An excerpt from Chapter 5 of ‘The Great Debacle’, the third in Anand Premesh’s trilogy of books, entitled ‘The Ashoka Chronicles’.
The Great Void
In that emptiness grows the ultimate understanding,
what Buddha calls the Lotus Paradise.
In that emptiness you become
one with the cosmic soul.”
Courtney was grateful he had updated his flying skills over the years. Many times he had been asked by State Department officials to give foreign dignitaries an aerial tour over Washington D.C. and its environs. The Dalai Lama’s helicopter was a model similar to the ones he had often flown before in the States, but there was one significant difference. This one was painted white with no identifying numbers or symbols.
He grew to love his faithful airship with a passion; indeed, it had safely carried him and his passengers on many dangerous missions during these past months, and the flights had provided his only freedom from the confines of the Mahabodhi Temple compound. Jyangtzu had been right many years ago when he told him that his mind remained attracted to the battlefield. ‘But this time my addiction is serving this tired old world’s only hope for peace,’ he reminded himself.
Even though he was intensively involved in the active missions of the Adepts, Courtney felt excluded from their inner circle, and he had been denied any knowledge of the many secrets involved in the Buddha Conspiracy. He had yet to meet some of the Adepts, most notably Jason, Jennifer, and Chang. His visits with Amanda were very healing and gratifying, but their meetings were few and far between. On the other hand, he had become close friends with Devananda, Arthur, and Ramsay, and the four of them had bonded together through many an evening of playing poker, smoking cigars, and drinking brandy.
He had regular darshans with Jyangtzu, but he had never met with Cheogh-¬tse again after the master had given him his first flight assignment. Since then, Naroda had always communicated Cheogh-tse’s instructions for his missions. One evening, he decided he couldn’t repress his hurt feelings about being an outsider any longer, so he shared them with Jyangtzu. To his utter amazement, Jyangtzu led him down the secret passageway to the Chamber of the Nine, a place he had often heard about but had never seen.
“I’m glad you have decided to expose these things, Courtney; otherwise, they would seethe inside and poison you with resentment and bitterness. The same delusions of pride, comparison, judgment, and ambition which have corrupted life in the Third Dimension also exist here within the walls of this temple. The important difference is that we are a community of meditators who have dedicated ourselves to becoming free of the mind and of the hells the false ego continuously creates. Exposing these cancers of the soul is the first essential step toward healing them; after this, it is only a matter of vigilance in watching the mind and coming to understand that it is not you.
“Our work is to prepare the way for humankind’s entrance into the Fourth Dimension of Consciousness. This dimension is not the end of the journey, but it is the most critical stage in the evolution of consciousness. If humanity fails to attain to this level of awareness, it will turn on itself in a suicidal frenzy. Evolution or extinction, these are the only options. Man cannot remain a caterpillar; his nature is to become a butterfly. But if he is to fulfill his potential, he must be willing to lose his identity as an earthworm, and enter the dark cocoon of the unknown.
“The Fourth Dimension is like a cocoon. From the outside, it looks like nothing much is happening, but on the inside much is happening. Man is growing wings in preparation for a magnificent flight into freedom. The heart takes wings and soars into brilliant skies that the caterpillar could not even imagine in his most beautiful dreams.
“The Fourth Way is the dimension of the Heart. There is no higher or lower, no one is superior or inferior. The bamboo does not compare itself to the banyan tree, the lotus flower does not compare itself to the rose. There if no striving for achievement or competition for wealth and power. It signifies the end of becoming and the beginning of being. Everything exists in perfect equality and in perfect harmony with the Whole.
“In the world of the Third Dimension, the mind has run amok end the heart has nearly ceased to function. You can easily imagine the mind creating nuclear bombs, but can you imagine the heart desiring to dominate, to manipulate, to destroy? It is time for humanity to awaken from the nightmare of the ego and to listen to the urgings of its own heart; then for the first time will men and women come to experience the love and peace they have written songs and poems about but have not yet dared to live.”
A single tear emerged from the corner of Courtney’s eye and slowly coursed its way down his face. He bowed and touched Jyangtzu’s feet. He sat very still for some moments until a disturbing memory forced its way to the surface of his mind.
“Master, I am the caterpillar who fears the unknown. For forty years, I have been continuously fighting battles to preserve a world that is bent on destruction. I never allowed myself to reflect on the time I spent in your ashram in Kashmir, because the memory awakened so much pain in me, I never dared to trust in the existence of the dimension you have just described, despite the taste of it that I experienced with you so many years ago. I am sad to say that even now, I am fighting still, but the struggle is not outside, it is something within me.”
“I have been waiting long for you to arrive at this understanding, Courtney. Your springtime has come. Every seed trembles when it must give up the security of its shell and become a tender shoot, groping its way through the dark soil, never knowing if it shall survive, uncertain if it will reach the surface to dance in the sunlight, the rain, and the fresh air. Are you ready to face your worst fear now, for only by risking extinction will you awaken your trusting heart.”
“Yes, Master, I can no longer do otherwise.”
The Wheel of Life and Death was whirling at great speed, generating a powerful centrifugal force that threw everything to its circumference. The Pilgrim was running in total desperation toward the Center, closing his eyes and ears to the Sirens who seductively bid him to enter into the passion of yet another lifetime. He turned his face to the wind. Millions of beings blindly flew by him, urgently seeking to inhabit a body again.
All of a sudden, he became aware of someone running effortlessly by his side. “Turn back!
“You are running in the wrong direction, my friend!” said the Harlequin. “The Center of the Wheel is a Void. It is the death of all dreams, the very extinction of life as we know it! Observe the souls of those around you. They cannot return to their earthly desires fast enough, for without them, they have no idea who they are. And how can so many be wrong? Friends, family, lovers, social status, prestige, and power await you. Really, I fear not only for your sanity, but for your life!”
“How can you know about the unknown if you have never been there?” asked the Pilgrim.
“Admit it! You have no idea what exists at the Center. Maybe the end of dreams and desires is the beginning of something true and beautiful.
“I can tell you what I do know, my deluded friend. Those few madmen who have violated the laws of Nature and gone to the Center have never returned to tell about it! They simply vanished into non-being. One does not need to throw oneself into the fire to know that it will consume you.
“Look, if you are no longer satisfied with the world as it is, I can offer you the ticket to supreme power! As the sole ruler of the world, you can make whatever changes you like to improve it. You can be humanity’s rescuer, or better, it’s Savior! Take my hand and I will lead you there. Such an offer cannot be refused, don’t you agree?”
The Harlequin’s face began to reflect many others, like a slide show in quicktime: Alexander, Caesar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and at the end of the queue, Abu bin Salaam, Pope Clement, and Paul St. George.
Fighting his way against the gale force winds of the cyclone, the Pilgrim wavered only for an instant. Without looking back, he threw himself into the Void.
* * *
He was floating high above a mystical mountain crowned with rainbows, His joy was enhanced when he found himself flying in the company of two other pilots whose skills and experience were superior to his own, The aircraft gradually descended and lightly touched down on the ground. He awakened in the presence of two masters, both gazing at him with expressions of curiosity and compassion.
“What did you discover in the Great Void, Courtney?” asked Jyangtzu.
“The emptiness is certainly vast, Master, and completely devoid of man’s futile dreams and strivings. Otherwise, it is full of Light.” Courtney’s face was like a child’s, full of wonder.
“You have had a glimpse of your true nature which comes only to those who have transcended their fear of death,” said Cheogh-tse. “At the periphery, it appears that we are separate; at the Center, we are One. Nourish this vision in your meditations, lest you slip into forgetfulness again. Now that you have some understanding of what the Design of the Nine is truly about, I have not a ‘small task’ awaiting you but the most important of your missions to date. As usual, your helicopter will be warmed up and ready for you at daybreak. Satyam Naroda will provide you with the details.”
“And Courtney,” Jyangtzu added, “never forget this: you are loved and valued as much as any of our Adepts. It is not only so now, but it has always been so.”
See review by Bhagawati: The Ashoka Chronicles
Vol. 1 The Buddha Conspiracy available at esotericnovels.com – amazon.com – amazon.co.uk – Kindle
Vol. 2 The Last Turn of the Wheel available at esotericnovels.com – amazon.com – amazon.co.uk – Kindle
Vol. 3 The Great Debacle available at esotericnovels.com – OshoViha – amazon.com – amazon.co.uk – Kindle