A man set out on a walk.
Walking is time. It is the long shadow of a body.
His walk was nowhere nigh Methuselah’s walk; nothing like the walk on the way everlasting.
Or the walk of The Other, towards another Tree.
Just a walk. On a cold morning.
It would be a long walk, not as long a walk as many had undertaken to control diabetes. Nor as short a walk as his sister had taken.
Seven months and seven days in time.
Along the way, they came up alongside him.
Ghosts from the books he had read.
And living ghosts from the wasteland or wilderness.
Mr Talkative. Giant Despair. The Worm Ouroboros. Fagin. Mr Evangelist. Archangel Gabriel. Stephen Daedalus. St. Teresa. Karna. The Devil. Madam Wanton. Mr Worldly Wiseman. Moses. Diotima. Ramana. The Soft Machine. Emmanuel.
He went his way of the hyphen, the blank space, the in-between, the round and about, out and in.
What he found was, or even is, and perhaps never will be.
G-d. Covered in darkness.
G-d. Thunderings and lightnings.
G-d. A golden scale.
G-d. Void. Vacuum.
It went on. He went on. It all goes on. Until.
However he walked, it always ended up in a circle, along and upon the crust of the sphere.
An onion, said a sage.
A long walk peels off the layers. Revelation.
To move from the margin to the centre, one must be struck down many times.
The blows must be hard and the wounds must be within. Yet, the skin must remain flawless.
This is the Law.
The onion, opening up and swallowing the ghost who walks.
Salty depths. Beyond the lips. Behind the veil.
Take off the clothes. Enter through the pores.
The walk is circumscribed by the circumference of the sphere.
He is enclosed, a garden on two feet, the sky in his eyes. Beloved.
The only way to ascend is to descend. It is hard for those who have neither ascended nor descended to know what it means to descend. So when a disciple of G-d came to him and asked him why he was covered in dust and his feet were muddied, all he could reply was “He descended into Hades.”
The other laughed.
Anyway, as he descended, or fell, or rather hurtled downwards on his way, and wondered whether going down was better than being on top, he was seared within.
This is how it is.
Through the roseate skin into the sphere. Through white translucence. Through the fall. To the sting, the prick, the needle, the sword, the lance.
The pain began at his right temple. It bored a way through his right eyeball. It travelled down his nose, down the trachea, took a diversion to the left and lodged in the heart of flesh.
A walk within a walk.
The naked experience.
The perfect prick.
“Do you doubt me, Thomas?”
Walking on air.
They were there. Two women. One, on either side.
One who understood pain and another who was too young to understand it. They carried kerchiefs.
Down into an onion, crossing layer by layer.
Moving from the sun to the peripheral planets.
Thence, into space.
The circle is broken.
From the rind of the earth to the pip deep inside. If.
The combinations under five heads: the worlds, the heavenly lights, knowledge, progeny, atman.
With regard to atman: The lower jaw is the first form, the upper jaw is the second form, the speech is the union and the tongue is the medium.
Have the same mind-set as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Panchamahabhuta. Agni, Vayu, Akasha, Ap, Prithvi.
Earth, the mid-region, heaven, the four quarters and the intermediate quarters.
“I saw Satan fall like lightning.”
“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
Now in the midst of the silent wind of his descent came to him little fingers of flame and they were the voices of the two women. It seemed to him they were quarrelling over him, his mind and spirit and body. The little fingers grew into tongues and they enveloped him in their moist heat. They burn.
Water, herbs, tree, space and the body.
Now with reference to the body: The prana, vyana, apana, udana and samana.
The eye, the ear, the mind, speech and touch.
The skin, flesh, muscle, bone and marrow.
The first sheath is of the Woman.
Annamayakosha. Pranamayakosha. Manomayakosha. Vijnanamayakosha. Anandamayakosha.
Two women holding your arms on either side.
He looks up and there is a third woman descending upon him like a dove as he descends.
He looks down and there is a woman descending under him.
There was also a woman he never knew.
A shaft of women.
Having thus ordained, a rishi said: “Whatever exists is five-fold.”
He is a sword piercing through a sheath. He is a sanghatta of sheaths pierced by a sword.
Pain is luminous. Pain is descent.
Thus, awareness of Woman disappears.
Pain is molten on the journey to the centre of the earth.
The lava lights the path into the fire.
Who were these women? Angelic beings. Succubi.
Not very different from the others who had been his companions on his way.
Leave everyone behind who will not descend with you.
Thus Archangel Gabriel, when he saw the Descent, fled.
Through its silence, the voices of the women. Voices of satanic angels of light. In flight.
The sheaths are also: Bliss. Being. Becoming. Abyss. Forgiveness.
Writing. Inscription. Markings. Droppings. Upon tunnel walls. Ink and dyes of salt or blood.
Women quarrel over men. Men fight duels over women.
For one cannot possess anyone. The walls of air are smooth. There is nothing to hold on to.
The sword tests everything. Endure as it probes under the skin. Through the muscles. Slicing through blood vessels. Splitting the tongue. Severing tendons. Breaking bones. Splashing the marrow. Letting the air out.
Up through the Sushumna.
The sword keeps pace with you, sharper than the love of women, swifter than their honeyed tongues. Both its edges are bloody.
Open the tent of the body.
Empty the mind.
Exhaust the soul.
Down in the depths of the onion is the feather bed. Light unapproachable. Sink to it. Dead Sea. Falling, float.
The women have left his arms. Now, it is his turn. He takes their arms.
They hover beside him, above him, under him, before and after him.
“What is it you wanted to possess? Who was it you sought after? A body. The descent has scarred me beyond recognition. Here is the end of it. Did you seek to devour me? I was born to devour and be devoured.”
From food, all creatures are born. By food, when born, they grow. Because it is eaten by beings and because it eats beings, therefore it is called food.
“My soul? What of it? Nothing, but words to the listening air. Here I am. Minerals. Unless I dissolve, you receive nothing. What then will be left of me for you, women?”
Memory. Will you trust memory? Yes, you will have that pleasure. Lay up your memory, later you may remember what you understood of me. So then, remember also to have remembered. Recall that you have been able to remember. By force of memory you shall recall your recollection. But is it me you are looking for?
A dance of the body and a drill in the head.
“And what was it you wanted to possess in me? My love for you? Or your love for me? My giving? Your taking?” Or the other way around?”
Go, the other way.
“And if I was love, it was ‘not I’”.
“What we have utterly forgotten, thoroughly lost, we cannot even seek after.”
When he had spoken thus, he touched, if it could be called touching, the feathers under him.
The scent of frankincense filled his nostrils.
He searched, seeking to hold the arms of the two women for support. But he had arms no longer.
There was only breathing.
The dove-woman descended upon him.
In that moment, a searing light exploded in the centre of his forehead.
In the moment of his extinction, the three women waved to him, smiling.
The walk is the way.
“What is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?”
“He who gives me away, he alone preserves me.”
O, my sisters!
Truth! May we cherish no ill-feeling toward each other!
(C) Ampat Varghese Varghese January 2012 All Rights Reserved