0000-Now P-7

After Sucharitra’s passing, the new religion took roots; it needed to be propagated well and soon. After all, the king of Amor was supporting it. Rising of Suyesh from his grave had been the most amazing and scariest incidence that any Amoran had ever experienced. To start with on a Friday, they all had brutalized, crucified and finally buried Sucharitra. And now his so called rising and vanishing into thin air on following Sunday, was being termed as an act of god. And this act had put the king and his men in deep thought. Discovering a real body converting into mud; they analyzed, ‘is this why they say dust unto dust?’ No one could think of a more sensible or realistic scenario. King’s ministers made everyone believe, ‘vanishing of a dead man from the grave’, as logical. As though with utter fright, all the subjects of Amor turned into Amoran Sucharitrans…

Well enough of beating around the bush. As the time passed, new faith spread. It went beyond the boundaries of Amor or shall we say Roma or Rome. Followers of this new religion believed in miracles. Of course we are talking about Roman Catholics or Christians. There can be no confusion now. Leadership of this religion has always projected to the followers that the clergy in order of hierarchy has direct links to god. Only way to god is through Fathers and nuns in a church. Only they are qualified to lead you to heaven. The church desperately wanted to hold all rights and routes to god. So, they covered most things with sheets of unexplainable mystery. There are a few examples that can put it in a perspective –

  1. Initially church believed that the earth was flat and no one was allowed to have any other view or version.
  2. Church believed that earth was at the center of the universe and all other planets revolved around it, including Sun. Nicolaus Copernicus had propagated heliocentric theory, which banned for nearly 200 years.
  3. Later Galileo was prohibited from towing Copernicus line. In 1633 Galileo had to face a trial by Inquisition, because he wanted to spread his knowledge of our solar system. He had discovered that the Earth revolved around the sun and not the other way round. This had angered the Pope. Galileo was brought to Rome to face the trial. The Church banned his book and he was sentenced to house arrest at his own home in Florence. He finally died there after going blind. Finally, as recently as in 1992, the church officially reversed its more than 450 year old belief from illogical to a scientific one. Pope John Paul II, officially reversed church’s stand, ‘earth was not stationary and it revolved around the sun’. But poor Galileo had to suffer insults and lost invaluable time at the peak of his most productive life. What a waste of a great scientific talent?
  4. A few months back BBC did a story on bicentenary of ‘abolition of slavery act’. Modern world was horrified to know that the church owned and used black slaves on their plantations, for more than 300 years. Slaves were not only used, they were also brutalized. The Church apologized for its part in the cruelty and hardship of the thousands of black men, women and children. Somehow now, they are considering compensatory payments to them.
  5. In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI was part of an unwarranted controversy, in quoting a 14th century Christian king. The quote, ‘Prophet Muhammad had brought the world only “evil and inhuman” things’; started a huge uproar around the Islamic world. There was no need to repeat a 700 year old quote in public, especially when entire world is so sensitive to religion.
  6. Lastly there is an incidence again 0f 2006, when Vatican had invited top scientists for a conference on cosmology. During question answer session after the conference, Pope asked Dr. Stephen Hawking to not study the beginning of the universe before the ‘big bang’. He said it should be left alone as an act of god! Unbelievable! It is sad when some one wants to control people by using their ignorance. Brief conversation became public soon. Vatican later said that Dr. Hawking misrepresented what was said.
  7. A very important negative point is clergy’s sexual abuse of young children. Internet space is crammed with these scandals. Over a few years many feature films have been released on the subject of pedophilia among highly placed clergy. Wave of this has put them very strongly on the back foot.
  8. Only a good Christian would be allowed to live in the ‘heaven up in the sky’, since no one knew anything beyond the solar system. The telescopes then were not powerful enough for peeping into the Pearly gates of heaven.
  9. Church has custom of canonizing clergy with sainthood. Understandable requirements for a person worthy of being conferred ‘sainthood’ are, “you must lead a flawless exemplary life and must inspire faith.” But soon, things turn weird with, “after you are dead, two miracles must be attributed to you, unless you are martyred as a result of your faith.” These miracles can be manipulated by investigating people. If I am a saint then society will recognize me as one and on its own call me a ‘saint’. I can not imagine an external agency deciding whether Kabir or Sai Baba of Shirdi were saints or not. Sainthood is not like conferring doctorate on worthy by a university. No one can become a saint because a powerful organization pronounced, ‘from today onwards you are a saint or you are a saint because I chose to call you one.’
  10. Church is also too paranoid about the numbers of its followers. They know that there is huge power in huge numbers. Initially they had set up missionaries to spread their religion, but later they were used for, conversions. And this luring or forcing people to embrace Christianity has had a few set backs too.

It is a very bad idea to look down upon other faiths to make yours look better. There can be immense problems if you start thinking that other religions are baseless compared to yours. Such an attitude will only establish spiritual shallowness of your thinking. Respect me as me, and I will think high of you too. But if you tell me that shelter inside an enormous church is more spiritual than my own space then it is high time you faced a mirror and asked, “Are you really the prettiest of them all?”

Birth of a new Faith (fiction-6)

After Sucharitra’s passing, the new religion took roots; it needed to be propagated well and soon. After all, the king of Amor was supporting it. Rising of Suyesh from his grave had been the most amazing and scariest incidence that any Amoran had ever experienced. To start with on a Friday, they all had brutalized, crucified and finally buried Sucharitra. And now his so called rising and vanishing into thin air on following Sunday, was being termed as an act of god. And this act had put the king and his men in deep thought. Discovering a real body converting into mud; they analyzed, ‘is this why they say dust unto dust?’ No one could think of a more sensible or realistic scenario. King’s ministers made everyone believe, ‘vanishing of a dead man from the grave’, as logical. As though with utter fright, all the subjects of Amor turned into Amoran Sucharitrans…

Well enough of beating around the bush. As the time passed, new faith spread. It went beyond the boundaries of Amor or shall we say Roma or Rome. Followers of this new religion believed in miracles. Of course we are talking about Roman Catholics or Christians. There can be no confusion now. Leadership of this religion has always projected to the followers that the clergy in order of hierarchy has direct links to god. Only way to god is through Fathers and nuns in a church. Only they are qualified to lead you to heaven. The church desperately wanted to hold all rights and routes to god. So, they covered most things with sheets of unexplainable mystery. There are a few examples that can put it in a perspective –

  1. Initially church believed that the earth was flat and no one was allowed to have any other view or version.
  2. Church believed that earth was at the center of the universe and all other planets revolved around it, including Sun. Nicolaus Copernicus had propagated heliocentric theory, which banned for nearly 200 years.
  3. Later Galileo was prohibited from towing Copernicus line. In 1633 Galileo had to face a trial by Inquisition, because he wanted to spread his knowledge of our solar system. He had discovered that the Earth revolved around the sun and not the other way round. This had angered the Pope. Galileo was brought to Rome to face the trial. The Church banned his book and he was sentenced to house arrest at his own home in Florence. He finally died there after going blind. Finally, as recently as in 1992, the church officially reversed its more than 450 year old belief from illogical to a scientific one. Pope John Paul II, officially reversed church’s stand, ‘earth was not stationary and it revolved around the sun’. But poor Galileo had to suffer insults and lost invaluable time at the peak of his most productive life. What a waste of a great scientific talent?
  4. A few months back BBC did a story on bicentenary of ‘abolition of slavery act’. Modern world was horrified to know that the church owned and used black slaves on their plantations, for more than 300 years. Slaves were not only used, they were also brutalized. The Church apologized for its part in the cruelty and hardship of the thousands of black men, women and children. Somehow now, they are considering compensatory payments to them.
  5. In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI was part of an unwarranted controversy, in quoting a 14th century Christian king. The quote, ‘Prophet Muhammad had brought the world only “evil and inhuman” things’; started a huge uproar around the Islamic world. There was no need to repeat a 700 year old quote in public, especially when entire world is so sensitive to religion.
  6. Lastly there is an incidence again 0f 2006, when Vatican had invited top scientists for a conference on cosmology. During question answer session after the conference, Pope asked Dr. Stephen Hawking to not study the beginning of the universe before the ‘big bang’. He said it should be left alone as an act of god! Unbelievable! It is sad when some one wants to control people by using their ignorance. Brief conversation became public soon. Vatican later said that Dr. Hawking misrepresented what was said.
  7. A very important negative point is clergy’s sexual abuse of young children. Internet space is crammed with these scandals. Over a few years many feature films have been released on the subject of pedophilia among highly placed clergy. Wave of this has put them very strongly on the back foot.
  8. Only a good Christian would be allowed to live in the ‘heaven up in the sky’, since no one knew anything beyond the solar system. The telescopes then were not powerful enough for peeping into the Pearly gates of heaven.
  9. Church has custom of canonizing clergy with sainthood. Understandable requirements for a person worthy of being conferred ‘sainthood’ are, “you must lead a flawless exemplary life and must inspire faith.” But soon, things turn weird with, “after you are dead, two miracles must be attributed to you, unless you are martyred as a result of your faith.” These miracles can be manipulated by investigating people. If I am a saint then society will recognize me as one and on its own call me a ‘saint’. I can not imagine an external agency deciding whether Kabir or Sai Baba of Shirdi were saints or not. Sainthood is not like conferring doctorate on worthy by a university. No one can become a saint because a powerful organization pronounced, ‘from today onwards you are a saint or you are a saint because I chose to call you one.’
  10. Church is also too paranoid about the numbers of its followers. They know that there is huge power in huge numbers. Initially they had set up missionaries to spread their religion, but later they were used for, conversions. And this luring or forcing people to embrace Christianity has had a few set backs too.

It is a very bad idea to look down upon other faiths to make yours look better. There can be immense problems if you start thinking that other religions are baseless compared to yours. Such an attitude will only establish spiritual shallowness of your thinking. Respect me as me, and I will think high of you too. But if you tell me that shelter inside an enormous church is more spiritual than my own space then it is high time you faced a mirror and asked, “Are you really the prettiest of them all?”

Carpenter’s Grave (fiction-5)

Blood was flowing all over on the rough cobble stone floor. Suyesh and his three followers were chained to uneven dirty walls of a prison cell. They were bleeding from their numerous wounds. A couple of tired soldiers were resting with whips in their hands.

Earlier a court had been summoned in the middle of the night of Suyesh’s arrest. After a short hearing sleepy judges pronounced him and his friends, enemies of the state, guilty of treason that were plotting to topple the legitimate kingdom. They said that Suyesh especially was doing it by misguiding the innocent and ignorant subjects of the kingdom of Amor. The court had awarded death to all four by crucifying them on the crosses. They announced the sentence was harsh since the crime was severe. They could have been simply beheaded. But the court thought differently. Their death had to be seen as lesson for people of this kind. Sentence was to be carried out next day…

On the day of Suyesh and his follower’s arrest; much after the sounds of speeding heavy hoofs had died down, a shadow emerged from behind a large tree. It looked around at the empty space and scattered things. The shadow’s right hand was placed carefully and firmly under the bulging stomach. The shadow bent down carefully to gather what was left behind of some importance. Slowly a few other shadows emerged from the hiding. Slowly they also picked up few things from ground and then went back to the darkness of a thick tree. Ironically it was also the darkest day of their life. After conferring for some time, all of them started chopping their beard with a pair of scissors. Everyone chopped off their long hair also, including the pregnant woman. They threw the hair and their skull caps in a fire. Now they looked like normal Amorans. The sky was getting brighter. They set off for Amor from a different and longer route. By the time they reached Amor many more had joined them. Nearly 100 of Suyesh’s followers reached Amor, all looking like Amorans. They merged themselves into the market places, but stayed in each other’s vision. There seemed a lot of excitement among people. Many soldiers were on duty scattered all around. It seems nobody was going to work that day. They were informed that the king had approved two days holidays for everyone. As Sunday was till two days away, they were told to come to work on Monday. Today a traitor was to be crucified in public view.

In a lane, close by, a huge crowd was waiting for the criminals to pass carrying their crosses. Soon enough they heard loud excited noises of “shame shame”. The group appeared in a distance. They were walking casually in that direction. Everyone’s heart sank to infinite depths on watching badly bloodied bodies of Suyesh and three other men. A crown made from barbed wire had been pushed into Suyesh’s head. The blood from those wounds was constantly flowing onto his calm face. The crosses were heavy. Condemned criminals were falling and rising up as they negotiated the steep climb of the lane. Thick black shawl barely showed Mandakini’s eyes. She was also in short hair. She hinted someone to move towards the hill. That’s where it was all going to end, at the city grave yard. The group separately moved quietly and swiftly. They kept looking back at their saints, now pronounced criminals.

At the grave yard too, people were collecting in large numbers. This is where main action was to be performed. The group merged itself among other Amorans. By evening the tired bloodied bodies reached the plateau of the climb and end of their journey. Swiftly the soldiers took over. They started the process of hammering everyone to their crosses. No normal human being could dare to look at the cruel site, even for a moment. Everyone in the group was weeping with covered faces. It was very dangerous to cry in public view. Nobody must sympathize with such criminals.

In front of a large gathering the procedure started. It took quite long to hammer Suyesh and others to their crosses and then hoist them up. Nobody was hammered in the head, since it would hurry their death. The agony had to be enhanced and elongated for Amorans to see punishment for the traitors. In the end all the four crosses were secured into the ground and workers left, leaving only the security personnel behind.

Late evening King Vikram himself came over and approved the arrangements. He gave a short speech about the devious plans of these criminals. After he went away, most of the soldiers too left, except a few guarding the crosses. All the crucified bodies were still breathing.

During one of many glances Mandakini managed to take at Suyesh; once she suddenly felt that her eyes locked with Suyesh’s eyes. She noticed a faint smile crossed his lips. She knew he noticed her. He made no gesture, could not do so. Nobody expects any gesture from a man nailed to a cross. This fraction of a moment, meeting of the eyes started a huge storm in Mandakini’s heart. She told the group about it at night. She told them that Suyesh should not be allowed to remain in a land where he is considered a criminal. He must be brought back among the people who loved him and shared his vision. They all agreed. The men set about planning, what to do and when.

On second day, city doctors announced all the crucified men dead. The crosses were lowered, the bodies released and buried in the graves that were ready to receive them. Some people came forward to drop a customary handful of mud. With partly hidden faces some men from Suyesh’s group too dropped the mud and carefully watched the location of the grave, it’s depth, noted the white cloth that covered the body. After the burials, everyone left. No onlookers, no soldiers, no spies. There was nothing to be done, nothing to guard. It was a good sign. It was Saturday. Men decided that Sunday would be the perfect day to carry out their plans. Since it would be the last holiday after the burial, every official of the kingdom would be busy celebrating their success with food and wine…

With the precision of nature, the group reached the grave at 2 at night on Sunday, dug it up, lovingly took hold of Suyesh’s body, rearranged the mud, dropped some flowers on other graves and disappeared…

During the day some drunken soldiers came to watch the site where they had stood guard and witnessed an extreme drama three days ago. They were shocked to see the flowers on the graves. It was a crime! The news spread. Soon an army of soldiers came. They checked out the flowers. They also noted that Suyesh’s grave looked ruffled. King was informed, who arrived in the company of the Army General. They ordered the grave to be dug open.

Soon the bloodied white cloth appeared. It was stretched across the body, like it was on Friday. On a hint a soldier pulled the cloth off, revealing the shape of a body made in mud!

King Vs Carpenter (fiction-4)

It became a huge point of contention in Amor that meetings of Suyesh were ten times more, well attended than the temple of the King. People were going crazy listening to discourses of Suyesh. No one in the King’s court could analyze the reasons for this, especially when there was no comparison between the two. One was the most powerful king of all land and the other was a mere carpenter following Godaism! King’s ministers had already started working on the plans to break the spirit of Suyesh and his followers.

Now there were no discourses where king’s spies were not present. The spies had initially started incognito, but soon turned brash and bold. They would appear in their army uniform and watch over what was being said. They also would not allow the meetings to continue beyond certain duration of time. This became troublesome for people who came from far off villages. The soldiers would announce suddenly that the time was up and meeting would have to be dispersed. Army would attack the harmless villager returning home after discourses and rob their belongings. They would snatch their food packets, only to throw it away to dogs. In spite of this torture nobody seemed overly discouraged; not just as yet. Kingdom had decided to that non-violence of villagers be replied with violence. In order to break them, soldiers attacked regular devotees more. Suyesh’s body guards tried to interfere with a soldier who was being rough with an old lady. In retaliation the soldier had drawn his sword and body guard had to cool it. Everyone saw it. Now the picture was clear.

It had been Suyesh’s routine to discuss each day’s matters with all his supporters and advisers. They sat on a large wooden dining table. Mangala would serve dinner and wine quietly and efficiently. These days mostly there were security and violence related problems. Everyone was concerned about Suyesh’s followers. A villager who was attacked on his way back home had succumbed to his injury. His funeral was attended by Suyesh and all his close men. During the last rites some young people threw stones at the King’s soldiers shouting, ‘killers killers’. They were taken by surprise and had to retreat. But this made the battle lines even more clear. Now every one of Suyesh’s followers was marked and was being persecuted. They were being harassed for taxes. Their properties were being confiscated.

It was high time a tough decision was taken by Suyesh and his advisers in order to solve this tangle with king’s men. So many innocent people cannot be allowed to get killed or even hurt. It was decided to send a senior person as a messenger or ambassador to King’s court to discuss matters amicably. But before he could put his point across, he was arrested and put behind bars. No one ever saw him again. This was a big loss to Suyesh’s think tank.

In the next supper meeting it was decided that the all discourses be suspended until further notice. Innocent villagers were getting hurt in so many different ways. It was totally unfair. Suyesh’s personal message, ‘there will be no meetings, until further notice’, was sent to all residing near and far through a chain of messengers. The villagers now were to follow regimen of Suyesh’s teaching inside their homes only. While outside, the soldiers with bare swords were combing the area to find their unarmed enemies. The war was in the open.

It was a gloomy evening in Suyesh’s hut. There were eleven of village’s most worried men sitting on the large wooden table. They had nothing better to do except glare blankly at the food and wine glasses. Breathing the air thick with tension; Mangala too was uncomfortable. She had been working extra hard to serve them. She could not bear to watch the faces of those strong and intelligent men feeling so completely helpless. She decided to stay at the back of everyone. All those intellectual minds did not have an answer to current situation. No one was speaking. No one was drinking and eating either. They were so static that all together they seemed like a painting. The most senior security adviser spoke, ‘we have to move out of here. Soon the soldiers will attack this hut.’ With this statement the existing pin drop silence became even heavier. Everyone’s minds were racing with various thoughts. After a short while the silence was broken again but this time, by Suyesh. He said, ‘I don’t know what must be the good reason; but one of us has betrayed me.’ This statement burst like a bomb inside the humble hut and started a flurry of activity on the table. Suyesh had never ever uttered a thing like this before. It was totally unbelievable. A traitor! One of them! Everyone was trying to look at others, to find hidden clues in the faces. Suyesh raised his hand in order to quiet everyone’s mind and added, ‘it did not matter as long as it put only me in trouble; but it is going to be very dangerous for each of us. I feel sorry for all of you. I ask for everyone’s forgiveness on his behalf.’ Now the security adviser got up with a firm, ‘let us go now.’ With this decisive announcement the last supper of Suyesh and his close friends was over.

As the seriousness of the situation dawned in their minds people they started getting up, leaving their unconsumed food behind. Soon everyone was up and was packing their essential belongings methodically. Mangala took her cloth bag and pushed her and Suyesh’s cloths in. She also packed all the bread and dry meat from the table. As a woman she knew life was going to be very uncertain from now on. She was wearing a multi layered long flowing robe. Suyesh had noticed Mangala looked rather fat in it. Just before she stepped out of the hut, she went to the bathing place and puked.

All the inmates now had entirely covered themselves, in dark blankets. Outside, Suyesh’s hidden security experts were keeping an eye for enemy’s prying eyes. They sent a quiet ‘all clear’ message. Soon many shadows walked out in the darkness of a moonless night. There was no one to notice twelve shadows walking briskly to nowhere.

Early morning king Vikram’s soldiers fanned out everywhere. They cursed themselves on finding the hut, empty! They had the information that Suyesh and his group will soon be moving to an unknown place. But perhaps they were a day too late.

King’s spies dressed themselves in villager’s attires and were trying to find the whereabouts of the group. But their bulging muscles and well fed faces gave away their secret. In the next move they started looking for people carrying food stuff outside any village. They caught some of them. They were promptly killed on not giving the location of Suyesh’s group.

Suyesh had about 250 of his most faithful followers spread around. They all had strict instructions from Suyesh that since he was in danger, everyone must stay away. None of us can fight a huge army. We are also not trained to fight. There is no point in loosing precious life. Many of Suyesh’s people were regularly being nabbed and killed. The security expert chose few strongest of men to keep Mangala hidden in the middle of group. From the hut itself they had moved quickly to most unlikely and entirely different route. At that point she was the most precious person in the world. Mangala couldn’t even give a last look at Suyesh. She knew it would be the last time she was watching ‘his’ shadow receding away.

Sound of running horses was a matter of concern for a small group of people huddled together in a dark patch of behind a large bush. Someone threw water on the fire to hide it. The smoke rose up. The gradually horses were came close. And soon the group of soldiers spotted the huddled shadows. Suyesh forced many of them to run away. But his most faithful did not listen to him. They wanted to fight. To save them from being slain, Suyesh came out swiftly and surrendered to Amoran soldiers. Suyesh and three of his men were tied up and soon horses were galloping dragging the group.

King had his carpenter.

Kingdom of Amor (fiction-3)

Village of Suyesh was part of a very rich kingdom called Amor. It had a large part of continent under its rule. Kingdom had a large, well equipped and powerful army and administrative staff. Except for heavy taxes and compulsory public attendance at king’s palace temple, Amorans were generally considered happy.

One fine day the ministers of the king Vikram started becoming restless due to continuously declining numbers of Amorans in the temple. Vikram was a reasonable king but his deputies did not like the dwindling attendance from nearby villages, especially from Jandera. They were lesser number of silver coins in the donation box and fewer gifts of rice bags for the temple. They were also losing their peace of mind thinking that those commoners perhaps had found better things to do, than to just pay obeisance to the king. The paintings of King’s ancestors now looked down at king’s forlorn space of a near empty temple.

Blame for this phenomenon were placed on the popularity of Suyesh. They felt humiliated by the fact that the king was losing his shine to a mere village carpenter. Most worrying part was that even people living in the city of Amor were beginning to get attracted to this carpenter who was always seen in just a dirty white cloth wrapped around his waist! Jewels in the crown of the king, his silk robe and throne of gold, no more impressed the fools of Jandera. They wondered why. If too many people moved out to the villages from Amor, then the taxes too may start falling short. Of course nothing like that was happening as yet. But, the paying obeisance to the king was important too. For many years villagers had known that King Vikram’s ancestors had taken good care of the village ancestors. For this reason Vikram was treated like a god. Now the halo behind his head created with carefully hidden oil lamps was getting no one’s notice. For those greedy administrators and politicians it was a matter of great concern. The importance of kingdom’s royal office had to be restored.

Suyesh had to be stopped!

King’s deputies put forth their observation to the king, ‘O most powerful, our god, lord of Amor…’ King heard them in silence and dismissed them with a loud ‘no’. Deputies persisted. It took almost a year’s persuasion to establish Suyesh as a threat to the kingdom to extract ‘yes’ nod from Vikram.
They sent a team of sleuths to observe what was happening in Suyesh’s meetings. They wondered if he was plotting to topple the king and expose the corruption in temple donations. They came back with news that in the last meeting there were a whopping 50000 people listening to Suyesh. But he was not a type to be a threat to the king or anyone else. But certainly you cannot deny the popularity of the man. It may not be a good idea to take action against Suyesh or his team. Someone suggested, ‘but we should discourage the Amorans who visit him regularly’. ‘Good idea’, others agreed. Let us start…

Late at night there was knock on the door of a middle class Amoran house. A bleary eyed old man opened the door to find a royal soldier. A horse cart was waiting. Dragged by the guards, the old man found himself in the cart. Old man tried to question them but he was snubbed. The cart stopped at the ‘offense control center’ and they went in.
‘Why do you go to attend Suyesh discourses?’
Hearing Suyesh’s name old man relaxed and opened up, ‘oh, you want to know about Suyesh? He is so impressive. Sir you should also come with me one day. You will see all your problems in life will vanish in a snap.’
‘No nothing of that sort. King Vikram is very upset with many of you Amorans who are not attending temple rituals.’
‘Sorry sir. But I do pay my taxes on time always.’
‘It’s not about taxes.’
‘Sir, do you want to restrict my movements? You are telling me where I should or should not go at this old age. We need peace now. And that is perfect place for us to be. Sir, I strongly recommend you too listen to him once and ask him any question you want. He will have a good answer for you…’ A stinging slap rang across his face. Sleeping birds perched high up, fluttered. He did not know what happened. Next he found himself lying on the ground, all confused. He started getting a feeling of wetness in the corner of his lips. Looking at the soldier with scare and shock, he wiped it with the sleeve of his shirt. Another soldier lifted him roughly and made him stand again.

Across the street, outside the offense control center everything was quiet, except frequent sounds of slaps, groans, falls and then crying. Finally figure of the old man tumbled out of the door and slowly tried to negotiate the steps to come down. A soldier was giving him instructions with his index finger pointed at him.

Wife of the old man had been worried sick. Her husband had left the bed to answer the door and never came back. It was almost morning. Two women from neighborhood were trying to comfort her, when they heard the sound of the door being pushed. Then they heard a soft knock. Old lady rushed. She was facing her all bloodied and badly ruffled husband.

In the large empty office, king was in a secret meeting with security officers. He looked very unhappy while listening to last night’s report. From a distance you could make out whether he was angry with the soldiers for beating up an innocent Amoran or disturbed with the strength of Suyesh’s popularity, which was displayed through the old man.

In both cases king Vikram of Amor was in serious trouble.

Sucharit/Suyesh (fiction-2)

It must have been nearly 20 years after that adventurous evening, when I met those three saints and also witnessed the dramatic scene of a pregnant woman delivering a baby, who then shockingly was forced to abandon it in the middle of the dense forest.

My village Jandera had got its name from its own population; because all of them followed one faith and ideology called ‘Godaism’. Jandera was under the kingdom of King Vikram, who ruled from the capital city of Amor.

Jandera was very lucky to have a young villager who had become well known for his spell binding discourses. Even nearby villages were buzzing with news of this young boy’s abilities. His speeches had become very popular. He did not talk about the religion or scriptures, but about practical issues of how to lead a simple and uncomplicated life. People were visiting him in herds, because the boy had practical answers to everyone’s day to day problems. They asked him various house hold, health or relationships related questions and he offered them long term easy solutions. He never said, ‘I will give you something’. Instead he said, ‘you have it all in you. You have all the solutions inside you; you just have to learn how to discover them’. Due to this the flock was getting self-empowered, especially women. Many of the listeners now wanted to stay with him as long as they could, to learn the art of living, the art of staying happy and be confidant! But he would always refuse such offers, ‘you have to take care of your own life and family. No one should turn away from his basic duties. All you have to do is do your job well and lead an honest life’. In spite of this people just kept walking behind him; there was no way to stop them. His disciples were growing every day!

The boy’s name was Sucharit – man of good character. Strangely his huge popularity got him another name, ‘Suyesh’ or the one who is famous for good reasons. Sucharit was about 20 years old. He was tall, had a lean muscular body. His beard grew a little scanty. His curly hair was up to his shoulders. He was mostly seen in a white cloth wrapped around his waist and a pleasant expression on his thin face.

Like everyone else, Sucharit too followed a near 2000 year old religion called Godaism. Followers of Godaism believed that the universe was created and governed by a single omnipresent, omnipotent power called, God. He lived with three old men, who were carpenters. Yes, these were the same three saints had rescued this howling baby boy, from a forest 20 years ago. So, Sucharit was a carpenter too, expert in making simple and economical furniture. He did most of the work himself, so that his old saviors could take it easy in the dusk of their life. All his life, the saints had fed him, taken care of him and most importantly sown seeds of good qualities in him. They adored him for the way he had grown up- so bright, so strong and so humane. But they had never bargained that he would be so popular.

It had not been easy for those saints at all, bringing up a child right from his birth. They never let out the secret how they had found him. Only dismissive answer they had for numerous questions and doubts for nearly 20 years was, that ‘his mother’s name was Meera, who was known to them and God was his father! Can’t you see it on his face? Look at the peace and glow! Doesn’t he remind you of God?’ It was nearly a declaration from those well respected saints to make a point for the boy. A thoroughly impressed village crowd ‘semi believed’ them. Everyone knows how babies come on earth. An abandoned ordinary child was turned into an extraordinary phenomenon, only to cover up the absence of his father. Whoever met Sucharit just once, who he was did not matter. Sucharit spoke in a common man’s language. Slowly a belief started developing that he was a god and not a human. He physically ‘touched’ them to make them believe that he indeed was a human being. Due to constant speeches and interaction with troubled lot, Sucharit had grown very sharp in his mind and kind in heart. He could genuinely feel or even guess everyone’s pain. ‘Suyesh Sucharit’ had become a strong magical magnet. His strong attraction converted many of his listeners into his disciples. They really loved Sucharit from their heart.

Sucharit as a rule did not allow women to follow him permanently. He knew women are needed at home much more than men. But nobody had been able to convince or force ‘Mangala’ away. She had to face a lot of criticism from everyone. At that time it was looked down upon for a woman to live with a man, without village head’s consent. She in fact lived with many men, because they were all his disciples. She took up the job of doing all day to day chores for Sucharit on the pretext that he had no time to do them anyway. She smilingly, cooked, washed and mended his clothes, took care of all important visitors, who were growing in number. Now Mangala became a strong confidante of Sucharit. And gradually got a nod of all his followers, to be with them.

She would wait by his side until he fell asleep at night. She was ready by his side again with a jar of water in morning. Watching her devotion, everyone developed a deep respect for her too, not so much because she was close to Suyesh, but because Suyesh also had so much respect for her. Mangala was now Ma Mangala for everyone. Phenomenal popularity of Suyesh now could not be handled by the usual small scale arrangements. It needed planning at a much higher level. Ma Mangala stepped up consultations with other colleagues and designed a security net for Sucharit. Since they had spotted spies from Amor too many times in the crowd, visitors were not allowed to get very close to him. Donations too had become large to be taken lightly. They had to be received, stored securely and properly accounted for. Thankfully Sucharit’s ministers had kept all these worldly matters away from him. His last meeting had so many visitors that they had to meet outside the village in a more open space. Sucharit spoke for a long time making everyone spell bound. Someone guessed there might have been nearly 50000 people in that gathering!

And that did not send a friendly message to king Vikram of Amor.