Monday, November 10, 2008

Portraits - II

It's well past midnight, and the skyscrapers in the city's downtown financial district have their lights on, pretending as though there are bankers and brokers still at work on each floor, balancing the world's markets. Personally, I think they leave the lights on so that TIME and Google Earth can take satellite shots of how vibrant the city is, and then recycle the notion that this city is among the world's best places to live. All noble endeavours.

I'd miss it if I didn't know to look for it, but the lights on the topmost floor of one of these buildings are off, and I can feel myself being summoned. I fly through the night, undecided if I want to enter the floor through the glass windows, or through the stone walls. That feeling of passing through glass is decidedly weird, but it'd only last a second. On the other hand, the stone walls are cold and comfortable mostly, but there's something about opacity that scares me even after all these millenia.

Once in, I'm surprised to find that the entire floor is one continuous unpillared space. It's dark, and the air feels stormy, even within the building. I'm being pulled towards the farthest corner of the floor, where I can hazily make out a light glow around a seated figure. As I draw closer, I'm able to make out a tapasvin seated on the floor, back to me. The light aura around him tells me he's been at it for at least three weeks now, if not longer.

A tapasvin is one who performs tapasya, i.e. one who channels unrest and anger (tapa) into meditation. This tapa, directed well, obligates higher powers to douse the flames of the tapa by quenching that which gave birth to the tapa in the first place, i.e. the cause for the tapasvin's unrest

I'm floating in front of the jiva now, and am studying his face. He sits erect, eyes closed, ash smeared across his forehead, arms and chest. His face betrays no malintent, which is unusual. Tapasvins, for all their discipline, can't hide the ill they want to inflict. The jiva looks young. 60 man-years, I'd say. The veins on his forehead are throbbing now, a natural consequence of my proximity. I expect he'll wake momentarily. I wonder what he wants me to destroy.

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