their minds their laboratories and solved the problems they kept encountering. They strove and vanquished. Soon, their minds had overcome the weak test of the physical world and encountered another reality beyond it that was far more exciting. They leapt to the new challenge with glee, full of wonder and curiosity and love for everything. * Twenty years had passed. They were old and grey and tired…but few on earth were as happy as they were. They sat hand in hand under the eucalyptus trees and talked about what blessings the years had brought them. This was the real pay-off, to look back on life and feel it had been a great privilege to receive such a grand gift. To have made a success of it, in material as well as non-material terms. To have achieved something, helped others. They were still as deeply in love as they had ever been, but they never had to say it…it was obvious from their faces. The Children… they were the crowning glory of their brief lives. The Children were of the Light, immortal, the first of the New Men that would henceforth walk the planet, cruise the universe. Their Children! It was a matter of great pride and joy for them. The Light was ever with them, with this contented pair whose work was done. It was with them now, expanding, dissolving everything in its golden, soothing radiance. It was such a comfort to let go, to return to the Light, to allow oneself to be sucked back into it, to the End…and to the Beginning…of it All. * They buried their parents where they slept, hand in hand under the eucalyptus trees, at the spot that was bathed in sunshine. They

23 wept for them; they were, after all, their children. They had not been immortal like them, but they had sacrificed themselves so that their children could be Things of Light, be Men. But they rejoiced also. They would meet again. Then they prepared themselves for the next upheaval that was sure to come. They themselves were in the first flush of their youth. Time was nothing to them. They were immortal. Not for a long time had the earth seen men and women such as these. They were the gods the outside world only talked about. They were the perfect men all could one day become. They no longer had to be bodies. They were fundamentally agglomerations of Light, clad in bodies by choice, all knowing, all seeing. One day they conferred amongst themselves. The term is used because it makes sense to Old Men like you and I. They were One, totally and completely integrated with each other. They had come to know that the outside world would not allow them to live if they could help it. The men outside were unenlightened: they had no knowledge of the Light! Once before, long ago, they had crucified one of them when He had tried to show them the Way. They looked with deep distaste and hostility at anything and everyone they did not understand. Men with weapons were coming to forcibly enter their retreat. The children did not regard the hermitage as their home any more. There was nowhere that was not home to them. They were Masters of the Universe. Their ‘parents’ were gone, the only Old Men and Women they had ever known and whom they had loved so dearly. The time had come to break with the Past. There was no other way. It was time to spread their wings. * ‘Yes, Sir! I’ll take another look. But it’s no use. We can’t do anything with Nothing, Sir! No, Sir! That’s not what I meant. Yes, Sir! Quite. Absolutely, Sir. I fully agree with you. Sorry, Sir, I was not being impertinent, just telling it like it is, Sir!’ He put down the field telephone and mopped his face with his handkerchief. The Prime Minister had been in a foul mood over his report. Maj. General Roger Willoughby was a confused man. He was a soldier who followed orders to a T. His Action Force had followed the coordinates to the place they had marked on the charts. They found…emptiness! There was nothing there. Nothing. Just a grey, indistinct nothingness that was impervious to tanks, shells, mortars: anything he could throw at it. He had failed in his mission. But he didn’t have to take this kind of talk from any man. He sat down at the green baize table in his field headquarters and carefully drafted out his resignation. Let the old man find some other sucker to solve this one.

24 * The electromagnetic spectrum stretches, theoretically, from Infinity to Infinity. An item existing in infrared can only be seen in infrared. So it was with Ultraviolet, and all the other wavelengths within the incomplete comprehension of the Old Men. All matter was vibration, vibrations of light in its avatar as particle. Make a particle a wave, which light also was, take it beyond that, to another frequency, and it ‘disappeared’, as far as other waves not within or adjacent to it were concerned. It was the magic of the Old Men. It was their everyday, commonplace reality. They had avoided confrontation by removing themselves a few frequencies away. They were still there…but not to those at their old frequency. To them, they did not exist. There was nothing there at all! The Light was all there ever really was; it was the Word of the old religion, and it was true…only incompletely explained. They were children of the Light, and well they knew it. They were themselves Light, illuminated, radiant beings who had mastered the cosmos and had identified themselves with the Greater Light. Now they would reshape the world, on its behalf, since they were part and parcel of The Source. New worlds waited to be born, like the New Men who were coming. The Children of the Light braced themselves to meet the future. * Half way across the globe, at the foot of the Himalayas, an old man sat alone, lost in deep meditation. He was seated on a deerskin in the lotus pose of the ancient sages, smiling happily to himself. The lamps had been extinguished, but his form was ablaze with light. He was in communion with The Elders, the Old Ones. And with the New Ones he knew were coming, the long awaited New Men. His work here was over. He left his physical body for good and became a sphere of luminous energy that beamed itself to the giant monolith in the wastelands to the east. A new age was in the offing, and further labours awaited him…as they did the two orbs even now waiting for him in the golden dawn, companionably together as always, the two whom he knew were called The Keepers of the Flame. It had been a privilege working with them. *

Shadow of the New Men falling On the screen of future climes,

25

Hearing other voices calling From beyond the veil of Time!
~*~
© Subroto Mukerji

‘The voyage is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes’.
~ Marcel Proust

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