Archive for moon

New Moon

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2012 by javedbabar

It was almost dawn and the moon was setting. Sami was tired from his long night “working” with Guru Baba, which involved watching, discussing and walking in boggy fields beneath the full moon.

The last surprise was meeting his shadow, which equated to the dark side of the orb fast disappearing. Whether visible or invisible, it was always there, beyond the dusty cratered surface. Sami’s soul too was thus composed, of light and dark.

Something shifted at the precise spot where the moon was setting. A dark spot seemed to shiver.

Sami was intrigued by this occurrence, and also frightened. The strange events of the night had been thrilling but unsettling. Nothing was what it seemed.

Sami looked at Guru Baba for reassurance. His holy bossman gave him a quirky look – his eyebrows moving in opposite directions, and his bottom lip curling as if sad. He said, “There’s someone else you should also meet. I meant to call him, but it seems that he has come of his own accord.”

Sami now realised that the shivering spot was a man walking towards them. Moonlight bent around, giving him a ghostly glow; he seemed a lunar apparition; a moon mirage. There was something familiar about his gait. Sami had seen him before. His white goatee was a further clue…

It was the man who had founded Lucerne’s Botanical Gardens, a controversial figure known only as The Gardener. He had without doubt created a fine facility for Lucerne’s citizens; the Botanical Gardens were five acres of wonder. There was a main path and there were countless sub-paths, leading to different habitats; the Amazon Rainforest was filled with mysterious fertility; the Egyptian Oasis was a cool, calm haven; the Babylonian Hanging Gardens were so vibrant that it felt like you were in an ancient cartoon book; other mysterious areas were filled with strange flora and fauna including, it was said, walking trees and flying flowers, and unicorns and golden monkeys.

The Gardener approached them. He greeted them warmly and then stood beside Guru Baba. They admired the full moon together.

“How are the gardens?” asked Guru Baba.

“You should come and see for yourself,” said the Gardener. “Where are you these days? I haven’t seen you for weeks.”

“I have visited a few times,” said Guru Baba. “But you’re always so busy with your students. How are they doing?” He turned to Sami and said, “Have you visited the Botanical Gardens recently? You haven’t? What a shame!”

Sami knew that he was ribbing him. Working as Guru Baba’s assistant rarely left a moment spare. Tonight was a perfect example; he was “working all night.”

The Gardener said, “The Extreme Gardening course is progressing well. It is a ten year course, and if all goes to plan we’ll soon be ready for mankind’s next adventure.”

“What do you mean?” asked Sami.

“We are developing new methods for purifying air, growing crops, encouraging insects and plants to develop healthy ecosystems, building a sustainable atmosphere, and seeding hydrographic systems. Within ten years the technology will be ready, and ten years after that, well, humans will be living on other planetary bodies.”

“Will we still be around then?” asked Guru Baba.

“I don’t think that we will, my old friend.”

Guru Baba turned to his assistant and said, “It will be down to you, Sami. Are you ready to be the Man in the Moon?”

Mystical Meeting

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2012 by javedbabar

After the village fertility ritual, they rested awhile. Sami lay down at the foot of the fir tree that was decorated with bright ribbons. Guru Baba sat in lotus position beneath a cherry tree. He reminded Sami that he’d given him the day off so that he could “stay up working”.

“We can only rest for half an hour,” he said. “Then there’s someone you must meet. He’s only around for a little while longer, and then he’s gone.”

“Gone where?” said Sami. “If he’s in the village we can see him tomorrow.”

“No! It must be tonight! There is no tomorrow!”

Sami knew when he’d pushed his holy bossman too far. He set his alarm for half an hour later – 4.12am – and went to sleep.

When the alarm went off, Guru Baba continued sitting, snoring.

Should I wake him or leave him? Sami wondered. He decided he’d better wake him, or there would be trouble.

Guru Baba tried to swat his hand away as if it were a fly. Then he opened one eye, then closed it and opened the other one, then suddenly both; they almost popped out. He said, “Are you ready to meet the man in the moon?”

“What do you mean?” said Sami. “We’ve been with him all night.” They had been watching, talking about, and walking around beneath the full moon. What more was there to do?

“No!” said Guru Baba. “You haven’t met him yet, you’ve just had an introduction. The real meeting is yet to come. Now go home quickly and change. This time into smart clothes. Do you have a suit? Yes? Good, wear it, with a tie and good shoes. Make sure they’re polished.”

“Do I have to, Guru Baba? It’s four-thirty a.m. It’s still dark, and I’m tired, and cold…”

“Do it! Go home and change! Come back by five a.m.”

Sami went home grudgingly. He couldn’t see the way ahead clearly and walked through the field’s boggiest parts. His boots became pretty muddy; he’d better be more careful when returning.

His suit needed ironing, but who would notice at this time? If anything, in these parts he’d get beaten up for looking too smart. He returned at 5.01am, ready to be scolded.

Guru Baba was in lotus position once again. He opened one eye and said, “Stand there in the middle of the field.”

The full moon beamed strongly. Sami stared up at it. It looked like a searchlight.

Guru Baba said, “Now turn around. Meet the most important person you’ve ever met.”

Sami turned around but there was no one there.

“Look at the ground.”

There was Sami’s shadow, long and deep and dark.

Guru Baba pointed at the glowing orb above them, and said, “Like the moon, you have light and dark sides. One is apparent and one is hidden. You must remain alert.” He pointed at Sami’s shadow. “You need to always be smarter than him, or he will become your master.”

Tingling Bells

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Organic Farming, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2012 by javedbabar

Sami touched his own face with fear, and shouted, “Guru Baba! What has happened to me?”

His cheeks were now hairy, his eyebrows met in the middle, and his teeth were sharp. Even his fingernails were curved and pointed. He scratched his own skin and shouted again, “What has happened to me?”

Guru Baba was also different. He was sharp and hairy too.

One night each year the citizens of Lucerne shape-shifted and became Hounds of God. Known commonly as werewolves, they were thought to be evil and feared.

In truth there was nothing to fear. The spring moon caused this transformation, bringing people back into tune with nature. It reminded them of their reliance upon the holy land.

“Look at the cherry trees,” said Guru Baba. “Look how they bow down. It is also their night of humility. It shows the great debt they carry to Mother Earth, which can never be repaid.”

Sami was panicking. “But why is it happening? Is this why you brought me here – to change me into a monster?”

Guru Baba reached out with a furry hand, and Sami drew back his claws. “It’s precisely the opposite of that, Sami. We do this to avoid becoming monsters. We reconnect with nature. We become whole and true.”

Sami was shouting without meaning to; he couldn’t control his thoughts. “Then why all the robes and mumbo-jumbo? You tell people to repeat mantras, to meditate, to pray. Why do they need all that? What good does that do?”

He wanted to stay far away from Guru Baba, but dark shapes emerging from the forest caused him to draw closer to the sage. Guru Baba put his arm around Sami and said, “It gives you peace of mind. Tonight is what gives you peace of heart.”

The full moon bathed the field in brightness. All around them dark beings advanced, heading towards the circle of cherry trees. The Headman of the village, the seventh generation of a pioneer family mixed with native blood, came towards Guru Baba. He bowed and said, “Master of the Holy Ceremony, shall we begin?”

Guru Baba said, “Yes, let us begin.”

The dark beings adjusted items on their bodies and came forward together. Their tingling bells frightened evil spirits away. Their clashing sticks announced the fight between good and evil.

Guru Baba crowned Sami with a wreath woven of cherry branches. Sami’s body then seemed to move of its own accord. He weaved in and out of the thousand dark beings converging, and led them to a tall fir tree. They decorated the tree by hanging bread soaked in beer from its low branches, and poured more beer on its roots. They lit and stamped out small fires around it. They passed around a bowl of herb liquor, all taking sips. They sang bits of nursery rhymes together, and then Guru Baba produced a shotgun from beneath his robes.

Sami’s heart fell. So this was it.

Guru Baba smiled as he shot the gun in the air to wake up the tree for the coming season. He was greatly honoured that Lucerne’s citizens had asked him to oversee their yearly fertility ritual. Yes, he was a famous holy man, but he was also quite new in town.

They tied bright ribbons around the tree and danced in rotation.

The ribbons all wrapped around the trunk, creating a colourful, spiralling pattern.

The code of life was cracked for another season.

Dirty Hairy Beast

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2012 by javedbabar

Sami had witnessed many strange things with Guru Baba, his holy bossman, but tonight had beaten them all. He had been given the day off so that he could “work all night”, a night which involved walking around a boggy field, looking at the moon.

Guru Baba asked him, “Do you like animals? Yes, you do? But you don’t have any pets. You said that you had some when you were a child, but never since then. Why is that?”

“I had a goldfish first, then a tropical snail, then an iguana, and a blue budgie called Neelum, and a striped cat, Mr. Tiger, then a poodle named Biswas. Biswas bit me and my parents had him put down. After that I became scared of dogs, and most other animals with sharp teeth and claws.”

Guru Baba said, “Ahhh…” and then nothing more.

They looked at the moon. It was getting low and had acquired a red hue, the colour of bloody water. It made Sami feel sick; it seemed to be swirling.

“Are you scared of people too? They can be just as dangerous as animals.”

“Well, I guess if I met a murderer, I would be scared. But generally, no. It is animals’ teeth that frighten me really. I think they’re going to bite me.”

Guru Baba opened his mouth wide. His teeth seemed sharper than before. Was Sami’s mind playing tricks now?

“Who are you most scared of?” said Guru Baba. “Animals or humans?”

Sami noticed that Guru Baba’s eyebrows seemed very close together. His nails were sharp, and his ears low-set. He’d always sported a full beard, but now his cheeks and forehead seemed hairy too.

Sami saw movement in the forest beyond the field. He looked at the trees carefully, but couldn’t make out anything unusual. Then there was movement again. He saw a dark shape, and then another one, and then many more.

Sami became pale and said, “Guru Baba, I’m scared. There are animals moving in the forest around us. Can you see them? I think they could be cougars. They might attack us.” Lucerne was famous for its wildlife. Bears, coyotes, cougars and bald eagles lived in the forests and mountains around.

“It is not cougars, it is wolves. There are many around here. They gather at full moons.”

Sami saw that Guru Baba’s eyes were bright yellow.

He stood transfixed by his gaze.

Was he a shape-shifter or some sort of demon?

Sami tried to scream but nothing came out.

He tried to move but his feet remained rooted in the boggy field.

Then he growled and broke free.

Sami ran with a swinging stride and howled at the moon.

Each village has its traditions. Every harvest moon, Lucerne ran amok with werewolves. It was nothing to get upset about.

Finger Pointing at the Moon

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2012 by javedbabar

Sami must have fallen asleep. When he awoke, his holy bossman Guru Baba was lying beside him, not breathing.

Oh my God! thought Sami. Why did I make that haiku about death? He’s an old man suffering with dementia. Maybe he’s had enough of living. Was he just waiting for someone’s permission to die? What have I done?

His gaze was filled with cherry blossom, scattered everywhere around.

Just then however, Guru Baba raised a hand. His arm rose stiffly and pointed to the last cherry blossom clinging to a tree. As he did so, its petals fluttered down.

His finger continued pointing beyond the non-existent blossom. Sami noticed that Guru Baba’s nails were neatly trimmed and shone silver. It seemed that he’d had a manicure, or maybe were they just catching the moonlight. Did Sami’s own nails look the same?

Guru Baba had powerful hands for a man in his – maybe eighties? Sami recalled when the sage had beaten everyone at arm wrestling at the “Measure your spiritual strength” booth on Arcadia Day. No one could believe the power of the old man.

“Why are you still watching my finger?” said Guru Baba. “Why aren’t you looking at what it’s pointing to?”

Sami was perplexed. “But the cherry blossom has fallen. It’s not pointing at anything now.”

“Not pointing at anything! Not pointing at anything!” Uh-oh, he’d got him mad now. “Not pointing at anything! What’s that big glowing ball in the sky? That satellite of earth moving at one kilometre per second, whose core is formed of iron, sulphur, and nickel, that has water frozen at its poles, whose gravity affects earthly tides and the water in our bodies and brains.”

Sami hadn’t noticed the full moon beyond the cherry tree. It had sat above the lake earlier, and had travelled during the night, but he hadn’t paid attention. Maybe he had fallen asleep.

Guru Baba continued. “The Roman goddess of the moon was Luna. She rode in a chariot yoked to oxen with crescent horns. Her followers were called lunatics. Have you become one of them?”

Sami was very respectful of Guru Baba. It was his honour to be the assistant of one of the world’s leading holy men. Sometimes, however, he’d had enough of his whims and ranting. He said, “Guru Baba, haven’t we watched the moon enough tonight?”

There was a change in the sage’s demeanour. He said, “The more you look at something, the more you will see.”

“Then why can’t I watch your finger? It would be fascinating for me.”

Guru Baba considered this quandary and said, “You can. Go ahead.”

As Sami watched the sage’s finger, it glowed and seemed to disappear. He followed its previous direction. One of the moon’s craters became suddenly prominent. It seemed an eyeball watching him back.

Night of Change

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2012 by javedbabar

Sami was cold, wet and dirty and went home, but Guru Baba said that he should get changed and come back; he’d given his assistant the day off so that he could “work all night”, not call it quits after half a night. When Sami returned half an hour later, Guru Baba was lying at the centre of a circle of trees. “Come and join me,” he said. “Tonight is special. It is a night of change.”

Sami had recovered his humour and said, “But Guru Baba, I’ve already changed into fresh clothes. My mother has washed and ironed them for me. I can’t get them dirty. Do you want me to upset my creator?”

Guru Baba smiled and said, “Yes you are right. It is okay for me – an old man with some orange cloth wrapped around him – but you should protect your highly fashionable, freshly laundered items.” He rolled out the edge of his robe. “Here, come and sit on this.”

Sami sat on the robe and looked around. Guru Baba had chosen a spot amongst gnarly, bare trees. He wondered how this related to the “night of change.”

“See! The trees are waiting,” said Guru Baba. “Winter comes and goes yearly, kissing the honeybees.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“We are enjoying a Hanami party. We must compose poems.”

Sami’s Japanese pen pal had mentioned Hanami parties. Annual blossom forecasts informed Japanese people of the progress of sakura, cherry blossoms. They lasted only for a week or so, sweeping through the land like a tsunami.

In ancient times sakura was used to divine successful harvests, and it announced the start of the rice planting season. In modern times it initiates the school and fiscal years.

So that’s what Sami and the sage were doing, admiring cherry blossoms.

The bare tree was looking different already. Shoots and leaves appeared. “Green little fingers,” said Guru Baba, “clicking with sunshine almost. Oh, they are blushing.”

His Japanese pen pal had also mentioned haiku, little poems of seventeen syllables that combined ideas with images. They have three lines of five, seven and five syllables respectively, and always include a natural reference.

As Sami observed the trees, little white balls appeared among the leaves. They opened out into blossoms, each with a central green stem surrounded with yellow filaments.

Guru Baba said, “The green tree is strong, but yellow stars bursting must, visit and leave gifts.”

In biology they had dissected flowers. Sami couldn’t see the blossoms that closely, but knew that the central pistil had a bulbous stigma, and was surrounded by yellow stamens. Their heads contained pollen which was transferred by insects for pollination.

Oh the heart of life, welcomes those who bravely come, give all that you have.”

The sakura glowed in the moonlight, and fell around them like snow. Sami said, “My youth is my gift, life follows joyful seasons, but suffering too.”

Guru Baba turned his head and said, “Don’t be so miserable.”

Circling Bodies

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry, Unknown with tags , , , , , , on August 26, 2012 by javedbabar

Sami walked around Guru Baba, who himself walked around a tall fir tree. This was meant to illustrate the workings of our solar system – the fir was the sun, Guru Baba the earth, and Sami the moon whizzing around, showing its restless devotion.

As Guru Baba completed a quarter circuit of the fir, Sami lost his footing and collapsed at his feet. It was an embarrassing moment for both of them. Sami was on his knees to his holy bossman, who despite being a sage, disliked sycophantic behaviour. He saw himself as teacher of peers. They all taught him something too.

Guru Baba decided to make light of the situation and said, “You were meant to be the moon not a comet! This isn’t a Bruce Willis film.” Sami arose from the boggy ground, leaving a crater. “Okay, let’s stop now. Time for rest. Why don’t you lie down for a while?”

Sami said, “Guru Baba, I need to return home. Preferably to bed, but if not, then at least to change my clothes. Can I go now?”

A flash of anger crossed the sage’s face but then was gone. He said, “You can go if you wish to. However, if you do that you can never come back.”

Sami had heard such threats before, but they continued to surprise him. Did Guru Baba really mean it? Did he value his assistant’s devotion so lightly that a minor disagreement must result in termination?

This crazy old man was the wisest person he’d ever known. He was the grandfather he’d never had, maybe also the father he barely remembered.

It was a nasty threat. Should he comply yet again with his unreasonable request, or this time call his bluff? Sami decided enough was enough.

“Sorry, Guru Baba, I am cold, wet and tired. I’m going home.”

“Okay,” said Guru Baba. “Good night Sami. Thank you for your help this evening. I really enjoyed it.”

Sami began walking towards town but he didn’t seem to be making progress. Every step he took continued his circuit around Guru Baba. He became confused and angry, then bemused and began laughing. Something strange was going on here. He no longer felt cold and tired.

“What’s so funny?” said the sage.

“Maybe I will lie down for a while.”

Gazing up at the sky, Sami saw a black spot transit the moon. He rubbed his eyes, it must be dirt, but it was still there. He said, “What’s that, Guru Baba?”

“I was wondering when you’d see that. It’s another moon. Yes, yes, another moon. Can’t the moon have a moon too? Everything has something circling it. The centre of the galaxy has the sun, the sun has the earth, the earth has the moon, the moon has an asteroid, the asteroid has a rock, the rock has a grain, the grain is made of atoms, circled by electrons, and so on and so on!

“And I must circle you?”

Guru Baba acknowledged the question but didn’t answer directly. “The moon is in motion for a reason. It wants to maintain its relationship with earth. If it stayed still that relationship would end. Moving is loving, and loving is living. Now, Sami, you can get up and go home.”

Sami arose and smiled, till Guru Baba said, “Please change and come back soon. Remember I gave you the day off because tonight you’d be working.”

Syzygy

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2012 by javedbabar

“Let’s play a game,” said Guru Baba. “You stand still and I will walk around you.”

A request such as this was not strange to Sami. Working for his holy bossman, he had come to expect the unexpected. Like tonight, where he’d been “given the day off” but was expected to stay up all night “working”.

He said, “Okay Guru Baba, where shall I stand?” They were in the boggy part of a harvested hayfield outside Lucerne village. Some places would surely be better to stand than others.

“Stand wherever you like. It doesn’t matter to me.”

Sami wondered if this was a variation of a previous exercise where he and Shama were required to play flutes and Guru Baba walked around finding “sonic spots”? He said, “Okay, I’ll stay where I am. What next?”

Guru Baba said, “This next.” He began strolling at an even pace, circling ten metres about Sami. He was also spinning slowly as he walked, making about one revolution every quarter circuit. Sami asked why he was spinning. His response, facing away from Sami at the time, was “Technical reasons.”

After four circuits, Guru Baba said to Sami, “How do you feel?”

Sami had closed his eyes a while back; it was getting late and he was tired. “Quite bored. I’d rather be sitting or moving.”

“Good. Now it’s your turn. I will stand still and you walk around me.”

Sami followed Guru Baba’s example, and began walking at a steady pace. He said, “Do you want me to spin too – for technical reasons?”

“Yes, if you can manage it without getting dizzy, that would be good.”

After four circuits, he asked Sami, “How do you feel now?”

“At first I started getting dizzy, but then became peaceful, almost hypnotized. I think I could keep walking and spinning like that for hours.”

“Very good!” Guru Baba wiped mud off his sandals. “Now imagine that fir tree is the centre, and I will walk around it, and you walk around me. We will start slowly but then speed up. Ready?”

There was no point in complaining or rolling his eyes. Sami said, “Sure.”

Guru Baba walked at the same pace as before, but Sami needed to go much quicker. He could slow down when circling against Guru Baba’s direction, but had to hurry and retain co-ordination when turning with him.

Guru Baba said, “Now imagine that tree is the sun, and I am the earth, and you are the moon. Isn’t that an exciting place to be? Moving so fast around us? Whizzing about! In cosmic terms we are connected to the moon, and we subconsciously know how hard it’s working. It is maintaining the rhythms of tides and other waters of the world, both outside us and within us. Just the thought of that is exhausting. That’s why whenever we see the moon, we feel like sleeping.

Living on the Moon

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2012 by javedbabar

Despite there being a full moon tonight, Guru Baba had encouraged Sami to undertake a Dark Moon Retreat. Such were the strange ways of his holy bossman. He was never predictable.

Now back in the boggy part of a field outside Lucerne Village, they studied the moon. Sami felt a new lightness after his prolonged meditation, as if a great burden had been lifted from his soul. Guru Baba was right – death required preparation, as did any important task. Right now Sami’s gaze was floating high and he said, “I wonder what it would be like to live on the moon?”

“Why wonder?” said Guru Baba. “Why don’t you find out?”

“How can I do that? Is there a special form of meditation?”

“No, no, no! Not everything is about meditation! You youngsters get carried away. That’s why Lao Tzu said, Those who know, do not speak; those who speak, do not know. People just hear one thing and get stuck on it, like there’s nothing else.”

Sami became self-conscious and said nothing more. Guru Baba sensed his distance and said, “I’m sorry, it’s my pet peeve. Meditation has a purpose, but so does logical thought.” Sami remained quiet. He needed encouragement. “Come on, let’s find out what it would be like to live on the moon.”

Sami said quietly, “Okay, how?”

“You asked a question: What would it be like to live on the moon? Ultimately you must answer all of your questions yourself. Nobody else can do it for you. Let’s break down the components of life on the moon. What will you need to live there? That’s right, some kind of a base or home. What will you make it out of? Yes, materials brought from earth, or mined on the moon. How will you breathe? Yes, using recycled air, maybe via algae-based purifiers. What about light? Yes, you will need to be prepared for very long days and nights – up to two weeks – unless you live at the poles. And temperatures? Yes, there will be huge fluctuations. And gravity? Yes, you will need to compensate for the lack of it, and there could be long-term hazards to health. See, you just ask the right questions and answers present themselves. Please continue yourself.”

Sami said, “Power could be made using solar or nuclear methods. Food could be grown by rotating crops to regulate sunlight, creating radiation protection for them, and introducing insects for pollination. There’s water frozen at the moon’s poles that could be processed. Transport would be easy with the low gravity there, using locally-produced fuel or electromagnetic cannons. Communications would be easy, with no atmospheric diffraction. But…”

“What is it, go on…”

“Being so far from earth. It would feel very isolated.” He thought some more and said, “But the earth would be clearly visible. It would look so beautiful always, like a precious blue pearl. I would love it more than ever.”

Dark Moon Retreat

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2012 by javedbabar

Guru Baba said, “Are you scared of death?”

Though he knew that his holy bossman was full of surprises, Sami was often unprepared for his questions. Sami had been given the day off, yet told that he’d be “working all night,” and here he was in a field beneath a full moon, being asked about death. He’d never really given it much thought. He said, “I suppose I am.”

Guru Baba grabbed his hand and said, “Come on then!”

Sami resisted. “Where to?”

“To death! Let’s go there!”

What was he up to? Sami turned to face him and said, “Guru Baba, I don’t want to die yet.”

“Why not? Practice makes perfect!”

Sami pulled away. “What do you mean by that? You’re scaring me now.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to. It’s just that the best way to prepare for anything – a race, a test, a holiday – is to engage in some practice. There is an ancient method to prepare for your death called the Dark Moon Retreat, performed during the darkest lunar phase.”

“But Guru Baba, there’s a full moon tonight. That’s why we’re out here.”

This stopped the sage in his tracks. “Ah! So there is!” He looked rapidly from side to side before his gaze settled on some farm outbuildings. “No problem. Let’s go over there.”

Guru Baba climbed over a barbed wire fence. “Shouldn’t we get permission to come here?” said Sami.

“No, no, no need for that. Come on over. The Egyptians used to meditate in pyramids. The Teotihuacanos too. Holy men and women would enter their inner chambers alone and spend the night there, removed from all sources of light and sound, yet filled with visions of the inner workings of worlds. We don’t have any pyramids here, so this will do. Let’s have a go.”

Sami was bemused by the choice of an A-frame barn as a pyramid stand-in, but held his tongue. Guru Baba said, “It is a restricted practice, only for use under appropriate spiritual guidance. Do you think I qualify for the role of spiritual guide?”

Guru Baba was one of the world’s leading holy men, recently retired to “that lovely village with the white mountain above it.” Sami smiled and nodded.

He was instructed to sit cross-legged on hay bales and breathe slowly in and out. “Lose all of your thoughts,” said Guru Baba. “Keep only the gaps between them. Look at the spaces.” He waited a while, and said, “Good. Whether we live or die, we are always connected. We have seven spiritual centres in our bodies, infused with seven colours, and connected with seven planets. Now focus on these centres, planets and colours, and recite these seven holy syllables.” He broke off for a moment to think up some words, and then said, “I am Sa-mi so am I.”

Sami did as he was told. At first he felt the hay prickling his bottom.

Then he was aware only of his words.

Then the centres.

Then colours.

Then planets.

There was a sequence of degeneration where all words, centres, colours and planets fell away. Sami saw reality clearly – who he was truly – and then experienced terrifying hallucinations – who he had been in lesser forms.

Guru Baba watched Sami’s rainbow body shining. It illuminated the whole barn. He sensed fluttering above. “Poor bats,” he thought. “So confused. Maybe this will enlighten them too.”