Archive for reincarnation

Next Kiss

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2012 by javedbabar

Sami looked around in desperation. What was the best test for knowing if you were dreaming or awake? Asking another person was the best test he could think of, so he asked the man lying in his arms, smiling, staring up at him, dead. “Guru Baba, am I dreaming?”

The smile seemed to broaden, or was he imagining that?

All around him, people stood open-mouthed. There were hundreds of people, maybe thousands. He realized where he was. He was in Lucerne’s Transparent Temple at Guru Baba’s darshan – holy viewing. He recalled the holy man saying he was going to “change into somebody else”. Had he been talking about Sami or himself?

Guru Baba lay in Sami’s arms with his eyes wide open, as if seeing everything, but Sami knew he wasn’t. A minute ago he had kissed Sami on the lips, and said, “It is you,” before falling away.

Sami heard people chattering. He didn’t look up at them, just stared at their shoes.

“He is not dead. He is resting immaterially.”

“The Guru will never die; he lives forever in our hearts.”

“Did he appoint a successor?”

“We must find his reincarnation. What are the signs?”

Sami’s mind could not acknowledge the situation. It was too strange, too much to handle. Guru Baba had said to him, “It is you.”

He thought back to when they had first met, on the New City bus to Lucerne. He had noticed a strange brown man, with long black beard, orange robes and ASICS trainers, and smiled at him, prompting the man to leave his seat and sit next to Sami.

Their sudden intimacy was surprising. The strange brown man had talked non-stop for three hours, and Sami had developed a headache, mainly from laughing. The guy’s main topic was sports shoes.

“I thought that modern life is all running around. I am an Indian holy man, yes, but I am also a modern citizen, so I must also run around. I did research. I tried sneakers in many sports shops. They said to run in them to test them, so I ran twenty-six miles to see if they were suitable for marathons. I tried Reebok, Puma, Fila, New Balance, and ASICS. ASICS were the best ones. I tried Nike too, but they have a bad reputation among spiritual people, you know, since the Heaven’s Gate people wore them and killed themselves. They also name shoes after Irish terrorist groups. They really make killer shoes! And Adidas, with the rubber shackles, made a joke of slavery. I know, all sneakers are made in sweat shops, but what can we do?”

Sami was stunned. How did a seventy year old Indian holy man know so much about sneaker culture?

Guru Baba said, “There are many kinds of sneakers – high tops, low tops, mid cut, sneaker boots, trail shoes, running shoes, basketball shoes, but they all share one quality. They are humble. They cover the lowest part of the body, touching the ground. They take daily pounding, and don’t mind getting dirty as long as they save the feet.”

At the end of the bus journey, when they separated, Baba kissed Sami on the lips. He had had found it creepy and pulled back, but then had a change of heart.

He realized that this kiss, all true kisses, were far deeper and more lasting than any erotic connotation. They showed loyalty, affection, gratitude, compassion, sympathy, joy and sadness, and held the redeeming power to cast off spells. Princesses were changed back from dragons, and Beauty’s Beast into a prince. People kissed the Pope’s ring, the Torah, The Kaaba’s black stone, Krishna’s feet and Buddha’s bones. A reciprocal kiss was a greeting and farewell, and a blown kiss went straight from your heart to heaven.

His meeting Guru Baba was as surprising as his parting. Both sneaked up on him unexpectedly.

He removed the old man’s robe to reveal Road Runner boxer shorts, draped the robe around himself, and called forward the next person to kiss.

Last Kiss

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

Guru Baba had said he was going to “change into somebody else.” Sami wondered what he meant by it.

Sami had studied economics at university, and worked in financial marketing. He knew about product personalization and brand relaunches. Was it something along those lines? He had seen how banks had changed their mission from “someone who looks after your money and gives you some extra to say thank you,” to, “someone who helps to improve your lifestyle and charges you for it.” The first implied that it was your money and you were in charge, albeit with scary bank managers as guardians. The second had friendly customer services assistants who let you do whatever you wanted, ensuring you were drawn deeper into their embrace, till they had the power to strangle you – not that a parasite generally kills off its host.

Economics is essentially about demand and supply; which was it? Guru Baba didn’t have a demand side issue – hundreds of people came to every gathering; there were four thousand expected in Lucerne’s Transparent Temple today. Maybe it was a supply side issue; that Guru Baba was bored and tired, and wanted to end his mass spiritual activities. That must be it. During a break, Sami asked him whether this was the case.

Guru Baba said, “You will see.”

Having planned many gatherings, Sami was good at crisis management. There had been some hiccups with external queues, internal crowd management, demonic possession of a marshall, and an investigative journalist’s sexual harassment claims, but things were now running smoothly at this one.

Something wasn’t right though, he could sense it…

Sami looked around for fallen objects, sniffed for smoke, listened for shouting or screaming, but there was nothing alarming.

He had a sudden headache, focused between his eyes.

Guru Baba stopped those queuing for darshan – holy viewing – and called Sami over. Sami ran towards him. Something was wrong. What was it?”

“It’s your turn,” said Guru Baba, stood up and held out his arms.

Me? Now? Here? What for? thought Sami.

He shouldn’t refuse. He held out his arms too. Guru Baba grasped his wrists and pulled him forward and kissed him on the lips.

Every kiss he had ever had flew though his heart.

His first kiss with his teddy bear, Fuzzy.

His test kiss with his sister.

His first date with Lisa; their silly kissing in her porch.

Making out with Sandra, then others, in parks.

Kissing games – Truth or Dare, Spin the Bottle, Post Office, and Wink.

His hot desire for Martha.

Intoxicated feelings with Debs.

His infinite happiness with Charlotte.

The courage he felt when kissing Nina.

The maturity, happiness and health kisses brought.

A kiss holds everything and gives everything, when lips and hearts collide.

And now he was kissing an old man with black beard, brown skin and saffron robes. In his head he heard Guru Baba saying, “It is you,” before falling away.

Sami opened his eyes to find Guru Baba staring up at him, smiling in his arms.

Guru Baba wasn’t moving. He was dead.

Great Gathering

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

Sami wondered what Guru Baba had meant by saying he was going to change “into somebody else.” He’d also said, “I have done so before.”

Maybe he’d changed his name when he became a holy man. It was common to break the bonds of your gross life when undertaking a more subtle one. Or was it his family name, in an attempt to elevate caste? Guru Baba had told Sami about his misguided youth, where despite coming from a wealthy family, he was always getting into trouble with the law. His family may have used their influence to wash his police records clean.

Guru Baba’s utterance had struck a chord with the public. Some people had come the night before and camped outside the Transparent Temple, and many more had come at dawn. There was a seated queue of four hundred people by 8 a.m., and doors wouldn’t open till twelve.

“Hello Sophie,” said Sami. “I didn’t know you were coming today. Why didn’t you tell me? I could have got you a pass.”

“Thanks, but I am happy waiting. It’s like a long meditation.”

He saw that Shama, Dimpy and Bobby were in the queue. Shama and Dimpy sat next to each other, chatting. Perhaps they had moved beyond their divorce. And Bobby was a strange fellow, otherworldly; well suited to the spiritual realm, and certainly not suited to this one.

Sophie asked, “How many people are you expecting today?”

“It’s always hard to say. My rule of thumb is ten times the number queuing at eight a.m., so maybe four thousand.”

“You can’t fit that many in the Temple, can you? It’s only got room for four hundred.”

“Up to six hundred,” said Sami. “We’ll keep the queue moving. We’ll ask people to perform their darshan, take refreshment, and leave. They are welcome to rejoin the queue if they want more time.”

Darshan was the act of seeing a holy person – in this case Guru Baba, rather than Siva or Krishna – and absorbing their power through your eyes. Participation in this sacred act brought good fortune, wellbeing and grace.

By midday the queue had grown to two thousand. People must have taken the day, or at least part of the day, off from work. He saw the Lucerne Valley Hotel’s part-android receptionist, TJ, the Seniors’ Centre manager, Mr Amin, veteran Dr Bungawalla, Bobby’s niece Naomi – had she skipped school? – and the founder of the Botanical Gardens, known only as The Gardener. They all waited patiently.

The first four hundred people were allowed in. While they waited for the ritual to commence, a large screen showed a film of Guru Baba’s life.

The small, black-bearded, saffron-robed sage, though retired, was still thought of as one of the world’s leading holy men. His origins had not been humble. He was the son of an Indian dynasty whose businesses made airplanes, cars, computers, smartphones, spirits and soft drinks, and lived in a one billion dollar home in Mumbai.

The young Guru Baba saw how obsessed his family had become with money; it affected their physical and mental health, relationships and manners. They had the burden of wealth. He left the family home and lived in the slums, yet found that the lot of poor people was no happier than that of rich people. Poor people had the reverse burden of poverty.

He realized that the essence of life was not what you had, but what you did; how you used your time on earth. He felt that gatherings of like-hearted people were energizing and humanizing. In this way, he had brought over thirty six million people together, which was good enough for a lifetime’s work.

He could leave now.

The Squirm

Posted in Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by javedbabar

The squirm was warm, wriggling in juices; it was so easy and cosy, just hanging around. There is a difference between being aware and being conscious. The squirm was aware of its sensual context, but not capable of conscious thought.

How had the squirm arrived in this situation? It was difficult to say. Had it made a crazy journey from somewhere, inching along, or had it been swimming along? The time before the journey was unknown; maybe it didn’t exist, or maybe it was an impossible conception of time; the squirm couldn’t know; it was alive but not conscious.

The squirm had been growing rapidly. It doubled, quadrupled, octupled, and whatever comes next, till it was now 128 times its original size. This critical mass triggered an autonomous reaction; the squirm’s resources were depleted and it needed nourishment and a safe place to settle. The squirm’s outer parts reached for a hold, found a good spot and anchored, then reached in further and formed a permanent attachment. The waters rushing past it were a hazard, and it needed to be away from their flow; if they caught him again, they would take the squirm past the pool of possibility into the dead zone. It was already weakened and fading fast…

The squirm’s outer parts tapped nourishment, and it quickly revived; there was a great rush through its body, too much to bear initially, and it became disorientated. Then the flow settled and its awareness evolved.

There came a new sensation, a conscious germ. The squirm had connected to its maker for the first time since becoming a full being. Its origins were an egg about to be released by its dark-maker, but activated in time by its light-maker, to become a whole squirm capable of undertaking its first journey alone.

The squirm’s conscious flash revealed that after conception comes incarnation; there is a moment of decision when a spark of life becomes anything it chooses. It has the love of its dark-maker and the support of its light-maker, but is in truth an independent being. At the moment it rejoins its source, the squirm’s cosmic form is decided.

The human race is encoded with essential knowledge; awareness of every sentient being. Algae, fish, lizards and monkeys are ancestors; ants, cows and eagles are relatives. At inception, every possible life form flashes through our minds – amoeba, worm, fish, cow, snake, ape, lion, bear, whale, human – and further possibilities: superhuman, artificially intelligent being, empowered neural network, planetary, galactic, and cosmic being.

Two Laws of the Universe decide our form. The Law of Attraction calls forth our desires to manifest corporeally. The Law of Karma defines just possibilities of being.

At that moment of connection to its source, the squirm could become anything. It’s previous form as an organic farmer in India was cut short by debts to chemical companies, leaving no option but to commit suicide to end this bondage, and free his family from debt.

This ending of life was performed selflessly; a chance was given to begin life again in a better place. Lucerne.

The squirms inner cells formed two layers. One layer began to develop into lungs, stomach and gut; the other into heart, blood and bones. A layer of cells folded into a hollow tube that became a brain and nervous system. A string of blood vessels connected the foetus to the mother more securely, like a farmer to land. Its tail faded, dimples became ears, thickenings became eyes, bumps became muscles, and swellings became limbs, all of which would work together to crawl into the world again.

Moti Mahal

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

Mr Amin was not himself. Though he bore his usual impish smile, and walked around in his usual attire – shirt and tie, and sleeveless sweater – he muttered beneath his breath. Clients of Open Hearts seniors daycare centre were not used to seeing their manager behave like this. Zoe the cook overheard him when he came to the kitchen to make tea. He said, “It’s the law of life. It’s an ancient tradition. It’s biologically ingrained. It’s a moral duty.”

Half an hour later he was back for another cup, still muttering. “But now they feel differently. They say we’re individuals. We’re all responsible for ourselves.”

Zoe wondered if she should say something now. She tried to catch his eye but was unable to, so just said quietly, “Mr Amin… is everything alright today?”

“Yes yes,” he said. “They come once a year. They are coming today. That’s all.” He would say nothing further, and made his tea and left the kitchen.

Later that morning, Zoe said to Smuel the driver, “What’s up with Mr Amin? He seems really bothered.”

He said, “I’m not sure. Shall we ask him?”

They went to Mr Amin’s office together, and Smuel said, “Mr. Amin, you seem troubled today. We were wondering what’s happened, and if we could help you in any way.”

“Nothing’s happened – why should it?” He was hostile to their enquiries so they went away. Only last week he had told them of his dream of living in a moti mahal, a palace of pearls, in the next world. How he’d clammed up.

At midday exactly two cars pulled up. They were of similar make and model, except that one was black with number plate A1 and the other was white with number plate A2. A man stepped out of each car at exactly the same moment. From the black car came a black man wearing a black suit, with black shirt and tie, and black socks and shoes. From the white car came a white man wearing a white suit, with white shirt and tie, and white socks and shoes. Their features looked similar and familiar. They both looked somewhat like Mr. Amin.

The white man pushed open both sides of the Centre’s double doors, and walked in haughtily. The black man pushed open one door only and smiled at the Centre’s clients as he entered. If it wasn’t a crazy thing to suggest, Smuel would have said that they were differently coloured twins.

The white man pushed open Mr Amin’s office door without knocking or calling. He entered and closed the door behind him, and Smuel heard voices raised from within. If they got much louder, he would check to see if Mr Amin was O.K. The heated discussion lasted five minutes before the white man came out, scowling and cursing beneath his breath. The black man knocked and went into Mr Amin’s office, and their voices remained low. A few minutes later the black man emerged, smiling broadly. Both men headed back to their cars.

Smuel didn’t know how to handle this situation. As an employee of Open Hearts he need not do anything. No crime had been committed and management appeared to have the situation under control. As a person, however, he couldn’t stand it. Who was this white man who had upset his impish boss? And who was the black man who had soothed him?

Smuel ran outside and tapped on the white car’s window. The white man rolled it down and said, “How may I help you?”

Smuel said, “What did you say to Mr. Amin? Why were you rude to him?”

The man said, “I didn’t say anything to him, and I wasn’t rude to him.”

“Don’t be smart. I saw you. You went into his office and shouted at him.”

“Believe me,” said the white man. “He shouted at me first. He always does. That’s why I was in a bad mood when I entered. I knew what to expect, and now that it’s over with, I’m relaxed.”

“Why does he shout at you?” said Smuel, confused.

Smuel hadn’t noticed Zoe come outside. While he’d been talking to the white man, Zoe had engaged the black man. He heard a furious exchange between them. He never would have imagined Zoe using such words. He ran over to the black car immediately. Zoe was crying, so he held her. It seemed so natural. “What happened?” he said.

“That black man was nice only on the surface. He was rotten within. He came here to threaten Mr Amin. That’s why he was so carefree. And he only seemed quiet because his threats were muttered.”

“But who are they?” said Smuel, staring after the disappearing cars.

They saw Mr Amin peering scared from his office window. He was a gentle soul now, manager of a not-for-profit social service ensuring that Ma, Pa, Grandma, and Grandpa had something to look forward to daily. He was unquestionably doing public good. But before retiring to Canadia, he had been Minister of Culture for Northern India. He was a corrupt killer, a most evil man. The Agents of Karma tracked him everywhere, and once a year they came to check in. At the end of his life their collated reports would determine whether Mr Amin would reside in a palace of pearls or a demonic dungeon.

Steamed Peacocks

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , on April 26, 2012 by javedbabar

James sat in his usual chair facing away from the television. Who knew how much more life he would see, so he may as well witness what was available. He watched the people that had become his daily companions here at Open Hearts seniors daycare centre. They were not the people he would have chosen, but God, fate, or Satan had chosen them for him. He knew that he was here for a reason. He had been angry at first – really angry – about his third stroke and partial paralysis.

What they fed him at lunchtimes was dull – things like chicken stew, chow mein, or potato curry. It wasn’t bad food, just uninspired. The cook Zoe tried hard in the kitchen, but there’s only so much you can do with an ingredients budget of $2 per person per day. James had flashbacks of sumptuous feasts – steamed peacocks with their iridescent fans spread wide, and above them were roasted quails speared on golden trees; baked fish were set in tanks of crystal wines; spiced curds in mango and saffron sauce; necklaces of black grapes and pomegranate seeds; bejewelled women and turbaned guards; lavish tables spread in marble palaces with rose-scented air seeping through grilles, and cool water spouting from fountains inlaid with precious stones and tinkling along floor channels.

James’s static state had enhanced his powers of observation and concentration. Sitting in one place all day – facing real people and life, rather than fake versions – made him aware of himself and his world.

The manager Mr Amin always said hello to him. James appreciated being recognized as a person rather than a pet or statue, which is how most others viewed him. He only turned towards the TV when Mr Amin played an Indian movie. They were mainly for the female clients, who loved the fabulous colours, clothes, dances, and songs. But James also liked to watch them, for they ignited memories of red saris with golden embroidery, and blue ones with pearls, of troupes of fat men performing devotional songs in trances, and women with curves and luscious lips banging their feet strung with small bells. He wanted to tap his feet to the rhythms but couldn’t move them. He found himself rolling his eyes instead. Sometimes blinking rapidly.

Ex-cowboy Albert greeted him too. He’d say, “Howdy Jesse!” meaning Jesse James. “Now don’t you be causing any trouble today. I’m keeping an eye on you pal. Remember I’m the sheriff ‘round here. Self appointed of course – who else would appoint me?”

Zoe was unhappy in her relationship and it showed in her food. Her chicken stew was stewy, her chow mein was mean, and her potato curry was full of worry. Why didn’t she get together with their driver Smuel? He was a decent chap. He’d said to James this morning, “How do you like life on the road, James? I’m thinking of taking a trip across Canadia, maybe across the world. I’d love to take Zoe. What do you think of her? Want to come along with us?” James felt an affinity with him, the hopeless romantic. He knew that Zoe was in a long term relationship and unlikely to join Smuel’s road trip. Still, it didn’t hurt to dream.

James’ dreams held only one person: Irene. He didn’t know why at first, but it soon became clear. As he sat in the Centre’s communal Temple – filled with OMs, Stars of David, Crosses, Crescent Moons, and other holy signs – he visualized a new sign, a Black Sun, which was in truth an old sign, recalled from long ago.

He was seated in a desert encampment, the air warm with cloves. Torches blazed, casting golden glows across horses, people and tents. That’s where he had first known Irene – then called Noop, a royal maid in Northern India. He was a guard called Raja, tasked with protection of the prince’s wives. He guarded them with honour. His loyalty was absolute. His feelings for Noop however were special. He fell in love with her at first sight. Love between servants was forbidden so they kept it quiet, but Raja couldn’t bear the prince demanding “royal favours” from Noop. He had sworn to protect the royal family so couldn’t attack him, but he could try to reason with him. With great humility he asked permission to marry Noop. The prince blessed their union, but that night had him arrested. “Bastard servant,” he said. “Who do you think you are? You have spoiled this woman for me. She is no longer fit for a prince.”

The last thing Raja had seen was Noop executed before him. Then his eyes were gouged out. First there was one black spot, then another, and then nothing at all.

Here they were at Open Hearts seniors daycare centre living together again. Here they were at Open Hearts seniors daycare centre dying together again.

Shitty Brown

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2012 by javedbabar

“I’m looking forward to the art class,” said Irene. “It’s been years since I’ve painted anything. It will be fun I think.” James stared past her towards the front windows, where light poured in. He seemed to prefer facing that direction, not that he could tell her himself. She just had a feeling.

She enjoyed her daily visit to Open Hearts seniors daycare centre. It got her out of the house, and she’d made a couple of friends now. Most of all she liked to spend time with James, who had been her soulmate in many lifetimes, even though she’d found him too late in this life to share much, and his stroke had left him unresponsive to her and everybody else.

What did he do all day, she wondered? What did he think? What did he feel? What was it like to be locked up inside yourself, unable to share your thoughts and dreams? Poor James. Her James. King James. She said to him, “Okay darling, I’m going to see Mr. Amin to see if I can help today. He seems to appreciate my assistance.”

Mr. Amin said, “Irene! Nice to see you.” She wondered if they had magic imps in India? If they did, then he would definitely be one of them. “The art teacher will be arriving at ten. Would you please help her to set up when she comes.”

Mr. Amin was amazing. Where did he find resources for these kinds of activities? The Authority had cut back severely on funding. Public services were closing down everywhere, yet Open Hearts was running smoothly with cultural activities weekly, even twice weekly. They’d recently been taught a dance called Zumba, Egyptian belly dancing, healthy cooking, pottery, origami, and rapping – at which ex-cowboy Albert excelled, though Mr. Amin was displeased with the continual rhyming of his name with gold pannin’ and jammin’; “It is pronounced A-meen,” he said. “Not Am-in.” Albert had then rhymed his name with spleen and unseen, and obscene and latrine, at which point Mr. Amin had asked him to stop.

Irene helped the teacher lay out paper, paints, brushes, and pots. She hadn’t brought many colours – just the basics: red, yellow, blue, black and white. Enough to make something garish like they would have produced when children. Maybe they would succeed in mixing subtler shades. From what she recalled though, mix too much and you end up with shitty brown. There was enough of that around here already.

Mr. Amin called everybody together. Not everyone wanted to join in though, and not everyone was able to. Her James for example just sat to one side, staring. How could he engage? Never mind a paintbrush, he could barely hold his spoon.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Mr. Amin. “Here is our teacher, Stella. She has been an artist for twenty years, and has kindly agreed to deliver a six-week art course at Open Hearts.”

“If she’s an artist, then why isn’t she making art?” said Gemma.

“What do you mean by that?” said Mr. Amin.

“Isn’t there a saying: ‘Those that can do, and those that can’t teach’?”

There was an embarrassed silence, broken by Stella. “Actually I do both. I teach two days a week and paint three days. I’ll invite you all to ‘Being Become’, my next exhibition in the City. Mr. Amin, would you be able to arrange the transport?” He nodded. “Good. Let’s begin. Why do we make art?”

“Because it’s lovely?” said Irene. “It improves our environment.”

“Yes, it does. Anybody else?”

Mr. Amin couldn’t help joining in. He said that we had a basic instinct for harmony, balance, and rhythm. We desired experience of the mysterious. It was an expression of the imagination. It held ritualistic and symbolic functions. Nobody needed reminding that he had once been the Minister of Culture for Northern India, before retiring to Canadia to be near his grandchildren.

Stella said, “I think you’ve covered everything, Mr. Amin. Shall we begin?”

People fiddled about, knocked over water, got paint on their clothes, bent brushes, and ripped paper, but eventually paint made it onto paper, and artworks “became”.

Nobody noticed James rise. He shuffled over to the central table and seated himself before an art station. “What’s he doing?” Gemma said. “Watch out, he’ll make a big mess.” Stella helped him to get started, and he continued independently. It was true though, he was making a mess. There were patches of colour beside and then atop each other, which quickly fused into browns. Shitty browns. It was time for lunch, and they went to the dining area for oil-free chicken curry with chick pea rice. James stayed where he was, manifesting his vision.

Mr. Amin went to check on his progress. As Minister of Culture he had considered all manner of artworks for purchase and display in national museums. From Mughal miniatures to pickled sharks. He saw that there was merit in this painting. Within the shitty brown he saw a strong story emerging. He saw two trails of colours joining, separating, and rejoining, arching and twisting, fading and reforming – losing and then finding each other – yet their forms were always entwined.