Chapter 23 — Transfiguration

Thus have I heard:

AND so Ruru walked away from the world, trying in vain to escape from the memories that gnawed at his Mind; and his great dark eyes were hung with the black, velvet veils of sorrow, like dusky draperies of despair; and they had grown dim with weeping and stared straight before him like living mirrors in which the beauties of creation were reflected—yet seeing naught. The interwoven recollections of his love enveloped him like the sanguined texture of a nightmare-patterned, crimson cloak; and it was to him as if the whole world were but a reflection of the Kurabaka flower, throwing its deep red sheen on all the universe.

And as he strode ever deeper into the forest, its spirits mocked him, sticking out their hideous tongues and spitting at the wanderer. At last he began to see them and rushed upon them in a frenzy of anger, cursing them and chasing their slinking forms, which ever remained out of reach.

Where was now the feeble thread of self-control which once he had thought to be an unbreakable rope? Had it snapped for ever, and would he always wander in a futile rage among the phantoms and the lemures of the witchful woods? A flying fox jumped rapidly from tree to tree in search of fruit, squeaking with derision. And the trees and crawling vines in that hag-ridden forest changed into the shape of his Belovèd, or took on the forms of beautiful Apsarases who called to him with melodious voices; but when he beheld their dark and glowing eyes, like turbid pools in scorpionic glens, he knew even in the turmoil of his grief that none was Māiāvatī. And they danced around him with their great, voluptuous hips and heavy breasts; swaying like incarnations in female mould of flowered creepers in the wind. But although now he could not see their azure shine—the memory of the blue armour of Māiāvatī's eyes protected him from all snares. And he thought of the scorn that might replace the light of love in those dear orbs of blue should he ever succumb to the wiles of harpies like those who tried to tempt him now. And still they beckoned him in vain, and their black eyes glistened with the evil wrath of deadly snakes, and rays shot from them, like the lightning from a thunder-cloud, when he refused to answer their call. The foul, malignant demons of the air beset him with their vain illusions, which in the darkness of his tortured brain he could not distinguish from the light of truth. The changeful music of the sibilant trees seemed like the hiss of a dragon's steamy breath, and the soft colours of the forest blooms like angry poison stains upon the universe of green around him.

And as he walked on ever further, the trees began to thin, and he found himself within a region where nothing grew but thorny bushes; and between them he discerned the mad, myopic eyes of a root-eating ascetic, his matted locks like a pendiculant mantilla, a tangle of filthy hair around his unwashed face and neck; his marcid form resembling a mangy and attenuated mandragora. And when that unsavoury being crept out of his place of concealment like a half lame toad, Ruru noted with disgust his dirty, uncut claws and wrinkled horny skin. And the thing chattered and gibbered at him like an ape, and then tried to grasp his clothes, till with a shudder of horror, Ruru turned away and left that bestial brute behind.

And stumbling on he reached a vast desert where morioned lizards darted about like live emeralds, sinuously twisting quickly between the stones or on the sand, or standing still in listening attitudes, as if they were sculptured out of jade and malachite. And he walked into that desolate wilderness, which lay before him in its utter solitude under the heat of the turbulent sun, as if it were the static memory of a nightmare-dream which had taken on relentless continuity of everlasting immobility and never-ending, blasting terror, until he could go no further, being completely exhausted through lack of food and drink.

"Ah," he thought, as he sank down on the burning, fulfid sand, "perhaps now I'll be released at last from the tortures of life, and kindly Death will take me by the hand and lead me to my Belovèd."

And as he lay there, the desert-scene began to change into a succession of mirages which slowly revolved before him like a huge wheel on which were painted endless panoramas.

And then the desert faded away entirely, and the air became a monstrous mist and the waves of sand turned into the softly gliding ripples of an ocean, caressing, full of a divine mystery, but boundless and calm. And after endless eternities of dreamful time, Ruru found himself seated on a great blue lotus which floated there, serene, but slightly rocked by the flowing undulations of the now fretting, ruffled waters. And then the little waves began to grow in height and became blue flames of fire, which tossed him on their raging billows until he found himself upon a mountain-top, standing knee-deep in virgin snow, and all the world lay spread around him; every land full of busy people scuttling in all directions on their unsubstantial and imaginary errands—void of actuality.

And in the blue heavens he heard a stirring, as if there were flying about a host of invisible Angels with a million wings. And everywhere he looked around for Māiāvatī, but she was nowhere to be seen though all the snow became bestrewed with shining, bright-blue specks, like unto her dear eyes, reflected from the silver sheet of his memory upon that lucid whiteness. Thus the fever of sorrow burned within him, conjuring scene after scene of desolation and desperation, splendour and glamour.

Oh! how he longed for the kindly aid of Narāda, that great Sage and destroyer of guilt and unreality by means of meditation on virtue and attunement with holiness and truth. And as he thought of him there sounded the low chanting of mystic verses, like spirit voices heard in a dream.

And then he saw nearby a great chasm, profound in its enormous depth and filled with flames. And in his inner mind he heard a jeering voice, telling him that his search was useless, for never again should he see his Belovèd, who had perished in the fire for evermore. And the voice sneered and railed and derided him for his hopeless Quest; ridiculous from the beginning; a sham pursuit for that which never was; a spurious endeavour; for no man could achieve that which he sought to do, and it was all but a tantalising jest of the gods. Straddled on the ghostly mare of fear he dashed towards the fell destruction of the fiery abyss, thinking: "If all is but a mockery and sport of the gods, and I shall never behold my darling again, I do not want to exist on earth or elsewhere and I will now destroy myself once and for all." And he rushed headlong towards the flames, but suddenly a ringing Voice from the deeps within his inner being cried: "HALT!!!"

And with the shock of that command he swooned; and when he came to himself again he found that he was seated upon the top of the little hill near the Hermitage where he and Māiāvatī had so often sat. In his delirium he had wandered about for days, and 'something' had led his steps towards that well-remembered, sacred knoll, that holy trysting place, sanctified by the memories of his love.

It was twilight, and the sky was of a pale-green tint upon the horizon, and of a curious depth. Above, within the deep-blue dome on high, he saw a great white Temple with tremulant cypresses by its side. And as Ruru beheld that extraordinary sky with its beautiful House of God, he felt as if he were gazing within the deep-blue eyes of the One Belovèd, seeking within them for the holy Truth which IS the Light. And half-way up, the planet Venus shone brightly and glittered like a vast jewel, and it was reflected upon the surface of a silver lake which lay in front of the heavenly Fane; and the reflection took on the form of a quivering starfish, vibrating with a mysterious life all its own, and of impenetrable Magic, beyond the understanding of Man. And as Ruru gazed upon that splendid scene it was as if a mellow, ariose flute breathed softly in the distance, accompanied by sweetly tinkling golden bells!

"Oh, my Belovèd," he cried, "you are the only Star that shines in the dark night of my longing. I will yet attain to Actuality and find you wherever you are."

And he sat in meditation and prayer all night upon that mossy hill and sent out his thoughts, which travelled through the æther to his Darling, telling her of his eternal love and devotion and his hope of ultimate reunion. And it was as if he once more saw her great blue eyes, which robbed even the sky of its cerulean hue.

The next morning, with the break of dawn, he thought: "Now will I descend from this hill and do as my Master did and await the coming of my Belovèd at the Hermitage." So he went down, and walking through the woods to that familiar spot, each flower and bush and tree spoke to him of Māiāvatī. And when he reached the Hermitage he looked around and stood stock-still with surprise: for there, in his accustomed place in the olive grove sat the holy Hermit; but when Ruru rushed towards him, his heart palpitating with joy, and he laid a reverent hand upon Narāda's shoulder, the whole body collapsed into a tiny heap of dust! For a few moments he stood beside it, and then he ran to the Hermitage, and entering the Master's Sanctum he fetched away a crystal vase in which he placed the ashes and stood it upon the altar within.

And now commenced a time of inner searching of the Mind and of deepest meditation and concentration on all Ruru's faculties, the like of which he had never conceived before. And in time he acquired so much power by the practise of strict inner control, reaching out to the highest Realms of the Spirit, that even the gods became alarmed, lest he should excel them in holiness and might; and in appearance he came to resemble Arjuna, driving and subduing the seven horses of the senses; just as Māiāvatī was another Lakshmi, holding in her hand the lotus as she dwelt within the chambers of his Higher Mind. But when the heavenly ones beheld the utter purity of their love and the blending of their Minds with the pearly perfection of that roseate Essence which draws the Soul to Realms Divine beyond the Spirit: they were appeased and showered benedictions.

Her beautiful shape and dainty grace could never sink into the dark oblivion of non-recollection, and the dulcet tones of her ever-remembered dear voice resounded in the halls of his memory like the melodious music of a golden flute, like unto that which he had heard when sitting on the hill. The dark clouds of his Night of Sorrow shrank from the dawning Light of Revelation, and the black realms of loneliness gave way to the brilliant glory of everlasting coming reunion with his Belovèd. Thus he saw it with the eye of inward vision.

At times he withdrew for days on end and bided in the Master's Sanctum; and within the fumes of perfumed incense there could be seen the mystic forms divine of radiant Angels and low, sweet singing drifted on the rising, fragrant clouds. In them he saw his Mate, adorable and instinct with power, and the greatness of his thoughts made grief depart, until he stood within the Highest and Absolute Sphere of Songs Sublime where all the higher Gods repose.

It is well said that they who know these Songs live indeed. And with his chants, rites, attunements, and all his previous knowledge of the Holy Sciences he built a magic structure in which he dwelt by day and night; all outer influences of the worlds of man's illusion baffled and kept at bay. Thus he acquired a magic Power as great and sublime as Nature; which is not material nature, such as is known by those who live in darkness, but a Holy Edifice of the Spirit—spreading throughout the whole of Cosmos, and beyond. And to him came light on all the secrets hinted at before but never wholly understood; and at last the Great One whom no one knows gave boons that led unto the Peace. The Unnameable, subtle in his Form, the Evolver of all forms, all-embracing, he learnt to know Him by means of his subtle attunement with that Subtlety; thus cutting the bonds of Death and attaining to the 'Beyond-the-Darkness.'

And all around the Hermitage was spread a wide circle of protection, impenetrable, miles deep, and none could pass that barrier in the midst of which Ruru attended to his devotions. But the animals, the birds and other living things came trooping in from far away and dwelt in happiness within the magic of that divine, inviolable site. And as his thoughts took shape, they were like roses which clung to all the trees and bushes and made of the forest a garden perfumed with nectarian spices. And the Light of his Soul broke through the barriers of the flesh and lit up the air, and it was mirrored in the flashing eyes of the creatures that basked in the Sun of his Bliss. And even the tiniest insect became like unto a twin lamp from which a double flame shone forth through its crystalline eyes. And as he grew in strength, ineffable, his thoughts rose up in the shape of spirit-birds adorned in rose and emerald, white or blue plumage; and, after hovering over his head, poised on the luminous waves of his irradiation they ascended into the sky and blended with the ignifluous light that shot up to the very heavens day and night. And then they sailed away, unseen, till all the world was stirred by strange agitations, felt within the hearts and minds of Man. And in the secret inner chambers of the Self of every living Soul grew mysterious tumults, commencing softly, fermenting into turbulent emotions, manifesting in the form of slowly glowing sparks in some, swiftly flickering up in others, becoming strongly burning steady rays and flames, while in the men of genius erupted veritable volcanoes of amazing and unbelievable inspiration, so that in every quarter of the world were born great masterpieces of all the Arts, and mankind stood perplexed when it beheld the floods of beauty that drenched the earth and eye and ear, yea, every sense, in waves—and streams—and Torrents of Loveliness.

And thus the holy Stranger's words came true, for, hidden in the forest and utterly unknown, Ruru became a very fountain of the ambrosia of spiritual delight, raising up on the mighty wings of sublime enthusiasm and bedewing the world with the living waters of supreme beauty.

For as the True Light is ever hidden, so is the true Initiate who is concealed from human sight like unto that Light! And all the gods and heavenly heroes rained blessings upon him who had thus reaped the fruit of his birth, fulfilled the purpose of his coming, and reached the utmost eminence of the great Stairway of Destiny.

And though he was not yet permitted to see her in the same manner as his Master saw his Belovèd, for this would have hindered his divine progress, Māiāvatī was ever with him, his sweet guardian of the spirit, ever adoring and giving praise, encouraging him, never ceasing to implore the Lords of Light to exalt and hallow him until his work was done.

And one morning, early, before the breaking of the dawn, he went forth once more towards the Hill of Memory. The shadows of the night were still imprisoned in the trees, but through the interstices of the leaves dropped early pearls of orient light when he was near the Hill. And ascending it, he sat down upon its summit and awaited that which he knew must befall.

The camphor-laden air smelt as if it had been distilled from the midnight Moon and stored in crystal crucibles. And drifting into the supernatural Realms of vision, he beheld the swinging censers of the stars and heard the chants of the great choirs of Cherubim. He felt the soft caress of Angels' wings and tasted the ambrosia of God's Love. Multitudinous luminaries, more splendid than the Sun shone in the celestial spheres; and they were the Spirits of the holy Flaming Sons of God, revealing the Sacred Triangle of golden light; dwelling in Beauty. He was enfolded in a fourfold Pentagram and twofold Hexagram, expressing the points of the sacred Word of Unity of the Existence of Existences conjoined with his Soul: a triple glory of Attainment in the Heart of the Lotus: Tautita. He was perfected and exclaimed in full justification: "There is no part of me that is not too of God."

A brilliant, many-coloured jewel shone upon his forehead; his nostrils were filled with Life; and Love Supreme glowed from his breast. And he beheld a golden Altar, and on it stood an opal vessel in which the blood of Krishna shone: incarnadine; a magic crimson glow of glows. He rose triumphant from the athanor of death, and, in the golden raiment of the consecrated Priest Illuminate, he raised his arms to God in utter dedication of the Self; of Soul sublime and Higher Mind transmuted, grown Divine.

His name was writ in golden hieroglyphs upon the snow-pure pages of the holy Book of Destiny; and his Higher Mind, released from earthly rivettings of mortal flesh rose up in splendour like a flame and melted in the soft embrace of Soul, and a great Angel's amazing Wings waved in the air as he came sailing through the Æther, clothed in Light; and Ruru stood upright and did homage with eyes ablaze.

He was within the changeless Centre of the Universe; a concentrated Void, yet full of bliss and ardour of the living Self. He saw a new Heaven; jewelled with the frosty silver curtain of ten thousand million glittering stars; the Emblems of the Souls of Holy Beings.

And he waited in the profound silence to hear some faint vibration from the Deeps of God's own Silent Empire; and anon there sounded a sweet note, trembling with Divinity. It burnt within himself without consuming; like unto a holy pure white flame, outlined with rose, that deepened into deepest purple against the azure atmosphere of that Celestial Realm.

This was a wonderful Nepente; ambrosia from the Divine; a true Illumination; when all the world as humans know it melts away and regions vast and sublime open up to the gaze of the entranced beholder. It was a Sacrament of which the pentecostal fire rose up to Heaven in ecstasy of adoration.

And now it seemed as if all the air was filled with the song of countless birds, and there shone in the heavens a radiant flower of white with golden centre, and from it flowed such a strong and wonderful perfume that it reached Ruru; and he stood there, stricken with awe, for lo! it was the same sweet odour that he used to inhale in deep draughts from Māiāvatī's hair; an attar so delightful that it could never be compared with aught that was or is; nor could it be surpassed in fragrancy and spicy redolence in all the Universe.

And that marvellous flower descended swiftly to Ruru on the hill-top, and it was vibrant with aroma and light, and it stood in front of him at last, and in the midst of its heart shone two blue eyes! And then appeared her face and Māiāvatī's figure, and she stepped out of that gold and silver bloom and stood before him in all her loveliness. Her face shone with such beauty that it was as if the Moon had come to earth to visit and impregnate it with its radiance. Her eyes, victorious, were fixed on Ruru's own; he, the Sun of her Delight, and her brightness illuminated the heavens like flames of the rays of splendid jewels in the Temple of the God of Love; and she enveloped him entirely with the glory of her beauty.

And as he thus beheld her he stood still, as if frozen with surprise, for she was as divine as a goddess when she roams through the air in her magic chariot, and his heart leaped almost out of his body with the shock of his ecstasy.

At last he tried to speak to her, but all he could do was to stammer: "Oh! . . . Māiā . . . vatī!"

And all she replied was: "Ruru . . . Belovèd . . . here I am!"

And he begat full realisation that at last the barriers were smashed, and the veils torn apart, and he swayed like one dazed and perplexed by the sudden flash of a ray of the Sun, striking the eyes with golden power.

And suddenly he felt his body dropping away from him like a cloak, and his Spirit was released and soared up with her to aureate climes; never to return to Earth again. And the nectar of reunion in the truest sense was theirs; for henceforth they were One in body—but transcended; Mind—transfigurated; and Soul—twofold, yet One in double Triunity!

And in this manner were the Lovers joined in the everlasting Holy Marriage of Heaven; their divine Mission fulfilled—the Quest of Ruru ended.

Thus have I heard.

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