“ The Beginning …….. managing to stay on her course bare-footed, along the fields, Maya saw a light coming from what appeared to be a small stoned opening. Reaching through the rocky road in her tethered robe, her body gave up under the dimly lit wooden gate. She fell unconscious with the burns of the black mark on her right wrist.”
Days passed as Maya lay unconscious in a small room with a window overlooking Sinai valley. An aged monk came to sit by her side every night and performed rituals to circulate life force into her.
It was the night of the red lunar eclipse when Maya opened her eyes slowly while the monk held her cursed wrist and whispered prayers.
“ Be calm, you are safe here” said a voice in her head.
Maya’s eyes widened, she knew it was the monk’s voice. The monk slowly released her hand, opened his eyes and gently looked at her. He gazed up from the window just as the eclipse ended. The moon rays fell on Maya and a new life force entered her.
The monk stood up and slowly walked out of the room.
A small boy who was watching from the entrance came in with a pot of water and some rice and placed in front of Maya. She slowly lifted her body and sat on the bedding floor. The boy continued to sit next to her quietly until she finished the meal and then left quietly.
Maya slept peacefully that night.
The old monk had stopped visiting.
Though Maya was conscious, she still did not have the energy to stand for a long time. The boy brought her meals two times a day. Maya regained her strength slowly and steadily and one morning she stepped outside her brick walled room.
Maya soon realised that she was in the uppermost part of the tower and after walking down a series of stairs spiralling through a narrow space, she entered a large prayer hall of the buddhist monastery. She saw the old monk sitting at the centre and there were few other monks of all ages surrounding him, all deeply immersed in prayer.
Her observation was interrupted by a touch on her shoulder. Maya turned and looked at a small old lady smiling at her. The old lady gently took Maya’s hand and walked her to the other end of the compound in the backyard where few other women were working under the sunny, breezy weather.
Maya could see the same calm and poise in everyone around her like that in the old monk. The people kept to themselves. There were no unnecessary chatter. The whole valley was peaceful and pure.
Soon, Maya had become accustomed and a part of the monastery way of living. She learnt the local language, culture and cooking.
One early morning as Maya was praying in the prayer hall, she heard old monk’s voice in her head.
“What is your reason to come here ?” asked the voice.
“The valley called out to me through the woman by the pond” replied Maya.
The voice went silent.
Often during meditation, the old monk would teach everyone to let go of the heaviness of the heart, to let go of the noise that arise due to disturbing thoughts, to simply get into the act of observing of what appears in the head and to become light.
Maya would often take long walks in the valley and practiced the monk’s teachings.
One day she walked a little longer and reached on the banks of Sinai valley. She saw a woman sitting by the rocks. On getting closer, to her shock, the woman was the same whom she had met by the pond near Rohilla’s hut.
Maya went near the woman and sat.
“You saved my life. I am deeply grateful. What is the reason for me to come here?” asked Maya
For the first time , Maya sensed a knowing, a connection with the woman upon looking into her eyes.
The woman took Maya’s hand and said in a deep voice.
“ Whenever you will be trapped in the fog of ignorance,
I will be there to remind you to defeat the black curse,
That is my duty towards you,
O my warrior queen,
Such is the way since the beginning,
and so will it be till the end of time,
I pray to you to go deep inside,
and to rise and rise and rise…..”
Suddenly Maya had flashes of energies unknown to her, like that from an outside realm.
She saw a hazing vision of a hot iron been forcibly put on her wrist and then her falling into an endless tunnel.
There was a long silence.
Maya looked at the woman who was in helpless tears and still could not understand anything of what she saw.
With an unexplained heavy heart, Maya left.
The next morning, during the prayer she once again heard old monk’s voice in her head.
“What is your reason to come here ?” asked the voice
After a deep breath,
Maya replied “To go deep within.”
Maya opened her eyes and looked at the monk sitting far at the centre who was looking at her with a reassuring smile.
——To be continued——