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The Quantum Mantra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE

QUANTUM

MANTRA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Henri-Paul Bour

Text copyright © 2016 Henri-Paul Bour

All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mantras, such as the famous Tibetan OM, are sacred words.

When these words are uttered or chanted, they are said to connect our mind to a different reality.

 

In fact, the mantra concept goes far beyond the Vedic rituals,

and can be found in all religions, using other names:

(Mystic psalms, Kabbala letters, Gregorian songs, Islam prayers

and so on.)

They are the voices of our souls.

 

Nowadays, science and spirituality converge to similar conclusions:

Everything is vibration, energy, waves with frequencies.

The body and brain are waves, creating energy fields.

The energy fields from our body and brain emit special waves capable of resonating with unknown cosmic fields some call Ether, Matrix, Zero Point field, collective consciousness…

Nobody knows for sure.

 

But many think that it is how our consciousness emerges.

When the mantras are chanted, these resonances are stronger and produce a tighter entanglement between our mind wave/particles and the wave/particles of the outer fields. This fine tuning between those waves generates a higher consciousness.

 

Those who have experimented the chantings have certainly felt these connections and the awakening of a positive harmonious energy.

 

BUT

What would happen if some Quantum scientist

could artificially control our mind by entanglement?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART I : THE LOST MANTRAS 4

SEASON 1: PASCAL 5

SEASON 2: ENTANGLED WITH THE COLLECTIVE MEMORY. 41

SEASON 3: CONSPIRACY 75

PART II : THE RENAISSANCE 94

SEASON 1: BRUNO GIORDANO 95

SEASON 2: FATE 118

PART III : INDIA 129

SEASON 1: MUMBAI. 130

SEASON 2: THE TYCOON 147

SEASON 3: THE OTHER DIMENSION 164

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART I : THE LOST MANTRAS

SEASON 1: PASCAL

 

 

The white Land Rover was parked in a cramped parking space facing the marketplace of Ban Kao village, near the Thai Burmese border. The temperature on the dashboard blinked 42 degrees Celsius.

The man in the car emerged suddenly from his power nap, hitting his elbow on the tough, leather armrest.

He was a tall man, solidly built without being intimidating. Like most Eurasians, it was difficult to discern exactly where he was from, but the mystery behind his demeanour was probably what was most appealing about him. He swung out of the four-wheel drive with acrobatic ease, a quality he was proud to have after all the martial arts and yoga training he had received over the years.

He gazed into the dusty rear view mirror and examined his reflection. “Not bad”, he thought with approval. He still felt young in his body. He was not untouched by experience and remained surprisingly optimistic despite his demanding work. For three years now Pascal Debussy had been a dedicated volunteer for a medical group in the Mae Baan town where he worked with other International and Thai volunteers, all very dedicated to help.

 

Pascal squeezed the soft bottle of plastic he had just purchased from the nearby market. The tepid liquid poured down his throat and splashed onto his sweat-drenched shirt. Every droplet of water landed on the earth in small puffs of steam. He brushed his black hair swiftly back through his fingers.

He took refuge from the sweltering sun by resting on a gritty bench next to the car. He began to roll himself his cigarette, attempting to block his mother’s admonishing voice inside his head: “Those cancer-sticks control you!”

Regardless, he lit it. The smoke caressed his lungs, and exhaling, he closed his eyes.

A man is on his back inside a small dark room, howling in pain.

Shocked by the sinister vision, he opened his eyes and saw wet, wide eyes staring straight back at him.

Once again, it was happening to him in: he could instantly see a reality beyond, normally invisible to his limited perceptions.

 

The young woman’s pale blue T-shirt blended with the sky. The traditional cloth longyi the Burmese girl had wrapped around her waist was so stiff that it looked as though it was a prop. Her plump cheeks were painted with two round cakes of Tanahka white powder.

With tears brimming, she hesitated to speak. Pascal was absolutely silent; afraid his breath would cause her to run away.

Hardly realising what he was doing, he found himself standing up, holding her firmly by the shoulders.

“Where is the injured man?” Pascal asked, feeling a burning connection to his vision.

Showing no surprise, the young girl pointed to a village nearby: Over there, doctor, my father has been shot, he is going to die.

 

Doctor Ram and the nurse Lek were waiting for Pascal at the Mae Baan clinic.

‘The Boss’ was late.

Suddenly, Boon and Noi, his assistant, rushed in with a stretcher. Pascal was following them holding the isotonic solution bottle; his other hand holding out a paper form with the supply list for the operation.

In his collected manner, Pascal stated his order, “Ram, ask the nurses to prepare the operation room; we have an emergency here.”

Dr Ram was incapable of remaining calm at times like these.

“Oh! God! Oh God! Who is he? How did he get into the clinic?”

“There’s no time for questions, just hurry!” snapped Pascal. “He’s lost a lot of blood and is unconscious.”

With Pascal’s words, Ram felt the adrenalin kick-start his body. He noticed the tender teenage girl standing next to the stretcher.

“And who is she?”

The girl answered in English. “My name is Ma Sue. This is my father, U Aung Win, a biologist working in a research laboratory in Yangon. We are Burmese and just escaped some unknown fighters sent on our trail. My father was shot.”

Ram was speechless and couldn’t accept such a strange story.

“Ma Sue, your father didn’t come to Thailand without a reason; he could have stayed and hidden in his own country.”

The girl started to panic.

“My father is not a criminal, he is a scientist, and you can check with his old friend here in Bangkok, Dr Placido, an Italian scientist. He is the one my father wants to contact”. Pascal looked at the injured and unconscious man on the stretcher. He wouldn’t of course question him now; not before a serious treatment.

The wounded biologist was a man apparently in his 50’s, whose black hair fell limply onto the pale blue material behind his head. His eyes were closed and his face was littered with bruises and scabs. Pressure pads drenched with blood were visible on his right shoulder and his legs were positioned at a painfully awkward angle.

“His femur is broken and the bone has been severely displaced. And may be other fractures we have to check” explained Pascal.

Ram had worked in the camp too long to ignore the signs: his injuries had involved torture.

“He is a fugitive from Burma. You know it is a big risk Pascal not to inform the Thai authorities first!”

“For the moment he is here Ram. We have no time and will do the paperwork later. This man has a bullet in his shoulder, broken bones and is literally bleeding to death. We need to operate now!”

Pascal stared Ram down. There would be no further discussion.

“There’s no more time to waste… Noi and I will take an X-Ray for his shoulder and leg as quickly as we can before getting him onto the table. Now hurry! Get scrubbed! We expect you in OR in 10 minutes.”

 

 

It was almost 5 a.m. when Pascal woke up in his bedroom above the clinic ward. The small room he shared with Ram was still dark, but there was enough light from the full moon to make things out. Images of the night were invading his perception. He imprecisely remembered that Ram had been rummaging through a man’s body, extracting bullets from his flesh. He was obsessed by one particular detail that kept recurring in his mind. While removing the lethal bullet during the surgery, Ram had extracted another foreign device under the patient’s armpit; a microchip of some sort. He had immediately handed it to Pascal. Ram probably felt that something unusual was unfolding and he knew that Pascal was the one who could take control in these kinds of situations.

 

Half asleep and still immersed in some dream, Pascal’s awareness was vagabonding deep in the land of images. Everything was incomprehensible, like a foreign movie with no subtitles. Slowly, smoke-like faces began to materialise in his mind and the dream was becoming a more distinct vision.

A cold and sterile room… some kind of scientific laboratory surrounded by aluminium-framed glass panels. Giant machines occupied the room, communicating in high-pitched beeps to one another. An enormous cylindrical scanner, whose size was difficult to gauge, towered in front of him. It was pointed at a harnessed body and by some force was extracting pink flesh sending spattering around the room in a circular fashion, flinging blood in globs onto the shiny surfaces.

Buddhist monks were chanting.

The familiar smell of disinfectant was acidic, burning his nostrils.

The golden and sacred sound ‘Om’ resonated all around him. That famous Tibetan mantra rang throughout his body, reverberating inside his very neurons.

From deep within his heart Pascal heard someone call “Help me! They killed my father!” The Burmese biologist was dead on the floor and people around him were shouting in panic: they want to control us!

Pascal was trying to hold his breath, and suddenly he was suffocating!

 

He awoke with pupils dilated and his arms stretched out in front of him; he jumped up, totally awake now.

At this stage, he felt immersed in a cloud of indistinct perceptions that urged him to act. He felt he had, once again, no time to understand what happened to him, and why he was sometimes so inspired.

 

He got out of bed, legs trembling with adrenaline; managed to shove on his slippers, and rush to Ram.

“I can’t explain it but please trust me; you have to come with me now.”

Left with little option but to follow, Ram calmly followed him.

“Please check Ma Sue’s room; I will check that our patient is OK,”

Pascal said as he swung his body down the flight of stairs.

Ma Sue was sharing a room with Lek. When Ram pushed the door open, he saw immediately that Ma Sue bed was empty. The soft figure of Lek, the beautiful nurse, was lying on the other bed.

“Lek! Do you know where our patient’s daughter is?”

Lek sat up in her bed and turned the light on. Her nightgown seemed to hang over her half-naked body. She was aware that one of her breasts was protruding from her nightgown, revealing an irresistibly sensual body. She looked at Ram with half-sleeping eyes. Upon turning her head to the bed next to her, her expression changed instantly. She began to tremble all over, as though she had just received an electric shock.

“I do not know! I swear! She was here with me!”

Lek looked around the bedroom.

“Ram, her bag is gone. Did she left? I will call Noi who was on duty tonight”.

Ram was set back by his nurse’s strange behaviour as if she knew something.

A mixed feeling of doubt, fear and urgency invaded him. Slamming Lek’s door closed he dashed down to the ward without waiting for further explanation.

Ram peered cautiously through the sliding doors to check up on the patient and immediately noticed a pillow strewn on the floor. In the gloomy moonlight he also noticed Pascal standing rigid, and his face confirmed Ram’s fears. The French doctor’s eyes had all but lost their green spark. He knelt beside the bed, with one hand holding onto Aung Win’s wrist.

Pascal didn’t turn around as he spoke in a raucous tone.

“We’re too late. The biologist has been murdered; asphyxiated.” Pascal covered his face with his hard hands.

“All the signs of asphyxiation are here. I suspect he’s been dead for few minutes, no more.” Ram knew that Pascal was blaming himself; he usually did.

“The patient was so weak already, it would have been an easy job.” Pascal was electric with emotion. Did you see Noi? He was on charge tonight?” Pascal finally turned around.

Without saying a word, Ram turned to go upstairs to find Noi, but Lek barricaded his exit. Noi was behind her. His face was pale and he was mixing up his words.

He calmed down and tried again.

I do not know anything, I swear. K Lek just awaked me. Lek, please tell him! Pascal’s logic flared up. What did Lek had to do with Noi, why was he overreacting as if he were afraid Pascal that Pascal could discover some truth him and Lek were sharing.

He looked at Lek who had turned her face to avoid eye contact. She was looking out the window at the yellow moon that hung in the corner of the morning sky like an overripe mango. Its reflection was glistening in her eyes.

 

 

Pascal found Ma Sue, talking to the guard at the gate, ready to leave.

He ran after her: “Ma Sue, we have to leave to Bangkok, together, you have not a chance alone, or they will capture you. Do you understand?”

Like a small kid prepared to be punished, Ma Sue tuned back to Pascal.

The murder indicated that the criminals were well informed and probably well protected. Pascal was afraid that the dead man was going to create huge problems for him and his team, not for the assassins. If some corrupted authorities were involved, Pascal would never get away from the consequences.

That’s why the only tactic was to go immediately to the Capital meet influent friends. He had to bring along Ma Sue to save her from “Them” and get some protection, for himself and his team.

In Bangkok, he had to ensure that his clinic and staff were not readily implicated and accused in the murder investigation. With the help of Sumit, his best friend in Bangkok he would have the necessary connections. That’s the way it worked.

He also believed that the Italian scientist, friend of the murdered biologist, held some vital information. He had to meet him as soon as possible.

Pascal and Ma Sue rushed without delay to the white clinic car, aiming to Bangok Thai people call Krung Thep, The City of Angels. Instead of angels he had the feeling he was going to encounter sinister devils!

They had just left the clinic and were approaching the main road when they heard a distant cacophony of sirens and car engines. Police cars! Their sirens were getting louder: a dusty cloud preceded the entourage.

Pascal ordered Ma Sue to hide on the floor, grabbed his phone and hit speed dial.

“Ram, the police are coming! You know what’s going to happen. They’ll ask questions and possibly detain you because your patient was an illegal immigrant and now he’s dead. They will want answers.”

“Wait, how did the police find out so fast? Who informed them?” Ram hated the police here.

“There must be an informer in the clinic, paid to report to the police. We still don’t’ know.

Well, whispered Ram, his voice trembling with fear: “Pascal, don’t forget to take care of that thing—the microchip—that I found in U Aung Win’s body.”

Pascal comforted him.

“Just stay calm, Ram, I will get you out of there. Don’t worry!”

Just before Ram switched off his phone and placed it into his pocket, Pascal heard a strong male voice echoing down the corridor.

Moo Kei yu nai na kap? Where is the Indian doctor?”

 

 

Arrived in Bangkok, Pascal and Ma Sue hurried to the Italian Scientist house. They rang the bell many times and waited for a good fifteen minutes for someone to come to the door. It was silent and no one came. The Italian scientist was probably not there.

Mae Sue was about to suggest they leave when they heard some shuffling inside the house. Somebody was coming!

They could hear a persisting clearing of the throat and a shuffling of feet. After some fumbling with the lock, a foreigner opened the door. Thank God! Placido was home!

He examined the two silhouettes that stood at his door. He grunted that he did not appreciate being awakened..

With the blur of siesta fading, he opened one eye and recognised Ma Sue in the sunny light.

“Oh sweetheart, I didn’t realise it was you. What has happened darling?”

He noticed her gentile eyes begin to swell with tears and ushered them immediately into the lounge.

He was a tall, angular man with a noble stance. His hair was almost white even although he was only fifty. He had the frail appearance of an eternal student with thick glasses and a worn-out look. Acclimatised to the ways of the locals, he was wearing ragged, northern Thai peasant’s pants and a faded over-sized T-shirt printed with the vague outlines of ‘Phuket Paradise’.

His dark blue eyes, flicked with green, showed a strong determination. For as long as he could remember of his time in Thailand, he had been staying in this rented villa near Rama III undergoing blurry-eyed nights of research: his only company was his maid.

As an honorary member of Chulalongkorn University, he worked mostly from home and sometimes gave lectures to the University’s advanced students. In his other work, he also participated and conducted experiments checking the incidence of radiation on brain activity at the Nuclear Hospital located near the Chao Phraya River.

Placido often traveled internationally to attend fundamental research forums in physics. He tried to visit his Italian hometown of Torino regularly and attended seminar in advanced universities in the States. He was leading a group of scientists and neurobiologists in groundbreaking, but as of yet, secret experiments.

 

Pascal introduced himself to the startled scientist and recapped the night events, and the murder of U Aung .

Placido did not seem surprised. “I knew something was going to happen to my old friend Aung. He was such a generous and righteous man; a true friend and beloved father who could not compete with the evil forces. Even he knew that one day they would murder him. I tried to convince him to leave but it seemed there was no way. This is terrible. He was a gullible man when it came to business.”

He continued to lament in a plaintive voice.

“My dear Sue, I am so sorry for this revolting tragedy.”

Ma Sue stood up and stepped forward to hold Placido’s two hands and he embraced her affectionately. They both held tight and started to weep in silence.

Once the emotional wave had passed, Ma Sue stepped back firmly, flicking her tears from her face as she looked into Placido’s eyes, she said resolutely, “Whoever did this; I promise they will regret it.”

“Yes, yes sweetheart. Right now we need to understand what happened. Do you have any idea who might have killed him?”

“I don’t know, he never told me anything. They started the chase as soon as they learned my father had escaped and tried to threaten me as well. Placido, this is how gangsters do: they harm their victims families, and you know I am my father’s only family.”

She paused sadly.

Was… I was my father’s only family.”

 

The sadness of the situation and the need to find the perpetrators, reminded Pascal to ask Placido the burning questions about the microchip. He pulled Placido aside.

“Can I talk with you privately for a second? It’s about a device we found when we operated your friend. I have a feeling it is crucial and I need to talk to you before anything else happens.”

Placido seemed unsurprised.

“Come with me to the kitchen.”

Pascal retrieved from his pocket the small black object that looked like a miniature flashlight: Placido, I think you know what this thing is? As a scientist you may have come across this kind of thing before.”

The scientist handled the curious object between his index finger and thumb. He turned to Pascal and threw it back at him as though it were burning his fingers.

“Come to see me tomorrow at the Nuclear Hospital. I can only give you the answers there.”

Pascal’s was excited. It was the first real link! Placido was involved.

 

Pascal mobile phone just rang. His Thai friend Sumit had good news. Dr Ram had been released thanks to his friend at the DSI, the special operations, and was waiting at the Lumpini Police station. They had to go and pick him up.

When they got to that station, they found Ram waiting in the public inquiry room facing several policemen who sat typing complaint declarations. He was relaxed and smiling. The room was filled with noise as claim applicants explained their problems to annoyed inspectors who were joking amongst themselves. The buzzing televisions were at the mercy of office girls addicted to soap opera series and who never let their attention leave the screens.

With the DSI team gone, most of the policemen were busy looking into the issue of the last TV news. For Pascal who never got interested in politics and particularly in foreign countries, it seemed an extremely confusing situation.

As they entered the inquiry room Pascal held his dear friend and assistant in his arms.

“I am so happy they could get you out. Thank you so much for staying calm and facing this difficult moment alone,” he said.

Now, let’s get going. I think we have to organize everyone safety. Let’s meet at the Sumit’s “martial art” center.” In Sukhumvit soi 31.

 

After everyone settled in the vast training room, Pascal wanted to value any information Ram could gather from the police.

“Did they treat you well?” quizzed Pascal.

“Actually, not too bad,” Ram tilted his head from side to side. “You know, I kept praying for that ignorant police captain because I know he’s in need of it.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Karma.”

“Oh, so you think he will turn into a pig in the next life?”

They burst out laughing at the thought of Ram doing the classic yoga position in a cramped cell with the police watching.

“But did the police have information to tell you?”

“No! Anyway I did not understand anything they said. It seems to be a private matter between Lek, the nurse, and someone else. She must be involved, but why? Such a good nurse! I saw her come into the station. I was surprised when the Police Captain shouted to her to run and hide in Bangkok.

“Why”?

“I don’t have a clue. But I knew that you both would be able to solve it and help me out, and you did. I want to thank these friends around me with all my heart.”

Ram turned to Ma Sue.

“And Ma, I’m so sorry about your father. I did what I could to save him and I am so relieved to know you are safe. It was for you I worried the most; not for myself.”

“Thank you Ram, I am safe now, but I don’t know for how long.”

“You are safe.”

“You still don’t understand how it works in Thailand!” she said to them all.

“No, I’m afraid I don’t,” said Ram. “We are here to protect you. You had no reason to disappear. Pascal have brought you back himself.”

With desperation in her eyes, Mae Sue repeated her worries.

“I knew I was in immediate danger in the clinic, and Pascal did the right thing. But they are probably waiting for me outside. It means they will follow me everywhere.”

“Who are ‘they’?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “Sure, they are connected to the guys from Burma who were chasing me and my father.”

Ram began to understand.

“ But why Lek and Noi were acting so strangely!”

Pascal jumped in. It was too early to make conclusions.

“We all don’t know what’s going on yet, but I’m afraid we’re in a really sticky mess right now. None of us can explain who is behind this and what is exactly happening, but we need to inquire and be extremely cautious. Ma Sue, you are right. You are not safe here. Whatever the reasons, ‘they’ are trying hard to get to you and ‘they’ seem to know all our moves. We need to protect you”.

“I have a solution,” said Sumit evenly. Everyone turned his attention to him.

“My uncle, the famous Buddhist monk teacher, the Ajahn Chana, stays at the Temple of the Forest near the Laos border. If I explain the situation to him, I am sure he will agree to hide Ma Sue in the novice girls’ temple. She could go there and hide away as long as it is necessary. The temple would only need a couple of days to arrange it—possibly, less.”

He turned to Ram. “For the time being, the rest of you don’t need to worry, I would be happy to let you stay in my student quarters above the martial training room in Sukhumvit Soi 31. I have three available bedrooms where you will be safe. The only other students in the block are training as bodyguards and no one will dare harm you there.”

Everyone was impressed with Sumit’s swift decision-making. As a professional boxer, strategic thinking was in his blood, and he knew what it meant to take action.

“Everything will be under control as long as we take precautions,” he confirmed and mockingly simulated a military salute: “Kapom, Sir; yes Sir!”

Sumit’s contagious positive energy was uplifting for everyone.

As the others began preparing, Pascal asked Sumit to escort him to Baan Dokmail, his regular ‘home’ in Bangkok. On his way to his hotel, Pascal questioned Sumit.

“What do you think about the situation? You are probably more used to these strange events than me. I’m just a busy doctor in a jammed camp.”

Sumit was always the guy with his head screwed on tightest. He replied in his matter-of-fact tone:

“I presume that guy who was assassinated is hiding something very critical; something important, probably linked to the lab experiments and some Burmese dark organization wants to keep it secret. That is probably why they killed him. They are chasing his daughter because she might know some secret. What that secret is exactly, I don’t know. You need to follow up on that microchip with Placido.”

Sumit rubbed his fingers on his forehead, shaking his head briskly. “As for Lek, well,” he sighed, “these guys who attacked you seem to be connected to her. The events at the local station indicate she is part of it, and, if she’s responsible for that, well, that’s an entirely new problem.”

“Why do you say that?” asked Pascal.

“Because it means there’s another dimension to it: the local police and the Thai mafia are involved in some way. It means big business for them and that we have to bring Ma Sue urgently into safety and be careful not to show up in order to keep ourselves alive.

It is critical to find out who’s behind Lek. Right now, we’re fighting blind.”

 

Pascal’s hotel was located in the older district of Bangkok where, during the day, most of the streets were filled with buzzing tuk-tuks carrying tourists to the famous Emerald Buddha Temple, the King’s Palace and the National Thai Museum. Kao San Road, which was notorious for catering to the international backpacker culture, was close by as well.

This charming private hotel called ‘Baan Dok Mai’, which meant “the house of flowers” sat alongside the river, nestled close to the Siam Museum. It was obvious why Pascal liked to stay here. It was designed like an historical village featuring Thai traditional houses of the Lanna Period in the typical style of Chiang Mai, a previous capital of the Siam Kingdom.

A white Colonial house with its wide veranda and long columns was poised in the middle of a sumptuous, tropical garden. This space had been transformed into the lobby and lounge where guests were first received. A member of the extended Royal Family, the owner, had kept a small space inside for himself where he stayed occasionally.

Architecturally, everything was designed with taste and respect to the original model. Wooden carvings, statues and lacquered panels, were exquisitely displayed inside the rooms and comfortable mattresses covered with silk were set into old four-posted beds. Each of the private villas had their own ‘cachet’, a type of individual artistic personality. Around the grounds you could hear the soothing sound of water flowing in the Balinese-inspired ponds where the Chao Praya river splashed along the banks..

The most enchanting feature was the manicured, yet wild garden landscaped as although it was a secret refuge surrounded by narrow terra cotta-tiled alleys. The elegant coconut trees towering above protected giant acacia and mango trees and the dancing shadows made this garden a rare respite in Bangkok. In the hotter months, the breeze from the river was a welcome presence as it helped to dissipate the heavy humidity in the air.

Pascal explained to Sumit how a French couple that had lived in Thailand for over thirty years helped him to find his Bangkok home. Close friends, they had helped him to understand the idiosyncrasies of the culture whose layers, like a lotus flower, never seemed to stop unfolding.

Oblivious to the two stocky men waiting in a Black Toyota outside the hotel, Pascal felt secure and peaceful here.

Pascal collapsed with exhaustion onto his four-poster bed and fell in the cavernous pit of unconsciousness.

Since he had worked at the camp, Pascal found it difficult to sleep without stressful images flooding his mind. This time a flurry of strange events would invade his mind—

They appeared as recurrent images of an unknown reality he nevertheless was familiar with:

 

He was kneeling in a temple where the candles drew large shadows. The acrid smoke obscured all detail as it fumed in front of Buddha statues. One of the statues seemed enormous; it was holding two very small ones, keeping them on each side of its chest and embracing them as inestimable treasures.

Deep voices echoed throughout the space, repeating ‘Om’, the elemental Tibetan mantra; chanting those magic words.

A beautiful woman face appeared that he could touch with tenderness, feeling the caress of fascinating, lovely red lips. She was whispering almost inaudibly:

Do not forget the promise to me, your beloved Imae. Please find the mantras, the mantras, the mantras….

 

Sweating, Pascal awoke from the nightmare, wondering about the words and images pounding in his head: mantra, mantra, mantra…why these monks, this beautiful and inaccessible woman and these bizarre mantras were coming into the picture? And, out of the blue, a Biologist who was murdered, and, now, their lives in danger!

He suddenly realized the phone was ringing. Completely awake now, Pascal tried desperately to concentrate and fix his memory on the fading and evanescent images. He knew that soon he would remember almost nothing from the dream.

He could ignore the incessant ringing no longer and grasped the telephone receiver from its cradle.

“Allo, yes,” his voice crackled in his dry throat. “Who? You said Keno, Kano? Sorry, Kengo is it?” He waited for a response. “Did we meet?”

“Where? The martial arts training in Osaka? But it’s been two years already… You represent an important Buddhist movement and you want to see me. Why me? What important item do you want to show me?”

Pascal kept asking about the item, but the man on the phone could only express how confidential it was. He said they could not discuss the matter openly on the phone.

“This afternoon? But that’s so soon…Okay, at the Suan Siri temple along the Klongs of Thonburi…Hold on! Do you mean the famous canals near Wat Arun? OK I’ll find it. See you at 5 p.m.”

Pascal placed the receiver down. He had just agreed to meet with a man whom he barely remembers, in a secret location, for a mysterious object. What was going on?

“This is not a chance meeting,” he justified himself. Every event so far seemed so tightly knit that he was convinced this unexpected call was related to the previous drama in his clinic.

 

All this was becoming too confusing. Pascal needed to clarify his mind. He sat himself on the terrace ready for his yoga exercises and to repeat ‘the Oriya’, a form of mantra he was taught by his yogi friend.

Then, he felt ready.

 

He first decided to go to the hospital where Placido was working. Pascal knew that the Professor was hiding something important. There was no doubt; his body language couldn’t lie. Not only did he show no surprise when Pascal exhibited the device, it was as though he had been waiting to be asked about it. He pretended to scrutinize it unknowingly, but it was obvious he knew it. Why did he let Pascal so privately into the house kitchen otherwise?

Pascal also decided to attend the secret meeting with the Japanese guy, late this afternoon, whatever the danger. But he wouldn’t go through this alone, and made himself the promise to confer with his Thai friends before going.

He first called the number on the paper Placido had handed him and ordered a taxi to the Nuclear Research Hospital across the river.

 

 

Each person is but a wave passing through space,

Ever changing, from minutes to minutes.”

Nikola Tesla.

 

 

Pascal arrived early at the Nuclear Research Hospital. As a doctor himself, Pascal needed some scientific explanation, to understand the strange behavior of U Aung at the secret Laboratory in Yangoon. As Placido was his friend, in charge of nuclear and particle physics, it will be easy for him to explain—hopefully in a clear language—what was going on.

Waiting impatient and anxious in the large conference room at the Nuclear Research Hospital, Pascal’s head was thumping.

Placido staggered awkwardly into the room. This once handsome, now haggard gentleman was the definition of the expression: ‘live to work’. Placido did not get to become honorary member at the nuclear research association without going the mileage first.

“Sorry I kept you waiting; I had to make sure we were alone.”

Outside, the light was reflecting off the Royal Palace roof. The light flickered into Pascal’s eyes, testing his patience.

“Thank you for coming. I felt it would be safer to speak here. Before we get started, I need to see you have the chip with you.”

Pascal removed a tiny, plastic box from his pocket. He opened it and flashed the device between his thumb and index finger. The physician’s pupils widened and he took a step towards Pascal.

“Thank God it’s safe. Now, I ask that you return it to me,” requested Placido, his palm open, ready to grasp it.

Pascal slipped the chip back into the box and clicked it shut; shoving it back into his jeans pocket.

“I don’t think so.”

The physician coughed nervously and took several seconds to recover from his initial shock.

Ragazzo, this device does not belong to you; you have no business with it,” Placido regretted his choice of words immediately.

“Listen, I’m here because I need to find out what is going on. I try to save a man who I find brutally tortured only to have him assassinated in my own clinic that very same night. My staff have been turned completely upside down; some of them arrested; and now being placed into hiding…and now, you are trying to tell me I have no place in this? I think you know precisely what is happening and you are going to tell me what the Hell this thing is.”

“You must understand that what you are holding is essential to me,” countered Placido. “It has no relevance to you, in any way.”

“If you think I can just walk away from everything that has just happened, you are deeply mistaken. I have been extremely patient with you and agreed to meet you to get an explanation. I’m not leaving without one.”

Grabbing Pascal by the hand, the Italian spoke softly:

“Maybe you are right after all. It is too heavy to bear: I don’t know what events would bring you to me, but you came to my house yesterday. I understand now that we were supposed to meet somehow. When I first saw you, I thought it was shock, but it was the opposite: I felt incredibly relieved.”

He started to talk in a dull voice.

“I had warned Aung that he would meet this fate, but like me, he was too absorbed in his work. When he would visit me from Yangoon he would tell me that things were going to get well; that he had a master plan.”

“What work was he involved in?”

Placido ignored the question.

“The people who employed him were very clever, and particularly that old German director who seemed to have a very dark past, a person who trusted no one. I have no idea why he began to be suspicious of him, but once he had doubts, it was like a seed of danger fomenting.”

Placido began speaking faster.

“They knew Aung was hiding something big and they tortured him to have him talk about what secret he might have been leaking out. Fortunately, he found a way to escape with his daughter before they could hold her hostage; but they killed him anyway. They probably thought that his daughter had information, but it wasn’t true. She had no idea about any of this.”

“But what was he doing?” insisted Pascal.

“I’m sorry, I haven’t explained it properly. Let me start from the beginning.”

Placido’s voice was strengthening and he pushed his back upright, regaining some dignity.

“All throughout 2014, Aung made frequent visits to Bangkok to see me. He told me about those powerful businessman who had built an obscure, experimental research laboratory somewhere near Yangoon, and hired him. He was never curious about those things.

Aung’s lab was performing experiments on the human brain to study consciousness.

These people seemed to use very advanced technology and that got him excited. Himself had found some secret formula he also wanted to test, but he never talked about it.

That’s all he told me.

He was happy as a dog to lead a team in an area he was passionate about, you see, and was making remarkable progress. Not many scientists are researching how the neurons react in relation to consciousness. It was a really groundbreaking work coming out of it.

“Pascal, you have the microchip, so, it’s time to see more.”

Placido placed his hand under the table and revealed a thin, aluminium remote control. At a click, curtains slid along the bay windows and darkened the lecture theatre.

Turning his body towards Pascal, the lecturer extended his hand gently.

“Please give me the device so we can download the information together. I have not seen its new contents either.”

From the table he took a barcode wand; directed the device Pascal had given him towards the blue window of the wand and switched it on.

Shocked, Pascal could not believe his eyes! The video images that appeared on the screen: a glittering lab, chanting monks in chains and loud sounds interjecting randomly were the exact replica of his past vision in his room at the clinic when he awoke and found the biologist murdered.

The video stopped abruptly, but the image displayed by the microchip, extracted from the victim, was still flashing in his mind.

What the Hell? Why the downloading stopped, what happened to the microchip?

Placido stared at him bewildered, but seemed to recover a little too quickly.

“You can see that we cannot retrieve the complete information,” said Placido, but his body language seemed to say something else.

“Maybe your format is not compatible, that’s all,” shrugged Pascal.

“No, No. Let me explain how the system works.”

Placido pushed another button and a new image appeared on the screen. It was the very same device they were viewing:

“The device you found in his body is a very sophisticated Ultra High Radio Frequency identification tag currently used in developed countries as a spy radio to trace and identify subjects. In order to transmit information long range, the biologist tattooed himself with conductive ink that worked as a mini-antenna. This antenna was able to receive signals from satellites in space that fed the nano coil inserted in the microchip hidden in his armpit. Radiations are also vibrations, you could say. They provided the necessary energy to receive and transmit any kind of sophisticated information through the USB port and micro camera I attached to Aung’s glasses.”

“And why did it stop?”

“Maybe Aung has entered a code into it. I don’t understand why he would do that,” puzzled Placido. “He was probably spied and needed a very secured codification. I have no idea what information it is hiding.”

“So what’s going on?” demanded Pascal. “What is the meaning of torturing monks, what does that all mean?”

Placido looked relieved not to have released more data. All of a sudden he darted to the door and without turning he ordered:

“You want to be aware of what’s going on? Follow me. I’ll show you what the microchip should have told you.”

 

They crossed a long corridor to a door that opened smoothly when Placido exhibited his magnetic card.

“Hey dottore, you don’t need to look into an optical device like in the Hollywood thrillers?” joked Pascal.

“Just wait young fellow; you might be impressed all the same!” chuckled Placido.

They reached an elevator and Placido inserted a key to the B10 basement.

“How come you have ten underground floors?” asked Pascal.

“Oh, we have more than that. You know what nuclear means: radiation. So we are cautious! Our labs are immersed in a concrete block.”

When the elevator doors slid open the men entered into a large lobby bright and busy with people waiting on comfortable chairs, and a reception area wrapped in a glass cube.

“This way.” Placido led Pascal into a long corridor leading to thick metal doors.

As they walked through them, Pascal saw lights; dozens of them, twinkling on control boards and reflecting onto a machine. The machine, once again, was identical to the one he had just seen the deceased colleague, Aung, working on. A chill ran through him.

“The machine you saw earlier is similar to the one you see here.”

And the same as my vision, thought Pascal. His interest grew.

“What is it for?”

“My dear Pascal, you must be patient if you want to understand what’s going on,” said Placido as he entered a room lit with neon lights.

“This is the torture chamber,” Placido joked.

He walked to a small cubicle behind a huge glass panel that had a tiny desk. In it sat a tall, slim, Indian man with glasses wearing a white coat. He was talking with a middle-aged woman, seated on the opposite side. In one corner sat a young child who looked about ten years old.

“Let me introduce you to Dr. Rama Singh, a renowned neuroscientist who collaborated on our project,” said Placido. “He has just arrived from California.”

“Dr. Singh, may I introduce you to Dr. Pascal who is trying to help me solve the mystery of my old friend Aung’s brutal assassination. Please kindly explain to him what we are doing here.”

A large and warm smile illuminated the handsome, dark face.

“No problem,” replied Singh. “If you are a medical doctor, I presume you know of course the brain’s anatomy, its different areas and their functions. We neuroscientists try to discover the functioning of the brain by studying what goes wrong with it. When patients have some part of their brain damaged we can check which function isn’t working. Simple!”

He came up to Pascal and whispered: “You see this woman sitting in front of my desk? You may wonder why she is so agitated; moving erratically and grabbing her right hand with her left? She has a rare disease called Alien Hand Syndrome. One arm cannot obey her will and she is obliged to stop it with the other hand. We have discovered that one area of her brain in her parietal, the cingula to be precise, was damaged when she had a stroke. It is an important discovery for our project because it shows that we can manipulate that precise area that control this woman’s free will. Unfortunately, we still do not understand clearly how the reproduce the process.”

“Dr. Placido believes the brain function is controlled by vibrations. In fact, he believes that everything is vibration. That is why I am collaborating with him with these experiments. If his theory is true, we will identify the vibrations that will influence the brain.”

“How to identify these vibrations?” continued Singh. “That’s the point! The theory of resonance is simple, but in actuality, we cannot apply it as long as we don’t know the matching frequencies: The conclusion is crucial: whoever controls these frequencies, capable to resonate with the brain, controls the freedom of action.”

 

Pascal began to understand, but still curious, he asked the neuroscientist, “What about that young boy over there?”

“This is really sad. He is autist and can’t communicate with others or with the outside world. He can make no distinction between himself and me; he has no idea of his ‘self’.”

“How is this boy’s disease related to your research on vibrations?” asked Pascal.

“After many experiments, I have come to the conclusion that the boy’s incapacity is linked with a scarcity of his mirror neurons.”

“What’s that?”

“When someone looks at someone else, his first move is to imitate that person. It has been recently discovered that, when it happens, special neurons fire in the temporal area of the brain; neuroscientists call them mirror neurons.”

“Imitating; looking at things from the vantage point of others is essential for the development of the self: our will and consciousness. This is precisely what mirror neurone do and our research is to discover how to influence these neurons, but it is not simple.”

“Why not?” asked Pascal.

“Because our body emits counter waves-vibrations called mu waves—which control and stop inadequate movements. It is a kind of ‘watchdog’ that counteracts the mirror neurone impulses.”

“It is why we have to create complex action/reaction connections and use the proper vibrations, or lets say, frequencies, to influence the mu waves and the mirror neurone at the same time. If we succeed we will be able to create and control a person’s will and consequently his actions.”.

A long silence followed, and Pascal, immersed into the complexities of the information, began to be convinced that everything was a matter of waves, frequencies.

What he had just been watching demonstrated that whatever wrong happened to someone brain was a defect in connections, a lack of vibrations, a disturbance of the waves frequencies. The trillions of neuronal connections happening in one single human brain, more than the numbers of stars in the universe, had to be tuned with utmost precision to work together in harmony.

 

Placido interrupted his reflection:

“Thank you Doctor Singh, but I don’t have much time. I’m sure your explanation is enough for Pascal to figure out the neurological fundamentals that drive our research.”

Placido turned to a still curious Pascal.

“Let’s see the machine that I built with Aung.”

Placido opened a door to a dark and immense room where Pascal had noticed the machine from the corridor.

“What is the purpose of this monster?

“Simply to identify the frequencies of radiations surrounding the human body and the brain, said Placido.

“Radiation surrounding the body and the brain?” asked Pascal.

“Yes, many kinds of vibrations are emitted from and outside of the body/brain areas.

“How do you know they exist?” asked a skeptical Pascal.

The scientific community knows already. The technology to identify vibrations inside the body has been tested for decades with scanners and MRI’s, which create images of tumours in the body and the brain.

Pascal, who was not a radiologist, was curious to know exactly how resonance could create images.

“Let me try to simplify, but it is more complicated. The body and brain are matter which contain hydrogen atoms, made of a nucleus and electrons spinning around an axis. Magnets located on each side of the machine create a magnetic field measured in Tesla units, and align all the electrons with a certain angle. Then, the machine sends electric pulses. What happens? The pulses push all electrons to another angle. As soon as the electric impulses cease, the electrons come back to their initial position, but at different speed, according the nature of the tissues. It is roughly the time and speed of that movement which generates an image the specialist can interpret.

But the MRI cannot go further and cannot identify frequencies AROUND the body and brain. So we had to create this “monster”, a kind of super sophisticated MRI.

The most surprising is that the machine is revealing what was known from antiquity, probably even “before” the dynastic period of the Egyptians Pharaohs 30,000 years ago, and clearly established thousands of years ago in the Vedic culture:

Every living being has fields of energy surrounding his body/brain: an aura, if you will. Even nowadays, the Shamans, scattered all over the world, perceive it as a “Luminous Body” around the physical body and say that we are only an avatar of that body, the true one.

With testing, we have experimented that each of these outside fields vibrate with certain, distinguishable frequencies and resonate in a controlling or collaborative way.

“Is that the new age of human paradigm.?” Asked Pascal.

“Not really,” answered Placido. “My technology is based on the last discoveries of Nikola tesla”. He was the first to discover, one hundred years ago, the power of rotating magnetic fields.”

“He was also a pioneer who understood the implication of the Indian Vedanta tradition that had long ago established the existence of energy fields in the universe and around the body and brain”

According Hindu beliefs, these fields were said to be in three layers:

=The first one they called the “physical body” or Morphic Field, related to the physical functions.

-The second one “the Astral body”, related to emotions.

-The last one, the “causal body”, was emitting waves with frequencies beyond measure. The Hindu called it Atman, the Soul. But it had different names such as‘ the matrix’, or even the “Zero Point Field,” the mother of all fields.

No matter what, all these names were speculative, and I do not want to confuse you further;

Let’s concentrate on what the machine can analyze.

“You know that we are bombarded with billions of waves as Neutrinos and ‘cosmic energies and many more. You probably heard very recently that astrophysicists discovered that more than 70% of the energy and matter in the universe belonged to some unknown field of particles they called ‘ dark matter and dark energy’, which are invisible. Can you imagine that? We really are still in the Middle Ages.” Placido chuckled.

 

Now, look at the body emissions:

“Researchers have already measured the emissions of energy from the first level of energy emissions: the aura of the physical body. Vibrational Technology Specialists such as Dr. Motoyama have devised tools to calculate that energy, emitted from the body’s energy centers.”

“You mean the chakras?”

Pascal knew about these centers used in Chinese medicine.

“Exactly,” said Placido.

“ But we are now on the road to identify the other levels of energy fields which were said to circulate around the human body and mind, creating resonances that control all its physiological aspect, including consciousness and behaviour.”

“You really think you can identify such vibrations and with your technology, create resonances that can control the mind?” asked a bemused Pascal.

“Absolutely!” retorted Placido, “but not all.”

“Whoa!” said Pascal. “You mean like weapons of mental mass destruction?”

“To be frank with you, it is just an extrapolation, since no one could ever clearly identify their frequencies. Some might even be virtual and transcendental, beyond our pure scientific capacities to observe and measure. We remain at the frontier of new findings, and conventional scientists are not going to help us. We have to be patient and continue to use our pragmatic science-based operational methods and system of controlled experimenting.”

“Can you show me?” asked Pascal.

“Of course!

Placido turned to a number of monitor screens in the dark control room.

“Here you can see the heart’s activity; here, the blood pressure; here, the brain’s EEG activity in various areas of the cortex. The subject’s body is under complete observation.” He pointed to the largest screen.

“Each variation shows which body or brain areas are affected and influenced.”

Pascal then turned his attention to a patient lying in a round capsule. The subject wore a body suit wrapped around his entire body. On his face was what appeared to be a breathing mask connected to a retractable tube that led out of the capsule into a compressor of some sort.

Pascal was impressed.

“Why do they wear such strange outfits?”

“They have been designed to isolate the inside layers of energy from the outside ones, and consequently, study their frequencies separately.”

“So you found the frequencies you’ve been looking for?”

Placido let out a sigh. “Only randomly, unfortunately. Most of the time, they are evanescent and disappear every nano seconds without reason. We are far from controlling them all”. That’s why I was so amazed when Aung explained how he could not only identify these subtle frequencies emitted by monks chanting mantras, but also manipulate them.

 

Let me show you an experiment and you will understand how complex it is already.

“This is Patient One.,” he said, as he clicked on the control board. On the top left corner of the screen was a time stamp showing it was footage from a week before.

“Look at what happens when the frequencies match.”

As the video played, Pascal heard a humming sound grow louder. On another monitor, he noticed the subject’s heart rate increase. The brain monitors display showed changes in temperature. The patient started to move and talk and suddenly, a bright red ribbon of light illuminated the chamber. The patient was in a trance.

In a flash, it was gone and the patient’s vital statistics returned to a normal state.

“Wow, it works!” Pascal exclaimed.

“Yes, but not quite.” Placido clicked on the control board again to display the same patient’s video 24 hours later.

“Here, watch what happens when we attempt to recreate the same experiment.”

Keeping a careful eye on each monitor, Pascal watched and listened as the same hum enveloped the room. Everything seemed to be exactly the same as the previous video. As the hum grew louder, Pascal’s eyes widened. He waited for the flash of light.

This time there was no light; no increase in heart rate or brain activity.

Pascal felt confused.

“The truth is we have not really mastered the technology the scientists in Yangon seem to have already developed.

 

At that moment, Pascal remembered the shouting in his vision: “the symmetry has collapsed”

As a matter of fact, he asked Dr Placido:

“And what about the symmetry?

The scientist stopped looking at the machine and turned to Pascal, interlocked:

How do you know that, young man? Only Aung and me know it.

“Pascal answered, evasive: I don’t know, just an idea.

But know he was certain his vision was right.

Placido, was shocked:

“ My God, are you a psychic? Yes, your idea is correct. We cannot progress because of that symmetry problem; we still are in the blue and cannot balance our technology.

 

Pascal felt suddenly too lost to make any comment. His visions proved correct but he still needed to understand these complex scientific implications. Moreover, he had to digest all these strange events: the chanting monks, the lost mantras, the dangerous Thai mafia…. What all this had to do with him?

 

Placido led him out of the chamber.

 

On the way to the hospital exit the physicist whispered into Pascal’s ear.

I possess a secret information which could explain how the lab in Burma could have got the formula to create new technologies and control the waves emitted by the brain.

But I cannot tell you know and to make it more difficult, Aung had it on the microchip, but encrypted, probably with a very advanced algorithm I could not break out.

Pascal, you have to stop these criminals, you need to investigate for yourself, decrypt the microchip, and clarify the content of the formula.

 

I will tell you later, when necessary. For the time being, I don’t want to lure you, away from your own instincts. Please note my website in case something happens to me, but don’t look at it now. Enter my website, “soulenergy.com”, only as your last resort,” implored Placido as he waved goodbye to Pascal with a sad smile.

Pascal was puzzled. Why didn’t Placido just tell him everything right away? Why did he keep secrets? It was obvious he knew how to read at least some parts of the microchip. Was he involved somehow in a sort of conspiracy? Was there someone else involved? Did Placido’s own lab discover the new technology? Did he want to keep it for himself?

Like the shuffling of sand underwater, Pascal’s mind was in disarray and all of the information was waiting to settle.

 

Perhaps his next meeting with the man who called himself Kengo would help fill in some gaps.

What relation could exist between monks chanting mantras, a Buddhist organization, and murderers? And now, science and holistic practices were entering the picture.

Bewildered, Pascal hailed a long-tail taxi boat passing by on the river.

“To Hell!” he said jokingly to the boat driver.

 

 

Perched uncomfortably on the thin wooden bench in the long tail boat, Pascal was fascinated by the diversity of the landscape along the way to the Wat Suan Kiri, the old temple on the canal. Small wooden houses were scattered in organized chaos, juxtaposed against steel and glass high-rise buildings. Behind these buildings lay an intricate network of canals that only locals could understand.

The old boat driver donned a thin white beard that flapped sideways in the wind. He had navigated these waters his whole life and witnessed the metamorphosis that had occurred over the last 50 years. Everything he knew was connected to this river. Along these canals, peoples’ lifestyles had scarcely changed. The residents of the traditional wooden houses that bordered the tepid and smelly water seemed unaware of the high technological world hidden just a few hundred meters away. Children still jumped and played, shouting with great delight while swimming in the polluted stream. Untouched by most of the vulgar aspects of modern life, they effused the charm of a simpler existence.

In less than 30 minutes Pascal arrived at the temple grounds.

While disembarking, Pascal examined the Suan Kiri Temple. The small, white building was hidden behind walls slightly recessed into the canal’s embankment. He had never been here before, but could see the enormous black Buddha of Burmese origin towering over its admirers. Pascal noticed a kind of shelter above it, deceivingly fragile although it had held its post there for many years. Old trees crowned the empty space in front of the temple, several of which were surrounded by sleeping dogs.

This place of worship was usually open until late at night.

The main temple stood in the middle of the compound. It was a tall, elegant structure with narrow doors and windows and a pitched roof of red and gold tiles.

Smaller buildings where the monks slept at night were scattered around the main temple.

Pascal noticed one strangely proportioned building that rose almost as high as the temple. He couldn’t read the placard engraved in Thai but guessed from the dark soot at the top that it must be a cremating chimney of some sort.

The Buddhist ceremony of cremation is integral to its ideas concerning life and death. In the act of burning, it is believed that the spirit is released from the material body. The particles of the soul evaporate in the air and into the next life, passing on through the karmic cycle.

Scientists have measured energy emissions from the bodies of dead people and discovered that they hold the energy of the chakras for several days after death. And it is probably why in this religion bodies were to be cremated only seven days after death.

The presence of death here was not frightful; the lush gardens surrounding this place of peace were quite serene.

Before Pascal entered the compound, he asked the boat driver to stay put and wait for him. A powerful speedboat was already docked at the entrance and looked abandoned, which was somewhat suspicious. Either someone of great influence was parked here to make a prayer or perhaps the boat had run out of petrol and a person was off to collect the fuel.

Alert, Pascal measured the risk but decided he had no choice but to meet with this enigmatic Japanese man. He decided to use caution.

Pascal was early to the meeting so he decided to use the time to carefully inspect the temple surroundings. First, he walked up the steps of the pier and took a mental picture of the small kiosk outside on the river embankment. Kengo was to meet him here at 6 p.m.

The small concrete cubicle stood beside a large Banyan tree, whose hanging roots swung down like languid arms almost to the water. A ruined wooden bench was placed at the base for devotees to sit and enjoy the quietness of the sacred place.

The story recounts, Buddhism’s founder Gautama discovered enlightenment under this kind of tree. As a result, the Banyan species remains sacred to Buddhists, and this one was no exception. To celebrate it’s sacredness, multi-coloured ribbons had been wrapped around the trunk and various fruit offerings were scattered around the base. As per tradition, next to the tree was a miniature temple with tiny figurines held up on a wooden platform by a thin pole.

Pascal looked around the compound. He now felt a strong pressure and all his senses were on alert; ready to identify any danger. He focused to pay close attention to any unusual details. He inspected, watched and paced around the garden planted with imposing centenarian trees.

Once every corner was carefully checked, Pascal felt the need to regain full control of his emotions. He was not religious, but he still had some time and enough curiosity to encourage him to use what he learned in martial arts training to increase his concentration. As he was next to a temple; meditation would be the perfect tool. At the thought, he walked inside the temple.

Several yellow dogs followed him silently. Many stray animals are abandoned each year in Thailand and most find refuge in temples where they are welcomed and fed. These dogs weren’t used to the presence of a foreigner, but Pascal loved dogs. He had a good connection with them and these half-wild animals had understood his empathy towards them. When he stopped and bent to caress a young one, they all rushed over, wagging their tails and licking his fingers. He had made new friends.

Today it was relatively quiet inside the temple.

An old, skeletal monk was practicing an informal blessing to a handful of devotees who sat on a carpet in the lotus position; others simply rested on their knees. The monk was drawing elegant arabesques on their arms with a kind of white chalk. According to tradition, these convoluted symbols would protect and heal.

After drawing, he held some of the follower’s palms and endowed them with his advice. When he was finished they bowed with their palms touching in the traditional Wai posture and began praying together. The monk was surrounded by gifts: baskets with fruits, groceries, flower garlands, Nescafé pots—even toilet rolls—all dispersed haphazardly on a red carpet.

Still alert, but free from anxiety, Pascal relaxed. Everything was peaceful; there was no sense of menace here.

The skinny monk in his saffron robes began to recite the traditional Theravada mantras:

Buddham saranam gachami…..

Sangham saranam gachami….”

People echoed the chant in unison. Pascal was happy to participate in this simple and genuine ceremony. Once recited, he walked up to light a few incense sticks arranged around dozens of smaller statues that stood at the feet of the principal statue. He stayed for few minutes more to meditate, surrounded by incense fumes and candlelight, using his breath as his guide.

He looked at his watch in the dimming light. Only ten minutes until the meeting.

 

Then something bizarre happened. Two tall monks casting immense shadows walked into the compound. Their movements were fast, which was very unusual for Thai monk, but the most surprising was the attitude of the dogs towards them. Customarily, saffron robes are a mark of assurance for these abandoned pets that are often rejected by lay people. The dogs usually love and respect monks, but they were growling and barking at the two large figures.

Something was wrong, but as he was still preoccupied with the coming meeting, Pascal dismissed the thought. They were probably monks from a provincial temple who weren’t accustomed to dogs.

Pascal diverted his attention and saw in the indistinct distance a short figure walking slowly towards the kiosk. His contact was early.

As the silhouette came closer, he could make out a man in a business suit who was carrying a backpack on his shoulder. This guy had to be some kind of stiff. Pascal didn’t know anyone else who could bear a city jacket in this hot and humid environment.

The figure was only moments away, unaware of Pascal, who was standing immobile in the dark at the threshold of the temple.

The man in the suit stopped unexpectedly. He had noticed the two monks who had been walking towards the kiosk and for no apparent reason had turned back and started to run towards him.

Pascal noticed then the extraordinary physical performance of the two monks who were muscular and very energetic.

 

Pascal looked for the messenger, but he had already run away. Minutes later, two large monks silhouettes ran back alone, exhaling loudly and out of breath. When they passed near the place where he was hidden, Pascal could hear one shout “Pidzdiest!”

Were there Russian Buddhist monks in Thailand?

The two characters, now rushing to the pier, disappeared into the shadows. The sound of a powerful motorboat filled the silence of the night.

Pascal was disappointed that he had missed the meeting, but was happy that the messenger had escaped.

Tired now, Pascal was anxious to return to his hotel. He felt completely lost. He had planned to discover another layer of the puzzle with Kengo tonight and yet he had not come any closer to the truth. He exhaled a long breath.

His cell phone vibrated. It was his Thai friend Sumit who was eager to have news from the meeting. He was also excited.

“Listen Pascal, I just made a really good contact. Some people have invited us to dinner. If you feel in good shape we could meet in one hour. The restaurant is in Yaowarat in the Chinese district. I feel like we could find out more about what is happening here. You have this empathy to perceive the true nature of people so you must come with us. It is the only way we will know whether or not to trust them.”

Pascal agreed and within minutes after disembarking from the boat on the other side of the river he settled in a tuk tuk.

Bangkok’s famous open aired taxi was an evolutionary design for a city swamped with cars and automobiles. With its colourful designs and multi-coloured lights, the fusion between motorcycle and car was small enough to weave its way around in the traffic. Its small roof provided shelter when it rained. He was able to reach the very crowded Chinese district in relatively good time. Tourists with their new Thai girlfriends waved at him as they passed by, happy and unconscious of the drama that was unfolding for Pascal.

 

 

In a dog’s mouth grows no ivory!”

Chinese proverb

 

 

For the farangs, or foreigners in Thailand, the Chinese district of Yaowarat was too difficult to pronounce. For most of the drivers who made their way there, Chinatown was its International name.

Cruising around in this neighbourhood, Pascal really felt as though he was transported to Hong Kong, a city he had traveled to, many times before.

Thousands of scorching light boxes with Chinese ideograms, restaurants, shops, massage parlours, discos, karaoke bars flickered in a frenzy of colour. Whatever entertained you could be found here, particularly less-than-legal activities.

It was crowded and noisy, hot and humid and especially pungent. Pascal found it positively delightful.

Many Thai-Chinese who lived outside this district in comfortable houses in Thonglor or Ekamai Avenues loved to come here for a spot of shopping. More precisely, they came here to eat. Thai-Chinese immigrants from the last generation had succeeded in full integration into Thai society. No one purported that it was easy, and many changed their names, habits and even forbade their kids to learn the Chinese language. But, a visit to the hard-core Chinese center was a way for them to come back to their roots and enjoy happy meals with their parents and family. This is where they could appreciate old traditions by sharing delicious seafood and specialties from various Chinese provinces.

Restaurants here served delicacies mostly from the Chinese province of TaiTiu from where the majority of Chinese migrants to South East Asia had originated.

When Pascal, Sumit and his friends reached the famous Tang Jai Yoo restaurant, he was somewhat disappointed. He had heard that it was considered one of the best restaurants in the district.

The appearance however, did not reflect its reputation. The building itself looked very common and the decoration was vulgar. Neon lights flashed everywhere and the black furniture with Mother of Pearl inlay looked falsely extravagant.

“Is this the famous restaurant?” he asked Sumit.

“Do not judge a book by its cover.”

The front of the restaurant displayed large water tanks, each one full of living sea creatures: fish, prawns, crabs, tortoises and many more. Even though Pascal was a vegetarian, he couldn’t help but be enticed by the food around him. His nostrils had already detected the smell of the delicate cuisine and his emotions from the fighting had been replaced by the appealing expectation of a good dinner.

As soon as the waiter opened the heavy door they were shown to a private room at the back, away from the huge and noisy main hall. Dozens of shouting voices blended into an exotic cocktail of noise. The long-time immigrants could be seen enjoying the vibrant atmosphere from back home as they lay back into their chairs with full stomachs. They drank heavily of strong cognac, generously poured by young Thai-Chinese beauties into their small glasses.

When they strolled inside, they failed to notice three hard-faced Chinese youngsters sitting on their motorbikes outside, watching them carefully.

Inside the private VIP room, a large round table was covered with an immaculate white cloth. The table was accessorized with a revolving glass platform where flowers had been placed. Blue and white plates, bowls and china were pre-set. It wasn’t unusual to see customers picking up their chopsticks and placing them in their mouths, ready to pounce on the arriving dishes.

Around the table, a dozen revisited Ming-style chairs were available to cater for big parties. The red walls were decorated with fake antique Chinese scrolls, and a narrow dressing buffet in Rosewood imitation was placed along the entrance.

Inside, three people sat facing the door.

They pretended not to notice the new arrivals. The man in the middle continued to argue with his neighbor to his left. He seemed incredibly agitated. His round, ugly face was covered with wart-like lumps that couldn’t be acne, since he must have been over fifty.

He was totally absorbed in his argument and his eyes were like those of a frog craving for his princess. His dark blue T-shirt with the Billabong logo slapped across the front was too large for him and looked ridiculous.

“The guy in the middle is the chief of Bangkok’s gangster mob,” Sumit whispered to Pascal, out of earshot. “He looks funny, but beware; he’s far from it!”

Sumit straightened his body and moved his chair in closer to the table. He leaned into Pascal, subtly.

“The girl on his left is also famous. Her name is Supanee. It’s quite lyrical, don’t you think? If you happen to come across her and a wild snake, shoot her first. She is the most poisonous breed of all.”

“Well, she doesn’t look dangerous” said Pascal in a low voice, admiring the beauty with long hair. She had a mane fluid enough to render any shampoo model jealous. He looked at her large, watering eyes and plump cheeks and couldn’t help but feel aroused by her aggressive breasts protruding from a half-open tight shirt.

Sumit noticed Pascal was staring and pinched him, as a warning.

“Wait for her to open her mouth” he said. “I’m not sure you will appreciate her raucous tone.”

“Really?” Pascal was bewildered.

At the Mafioso’s right sat a young man with broad shoulders and slanted eyes. He looked completely indignant, with his chest poking up unnaturally. His large, white face had the blankness of a man untouched by remorse. He might have had some handsome features, but an ugly scar from the bottom of his nose stretched across his lips, distorting his smile. He stood still; staring pokerfaced at the foreigner. He eventually returned his attention to his meal.

Pascal noticed that he had looked away, and continued observing the animal devour his meal.

Although it didn’t occur willingly, Pascal sometimes experienced intense color reactions to certain individuals. It was a kind of social/emotional synesthesia.

A neurologist might have detected that some of his neurons, specialized in emotional perceptions and located on his brain temporal, were probably interacting with other neurons located in his neighboring brain color area.

But Pascal didn’t know, or even care. In this instance the familiar, albeit uncomfortable, feeling began to surface. His eyes felt painfully dry and his ears could no longer hear anything around him. As the sensation warmed his forehead, he began to see a spectrum of color radiate around the scarred man. Swirls of light flowed in and around the man’s entire body, never still.

The colors were saying to Pascal: “Be careful, this man is extremely dangerous!”

Sumit went on whispering and confirming his apprehension.

“That one, that image of innocence over there: he is the worst,” nodding towards the scarred man. “He is a high ranking drug dealer who works for uncontrolled groups in neighboring northern countries.

No one knows his real name. Some secretly call him ‘The Asshole’”.

“He also control a prostitution ring. He has absolutely no shame.”

“This one is very, very powerful—and completely unforgiving!” said Sumit.

“You’ll do well not to step on his toes.”

“What a nice community you have here in the City of Angels!” exclaimed Pascal with a wink.

Just then the Mafioso turned to them, having probably lost the battle with his girlfriend.

He said to Sumit:

“So… little man. I hear you are having problems with Igor, the giant puppet with no brain. What did you do to hurt his feelings?”

“Nothing, really nothing,” gestured Sumit, trying to look innocent. “I have a good friend here who saw him doing strange prayers in the wrong temple. He just wants to know where he stands.”

“All I can tell you is that these guys are extremely well protected, even though they are pea-brains. But they can ruin your life. Don’t mess with them,” said the Mafioso.

He tore off a big prawn tail and shoved the rest of the head into his mouth and declared:

“I don’t have any more information!”

“Really?” asked Sumit, who always had the gift of making others feel at ease. “I thought you were the Main Man in Bangkok? Maybe we were mistaken. From what I have been told, you know everybody here. I’m sure that someone of your stature could provide us with something a little more interesting… for your good friend.” It was something about Sumit’s honest face that always helped him get his way.

“OK.” said the mobster with a quick anger flashing in his small eyes. He wanted to keep face in front of his lady.

“Come back tomorrow. I have to talk with some Russian ‘friends’.” He pronounced friends with a funny Russian accent.

Sumit knew he had hit him where it hurt. In Thailand, as in most Asian cultures Pascal had visited, keeping face was everything.

But the most important information had been relayed. Body language had told them all that they needed to know.

Without muttering a word, the mobster had just told them that the sinister Chinese character here was probably the operational mastermind behind the biologist murder.

This information they had gleaned was not unexpected, but it was not good either. They also understood that the giant also known as Igor was also part of the Russian mafia; executing sensitive orders for the organization. Chinese drug lords with Russian mobsters was never a good equation.

The case was certainly very important for the Burmese counterpart, and the money involved was very huge. Unfortunately the puzzle was still missing the most important pieces: What was their plan, what was their technology and why they were chasing them.

The three rough characters stood up and left without exchanging formalities.

“I almost forgot,” said the Mafioso without turning around, “I have ordered dinner for you. Try our house special, the zuoai shia: drunk shrimps swimming in alcohol. You must eat them alive. Please be my guests!” He waved around his fat fingers in the air, splashing some of the seafood juice on his neighbor’s cream jacket.

“See, sometimes it is pleasant to be his guest,” muttered Sumit with irony.

It was time to return to the hotel and have well-deserved rest.

 

 

My mi sawan bon din”

Thai proverb (there is no paradise on earth.)

 

 

After they left Chinatown, almost running to avoid followers with bad intentions, Sumit insisted on escorting Pascal to his hotel.

The Hotel’s entrance gate was closed and they had to ring the Yam, the night security guard, to be allowed in. It took a while as he had been snoozing. The night was quiet and this area always had a peaceful atmosphere. Nevertheless they kept their eyes wide open for any danger.

Still tense, Pascal waved goodnight to his friends and entered the garden to reach his room. This time he had some difficulties in really appreciating the soothing perfume from the fragrant jasmine. The creeping vine curled itself around in a peculiar formation; the Thai people called it Lep meu nang, named after their fingernail-like appearance.

The day’s stresses were usually washed away by the calm produced by the murmurs of the night. Water dripped softly in fountains and cicadas buzzed amongst the croaking frogs. For Pascal, still immersed in his mixed feelings, this atmosphere was the needed formula to help him relax and overcome the fear of the present danger.

He could afford some philosophical thought of Heidegger’s axioms, pushing him for action:

 

 

Pascal entered into his junior suite when he noticed a white orchid flower on the silk bed, attached to an envelope. He approached it cautiously; after all, there had been too many surprises recently. He saw a red stamp imprinted with characters written in the right hand corner of the letter. It had to be from the elusive Kengo.

He opened the letter to discover a perfectly written English note with a mobile phone number that asked him to call immediately. It was simply signed ‘K’.

Pascal immediately dialed the number. ‘K’ had been waiting for his call. They agreed to meet the next morning at the Oriental Hotel on the Chao Praya River.

 

 

The Oriental Hotel was generally considered one of the best in the world. The old colonial-style house, elegantly set on The River of the King’s Shore, was a special place to enjoy a historically tinted view of Bangkok. The boom in Thailand’s economy and particularly in its tourism industry had allowed for the construction of a larger, more modern building, attracting those who admire flashy displays of wealth.

Once attracting the slow and curious traveler, this hotel now catered for a rather jet-setting clientele.

It was surrounded by heavy palm trees that kept guests shaded under even the harshest sun. Although glass and concrete had replaced most of the old wooden structures; the staff still walked around in traditional Thai garb, allowing people to experience the splendor of Ancient Siam.

To get there was a different story, especially in Bangkok’s petulant traffic.

Nevertheless, Pascal enjoyed the small hike away from the Central Bangkok district. He was more than happy to wait so he could have his breakfast on the terrace. He liked to participate in the animated atmosphere of river life.

The long-legged, uniformed waitress brought him a delicately arranged tray of French croissants, crispy bacon with eggs sunny side up and freshly-squeezed orange juice. Her smile was genuine.

When he called Kengo the night before, Pascal agreed to meet him here where the master of the Mantrayana Japanese Buddhist group was staying. Kengo had explained that he was the one who wanted to see him personally.

Pascal was vaguely aware of the importance of that powerful organization, but completely dumbfounded as to why they were so keen to speak with him. As a precaution, he researched their website and found that they had several million followers. The contrast between this majestic meeting place and his dire situation yesterday felt surreal to Pascal.

As an unrelentingly protective friend, Sumit joined him first for a cup of coffee on the wonderful terrace. Pascal was quietly relieved when Sumit had suggested he come along. He had always been excellent in advising Pascal about the complex Thai mentality and finding humor in it along the way. As a bonus, Sumit was connected to the big guys in the city, and that definitely gave him more self-confidence.

Sumit was a man whose life story had deeply moved him.

As a native from the poor province at the Lao border in the North East called Issan he had endured the hard-laboring work of a farmer whose livelihood was in constant challenge. The cultivation of rice was a tiring, physical activity and since this was their main crop, they had to keep going in order to survive.

It was no surprise that these desperate people engaged in desperate acts and one vice in particular was rife amongst the population. Many drank huge quantities of a mixture they nicknamed ‘Beer Lao’, which is famous for turning the sane insane. Countless families have shattered due to the habits of men who were rarely faithful. Many had taken a mia noi—a mistress or ‘small wife’ as well as their common wives; and some had a few.

Pascal had visited Issan once and had observed the lack of hope. Sometimes, the only way out for people was to sell or abandon their own children. In the best cases however, the lucky few like Sumit were sent to temples.

His mother, the village beauty, was seduced by the local mobster who abandoned her eventually only to run away with a new mia noi. Without a man in her life, she worked hard to support the whole family, including her unborn child. The beautiful Sunee died prematurely shortly after his birth.

Strong-willed and smart, the boy was adopted by an uncle who was a monk at the famous Wat Nong Pa Pong (Temple of the Forest) in the Ubon Eastern province.

He received a more sophisticated education than the other poor boys. Throughout his upbringing, he had the good fortune to meet Somkit, a reputed mahout. The man had been in charge of an elephant herd, and, after school, Sumit was able to learn from him secrets about living a life with animals and plants in the wild. Most importantly, he was introduced to Thai boxing.

Thanks to his muscular and elegant figure, not to mention his movie star good looks, Sumit made his way to Bangkok through scholarships that allowed him to receive a better education. He created his own martial art school where Pascal first met him and over the years they developed the kind of friendship that can never be unbound.

The hotel concierge accompanied Pascal and Sumit to the historical section of the hotel. Walking along the smooth, teak-paneled corridor brought them to a door with a sign that read “Mantrayana”

The concierge discreetly tapped on the door and let them into an elegant meeting room with a view on the river.

Instantly, a dozen Japanese men in black business suits stood up and bowed deeply. A man and a woman in their sixties stood up moments after, only lowering their heads slightly. They regained their seats and everyone followed.

A young man near the door extended his hand in the Western tradition. Pascal recognized him immediately. It was Kengo; this time he was a little less sweaty and donned a new jacket.

“Hello Pascal. We finally meet. I am so sorry for last night. I am so happy you were not attacked. It was the first time in my life I have encountered such a frightening situation. I was under strict instructions not to lose my bag and saw running away as the only option.”

“Not to worry,” smiled Pascal. “You only did what you felt was right. It was the only way you were going to stay alive.”

Kengo bowed, his nose inches away from the ground.

Everyone else nodded, exclaiming:

So dess ne!”

The guests were invited to sit near the end of the table, away from the door. According to Japanese custom, those considered at the top end of the hierarchy were to sit furthest away from the entry point. Tradition stipulated that if enemies were ever to enter, the important heads of the table could be protected. This custom is respected to this day.

A waiter brought Lioku Cha, a delicate green tea used in tea ceremonies and special occasions. The initiator of the ceremony boiled the water several times, mixing it with skill, using spectacular brushes to disintegrate the powder. The tea was poured in almost total silence; the only sound that could be heard was the water dripping into the cups. Everyone held their breath in deep concentration.

Kengo then stood up; turned to Pascal and spoke:

“Dear Pascal, it is an honor for our group to have you here today. We are very grateful that you agreed to join us. First of all, let me introduce you to our group. We are one of the first Buddhist movements in Japan, which started in 530 A.D. and has close relationship with the Shingon Esoteric Buddhist Movement.

Our organization, the Mantrayana, is now independent and has established temples in many countries and represents more than five million followers.

He bowed to an old man with white hair and a large smiling face wearing a traditional Japanese Kimono. He sat at the opposite side of the table.

“Okada san, my father, is the master of our movement.”

Kengo then bowed to a beautifully aged woman sitting next to the old man who also wore a kimono.

“My mother is also a master in our organization. The people around the table are all followers who bear important responsibilities. I will introduce each of them later, and particularly Daisukei who is our contact with important international figures”

Wanting to remain polite, Pascal followed Kengo’s lead and bowed.

Hajimemashite; it’s nice to meet you. I am very impressed and honoured but please, what is the reason for my being here today?”

“Yes, we owe you an explanation. Yesterday, I was supposed to leave in your possession a very important statue. The statue itself is said to contain an ancient and sacred document—a mantra—to be precise. Unfortunately, we were interrupted and our meeting had to be postponed. That is why we have asked you to come here today to give it to you.”

“Thank you, but could you be more specific? What is that mantra? Isn’t it to help with meditation or something?” Pascal asked.

“Yes, Buddhism and other religions use mantras written by holy masters. Muslims recite the Koran and Christians repeat Paternosters or Ave Maria, but you must understand that the Mantras are considered a kind of magic formula found mostly in Oriental religions. The precise sounds of the words of the mantras, when repeated many times, are considered to elevate the mind to become enlightened.

However, over time, the conventional mantras have become distorted and have lost their true power. The Tripitaka, the most ancient Buddhist document, states that Buddha had his disciple Ananda carve two important statues and encase powerful mantras in their caches.

Yesterday, as a precautionary measure, we attempted to retrieve the hidden mantra we believed was inside the statue. We were disappointed to discover it was empty! We were astonished that we had been wrong all along; our statue was not one of the sacred ones and there had never been a mantra hidden inside its body. Why did we receive that statue when Kookai introduced Shingon Buddhism in Japan? We still do not know.

We know for sure—and many ancient scriptures and documents confirm it—that there are

At least two more statues that were cast during that period to encase powerful mantras.”

Pascal felt very confused now.

“I’m sorry but what does this have to do with me?”

“We need you to retrieve these mantras which were encased in the two statues and explain why our statue is empty.”

“Me?” asked an astonished Pascal.

“When you came to Osaka for martial arts training two years ago, our mediums immediately understood that you were a most exceptional man. They realized your spiritual potential and your capacity to connect with time, past or future. Maybe you did not fully understand and appreciate it at the time, but our masters knew. They discretely experimented on you to confirm their intuition and you passed each phase with such ease. We believe you have the capability to help us find these mantras, which are the key to our practice.”

“I am just a doctor,” Pascal argued. “I have never had any contact with any of this.”

“You are someone with incredible capabilities. Perhaps you are fighting your own abilities because of fear, or because you are afraid of a phenomenon that you feel is out of your control, but I think you are aware of what you know.”

“How do you think I can do what you ask?”

“It is necessary for this mission for you to be able to be in contact with the collective memory of the past. You can take yourself back to the period before the Shogun Period to when Buddhism was introduced in Nara. It was at that time that we received the first statue. You are the only one we know who has the faculty to do this; to travel back in time, so to speak, and find the locations of these original statues that contain the original mantras.”

Kengo paused; then said:

“Now, our Master would appreciate a few private words with you if you agree.”

At this cue, the executives all stood up, bowed and, in good order, left the room. Kengo and his parents remained.

The old man spoke to reveal a commanding, baritone voice. He was seldom interrupted, but had indicated with his eye contact with Pascal that he invited his questions willingly. The vibrations of his voice seemed to resonate inside the mind’s cavity and Pascal had a strange feeling around his body akin to the sensation of goose bumps.”

The man spoke in Japanese:

“Pascal san, I know you are not sure—at least not yet sure—whether or not you should help us, but if you accept our mission, you will be enlightened by the true reality of the world.”

Kengo translated word by word.

“As my son told you, these mantras are the spiritual tools required to keep our religion alive. Buddha knew that everything was impermanent and that his spiritual teachings would eventually disappear. He predicted it would happen 2,500 years after his death. That time is now.”

“Pascal, you have to understand that when reproduced correctly, the original mantras would have much more power than those used nowadays to attain enlightenment; to save people from their ego and free them from the binding shackles of materialism.”

“This is the most important Oracle of all time and you are part of it, even if you do not believe it. The spiritual world has chosen you Pascal. I cannot explain it; I just know it!”

The Master looked intensely into Pascal eyes.

“Pascal, I would like you to join me now in a spiritual journey outside of your body so you can really understand how special and important these mantras are! Do you agree to join me?”

Pascal scratched his head. He didn’t feel embarrassed; just vulnerable.

“Ours is a Tantric form of Buddhism: our trained mediums have the capability to unite the Ying, the ‘Intuitive Mother’ with the Yang ‘the Reality’, and their training helps them reach higher levels of human abilities.”

“You must accept that there is nothing magical to it. Everyone has these capabilities; they are very real and shared, but hidden most of the time.”

“Are you ready?”

The Master stood up with some difficulty and asked his wife and son to leave the room. Once they had left, he instructed Pascal to sit on a sheet of silk that had been placed in advance in the middle of the room. The old man also sat, but with difficulty. They both assumed the lotus pose and closed their eyes.

Nomakussa manda, Bassarada a senda…,” the Master repeated over and over.

Little by little, the old man became entranced, reciting and moving his hands while his eyes remained shut.

Pascal felt nothing but the strange sensation of his uncomfortable posture and a growing anxiety. He tried to calm himself, but his discomfort was getting worse. Was this for real? It seemed and sounded so surreal that Pascal began to doubt the genuineness of his new acquaintances. It had to be a scheme. This sect was probably taking advantage of his compassion so they could use him, and he felt he was naïve to believe in such cracks.

He could accept no more; he had to get out. Now!

Without looking back at the Master, who was deep in trance, Pascal stood up and walked to the door, which opened abruptly:

He entered unexpectedly into the darkness of a cave. In the distance, he could see the back of a man dressed in monk’s attire facing the entrance of a huge cavern were thousands of carved Buddha statues were made visible by the flickering light of torches.

Suddenly the perspective changed and Pascal was walking in the bright light of the sun out of the cavern while his toes sank deep into hot sand, burning the soles of his bare feet.

When he turned back he could see the monk reciting mantras, holding a small statue in each hand. He recognized the Master, who started to talk to him in a raucous language.

“The first statue we have kept for centuries are the true Lord Buddha, without words. The two mantras, written by his disciple Ananda are in my hands. These contain the real incantations; the pure ones. In five times 250 years Buddha will have lost his power—even Buddhism is impermanent. Only these mantras are strong and pure enough to have the power to revitalise our faith. These mantras must be sent to the most religious parts of the planet.

Pascal was now contemplating an old Khmer city from an impressive perspective, and on the other side he saw the Renaissance monasteries with their golden domes.

This is where they have to go! Follow the mandala!

As he professed his last words, the Master’s body exploded into a symphony of particle fragments shining with gold. They danced like leaves falling from an Autumnal tree until they vanished completely in the vacuum of darkness surrounding Pascal.

Slowly, Pascal opened his eyes and his cheeks were wet with tears. He found himself sitting in the lotus pose as if he had never left the room.

The Master sat smiling at him.

Pascal was ready to ask more questions of the Master when a knock at the door signalled the end of the session as though it had been rehearsed a thousand times before. Kengo entered the room.

The Master left in a hurry, having no more time to answer any questions.

“Pascal, now that you know the story of the mantras, my father must leave for an important ceremony in Los Angeles. I would like to talk to you and bring my own people to explain the plan… Now Pascal, will you help us?”

Pascal had no time to process what had just happened. Events were forming a violent whirl, swallowing him like a tornado. He knew he had no choice but to look to where his vision was bringing him.

He had just discovered the links.

The first statue of the Mantrayana was the heart of the faith. It did not need to keep a mantra. The story of the two statues indicated by the Buddhist’s master was deeply intricate to him. He had seen them in his vision and he knew it was true. He was already part of a series of mysterious events: the monks, the murder, the mafia, the scientific experiments, the Russians and now the search for the statues encased with the sacred mantras he just saw clearly in the new vision.

He now understood that these scriptures had been brought into the world of the main religions of the time: the Khmer Empire and Italian Christianity.

Whether it was in a Khmer city or in Rome, East and West had to join forces, and this was where Pascal had to retrieve them. It was his mission to comply with the Buddha’s oracle. Although it felt very big and confusing indeed, he had no choice. He could only give one answer:

“Yes, I will help you.”

For a fraction of a second, it looked as though Kengo was about to jump into the air with joy, but he kept his composure and stood upright to prepare for a bow.

“Thank you Pascal; we cannot express our gratitude enough.” Kengo was genuinely overwhelmed with relief.

“Let me hand to you our treasure. It will be your guide to your intuition.”

Excited, Kengo called back the executives from the Mantrayana sect.

After they were all seated he put a backpack on the table and pulled out a small box. He took a golden key from his pocket and opened the lock on the box.

A complete silence fell as the men held a collective breath.

In the cavity they all could indistinctly discern a bronze Buddha statue with shades of gold reflecting onto Pascal’s face.

2,500 years! Pascal felt overwhelmed.

Kengo repacked the precious statue and handed it to Pascal.

“This is our treasure. It is worth millions of dollars, but its true value is symbolic. It will bring you to its past. Please take a good care of it.”

 

 

He first key to wisdom is assiduous and constant questioning;

By doubting we come to inquiry, and by inquiry we arrive at the truth.”

Sic and Non-year 1120 AC

Abelard (sentenced by The Church to Confinement in 1121)

 

 

To understand better the Mantrayana’s practices, Pascal had accepted the invitation after the meeting at the Oriental to check out the Buddhist Mantrayana temple. He wasn’t feeling at ease, listening to a mantra teaching from Kengo, the medium on duty:

“Chanting mantras connects energy using the vibrations of the body and the mind to resonate with the outside world.” Kengo spoke with great passion. Mantras are not only sounds but have an holographic form which enables the mind to observe the reality from another perspective, as the holographic image does.

Here in this temple we are training special people we call ‘medium’. They can use trance to communicate with this hologram. We call them mediums because they have reached a platform of consciousness where they become the link between our followers and the spiritual world. An experienced medium can have the ability to communicate with our ancestors who are part of a world of external energy beyond our common-sense reality.”

“Some of our mediums also have extra lucid abilities and can foresee the future. The mission of an accomplished medium is not to show and use his powers like they do on television shows, but to teach followers to enhance their capabilities and attain the level of medium as well.”

Turning to Pascal he asked: “Pascal, do you want to try? Your own training can begin now.”

He passed Pascal a small book.

“Our bible!” Kengo said with reverence.

It was difficult for Pascal to accept all that was said, but he waited patiently to experience the training.

Furiously curious, he found himself seated in a circle upstairs with a group of followers. They were all in deep concentration and chanting together, waiting for mediums to enter and kneel around them.

Pascal opened the book and read: “No ma ku san manda… Ba sarada a senda…

Everyone’s eyes were closed. Pascal fell into his breathing technique to detach himself from the environment, removing the pain the tatami mat was inflicting on his knee. He attempted to remove all thought.

He listened to the gentle noise of a body sliding across the carpet to sit in front of him. He didn’t open his eyes, but he knew the medium was there.

A surge of emotion filled his shivering body. Teardrops fell from his eyes and nose. He had no explanation for what was happening to him.

A woman’s voice began to whisper:

“You are Pascal, is this correct?”

Pascal mumbled, “Yes.”

The voice was moving softly in his direction. Her breathing, however, was short and irregular, as if she had run a marathon.

“Yes, yes, I can see a fantastic opportunity in an immense field of possibilities. I understand your wish to accomplish big things and you have the potential to do it, but your feet are dragging; the movement is slowed. Action has almost stopped. Pascal, you have let concepts lure your mind and ego. Your own judgment harms your vision, your action and your success. Your knowledge hides the true way.”

Pascal was trying to control his breathing and blurt out a sob that had been captured inside.

“Let yourself—your own vital intelligence—talk for you. I can see now an old man with a white beard, a monk very near to your heart. He died ten years ago and now he asks you to open your heart. He says that you must forget the concepts that are limiting your vision, which has no borders. If you open your Third Eye to infinite space, your entire self will disappear and your capacities will explode a thousand times.”

She added with a trembling voice.

“Yes, yes I see monks from the past waiting for you. As the messenger, do not deceive them! I see a very beautiful woman attached to you; don’t let her negative energy consume you. She is a predator. “You must not attach your ego to her. She is only the memory of a finished past, and memories are sometimes elusive.”

Understand the need for distance.”

 

In trance, the medium started to speak erratically.

“That man with a beard must be a close family member who waits for your spiritual help! I feel his despair to see you hesitant. Listen to him; pray for him.”

Her voice was dying, as though expressing a final effort to remain with the spiritual world.

“You are the one. You are the leader. You must be strong and forget yourself. Pray with compassion for that family member and all the forgotten people who need you. Your compassion will bring you the higher consciousness: this is the way to accomplish your mission.”

The gentle flap of her dress was heard as she moved away.

Still overwhelmed with emotion, he opened his eyes. The medium had gone. He sat there feeling empty yet somehow full; contented yet anxious; his energy drained, but ready to surge.

He had felt himself collapse and he attempted to piece himself back together, tasting the salty tears that had nestled on his lip.

His mind had switched back on, back to this conscious place. Like the uncertainty placed before us by the discoveries of quantum physics, his rational mind was swaying like a pendulum. How could she know what he had hidden for years: his profound love for his uncle August, a Dominican monk who died in a terrible accident?

The Medium was right for sure; he had a lot of work to do to open himself to the real world; the world of infinite consciousness. Then he would understand everything clearly.

Nothing is rock solid; we are spirits in the community of the entire spiritual world.

 

When he returned to the lobby his friends were waiting for him to comment.

“Yes Sumit, I even saw a ghost, a ‘PI’, but don’t worry; he was very friendly. He even looked a little bit like you.”

Sumit’s face turned the lightest shade of pale. Ghosts petrified the Thai people. Pascal smiled kindly at him, and with the recognition of the joke, Sumit slapped him across the shoulder, laughing.

The enthusiastic Kengo came running towards them, slightly breathless.

“I heard your medium was my sister, Mayumi.”

“Ah, really?”

“Yes and she is extraordinary, as you could see for yourself. She is one of our best mediums. She has a very interesting perspective because she is a scientist—a neurologist in fact.”

As Mayumi approached from behind, Pascal stood absolutely still, in total shock. It was not possible. He was so confused.

The woman coming to him was coming from his dream. Her high cheeks and rounded face elegantly sheltered those wide, almond eyes as she walked even closer towards them. She immediately inspired him deeply. The intensity of her glaze kept him numb. He recognised her face instantly, but found it impossible to accept the similarity.

“I hope this quick initiation will open your view on the possibilities of our practice!” said Kengo, unaware of Pascal’s state of mind.

The tall young woman had her hand outstretched.

“Mayumi, my sister,” Kengo said briefly.

Pascal slid his fingers into the palm of her tender hand and shook it softly. He tried to retain eye contact, but only had time for a glance into her copper-colored eyes.

“Sorry Pascal, we cannot introduce you properly. The master is expecting us,” said Kengo.

“Please let your friends escort you with the statue you received this morning. It is our treasure. As we already discussed, we hope you can use your concentration on this image to travel to its origin. Pichai and Sumit are waiting for you outside. Let us know what you can do.”

 

SEASON 2: ENTANGLED WITH THE COLLECTIVE MEMORY.

 

 

The return to the roots is peace.

To accept what must be is the way!”

Lao Tzu

 

 

Pascal tried to control his emotions by replaying the day’s events as though chronologically recording it. The mission he had accepted was one of uncertainty and unraveling mysticism that was proving itself otherwise.

Pascal, at this moment knew without knowing, just by intuition that he was going to travel into the past. And he realized he had to focus.

 

Even he knew this capacity was related to the science of vibrations and their relationship—their inter-connectedness, he could not really make sense of it.

He had been told that his mind was made of waves with the capability intuitive to link to other waves from the field, the universal collective consciousness of all memories, the hologram. And this Field was said to contain the past, present, and future.

 

He forced himself to forget these complex concepts.

.“Let go of your self”, Mayumi’s voice found its way again into his thoughts and he ruminated over the significance. He opened his eyes once more, letting his vision fall upon the statue. It was enigmatic. Its gentle smile and half open eyes seemed to return his look. It seemed so inquisitive, as though it were a cat staring at his master, waiting for his reaction.

Pascal tried to empty his mind from any thoughts or disrupting emotions. Quietly, he breathed out and sat peaceful and still.

“I hate the movement that displaces the lines and I never cry, and I never laugh.”

Charles Baudelaire’s poem began playing alongside the instrumental sounds singing in his ear….ici tout n’est qu’ordre et beaute, luxe, calme et volupte

Images flooded as though being poured like liquid into his mind: the biologist, Mayumi, the strange death, the dream… he let it go. The clear fluid flooded his imagination: Imae, Mayumi, the Nuclear Hospital, the chanting followers, the images all swirled around each other. Out of nowhere a deep and turbulent fear trickled in like poisonous ink, and he came face to face with a primal fear… Breathing out, he let it go again.

Until he could bridge a gap of communication and connect with the statue somehow, time was to have no place in reality. Time had to be shapeless.

An indeterminate amount of time had passed. With every exhalation, the debris of images floating around slowly expelled from his mind, and looking through his Third Eye, he saw the statue begin to smile at him.

That smile burst into energy, and he could feel that ineffable smile totally filling his consciousness. He felt like a sponge filling with warmth that made him feel an immeasurable sense of joy and contentment. He was sucked back into a void at enormous speeds; all space around him condensed into one focal point, then disappeared, including his own ability to understand.

He awoke to another consciousness; his pupils were totally dilated. One second, was it two? Perhaps a century had passed.

Two massive torches lit up the huge Mandala, the traditional sacred representation of the Thousand Buddha dwelling. In the background stood the statue located in the center of the Mandala… the one he had been given tonight.

In the darkness, monks were reciting mantras and birds were singing

The Buddha in the middle is The Perfect One, with a statue on each side. Follow them, follow the principles of the Universe; follow the Mandala,” whispered a magical voice.

The images of the dream changed to a lovely Oriental woman with a translucent face looking at him with large eyes full of tenderness, but she metamorphosed into a melting face of flesh. She was screaming: “Promise to me, your beloved Imae, to save the monks!” repeating every word with ever more pain in her voice.

The beautiful face distorted into an agonising mask. The large pupils became enormous and reflected a horrible fear. She was jerked away from him and he felt his body fighting, tearing away at the people jumping on him. He watched her disappear until all he could see was her fine hands outstretched, then swallowed into the mass of people who were ripping her limbs apart like meat.

A heavy hatchet fell onto the crown of his head.

Pascal woke up with blood flowing down his face and rain dripping on his body. He had been attacked on his terrace and the statue had disappeared. He reached for his mobile phone and called Sumit before he fell back again, deep into the darkness of slumber.

The furious knocking woke Pascal. Images of the past dream and present reality were mixing as in a cloudy cocktail. Was he alive?

A loud rapping on the door brought him back to the present. He was on his private balcony, bleeding profusely. An intense nausea pervaded him. The door slammed open and two men holding a stretcher exploded into the room and ran to him. He could hear familiar voices behind them as he slipped back into the darkness. He registered movements all around him: stairs being climbed, shouting, warm breath on his face and the deafening tone of an ambulance siren.

When Pascal finally opened his eyes, Mayumi’s face was staring down at him, her large eyes full of tenderness. Behind her, the whole Japanese team from Mantrayana stood exchanging anxious looks. His relief at being alive was somewhat overshadowed by the closeted desire that perhaps his fantasy was being extended, and that those other men were not in fact present in the room.

Sumit and his assistant Pichai, a Win Shun master, were talking to the doctor who had just arrived. A neat and pretty nurse checked his pulse and jabbed a thermometer into his mouth without warning. Rendered speechless, he couldn’t even acknowledge Mayumi’s presence.

He felt his bed moving as the nurse dragged him out of the room under doctor’s orders. X-rays were to be taken immediately. She smacked her heel, releasing the bed brakes and manoeuvred the metal frame swiftly. Her efficient movements expressed a dutiful character full of pride for her vocation.

When he returned to the crowded room, the X-Rays were already glowing in the illuminated cabinet beside his bed.

“You see,” the doctor was speaking Thai in a low voice to Sumit and Pichai, “your friend has nothing alarming. Nothing is broken; perfect vitals. We shall keep him overnight to monitor him as a matter of precaution.”

There was no need to understand the language to see the product of the doctor’s lisp splattered all over Pichai’s face. Pascal held back his laughter and replaced it with a grin. Mayumi looked at him reproachfully, as though she had been reading his thoughts.

The privilege of her company, although welcomed, was not anticipated. He was surprised to learn later that the almond-eyed beauty had insisted on being present in the hospital room.

Pichai’s jaw dropped, admiring the surroundings. When they had first entered the large private room he was unable to contain his expression.

“Whoa! Now this is luxury!” The ultra-modern equipment, automatic bed with attached flat screen, television, DVD player and plush furniture surrounding them was a fit-out he had never before seen in a medical establishment. Pichai was used to government hospitals, which were not exactly what one could call attractive. He noticed an additional sofa bed had been installed for visitors.

“What a palace! I look forward to being sick very soon!” he commented.

Pascal was quietly installed into his King’s lair, and the nurse left knowing her job was well accomplished. Mayumi was the first to approach him.

“Oh Pascal, I am so sorry about this attack. I was very afraid for your life. Don’t worry about the statue; what matters now is that you are here.” The intensity of her sentimental expression came as a shock, even to her. She resumed with a more professional tone.

“It seems that the mission you have accepted is even more dangerous than we initially assumed. You are not obliged to go ahead with it. We completely understand if you wish to terminate it.” The altered pronoun helped build the wall she was so used to hiding behind.

Pascal noticed this sharp change, but was left enamored by the surprising gentility of her initial words.

“No,” he said simply. “I must know what is happening. I want to go ahead.”

Without uttering a single sound, she bowed her head, eyes closed. She was textured with the conservative mannerisms necessary for survival in Japanese culture, but her percipient eyes showed a nature quite to the contrary.

Sumit and Pichai had been negotiating in the background.

“Do you think we can leave him alone?”

“We better stay with him tonight. Do you want to join me, Sumit?”

“Of course! As long as I get to keep that nice couch!” They joked around for a while before settling down to prepare for the night.

 

The hospital was silent now. Just as the drowsiness of sleep had arrived, a sound at the door alarmed the two men. Two young nurses entered to check the blood pressure and temperature of the injured patient. They stayed a little while and the mood was jovial. Sumit could not help himself and teased the nurses, who responded with witty retort. They were not as shy as they initially seemed.

The chatty nurses left and closed the large door behind them.

Pascal fell into a deep sleep. Sumit was now completely awake. He boiled water for tea and clicked the television remote. Sumit dimmed the television brightness and pressed the mute button so Pascal could rest.

Ong Bak, the popular Thai adventure movie where a young teen, adopted by an elephant keeper sets off to Bangkok in search of a stolen statue was playing. Brave and skilled in martial arts, he managed to retrieve the object from the gang and bring it back to his village. Understandably, this was one of Sumit’s favorite movies as it reminded him of his childhood, playing with the beasts and his friends in the wilderness around the temples. He was soon asleep, dreaming his own version perhaps. All that could be heard in the room was his gruff and throaty breathing.

Pichai was still awake. He appreciated the slight irony of the situation. In his family, he was renowned for his incredible snoring. Countless nights he found himself relegated outside so everyone else could finally get some shuteye and here he was, experiencing karma. He contemplated waking Sumit to stop the irritating rumble when he noticed a slight movement under the door. Someone was standing there, trying his or her best to remain immobile.

Pichai carefully woke Sumit. “Someone’s here,” he whispered. Pascal stirred awake suddenly.

Adrenaline rushed into Sumit’s veins and he propped up, totally alert. They communicated with their hands and kept their eyes on door. The handle silently rotated left.

Professionals, thought Pichai. The door opened a fraction and a new vertical ray of light entered the room, shadowed by the enormous figure. Pichai held his hand ready to slam the door into the man. He saw Pascal signal with his two fingers and a pointed thumb. His signal was clear: two men were moving in and two more are watching outside.

How did he know? Pichai stayed behind the door and waited for the two men to walk in. Sumit had already grabbed a metallic chair that was tucked away in the desk next to him.

Pichai needed a weapon fast. He looked around for something sharp or hard but could only see machinery that was too heavy to attack with. He fumbled his hands over his body to find the pen in his pocket and a set of keys. If it had just been one man he may have managed to stab his eyes, but there were two of them.

The gap in the door was widening and he was running out of options. Apart from the light from outside, the room was completely dark except for the dim television and a small red light behind him. Of course! The water kettle! He held it tightly, feeling the steam burn the underside of his face. His other hand was free, ready to strike.

In the large room, Pascal was still sheltered from the light outside. Anticipating the possibility of a shot fired without warning, he had swiftly placed a pillow under the bed cover as a decoy and then tucked himself onto the floor beneath the bed. Just as he slipped under, the giant man stepped into the room, followed by a small but stocky shadow. They moved completely at ease with themselves as though the capture was already theirs.

They had hardly finished shutting the door when simultaneously, Sumit and Pichai attacked.

Pichai picked his prey. He catapulted the boiling water into the giant’s face. The intruder’s silenced scream rightly expressed that he was not quite ready for tea. He was holding his face, trying to ease the scorched pain. “Not very clever,” said Pichai, who instantly hammered his vitals and with a hard kick that practically knocked him out. The giant swayed from side to side trying to retain his balance.

At the same time, Sumit used what he had learned from the Win Chun technique of Chinese fighting. He jumped on the unsuspecting hostile and smashed his face repeatedly that applied particular pressure on his jugular. Within 20 seconds, the man was completely passed out on the floor.

Pascal knew it wasn’t over. There were still two men coming. He extended his arm to the buzzer on the bed, alerting the nurse’s station.

Nearby, a heavy nurse was stomping down the corridor carrying a syringe on her way to perform an injection. She noticed two muscular men near Pascal’s door and rushed to warn them:

Pi, pi! Yud tini me dai (Sir, sir, you cannot be here!)”

The pair, certain that Pascal’s fate was in their hands, took the nurse by both arms and hurled her inside the room. They were not expecting a welcoming committee. As she was pushed to the floor, the chubby nurse planted the hypodermic needle into the closest leg she could find. The man bent over, registering the violent chemical moving up into his body. His gun slipped out of his hand and landed on the floor right next to her head. Scrambling for the weapon, she grabbed it with both hands and accidentally pulled the trigger sending a blast of white gunpowder into the air. A tremendous sound was heard throughout the whole hospital.

Until now, Sumit’s first victim had disappeared into unconsciousness, but the noise was so intense that he popped up, fully alert. The confusion that followed was frenzied. All four men, hurt and demoralized, attempted to draw back in panic. As the nurse planted her foot to get up she stood on the television remote, unleashing the fury of the movie with full sound.

People came running towards the room, their footsteps heard throughout the long corridor. Doctors, nurses, technicians and even other patients arrived to see the cause of the commotion.

Pushing their way out through the developing crowd, the first two intruders turned to Pichai and Sumit raising their two fingers into the air. “You slavloch; son of bitch. We will kill you next time!” They yelled as they ran off, stumbling awkwardly.

Pichai and Sumit ran to catch up with them, but they had already made their exit at the end of the corridor where they climbed out a window and down a fire escape staircase. Obviously these men were not amateurs. Two floors below a big, black Toyota was waiting for them. The smell of burning rubber wafted all the way back to the ward.

Sumit noticed a walkie-talkie on the ground in front of them. He grabbed it and clicked on its receiver. A voice filled with static was repeating: “Cosmos 1 to Cosmos 3: abort mission, abort mission, over.” And then silence.

Security guards had scattered everywhere. The room was full of flailing arms and confused faces. Sumit and Pascal heard one of them saying that the police were coming to interrogate the suspects. Now they were the suspects and not the victims? Unbelievable! Something was amiss. They decided to leave quickly. Sumit and Pichai grabbed Pascal and escaped down the same path as their assailants. The room was densely crowded and no one even noticed them leave.

Sumit proposed they escape to his own home. His wife, Wanee, would be happy to care for him; his daughter was on vacation, so Pascal could use her room for the time being.

“You will be safe in my part of the city,” he said. “They hate corrupt police officers.”

Getting away from the hospital was the right decision, and encounters with corrupt police was the last thing they needed right now—and they were probably involved in the story one way or other, so it was a good idea to keep a low profile until they could work out the real threat.

And they just discovered the name of the plan behind the scene: The Cosmos project.

 

 

When Pascal woke up in the tiny room provided by Sumit and Wanee, he was in high spirits. He was often able to distance himself from his emotions and pain, choosing instead to tap into constructive energy. He knew it was a faculty that everyone had but few made the effort to use it. Being a doctor definitely helped his training.

After some breathing exercises and a shower he felt ready to join his friends for a delightful breakfast on their terrace. Brewing coffee and smoky bacon could arouse even the most stoic from their slumber and Wanee knew Pascal was particularly fond of those yellow yolks.

He was struck by a Spinoza quote:

“An affect can be changed, but only by another one stronger and contrary.” These simple words were encouraging him to chase bad feelings, quell his anger, and think positive!

Though not versed in Western philosophy, Wanee’s skills involved anthropology. She had gained a Ph. D. from Ramkhamhaeng University in Bangkok specializing in Asian Art and History. Her passion for investigating and reproducing icons of these studied cultures made her a specialist in her field.

The garage at the back of her house under the big Banyan tree was converted into a workshop for this very reason. For Wanee, this workshop was a retreat; a secret place in a tropical jungle. Wanee had painted the big room in white and the sofa, wooden cabinets, and porcelain cups were also completely white.

She installed large, colonial-style glass doors opening to the natural garden foliage. This was her private world and Sumit didn’t dare break in.

All Wanee’s treasures could be exhibited here. The countless shelves displayed her collections: antique statues, paintings, Byzantine icons, and particularly, rare religious symbols and images. She had crafted, repaired and copied many of the objects herself. The long teak wood table littered with sophisticated tools bore the marks of her labor.

At present, she was working on a 3D reproduction of The Diamond Mandala, a famous Japanese Mandala that was one of the oldest religious images of Buddhism in Japan. She had copied the model from an old book and posted its enlargement on the wall. It was incredible how the change in size revealed so much about its complexity.

This room stood like an antithesis to Placido’s living room, it was so welcoming in its configuration. A large coffee table, stained with the memory of a hundred cups recorded the numerous conversations that had occurred here; the mystery of the Aztecs or the intellectual prowess of the Egyptians would have been appropriate. Her CD collection boasted Arabic songs from the famous Egyptian singer Oum Kalsoum, flutes from Syria, blues from Colonial America, nortenas from Mexico, ritual African rhythms, Japanese Koto—all neatly condensed, no doubt, into the iPod sitting in its dock.

Her favorites were closer to home, however. Northern Chiang Mai and Issan had its Luktung and Morlam folklore, where the desperate and forgotten exhumed their miseries reminiscing about rice fields and buffaloes. The songs from Tai Ora Tai and Siripon Ampanpong tore her soul to shreds, although the pain was strangely cathartic. Yu ni jai seumer (In My Heart Forever) was playing now.

Wanee was actually from a wealthy Sukhotai family and had been given the chance to travel and study in both England and the USA. Having majored in Religious Cultures, she continued to teach advanced students at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. As Sumit liked to say, “She is my Wikipedia.”

Wanee’s help would be crucial.

Pascal had known her for several years and had always been delighted to talk with her. He had always retained a particular discussion they had had on the influence of Oriental civilizations on human behavior today. It was a link he had never even thought about.

Surrounded by so much artwork, Pascal was nostalgic for a talent he had never had in this lifetime. An admirer of art, particularly painting, had brought him to exhibitions all around the world, from the Tate to the Guggenheim to the Prado and the Louvre amongst others. Had he been able, he would have followed Picasso’s advice as he wrote: “I would like to be an art collector, but since I cannot afford to buy, I paint.”

Thanks to his knowledge of art and paintings, Pascal had developed an encyclopedia-like repertoire. His photographic memory could easily recall details not always perceived by the general viewer.

The meeting between friends was about to start.

Pascal was outside on the steps, looking in through the open windows. He stood with Sumit for a while, describing his visions and traveling in time during the early days of Japanese history.

Pichai arrived first. As always he had a giant smile plastered on his face and looked peaceful. Ram and Ma Sue were staying at his place and he had brought them out of hiding, so to speak. Boon and Noi, the two nurses from the camp, seemed to have disappeared.

Pichai’s clothes were drenched in sweat, as he had just finished his Win Shun training.

He was teasing Wanee, “Is this our new operational mission? I should have come in my army jeep.”

The Japanese group followed minutes later wearing heavy faces. They were all escorted inside Wanee’s white room.

“What happened?” asked Pascal.

Kengo took charge. “We have a situation. My parents have been detained by Homeland Security on their arrival in L.A.”

“This is a crisis for us. They freed them after a few hours, but it’s in on all the Japanese media. It seems like someone’s trying to warn us, but about what?” added Mayumi.

“Father sent me this email to explain what they had been told.” Kengo handed over an email that read:

“You may practice your religion freely in the United States as long as you do not use illegal means of mental mass persuasion.”

Pascal looked quizzical. “What does that even mean? Is meditation an illegal practice? Some dumb people into that Agency must have received misleading information they did not even verified.”

But who wanted to put them in a difficult situation?

“Well,” sighed Sumit, not ready to believe it was a conspiracy again.

 

“This is much bigger than we thought, but we’ve tried to be cautious. It seems we haven’t done enough. I feel like I’m running on a timer.” Pascal stood up and began pacing, collating his thoughts in the growing puzzle.

As he raised his head he came face to face with the poster of The Diamond Mandala on the wall. As he stared at the huge picture, the room began to revolve around him. He felt dizzy and nauseous all of a sudden and he fell to the ground. Mayumi ran to his side as Pascal placed his hand up, demanding peace. She held him by the shoulders, to keep his body from swaying.

Everyone kept silent for a moment. Pascal eyes were bulging as his mind was driven into the world of the Mandala image. He spoke in a low and broken voice, completely entranced:

“I know the message of the Mandala! The two statues; they are on both sides!” His trembling finger pointed to the center of the Mandala. “Yes, I remember now. The larger one is the one you gave me in the posture of the Mudra of Teaching, the Empty Master, which is the symbol of vacuity.”

A gong resonated in his head; his body was jerking. “The monks are running for their lives. They have taken the Master Buddha statue and the Mandala. Imae, my beloved wife is dead. My heart is broken.” Sweat and tears were running from his eyes.

“I am bleeding; it hurts, but I must save the monks. I must bring them to the caves. The Master was right! I have to follow the way of the Mandala!”

Pascal inhaled fiercely, as though he had been chocking on stale oxygen.

Everyone was looking at him, but Wanee looked ecstatic; she had understood! She ran to Pascal, tripping and almost falling over and handed him a glass of whiskey. She patted him; comforting him.

“Oh Pascal! Drink up; you will feel better. You are very brave and we can see how enduring it was to undertake this travel to the past!” She turned to Kengo and Mayumi. “You both have had the experience of connecting with the ancestors; you already have suffered in your training to reach them. You are Buddhists so surely you understand the significance of these images and the strong connection Pascal has with them.” She was so excited she was shrieking.

“Just before you arrived Wanee, Pascal was telling me about his dreams and his lost woman from the past. Is it Imae?” asked Sumit.

Pascal was still weak and hadn’t regained his hearing. Mayumi was stroking his back and chest, helping him to breathe. Wanee stood up and rushed to the image on the wall.

“Let me describe how Mandalas work. As some of you already know, these are the most-used spiritual icons in Esoteric Buddhism. Each one represents images of the Buddha’s spiritual world. Deities represented here have very complicated meanings and levels of spirituality. It is said that with intense training, those who contemplate a Mandala with strong intention are able to enter the worlds of the deities that were attributed to them by the masters and reach the ultimate level of consciousness, the ultimate truth.

What is extraordinary is that Mandalas are an archaic expression of what Niels Bohr, the famous Quantum scientist said: Symmetry is a rule of the universe, in three dimensions, and an apparent reality is hiding the true reality”

She looked at Kengo and Mayumi.

“This Diamond Mandala is your Mandala from your ancestor in Shingon Buddhism isn’t it?”

“Yes we are all familiar with it,” answered Kengo.

“Then our case is simple.”

The siblings stared at each other. Perhaps this woman was nothing more than a dreaming eccentric.

“Pascal has clearly indicated that there are two Buddha statues, and that they are here on both sides of this Mandala. I have always been convinced that a Mandala was some sort of map.” They were all focused on Wanee.

“The master statue here in the center with no mantra is the one sent to Japan by the Korean Emperor in Nara. Pascal saw it in his vision. It is the same one the Buddhist group possesses now. On the Mandala, we can also see clearly another statue. That one on the right certainly contains a mantra. The location on the Mandala indicates it has been sent to the Eastern New World, the vast Khmer Empire, which was to become the largest Empire ever seen in the southern region.”

“Here, see. The Mandala also describes that statue on the left, the one that traveled to the Mediterranean Kingdoms to the followers of the Son of God.”

.Not quite knowledgeable of Western religion, Sumit tried to catch up. Who was this Son of God?

“Of course you know. They call him Jesus and he is the one who established Christianity, one of the most powerful belief systems on the planet.”

Kengo was at a complete loss. He looked at the Mandala and then stared at Wanee.

“But how can you say so? There is no precise location given anywhere on this.”

“Oh yes there is; you just don’t have the map legend. Here, let me show you.” She lifted the large screen of her laptop and detailed images came up. “This upper part means ‘West’, so Buddha images from that area are looking in the westerly direction: South-West or North-West, each according to their position. Another clue: the ninth circle here represents Barbarian countries that indicate a geographical position… and so on. With these signs we can figure it out. It’s a kind of spiritual GPS from the past.”

“How do you know any of this?” asked Kengo.

“I’ve been researching the meaning of Mandalas for years, but never had the hard rock of evidence to make my claims hold any ground.”

Pascal had recovered from the shock, warmed by the large glass of liquor.

“Wow, Wanee. I should have come to you earlier. Congratulations.” he said to her. “But how are you sure about the accuracy of my vision?”

“Oh, Frenchie, I would have never offered to help you without doing a bit of research first. It was not just a legend. I had to check the facts. By chance I found the proof in the Official Chronicle recorded in 750 AC by the Imperial Order. It is the most important evidence of Japanese history.”

She showed them a short video. The narrator read:

“In the year 538 AC, the King Syong Myong of Korea was eager to set up an alliance with the Japanese Emperor, Kinmei Tenno. He sent a mission with presents, the most valuable being the introduction of Buddhism. A thousand years after the death of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, Buddhism had arrived in the islands of the Empire of Wa.

The King’s emissaries brought many icons of the religion with them, golden and bronze statues, banners, scrolls, and Chinese texts, which helped solidify the new belief. The Emperor was very attracted to the deep philosophy that seemed more sophisticated than the Shinto religion worshiped in Japan, but his power was also in the hands of feudal families committed to the ancient system. The Mononobe and the Nakatomi families warned the Emperor that the devotion to a new God called Buddha was going to attract the anger of their respected Gods, their Kami. Still interested in Buddhism, the Emperor ordered The Prince Imane No Sokune from the powerful Soga family to build a temple and begin worshiping this religion. Soon after, a large epidemic coupled with an extremely long drought damaged the country: a bad omen attributed to the new religion. The Emperor had no choice but to follow the old families’ advice. He ordered the temple be burned down; the monks killed and all icons to be destroyed and thrown into the river.

This is where the chronicles record ends, but we already know what unfolded really.

First, as the Mantrayana sect master told Pascal, the Imperial soldiers could not eradicate the devotion. The monks went on to worship secretly and kept all the precious icons intact. And now, here is the best part: the master knew that you, Pascal, encountered the events that occurred over 2000 years ago in their first temple. During your training in Osaka, he had already communicated with your vision and understood that in your past lives you were transported back to the very moment the Emperor sent his troops to destroy the religion!

That is why he needed you to live again these historical moments. And even more amazingly, he knew that you were the lover of Prince Sokune’s daughter. Imae, was that her name?”

Pascal automatically swung his attention towards Mayumi, unaware of his subconscious action until they were looking each other straight in the eyes. Her face turned an incredible shade of pink like the peaches from Japanese fables and she looked down, embarrassed.

 

 

Sumit, who had been outside to take a phone call, jumped back into the room.

“Pascal, I have to talk to you urgently! I have just received an important phone call. Let’s go outside.”

Sumit was eager to smoke a cigarette and talk seriously. He was excited. His past had finally come to his aid. Everything being connected and intricate, the information he was going to pass on was probably meant to be delivered this very day by his beloved uncle. Sumit reflected on his earlier conversation:

“Sumit, young man, it is so good to hear your voice,” said his uncle.

“Uncle, I see technology has not escaped you all the way over in your temple of the forest. Thank you so much for calling me back.”

“When I received your voice message talking about an old Khmer statue, I was transported to a very particular memory I have always known would be very important some day. I do not know if it is connected at all, but I feel I should tell you anyway.”

“Yes Uncle, please continue.”

“When I was a young monk, before your existence Sumit, I met an old Christian missionary traveling from Laos and Cambodia. We had shared a very strong bond, and after a while staying in the temple, he gave me a very old statue said to contain a manuscript similar to the ancient Sutras that were written on palm leaves tied up with string. He told me he thought that manuscript was an ancient relic from the Khmer period. For him, it held no particular meaning whatsoever.” The phone crackled with a brush of fabric over the microphone. He continued, but his voice was muted.

“Hello? Ajahn, I can’t hear what you’re saying,” Sumit shouted into the phone.

“Yes hello, I am here! Sorry son, my robe does get in the way sometimes.”

To imagine his uncle in a pedestrian outfit of jeans and a T-shirt was beyond hilarity and he sighed warmly, reflecting on the saffron robes he wore.

“And what is the scripture about?” Sumit had asked.

“I cannot say for sure. I have tried to decipher its meaning, but it is impossible to translate. It was not even written in Pali or Sanskrit; its origin is a complete mystery.”

“Uncle, do you still have the manuscript with you?”

“Well yes, of course. It is here. I put the statue in my temple but kept the scripture hidden. But wait! The strangest part is that right after you had left your message, I was approached by a monk from our temples in Bangkok who had heard of an old document in my possession. He insisted that I show it to him. I was unsure, but then again, I had no reason not to show him. He took it for two hours somewhere and returned it to me promptly without any further comment.”

Sumit remained silent.

“You can understand why I immediately called Luang Po Ongsri. Do you remember he is our venerable master who lives in the capital?”

“Of course, Uncle.”

“He did not know of such a monk. I had a bad feeling about it from the start but my discipline will not let me turn down a fellow member. It seems he was a fake, but why did he take an interest in this forgotten scroll? Whatever it is, he did not look happy when he gave it back.”

“Where is the manuscript now?”

“I kept it hidden it in the same place, but my intuition cannot help but spell out suspicions. I feel it is attracting great danger to our area. Very intense energies are circulating here.”

When Sumit had finished sharing his uncle’s information with Pascal, the Japanese group was already hurriedly filing out of the room. Mayumi followed behind. Pascal thought he noticed a strange hand movement from her, as though she were touching her hand to her heart. The aftermath of his encounter was surely playing with his senses. She held his eye contact for a second too long for him to dismiss it entirely as illusion, however.

When they had all left, without much of a goodbye, both men resumed their paused conversation.

“How could they translate that document?”

They looked at each other and in unison, exclaimed: “Ram!”

Pascal had always teased his Indian medical partner for his uncanny interest in the vernacular Sanskrit languages. The seed of people’s particular curiosities spurring into such specific areas of knowledge was surely a connection psychology had attempted to explain and had failed. He had never thought such an expertise would have actual implication beyond the academic world, yet alas, here they were. The fraying curtain of coincidence was beginning to slide open, making way for the idea that this indeed was all connected. Pascal recapitulated the facts to Ram and concluded:

“We must believe in Sumit’s uncle’s intuition and retrieve that scripture, but the problem is that we are not alone in our endeavor. News of the location of the documents travels fast. Uncle Ajahn himself, expressed his fear of imminent danger. He was visited by sinister people with dubious intent who masqueraded as monks and tried to get information from him and they will probably be back. We must hurry and go to him.”

After all, thought Pascal, it was the only lead they had.

Pascal thought of another option.

“Could your uncle send this document to us?”

“Oh I’m afraid there is no way! He said he would not give it to anybody, especially not now. He may not even show it to Ram if he doesn’t feel the correct intention. The only way is for us to go there, quickly. We must talk to him in person before someone else decrypts the message in the documents.”

Of course, Sumit’s own agenda to protect his uncle was clear. “You will see. My uncle is very strict and it is very difficult to convince him. Pascal, you will have to prove yourself to him.”

“We must go quickly then.”

“We have to leave first thing tomorrow for the Temple of the Forest in the East, that is known as the temple of the ancient ones. This is where my uncle the Ajahn lives.”

“It’s probably not the most exciting holiday, but it will have to do,” joked Pascal.

“Issan is very beautiful, you will see,” said Sumit proudly.

Pascal nodded approvingly, slipping his hand into his front jacket pocket. He retrieved his phone to make a call and on it, and found a piece of paper no larger than the size of a stamp. He quickly put it back in his pocket and started to discuss the details for the trip to Issan.

Later, driven by strong instinctive compulsion, Pascal recalled the paper fragment and took it from his pocket. It read:

Sirocco. 6pm. Private. M.’

The message was from her; he knew it. Mayumi was the only possible culprit, or suspect to put it more mildly.

 

It was almost 6 p.m. The powerful Toyota Vigo was rolling through Bangkok’s Silom Avenue heading towards State Tower.

But why had Mayumi chosen to meet here and why had he accepted?

The modern building attracted a flurry of night guests lured by the chance to admire the magnificent views over a relaxing drink, an experience made available at the penthouse bar, Sirocco. There was no roof to inspire safety and a glass wall surrounding the large outdoor terrace allowed an image of a fabulous sunset reflecting off the Chao Phraya River whilst city life bustled 69 floors below.

The bar was secluded yet central, public with private tables and yams—Thai guards surveying the entire circumference. Pascal’s logical gears began to churn, obstructing his hopes and romantic illusions. Of course this place was perfect. Mayumi knew Pascal would have recognized the famous spot instantly from the note, and this kind of large space would not invite ambushes… And the guards, not to mention the height of the building, made it much too dangerous to attack.

“Damn it! How is it possible?” barked Sumit. He had just spotted the big, black van that they had noticed in front of Pascal’s hotel only a few nights ago.

He was impressed that their stalkers had found them in this giant city. Pichai who was seated next to him, looked in the rear-view mirror, then turned his head to the back of the car, confirming his friend’s observation. He also noticed an identical second van about three cars behind.

“These guys might be pros, but they don’t seem to learn. We’re going to loose them no matter what. I think it’s time we taught them another lesson,” he smiled at Pascal, who was anxious to reach his destination.

When they reached the intersection that led to the Chinese district, Sumit decided to make an unexpected U turn and took a sharp left into the Sofitel building, straight up the ramp into the parking lot. “You see,” Sumit turned to Pascal in the back seat.

“It was a good idea to accompany you both, wasn’t it? They were probably ready to harm you or who knows, maybe tickle you a little…Catch us if you can!” he said tauntingly.

He parked the car in the nearest spot, they jumped out, and rushed to the elevator. In the lobby they found the exit and hurried toward it. Before they stepped out onto the street they peered out and saw the big van rolling up the parking ramp.

“Here they are,” whispered Sumit.

They also noticed the other car parked up a little further on the avenue. Both sides of Silom were blocked by the heavy traffic and no cars were moving.

“Very, very good!” Sumit was grinning with delight. “Let’s go, now!”

The others had no time to oppose, and all three men followed Sumit as he crossed the traffic-jammed avenue. He motioned them towards a moto taxi stand. Motorcycle drivers had saved many from late meetings; it really was the most convenient way to get around Bangkok.

“Follow me!” he shouted as he jumped on the back of the first motorbike. He ordered the driver to take the first soi, the small road on the left; told him to drive on the sidewalk, and from there, instructed him all the way down back streets to Sathorn Road to State Tower. “Make sure we don’t lose my friends,” he ordered.

The driver was not surprised at all. This was the way taxi-motorcycles usually operated, turning any surface into a road.

Pascal, who was last to jump on the motorbike, turned and had a look behind him. He could see men running in their direction but only one had come close enough to see his face. The others were struggling to reach them. The huge silhouette seemed to have been hit by a tuk-tuk.

All of them began gesticulating their arms and yelling at the driver. Tuk-tuk drivers were usually very tough guys. The short but muscular man stepped out from his seat looking livid. Without a doubt, his anger was intensified by frustrating hours stuck in traffic. There was no way his pride would be quashed by foreigners parading through his streets.

Sumit had created an unexpected diversion, and a good one. Though they were escaping, Pascal was incredibly concerned. They had to find out whom these men worked for. He didn’t want to live with a permanent threat.

They arrived in front of the tower in record time and stepped into the immense, air-conditioned lobby that was illuminated with unflattering neon. Sumit, Pichai, and Pascal watched the area for a while but there was no sign of their followers.

“You see,” said Sumit, “These guys are feeling way too proud of themselves and that will teach them some humility!” he began to laugh loudly. Pascal was not so confident, especially now that Mayumi could be involved. He didn’t want to see her hurt.

Sumit’s friend Pichai proposed that he stay in the lobby to watch for intruders. His fear of heights was not going to serve him well here. The view atop the skyscraper others found so breathtaking was his recipe for nausea.

They all agreed.

“ Those thugs knew too much about our whereabouts much too quickly. Our followers must have bugged our telephones or even maybe my car,” explained Sumit. “Don’t use your mobile phones anymore and I will avoid using my personal car for a while… I think I have a plan to get rid of them for good. I will stick their bug to a tuk-tuk!”

The group of men all laughed, elated.

Sumit and Pascal entered the mirrored lift, waiting for its ascent. At the top, the wind was blowing hard and the whole building felt as though it were swaying. Pascal walked down the marble steps to the main terrace and saw her.

With the backdrop of the city’s vastness, Mayumi stood with her arm resting upon the glass wall. She was looking out towards the distant ocean; her head moving sideways at intervals, scanning the crowd. The clock ticked past 6 p.m.

She was dressed in a simple, black suit, perfectly tailored to her slender shoulders. She wore a simple black, silk blouse underneath her jacket. The wind had pushed the fabric against her body, silhouetting her torso and breasts.

Pascal was watching her black hair conjoin with the twilight sky as though the ever-expanding entirety of space was but an extension of her beaming self. She wore no makeup and a small golden band was wound around her slender wrist.

Pascal couldn’t stop staring at her. The ease of her stance articulated a strong personality—one used to handling itself in public. He had never noticed it before tonight, but among the dispersed individuals concerning themselves with the materiality of their own existence, Mayumi looked so out of place. She had donned the appropriate costume and business-like appearance, but her exotic face and flickering eyes expressed a soul who belonged elsewhere—in a different time perhaps.

Even from where he stood, Pascal could see the golden streaks in her copper eyes. They seemed to transcend to a separate universe; one unfettered by the petty preoccupations of this one. Her very presence was absorbing, completely and utterly magnetic.

He was approaching her slim and sensual body, unable to release his eyes from her despite the epic view of the city. The sunset was inflaming the clouds in a symphony of color, contrasting against the arriving darkness of the night.

Mayumi looked around once more, in what seemed her final attempt. As she propped her fine chin up, her gaze found Pascal’s and she smiled, shyly. The expectation of his arrival had been slim, as she did not know if he would understand the note properly. But he was here and a sudden rush of blood reached her cheeks.

She had always been so in control of her own body, never slipping the firm grip she held on a smile she usually used so sparingly. She waited for him to come to her, her feet glued to the stone floor. No words were exchanged as a waiter led them to a private table.

“What would you like to drink, Mayumi?” Pascal enquired, the menu still closed in front of him. For someone who seldom drank, Mayumi’s affinity for champagne was inexplicable. She flicked through the menu and pointed delicately at her choice.

“It is my favorite,” she whispered.

Pascal ordered a flute of Veuve Clicquot. His own family had owned a vineyard in Champagne, but Pascal drank very little alcohol however, he admired her taste and ordered the same.

“Every day is not like this,” he said, trying to control his heartbeat.

Waiting to be served, they spoke about idle matters as though afraid to enter the real conversation. The chit-chat continued until finally, Mayumi stopped and looked into Pascal’s face intently.

“You came, Pascal. You are here and I have to tell you how grateful we are for your help. Although I haven’t known you for very long, I understand your hopes and dreams and I will try to guide you to find a balance for your powerful mind.”

“At Wanee’s place, I discovered that you feel I have been connected to you in our past. In our esoteric practice we are constantly faced with strange encounters. I understand that, but it is not new to me. We all live in an infinite chain of ancestors and we are all intertwined, even though it is difficult to perceive it usually, but I do. I am a medium and I have helped many followers reconcile with their past. We have prayed to allow their beloved ones find peace.”

“I believe that in order to move forward, I have to tell you this one thing. What you believe about our relationship is not entirely clear to me and I can feel the strength of your conviction—The conviction that you see in your dreams.. But Pascal, this mission is too important for you to be blinded. I cannot be this woman you think of. It is impossible.”

Totally taken aback by her firm delivery, Pascal felt a pang of disappointment.

“Whatever we may have been our previous lives, I do not feel like her,” added Mayumi.

“I am sorry that you feel that way,” replied Pascal, “but I can only express what I feel and cannot escape the images. I am told to trust my intuition and now, when I have it the strongest, I am told I am wrong.” His throat tightened and he realised how vulnerable he was with her. “I don’t understand. You want me to help you here; there must be a connection, I am certain of it.”

“We cannot be, Pascal.”

“Why are you saying this? What is it that you’re afraid of?”

“You must accept things now in order to find the balance within you; you must release me from your thoughts. I am a fiction that will stop you from finding what you need in your own life.” She could not understand why she too, was fighting her own desires to tell him the truth.

“I don’t believe I am reaching out to the past. I know you are part of Imae. You are part of the Mantrayana past; I know you are! It is in you. Are your parents, your family stopping you? Are they pushing you away from me?” he demanded.

Mayumi turned her face away, wanting to answer and prove to him how right she was on this matter and yet no words came out.

“I know you are here Mayumi, and you see me there too!” he almost shouted, the night’s lights beginning to blur with the wetness in his eyes.

She snapped her head towards him, her mouth finally expelling the sound.

“My parents never saw my birth Pascal! Do you hear?”

Pascal’s muscles snapped loose in his forehead. He looked up at the voice.

“Who you see is a projected image of me—one I’ve been trained my whole life to be. You only see what you want to see, hear what you want to hear, and I’m telling you it’s impossible. My family, my real connection, has disappeared. My blood is in Mongolia, so I have no link with Japan and Mantrayana, to your fantasies, or to any Princess Imae.” She stood up, pushing her chair back, and walked away towards the bar.

The wind had picked up and licked the tears from Pascal’s eyes, spreading them inside his ears. He sat looking out into the sky, at the starless horizon expanding in front of him. How could he have been so wrong about his ‘truth’; thinking he would come here convincing her of it too?

Her independence was not one of assuredness, but one riddled with the ultimate insecurity of not knowing where we come from at the basic level. In her ‘medium’ life she would have flicked those eyes to help others discover their nature and past, and yet she was left floating in a lake of her own anonymity. He saw her black hair dancing erratically in the wind; her back turned to him against the ledge.

“I am sorry Mayumi.” He was right behind her, his right hand resting upon the curve between her neck and shoulder.

“We have an urgent and important problem to solve for the family that I have had to call my own,” she said. “But also, for our followers and Buddhism’s path, we have to find the original mantras; we have to focus on that mission. I asked you to join me tonight in the hope I could convince you to see beyond our own connection and your personal visions, to see the importance of the mantras. I too am sorry you had to find out my past, which should bear no burden on your own path. I did not think I would need to tell you and I trust you to never mention it again to me or to anyone else.”

“You have my word.” He nodded respectfully, even though she could not see his gesture. “So, you were saying about the mantras?”

“We are afraid these documents will fall into the hands of those wanting to use their divine power for personal gain. They could potentially manipulate the whole of the population into submission,” she answered.

“That cannot happen; surely that cannot happen.”

“There is something else, too.” She turned around finally.“You see, the Original Mantras are closer to Buddha, the Enlightened One and are written by Ananda, his faithful disciple. Only these original sounds have these special powers formulated by the founder. In science we would say the right frequencies, not modified by generations of monks. The chanting waves of the original mantra are in direct resonance with the cosmic energy, the Buddha’s mind energy. In the hands of negative and oppressive organizations these mantras could prove the most aggressive and efficient weapon of mental influence.”

The dried tear marks on her face had left her skin taut. She spoke almost blankly, and then her tears began again.

“Pascal, are you ready to help me find these originals?”

“Of course, Mayumi. I am ready to learn and I am ready to fulfill my mission!”

Mayumi replied gently. “I knew you would provide the right answer and I thank you for that. You can be sure that I will try my best to help you. I felt it was important to define the boundary first. We cannot let ourselves be swayed by our own emotions, not when there is a phenomenon of much greater importance occurring.”

Pascal looked down to the cars that were reduced to the size of ants—in fact they looked as big as he felt right now.

“Next time you come to the temple I will show you the way to meditate; to receive the energy from the medium, and you will, without any doubt, transmit this energy to the others.”

“Okay,” Pascal lit up knowing he would still be able to see her. “I am curious about something.” Mayumi’s large eyes blinked and he smelled the champagne breath as she exhaled softly.

“Since you are a neurologist, how can you combine two points of view?” She seemed relieved that the question raised had not attempted to bring up the last conversation topic.

“I would say that as a scientist I make experiments to study what conventional people call ‘paranormal phenomena’. As a medium, I practice them.”

“So, when can you introduce me to your own research and practice?” asked Pascal.

“For that, you will have to come to Italy as I live in Rome,” she said warmly. “I would be delighted to guide you myself here, but I have to leave tomorrow for an important forum in neuroscience.”

She paused for a long moment.

“And also, something very strange is happening at my clinic.”

She lowered her voice.

“I may have found a way to an old mantra that was kept in Rome during the Renaissance. You must come and see one of my patients. He is a Dominican…but I cannot tell you more now!”

“That’s good news. I’ve always loved Italy,” joked Pascal. Inside, he too was glowing at the thought of being near her again.

“As soon as my mission to the Laos border is accomplished I hope to fly to Rome and see him.”

“See you,” was what Pascal really meant.

Mayumi smiled back. She had understood.

Pascal suddenly felt lonely and reluctant to leave Mayumi after such an encounter. He felt that a secret now bound them together—one she was not prepared to give initially. But she had given in, allowing him a glimpse of her past and her history. It was so much more than he had anticipated, in fact.

Despite the warmth Mayumi had displayed, he understood that discovering the Khmer Mantra was essential. Not only for her approval, but for the importance of shielding it from use by those who wished to impose control. Was it the Cosmos project they heard about at the hospital?

It may have been a reflection of his French temperament, but he hated nothing more than others assuming command over others, especially against their will. He had to find the mantra and bring it back safely. A deep presentiment told him the Sumit’s uncle, the Theravada teacher, had the answer in the Temple of the Forest.

He had already planned to leave early the next morning. Mayumi stood up, extending her hand, although in a different way than when they first met this evening. Pascal noticed this; lingered in the space between them and moved to her side, embracing her with his arms instead. Full of hope, yet respectful, he moved back.

But hope is also fear; fear that this would be their last meeting.

 

 

Sumit was impatiently waiting with his friends at the Temple of the Forest to talk to his uncle.

The Venerable Father Luang Po Chana was teaching his morning session. At first sight, he didn’t seem impressive. The faded saffron robe was wrapped around sagging skin hanging off his bones and the only smile he could offer was toothless.

He sat on a wicker chair cross-legged, eyes closed beneath the simple wooden hut raised on stilts. The ground was scattered with Thai, Laotian and even white-faced farangs who came to train as monks and learn the path of Buddhism. The hard faces of the local villagers surrounded the novices, each donning their traditional farmer pants tied in place with a multicoloured checkered belt. Most of the older ones had known the monk when he first arrived as a Bhikkhu, a beginner. Everyone sat silently, listening to his teachings.

“The way of the forest,” he said, “is like the way of its founder Gautama, our Buddha.”

His tone was of an old and trusted friend, resonant yet personal.

“Gautama was enlightened in a forest; taught his whole life in a forest and eventually died in a forest. The forest tradition is pure in representing the way of the Elders. They called it Theravada, the South East Asian school of Buddhism. But you know—for better or for worse—that was the way the Buddha made it and that is the way we still do it! It has become our rule.”

The Ajahn was a devout follower of the Theravada school. His non-formal, unorthodox teaching style was compensated by strict discipline. Most of the Western religious preachers were quite elaborate, poetic even, with crafted sentences full of imagery and sound that helped them gain support like a political campaign, only with a little more pomp.

His teaching avoided such tricks. It was simple and direct, unpredictable but always in response to the mood, the questions, and the feelings of the people around him. He often used humor as a way to smooth the hard truth.

Today, he used trivial examples from everyday life: how even the simple housewife who performs her daily chores can find peace of mind in the plumping of a grain of rice or the peeling of a ripened fruit. It was true that calm, whatever definition it could hold, was often gained inadvertently, in the simple acts of the everyday.

One of the foreigners, a recently converted academic professor, was enquiring about the six realms of Buddhist Cosmology. Knowing his response would require a mouthful the Ajahn removed his false teeth and handed them to his attendant.

“It is like the story of a monkey finding a nut and he is unable to open it.” The sides of his mouth rose up comically, revealing his pink gums.

The Ajahn didn’t wish to embarrass the professor, but his message of humor simply turned the question into a matter of common sense. Contrary to much Western education, the monk truly believed that intellectual behavior was meaningless if it did not have application.

 

Pascal and his friends were listening, seated in the shade of a wide tree not far from the teacher himself. They had arrived late last night in the neighboring town of Ubon, a typical Northeastern town in Issan Province, a mostly agricultural region.

“You know,” said Sumit to his friends, “Ajahn was actually one of my martial arts teachers, if you can imagine it.”

It was indeed difficult to picture that the skinny man had practiced the ancient art of fighting in his youth. Teaching was now his one and only devotion.

“He may not look so brilliant to you now but wait until you talk to him.” At that very same moment the Ajahn fixed his stare on Pascal.

“Oh, I can see a young foreigner over there,” uttering the words playfully as he turned his head to another man, “and I think he can understand the Thai language very well. And you know why I know that?” He smiled his gummy smile once more. “Because he has not been listening to anything I have been saying. He is probably too preoccupied by what he will be having next for lunch.”

Everyone started laughing and Pascal, surprised by his technique, understood the lesson and smiled back.

Once the twenty minutes had elapsed, everyone dispersed for the daily routine of prayers, work, and meditation.

Ram was suddenly staring at a young beautiful nun coming to them. It was Ma Sue with her shaved skull and white robe. She walked over to Wanee, who was going to introduce her to the women’s convent.

They were expecting her. They both left quickly, realizing their place because generally, male monks don’t favour speaking with women.

The “Ajahn” beckoned to his nephew Sumit. Even before he could introduce anyone from the group the teacher took another deep look at Pascal and apologised in an elegant manner:

“I understand you came here with a pure heart and for a good cause. But it is not good to let your personal objectives isolate you from the present event. I know you understood why I did that. I did not intend to be rude, but it was a unique way for you to be attentive to where you are—in the now—and the fact that future time unfolds in the present.”

He closed his eyes and touched Pascal on the shoulder. “If you always concentrate on the future and live in hope that you will achieve your goals later, it is the same as living in fear; the fear that you will not reach your objective.” He raised his eyebrows, trapping the beads of sweat between the creases of his wrinkles. His eyes were still closed.

“A German poet wrote: ‘Hope is the last thing to die’. Do you agree with that?” Not waiting for Pascal’s reply he said, “Don’t you see how restrictive and pessimistic that really is? As long as we can rely on our own vitality and understand the world as it really is and not as we wish it to be, then hope disappears only to be replaced by the present truth. Hope should be replaced by the potential of the moment, don’t you think?”

He tensed every muscle in his face and released them just as suddenly, finally opening his eyes as sweat streamed down into them.

“Aah, now isn’t that much better?” His pink gums glistened in the morning light.

“Well, it’s…” Pascal was cut off.

“No more words; time for action. So, the reason for your visit: the manuscript!” He called his attendant, a Bhikkhu, a slim, young boy with clever eyes and a round face. No instructions were given, but he returned a minute later with a rectangular gold case. It very much resembled the boxes that held sutra prayer books that the Bhikkhu received when they were ordained.

Ajahn opened the case. Inside were dried banana leaves tied together with strips of red silk. Underneath, two hard, wooden tablets held the more fragile folios. Its surface was delicately lacquered, displaying golden carved symbols that Pascal didn’t recognize. They looked like Egyptian hieroglyphs.

“You see,” said the Ajahn, “this manuscript dates back from the post-Khmer era: some 600 years ago and it is still in perfect condition. The characters are a little bit faded, but readable—if you can understand it, of course!”

Ram was fervently pulling out his laptop from his protective shoulder bag. He was impatient to start examining the manuscript.

“Our friend Ram is a devoted Hindu.” Pascal said with a big smile. “Like you, he believes in Karma and Reincarnation. He may become a Buddhist, or maybe even a monkey in his next life!”

Ram had not heard the joke so preoccupied was he with his computer.

“For the time being though, he is very fluent in language computerisation and algorithms. He had translated many parts of the difficult Upanishads, the Vedic bible of the Brahmins’ culture, documents thousands of years old. He has created his own program and wishes you to let him try to read it ,” he said, gesturing towards the box with an open palm. He remembered Pichai’s advice: pointing with the index finger is badly viewed in Thailand and it’s even worse if the foot is used.

The Ajahn looked impressed.

“What is that language?”

Ram was happy to share his own knowledge with the teacher.

“Simple,” he said. “It is what we call an Abugida or in this case, a Siddham consonant language. It is pre-Sanskrit and Pali vernacular. And you know, it is said that it was the language used by Gautama to teach his followers because it was the common language. That is one of the many reasons he became so popular so quickly.”

The Ajahn burst into laughter. It was not every day that someone else taught him something new about Buddha’s life. Delighted by the conversation, the Ajahn seemed more comfortable in entrusting Ram his manuscript.

“Your friend seems to me a serious, trustworthy and confident person. He can translate the manuscript, no problem at all.”

With a wink, the Old teacher turned to Pascal. “I see now Sumit was right. He told me that you had a special personality with the potential to reach the Middle Way, the Vacuity, where there is no space, no time and no more ego. I see that now.”

“But you are still stranded in a sea of distraction. Let me teach you our way to achieve the concentration objective to project your positive intention. Allow me to show you something about the Theravada practice that will help you to practice a different path from the Yogi or Esoteric way.”

He took Pascal aside, leaving Ram in a world of his own.

“Now, the basic purpose of our Theravada meditation practice, which has been developed for over two thousand years is to open your mind to the supreme reality; your true Self. We call it The Middle Way because it is a state of mind with neither good nor bad and no personal judgment… only the original truth of the universe with no boundaries.”

Always eager to compare with his Christian education Pascal asked:

“Is that state the one our Saint Paul called In Medio Stat Virtus: the truth is in the middle?”

“Maybe, maybe,” mumbled the Old man. “But let’s concentrate on practice, not Theology. Are you ready to try?”

“Right now?”

“There’s no better time!”

Of course Pascal was curious. He always tried to push himself to new states of mind and different mental territories, but never with drugs. He was also told by neurologists that the use of drugs—whatever they are—may induce a mystical high, but in the long term facilitate spiritual laziness and increase personal stress in the best of cases.

He could not deny the teacher Ajahn’s invitation, and moved with him to a suitable location beneath a Banyan tree.

 

 

All the joy the world contains

has come through wishing happiness for others.

All the misery the world contains

has come through wanting pleasure for oneself.”

Shantideva

 

 

“Firstly,” said the monk, “meditation is best in the morning when the sun rises and its rays cross this canopy of green.” He placed his hand close to the soil as though caressing its surface and grazed it along at an angle. “This is the time when the sun has the best energy. But other times are suitable, of course.” He leaned his head to the side.

“Now, we have to sit in a convenient place, quiet and comfortable.”

Pascal removed a twig that had lodged itself next to his coccyx bone. At this stage even he was doubtful that meditation was the only answer to fulfilling his existence but he was willing to keep his intent, to focus and let his experience chase the concepts.

“Secondly, you must have the best posture, to ground your body like this.” He sat cross-legged, both soles of his feet pointing up to the sky. “Higher energy flows when your posture has focused intent. Keep your back straight.” The height he gained from holding himself straight made him notice just how curved his spine actually was.

“I find this way is best, but it is up to you. If you really cannot sit properly on the floor, or have difficulties maintaining the lotus position, you can use a chair. Not all of us are bendy cats!”

“Just stay alert and conscious of your body, relaxed in what we call ‘the point of balance’. Your body will guide you.” He breathed out a rasping breath. “Why do you want to practice meditation?”

Sumit had warned him of the teacher’s candid nature.

“Well…,” Pascal scratched his head, “because I want to reach a higher degree of consciousness?”

“You see!” The Ajahn seemed disapproving of Pascal’s self-centered approach. “Of course, in some ways you are also right. We all know the result of a proper meditation; that it may aid us to reach that level. But your main objective is to train yourself to change first!” Exclamatory Buddhist monks were not the general stereotype but Pascal sucked in every word.

“You will see the results when you practice. To fixate upon something you have not experienced yet and attaching to it is like chasing your imagination—your desires. It’s like the donkey and the carrot; he’ll never really get to crunch on it.”

Science had taught him that knowledge would build upon the testing of theories through facts and numbers.

“The most difficult step is the unlearning, Pascal.”

Pascal played the words from Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher, in his head:

The name you can say is not the real name.

Heaven and earth begin in the unnamed.

“At present I see you are struggling. On one hand, you understand that projecting yourself into an invented future disconnects you from its true reality. Ask yourself why you are so reluctant to let go of your concepts and big ideas”

It was true. At this point Pascal had begun to sense the buzzing irritation in his nervous system. The Ajahn had the effect of a lecturing parent whose argument you want to reject, though in truth you have already accepted.

“Enough. Just stop thinking, and breathe!”

Ajahn Chana’s nose flared as he felt the oxygen expand his lungs. They inhaled together, blowing up their chests like balloons and letting the air escape gently.

“There are no ideas in the world. Focus on your breathing and you will be the master of your mind. It will avoid the mind’s wandering spirit. The awareness of breathing is so vital. Feel the flow feeding your cells, allowing them to regenerate and grow. Keep inhaling then gently let the air out with your shoulders relaxed. Ideas keep trying to surface, but let them go; exhale them out. Pay them no attention; it’s what they want.”

Pascal’s surroundings began to disintegrate around him, or rather, his memory of them began to crumble away. There was no sky or ground. Texture did not exist nor did the concept of color or sound. The Ajahn’s words were in his head, non-articulated although heard, as though they were coming from within.

“Inhale and exhale slowly.”

Pascal felt himself snapped back to his physicality by an irritating sensation on his right foot. It was some kind of insect perhaps? He wanted to rid himself of the magnet that kept pulling him back to his body. The sounds began to return around him.

“Maybe you are thinking now ‘Oh what a nice cool breeze on my cheek’. This is normal and do not fight it. Instead, concentrate on that breath,” the Ajahn kept reminding him.

Pascal could feel the voice inside his synapses without the aid of his eardrums. Dimensions evaporated around him once more; there was no light, nor weight, nor sound.

“Now… You have come to the point where you do not even need to concentrate on your breath. It is lighter, much lighter. An orb of energy surrounds you and you are content. The prana is inside you; you are your own wisdom.”

Pascal was completely unaware of the deep, sonorous noise produced by his voice box. The Ajahn was basking in its glow and intricately connected to it, completely in tune with this young man’s state of mind.

“We call deep mindfulness sampajana: your ability to observe yourself. Inhale deeply and keep your intent; exhale fully and keep your intent. Sati is the control, the mind that filters what is important.

With practice, we may move towards Metta, the awareness of compassion. Let names be only a guide, but with their help you can discover your own way.”

The Ajahn closed his eyes and sat completely still, letting Pascal practice alone, happily and peacefully.

Sumit watched from close by, awed by his uncle’s persuasive powers. All this time he had guided Pascal to his meditation without even uttering a word. When Pascal came to him with a radiating smile afterwards, he was so happy he had introduced his friend to his uncle and that it had been so helpful.

Immersed in a sea of peace and lightness, Pascal was still considering if it was true that such practice had brought his consciousness to unknown territories that the Buddhists call The Middle Way and had broadened his views. He was sincerely grateful to be given this chance and teaching, and so happy to feel inner peace, if only for a moment.

Was meditation the correct answer for him to find a permanent state of mind?

He was not convinced.

The practice was great and improving, for sure. But Pascal was still impatient and could not imagine himself living in a monastery in a constant search of his Self… He still hadn’t found his footing.

 

 

The sweat was pooling around Ram’s collar, almost dropping into the computer whose plug was surreptitiously dangling from a tree. The monks here decorated the foliage with lanterns, dimly illuminating the forest at night. Only Divine Force could explain the fact that no one had ever been electrocuted.

Ram’s hunger overshadowed his anxiety. It had been at least 12 hours since anything had touched his mouth, but he refused to eat anything he hadn’t seen prepared with his own eyes. He decided to keep his strong determination to stay focused on his work and forget about the food. .

Many of the letters on the scroll had been erased. The writing was difficult to read; a novice of some kind probably wrote it. A fragment of a map had remained on a ripped page, but it was too faded to make anything out.

What had proved a strenuous process to say the least, was Ram’s proudest achievement. His translation of the famous Hindu Book of Wisdom, the Vedic Upanishads boosted his status in the academic world. The manuscript he now had placed in his lap was also written in a similar Abugida language, which the computer was trying to decode.

So many gaps of information meant the normal algorithms used to read the language—even those based on the famous Indian Panini models—had to be tampered with until some of it began to make sense. The novice had also made various mistakes with the consonants, which Ram had to tease out meticulously.

Three hours had passed when Pascal and the master returned to check on his progress. Without lifting his eyes, Ram began to explain: “This text must have been written in the 13th century by a monk, possibly from Sri Lankan origins.”

Sumit and his friend approached them with plastic bags swinging. They’d brought Kao Pad Gai: fried rice with chicken and bottles of Coca Cola. From the other side of the temple came Wanee singing jovially, her tune becoming more distinct with every step. She was happy that Mae Sue remained safe inside the convent.

Everyone focused their attention on Ram.

“What did you find? Have you figured out what it says?”

“I can read out to you what I know so far. Some of it may be cryptic, but it’s all I have been able to draw for now.” He elongated each syllable for clarity.

A vacuum enveloped Pascal as soon as Ram had begun; his ears closed off like a Venus Fly Trap.

He was floating above himself now, watching his own body lean forward into Ram as though wanting to swallow his words, and yet he was totally disconnected, severed from his brain and the blood feeding it. Like the steam from boiling water, he was the same substance as the liquid below but suspended in a completely different state. He observed himself from this vantage point.

In front of him, Pascal traced the huge stone stairs up to a vertical lingam, the sacred Hindu symbol of manhood. Occasionally, Ram’s words would float up to his ears.

“This year, 1840 of Buddha’s calendar, a new temple is consecrated…to the arrival of Theravada in the Khmer Kingdom… Pratum Ben festival is coming… the fifteenth day…of the tenth month…The day when the dead come to earth…

On a terrace dominating the vast wild forest, a throne overlooked the monk’s sanctuary. Its surface was beautifully carved with Hindu deities and images of Buddha. The stone seat held the Monk Emperor. A Shiva and Vishnu statue stood side by side on the sanctuary walls. The peculiar statues, unlike anything Pascal had ever seen, represented the Ying and Yang of the Hindu world: the builder and the destroyer; East and West. They both faced north towards Bhrama, the Principle of the Universe.

Back on the terrace, five women baring their torsos stood facing away from the void. Dressed as Apsaras, their mature breasts perked above their skirts that flirted with the edge as they moved.

“Aguradei…de Name.” They were reciting incantations while scooping water out of large cauldrons and sending it down the small of their back, ushering away their bad karma. Five muscular men carried a palanquin holding a golden Buddha statue that was set amongst brightly colored foods and sparkling jewelry offerings.

They had hardly finished lowering the statue into the cavity of the double-arched sanctuary when a dozen monks with white robes began chanting. The sun’s darting rays sliced through the blank faces of Khmer soldiers who formed two perfect lines.

The crowned monk sitting on the throne was Sridavarma, the new Khmer Emperor who came from Sri Lanka. He hobbled his plump body over to the Buddha to place a gold leaf on its forehead then bowed deeply. Musicians erupted into sound with the hit of a giant gong.

Pascal could see a valley below; its shape amplifying the terrific cadence. The instruments banged and twanged, swayed and strummed as if of their own accord. From its trotting pace the rhythm picked up, galloping towards the sky. Without losing élan, the vibrations lifted, violently thrashing the particles of air until the sound became a mash of indiscernible notes crashing around each other. The volume rose higher and higher still until it was a deafening pulp of sound.

And then it moved. A massive stone above the cavity began to rotate, shifting its weight into position, waiting for release. With a final smash of the large gong the stone snapped in front of the Buddha, sealing it between the huge blocks of the facade.

The gong stopped and an unnatural silence followed. Finally the cache was safely hidden from the outside world and only known to those spiritual leaders who would be handed down the secret. Without even exchanging a glance, the monks held their hands up to the heavens and shouted in complete unison:

Khali! Khali, Goddess of Destruction… accept our offering now! Be united with our Lord Buddha!” and as instructed, the five women dived into the void. The Vedic sacrifice was complete. The Khmer Empire and Theravada Buddha were now properly protected.

Still floating above the two discordant scenes, Pascal observed the procession of monks moving down the stairs as their mouths recited sutras. The music resumed to a joyful tempo; string pipas and flutes seduced the villager’s hips and everyone was dancing now, throwing sticky rice to the ground in a bid to feed the dead. After all, this was their visiting time.

And the mantra and sacred statue sat waiting for their eternity of darkness.

 

Pascal opened his eyes and felt the hard stone of the bench under his bottom. More uncomfortable for him was the gaping stares from everyone around him who were completely entranced. Contrary to what he believed, Pascal had described his vision to the group as he was experiencing it himself. The scene where he had watched both worlds unfold had been a complete illusion; he had been the storyteller all along.

Wanee was the first to expel the words:

“In your vision you just told us what archaeologists and researchers have been trying to find for decades!” She always had a way of never letting conversations become awkward.

“The Khmer culture was much more sophisticated than it seems,” she said. Not only was their civilization more technologically advanced than most at the time, but they had reached a very special kind of spirituality.” She was as effervescent as a Schweppes soda.

“Yes,” Pascal confirmed. “Of course, they must be hidden codes.”

“You see, this all tends toward the view that their understanding was at least as advanced as the Egyptians when it came to numerology, astrology and the forces of nature.” Wanee’s excitement had faded and she was almost crying. “And I am amazed that Pascal described it so clearly.”

Even though it hadn’t been obvious to him at first, the description Pascal had added immediately transported Sumit to a region he had visited in his childhood. In the nearby northern city of Champassak in Laos there was a temple that matched his exact description. Sumit had been there a few times with fishermen. It was all there: the forest, the mountain, the sanctuary, but most importantly, the statues!

He recalled Pascal’s observation of the ‘peculiar’ stone carved with exaggerated features with an almost comical appearance. He remembered how afraid he had been of them once. The correlation was so strong that there was no way he was mistaken.

His thoughts tumbled out of his mouth. “The road is challenging and access is difficult. There are wild animals everywhere and the trees, roots and vines had reclaimed much of their territory last time I was there.”

It was his turn to receive the stare of questions.

“You know where it is Sumit?” asked Wanee.

“I am almost certain. There can be no other. We have to leave immediately. I know a fisherman who will bring us along the Mekong, the River of the Drums.”

 

 

The long-tail boat meandered close to the embankments of the majestic river. This scenery held great fascination for Sumit even as a young boy. The river was decorated with a backdrop of high mountain peaks and large, unspoiled valleys. Bamboo fields along the river framed the sand beaches where Sumit used to bathe protected from the dangerous current. And everyone encountered here bore smiles as wide as the expansive water.

Laotian people were usually very open, eager to help. With only six million inhabitants, the Laotians shared vast territories compared to the Thai population’s sixty million. Their only important activity was selling hydroelectricity and wood to their needy neighbors. Industrialization had never hit them, yet.

With Wanee by his side Sumit felt as though he were embarking on a second honeymoon. Unfortunately, the truth was just as uncomfortable as the benches of the boat they sat in. And the fisherman navigating the waters was no holiday tour guide. Nevertheless, a sense of adventure energized them all.

The fisherman who was helping them reach their destination was an old friend of Sumit’s. As children they used to play in the river and invent stories for themselves when his uncle went traveling.

Life had plotted completely different paths for the two boys. Suvapoum, like his father, had entered in the fish trade. Sumit’s fate lay in the art of fighting and he was ranked in Bangkok as a star, but he always remained modest, never arrogant. He had learned to stay close to the people he loved.

Sumit’s old friends from Issan Province held a great sense of respect. Most of them were untouched by the niceties of social status. He admired his friend the fisherman who was a simple and strong character, always ready to help and give—no wonder he never got rich!

He had agreed without an ounce of hesitation to bring Sumit, his wife and his friends to the Four Thousand Lakes area near Champassak, where the haughty stone lingam stood. The colossal, oblong sex symbol from the Hindu culture was the landmark of the Wat Phu: Temple of the Mountain.

Throughout the trip the fisherman warned them about the strange and dangerous animals in the forest. Cobras were among the most welcoming of creatures. “Watch your step and do not forget the mines; those nice gifts from the Yankees who unloaded them by the millions on the Ho Chi Minh track to Vietnam.

It was not the first time Sumit had traveled here. The trip on the river reminded him of his own past; something he was now able to share with Wanee. This was the real wilderness out here, without a McDonald’s restaurant in sight.

This temple—still largely ignored in comparison to the temples of Angkor Wat—had remained largely neglected. It was still covered by the forest and entrenched beside the steep flanks of a mountain. Some efforts had been made to restore it, but even locals were afraid to stay in the vicinity, especially at night.

They flowed quietly downstream, gaping at the magnificent landscape. People’s life rhythm was so much slower here. From time to time they would come across another boat manoeuvred by a fisherman who grinned, exposing his gapped teeth and he waved at them.

Before returning the gesture, Pascal stood up without even realising.

“They are coming,” he said.

Even Suvapoum was surprised. Except for the ‘tut-tut’ of the boat’s small engine, Sumit’s warning broke the silence between them.

“I know,” agreed Pascal. “They will be here soon.” Sumit turned to the fisherman and said something quickly in Laotian, a language most similar to the Northern dialect of Issan.

He directed his attention to Pascal.

“Suvapoum says we are approaching a chute; a kind of small waterfall. It’s very rocky and dangerous when you don’t know the way. The level of water isn’t high, and he knows how to tread those waters well. There’s a swamp on your right in the bamboo. The river’s tide is high during this time of the year and there’s a passageway that will allow us to get further downstream.” Sumit paused to swallow; his throat felt quite dry. “He proposes we go that way now before nightfall, otherwise we’ll miss our chance. If somebody is following, they won’t be able to find us.” Sumit looked for Pascal’s nod of approval.

In one fell swing the driver turned the boat in the opposite direction and headed for the swamp. The fisherman’s face flushed with excitement as he prepared for his challenge. Sumit prodded Ram, who looked so worried it was too tempting to ignore.

“This is where I captured the biggest Dragon Komodo I have ever seen. It was as big as a crocodile; delicious on the barbecue.”

A vegetarian, Ram was less than impressed.

Wanee joined in the fun: “I read somewhere that they like to jump on board.”

Ram wedged away from the edge rapidly, shifting his weight towards the middle of the boat and clinging onto Pichai’s arm. He looked up at the laughing faces around him and attempted to recompose himself.

“Oh, so funny isn’t it! You won’t be laughing when you become their lunch,” he snapped.

Just as the foliage above began to thicken, they heard the distinct rumble of a powerful engine resonating from the river behind.

“You were right,” marveled the fisherman. “How did you do that?”

“Oh don’t pay attention to that guy,” said Sumit. “He is a Pisces and they’re just very sensitive.” His last word came with a cheeky smirk.

The fisherman cut his engine to a low gurgle; just enough to keep them moving. Its sound was no louder than the millions of buzzing insects approaching them from behind the bamboo curtain.

Ram, who had particularly sensitive skin, was scratching away furiously at the welting mosquito bites.

“Here,” said Sumit, “slap that on before they eat you alive.”

Wanee, whose pale skin was turning pink, grabbed the cream.

They were well hidden, but from their position they were able to see out onto the main river. Several minutes later, as the noise of the engine grew louder, they spotted a large navy patrol boat cruise by. Laos had little capital in reserve, but what it did have was an army: the LPN, courtesy of the country’s paranoid leader. As they came closer, Pascal and his crew could see men grouped around a very tall figure.

“Shit! That’s the giant,” whispered Sumit. “How did they find us? And what the hell are they doing with the Navy?”

Sumit knew the answer but wasn’t sure about his source, so he had decided to hold back some information so as not to panic everyone.

“I can’t be sure of this, but it seems that this can be the only answer: I believe they may be a Russian gang I was told about by a friend who…. He told me this group is well known and very well paid. It looks like they have connections “

“But how come they know where we are?” asked Pascal.

“They have probably been following us since Bangkok, but I am not sure where they got their information from, and I couldn’t be sure about who was paying them.”

“We were so cautious not to use our telephones, so how could they trace us?” asked Sumit. “Anyway we will find out later. Right now we have to move smart and fast.”

The fisherman reassured Sumit, who translated:

“The boat from the navy cannot go through the chutes at this season. They know it and they will stop at a small pier over there. They will have to transfer their passengers and equipment to a smaller boat like ours which is probably already waiting for them, but it will be night very soon and we have time to reach Champassak before they do.” The fisherman’s eyes were shining with pride.

“Within two hours we’ll disembark on a small jetty that’s not far from a small dirt track that is a short cut to the temple. My nephew will have a jeep and some equipment at the jetty to take you into the jungle. Once you get there you will have to walk though. My nephew will guide you.”

“He’ll have good boots, thick pants, ropes and some lights for you, but no weapons!”

The fisherman looked at Sumit and pointed at Wanee.

“Are you sure you want to go?” Sumit asked her.

“I can do it; barefoot even!” she replied.

Sumit was decided.

“If we want to take advantage of their delay we have to go now; tonight. Are we ready?”

Ram’s reply was a shy but brave smile. Wanee looked at her feet; perplexed.

The roar of the speedboat engine faded and the fisherman accelerated to maximum power; they had to get there first.

Pascal’s wristwatch ticked past seven o’clock, but the darkness had already invaded. Fortunately, they reached the fisherman’s nephew and the jeep before it had started to rain and therefore raincoats and high boots protected them. Occasionally, flashes of lightning illuminated the thick water curtain in front of them. Behind it, sinister shadows hid, seeking shelter from the strong wind.

The heat was almost unbearable in their plastic raincoats. Along with their sweat, they felt strange insects crawling down their necks and pants. Everyone was frightened.

Ram’s shaky voice kept repeating:

“Don’t let our guide escape; don’t let him escape.” But he continued to advance steadily, with determination.

Wanee was suffocating; the heat was too much for her. She decided to tear off the raincoat’s hood. The temperatures wouldn’t have her to die of pneumonia, but she was afraid she would asphyxiate. She kept the plastic around her vest only. Sumit didn’t know many other women who would be so unrelenting in their quest for knowledge; her curiosity was driving her.

They continued on foot, as it was too dangerous to go by car. The fisherman’s nephew had told him there was a much easier, but longer route that had been created by UNESCO but they would be too exposed so he suggested a shortcut.

It was a nightmare. They had been gone from the jeep fifteen minutes when the track was inundated by a torrent of storm water.

“It’s only a half-hour walk,” he’d said. If he were right, there would only be fifteen minutes left to go.

He was right.

They were exhausted when they reached a huge silhouette of a large and imposing dark structure emerged in front of them; the halo of the full moon projected its outline.

What a sinister sight, thought Pascal. The sense of relief was palpable as Pascal expressed with astonishment, “The Sanctuary!”

“No, not yet,” said the guide. “This is only the first palace; it’s almost a ruin now. Look here and here: the walls are crumbling away.” He was waving his torch around, pointing to the weak foundations. He sent the light from the torch above them, beaming towards the darkness ahead.

“The sanctuary you are looking for is above you, halfway up the top where the lingam stands. Be careful! The stairs here are extremely dangerous and many rocks are covered in moss so they are slippery. In fact most are missing; stolen over the years. It is very easy to slip into the void below.”

“Here.” He handed them a rope. “Better keep together, and for your own safety hold onto to the rope at all times.”

Always ready for a joke, Sumit could not miss the opportunity to interject: “Fasten your belts and don’t smoke in the toilets!”

They began the climb—a feat that was considerably easier than the track they had crossed to get there. They arrived at a large terrace at the top where they admired the breathtaking and scary view of the gloomy forest lit by the moon’s rays.

Although most of the crew signaled feelings of elation, when Pascal realized where he was, he fell into a frenzy.

“The terrace! This is the one; this is the place of my vision!” They all stood in front of a magnificent double arch that was half in ruins. A Buddha statue was standing there.

The guide brought out the tool kit he had anchored to his backpack and indicated to everyone to get started on the stonewall behind the statue. They began hacking away, but despite their furious efforts nothing moved. They had followed Pascal’s every instruction, believing that their answer was just in front of them—and yet nothing was happening.

“All this for nothing!” whimpered Wanee, who bowed her head only to notice her mud-soaked shoes. “These picks and shovels are useless! We’ll have to go back completely empty-handed.”

“Mekong, this river… Mae klong,” Pascal said aloud. “The klong! The river! There’s something else here.” He stood completely still with his neck poking out, a sign of his concentration. “The River of the Gongs; the offerings for Kali!”

Sumit and his friend were feeling that their puzzlement with Pascal was beginning to become habitual. “What’s happened to him?” asked Pichai.

Without paying attention to his remark Pascal took out his mobile phone: a relatively large and clunky orange Nokia. He had bought it for its durability and because it was waterproof. He pressed a few keys and a low hum could be heard. The small noise gradually became more audible and they all began to hear it: the vibrations of gongs. Pascal placed his vibrating phone in the middle of the big stone supporting the reclining Buddha.

Then, a weird and wonderful event took place. The tiny sound coming from the telephone started to amplify and resonate with the mountains around, echoing in the valleys and getting stronger and stronger. Soon it was almost as powerful as a thunderstorm, and wave after wave, the sound vibrations permeated the atmosphere. No one could move; they were frozen with shock.

Just as Wanee felt the scream rising in her throat, a faint beam of light from the full moon landed on the Buddha statue. The giant stone behind it began to shift, turning slowly.

To everyone’s amazement the stone had pivoted completely and uncovered a cache, revealing a golden statue that was glowing as though illuminated from within.

With one swift move, Pascal rushed and pulled it out with all his strength. As soon as the statue escaped its niche, the noise around them ceased completely and the stone pivoted back at great speed, missing Pascal’s fingers by milliseconds.

The recess was sealed for yet another eternity once more.

“What just happened? How did you know?” asked Ram.

“Oh it was very simple,” explained Pascal. “It is thanks to you and our yoga practice. We have endured very long sessions of tiring exercises together and afterwards, when we had to unwind our tense and shaking bodies, we lay down for deep relaxation: Shiva Sena. The yogis used the sound of the gong to help achieve total respite.”

Ram was still incredibly perplexed. “Yes but that still doesn’t explain…”

“It struck me when I saw the Buddha lying on the stone,” cut in Pascal. “The idea had probably sat in my mind for a long time, hidden in the darkness of my mind’s inner chamber—just as that Buddha had been hidden for all these years. I was just waiting for the moment to materialise.”

“Actually,” he said, “it is only a rare phenomenon of physics.”

“Still…,” asked Ram, “how could you know it would resonate with such force?”

“Well, that’s the other thing. In Salt Lake City the Mormons have built a very special church they call the Tabernacle. I remember being completely amazed when I visited it because from the lecturing theatre you could let a pin fall on the floor and everyone in the entire church would be able to hear it with utmost clarity even though there were no speakers.”

“You mean like the ‘whispering gallery’ in St Paul’s Cathedral?” asked Wanee.

“Yes, a marvel of acoustics; a simple physical occurrence. That’s exactly what just happened. The terrace, and more exactly the Buddha’s location, was the epicentre of the vibrations. When Ram read the manuscript I didn’t get the full meaning of the cache’s opening, but it all came to me together with the memory of The Tabernacle.”

Ram was not convinced. “But how can vibrations make such a heavy stone revolve?”

“Now here I can only guess,” said Pascal. “Perhaps it is just the nature of this strange and wondrous universe. With such intense vibrations, unknown dark energies coupled with the magnetism of a full moon may have multiplied the effect. There had to be some kind of synergy with the vibrations and most certainly, a cosmic event we were unaware of; perhaps some kind of alignment. The Stonehenge arrangement had to be built in this way; there are many things primitive cultures invented which were just not so primitive. Some we may never know.”

“Our old civilisation probably had more knowledge about the forces of the universe than we do,” interrupted the guide in his native Khmer language.

Wanee broke her silence to add: “The understanding of a perfect harmony with the universe, the power to manipulate vibrations from the cosmos—all this had been rumoured to be the expertise of the Khmer civilisation. They may have even known more than we do now, but there is little evidence left. The technical explanation of the magic event we just witnessed might just be pure hypothesis, but cosmology has always played a central role in ancient religions. Don’t be mistaken when you admire all these fantastic carvings from the Khmer temples. They’re not just an attraction-park deco. That’s why we are still so fascinated; we have been told that the strange elliptic designs we find on old edifices, pyramids, temples and palaces from past cultures seem to be consistent and may symbolize some pattern of the universe.”

“For the Khmer culture, it is the same. All these statues and carvings are, in fact, coded information: Shiva, Vishnu and Buddha were only easy-to-understand images of a different reality, designed to educate the commoners. These old masters had recognized that deities were living symbols only of the interconnections between vibrations of matter, mind and energy fields from earth to the infinite galaxies.”

Wanee stopped herself, realizing her tendency to lecture. It was all too much to take in after what had just happened. Still shocked by what seemed to be a ‘miracle’’, they all turned their attention to their discovery: the golden statue.

On its back, as it is usual to find at the back of Buddha statues, was a cache, a small hole, covered by a bronze plate,.

They removed the plate to find a dark, sticky object the size of a man’s wallet. With delicate fingers, Wanee pulled out the object and displayed it on a flat stone corner.

It was Sumit’s turn to educate,

“This is the way the Chinese monks protected their documents for posterity. This was how the book of Kung Fu practice was discovered in the tomb of Da Mao, the Master from Sao Lin Temple. Two boxes were found in his coffin. One box was empty, but the other one had the Book of Practice written on carved bamboo leaves that were wrapped in waxed fabric to preserve it for later practice.”

“We shouldn’t open or compress that object now. We have to use a gradual warming process so as not to break the small palm leaves inside. One thing is for sure, this is what the Mantrayana is looking for,” said Wanee.

They had almost forgotten about the group chasing them when they heard the enormous bang from a gunshot, followed by another rain of bullets ricocheting on the stones around them from automatic machine guns. People were shouting from below and they saw the lights of torches surrounding them.

“My god,” exclaimed Ram, “they must have seen everything. We are encircled and they know we have found the statue and the old mantra!”

During the trip Ram had never felt very motivated by the story and was not concerned with it so much as he was about Ma Sue’s safety. If the mob had found them out here, there was no way she could be safe. He declared bluntly:

“This is the wish of Brahman. Why risk our lives for old manuscripts? We must show the white flag.”

Sumit was furiously talking with the guide.

“There is a way I remember going when I was a kid. We have to climb to the top, but it will be lethal if you don’t listen to me carefully. Just below the sacred sculpture on the top there is a hidden excavation and stairs that bring us to a small cave. It is impossible to find if you don’t know about it and under which rock the entrance lies. Come, we must go there now.”

Everyone rushed to the top, grabbing the rope to avoid falling and scratching their knees on the jagged steps. More shots were fired, but they were not aiming at precise targets. The group was almost invisible because the facade protected them and the moon was lighting the other side of the slope.

Pichai felt an incredible sting in his right arm; a bullet had scraped his shoulder. He ignored it as much as possible despite the pain. He would tend to it later.

Panting and exhausted, they reached the lingam.

Sumit and the guide gave them details with every move.

“From here we go down to the cave, which opens to the drop, once we get down there we will have to wait until morning whan we can escape to the jungle.”

Sumit was also trying to comfort them.

“This way was a route the Buddhists monks used during the wars between the Khmer the other ethnic warriors when the Empire collapsed. We have no choice but to sleep here until daylight. There may be snakes and spiders, but we have no choice. At least, we will be safe from the hostiles.”

Ram was beginning to regret not surrendering as he was still anxious about Ma Sue, but the situation could have been worse and the approaching hostiles’ shouts forced them to forget the cave’s inconvenience.

Sumit had found the entrance and removed the heavy stone blocking the way to the small staircase below the lingam. Fortunately, with the help of Pascal and Ram they managed to roll the heavy stone back once everyone had passed. Pichai was really feeling the pain from his gunshot now. Strong, angry voices were approaching.

Pressed together in the tiny opening in the rocks they could see the torches beaming everywhere and heard the men’s disappointed grunts.

“Sorry we missed ya, damn baboons!” whispered Sumit to his friend.

Someone tickled Ram.

“Did you feel that spider Ram?”

Wanee too had lightened up, teasing Pascal. “There won’t be any croissants tomorrow morning.” Humour was a privilege of friendship; one that was growing between them all.

 

They had found the first mantra!

 

SEASON 3: CONSPIRACY

 

 

Strong intuition may sometimes manifest itself at the most inconvenient of times becoming a disjointed piece that has no partners in the puzzle of the present.

Pascal and Ram—each for different reasons—could not share the feeling of optimism following the discovery of the first mantra and sank into an apprehensive state. On their way back to the “Temple of the Forest” both men sulked in silence.

For Ram, his distress was clear. He had no news from Ma Sue, whom he had endeavoured to protect. The link may not have been obvious to others, but Ram felt inextricably bound to her and by way of his ethical disposition, could not dispel his duty of guardianship.

Pascal’s reservations were not articulating themselves clearly to him. Coupled with his bad mood was his puzzlement at Ram’s reticence. Normally Pascal could make some kind of joke to tease him out of it, but on this occasion no such joke was inspired.

Having spent the night in the cave below the lingam of the Wat Phu temple, Pascal’s body felt limp and drained. This was not at all what bothered him, however. A sense of danger; of impending disaster was flowing into his veins like a weak poison. He was terrified and unable to explain why.

His answer came as soon as the group returned to the temple. The alarming sensation materialized when all the monks came running towards them, tears gushing out of their normally serene faces.

“The Ajahn, the venerated teacher, “Luang Po Chana” has been abducted by a squad of obviously fake monks pretending to bring him in to a secure place. We have been set up!.”

Ram felt no logical thoughts penetrate his brain and his body followed his legs, which had already begun running towards the women’s temple. He arrived only to find out that Ma Sue had also disappeared. Rarely was there a situation that Ram did not rejoice in being proved right. He wished so much this time that what he had feared since the beginning he had been entirely wrong.

On receiving the news of his uncle, Sumit remained totally in shock; the muscles in his forehead shrunk into his hairline. He was completely unable to speak. After several seconds his contained emotion erupted. His face now white and worn, Sumit’s adrenaline had replaced his normal and usual serenities. He experienced a rage that he could not control in spite of his efforts to remain calm. He had to bow to the rock solid reality of his human nature and could not deny the animal within him. It was sometimes difficult to keep guard of it, to stay calm, but all that he could think and feel in his body was that he was ready for attack.

Ram was both livid and petrified and sunk quickly into a well of deep despair.

All this could have been avoided had they arrived but half an hour earlier. The monks kept pointing their fingers in the direction taken by two powerful army jeeps that carried the heavily armed men.

The Novice Bikkhu was the only one able to keep his calm and be able to explain what had occurred. “The Ajahn was teaching as usual when two vehicles drove directly into the compound, which is strictly forbidden. That’s how we knew we were being attacked. The first car was a large four-wheel drive driven by a soldier in uniform.”

He kept his voice monotone to mask an anxiety, perhaps. “His vehicle was full of men wearing saffron robes and who were unusually athletic. The driver of an army jeep was a Caucasian with short hair, beady eyes, big ears, and a sharp, small mouth.

Pascal flinched at the description, surprised at the fluidity of comparison offered by the monk.

“Next to him an old woman with many missing teeth. She looked was dirty and had her skull shaved. She was wearing the nun’s attire and was shouting to a skinny young Thai man. In the back were two other farangs. Sandwiched between the short men was an English-looking man, almost elegant, with thick glasses and a moustache, too big for his tiny face.

His pinky-tan flesh and blue eyes resembled a British military officer from the Gurkhas.

The Bhikkhu explained that as soon as they arrived, the first to step out of the vehicle was an old Thai man with black-rimmed glasses. He was dressed in monk’s clothing, which hung on his emaciated body.

“Only now do I realize that he looked just like a Hong Kong movie mobster. He approached our master slowly and said, ‘We have to protect you’. His instruction was given in such a soft voice. ‘Luang we have orders from High Command in Bangkok and the priest chief of Wat Kiaw.’ We could never refuse this as that is our main Temple!” exclaimed the desolate Bhikkhu.

“Two strong monks got out of the car and grabbed the Luang Po on each side. They pushed him disrespectfully into the four-wheel drive, tightly compressed between two other heavily built monks that we knew looked bizarre with their golden watches. On the other side, the old woman was getting very excited and she asked for directions to the nun convent.”

“We could do nothing but pray!” lamented the choir of monks.

Pascal immediately attempted to call the police station, but oddly, the line was disconnected.

“Where have the army vehicles gone?” urged Sumit.

“They went deep into the forest, through a short cut track to the main road,” said the Bhikkhu as he pointed to a path at the back of the main temple.

With every muscle and emotion, Sumit managed to regain self-control and reacted with lightning reflexes. He knew this area as though it were an extension of him. He knew that there was one man he could use who would help them: the elephant mahout from the forest village. He was their leader and a long-time friend who would not let him down.

After a rapid phone call he knew he would not stand corrected.

“No problem,” the mahout had said. “All my men like you and have a great respect for the Ajahn. We will stop these guys in the forest; it is a matter of pride for our people.”

“Be careful,” warned Sumit, “They are heavily armed.” He filled them with every detail they needed to know before continuing.

“I know you can manage by yourselves better than we could. Nevertheless, I’m thinking of a different path that we could use to approach the hostiles with my car. You know the point just before the waterfall drops? We can drive there, walk from that fall and cut their path. Your camp is in the North if I remember correctly?”

“That memory has never failed you Sumit,” replied the mahout.

“Our trail will be following their path on the west side. We will keep in touch all the way.”

Bo Pei niang,” said the Mahout to Sumit in Laotian dialect. “Don’t worry Sumit, it is not like a boxing ring for champions. You know we have our special ways to take care of people like that. Let us bring Ajahn back to his temple. Come and join us if you can. Besides, you know how much the Ajahn loves elephants; this time he might even let you put him on an animal’s neck!”

His humour had re-ignited once more at the thought of Ajahn, whose personality, shall we say, was not complementary to elephant riding.

As soon as Sumit knew his friends were going to intercept the hostiles he motioned his own team to join him in the four-wheel drive. He refused Wanee a place in the car.

“We know that you are the boss, but that is why you must stay out of danger. Please!” he implored.

Wanee, who was generally always so adamant to join, understood there was no point in fighting this time so she lowered her head in acceptance.

Having regained his calm, Pascal warned Sumit. “We have to be very careful. These guys behave like they’re in a commando movie. They seem to be heavily armed and they are trained operatives. Who knows where they really come from? For sure, there is a powerful foreign involvement.”

The trail was not too difficult at the beginning but they had to be cautious and silent. Sometimes big rocks obstructed their progress. They had no guns and these people were professional, enraged by their previous defeats and most definitely happy to shoot at them freely. They had to be extremely careful not to reach them before the Mahout’s men were able to intercept them. If the timing were off, there would be no way for them to return alive.

As they were approaching the armed men, Sumit noticed a moving human form crossing the dirt path in front of them and collapsing just in front of their car.

“Stop!” yelled Ram, always the first to voice his fear. They halted abruptly.

“Who is that man?”

Before Sumit was able to finish his question, Pascal had jumped out of the vehicle and approached the body of the crumpled man who lay face down in the mud. He was completely immobile; a pool of blood was forming rapidly around his waist.

He is bleeding from his vitals, thought Pascal.

Ram’s trepidation was apparent, but his training as a doctor saw him jumping out of the car with haste as he was used to handling emergencies of this kind. He immediately rushed to take care of the inanimate form and rolled him gently onto his back with Pascal’s help.

“Noi? I can’t believe that it’s my nurse from Mae Sot,” exclaimed Pascal. “What is he doing here?”

The wounded, bony man was still conscious and his lips started to pulsate. His eyes looked as though they had been pierced with sunlight. The moment of recognition was stinging Noi into a state of repentance.

“Oh Pascal, I am so sorry,” whispered Noi as he trembled. “Sorry for my treason to you. I thought you were the bad ones. That’s what Lek had told me at the camp. She said you had stolen documents that belonged to the military and she asked me to find them and spy on you. She said her life was in danger if I could not help her. I believed her because she said she loved me and I loved her. But she… she sold me to the gang. She did not care for me at all.”

Blood gurgled out of his throat and he coughed out droplets of blood that stained Pascal and Ram’s cheeks.

“I am so stupid. They were all lies. I should have understood that she still loved Boon. I should have known it was about revenge,” he cried.

Ram’s eyes were almost outside of his skull his pupils dilated with disbelief.

“How could Lek… oh the beautiful and evil Lek…” Noi attempted to finish his words, but a flow of blood spilled out instead.

Pascal looked at Ram who was staring into Noi’s pained eyes. Ram looked back at Pascal; both exchanged a look of mutual understanding.

With the last of his energy, Noi exclaimed:

“She, she, she…ordered these butchers to finish me. I had already given all the information they wanted about you. They didn’t need to kill me. I am so sorry..” he was sobbing, his face dripping with blood, saliva, tears, and sweat, that was pooling on the ground below him.

“Calm down; we are going to save you.” Ram tried to calm the dying man but at the same time he was looking into Pascal’s impassible face. All three men knew that there was nothing they could do to save him. An internal haemorrhage was sucking the blood from his body and his spine was broken. He gurgled pockets of vomit marbled with blood.

The only thing they could do now was ease his pain. Ram had brought the emergency kit with him and was already injecting him with a powerful dose of tranquilliser. Noi’s eyeballs rolled into his skull; the jelly whites exposing themselves to the sky.

“Ram, please stay with him,” asked Sumit. “We have to keep moving. We must find my uncle and Ma Sue before they do the same to them.”

They left Ram with Noi and continued deep into the forest. Sumit, who had lived with elephants, was the first to hear them like distant trumpets cascading from the distance.

As usual Pascal was also feeling the vibrations from the armoured cars that were not far either.

“Don’t you think we should stop the car and walk?” he asked.

“Yes, they will hear the engine very soon. Let’s stay in the shadow of these trees and hide over there.”

The brass-like trumpeting from the elephants signified that they were approaching.

The group crouched down in the thick foliage and waited. Suddenly, something crashed behind them from the lower branches of a tree. Petrified, Pascal turned around ready to fight, but Sumit held his arm firmly. He had immediately recognized one of the mahouts, a muscular and dark figure wearing only a sarong, was staring at them with apprehension. The man, still crouched on his heels from the jump, stood up slowly and addressed Sumit in the local dialect—almost as a test. They exchanged information very quickly as the man threw his arms in several directions, indicating everyone’s position. Two minutes later he grimaced a wide smile and ran back into the greenery.

“What is it? What’s happening?” asked Pascal, eager to gain control of the situation.

“No need to panic. The mahout says the hostiles are only three hundred meters ahead. They will have to turn just before reaching a low pass under the trees and go through a small river. An elephant will be standing several meters beyond the curve, blocking the way. Their cars will be forced to slow down, if not stop completely. That’s where they have prepared the trap.”

“How do we know this is going to work? What if they just run the animal down?”

“We don’t have any other choice Pascal. For the time being we must not do anything and trust the mahouts. We can climb to that hill over there on the right; it’s a good vantage point. But we can’t make any noise; everything must look natural.”

From their height, Pascal noticed a flurry of movement below, where the convoy had arrived at the curve. They hadn’t managed to stop their cars in time and bumped the elephant, which started to agitate his trump nervously. Even from this distance, both Sumit and Pascal suddenly heard a giant crash. The first vehicle had plummeted into a prepared hole, causing a ruckus. The second car bumped into the first, falling on its side. It all happened very quickly, and after a moment of registering silence, they heard cries and then the terrible racket of a machine gun. Seconds later, the gray form of the elephant could be seen falling into the hole, smashing the vehicle below.

“We have to go, the hostages are in danger!” yelled Sumit as he sprung up.

Almost a hundred meters from the scene, Pascal saw men running in all directions. As they came closer, they saw two men tearing off the sleeve of a young girl who managed to escape their grip. She was running in Pascal’s direction. The men, probably the farangs described by the Bhikkhu, held out their pistols but did not shoot her.

The other hostage, the old Ajahn, was calmly but hurriedly making his way in their direction. His back was straight and his pose was dignified. The hostiles were running in frenzy and were taking refuge in the forest.

Elephants had gathered, magnetized to the largest member of the herd who had fallen into the set-up trap. The command car was turned upside down.

Even while attempting to run away, the assailants were very well organized. As soon as they disappeared behind a small hill the noise of propellers passed overhead. A helicopter had found them to bring them to safety. They had succeeded a way out, but they had once more failed in their mission.

Sumit and his loyal friends, who were now rejoicing in their victory, found it a perfect occasion to mock them by mimicking a Russian dance and smiling at each other.

“Hey Karamazov Brothers, you have lost again. Give your pig soul to the devil!”

 

 

 

If you want to have a friend in Washington D.C., get a dog.”

President Truman

 

 

Back in Bangkok, Sumit had received a call from Boon, his assistant nurse from the Mae Sot Camp. His call came as a surprise as no one had heard from Boon for at least two days when he disappeared from Sumit’s training place. It could only be assumed that he was hiding, afraid of the gang, but more importantly, to be denounced to the police by Lek.

Noi, the nurse they found agonising in the forest, had whispered, before he died, that Lek was in love with Boon and became frustrated when she realized he had left without giving any news. The usual saga of Thai women jealousy at is peak.

Boon didn’t elaborate on the phone. All he managed to convey was an urgency of tone.

“I know who he is, the mastermind behind the Burmese operation. Be extremely careful. I will leave you a message early tomorrow morning. Be ready.”

Pascal’s wanted to meet with Boon. Sumit didn’t really agree, but Pascal was adamant.

Next day an anonymous messenger delivered a note to Sumit’s house. It read: “General Pong, soi Tevek, 8 a. m. Pakong Talad. I will be there. Boon.”

Sumit was terrified.

“Pascal, I know this man. He is very powerful and can crush you any time. I recognize that address near the famous flower market. It may be a trap!”

But he couldn’t change Pascal’s determination to follow his intuition.

“You see, Sumit, it is more a military invitation than a gang style correspondence.”

Sumit gave up trying to stop Pascal, but promised to follow, undercover.

The fact that Boon would also be in attendance was hard to fathom, but Pascal knew he had to go and that he had to be there on time. He did remember Placido telling him to be extremely careful, so today there was only time for a quick shower, but no yoga or leisurely breakfast. At 7 a.m. the traffic was already jam-packed and his taxi was moving nowhere. He jumped out to hail a motorbike taxi and showed the driver the address written in Thai on a piece of paper.

“Oh, Oh!,” the driver exclaimed, fixing up his belt. “You go to the General Pong palace?” He grinned whilst handing Pascal a helmet.

“Lucky you! Everybody knows him; he is a very important man!”

The motorbike driver took off, almost forcing Pascal off the seat. Reflex caused him to hang onto the driver like a desperate little girl.

Pascal was now staring at Boon, who was somewhat nervous. It was only an hour ago that he had received the message. He was finding it hard to remain patient while listening to his host, this bizarre authoritarian regale stories that were totally unrelated to the purpose of their meeting. The arrogant old man in front of them would not cease to vomit paradiddle tales.

“What is history, if not a recollection of events written afterwards by the conquerors? Nothing is more unpredictable than history. The truth is generally not necessary to create a legend, but a legend is necessary to create a spirit of community,” he raved.

Pascal’s powers of meditation were truly finding application here.

“Baghdad, as we have said, was the most sophisticated city in the world, and the biggest one too. It was the capital of the “Abassides”, the Muslim dominance in the region and built more than one thousand years ago by the powerful Caliph “Al Mansour”. He ordered the best architects of that period at a time when the developed countries were uncivilised, living in mud and straw huts.”

“Yes but….” Pascal couldn’t manage to interrupt the old man.

Before their meeting had begun, Pascal had been warned to show the utmost respect for this man.

“This man will give us the information we need,” insisted Boon.

Even though Pascal knew very little of the man, the stench of his hypocrisy was undeniable.

“ I have always been very good at making speeches and not just because of my English education at a famous British Academy.”

His chin was slightly more raised at this last comment, directed especially to Boon and Pascal. He sat in an elegant historical colonial palace—more of a mansion with carved columns—located next to the Grand Palace in Bangkok’s historical center.

Both the visitors were comfortably settled in Lutyens benches out on the veranda, enjoying their morning tea. They were surrounded by the magnificent tropical garden overlooking the river. The old man had stood up now, and was pacing in front of them.

Pascal wondered what he had hoped to gain from this encounter. What was the point in listening to a retired general’s speech on historical and political tribulations? Of course the tea was excellent and the view of the river charming, but was he just wasting his time—or was this a diversion? He kicked himself for not even weighing up the options, but this didn’t seem likely as Boon looked at ease.

These were the thoughts bouncing around in Pascal’s head when he failed to notice the general’s stance. He was looking straight into Pascal eyes, waiting for him to register his stare.

“Boon is with us, he’s on our team, “he said

“What team are you talking about?” asked Pascal, completely startled.

“Do not interrupt! Listen!” he barked again.

“Listen to which lecture this time,” exhaled Pascal.

The old man ignored the remark.

“Khun Boon is helping us to fight against a serious political and strategic menace. Someone is trying to develop secret biological weaponry. Let him explain why we asked you to come on such short notice.”

Boon stood up and spoke with a clear, strong voice.

“Pascal, I’m sorry I could not explain everything to you on the phone.”

“For several years now I have been working undercover for this man organization.

“You are a spy?”

“I am sorry Pascal but there was no need to let you know and besides, it is too dangerous. A few years ago I heard some rumours that had spread in Yangon about the preparation of a very advanced scientific program sponsored by a secret group, controlled by ambitious and unscrupulous businessmen. I did not know what they were preparing.

I also heard that they were building of a new laboratory near the capital along the Irrawaddy River. I reported this discovery to this man, my superior, and the information was sent by top priority to London.”

“But why didn’t you tell me?” asked Pascal.

“Impossible,” interrupted the old man. “Boon had been recruited by MI6 directly and he was under strict instructions for secrecy. I happen to know them very well.”

You slimy liar, thought Pascal. You have learnt their language and received training from them. Why don’t you just admit you’re an informant for the British?

“Through his contacts in the army, Boon discovered the location of that giant secret laboratory, which is very well secured and secluded, and of course he reported it back to us. He couldn’t find a way to penetrate its security however. He only had general information about experiments they had been conducting on live humans. Monks were the main target,” explained the old man.

“Yes Pascal, at night the bodies were cremated in a neighbouring temple where the community had been placed under strict security. It was shocking, but I found it impossible to obtain more details on the laboratory’s exact activities. I couldn’t figure out their program or clarify the technology involved.”

“So,” Pascal broke out, unable to contain his words, “imagine your surprise when somebody like me, a simple foreign doctor, was able to rescue one of the lab researchers who escaped. And a Biologist! What a wonderful coincidence for you! Oh, and what chance; Boon was with me!”

“Exactly,” agreed the old man, completely oblivious to Pascal’s sarcastic tone.

“And so tell me,” enquired Pascal, “why should London be interested in the small mafia type activity of greedy business men?

Catching onto his behaviour, the old man put on his mask of diplomacy.

“Well, we have reasons to believe that is an international matter. Weapons may be involved and London has a role to protect England’s borders and allies from any potential threat. They had to have MI6 check…”

“And then what?” argued Pascal.

“You must hold on old boy; there is more.”

Pascal was flabbergasted by the old man’s term of address; he was more English than the English themselves!

“Even though we could not uncover the details of the secret laboratory operations, we discovered something far more important. Our spy satellites had recorded intense activity and exchange of information during the last two years with an other important private research centres in Mumbai, abut we still could not locate exactly the origin.”

“Do you know what it means?” asked the lecturer.

“Well no. Sorry; I have no idea,” answered Pascal.

“Not so smart now, are you Doctor?” responded the man.

Pascal wished so much to mute that little man’s voice; his presence was grating.

“It is evidence which demonstrates that a major secret scientific and dangerous research collaboration is being developed between these two private labs, may be creating new biological weapons, and probably with designs to sell the discoveries covertly to the military powers of the BRIC.

Boon was trying to pacify Pascal’s obvious distaste for the man by speaking as much as possible.

And it meant that they might have discovered a technology applied to the brain, worse than biological weapons. We had to know what.”

“But,” interrupted Pascal again, “I heard that The Department of Advance Technology, famous for creating the World Wide Web and GPS tracking systems, are much involved in similar experiments to control people!”

“Of course,” said the old man. “That’s why they discern that competitive research as a huge threat Pascal, and they fear that their competitors might be ahead of them.”

 

For few minutes Pascal drank his tea slowly, trying to assemble these new pieces into the puzzle.

“What is the threat, exactly?” asked Pascal.

Boon sat back into his chair and replied, “The problem is that we still don’t know for sure. After U. Aung Win was assassinated in the Mae Sot camp we received information that suggested the weapon he was working might not be biological. In fact, it seemed much more pernicious and powerful. The understanding now is that some of the most advanced physics theories are being applied.”

“Of course, MI6 London was immediately informed; they contacted the English Government and the White House. Even The Department of Research of the Pentagon, had been working on it. Trust me when I say that everyone is interested in the matter,” the general placed particular emphasis on the word…

“But in Washington, the President’s inner circle decided not to wait. They instructed all of their agencies including the FBI, CIA, and Homeland Security to take precautionary measures. They’ve been ruffling feathers, so to speak.”

“This explains why they detained the Esoteric Buddhist Master in Los Angeles, which I’m sure you heard about. They probably had some cowboy in their ranks feeling like a movie superstar who wants to show his heroic determination to save the planet in 24 hours.

Initially bored and irritated, Pascal was now totally alert and captivated by the meeting. The scope of his adventure was extending far beyond what he could ever imagine. A clash of the Titans seemed to be unfolding before his very eyes.

“So what can I do? Why are you telling me this?” he asked the old man. “I am just one doctor amongst many in an aid organization. Some people say I have some spiritual capacities, but that’s all.” His shoulders remained hunched.

“Exactly, your capacities are what we are interested in.”

Pascal’s muscles loosened in surprise.

“You have to collaborate with us; we need to know what they prepare and where it happens and your information is much more updated than ours.”

Were they referring to the video? Pascal’s suspicion was taking shape.

To drive his point home the general thrust his hips forward.

“I hope you realise we cannot let any government develop some control threatening program we are not aware of” he said, pointing to his own temple as though he were the main target.

“No?” asked Pascal. “Isn’t that what most governments do anyway?”

The general jutted his left foot out a little more quietly this time, but with the same amount of pomp he replied.

“Yes, right indeed; but only to a certain extent.” He felt the need to add, “But this is not the right time to elaborate, anyway.”

“Then let’s not waste time,” said Pascal calmly, like a parent who, aware of their power, feels no need to raise their voice. “Let’s imagine you are right and you are the people who are willing to neutralise that threat to all of humanity. Then, of course I am ready to help.”

Pascal considered that such involvement could help Mayumi and Placido at a moment they were defenceless and isolated. This was something he was not happy to do, however, he personally did not have any inclination towards organizations serving their government own hidden agendas.

“And one more concern, if you really want to protect the citizens of the world. You need to take care of Ma Sue, the Burmese biologist’s daughter and my friend Ram, who are both in great danger from dangerous gangs in Thailand. Keep in mind that Ram is also an expert in codification—specifically in “Abugida” Sanskrit encryption—you might find him useful in deciphering old scriptures, which seems to be what we need now. They both need to leave the country immediately. Can MI6 assure their protection in London?”

“I am entitled to take necessary measures,” replied the old man, irked that he was being ordered around.“As to my movements,” continued Pascal, “I, too, will have to travel soon, although my itinerary is not fixed. Today, I want to finish talking to some people here in Bangkok. However, I want to receive confirmation from MI6 in London for all of this.”

Pascal was taking precautions. If he was going to work with them directly, he needed to keep some privacy. He needed to visit Mayumi in Italy, but he didn’t want her name even mentioned within the scheme of things. His tone suddenly became more strident.

“Please let me know if you accept my conditions. If so I will collaborate.”

The old man swung his body towards Boon, as though offended by his friend’s behaviour. It was always easy to blame those around you instead of those actually responsible.

,“Very well then,” he replied, clearly irritated. He turned away, staring into the glowing river. “We will contact you tonight.” He left the room swiftly, clearly vexed. An old oriental man could not lose face.

On his way back, Pascal noticed a Black Toyota. Was it a coincidence that the man seated in the back resembled Bo Badan, the Mafioso? Pascal started to be scared. He realized that, if true, the information he had just received from Boon and the old man was a time bomb. But was it true?

Was that new conspiracy just a story from the general to cover something else? To use him? For what?

He had to listen now, more than ever, to his intuition.

 

 

The now that passes, produces time.

The now that remains produces eternity.”

Boethus

 

 

Sumit was waiting for Pascal when he returned from his meeting with The General. He looked desperate. He had bad news indeed!

Placido’s death was plastered all over The Bangkok Post.

“Dr. Placido,” it read, “was a famous physicist loved by his community and renowned for his studies on resonance and the new physics theories. He was found burnt to death this morning from a fire at his residence. It is believed that the fire was a result of a suspected act of arson. Police are calling for any potential witnesses to contact them.”

Apparently, the maid was not present as it was her day off. An enquiry had been opened.

Pascal had become very fond of the generous physicist. His dedication had been admirable and it was rare to encounter such strength of character. Pascal had no illusions and suspected the same dangerous gang he had to fight in Mae Sot. Someone must have followed him to the Nuclear hospital and had probably accomplices there.

Suddenly, Pascal recalled Placido’s last words when they met at the nuclear hospital.

“I have all the information on a coded site. If something happens to me, enter my site soulenergy.com.

Excited, he turned on his computer and entered the site.

 

 

Science without consciousness

is only ruination of the soul.”

Montaigne

 

 

A window with a video opened. Pascal clicked play. A close up shot of the late professor appeared.

“Pascal, I have made this video especially for your attention.

As you listen to this message, my soul waves are probably flying into the million universes around us. Please watch carefully the

Pascal saw a gigantic machine, much bigger than the one at the nuclear hospital, spinning around and sending flashing signals.

“This is a type of MRI, much more sophisticated that our, explained Placido.

Pascal, see! They also displayed a huge network of cables connecting to a large crystal container. Sorry I did not tell you, but I must confess now that I have seen those drawings in the document I copied from a Tesla file.

Let me explain that:

 

During one of my seminars in Princeton, I was introduced to a strange guy who declared that he, in fact his grand father, had found and kept in his garage up New York, some secret documents retrieved from the big fire which destroyed the “Wenderclyff Tower”, in the 1930s.

The guy was certain I would be the one interested to get those files. He knew that my research on waves and particles applied to the brain was matching perfectly the formula. That’s why he wanted to talk to me only: Only you can understand, did he tell me.

He might have been not genuine, but what he showed me was beyond my expectations.

It was a single manuscript with complex equations. Even I did not understand them all, what I perceived was already enough to realize how advanced they were. I could already envision it contained a fantastic new technology to identify and manipulate the frequencies emitted by the brain and body.

I copied the page and let Aung see it. He was more experienced than me into that field and could better value the potential of the complete file. As soon as he saw the equations, he pushed me to get the document, as he was ready to pay the important amount requested by the greedy man.

I did not understand where he got the money. May be other sponsors, interested in his research? Anyway it does not matter. Aung paid the guy who came to me with an important file.

I could check that many details indicated a very advanced electro magnetic technology.

Unfortunately, even Aung who was a kind of genius, could not make clear everything the formula contained, particularly the symmetry factor.

Some equations I have noted personally before to copy them to Aung seemed very near from the String Theorists’ new mathematical model where particles existed only as waves.

Tesla himself had declared that electrons did not exist. Only waves and energy were intermingling through the universe.

Other equations referred to the very sophisticated calculations of Schrodinger, one of the Quantum theory founder, who demonstrated that existed a reality beyond our observation.

 

There was nevertheless a daring assumption I completely shared and could clearly recognize from the Tesla document:

“Body and human consciousness were a kind of machine made of vibrations, waves, structured according the perfect three-dimensional symmetry of the Quantum equations from Niels Bohr””

 

Even for me, a professor of theoretical physics, the application of the formula was extremely complex.

Since I am gone, and Aung as well, you have to be on your own and use your fantastic intuition.

The best way is indeed to have a good transcription of the microchip, which could clarify the protocol invented by Nikola Tesla.

 

All of a sudden Pascal felt sad and tired, and somewhat depressed at the thought of departing from so dedicated and genuine men. He had seen enough. After all, he was not a scientist or an investigator—or a knight in white shining armour.

If he really wanted to help, he had to calm down and draw a plan.

 

The plan had to be simple.

First he had to decrypt the full microchip.

If there were a special code to it, he knew that his friend Mohit, a computer genius in India, would be able to decipher it, and he decided to courier the microchip in Mumbai.

Then, it was imperative to find the second mantra.

The Buddha’s Oracle had indicated that a mantra had been sent to the Occident, and most probably to Italy because the Romans were the first in that historical period to receive emissaries from the Far Eastern Empires.

The Buddha’s companions had managed to send the mantras by using Chinese pilgrims traveling the Silk Road that was open to the West during the Han Dynasty.

Mayumi, by chance, was indicating a trail ending in Rome.

 

 

Since Pascal had already found one mantra, probably sent along the Burma Road to the Khmer Empire, it was consistent with the Buddhist prophecy for east to join west. Ironically Pascal thought, wasn’t he, himself, a pure mix of both?

 

Before going to Italy, he decided to meet his Thai friends at the airport to let them know his new plan before his departure. Of course, he wouldn’t tell them about his visions—or the Tesla formula, they wouldn’t believe him anyway.

 

Pascal hailed a taxi painted in a flamboyant pink colour. As the city was littered with these taxis it would be very difficult for the gangsters to track him down. He wanted to arrive early at the International Suvarnabhumi Airport to meet his friends at the crowded terminal as planned. Sumit and Pichai would escort him inside to protect him.

On the highway, few miles before the entrance to the airport, Pascal suddenly had the intuition that he was in grave danger in this taxi. Without thinking, he asked the driver to stop at the tollbooth, pretending an urgency to go to the toilet. Few seconds after he exited the car he heard a deafening noise and turned back to see an enormous truck crash into the taxi he had just exited. Both vehicles exploded on the highway.

The taxi where Pascal had sat was completely smashed and in flames. The taxi driver had been thrown violently out of his seat, probably dead. Pascal’s luggage had been ejected on the asphalt.

The truck driver had jumped out before the crash and was running in the opposite direction. Pascal realized that this was a terrible and odious scheme to kill him.

He had been so lucky—or was it really luck?

Without delay, Pascal had to leave quickly before police arrived to avoid being detained for questioning.

The conspirators were very smart and audacious!

He grabbed his bag and hopped into another taxi that had just stopped. Luck again!

It was definitely time to leave Thailand, meet his love, and look for the second mantra.

 

 

The newly built Bangkok Airport was glowing in a purple haze of lights. Suvarnabhumi or ‘Conqueror’ in Thai language was a massive structure of glass and steel, built as a showpiece for the capital. Due to the immense structure and the very hot weather, working air conditioners were a daily miracle. But today, miraculously, it was all working properlyIt was three hours before his British Airways flight to London. Still in shock, Pascal recounted the incident to the others.

“Let’s get a massage so you can calm down and better concentrate,” proposed Pichai.

“Excellent idea,” agreed Pascal. Thailand truly did have its advantages sometimes.

All three men installed themselves in long and puffy armchairs in the cool, air-conditioned room. The smell of Tiger Balm lingered in the air.

They had exchanged their jeans for large cotton trousers. The smiling masseuses had washed their feet with much care; almost affectionately. Now their fingers were pushing onto the men’s tired muscles and nerves. It was almost painful. The girl who massaged Pascal was quite nice looking with a slender figure. She stared boldly into his eyes and asked questions in a candid and seducing manner.

“Where are you from? Khun Lau mak! (You are very handsome!)”

Pascal gently indicated that he was busy and respectfully the girl stopped talking as she massaged. She would introduce herself and her family to the next man who came along.

Pascal explained to Sumit and Pichai what had happened in the last two days. He also told them with some reticence about the necessity to have two mantras and the probability of finding the second one in Italy. He remained quite evasive about his meeting with Boon and the old man. He did mention offhandedly that MI6 might be also behind the scenes.

“Oooi!,” exclaimed Sumit in the characteristic Thai manner. “I really regret Wanee didn’t hear you say that as I’m sure she would have lots to say on the matter. That woman always has some good advice to give.”

“So, it really seems we are going to catch these bastards soon, hey? And you will find your final mantra,” chirped Sumit.

“Yes and no,” said Pascal. “At this point we have a general direction but no exact locations. Yes, we have found one mantra, but locating the other is still a great challenge.”

As though reminding himself of the danger, he immediately switched to a whisper.

“The ‘bastards’, as you call them—whoever they are—seem to know everything. They are very powerful, well organised, and committed to securing the mantras. They know we found the old statue containing the first mantra in the Temple of the Mountain because they were able to secretly follow us there. They have informants scattered everywhere, it seems.

If we are to believe the old retired Thai official, who had explained to us that this conspiracy to retrieve the mantras was monitored by some rogue military generals from the BRIC Nations, we can understand how generously they could be sponsored by an ambitious organization, possibly businessmen, that are looking to exploit the mantras and associated technology for some reason that is very important and profitable. We have to try our best to stay under their radar.”

“Do you really believe that story and fear that they are now sending their people attack us?”

“Yes, I wouldn’t doubt that for a minute—and they’ve already begun their move.” Pascal told them about the incident at the toll way.

“Why?” Sumit strained his neck to make eye contact with Pascal.

“They seem to think that we have already found what they are after. They may not know that another mantra is waiting to be discovered. We have all painfully experienced that they are becoming extremely aggressive and dangerous. We may not be so lucky next time, since they feel free to strike openly now.”

“Do you mean they haven’t been informed that we are searching for another mantra?”

“Yes, that’s why they feel free to get the first one at any cost and attacked with guns and kidnapped your uncle, the honourable Ajahn in the forest.”

Ouch!” Pascal whimpered slightly when the masseuse slipped and scratched him with her nail.

“Ooh Kotoot, sorry, sorry!” she hooted.

Mai pen rai, never mind,” he answered.

“They have no shame; no fear. And they are seriously pursuing us now.”

“How do you know that they believe there is only one mantra?” Sumit’s eyes were closed, as though he were pulled into a trance.

“Because it is obvious.

Sumit, they act as if we were of no value for them anymore since we found one mantra. The situation is extremely dangerous. You must understand this and take care.”

Sumit opened his eyes and shook his head vigorously, “Yes, of course. We are all in deep trouble. They have no reason to be careful anymore and they will use all means to retrieve that first mantra, eliminate us and harm the Buddhist followers. What can we do?”

“It’s very simple,” proposed Pascal. “They have to know the truth; they have to know that we only have a portion of what they want and that portion is useless without the other part, the other mantra we haven’t yet found. When they understand that they will continue to follow us, but we are still reasonably safe until we have discovered the second one, hopefully in Italy.

“Who will tell them and how?” Sumit was like an attentive schoolboy now; it seemed his wife Wanee had taught him well.

“You have a good connection with the mob. They work for them.

Remember Pipa, the not-so-funny jerk in the Chinese restaurant? You only have to leak that information innocently. They will pass it on to the Russians, their official contacts and the Russians will inform the thugs. Simple, isn’t?”

“How can you make sure these guys will do as you say?” asked Sumit.

It seemed to Pascal that Sumit was asking too many questions now.

“Sumit, come on, you know that guy! If he smells the money, this monkey doesn’t need to speak Russian to let them know. He will send ‘Big Boobies’, his fabulous girlfriend to share the information. These Russian mental-midgets only understand body language! And you know this information is worth a lot of money for whoever is hiring the Russian mafia. And sure, they will smell it. So it is up to you to wrap up the gift.”

Very smart, thought Sumit. “Sounds like a plan.”

Despite Pascal’s scolding, he was finding it difficult to keep his eyelids from shutting. Before they knew it, all three men were completely asleep, their mouths drooling slightly onto the yellow towel underneath them.

Pascal’s thoughts were already with Mayumi at his European destination. In his imagination they were only kids who were lost in a remote playground; twin particles playing children’s games.

 

 

The airplane cabin was dimly lit, humming with the permanent sound of the engines. A group of Italian tourists were sucking the last seconds of their holiday out of a Pinot Noir, courtesy of the in-flight service.

His flight was booked to Rome via London where the Thai General—the so-called ‘friend’ of MI6—had arranged a meeting with some ‘unofficial officials’ from the Agency.

Pascal felt tense and didn’t manage to get any sleep during the 11-hour flight.

He felt the pressure of previous events and was particularly obsessed by his ambiguous relationship with the intriguing and captivating Mayumi. He couldn’t understand what was going on, and for the first time in his life a woman was interfering with his usually rock-solid sense of determination.

Since the flight was completely full, Pascal had no room to relax his body. He was sandwiched between a skinny young teenager playing a video game to his left who failed to utter a single word the whole time. To his right, an overweight sales representative spoke at him, occasionally asking him questions; the answers he ignored entirely.

Trying to block out the incessant blabbering next to him, Pascal settled himself and decided to watch a movie. The choice was not exciting, but eventually he clicked on a soppy, romantic comedy, hoping it would bore him to sleep. Hollywood movies always had the tendency to iron out the reality of human emotions, stereo-typing all the nuances so that people seemed to fit into perfect, neat packages.

His eyes began to blur at the pivotal scene where the romantic hero asks his father in the ‘bonding’ scene: “How do you know if you’re in love?”

Of course, the question was completely legitimate, but the acting in this was horrendous if not hilarious. The script was not exempt from judgment, either. The father replied, “When the moment comes, you just know,” and as he patted his son on the knee, a crescendo of violins was heard, of course.

Despite the cheesy script, Pascal was actually posing himself the same question. ‘Love’ was something he believed he had experienced, but the instability of feeling, the turbulence of emotion that tethered between adoration and fear

It was impossible to make a choice about his feelings because Mayumi herself was so elusive, and he needed some kind of reciprocation.

His neighbour snorted loudly before chugging the remnants of his beer. It seemed that it was impossible for him to remain quiet even when he wasn’t speaking.

After failed breathing exercises, Pascal forced himself to swallow a panadol. He was instantly lulled into a feather-light sleep, woken only from time to time by the talkative passenger.

 

The pressures of the flight blurred his stopover in London. He was bleary-eyed, crusty and disheveled, to say the least. Despite his French passport, he couldn’t escape the barrage of questions from suspicious immigration officers. They were especially gifted in ruining anyone’s sense of goodwill in traveling abroad; it was as if they were hired for that very quality. As Pascal left the counter, a man dressed in a dark suit bumped into him, almost managing to push him over. He hadn’t even had time to think of a retort when he felt the stranger’s hand slip something into his jacket pocket. He glanced around to try and catch the man, but he was gone.

Only after he had left the baggage claim did Pascal endeavour to check out what was in his pocket. Noted in pale, blue ink in very scruffy handwriting was the address of a Jim’s Grocery Store in some unknown district of Greater London, presumably.

Well, thought Pascal, suddenly injected with energy, it is business as usual.

 

The black London taxi had some difficulty bringing him to his destination, but he eventually arrived in the residential suburb. Throughout the ride, Pascal kept turning his head to check if he was being followed.

I’m like James Bond without the perks, he mused. He almost wished that a Ferrari had been following him at least, to keep him entertained.

The fat shopkeeper who welcomed him had a strong Greek accent and a thick moustache that obscured his plump, pink cheeks. They exchanged glances, although no words of courtesy were even exchanged. He was brought to a room in the back where several men were already seated. None of them were clearly noticeable, each quite plain and tweed-clad.

They flatly introduced their names—probably fake—without standing up. Only one of them stood out; his suit slightly more tailored and considered. His checkered tweed jacket and tie sat well above his flannel pants that cascaded perfectly onto his Church shoes. He spoke in a high-pitched tone.

“George Been,” he said as he held out his hand.

Pascal recalled to them his experience in Thailand during this extended meeting. Everything was being recorded into an antiquated device. They were extremely specific in their interrogation. Since Pascal did not really trust them, caution was of course, necessary, but Pascal really needed all the help he could get. In the meantime he decided not to give any information on the coded device: the microchip that Ram found on the biologist’s body. He didn’t either mention Placido’s website and assumptions.

 

After a while, Pascal became aware that these men had to have a scientific background. Surprised, he too took his part in the interrogation:

“What are you exactly interested in?” he asked the group.

“Well,” scoffed one of them, whose unfamiliar face scrunched up as he spoke, “everything about the Biologist you have rescued in Thailand, any indication on the lab he was working with, and any details which could help us figure out the work he was involved in.

 

Pascal mused that perhaps MI6 was developing a program similar to the one Placido was investigating, or simply duplicating it…they would never tell him anyway.

Although the tone of the meeting had been courteous, it had not been jovial. The gentlemen did however invite him to a very elegant restaurant in the centre of London where the lamb chops were perfectly cooked. Pascal was more often than not, vegetarian—not as a discipline he imposed on himself, but because he did not really enjoy the taste of meat; it always felt very heavy on his stomach. But it would be insulting to refuse the offered meal.

George Been, English to the bone, completed his reception by personally escorting Pascal to the airport so that he could catch his flight to Rome.

“Somebody from our side will contact you in Italy. The code of this operation is ‘Meditation’; don’t forget it. Our contact will need to receive this code before trusting you.”

“Meditation?” prodded Pascal.

“Not very original, I know” as though he, too, had had some qualms about its inception.

With this, he handed Pascal a small Buddha reproduction attached to a metal necklace.

“This is a masked USB key you can insert into your computer. The code I gave you will also unlock the software. Additionally, it has a microchip incorporated into it and a tracking system. The chain is the antenna. In case of immediate danger, just press that button,” he said as he simulated the action with his left hand.

“Your Buddha will transmit your location to us directly. But don’t press it unless you are absolutely certain that you are under extreme danger. No crying wolf, now. Still, we are here to protect you,” he added.

This is a nice way of saying ‘we’re stalking you’, thought Pascal, but he didn’t express it.

Pascal, patriotically trained to mock the English, admitted to himself that they were not so backward after all. However, he too had made a few arrangements. Before landing at Heathrow he had made a few phone calls to Paris to ensure his safety. He had some contacts at the French consulate because his father had been a functionary in French foreign affairs. He had let them know of his movements just in case.

With the help of Mr. Been, he had arranged a safe flight for the biologist’s daughter. Ma Sue was to arrive the following day with Ram, but Pascal wouldn’t have time to see them. Everything would be taken care of for them anyway. His thoughts were fixated on Mayumi, and this was distraction enough.

He had already achieved his first mission successfully and he knew that even though it hadn’t been his entire intention, this would definitely impress Mayumi. The reason for his success was due to his special capacities, but also through chance and the help of very good friends. Of course they had been placed in grave danger, but the roll of events had almost happened too naturally, too easily. Impending failure was never attractive.

PART II : THE RENAISSANCE

 

SEASON 1: BRUNO GIORDANO

 

 

There should be two words for truth:

One that means ‘consistent with the rules and theorems of our system’;

another that means ‘a useful representative of how things are for the purpose in hand.”

Michael Frayn, The Human Touch

 

 

Unexpectedly, Mayumi came to pick Pascal up at the Fumicino Airport. Such a simple act erased his bad mood; all the debris of worry was blown away by her gleaming smile. His previous reservations were knocked off the pedestal of anxiety; he was exhilarated by her presence.

She had reserved for him a very nice and cozy hotel just next to the Piazza Navona in the city centre: “Il Centro Historico”. He was delighted by the simple elegance of the hotel.

The air was fresh but warm, thankfully. The sky was a deep blue and the smell of pine and lavender was the cherry atop the cake.

Even though Mayumi listened to his story attentively, Pascal was half-present in his recollection. He traced the movement of her eyelashes with her discerning brows as they danced with every twist of his tale. Her gratitude was evident and she too was taken aback by Pascal’s ability to reach the goal so quickly. Gently, almost amorously, she took his arm as they walked outside to the nearest café.

She sat next to him sipping a frothy cappuccino. Pascal watched as she left chocolate foam on her top lip. He let her speak freely, afraid to disrupt her after she had listened to him so carefully only moments before. The waiter who had not taken his eyes off her approached her. He pointed to her lip and completely embarrassed, Mayumi wiped it off immediately.

Slightly irritated by this intrusion, Pascal explained:

Ma! Il ragazzo la trova molto bella! This waiter thinks you are very beautiful, as we all do; even with the foam.”

But Mayumi didn’t respond well to flattery. Her shoulders moved to the side, shying away from him a little. Maybe she had sensed Pascal’s jealousy and rejected his possessive reaction.

Pascal was at such a loss; it was as if he couldn’t find the right pattern: their rhythms were out of time. He had to admit that he was quite intimidated by her strong character. Her regal manner was undeniably enthralling, but to really read someone you have to look at the details. Someone’s ticks were always more telling than their screams.

In Bangkok, he had been delighted to discover her taste for excellent champagne, her flair for architecture and the arts, and her dedication to her work. Most of all, however, he was seduced by her deep spirituality, one that gave breadth to her life rather than limitations. She had an impenetrable elegance, in the twists of her wrists and the manner in which she turned her neck. Her face, tinted with a hint of make-up and her almond eyes were full of stories he wished to uncover.

Getting a notebook from his backpack and looking at the long list of Roman marvels he had taken the time to select and write down during his boring flight, he asked Mayumi quite abruptly: “So, when can we start the sightseeing?”

He knew that he had made another mistake in asking this. Mayumi checked her watch and cut him short with a dry smile.

“Sorry Pascal but it is already ten past ten. We don’t have time to play tourists; we must rush now to the “Fondazione Santa Lucia” hospital. I have to take care of my patients this morning.”

Pascal tilted his head back, his mouth open to respond when she continued. “And most importantly, one of these patients can help us confirm some crucial information about the next mantra. I have asked you to come in order to meet him urgently.”

Pascal was disappointed once again by her straightforwardness. He felt childlike in his advances to her. Bearing so much enthusiasm was perhaps off-putting. He was so focused on his desire to please her and to catch her attention, and he felt scuffed by her rebuff.

In reality, Mayumi was very much endeared by this young man’s character. The misunderstanding lay between their cultural differences. The subtle, oriental culture understood flirtation as a much more delicate dish; it was never just sweet or salty. The flavors had to be discovered and layered one by one. The reality was, in fact, that Pascal didn’t understand the subtle oriental culture; the delicacy of the Eastern way. It was never black and white.

He bit his lips and promised himself to keep some distance and be more aware of the situation. He had to find the appropriate way to approach his feelings for her.

Mayumi had parked her car along the Via Cavour, and they rushed there so she wouldn’t get a ticket. As they made their way there, they weren’t aware of the two, slender young men who had been following them on their black Vespas.

Pascal had given them a cursory glance, but all that he saw was two typically Roman teens dressed in the latest fashion, spending their days harassing girls as though it were a profession.

On their way to the small Fiat, Mayumi elaborated.

“This patient is available for visits only during the morning; it is the hospital rule. By the time we start to talk to him it will already be eleven.

 

 

Every production, of whatever kind it may be,

is a change,

While Substance remains the same.”

Giordano Bruno, 1620. De la Causa

 

 

As Mayumi hurried to the patient pavilion, Pascal looked around him baffled by the building’s layout. The architecture of the hospital was outstanding!

“Sorry Pascal, you’re going to have to hurry up. I promise you I will take you around to visit these halls one day. The architect Antonio E. Moretti is a special hero of mine. Let’s go and see my patient first.” Her stiletto heels were clicking on the marble floor, exaggerating her powerful walk.

In the middle of a long and large corridor she walked past the nurse’s counter and waved to the staff. Everyone waved back; she was well respected here. Ten meters ahead, they stopped in front of a panelled door. There was no name on it, just an elaborately designed number ‘9’.

“Behind this door is Fra Giuseppe. He is a Dominican priest who had a brain trauma recently. He is incapable of retrieving any anterograde memory from his present life. Pascal was a doctor, but was not used to specific neurology terms.

“Anterograde?”

“Yes, you will understand in a moment. Please follow me.”

She opened the heavy door and they walked into the room. A relatively young gentleman was seated at a table next to the metallic bed. He wore a very rough, off-white cotton robe with a simple cord around the vest and a hood down his back. Attached to the vest was a rosary made of brown wood tied up to a small ebony crucifix. His hair was very short and he had the monk tonsure at the top of his skull.

A delicate smell of “Pino Silvestre”, Pascal’s favourite perfume, had invaded the space.

Monks had always conjured for him images of questionable hygiene and wrinkles, but Pascal’s assumptions were clearly fictitious. The handsome man turned his head towards them and welcomed them warmly. He gave Pascal a cheery grin radiating with confidence and stretched out his strong hand.

“My name is Fra Giuseppe,” he said, shaking both his visitors’ hands.

At least he remembers his name, thought Pascal. The warmth of the monk’s body radiated through his palms, inviting an instant connection.

Mayumi was unusually stern and interrupted the patient.

“Sorry Fratre, I must go out with my friend for a few minutes, please excuse us,” said Mayumi.

Taking Pascal by the hand, she hurried them out of the room, leaving the Dominican alone.

As soon as they closed the door behind them Mayumi began to explain.

“Don’t look so shocked! We are going to walk in once more and you will see what I mean.”

They knocked again and entered the room as though for the first time.

The same Dominican, smiling and looking happy, welcomed them and repeated the same routine.

“My name is Fra Giuseppe,” he said calmly.

Mayumi whispered to Pascal. “This man doesn’t remember that we had just met a few seconds ago.”

Pascal looked back to the man who had regained his seat and was staring out of the warped glass window.

“All this is very well, but not the main point,” she said. “I discovered an anomaly of behaviour that did not match his condition. You see, he insists that he receives, even now, information about a mantra lost during The Renaissance. He claims he is permanently connected to a philosopher from that period. You know, of course, that normal people live in constructed worlds and create illusionary strategies all the time; we all do.”

Pascal most certainly did.

“Since we are ‘normal’, we can integrate our fictions into the actual reality of our environment, but this man has had his episodic memory damaged! He cannot remember what just happened. The problem here is that he is still consistent in processing information he says he continually receives. I need you to help me to check it out.”

Pascal listened attentively and replied, troubled.

“But you know I am not a specialist. Why are you asking me?”

“Pascal,” she grabbed his elbow, with an unanticipated strength, “this man has unusual but extremely accurate visions. You have connections to people. You can travel into time and you know how it happens. Your experience has shown you how it works.” Her grip loosened. “You should immediately let your intuition tell us if this man has a real capability or if he is just an expert story weaver. Please, talk to him and listen to him.”

The Dominican had been mumbling to himself at the window when Pascal approached him quietly. He continued his train of thought, talking about the breeze apparent on the tree outside. He was at ease among strangers.

Pascal listened for a few minutes then decided to test the Dominican. Pascal held him by the shoulders and looked into his glazed eyes.

“Fratre, where is the mantra?”

The Dominican looked into Pascal’s eyes as though he were staring straight to his core. His deep, blue-grey eyes were wide open. His tone shifted dramatically and his friendly voice transformed as though someone were grating gravel.

“How do you know about the mantra? Why are you here to ask me? No one here wants to know.”

He leaned forward, his nose almost touching Pascal’s. “I have been waiting for someone to ask me; to believe what I have to say.” He swung back into his wooden chair, almost knocking himself over. He inhaled a large breath and held it in. Pascal remained calm and kept a smile on his face.

“I am not the one who found that mantra. It was Giordano Bruno, a famous Dominican, a visionary philosopher with a very curious mind who found it in Naples during the Italian Renaissance in the 1600s.”

“Why are you so interested in that character?” asked Pascal gently.

“Because he was like me; like a brother-in-arms, who fought against ignorance. In his books he questioned the ideas imposed by the clergy and rejected some beliefs such as the Virgin Mary. He was detained for seven years in a pit called ‘Della Nona Jail’ under inhumane and very harsh conditions. He was tortured and questioned again and again by The Inquisition. His tormentor was the Cardinal Bellarmine who some say was already senile, and it is known that he only followed the instructions of Pope Paul V to condemn and have Bruno Giordano executed. This brave man was burnt alive as heretic!”

“Is it not the same cardinal who was sanctified by The Church and also condemned Galilee Galileo a few years later?” asked Pascal, who knew his history.

“Yes, yes, but this cardinal is not important. The resolute and fierce personality of Bruno Giordano is what is important! And his ideas have shown that he was a man really connected to the laws of the universe; to the infinite. He will be remembered as a precursor of human enlightenment. He is my hero! He represents for me the true determination to seek the truth and not to swallow dogmas. Giordano Bruno was a martyr to his cause,” said the Dominican.

Pascal was glued to the monk’s every word.

“But what did he say in substance that makes you like him so much?”

“I love him even though he questioned our religious principles.” The friar closed his eyes and recited the passage:

“The world is infinite and immovable; there is no need to seek the mover of it.” His grey eyes peered from under his heavy lids.

“You see God is imminent; the one who remains within everything. The Church could not see it this way.”

Pascal observed the man’s hands and watched every flicker in his pupils. He looked for any hint that would reveal this man was an actor. The Dominican continued, engrossed regardless.

“But tell me Padre: how have you been connected with that man?”

“It is a deep mind connection. Since I was very young and without any reasonable explanation, I have always felt connected with him. I have prayed for his soul every day in my life because he was, like me, a sincere man; a mystic looking for a dialogue with a pervasive Truth. He was not ready for cheap compromises. I feel his blood in mine. Even though no one here wants to believe me, I am still receiving his messages and have the conviction that his spirit is with me to help recover my memory. I live attached to this spirit.”

The man’s handsome eyes fanned as gently as a butterfly’s wings, sending a tiny glimmering droplet down his left cheek. There was no indication in his body language that implied insincerity.

Pascal had to be sure he was not being duped. He pushed him one final time.

“How do I know you did not just invent all of this?”

“I know your doubt. I myself am also trying my best to understand. And do you not think that I too am confused by my constant visions of events dating more than four centuries ago? Memories continue to come to me like this, that’s all! I cannot explain this phenomenon. This is the way it is! And here you are young man, one who wants to share with me the secret of that mantra. It is not by chance, but synchronicity: chance that has meaning.”

“I will be very happy if you can find it because it obsesses me and no one can help me here,” he said sadly.

Within the first two seconds of meeting this man, Pascal had already made his decision. This initial acceptance had been placed in doubt by Mayumi’s own dubiousness, but he resettled on his first impression. Pascal was looking at a man who, very much like himself, was open to a field of energy that even he could not explain. No lies could be found here.

“If you insist on finding this mantra you have to pray for Bruno; to understand him; to connect with him. You will then comprehend his immortal message. You will understand the way he thinks and verify that mantra must have the miraculous power of the inducible Truth,” he advised Pascal.

He turned his attention to Mayumi, who had her arms crossed, clearly unmoved by the story she had heard hundreds of times before.

“You know Giordano Bruno was very influenced by oriental metaphysics and understood how important it has always been for generations of Buddhist devotees to reach this universal truth by chanting Mantras and practicing meditation. I told you my story because you are a Buddhist and you can partly appreciate the key value of this very rare mantra dating before the origins of Christianity.”

“Let me tell you my deepest certainty: this mantra not only represents a religious belief, but hides a secret that ‘new science’ is looking for. That’s all I can say.”

Whilst listening to the Dominican, Pascal felt an indelible connection established between him and the famous Bruno Giordano. He had already understood the true value of the mantra.

 

 

For a while, looking into the Dominican eyes, Pascal felt dizzy, a kind of unusual vertigo. Unknown forces were attracting him as billions of quantum images were drowning him into a dark pit. Without even noticing, he was slowly immersed into a transcendent vision.

Images were swirling around him, engulfing him into the bottomless pit. He fell, spiralling into unconsciousness.

Sounds were invading his psyche.

This day The Fourth Day of our Lord’s Ascension…

Pascal opened his eyes and images were giving shape to the vision set in a sumptuous palace.

He could slowly make out a crimson robe worn by a very high priest, probably a cardinal.

The man facing him was reciting a story in Latin; his sad, bulging eyes fixated upon Pascal. His curving nose protruded above a small mouth and the rest of his face was hidden in a spiky beard. Pascal felt he was being scrutinised with disdain. The stranger wore a long crucifix, which hung from his skinny neck. The ‘tricorne’ hat was sliding down his forehead attempting to flee the man. Pascal recognised the hat as one worn by the historical Borgia cardinals during The Renaissance.

The room was almost bare, but indicated a palace belonging to high nobility. There were no statues or paintings in the dark room. It was, however, full of monks who were scattered on low stools. Each one was checking, reading, listing and storing a profusion of codex, scrolls and documents. Some were scratching pages, slowly writing with their feather pens that they dug into large ink pots.

Pascal was kneeling on the cold floor. He heard his own voice plea:

Monsignor, I beg your grace to let me see my brother Giordano!”

The melodic voice answered.

How can you, a priest, dare to ask me to see that criminal?”

He is my brother, Your Grace! I promise I will let him abjure his sins. Let me convince him, I beg of you.”

It’s too late, Fra Gabrielle. I have just condemned the miscreant to be sentenced and executed today. He will be brought here in a few hours and we will hand him to the provost. The church cannot have blood on its hands. The best I can do for you is to authorise you to assist him in his sentence and receive his last confession, but that is all.”

The scene shifted to a courtyard that was busy with impatient, shouting men. They were waiting for the prisoner to come out in daylight; to carry him through the streets and bring him to his sentence. The executioner was waiting. The powerful, large man bore a permanent scorn. Leather bands were strapped to his linen vest and heavy torso. Around him, the provost militia brandished spikes, perfect accessories to their vulgar jokes.

The provost’s swordsman was like a nervous guard dog, fogging the air around his nose in the morning’s chill. No man paid to kill another could ever feel truly at ease; it was those who required no payment that society should fear.

The weather was biting into their faces now and they all wished to finish the job quickly. Fra Gabrielle, whose perspective was now shared by Pascal, was standing still in a corner, his lips murmuring prayers for his brother.

The distant noise of horse’s hooves stamping on the pavement bred relief in the executioners as they watched the huge gates clatter open. A skeletal horse entered, dragging its heavy hooves. It looked miserable and exhausted as it struggled to draw the heavy iron cage of the two-wheeled carriage behind it. Inside, an indistinct form was crouched. Reduced to a foetal position, the body did not move.

The swordsman shouted an order and one of the soldiers, holding a heavy key, inserted it into an enormous lock fixed to the cage.

Out!” he spat.

Since the creature did not respond to his order, the swordsman grabbed the thick fabric of his robe and pulled furiously. He tugged until it ripped in one large sheet, which he threw off the man’s body out onto the muddy ground.

Another soldier drew pity on the battered soul and went to help him stand up. Fratre Gabrielle joined him, trying not to gag. The stench of blood and rotten flesh was impossible to ignore as it emanated from his every pore. The prisoner managed to stand up and tried to find his balance. He fell over, hard, not even attempting to break his fall. He turned his head to the fratre, revealing a face shred beyond recognition and burning-coal eyes. Inside, he was still fighting.

The solid men placed an iron muzzle onto his face. The idle nails dug deep into his flesh, but the man said nothing. Fratre Gabriel was appalled and called out to the swordsman:

Remove this device at once! I have to get a confession from this man!”

The unwilling swordsman grabbed a smaller key from his purse and did as he was told. The clasp clicked open, releasing the man’s torn mouth. Crumbling into Fratre Gabrielle’s arms, the prisoner finally spoke.

Brother, you finally came. Thank you.”

Oh Giordano, what have they done to you?” he gasped, grasping the full extent of his brother’s deformation.

Giordano Bruno bowed his head, ashamed by his horrid injuries.

You have come, but alas, it is too late.”

No, it is never too late; you still can renounce to your ideas.”

My ideas? Brother, it has been seven years since they have torn apart my body and thrown me in the pit of that horrible Torre della Nona to have me abjured. How can I renounce now? Death is calling for me and I welcome it. The fire will stop my pain.”

Brother, I am telling you, I can still intercede for you”

Giordano was losing his strength and his hand was loosening its grip on his brother.

Never, sweet brother. Never! I have tried to convince them that the infinite God exists, that man in his perfection is God, but I understand now how afraid they are of dispelling their legends that are put in place to abuse the people.”

Humans have the Divinity within them; everyone has this power to know the Truth. My ideas were born at the wrong time for they cannot fight the power of the clergy. Listen to me brother…,” but Giordano was unable to finish his sentence as he launched into a coughing fit. It subsided after a few seconds, but watching the man was excruciating. With a final spurt of energy, Giordano held onto his brother’s neck and whispered into his ear.

Brother, you must listen carefully. I have hidden very important documents that were given to me by a missionary from Jerusalem. The wise man translated them for me from Sanskrit into Latin. They contain the irrepressible evidence that the Christian power comes from Oriental documents like this one, written by connected prophets, transmitted for generations of monks in the Far East.”

No one knows why, but their power can control people’s minds. If left in wrong hands, these documents can destroy humanity. I have entrusted one with my book, “ Arte della Memoria”, to the prior of our convent San Maggiore in Napoli. Ask him to guard it with his life.”

With a final impulse for life, Giordano shook his arms to the heavens; stood himself up to face the people and shouted with the last words that he would utter:

You sentence me with greater fear than I can ever receive!”

He collapsed, almost fainting into a heap.

Brother!” Fratre Gabriel picked him up but could not hold him. They fell into each other’s arms, sobbing.

 

Pascal suddenly woke; his eyes were filled with tears.

Mayumi had noticed Pascal’s strange gaze during that few seconds and she felt deeply moved, even though she didn’t understand why.

Slowly, they both exited the room, keeping their backs to the door in order to keep a watchful eye on the fragile man. Once outside, a perplexed Mayumi asked, “So what do you think about my patient?”

Pascal’s heart was having trouble relaxing. He had just experienced a confirmation of his own capacity. He had found in someone else the same connection with a strong spirit from the past. He also felt the same apprehensive instinct over an ethical position and it had rejuvenated his feeling of connection, where he had often felt quite alien.

“Mayumi, I know he is right. I am sure he is really connected.”

At this moment Pascal was too shy and moved to reveal his vision to Mayumi, but he explicated his feeling simply as an opinion.

“Yes Mayumi, the Dominican knows this mantra exists and we have to get it fast. On a technical level, I have no answers for you. I don’t understand how his brain can release this kind of information and it is the same for me. But think of it this way, even if I am wrong, what other leads do we have?”

 

 

On their way back to his hotel in the centre of Rome Pascal felt perturbed by the obsessive thought that attached him to Giordano Bruno. He was certainly admiring that man and felt revolted by such cruelty from the Church. How vile were the people who unfairly tortured and murdered him for his open views!

Without knowing him, Pascal loved this man. In his vision, he had seen him as a brother in a past life. He was amazed by such a strong link with this sincere character that dared challenge the powerful clergy by questioning the unquestionable dogma.

In some ways, his story was similar to Nikola Tesla, who was not only abandoned, but systematically denied to receive the honours for his genius discoveries, and died from it.

 

Ready to think of revenge, Pascal perceived it would draw him to a lower level. One should not judge someone for his beliefs either way.

After considering this, Pascal felt in a better mood. He invited Mayumi to stop at a small, charming trattoria in the Centro Historico to enjoy a delicious and delicate lunch.

She felt overwhelmed by its beauty and they entered the trattoria singing La Donna Mobile. During the lunch they share an antipasti alla Romana and a pasta Putanesca fata a casa.

As an exception, Pascal drank Tuscan red wine from Montepulciano, and they were in a joyful mood by the time the tiramisu was served with a glass of grappa.

Feeling relaxed, Pascal took the occasion to finally recall in detail his vision and his encounter with Giordano Bruno. Torn between laughter and tears, Mayumi was impressed but not surprised. She was a medium, and all along she had clearly evaluated Pascal’s abilities and character.

She as well, felt a warm solidarity with Giordano Bruno who was a remarkable figure.

“I don’t know him,” she said, “but I find him endearing. A real character that would never change his mind for personal greed.”

Mayumi was curious to understand why this mantra was sent to the western world. Was it the wish of the Buddha and the masters from the past to reach other continents to spread the teaching?

Pascal had his own version.

“I believe there might be also another reason,” he said. “All the great prophets have been above time and space: Abraham, Buddha, Jesus…Ha! They all probably knew each other, even though they were separated by centuries. So, in my opinion, they probably felt it was the right time to join their efforts for the sake of a better future!

“That’s daring,” observed Mayumi.

Prior to leaving the trattoria Pascal focused with effort on the important words from Bruno Giordano that he was trying to forcefully keep in his memory before they vanished.

Fratre Gabrielli, please bring the document to the Convento San Maggiore in Napoli.”

“I could not invent this information, Mayumi. The answer is there, at the convent, where Fratre Gabrielli remitted the document. We have to go there now. Ma Rapido!”

Mayumi seemed happy to move on.

“I happen to know some people in Naples, a very friendly couple. I called them already and they are waiting for us.”

Pascal felt elated to see how efficient she was.

“My friends Augusto and Loredana in Naples are locals. Augusto is a journalist who works for the Corriere della Sera de Napoli. He knows everybody there. Loredana is a psychologist at the University. She is a Catholic and will explain the right way to approach the priests there. We sometimes work together on psycho-rehabilitation cases.”

“Are they reliable?” asked Pascal.

“Of course!” she replied. “They are very faithful and open people. They are members of Mane Pulita, a private organization that is committed to fight against the Camora, the local mafia. It proves their dedication to help people.”

“As you may not know, ‘mane pulita’ means ‘clean hands’, but if their hands are clean, they are unfortunately not free. I admire them staying in Naples in the political context. I just hope that they won’t end up assassinated like Tano Grasso, a journalist murdered for his incessant curiosity. Not to mention General Della Chiesa, who was shot even though he changed beds every night.”

“Live hard or die free!” mimicked Pascal before returning to the subject at hand.

“Mayumi, I found more evidence of our mantra from Giordano Bruno’s writings! His essay The Arte della Memoria explains it clearly.”

“What evidence are you talking about?”

Giordano Bruno declared that from remote times, memory and meditation had been complementary functions. His book recalled that memory included ‘verb recitation’, ‘gestures’ and ‘image contemplation’. They were the imperative practices for reaching Illumination. Does it ring a bell?” he asked her.

“My goodness, yes!”

“You see, this is a clear allusion to the importance of sounds, particularly the sound of Oriental recitation: the hymn of Mantras.

“Clever,” remarked Mayumi. You mean it is a proof that Bruno Giordano knew the existence of the mantras”?

“Yes”!

“Pascal, you are a genius”!

He felt proud impressing her. He took her lovely hand and looked into her eyes.

“Thank you for the compliment. I hope it brings us closer.”

“Try harder!” she replied, and they burst into laughter.

Mayumi had made the booking. There was an express train to Naples in one hour and they could make it. They rushed to her car that was parked in front of the trattoria.

 

 

I do not believe in God,

but I am very interested in her.”

A.C. Clarke

 

 

Pascal and Mayumi were comfortably set in Italian designer sofas, resting on a large terrace overlooking the piazza. Their two hosts, Augusto and Loredana epitomised the wonderful Italian hospitality. They had the chance to live in an attic: a penthouse on the top floor of a very old palace that dated at least from the 16th Century. It was the dream shared by millions of Asian people. And this small and narrow via was only 100 meters from the Basilica San Maggiore!

From their balcony they could admire the magnificent Basilica. It was first built in the 13th Century and renovated with a Baroque superstructure during The Renaissance when the kingdom of Naples belonged to the Spanish and was ruled by the Viceroy. A beautiful masterpiece, it proudly stood on one side of a small, elevated piazza—a living vestige of the Catholic Church’s opulence and its extreme power.

Right in the centre of this historical city, the Basilica was surrounded by many exquisite palaces hidden behind huge, thick walls, and imposing carved doors. It was a real astonishment indeed!

From outside, the city seemed to be badly maintained, and stunning antique monuments were falling in ruins. Walls were tagged and the streets were left to squatters. Washed clothing was hanging on every balcony.

But this was only the apparent reality. Many important personalities were living in sumptuous residences, hidden behind modest wooden doors, kept secret from the passers-by.

Augusto’s dream was to become a famous architect, but didn’t have much chance finding a decent job in that wonderful, but run-down city. Nevertheless, he could express his talent in his own apartment, which he bought at a bargain. Helped by Loredana’s exquisite taste, they created functional neo-classical deco settings that mingled technology with historical furnishings and pieces of art.

Superb double-arch marble stairs with 16th Century ironwork balustrades, high Florentine ceilings, niches with delicately-carved statues from the Renaissance, French oak Parquet from Versailles, African masks, contemporary paintings, totems from New Guinea, old doors from Burma, black-lacquered furniture from China and many antiques from around the world made this place an elegant museum and a very comfortable home.

Pascal and Mayumi were enchanted by the elegance and the refinement of this unique setting, and they appreciated their bedrooms that opened onto a covered terrace, with a panoramic view of the surrounding roofs and the famous Bay of Napoli. This view, however, was without the Vesuvius volcano, which is usually shown on postcards.

“You know,” said Loredana as she looked at Pascal and Mayumi, “we are happy to have you; and you both look like a perfect match. I am jealous!”

“Well,” said Pascal, feeling uneasy and trying a lousy joke, “I must admit it is a lovely place for a honeymoon, but it is not Valentine’s Day.”

He avoided looking at Mayumi, who, of course, pretended to miss the joke.

“The good news,” teased Augusto, “is that I could arrange a rendezvous with the prior of the convent: Il Fratre Benvenuto.”

“I introduced you both as historiographers doing research on the Dominican Order’s history during The Renaissance so you could talk about Bruno Giordano without him becoming suspicious. Your appointment is tomorrow at 9 a.m. in the sacristy of the basilica.”

“I propose Loredana and I join you. It is better that we go together. I am afraid Il Fratre Benvenuto doesn’t speak English and probably not French or Japanese either. Since I know him personally, communication will be easy.”

The next morning was sunny and warm. The atmosphere in the narrow streets of the Centro Historico was very different from the sophisticated ambiance in Rome. People were shouting from one shop to another, noisy scooters traced their way, zigzagging dangerously between scared passers-by.

Many children had probably missed school and played noisily. You could see that most of the inhabitants were poor, if not unemployed, and strange characters sat on public benches talking loudly, probably commenting on the last football match. The familiar atmosphere made these streets lively and in a way, pleasant. It had the taste of holidays.

The church was magnificent with its oak panelled sacristy dating from The Renaissance, showing on its very high mezzanine the mausoleums of the fathers of the order. Religious scenes were inserted between the thick wooden panels and the vaulted ceiling was typically from the flamboyant Gothic period. A huge arch connected the sacristy to the main body of the cathedral.

A man with a white Dominican robe was standing straight with one hand caressing his white beard and the other counting his rosary beads he wore as a belt around his waist.

His hair was very short and with his monk tonsure, he appeared as a noble figure.

He looked at his watch: 8:30 a.m. He was too early.

He seemed perplexed, and decided to go down the stairs next to the altar and walk back to the Basilica. He had forgotten a document he wanted to show his visitors. He couldn’t see the black shadows waiting for him in the “abside”, hidden behind the huge pillars. They followed him silently as he went down the stairs.

 

The visitors arrived at 9 a.m. sharp and entered the central nave from the side transept at the right of the Basilica. The sacristy was located ten meters down the right corridor. It was empty.

Pascal and Mayumi stopped at the threshold and at the same time admired the imposing structure and the rare artefacts that were inestimable heritage from the past: statues, sepulchres, tabernacles from Tino da Carmaino and Luigi d’Ungheria, and paintings from Simone Martini, decorated tombs of rich Italians, nobilities, and sponsors of the Church. The stained glass windows and glorious altars were guarded on both sides by winged angels in marble. All these pieces were the works from the best artists of the Neapolitan Renaissance.

Pascal noticed that on each side of the main altar an odd staircase in white marble descended to a dark corridor.

A chain blocked the way with a panel indicating vietato (forbidden). This was unusual in churches.

They waited for fifteen minutes and Augusto called the Dominican’s mobile phone.

“I hope he doesn’t keep the phone on during mass in case he receives a local call from Jesus!” Pascal felt self-content with that joke.

Augusto didn’t even listen; he seemed worried. There was no answer to his call.

“This is not his style,” mumbled Augusto. “He is usually very strict and on time. Something has happened!”

Pascal suddenly had an intuition. The stairs!

“Let’s go!” he almost shouted and he started to run back to the main nave. He jumped above the blocking chain down to the long narrow black corridor and downward to the underground followed by the others.

In the dim atmosphere he could see nothing but the somber frames of side doors. They heard a faint cry from far away, somewhere at the end.

They used the light from their phones and progressed in the gloomy light.

The cry was amplifying and the last door made of a heavy metal showed a beam of light underneath its panel.

“Shh…” whispered Pascal. They advanced slowly now in total silence.

A dreadful cry came from behind that door so they stopped in front of the panel.

Pascal counted 1…2…3, then smashed the door open. Beyond it was a smelly, vaulted tunnel going with an earthen floor. Augusto was right behind him. They made out one of the entrances to the famous interconnecting secret passages below the old city. A small, side cavity was lit with torches.

Three young guys had their back to the door. In front of them, a naked old bearded man was tied to an electric pipe that ran along the ceiling; his robe lay on the floor. One of the guys had a knife and was delicately stripping the man’s flesh.

Pascal dropped on him and at the same time applied an “atemi” to another.

The two characters were almost knocked down. Augusto, also well built, punched the third one hard in the face. The cowardly youngsters were too surprised and not well trained to react quickly. Terrified, they immediately ran out, without even glancing to the two women who were waiting outside.

Mayumi had the reflex to extend one leg to stop them. The one with the knife fell down, hurting his face badly as the knife pierced his jaw, but he was so scared that he stood up immediately and hurried to safety.

Augusto recognized the naked man immediately; it was the prior. His robe was stained with blood. Pascal examined his wounds and found that they were superficial. They had arrived in time, before the youth had played real tormentors.

Half conscious, the priest was shaking.

“Fratre Benvenuto,” asked Augusto, “Are you OK?”

“Oh, Augusto. You are here!” He was recovering fast. “Thank you so much my dear friend.”

Augusto whispered in his ear, “Shall we call the police Padre?”

Still in shock, the Dominican responded with a raucous and apprehensive voice.

“No, No! This is obviously a conflict with the Camora. It is not necessary.”

“Why not?”

The Dominican replied in Italian to Augusto.

“You know how it works here. These young guys were sent by the Camora to warn me against divulging secrets about old documents. They may fear that foreigners divulge secret documents. They know, of course, that your friends are here. They had no intention of killing me.”

“This event must not be publicised. Please just help me out, and thank you so much for your help!”

Augusto explained to Pascal.

“Fratre Gabrielle is right. The Camora is so powerful here that it is pointless complaining to the police. Some drug lords who know you are contacting the convent have probably been contracted these young thugs for few Euros. They were probably trying to get information from the priest before you do.”

“In fact the reason is not very clear, but it may be related to your friends in Burma who want to find the mantras that you are looking for in Naples. Don’t worry, the prior also has his connections and the scoundrels will be punished by their own people.”

“Now the creeps are hiding in the Scampia, the unsafe District 167, where nobody dares to venture. What could the police do, supposing they wanted to do something?”

Pascal understood some Italian and had followed the conversation. He was surprised.

“I did not believe that a country as sophisticated as Italy could encounter these problems. Is there any legal order anywhere in the world?”

“Don’t you think that a business transacting millions of Euros daily can change things? The Americans say money talks, and believe me, it does here,” said Augusto with cynicism.

“But what will we do now?”

Augusto tried to be positive.

“Chance is with us. You were lucky enough to rescue the brave priest and you have to take advantage of the situation. The Dominican owes you his life and he will consider you as a friend. You will get your information.”

They helped the Dominican back to the sacristy and Pascal went to a pharmacy for first aid. Fortunately, some band aids and disinfectant were enough for the time being.

The Dominican looked exhausted. With a trembling voice he said, “Sorry about the meeting. I need to rest a while”. Come to see me tomorrow morning at five for Matins at the convent here, next to the sacristy”. He showed them a small door at the back.

 

They arrived early the next morning.

“Let me show you around,” said the prior.

“The main facilities of the convent San Lorenzo Maggiore were moved a long time ago to the countryside. The only remains of the original buildings are in a small priory rebuilt in the French Gothic style during the Renaissance by the Spanish Viceroy. At this time of day you can only discern part of the priory set at the side of the solemn Basilica, which has a fine and restrained architecture in a pure, unadorned style. Over there, an arched gallery surrounds a simple courtyard. The building is shaped as a cloister where monks can meditate and walk around; we call it the Ambulatorium.

The priest pointed to a dark shadow in the middle.

“This Madonna and Child is from Montano d’Arezzo, one of the best sculptors of the Renaissance! I will show you it later.”

Even though the light was dim, the gloom of the dawn gave the sensation of a hidden splendour and a peaceful environment that was strict and minimalist.

“There,” continued the priest proudly, “you can see that function rooms are connected to the gallery through high, heavy doors. A small chapel has been kept, and we still use it for prayers and chanting Gregorian songs. We will have our morning meal in that room, a refectory untouched since the Renaissance equipped with long, antique benches and oak tables. It is connected to a large kitchen that is, I must admit, quite primitive.”

He pointed to a collection of faded murals on the wall that represented Jesus’s path to the crucifixion. After the quick visit in the silent, semi-darkness, they entered into the heart of the convent and followed Fratre Benvenuto to the chapel where a dozen monks were already kneeling on both sides of wooden prayer benches. Candles were projecting the ghostly shadows of the robed priests who sat in two rows facing onto the arched Gothic ceiling. A strong smell of incense was filling the atmosphere.

Suddenly, Pascal was absorbed into memories of overwhelming feelings when his mother dragged him to Christian religious events such as The Passion ceremony, which was so dramatically embodied by enthralling composers such as Bach and many others. The poignant vibration of the music always gave him, as a child, the illusion that he believed in the Catholic faith.

The moment the prior entered they priests stood up, creating a strange noise of wooden cracks echoing in the vault. There was silence again as they waited for their guests to be seated.

The cracking noise was repeated as they all sat and continued to recite prayers.

Pater noster qui est in cielo…….

About fifteen minutes later they all stood up again. One of them walked to the middle and stood in front of a wooden pupitre where a musical notation book was laid.

“Gregorian songs,” indicated the priest.

Kyrie Eleison…” Deep voices invaded the quiet atmosphere and resonated with the vault. A moving sensation had the guests vibrating with deep recollections of compassion and serenity.

The chants lasted for half an hour. Pascal had already entered into a deep meditation and Mayumi seemed totally relaxed and happy, deep into her spiritual world.

After a moment of peace and silence the prior came to them and showed the musical notation book Gregorian Songs that was named after Pope Gregory. They were used in the 12th Century as the ‘sanctified pedigree of the plainchant’, its traditional name since the Roman Ages.

“You see: these quotations are square; not ovals as the usual ones. We call them “neumes”. They are notated in a system ancestral to modern musical notation. They only indicate movements and duration, and variations on the same tone. The pitches are usually sung Viva Voce, which means learned and repeated by oral tradition. The Gregorian Chanting helps the monks and priests to emit powerful resonating vibrations.”

He turned to Mayumi, “They’re probably like the mantras of your Buddhist religion. Our group just chants a capella—without any instrumental backing. It starts a Psalmody, a kind of recitative, resonating process between the individuals and the group. This is chanted to prepare the state of mind Buddhists call The Sati: the peace of mind. The soloist in the center of the group answers with free melodies on several tones. This is called ‘the Repons’: the Oriental prana. Psalmody and repons resonate together in such a way that our monks can attain a state of illumination,” he said. “Gregorian chants have always brought us to higher levels of consciousness. It has been like this since the Roman canonical tradition.”

Happy to show his knowledge of Oriental culture and tradition, he said to Mayumi, “You see, we are not so different from the monks in your country; we chant and contemplate.”

A broad smile appeared on his square face.

“All priests here would like to convey their deep gratitude for your brave action yesterday. All our fraters would appreciate it if you could join us now for our meal of matins.”

It was already 6 a.m. Queuing in good order and in total silence, the priests entered the refectory and sat at their assigned places along the stretched tables. The Prior invited his guests to sit next to him.

“We have only coffee or tea, toast, fruits and milk or yoghurt. Sorry if you find it frugal.”

The heartening odour of the coffee was already filling the room and everyone seemed to be enjoying the moment.

“What do you want to know about the order?” asked the Prior suddenly.

Pascal decided to be straightforward, and with Augusto translating, asked frankly, “Fratre, we have to find an old manuscript from the Orient, and to be more precise, an old mantra that has been sent centuries ago to the Christian people by Buddhist missionaries. We heard that during The Renaissance, one of your monks from Naples had the opportunity to find it. He was a famous Dominican who, before he died, entrusted it back to the prior here in this convent.”

“Well, it is a long time ago,” answered the Prior. “We still have a small library—or at least what we could hide from what Napoleon stole from us. So what is the name of this Dominican?”

“Giordano Bruno!”

Immediately a frown that turned into a puzzled look appeared on the Fratre’s face.

“It is impossible!” he replied.

Pascal understood the dilemma. The Church does not like to divulge important manuscripts as The Prior had explained.

Pascal had to convince him.

“What we are seeking Fratre is not for personal greed. We know this document exists and must be here. Some bad people from a strong and dangerous organization want to get it, whatever the price. We cannot really tell too much about that organization. We do not know them yet! But, believe us, they are very well connected and follow us everywhere. We believe they try to get hold on the manuscript to get political and mental power. We are still confused and start only now to understand how dangerous they can be.

Ourselves, we are very insignificant, compared to them; but what we do is for a good cause, in a humanitarian way; not for us, not for power nor money.”

He added a pious lie, “Please help us. We only want to make sure the manuscript containing the mantra is safely kept here. That is all we need know!”

Of course Pascal didn’t elaborate on his psychic talent; who knows how they would react to that!

The priest looked into Pascal eyes. He had a long experience with human souls and was sure of Pascal’s good intention, but he had to make a critical decision. Sometimes Dominicans were more flexible and more independent than the other Orders. They have built the reputation that they rely more on their own decisions. Still, it was a difficult choice to make.

Abruptly, he proposed: “Recently we have received strict instructions not to give any documents from our historical library no matter who asks for it”.

Pascal had understood the implication.

“But nobody said anything about just showing the documents, is that right?”

“Exactly! So I will let you see it!”

“No problem,” said Pascal, as he had no alternative.

The prior talked to the man seated next to Augusto.

“Fratre, desidero il documento di Bruno Giordano!”

The priest immediately stood up without paying attention to his unfinished coffee then disappeared. It took only a few minutes. When he came back he was holding a large, rough, brownish leather pouch that was bound with a red leather ribbon. He gave it to the Prior to open. There was only a codex inside about A4-size with a hard leather cover. They could see engraved on it: El Arte Della Memoria.

“That’s all we have,” said the fratre.

“That’s all?” Pascal was disappointed, and not convinced.

“May I see the pouch and the book?”

He concentrated, looking at both items from different angles. Then he whispered to Mayumi next to him, “Did you see the pouch? What did you notice?”

She didn’t have to focus her attention; she had understood before he did.

“The old leather showed faded marks as if a box or something thick had been kept inside it for a long time.

“Was there something else inside?” he asked the librarian.

“I do not remember,” he answered.

“Ok then.” said Pascal. He opened the book and rapidly observed all the pages. During his brief investigation he saw something on one of the pages that was unusual and didn’t match the original document.

The text was written in Gothic Latin on vellum, an expensive sheepskin paper. He showed the priests the unusual marks that appeared to have been recently added to that page of the beautifully illustrated book. The non-matching letters were written next to a diagram that did Giordano Bruno describe demonstrating the memory structure as. They looked much more recent than the other text.

“What are these inscriptions?” he asked, showing the text that was hand written on the borders of the diagrams. Everyone looked at it, and even the Prior couldn’t make any sense of the words.

After a long and tense silence, Pascal asked Mayumi.

“Do you have some kind of cosmetic powder case?”

The monks looked upset at the idea of putting powder on the book.

Mayumi handed Pascal her Chanel blush compact case.

Pascal tried to lighten the tense situation with a joke.

“Don’t worry Fratre, I don’t powder my cheeks!”

Feeling relief, they all burst into laughter.

Pascal opened Mayumi’s case and as expected, there was a small mirror stuck inside. He placed it in front of the indecipherable writing and started reading:

Ex Livro Veritas

Roma condemnum

Pietrae erectum.

portam secretorum

Mirror writing! Even Galileo used it to hide from the Inquisition!

They were all puzzled.

The text was in Latin.

“Who wrote that?” Pascal asked.

No one knew.

Once again Pascal had an idea.

“Do you have a register of your precious documents Fratre?” he asked the librarian.

“Of course,” he answered, “and we even have one file for each one.”

“Can I see this one?”

Without any complaint and still with good intent, the librarian stood up.

A few minutes later he was back with a wrinkled parchment paper with inscriptions hand-written in Latin but not in the old Gothic style.

“Here is the date we received the document, and here the date when somebody consulted it.”

There were only two dates. 1650: Fratre Gabriel and 1880: Ettore Ferrari.

“Who is this person?” questioned Pascal.

The librarian and the Prior looked at each other and seemed very perplexed.

We believe Fratre Gabriel is the Dominican who brought this book here for Bruno Giordano, his Dominican ‘brother’, but we do not know any Ettore Ferrari.”

Loredana knew.

“Ettore Ferrari was a famous sculptor from the 19th Century,” she explained. “He was also the president of the Italian Mason’s Lodge; a free thinker and a friend of Victor Hugo. And, if I remember correctly, he was the one who crafted the Bruno Giordano statue erected in Rome’s Piazza dei Fiori against the Pope’s will.

Pascal and Mayumi looked at each other and smiled.

“That is it!” they said in unison.

Discretely, Mayumi took a picture of the document with her phone and no one even had seen it had been done. The guests then stood up and warmly excused themselves and promised to come back some day.

 

 

Reality is what we take to be true,

What we take to be true is what we believe,

and what we believe is based upon our perceptions.”

David Bohm, physicist

 

 

Pascal and Mayumi were thrilled at the discovery. It was only 7 a.m. when they arrived back to their friends’ attic and they had the feeling that the day was ending, but Napoli was only waking up to life and they felt the urgency to move on.

Sitting on a stool in the designer kitchen drinking their second coffee, Pascal talked to Augusto.

“My friend, it is better that we do not stay longer with you even though we love your place. You have been more than helpful, but there is no need to bring you more trouble.”

“We understand how our intervention and action is dangerous for you. You are already the target of the Italian mafia and there’s no need to add the Thai /Burmese mafia,” Pascal joked. “Anyway, we now have what we wanted. The only other service we need from you, if you can, is to do a translation from Latin.”

Pascal had some memories of Latin from school, but didn’t remember much. Augusto was educated in a religious institute and knew Latin well and read aloud.

Pascal was amazed. Like most people, he liked to watch espionage movies and enjoyed mysteries.

True comes from the book,

Judged in Rome,

Erected in stone.

Door to the secret.”

“Well done Watson! It is obvious,” Pascal joked. “We have the key to the answer… but what is it? We had better go to Rome to understand this mess.”

They left their new friends, yet eager to come back in more enjoyable circumstances. On the train back to Rome Pascal and Mayumi recapped their findings, trying to understand the puzzle.

“In the convent,” said Mayumi, “we both understood there was a kind of box hidden in the leather pouch and the marks showed that it had been there for a long time. We also know that only one man, an Ettore Ferrari, officially had access to it.

“So, either somebody stole it—but that seems impossible since nobody, even the priests, knew there was an essential manuscript there. Or—and this seems more probable—the sculptor was too happy to restore the image of the so-called ‘heretic’ to create a statue in his honour. As a Mason, he would have known the importance of that hidden document,” mused Pascal.

“Where do you think this box is now?” asked Mayumi.

“Maybe you should read the Da Vinci Code!” said Pascal impatiently. And they both laughed heartily.

“Pascal can you be serious for a while?” begged Mayumi.

He postured a solemn attitude and took from his visitor’s guide a picture of the statue of Bruno Giordano. It was erected in the middle of the Piazza dei Fiori near the Piazza Navona, at the same place that the infamous prison Torre della Nona had been built in the past.

“Look at the picture,” he said with exaggerated gestures, pretending he was an orator. “Does that ring a bell, madam?”

He repeated: “In livro Veritas: the truth is with the book… Pietrae erectum: erected in stone. The book of the statue must be made in stone… Roma judicio: condemned in Rome.”

Mayumi glared at him.

Pascal started jumping and dancing like a monkey.

“Can’t you see? We found it! We found it: the Book!”

He couldn’t avoid a joke.

“It is so clear that a Jesuit couldn’t find it!”

“The book!” echoed Mayumi, who missed the joke. “I see now! The statue has a book in his hands!”

“Our mantra is there, hidden by the clever artist as a symbol of freedom and the courage of his hero who fought for free expression against the powerful church. This is an ideal situation for the Mason’s free thinkers!”

“But how can we retrieve that Mantra?”

“Simple! Let’s go back to Rome. Quick!”

 

As soon as the train arrived at the Rome Central station, Pascal and Mayumi immediately took a taxi to the Piazza dei Fiori. They were impatient to discover Ettore Ferrari’s piece of art and check for the book.

First they were surprised by the huge size of the statue. Very tall, it sat on a massive pedestal made of stone block.

Not only did they have to operate in a public place, they also had to get the mantra from that stone structure—and the book was five meters from the ground! How could they recover something inside it and not destroy the statue? It was much more difficult than they had presumed, and maybe even impossible.

But Pascal was determined. He had the intuition that there was a kind of will from the sculptor for it to be accessed, and since Ettore was a Freemason, he had to do it the Freemason’s way.

Pascal suddenly exclaimed, “Freemasons consider themselves as builders, not only of cathedrals, but also of a philosophical order, so they used symbols, and he had to do the same.”

It was at that moment that Pascal touched the statue and realized it wasn’t made of stone—it was a bronze cast.

So why had the sculptor had written: fato della pietra?

Focusing on the exact meaning, Pascal translated the sentence word by word.

CARVED (AND NOT ERECTED) FROM THE STONE. Suddenly, the real implication appeared.

Ettore wasn’t talking about the statue, but the pedestal made of stone. The perspective totally changed.

“This sculptor was a genius,” he said to Mayumi. “You see! On each side of this 5 × 3 meter stone block the artist has carved scenes of Bruno Giordano’s trial on these bronze plates.”

“See this one! You can see the cardinal facing the detainee, and his rogue attitude… And here, on the table, can you notice a book? This must be the one we are looking for. It’s clever, isn’t it?”

As a sculptor, Ettore Ferrari worked with tools to carve stone and plaster. He would have always used a square and a compass, and these tools were also his ‘symbols’ that will help us unlock the cache.

“Can you see now?” asked Pascal.

They stared at each other. Mayumi was amazed! Pascal took her arm gently moving her away from the statue. “Let’s come back tomorrow. We have to do some shopping!”

“Pascal,” she replied, “I must admit you are the most incredible man I have ever met. Maybe you were right; our vibrations are resonating.”

For the first time, she tried a joke.

“Even I still don’t feel I am Imae, the woman of your dreams.” She pressed her body against his gently, in a loving gesture.

Pascal embraced her. “Now you are.”

“Let’s concentrate back to our mission and I will explain my plan,” he said. “We have to do some homework, but in the meantime let’s celebrate. I remember a place where they have the best champagne, the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.

They started laughing like children and ran, hand in hand, to the place where they could find their favorite champagne. It felt almost like a pilgrimage already.

 

 

It was raining heavily in Rome that early morning and the weather was unusually chilly. It wasn’t a nice day for tourism, even for a romance under an umbrella. The shops and restaurants were closed.

The piazza was deserted and a strange silence enveloped it. The huge statue of Bruno Giordano in the middle of the piazza was almost hidden by a thick mist.

A white van was parked near the statue and two workers wearing white and green overalls installed a plastic enclosure around the stone pedestal. They erected collapsible boards with the City Emblem and DHRM ‘Temporary Maintenance Work’ painted on them.

Once the enclosure was set, a tall, athletic man wearing a worker’s helmet and glasses that masked his face snuck out from the van and swiftly entered with tools in his hand.

Back from the site, a young and beautiful oriental woman dressed in a large raincoat with her head nestled into a woven bonnet look in the direction of the statue. She looked like an early tourist waiting for the coffee shops to open.

She was the first to spot the three young men who had arrived on scooters who stopped their engines and started to light cigarettes, obviously watching the statue as well. Why were young guys interested in historical vestiges at 6 a.m.?

The young woman knew immediately that trouble was coming. She took her phone and wrote a text message: ‘Hurry!’

They had to rush before the young guys noticed that something unusual was happening. She went to her car and started the engine.

On the site, hidden from curious eyes, the athletic worker stared at the carved scene set on one side of the stone pedestal. He quickly got out his compass and square and started to insert their sharp extremities into almost invisible holes that appeared on the small, carved book.

His excitement seemed to vanish as the reality of what was expected of him sunk in. What if he was totally wrong?

He stopped for a few seconds to breathe deeply. He heard some strange noises:The technique seemed to be working and he recovered his self-confidence. He glanced at the silhouette at the far corner of the piazza. He then repeated the motion, and only after few apprehensive trials pushing hard with his tools, did he heard a metallic click.

As if in a dream, a slit appeared on the right side of the bronze carving. It was very slim, but was enough to insert the square. Squealing, the bronze plate turned open and the man could smell the stench of fetid air from the opening. Behind the plate, sitting on a kind of metal tablet, was a somber object that looked like a greasy box.

The worker looked inside with his electric lamp. That’s all there was. He quickly grabbed the box, careful not to have it slide or break, and put it into his backpack. A surprising thing happened next. The artist had set an auto-closing system that was activated when the weight on the tablet was lifted.

As soon as the box was taken, a metal string automatically pulled up the tablet support that closed the bronze panel with a similar click. The bronze panel was now definitively sealed.

How smart!

The worker’s phone beeped. He cast a glance and replied: ‘Come!’

He kept hidden behind the plastic until a small Fiat stopped. He snuck below the plastic sheet and found his way to the car door. The small engine accelerated with a roar, tires squealed and the car rushed in the opposite direction of the scooters. By the time the young guys reacted, the small car was already gone from their view and on its way to the airport. At the same moment, the small Buddha, the MI6 alarm, started to vibrate.

“Ah!” exclaimed Pascal, “they don’t waste their time! How can we trust them?”

At the airport, the two characters ran to the British Airways counter. They were very satisfied, in fact elated by their performance.

“Congratulations.” Pascal said to Mayumi. “That was very good timing. How could you arrange that fake maintenance work at such a short notice?”

“You have never been married,” she said teasingly. “You still don’t realize what women can do!”

She explained later that she had the time to arrange everything overnight with the help of her contacts in the DHRM, the Department of Historical Roman Monuments. One of them, an architect, was in charge of the historical monuments preservation. He was very professional and quick. He was also very fond of Mayumi! But she didn’t elaborate on that.

In the meantime Pascal could connect with Mr. Been from MI6 by using their encoded procedure. He was expecting them in London.

 

SEASON 2: FATE

 

 

A man’s character is his fate.”

Heraclitus

 

 

Pascal perceived that ‘intelligence’ didn’t mean ‘imagination’. As soon as they arrived at Heathrow Airport, the identical scenario occurred, a dull movie script written by the British Secret Service: MI6. These guys really lacked vision or had stopped watching new movies.

The new address for the meeting that somebody slipped into his pocket was to indicate another remote place in other lost London suburb. Hopefully, it wasn’t written in Greek or Pakistani.

Pascal and Mayumi decided they were going to look around London after the meeting and spend some time together. Mayumi felt happy and relaxed, but she couldn’t say why.

Being the daughter of a religious master had always been a heavy responsibility for her to bear. There were so many principles to follow; an obligation to always show the right attitude towards others, and she had a deep spirituality to maintain. There wasn’t much time for fantasy, originality, and leisure. Her medical studies had been a heavy load and her work was very demanding. At her high technical level serious people who didn’t have a sense of humour surrounded her.

Maybe Pascal’s ironic tone and dry humour was having an impact. At first she looked at it as a lack of principle and she felt irritated, but slowly, she started to understand that his humorist stance was an astute way to express his anger and frustration at critics without confrontation. As soon as she realised that she changed her attitude.

Mayumi also resented the trauma from her childhood. As she had revealed to Pascal, she was not born in Japan and felt the guilt of not even being a true product from the Nippon Empire. She was still a Gaijin: a distant foreigner!

Her real parents from a remote village in Mongolia died from dysentery when she was hardly 5 years old. She also became very sick and almost died but was rescued and cured by the local Shaman.

Utzi was an extraordinary woman who taught Mayumi many secrets from her practice and explained how she connected with the divinities; the spirits. She also initiated her into the magic of healing; to the knowledge of herbs and potions as more efficient than classical medicine.

During those two years Mayumi traveled with her until one day Utzi disappeared. It was the most terrible event of Mayumi’s young life. She loved that wonderful woman who was so compassionate and generous. Mayumi couldn’t understand why she did that, and even her strong intuition couldn’t tell whether she would be connected to Utzi again during dramatic circumstances.

The day Utzi disappeared a Buddhist group from Japan was offering a donation to the village school, and Mayumi didn’t know this event was going to change her life. The Buddhist leader saw a ‘wild and desperate animal’ lost in the corner of the schoolyard and understood immediately her fantastic potential. He saw and understood her aptitude to be a medium; a talent attached to her genomes probably.

He was deeply moved and impressed by this young girl. He spoke to his wife and they decided to adopt the young girl and take her back to Japan. They changed her name to Mayumi. Although this changed her fate and improved her life, it was nonetheless a cultural shock that she never totally absorbed!

The encounter with Pascal was opening a new window for her. As a medium with a special power to sense vibrations, she had, of course, evaluated his personality and felt his depth was progressing rapidly. She was now happy to accept that their relationship was warming up, and this filled her with unusual tenderness—or was it love?

Lost in her thoughts, she was distracted as she walked to the airport’s public toilet, which was quite far from the coffee shop where Pascal waited for their meal order.

Three uniformed men who were following her at a distance approached her the moment she wasn’t visible from the coffee shop. They showed official badges that read ‘Airport Security’, and asked for her travel documents.

This is tight security, she thought. There are still so many ways to control people’s fears.

Naturally she showed her passport to one of the men; a sturdy, short, almost bald man with tiny eyes. Ignorant of the danger she was in, she couldn’t help to compare him to an ugly rat. The sneaky character carefully examined her documentation and pointed to a glass cubicle.

“Please follow us to the immigration office madam. There is a problem with your visa.”

“What problem?” She felt furious all of a sudden, and scared.

“Don’t worry madam; it is not important. They simply forgot to stamp your passport properly in Rome. It will take only few minutes.”

 

Since the moment the plane had landed in London Pascal had felt apprehensive, which took away from his happiness. Everything was going too well. He couldn’t help imagine Mayumi disappear into nothingness. There was no particular reason to support his strong fear, as everything looked so normal, but when Mayumi walked to the far side of the terminal, he immediately knew something was wrong. Strong negative vibrations invaded him and he almost heard her calling for help.

Without any hesitation, he grabbed his backpack and ran in the direction she had taken. Then he saw them: two tall, uniformed men were holding her arms. A short, muscular man followed them and they were pushing her through a door next to the arrival booths, which slammed closed immediately behind them.

Pascal opened it and saw the staircase to the parking lot. He rushed down the stairs, and at the very moment he reached the parking level and opened the heavy metal door he heard a car screech: once again, a Toyota van!

He saw the vehicle stop; its back door suddenly opened to engulf the abductors and Mayumi. He could hardly distinguish them since the van was leaving at full speed, its tires smoking.

It had already driven through the toll booth when Pascal reached the exit and ran to follow them along the access ramp.

It was a desperate move, and he had to stop, out of breath; devastated.

Oh God! They had her! How could he be so stupid to let her go alone? Once more he hadn’t listened to his intuition and now she was gone.

In a rage, he realised he was an amateur in this underground world. An immense tiredness fell upon him and he came back to pick up both suitcases at the coffee shop. He sat motionless for a long time; feeling uncertain and lost. He decided to go to the arranged meeting anyway, because MI6 might help. There was nothing else he could do anyway, not even call the police.

 

 

The best thing I know between France and England

is the sea.”

D. Jerrold

 

 

The standard black taxicab, was touring the Chinese suburb totally lost. The driver was becoming impatient. The driver ignored the fact that he was in search of the Secret Service—where they were located had become a real secret!

London cab drivers were usually extremely polite and helpful until they felt upset for any reason. The driver had reached that extreme and was ready to turn back, furious and starting to nag about the ‘slanted eyes’, when finally they found their destination, thanks to Pascal’s knowledge of the Cantonese language.

Still emotional, the driver mumbled, “Bloody Chinooks, who do they think they are?”

A good tip was able to calm him down and Pascal finally got to the shop that was a kind of emporium with all the things you could find in Hong Kong.

Of course you could expect the shopkeeper to be Chinese. He was very slim with a big smile nailed on his flat face and probably deaf and mute, as he never opened his mouth and didn’t pretend to listen.

Inside the shop they passed the unmistakable red and gold altar dedicated to the Ancestors, with its blinking lights and candles, and surrounded by an acrid incense smell.

This time the same agents looked nervous. They had been waiting for him a long time with the so-called Mr. Been, still wearing a tweed jacket and flannel pants under an ample overcoat.

He probably has twenty of these costumes, or maybe it is the same one, thought Pascal. But he was not in a mood to joke. He immediately informed the agents about the incident at the airport, as he was anxious to know what they could do.

Mr. Been answered calmly.

“We know what happened; we were there.”

“You were there?” shouted Pascal. “And you did nothing?”

“Please, do not over-react. We didn’t expect it to happen. We didn’t have the information that somebody was to kidnap your girlfriend and we had only two men there. They saw you running and they followed; they were too late as well.”

“Why didn’t they contact me then?” asked Pascal.

“Sorry, Pascal; it wasn’t their job!”

“So what is your job then? Can you find her?”

“We have immediately put all our agents and the Scotland Yard Special Division on it,” Mr. Been soothed.

“Now Pascal, let’s work on the present situation as it is the key to finding your friend. Don’t worry, their goal is to find the two mantras and they will approach you soon. We will be at your back to protect you and her. In the meantime let our best agents do their work. I promise you we will find her.”

You promise? How much is that promise worth wondered Pascal.

Nervous and anxious, Pascal reluctantly started to brief the MI6 team on his adventures in Rome and Naples, but didn’t mention the small, black package they found in the Roman statue that was covered in sticky wax.

He and Mayumi had decided that for safety’s sake they would keep the mantra’s location a secret. Pascal had no confidence in any Secret Service agency. Experience always proved that they followed the wind at their advantage; that every agent was expandable, and that Mr. Been was probably two-faced.

After Mayumi was abducted Pascal knew that it was more secure to put the mantra in a bank safe, so he had made a detour to London’s CDB, and using some tricks he had seen in a thriller movie, made sure he wasn’t followed in Oxford Street.

The small package that contained the second mantra, together with the first one, were now treasures entrusted in a bank safe, ready to be exchanged for Mayumi’s life. It was her life insurance policy, so for the time being, he trusted no one, particularly not MI6.

With a charming smile Mr. Been said, “Since you have now the two mantras that the hostile organization needs, don’t you think it will be more cautious to entrust them to us?”

Pascal was surprised. He had always told MI6 about one mantra to be recovered. This was the second time Mr. Been mentioned two mantras, but Pascal had told him that he had recovered on mantra only. Who told him about it… or had he not listened properly?

“I presume you mean one mantra, don’t you?” Pascal tested Mr. Been.

“Oh yes, sorry,” replied Mr. Been swiftly. “I was mistaken. In fact you didn’t find the second one in Italy.”

He was caught red-handed.

“Well,” invented Pascal with a smile as well. “Unfortunately, we have one only. The Esoteric Buddhists say it is not enough to start any experiment corresponding to the Mandala symmetric rules. So we still have to find the second one.”

Pascal hoped Mr. Been would believe that, and added another fiction. “Our friends in Bangkok have the first one.”

At least, thought Pascal, they wouldn’t hurt him or Mayumi as long as they didn’t have the two mantras. He needed to buy some time.

“Did you keep a copy of that mantra to to show our expert now?” asked Mr. Been.

“No, because a copy wouldn’t be relevant; only an original can be used.”

Been was quite disappointed, but he kept smiling and told Pascal.

“Please make sure we can have it soon, otherwise it would be difficult for us to negotiate with the Cosmos agents to free your friend. I have just received a very important piece of information. The Thai general’s story has checked out. We are dealing with a very dangerous international group ready to do whatever it takes to get those two mantras, so you’re best to follow our advice Pascal.”

Was this a threat?

“Well Mr. Been, I think you’d better help me to find Mayumi first. This is the only important thing to me. Bring her to me and I promise I will find what is going on and give you the two mantras—when I find the second one.”

He had learned quickly the game of making promises.

“As I told you, don’t worry; it’s only a matter of time. Get yourself ready for the negotiation with these guys. Keep quiet for now and we will contact you soon.”

With the meeting over, Mr. Been delivered him to an elegant hotel near Marble Arch facing Regents Park.

“Your accommodation is on the house; sorry we couldn’t afford The Savoy.”

Somehow, the joke calmed Pascal’s anxiety.

“You still have a hand in the game Pascal,” said Been. “They need you and what you have. Believe me, they will contact you soon.” He repeated. “We will stay at your back and protect you.”

Pascal pretended to appreciate the fact that they didn’t wish to leave him alone.

“Stay on the forefront; visible in that hotel. That way they will soon know where you are. In fact, we have let them know, so they will come to you quickly to make a deal.”

They this; they that! Who are they?”

But Mr. Been gave no detail, nor did he reveal who gave him the intelligence or how they contacted him. It was all very strange indeed! They just walked from the parking lot to the hotel. Mr. Been looked quite a character in his green and beige wool cap. Just before leaving Pascal in front of the first-class hotel he changed his manner and seemed to become friendlier, patting Pascal’s shoulder and making an effort to build a relationship.

“Keep in touch soon mate! But please don’t do anything foolish on your own.”

And he left Pascal alone, heart-broken and suspicious, following the impeccable bellboy to his room.

The boutique hotel was very posh, stylish and cozy. The comfortable Laura Ashley fabrics and mahogany Chippendale furniture might have reminded Pascal of past weekends in the London countryside, but it wasn’t the time for melancholic memories, and he paid no attention to the luxurious setting of the hotel.

He tried to recompose himself. They had Mayumi, and he had to accept that. And play smart.

He was still in shock though and incapable of making a plan and completely obsessed with the same recurring questions: Why had they attacked so soon? ‘Officially’ we had only found one mantra and everyone knew it wasn’t enough. They should be thinking we had one more to locate. What had happened? How had MI6 known the way to contact them and why had Mr. Been talked twice about two mantras?

As Pascal entered his luxurious room the telephone was ringing on the bedside table. He nervously rushed to grab the receiver.

It was the receptionist downstairs.

“We have a gentleman at reception for you sir… a Mr. Daisukei.”

Jesus! The PR from the Mantrayana! What the hell was he doing here? How did he know I am here?

“Send him up to my room,” said Pascal.

When he opened the door, he ushered in the very elegant and handsome Japanese PR he had met in Bangkok.

“Hi, Daisukei. Thanks for coming! Why are you here? How did you find me? Did you hear the bad news?”

At ease, Daisukei, pretended not to hear Pascal’s barrage of questions, and sat on the sofa.

“A friend at the Japanese Foreign Office in Osaka called me yesterday and told me they had been informed by the British Embassy that Mayumi, the daughter of the Master of the Mantrayana group, had been abducted. The British Ambassador apologized to the Japanese government and said Mayumi was kidnapped at the Airport in broad daylight while leaving Rome with a French man. They knew this French man was staying in a hotel near Regents Park and they asked me to contact you for more information. What luck to find you! I took the first flight and have just arrived… and I also have important news regarding the mantras.”

Pascal was surprised, but suddenly remembered what Mr. Been had told him: “In fact, we have just let them know.”

How clever! There was no accusation, nor prejudice to anyone; just the fact and a subtle warning. How very British!

Was Daisukei a traitor? Pascal couldn’t believe it. This possibility was out of proportion. Daisukei was a wealthy man from a high-class family and very spiritually involved in his practice. Honesty and compassion surely were his objectives? But it was true that Kengo himself had told him that they had a mole in their organization.

How could Daisukei possibly be that infiltrator? What kind of powerful feeling—perhaps hate or deception—could upset him so much that he would make such an extreme choice?

Pascal kept his suspicions to himself and asked innocently, “What kind of news? I am so impatient to know.”

Even he was too tense to hear any other news that was not related to Mayumi’s fate. He had to listen. He felt he was going to discover the link to Mayumi’s abductors.

“The Mantrayana masters have discovered that only two mantras are necessary to match the Chinese tradition.”

“What tradition?”

“The Yin and the Yang,” said Daisukei.

Why was this important? Who cared? Pascal couldn’t stand it anymore.

“My God, Daisukei, what does that mean? Please don’t beat around the bush! How can it help me to find Mayumi?”

“The Yin and Yang principle is the basis of Chinese philosophy. It explains the world as a balance between the opposite, or complementary, phenomena like man and women, black and white, positive and negative, day and night.”

Pascal was ready to explode! “And again, what is the connection to our mantras?”

“It means a pair of symmetrical mantras is necessary to start the experiment! These mantras have been designed from that perspective, and now the people from the Cosmos project have discovered that they need the two symmetrical mantras you have to start their experiment.”

Ah, hah! Very cunning, Mr. Been! Pascal recalled the Mr. Been’s words. He understand now why Been had mentioned it last time; he was hiding the truth, and the words probably slipped out by mistake. And who had told him?

Pascal was mystified but pretended, nevertheless, to give full attention to the Japanese executive who already knew that the resonance between the two mantras was the key. Maybe Daisukei would help find Mayumi’s abductors.

“And you are now in danger,” continued Daisukei, “because they know you have both statues. It means you have no more chances to buy time. You need to negotiate quickly with these kidnappers.”

Pascal suddenly listened carefully. So, that was it! Daisukei knew much more; even about their Italian odyssey. Clearly he was the mediator.

Pascal had to play a subtle game.

“Am I supposed to give them the two mantras so they will release Mayumi?”

“Yes, the Cosmos people know you have these two mantras and they have no choice but to propose a deal to get them.”

“How do you know?” asked Pascal.

Daisukei hesitated for a second and replied without effort.

“I don’t know for sure. I just presume.”

Pascal knew that the Japanese PR wasn’t telling the truth; his story and the British Embassy’s stories were not consistent. Nevertheless, Daisukei was keeping it ‘matter of fact’; staying distant.

Pascal was now certain that Daisukei was the ‘master making the decisions’.

“We have to save Mayumi; we have to give them what they want.”

“Really?” asked Pascal.

Daisukei replied confidently, “Of course they will contact you. You have to keep the mantras in a safe place… by the way, where are they?”

Hey, hold on! This guy, here, in my room, is already trying to get the mantras from me? He thinks it’s as simple as that?

Pascal didn’t answer and Daisukei left.

Pascal decided to listen to his intuition and followed Daisukei out of his room. He calmly took a right turn and ran along the corridor in the opposite direction taken by the Japanese man. He rushed down the service stairs to the lobby three floors below and found himself in the corner of a bar, hidden from the elevators and the reception desk by a glass partition.

He was in time to see Daisukei get out of the elevator. Someone was waiting in one of the comfortable lounge chairs. They quickly nodded at each other and passed through the hotel’s revolving door, but Pascal had seen already. The tweed jacket gave him away; it was Mr. Been from MI6.

Jesus! Pascal felt abandoned all of a sudden. The floor was tumbling under his feet, but he recomposed himself rapidly. His fears were confirmed. Everyone was playing with him! He really was naïve. He decided that he would be extremely cautious now and act alone.

 

 

Hope is only an unstable enjoyment

Born from an image of something unsure.”

Spinoza, Ethics

 

 

Pascal had never felt such a dreadful sensation of despair and failure. Mayumi was gone, into the hands of scary individuals. To make things worse, he could do nothing. Nobody could be trusted really and MI6 seemed to be playing a mysterious game.

There was nothing more important at this point than for him to find her.

His sense of hopelessness was taking its toll. His emotions were now taking him beyond his power to react. He had to admit that he was possessed by passion and love, and absorbed in sentiments too strong to be exhausted. The sentimental edifice he had built was shattered at the very moment he started to develop that vibrant harmony with her.

He felt defeated for hours and just laid on his bed; he considered drinking himself into oblivion. He tried to sleep. It was late already and he hadn’t had dinner. Just thinking about food gave him nausea. He forced himself to practice Deep Relaxation, the breathing technique of the Samathi, but no practice worked. The clock was ticking slowly and obsessive and recurrent images of the recent events invaded his memory.

It wasn’t until the early hours that he fell into a listless sleep.

Was this dream a gift from his despair? The universal law was again moving his fate. Negative feelings were feeding positive energy under the form of a clairvoyant dream.

The beautiful face of Imae, the woman of the past, was looking at him. She turned back to stare and her face suddenly changed. It was the face of Mayumi, her big beautiful eyes held misery. She was tied with her arms pulled around her back and handcuffed. She was balancing dangerously on the top of a high mountain and Pascal felt dizzy.

Next she was at the top of a building surrounded by the deafening sound of a propeller. A radio clattered… Voices from dark, menacing men shouted an unintelligible language…. Far below an enormous bay of rough seas encircled many high buildings in a haze like a shroud. The pilot had black sunglasses reflecting the scenery as they landed on the building.

One man was waiting on the helipad, motionless and oblivious of the strong wind.

Through Mayumi’s perception Pascal felt she was staring at a cobra, hypnotized.

Pascal could make out the man’s personality. He was a stocky young Indian of medium complexion. As he approached his face became distorted in an expression of hate and anger. In the hurling of the tempest he could hear a repeated, hammering sound: Harappan, Harappan, Harappan……

Pascal woke up with a strong headache. It was 6 a.m. The nightmare had just connected him with a sad truth!

The hotel room was silent and faintly lit by a dimmed bedside lamp. Pascal lay on his bed still fully dressed, immobile, too anxious and depressed to move, yet at the same time he was afraid to go back to sleep.

Confusing feelings were mixing up in his mind. He was stunned and devastated by that connection with Mayumi. The images were haunting him, playing back in sequence on and on and increasing his remorse at being unable to set her free.

Suddenly, he felt reckless. He was too awfully afraid for her safety. Unconsciously, he stood up and opened the double-glass window, listening to the awaking murmur of the big city: the buses, and in the distance, rhythmic music in the park. It was probably some fanatics practicing early aerobics.

The trees just in front of his window were starting to take shape from darkness and he saw the luxury of this location: a natural landscape right in the middle of chic London. The smell of fish and chips from a nearby breakfast stand invaded the room. Disgusted, he started to shut the window when something strange kept his attention.

Some men were playing cards with the light on in a van that was stationed in front of the hotel. Was it a British custom to play cards outside during in the wee hours?

He watched as two more men left his hotel and slid the van door open. Was it a kind of surveillance shift? He hid behind the curtain and watched in the semi-darkness. In a reflex move before they entered the van, both men glanced up at his room. It was enough for him to conclude that he was a captive of MI6.

He had to leave fast! Nothing was really important apart from his desperate wish to save Mayumi, and he knew that Mayumi would be sacrificed by MI6.

Still under the strain of his recent vision and feeling helpless, he started to cry.

If, as the Australian Aborigines believed, their dreams opened to another reality, to a parallel world that was the real world, then this was a grim reality.

His vision was a signal, at least; he had to translate it right now!

The word Harappan continuously hammered in his head. What did it mean?

He opened his laptop and typed ‘harapan’ and spent a long time with incoherent answers. He then typed ‘harappan’ and bingo!

Harappan: Bronze-Age civilization 3,000 years B.C from the Indus Valley, India.

Below it read in small characters: Name of the tower built in Mumbai by the richest man in India, Tycoon Arun Kumar, for his family. The man owns everything, including a fundamental research centre that works on new String Theory applications…. His building has its own air traffic controller, two helipads…

Images rolled through Pascal’s mind: the Big Group, the BRIC, Mumbai Research Centre, Mohit, Arun Kumar… here was synchronicity again; chance didn’t exist!

Time was too short to consider if Pascal’s communication with Mayumi was a type of telepathy, information traveling faster than light or an unconscious access to twin particles in a world where present, past and future were one.

It didn’t matter anyway; he knew Mayumi was detained in Mumbai and he had to leave, but first he had to understand the whole picture. He called Mohit, his friend in Mumbai.

“Do you remember what I told you in Bangkok about Arun Kumar and Arocha, his private assistant? Arocha trained an army of cruel mercenaries who had been recruited into the infamous ‘Cast of Executioners’ from the Mumbai slums.

His mob virtually killed my father when he tried to defend me against their criminal ways. They tried to ruin my promising new business in the computer industry. My old man dared to complain and talked directly to Arocha, damn his soul. That day, Arocha’s bodyguards beat my father so badly that he never recovered from his injuries and died one year later from the wounds. I never expressed my anger and sadness and didn’t revenge right away, but I knew it would be a matter of time.

Thank you Pascal, for giving me that chance! The time has come. Once again, I think your vision may turn out to be right. Let me investigate and I’ll call you back.”

Pascal was getting more and more nervous and paced back and forth. If Arun Kumar was the brains trust behind the Cosmos operation, he had to go to Mumbai immediately.

He forced himself to calm down by practicing Hatha breathing: One, two, three… inhale deeply… four, exhale.

He was still breathing heavily when his phone rang.

An excited Mohit raved, “You were right Pascal. It’s unbelievable! I just learnt that Arun Kumar is sponsoring a secret project at his Fundamental Research Center here in Mumbai, and it seems he is investing a big part of his fortune. My people also told me that many officials from Russia and China often visit his premises. But there is a total black out on the project; nobody knows what they are cooking.”

It was definitely time to go to Mumbai, and intuitively, Pascal was more concerned about Arocha than Arun Kumar. He knew he had to go there and meet Kumar face to face, but he felt Arocha was the problem.

It was risky to get close to Kumar without being caught by Arocha’s ruthless people. Manoeuvring would be difficult because the man was very well protected and always untouchable. Supposing he could get close to him, he still had to make sure it would not put Mayumi into a dangerous position. The people surrounding him were brutal and would not hesitate to kill Mayumi.

Pascal also needed Arun Kumar to believe him, which could be a very difficult task indeed. As Mohit had already told him that the tycoon was reputed to be secluded, unwilling to socialise and was surrounded by a strict security system set by Arocha himself to protect him and his many operations. Only his family had easy access. Little by little, Kumar had let his competent assistant manage everything independently, and particularly the project. How could he listen to and trust Pascal?

Mohit explained that Arocha’s security system was too well structured to let them antagonise him directly. They should use surprise and an astute way to get around Arocha and meet Kumar before his assistant got suspicious.

Pascal returned his focus back to his room and he concentrated on the action.

A plan was taking shape in his head. A remote, unconscious pattern was already giving the orders to his tense mind in a mental process neurologists would call ‘motion potential sequence’: decisions being made by the mind before the consciousness would even know.

He called Mohit back and together they hatched an idea.

Pascal confirmed with the hotel’s reception that he wanted to keep his room booking for three more nights, and asked not be disturbed under any circumstances. He said he wasn’t feeling well and wanted to fast and stay in bed. The British taxpayers would be happy to share the room expenses without expensive food and the Cosmos people would appreciate having him stay in bed at their disposal.

Pascal had now to get out of the hotel without being noticed. The most difficult challenge was to get rid of the party spying in front of the hotel. He had to find a diversion and escape through the rear door that was usually reserved for employees. Were they watching there also?

He wasn’t sure, so decided he may need to improvise later.

He slid his room window open and let the freezing wind blow in. As he looked downstairs at the van, a large delivery truck arrived at full speed.

An unimaginable chance happened; the driver missed the turn and smashed into the van with a deafening noise. In seconds, everyone in the lobby went out to see the accident.

Was it an accident?

It was time for Pascal to move. Grabbing his backpack, he ran down the stairs and darted to the service entrance. Opening the back door, he peeped outside. Someone was there; obviously an undercover agent. After waiting a few minutes he reopened the door. The man was still there and didn’t look at all like an employee.

What was he to do? The man would stop him for sure, and even if he used his martial training the man would call the alert, and nobody must know he had left.

At this very moment he remembered himself as a child playing in the schoolyard with his mates at a silly and dangerous game: hypnosis! He had been very skilful and had effective results. His school mates were impressed at his strong gift to convince the other children and induce them into a slightly conscious state of mind by obeying to his authoritative voice.

He looked back at the man who had his back to the exit. Pascal jumped on him and executed a lethal strangulation move. Of course, in order to only hypnotise and not kill his opponent he had to push softly on his jugular and let him go into a hypnotic state. Keeping the head of the fat and sweating young man in a tight embrace, he whispered in his ear with strong intent: ‘Everything is quiet, quiet, quiet…”

In a few seconds the man was half asleep, but he would wake up in no time, oblivious of what happened. Pascal laid him on the floor and skipped out, running into the dark lane. The young man was lucky; he would wake up unharmed and use his fat as a cushion.

At twelve o clock the same morning he was already on an Indian Airlines flight to the Shatuvaji Shivaji airport in Mumbai. Tonight he would see Mohit, and the big ‘party’ would be tomorrow.

PART III : INDIA

 

SEASON 1: MUMBAI.

 

 

There are only two tragedies in life:

One is not getting what one wants,

and the other to get it”

 

 

Two men stood in front of the huge bay window overlooking the world’s breathtaking Bay of Mumbai. They seemed to be in deep introspection. Mohit had reserved the magnificent suite for himself and Pascal, alias the Duke Louis de Maintenon, one of fake Belgium’s nobility. The ‘Duke’ was invited to an exclusive party ordered by Arun Kumar for the birthday of his daughter Sheela, a reputed beauty.

The two men whispered, afraid of being heard by spy devices.

“What about the microchip I sent to you Mohit? The Italian scientist, friend of the murdered Biologist mentioned it had been garbled by a virus, but I don’t believe that. I am convinced there is a very important message that we aren’t yet able to retrieve. Unfortunately The scientist and the biologist can’t tell us as they have both been assassinated by those bloody bastards.” I felel there is a way to decrypt this microchip. You are the expert Mohit; please try it to see if it works.”

“Well, I am not sure Pascal, but my IT team is smart and codification is my specialty, so I will rush it.”

“That microchip is the key to the operation; don’t lose any time deciphering it.

Now, let’s dress in our tuxedos for the party tonight,” said Pascal.

When Pascal arrived in front of Arun Kumar’s impressive building, he was impressed by the accuracy of his dream.

He was surprised, however, to see that the building was in darkness and seemed deserted. He immediately realised his mistake. Indians never host a party at home, especially in Mumbai. Whatever their caste, they cannot mix people at home; it just never happens, even if the host is the richest man on the planet!

He re-reads the invitation; The party was hosted in a huge luxury space next to the sea where thousands of guests were entertained.

Nevertheless, Pascal was very excited to see this building, knowing that he had the vision from here, in the penthouse. He was feeling Mayumi’s vibrations right now.

Before leaving he took a good look at the building and made a few pictures with his mobile phone. It was fifty floors of glass and steel in the chic district of Malabar Hills, overlooking the majestic Bay of the Seven Islands. This building, with its fantastic and innovative architecture, was made to impress.

It was designed to be the state-of-the-art with two helipads, an air traffic control station, a spa, swimming pools, elevated gardens and the ultimate earthquake-resistant technology, fireproof systems and bulletproof glass. Safety, comfort and luxury were guaranteed for all members of the extensive Kumar family.

The Harappan Tower, named after the famous civilisation that was probably destroyed by the Arians but recently re-discovered as a jewel of the world’s culture, was ‘the hub of the hub’ in Mumbai.

His friend who had some business contacts in the tower’s offices had briefed Pascal.

“Don’t try to break into Arun Kumar’s home; it is a virtual fortress.”

Direct access to the apartments and helipad was through a heavily guarded lobby. Visitors were only allowed entry after being given clearance from upstairs and an intensive check by the private bodyguards. If, on the rare occasion, Kumar agreed to receive someone unknown to him, that person would be searched then escorted by several security guards to the top floor where another team was waiting. This way in was out of the question for the time being; the party was the only way. Attending the party was a fantastic idea, but risky.

 

Tonight was a special night for Pascal, for his beloved Mayumi’s life was at stake. He was going to be her saviour and meet Arun Kumar, whom he knew held Mayumi.

Arun Kumar was celebrating the twentieth birthday of the pearl of all his belongings: the ravishing and gifted Sheela, his daughter. Her full picture was printed on the invitation; he had to admit she was beautiful.

His driver brought him to an immense piece of land magnificently planned to cater for more than ten thousand people. Torches transformed the party into a Scheherazade dream. Row after row of limousines—mostly Rolls Royce and Maserati—were delivering the most elegant and influential people from India and abroad.

Enormous diamonds glittered on the necks of fabulous beauties and heavy matrons. Extravagant saris embroidered with gold and silk tunics were competing with evening dresses from the best couturiers in the latest fashion. It was a festival of extravagant and expensive jewellery laden with precious stones; bracelets, necklaces and diadems flashed everywhere.

Of course the tuxedo was “de rigueur” for Mumbakai men and foreigners alike.

On the ground floor, the garden terraces were lit with torches and old-fashioned uniformed Gurkhas; their large turbans and tailored jackets with gold Brandenburg formed a guard of honour to welcome the guests.

Enormous flower arrangements were located in front of doors and bay windows and outside, on each side of the terrace, dancers and bands played in harmony.

Pascal was supposed to be Louis de Maintenon, Comte de Bourbon, a descendant of French royalty. He received an invitation because his family had ‘friendly ties with one of the rich guests whom his father, a diplomat, had entertained in the Forest of Fontainebleau’. As Pascal really was from a noble family from the French countryside, it was easy for him to play the ruse. His friend Mohit was ‘an important figure in Mumbai’.

The first security check, soft but consistent, was at the gage upon arrival. Credentials were asked for and cars were quickly observed. Chauffeurs had to park outside the gates in designated areas and they were also surveyed.

A very long carpet with flower bouquets along its sides ran to a large lobby next to the huge reception areas.

Men wearing black with discreet earphones personally accompanied each guest to that lobby, where dozens of beautiful girls relayed them to their allocated table with charming smiles.

These girls might be charming and their saris very sexy, but Pascal could see by their body attitude that they were part of a well-trained security team, expert in martial arts and security procedures. They were not to be underestimated, and were probably smarter, more intuitive and more dangerous than the men.

Having found their tables, guests were then invited to cocktails in one of the twin reception areas.

A large rotunda separated the two immense rooms: one for dining and one for cocktails. High ceilings, shimmering chandeliers and marble Florentines were specially designed for the occasion and Arun Kumar exhibited his personal art collection, showing famous and expensive paintings from The Renaissance to Picasso.

Buffet tables were offering champagne and liqueurs, and of course any drink and appetisers one could imagine. Hundreds of waiters passed among the crowd of more than five thousand guests with trays full of champagne glasses and small “en cas”.

Pascal’s immediate task was to figure out how to get close to the rich tycoon, as there were security men everywhere. He wanted to meet Arun Kumar in person to let him know exactly what was happening. Kumar had the reputation of being an extremely ambitious character, intransigent and determined, and sometimes insensitive and cunning, but he was not at all considered to be a gangster using criminal and mafia methods. He was better renowned for his straightforwardness.

This could not be said of Arocha, his private assistant, who was in charge of the Cosmos project and security. He was infamous for his cruelty and shrewd mind, taking pleasure to humiliate the people below him and always operating with merciless men who followed his orders blindly.

He had become the dark side of the group, and sometimes, even Arun Kumar, sensed a danger. But no one dared provoke Arocha, and Arun Kumar had never found anyone as efficient as him. He was so omnipresent and successful in all of Kumar’s enterprises. He was the naturally designated heir to the management of Arun Kumar’s empire.

And he had masterminded the development of the Cosmos Project.

Kumar had chosen Arocha when he was an orphaned, miserable monk in a lost temple. At that time, Kumar was practicing Tantric meditation and offering charity at the temple with his wife. He had noticed the young monk involved in martial art and had talked to him for an hour. Kumar knew immediately that he had discovered a genius in operational and business management.

Unlike conventional tough businessmen and ambitious executives, Arocha had a very high level of spirituality, an encyclopaedic memory and a sharp intuition. He was a kind of philosopher, using human knowledge as a weapon against his competitors, who were often ignorant of spiritual matters.

Unfortunately, his formidable capacities were at the service of his infinite personal desire to control everyone, even his master.

Under such circumstances Pascal’s plan was hazardous. He had to convince Arun Kumar of the danger of continuing the Cosmos project as it was being developed as a weapon of mass mind control. It was particularly delicate having to denounce his assistant for wrongdoing.

Pascal knew intuitively his assistant Arocha was ignoring Kumar’s instructions for his own benefit and was taking a path his boss would never agree to, and this was an important point to make with him.

Everyone knew it was difficult to succeed in India and winners had to eliminate business competitors by any means and methods, including using relationships and hidden contributions to block their expansion. Bad manners were one thing, but to murder and kidnap was another and Pascal doubted that using criminal methods were on Arun Kumar’s agenda.

But as the Chinese say, ‘he had his head in the mouth of the tiger’ and he had no choice. If Kumar were a righteous man, he would listen.

During fifteen minutes of civilities and boring talks with uninteresting guests, Pascal sought out Kumar, but he hadn’t yet arrived.

Pascal also monitored the security procedures, the staff and bodyguards, and took note of the cameras hidden everywhere. He couldn’t see any obvious gaps in the system and couldn’t establish the protocols without going through the broad net of security. And since he wasn’t Indian, he was very easy to spot.

He exited to the garden terrace to check the perimeters and found himself enjoying the band and dancers. When he was a student in L.A. he would dream of a peaceful world and smoke ganja while listening to Ravi Shankar. He loved Indian music’s very subtle harmonies, but could now reach that spiritual elevation without smoking.

He was staring at the impressive French Colonial rotunda when a voice behind him almost made him jump.

“Are you interested in architecture?”

He turned swiftly to face a beautiful young Indian woman with long, black hair falling over her bare shoulder. Her dark blue eyes were set deep into an oval face; her pulpous lips contrasted her very pale complexion. She wasn’t very tall and a little plump, but her well-balanced body had a magnetic sensuality. She was dressed in the traditional Sari that was white with delicate embroidery and she wore only one diamond on one side of her nose.

Her movements were extremely gracious and she was moving as if she were dancing. She looked right into Pascal’s green eyes and stretched her hand to shake his.

“Please call me Sheela!”

Impressed, Pascal had to restrain himself from revealing his real name.

“I am Louis de Maintenon. Please call me Louis.”

“Ha!” said Sheela with crystalline laughter, “You mean like Louis the Fourteenth? He is my father’s favourite king.”

“Really?” Pascal had to play the game. “Well, he is one of my ancestors on the Belgian side.” He added his apology quickly, “But this is an insignificant matter; you are the important person here.”

“Then I am impressed,” she responded with an ironic smile. “I never met such nobility; a man who can speak French and English, and is so polite.”

“How do you know French is my mother tongue?”

More crystalline laughter as she joked.

“I don’t know!”

“Oh,” said Pascal, laughing as well. “After traveling around the world, I still can’t get rid of my terrible accent.”

“Oh, please don’t! It is charming. Isn’t it Docteur Cloussou?” At that they both burst out into laughter.

“May I ask what is your occupation?” she asked.

“You won’t believe me, but I am a doctor, in a non-profit organization called “help with no borders.” And I spend most of my time with miserable people who are often ignored.”

“Oh, now you are my hero. That is something I would love to do.” She made a sad movement with her sensual lips. “But my family would not let me.”

“So, why don’t you do it, anyway?” challenged Pascal.

“I see you are not familiar with Indian families. I cannot decide that. I cannot even decide whom I am going to marry! Of course I can refuse the parties introduced by my parents, but not all of them. Otherwise I would stay single.”

“That would be really a pity,” said Pascal with sincerity. “You seem to deserve better than that.”

“I know, I know. Traditions are very strong and respected, but I am not unhappy. That is just the way! It does not mean marriages are always badly arranged or even forced like the infamous Rakshasa vivah. We also have the love marriage, the Ghandarva vivah,” said Sheela defensively.

“And do you also have a social occupation?” asked Pascal.

“Yes, of course! I am studying psychology at the University. But I’m not yet advanced. I am passionate about people’s minds. Like my father, I would like to know how humans have perception; how they decide; how they remember; how they feel—what makes people do what they do.”

“Well, this seems a very serious occupation for such a beautiful young lady!”

“Thank you for the compliment,” Sheela said demurely, “but I hope ‘beautiful’ does not mean ‘idiot’.”

“Not at all! I believe the contrary in fact, and I am so impressed by your passion. To tell you the truth, I am very attracted by the spiritual teachings of your country. I have been told that Hinduism, with its six different philosophies, is the most ancient culture in the world that still practices its beliefs. Some people say they excavated remains dating 20,000 years ago that proved the use of Bhakti practice. Can you imagine? From the Neolithic period; that is even more ancient than the Chinese I Ching.”

“I did not know that!” said Sheela.

“The most impressive for me is the Sankya philosophy: the importance of the soul and the ability of man to progress through his karmic life.”

“Do you believe in karma?” asked Sheela, taken by this stranger with deep ideals.

“No, I don’t. I just think that it is the man’s own vital energy that recreates itself and his particles in another life without the help of a bearded God.”

“So, you mean Brahman does not exist?”

“I don’t say that. I feel he does exist as long as you consider him only as the life principle that pervades everything and not as a divine thing outside of us. As someone said, ‘we had to invent God to understand that man had created God’.

“So you do not believe in God?”

“Not the one from the religions,” answered Pascal. “In fact, we are all gods, because god is nature. We are part of it and we bear the responsibility of its progress; no one else… But this is only my opinion and it may change.”

“Really! You just said exactly what I do not dare to express openly. I want to be responsible and share.”

Pascal was fascinated with this young woman.

“Like all young people, I want to save the planet. I need the sense of urgency to persuade more people to get involved. I want to do something; to participate in projects; stay alert! Do you not think it is the way to solve the problem?”

“I don’t know either, but as the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Right said, ‘I think God is in details’. He could have been a good builder of minds as well as buildings. ‘The details’ means any small action towards a compassionate objective is more important anytime, anywhere, than fabulous theories and good wishes,” said Pascal.

“But how do you make it happen?” asked Sheela.

“It’s very simple! I try to focus on doing and not on thinking. When I take care of dejected children or rejected people in African deserts or along Burmese borders I feel my spirit is flying. I don’t do it for me but I do get a sense of personal achievement. And my best reward is the smile of a consoled mother.”

“Do you mean you are a good Christian or something?” she teased.

“No, I am neither good nor Christian, and I don’t believe in any legend created by men. Believing in dogma ‘or something’ as you said is for me a kind of refusal to think anymore. It might be wonderful and easy to embrace a belief, but I would stop searching for a personal answer and it would be the easy way to lose my real soul and become a follower I’m afraid.”

“At least you are not afraid to be frank,” the Indian princess quipped.

“Sorry if I sound too opinionated. It doesn’t mean I don’t respect people’s religions as long as they don’t harm others. Actually, I’m not sensitive to religion; it’s just not for me. Maybe I don’t have that gift. Unfortunately, my character is attracted by logic and concept. I wish I could practice more to forget the good ideas and immerse myself into a practical belief.”

“I have never heard anyone talk like you do,” whispered the young beauty. “Are you sure you are not lost here tonight?”

And they started to laugh again in harmony.

Suddenly Sheela made a decision.

“Let me introduce you to my father. He will certainly find you interesting. He is very busy with all his guests but it is my birthday, so he cannot refuse me.”

Good lord! Pascal suddenly realized that he was talking to Arun Kumar’s daughter and she was proposing to introduce him to the very man he was so eager to meet. Was there really a lucky god for those with good hearts?

“Oh I am so sorry. I was not aware that you were the daughter of Mister Kumar. I am so impolite! I didn’t even wish you a happy birthday or give you a present.”

“Oh forget that! My best present is our conversation. And I hope to have lots of others.”

Taking her mobile phone from a tiny silver purse that was engraved with her initials she said to Pascal, “Please call me if you are staying few days in Mumbai. I would like to show you around. The famous Walkeswar Temple, the Temple of Sand, is nearby, and I want to introduce you to my guru. And there are so many interesting things to see and people to meet; even at the railway station.”

Sheela took his hand and said, “But for the moment please come with me.” as she brought him back under the chandeliers, among the shining stars of Mumbai.

Neither of them paid attention to the man in the garden who was watching them. He constantly shadowed Sheela and now scrutinised the foreigner. He looked frustrated.

Arocha!

 

 

Still holding Pascal’s hand, Sheela pushed her way through the thousands of guests as she tried to find her father, who was somewhere in the crowd. She finally spotted him in the middle of the rotunda in an animated conversation with his close business friends.

“My dear Louis,” said Sheela, “you must understand that it is very difficult, even for me, to have the full attention of my father. So many people try to approach him. He never has enough time even for himself or to be alone. I have learned that to control big business is a hard life! But don’t worry; we are lucky tonight, as we have found him. Look over there!”

She started waving to a tall man, an elegant figure in his late forties who was wearing traditional Indian costume. His grey hair and harmonious features presented the image of an accomplished and balanced man. Only his deeply set eyes that were encircled with dark patches showed that he was a man with too many responsibilities.

He waved back with a childish grin; his body language saying ‘Sorry I am busy, but I would prefer to see you here’.

She understood the message and they walked faster to get to him.

Arun Kumar quickly excused himself to his guests and walked a few paces toward them. He embraced his daughter and wished her happy birthday.

Sheela introduced Pascal jokingly as ‘Louis the last; the saviour of the planet’.

“Ha ha! You have arrived too late,” laughed her father.

At the precise moment Pascal looked into Kumar’s eyes he perceived a strong emotion and a strong connection. Pascal read Kumar’s vibrations and felt a flick of deep anxiety and openness to a dark side that was unfolding and scary, but at the same time he also perceived a path to a colourful, transcendent light; to a universal beauty that had no boundaries.

This man was at the threshold of two worlds and was unable to choose.

Pascal sensed that Kumar was in deep spiritual trouble, unaware of its origin, and he needed help!

That connection was instantaneous, evanescent and disappeared immediately from Pascal’s awareness, but it led him for a very short time into a mystified alertness until he was back in the present world.

After few common conversational topics, Sheela asked, “Daddy, my new friend says he would like to talk to you in private. He has some important questions only you can answer. Can you do that for me?”

“I am very flattered replied Kumar, but at this moment it is impossible. I am leaving tomorrow for Beijing and it will be difficult to cancel my appointment with the Premier as it was arranged long ago, he said as a kind of excuse.

They were surrounded now by many important figures trying to catch Arun Kumar’s attention. He turned to Sheela, “I will be back next week; why don’t you remind me then?”

Pascal was suddenly afraid he had made a mistake. This was not the right way or the right time. Maybe the whole idea was wrong; a quiet conversation was impossible with such a busy man, but he had no choice. Almost drawn to the situation by chance, he recognised that there was a synchronicity, a mindful pattern, designed for him, so he had to catch this opportunity now. He had to turn the mistake to his advantage to make it a clever mistake. He intentionally addressed Arun Kumar in a loud voice.

“Sorry sir, I regret being impolite, when your wonderful daughter has made such an effort to introduce me on such a superb occasion, but it is very important. Under the circumstances I have no choice. There is a major problem with your Cosmos project!”

If a bomb had exploded in the middle of the room it would have had less affect on the man. He stopped smiling; looked livid, then seemed to make an enormous effort to regain his control. It took at least a second for him to digest the blow and then his face showed a cold rage as he calmly replied to Pascal.

“I don’t know what you are talking about young man. I am not in the business you mentioned. Cosmos project you said? I believe you must be mistaken as I don’t know such a project and your question is not my concern. Please don’t disturb me with trivial matters.”

He then seemed to make a quick decision.

“By the way who are you exactly? I don’t remember you as a friend of my daughter or any other family member. This is a private party!”

With that he took out his phone and touched ‘speed dial’.

“Arocha, would you please come and talk to this gentleman here; he may have come by mistake.”

It was a code; a way to tell Arocha to get rid of the unwanted visitor. Then, unwilling to be further disturbed, Arun focused his attention on his daughter.

“I have to talk to you for a minute.”

He turned his back on Pascal without excusing himself and instantly Arocha was there. Pascal had no choice but to follow the man, but just leaving he had the chance to whisper to Sheela.

“So sorry about that, but your father is in great danger as am I. Let me call you later as it is urgent, but please don’t tell him anything now. Happy birthday, anyway!”

Pascal’s plan was working! Or was it?

This exchange had just proved that Arun Kumar was involved in the Cosmos project. His reaction was too strong for it to be a trivial matter. Unknowingly, Kumar was directly involving his assistant into a further confrontation.

For Pascal, it seemed to be the only way to take advantage of the situation and oblige Arocha to intervene face to face. He now had the possibility of setting up an ambush that he could monitor with his friends who were outside this heavily guarded compound.

The scheme to isolate Arocha had worked, but to catch him alone might become a dangerous trap for himself. Without even imagining he could be a target, Arocha ‘the Angel Face’ was smiling, looking friendly and understanding. What a pleasant man!

“My apologies for interfering,” he said, shaking hands like a car salesman. “I am Arocha, Mr. Kumar’s personal assistant. This is nothing personal, but my boss has to be very cautious about his safety. He is very afraid of meeting unknown faces that may disturb his tranquility. I am sure it is not the case, but you have to excuse such a busy man, who is always afraid of new encounters. Would you please follow me sir?”

Pascal was amazed by this man’s ability to deceive and had always noticed that such characters were not unusual in societies where the standard image of the ‘good guy’ resembles George Bush more than Ghadafi.

Criminals and dangerous guys must have a scary look. Neurologists say it is the same as the fear monkeys feel for snakes. It is not only a social emotion; it is in their genome. Pascal had a last look at Arun Kumar, who was vehemently talking to his daughter.

He turned and waved to Sheela and when she saw that he was leaving, as a challenge to her father, she waved back in an ostensible way.

Now, Pascal had to play smart. He replied politely to Arocha as if nothing had happened.

“I fully understand sir; I am just staying two days here at The Oberoi,” he said as he handed the Security Chief his invitation.

”This is my invitation. I am the Comte Louis de Maintenon. Let me call my driver so he can take me back to my hotel as I am tired anyway.”

And with a friendly wink at Arocha, he said, “In fact I am invited to another party, but thank you for the magnificent reception.”

“Don’t worry,” replied the inquisitive Arocha. Arun Kumar’s own car will take you there. I have already asked the driver from your hotel to return to the Oberoi. Feel free to use the car all night; the charge will be on us.”

And he added softly, “I will accompany you myself to be sure you are well attended.”

Arocha was falling into the trap.

They stood under the porch of the rotunda, surrounded by neoclassical columns. Many people were pressing in but were rejected, as they didn’t have a proper invitation.

“Please wait for one second,” said Arocha. He took out his phone and talked rapidly, appearing to be very efficient.

 

 

Intelligence is a detour.”

Zazo, philosopher

 

 

Arocha already knew which car had driven ‘Louis’ here. His staff had already done their homework. He also probably knew that the name left at the reception was Louis Goetinberg, who happened to be a ruined and eccentric Belgian citizen with distant nobility who was using a fake name and had just arrived yesterday on a tourist package.

Arocha was made to believe a story, security had overheard from the concierge of the ‘Oberoi’ about this big party and how it was a good opportunity for people like this guy to prey on chic Indian women who were attracted by his pleasant appearance and sweet talk. It appeared that the imposter had almost certainly stolen the invitation card.

Arocha was going to investigate right now, as he knew he couldn’t let him go back to his hotel without questioning him first. He preferred to double-check everything himself.

Arocha was expert at asking questions that no one could ever refuse to answer.

Pascal could only think of the opportunity that being escorted out by Arocha would bring. He had to take the risk and be the scapegoat as it fitted perfectly with their plan. Luckily he had time to call his friends, who were ready and waiting outside.

A magnificent, extended Rolls Royce Corniche stopped two minutes later in front of the gate.

“Our boss’s preferred car,” said Arocha in a convivial tone as he extended his arm to the door in a welcome gesture.

The driver was wearing a red and beige uniform and a muscular man in a dark suit with an assassin’s hard face, exited from the front seat to open the door for Pascal and Arocha. He slipped back next to the driver with ease.

Inside the car sat a tall man with a shrewd face and bulging eyes, waiting with a broad smile.

“Our Chief Operations Executive,” introduced Arocha. He is in charge of my personal security. I got him out of the jail where he was to rot for the rest of his life. He is skilful with all kind of blades; his favorite is the razor. He kills only when I order him to.”

Arocha smiled cheerfully at Pascal, “He can peel human skin like it was an orange. But don’t worry; you are safe with our security team; they are very discreet and efficient, like family. They always know how to protect our guests and eliminate undesirable menaces. You know, these days, it is best to be very cautious.”

The message was quite clear and unpleasant. And if something happened, it would be inside Arun Kumar’s car; very smart.

Pascal set himself comfortably between ‘Blade Man’, and ‘Angel face’, stretching his legs into the large space in front of him and pretending to enjoy the extreme comfort.

As a connoisseur, he smelt the fine fragrance of the leather upholstery; pushed buttons to adjust them to his liking; turned on the remote control for the flat TV screen; opened the small mahogany doors of a mini bar and caressed with contempt the precious wood panels carved with Arun Kumar’s monogram.

“It is like my lovely car!” he exclaimed, smiling at Arocha and pretending not to notice that the limousine was obviously going in the wrong direction.

“Mine at my Fontainebleau castle is only a very old black Silver Shadow passed down from my ancestors. It’s not really as glamorous and extravagant as this one,” he emphasised, acting the wealthy man and not showing that he was afraid.

“Congratulations to your boss. What a tasteful man!” But despite his bravado Pascal quietly had to admit that this mistake might not be so clever.

 

 

The only possible option for Pascal, who was now detained in the car, was to use the element of surprise to his advantage. He knew from his friend that Arocha was smart, experienced, and ruthless, but he had a weakness: he was over-confident. And the fact that he was operating in his own arena should add to the sense of superiority and safety he always exhibited in Mumbai.

Obviously he was not prepared for what was about to happen: to be the target himself.

The ambush was very simple, but prepared with precise attention. This was Mohit’s revenge. For years he wanted Arocha to pay for his father death, and many of his supporters among his community who had been hurt by Arocha’s merciless operations shared his commitment. They would no longer stand for people who disappeared never being accounted for by the authorities because these criminals were the authorities!

Even the Untouchables, who were used to being rejected and living in the poorest conditions of misery, hated Arocha and his drifters for his arrogance towards them.

Bad Karma was no good reason to treat them so harshly.

The classic action scenario is sometimes the best and they used an old trick. Since they knew car route from the party area to Arocha’s special secret headquarters, they had set the most convenient location and time for the trap. In a narrow lane near Arocha’s place, a bullock pulling a wooden cart full of bricks was stuck in the middle of the path and blocked the way. One of its wooden wheels had broken and the merchandise had fallen onto the road.

The Rolls Royce was forced to stop.

The peasant who was trying to fix the wheel was working very slowly. The driver wasn’t used to being forced to wait for such a low-caste worker. He honked loudly—a habit in large Indian cities.

The peasant unleashed the bullock, which ran inadvertently towards the car and fell on the bonnet. A holy animal had damaged the luxury car and tore the beautiful angel hood ornament that stood on top of this symbol of wealth.

It was too much to bear! The driver felt that his noble and superior caste was being challenged by having to suffer such indignity from poor, dirty peasants—something that is intolerable in India. He exited the car in frenzy, ready to punish this low-caste peasant who dared to challenge him.

That was the first mistake.

The peasant didn’t seem afraid at all. It was a sign that Arocha, a trained intuitive fighter, didn’t perceive immediately because he was too focused on his desire to question the detainee in his house. He was too self-confident and not alert enough to listen to his sixth sense.

Arocha and the man from the front seat followed the driver, leaving ‘Blade Guy’ and Pascal in the car, to give a personal lesson to this insolent beggar by giving him the beating he deserved.

That was the second mistake and the signal to move.

Unconsciously, the ‘Blade Guy’ had started to evaluate the danger and ready himself for the situation, but it was too late.

Suddenly, Pascal thumped ‘Blade Guy’ very hard in the neck. His eyes bulged and although startled, he was on the offensive and pulled a razor out in a powerful response.

He received Pascal’s next blow on his left ear at that exact moment, but managed to slice him on the shoulder with the treacherous razor before he fell back, losing his balance.

The strength of the razor blow cut into Pascal’s tuxedo and slashed into his flesh. Not feeling the wound yet, Pascal finished off his opponent with a powerful Karate technique, on the other side of his head. The man collapsed, unconscious.

Pascal opened the car door and made his escape into the darkness.

At the same time, dozens of Untouchables emerged from nowhere and attacked the three security professionals who had left the car. Some smashed the car with wooden bats and iron bars.

Soon, the driver and his fellow passenger were lying in the mud, beaten to death.

The indomitable Arocha had received serious blows; his nose was broken; he had a large wound on his face; his right arm was badly smashed and a wooden bat had shattered his chest bones. His suit was torn and his hair stuck to his blood-covered face, but he was incredibly strong and stubborn. He had made two mistakes tonight; he wouldn’t make another one.

As stealthily as a tiger, unconquerable and resolute to the end, he slipped out of the aggressive crowd and ran through the night towards his house; blood was dripping profusely from his forehead and falling into his eyes.

He was lucky that his headquarters was not far away. Some of his staff was running to help him. Once he was safe, Arocha scrambled around and realised that in the battle he had lost his mobile phone.

Bleeding from the blade wound, Pascal also ran for safety, but two black, unidentified cars stopped in front of him. Pascal’s heart froze. Then, in the gloomy light he saw a shadow inside as the car door opened. Pascal climbed in, relieved to find his friend Mohit.

His friend had been waiting in the shadows, as he didn’t want to be identified by the gangsters.

The street was a mess. The hired bullock ran away, happy to graze somewhere else. The luxury car was ruined, but as if by enchantment, the crowd and the peasant had vanished.

Mohit held up Arocha’s phone and a SMALL BLACK BOX triumphantly. He knew that this phone had a larger-than-usual memory with a special USB port that could be connected to a little black box that decrypted the coded information for the memory card. Mohit knew the way Arocha had organized his computerized security network because his own company had supplied the components.

The surprise assault had given them an advantage, but only for a short time. It wasn’t worth running after Arocha to finish him off, as his powerful task force was probably on the way to rescue him.

But Mohit had his phone and the black box! He knew it was a good catch because this black box contained all of Arocha’s security data and codes. He immediately opened his laptop and started to download the encrypted information from the memory card in the phone itself and at the same time decrypted the electronics, using the black box connection.

His findings would be worth millions of dollars!

Mohit was disappointed to find a secret code that he couldn’t break. Interestingly, this code was similar to the microchip encoding that Pascal had sent to him. In fact, the source code was the same. Some essential secrets were still not accessible, so his team would have to work harder to unlock both of them—but Mohit was a genius in theoretical physics and he knew he would find a way, probably by using Quantum particles entanglement.

For the time being, he threw the phone and device back where Arocha had lost them and retreated quickly. Arocha would retrieve his toys soon, but would be unaware that he may have no more secrets.

By the time Arocha was back at his headquarters, five minutes only had passed.

Arocha was seriously wounded; his arm was swollen and his chest was aching. He hoped he had no internal damage and knew that the early stage of broken bones was a kind of anesthetic state where the body could be full of energy due to the adrenaline.

For the moment he could bear the pain, but he knew it wouldn’t be long before he had to be treated at a hospital. He felt that his arm was broken in two places and he had a terrible headache. Very soon he would experience excruciating and intolerable pain, but he had a few things to do before taking care of himself.

First he had to retrieve his phone and the box. He couldn’t imagine his secret information and codes laying somewhere in a street. Almost certainly the box had been undetected; there was a great chance none of these savages would ever know it was an important code transmitter.

Arocha was a cautious man. He had survived because he had always been vigilant, never taking a situation for granted, which proved efficient. He swiftly changed some features of the access codes in his systems as a preventive move. However, the code would be easy to break for someone knowing the original encryption. He could not imagine that it was already too late.

He wasn’t too anxious. It was almost impossible to master the technology he used, even for specialists. He supposed some idiots from the slums might probably take the risk of using his telephone by replacing the memory card with a conventional one; they would disregard the possibility that his phone and the box were technological treasures, had chips inserted, and could be found immediately with his GPS system.

They would most certainly not pay attention to his black box that looked useless to the ordinary person. Nevertheless, as a double precaution, he had immediately sent people to recover the phone and the device so no one could use them… and they had found them.

His security organization was structured on an army model with a strict and disciplined chain of command. He was the General, and his orders could not be disobeyed. Sloppy officers were simply eliminated; disobedience was considered a major crime and the death penalty was executed. The notorious Chief of Staff listened and moved fast. Arocha was a skilled assassin and fear was his most powerful weapon.

He quickly sent his team to the scene of the attack to take care of his driver and bodyguards, who were discretely sent to the emergency room of the nearest hospital. The car was towed away.

Two of his men were in terrible condition. The third, ‘Blade Guy’, had had a short life. He had been pulled away from the car by the mob and his own sharp razor had cut his throat.

In Arocha’s tenacious mind, the second important mission was to find the foreign suspect who had fled the scene and neutralize him. He might be a potential threat, but only if he had harmful information. Most likely he was just a playboy seeking the high life. At this stage, Arocha considered him a low-class thief eager to get money from rich women.

Arocha would have him talk as soon as they could recapture him. He was angry, but not worried about that menace. The accident was most probably a dramatic coincidence.

For the first time, Arocha acknowledged that he had made a mistake using such a luxurious limousine to drive near the border of the Dharavi slums where organized criminal gangs were always ready to trap rich people. He had known it was dangerous but had ignored it.

Arocha had no reason to worry, as he didn’t know that the undesirable guest had mentioned the Cosmos secret project. It was impossible that a foreigner, motivated by the easy life and rich people’s money, could have planned such a complicated scheme to rescue himself in such unpredictable circumstances.

Even though he was too proud to accept this fact, he, Arocha, the feared security master of this city, could have been trapped in his own territory. Of course he had to double-check as usual. But surely it was a simple coincidence and, of course, he didn’t believe in synchronicity.

For a moment he was thinking about the Japanese woman he held hostage in the tower. He knew he couldn’t take care of her until he could recover from his wounds in maybe one or two days, but there was nothing to worry about as surveillance was perfectly sound.

He also had news from Daisukei—the Japanese informer from the Buddhist group—that Pascal, the woman’s French lover, was in London with the mantras that the Cosmos Group needed to recover. Pascal, he heard, was in a deep psychological depression and lay sick in his hotel room. There was no urgency; he could wait and keep things as they were. Too much haste was prejudicial… or was it?

That might be his third mistake!

He had given precise instructions: Hussein, his headman, had started a massive manhunt for the playboy here in Mumbai. He would show his boss that he was not an amateur in his own city! The lucky opportunist had little chance of staying hidden and would be captured, if possible, alive, tonight!

All the ways of exiting Mumbai were going to be covered. Hussein knew everyone at Immigration, and all the harbour officers were his friends. He had spies everywhere checking for the foreigner; every bar and club was under his protection and would report to him at once.

Although Mumbai’s population was forty million, Arocha would find this fake Louis de Maintenon who was probably in one of these discos or bars right now trying to attract wealthy, naïve women.

On his way to the hospital Arocha felt a personal hatred growing towards the foreigner and he didn’t like it. Personal feelings always hamper efficiency and a clear mind; he had to calm down!

The pain was becoming unbearable, so the doctor injected a high dose of painkillers and Arocha was immediately admitted.

In the growing wave of unconsciousness, Arocha had the obsessive recurrent image of that young foreigner turning around and teasing him; mocking him. He couldn’t dissociate his reasoning from his intuition that he was a dangerous challenger who was nearby, but just out of his reach in the middle of his own security network. This made him feel nervous and nauseous.

 

A tense Pascal was listening to his friend Mohit.

Yes, of course he couldn’t go back to his hotel, any hotel. He had to find a way to hide somewhere safe before the numerous spies in Arocha’s network spotted him. And yes, the Dharavi slum was the best. Who would ever look for ‘a noble playboy’ in that miserable place amongst almost a million people? How could a foreigner stay there, hidden among rats and half-naked survivors dressed in rags?

He would be safe there—that was the Indian paradox: the vital intermingling force of Indian society. Even coming from nowhere and belonging to no particular cast, he could be helped and adopted just like that.

Pascal noted that arrogance didn’t pay and a lot of Untouchables from the slum had already made Pascal their hero for being the one who dared annoy Arocha.

So as long as he stayed undercover with his new friends he would be safe—at least until the next morning; then he would move again.

Mohit called on some staff that took Pascal deep inside the slum to their friends’ home.

 

 

If my mind is modest I walk the great way.

Arrogance is all I fear.”

Lao Tzu. Tao Te Ching

 

 

A glaring acetylene lamp hurt Pascal’s eyes and projected shadows of flying insects like angry, dancing ghosts. The suffocating, humid heat was soaking his garments.

His shirtsleeve, neatly cut by the razor’s blade, was soaked with blood. Fortunately, the executioner’s blade struck too late and had been diverted by Pascal’s quick attack. He would have been beheaded if he hadn’t acted so fast; that gangster had the experience and intuitive reflexes of a professional who shoots first and thinks later.

There was no fresh air in the dimly lit space inside the decrepit shack. Insects felt at home; cockroaches ran up his legs like friendly pets, not to mention the rats nagging along the drain outside. The stench was unbearable.

The shack was built from corrugated iron and wooden planks; a rectangular hole was used as a window.

Mohit’s assistant had already brought medicine to fix his superficial wounds and worn Indian clothes to make him look more local.

Two men in rags sat staring and smiling at Pascal through large grins that showed missing teeth.

This was their home.

Their dark, blotchy skin and rotten rags were signs of extreme poverty and poor hygiene. They nevertheless seemed happy about the events and were, most of the time, shaking Pascal’s hand with long bows of gratitude. They had warmly proposed their room for him to stay and share their dinner.

They scraped up vegetables damped in oil and curry paste with their hands; it was better not to know where the vegetables came from.

Outside the cabin dozens of people—men and children mostly—were waiting and whispering. Shiny dark faces with protruding eyes appeared and disappeared at intervals through the hole in the window.

Pascal was a star.

The news had traveled fast; the foreigner was a ‘Braveheart’, for he dared stand up against their fearful oppressors and he had won the battle!

After they finished their food, swallowed with happy grunts and wide smiles, the two Untouchables wiped their plastic plates with a dirty cloth and stood up, bowing again. They belonged to the caste in charge of the slum’s pests and it was the time for them to hunt rats as big as cats, (do they eat the rats or do they get money for killing the pests?)which provided their food and subsistence. Tonight they had to catch, kill, and sell a minimum of 200 pests to survive the next day.

Pascal had to quickly prepare a plan.

Mohit had probably retrieved most of the evidence of Arocha’s criminal activity on his computer by now. It would show the full extent of his secret activity and conspiracy. Many of the files retrieved from his system were not yet decrypted. Of course, local authorities were corrupt and played into his hands. Embassies were closed and wouldn’t interfere anyway if they heard this was a conflict with Arun Kumar’s executives.

The poor people around them could help momentarily, but they knew the hard rules: riots never paid. And they belonged to another world with its own rules and traditions that were dictated by their karma. At the lowest end of the scale they weren’t even Vaishyas, the farmers and the merchants. They were mostly descendants from the Shudras, whose ancestors were the serfs obeying the Laws of Manu: groups from higher castes would not let them pollute and challenge their superior positions.

Pascal had to find a way to talk to Arun Kumar alone and convince him of Arocha’s criminal dealings, as it was the only tactic to get Mayumi back. But how?

The only option was to approach Sheela again. He had had a good connection with her and even though her father had rejected him, it was still possible to get close to him.

Pascal phoned her. She seemed outraged and deeply moved by his story and was ready to try to arrange a new meeting with her father, but would he listen this time and believe them?

She told Pascal that Arocha had been admitted to the hospital. It gave them some breathing room; some time, but not much, as Arocha was an invincible character.

 

SEASON 2: THE TYCOON

 

 

I know nothing about sex,

because I was always married.”

Zsa Zsa Gabor

 

 

Arun Kumar was flirting with his gorgeous wife in the private elevator bringing them to their Babylonian triplex. He had a deep attraction to her; she was the perfect symbol of Hindu sensual karma. She was very strong and supported his energy, but she was also exquisitely soft and capable of guiding him to his own wisdom. They were the perfect Tantric couple, with balanced sex and mind in a complex and harmonious exchange of cosmic energy.

From the window of their elevator they admired the suspended gardens that had an impressive waterfall cascading into three swimming pools at different levels.

Every detail of the party had been inspiring and well planned and the guests were overwhelmed. The party was not yet over, nevertheless, Arun Kumar was tired and emotionally affected by the way his daughter had responded to his reprimand. He and his wife had excused themselves a few minutes after the huge birthday cake had been wheeled out on a large, decorated cart while the splendid fireworks were launched from the shore.

For a long time he had had no real conversation with her, and he felt dearly that the young child, so fond of him in the past, had recently turned into an uncaring rebel.

As with most parents, he didn’t understand the fracture that was opening between the obedient child, full of tenderness, and the young adult who was eager to express herself.

They were probably both vexed by losing face in front of the guests and her new friend. She wasn’t ready to listen to him, and rejected his strong arguments.

Arun could no longer bear the noise, the tumult, the efforts of socialising amongst people mostly interested in asking for favours and contracts. He just wanted to go back to his penthouse to have some quiet time to talk with his wife in the intimacy of their nest. She had always been his light and his beloved family counsellor, particularly on the subject of their daughter.

She insisted that he didn’t have to worry; that he had to accept that this was the way with young people. She was sweet but straightforward.

“You bear some responsibility for that Arun. Your telecommunication empire, your satellites, your TV channels are feeding the young generation with challenging ideas; not to mention incorrect data.”

Still stressed, Arun refused to listen or admit any blame.

“In our family a girl would never argue with her father!”

“Times have changed darling. Her manners are nothing serious; your daughter loves you deeply. You know that, don’t you? It is important for her to challenge you to evaluate her own potential. She is one of the most intelligent young girls I have ever known. You should be happy; if she did not rebel it would mean that she did not care.”

“How can you say that? To challenge her father is contrary to our Hindu traditions, which are the foundations of our nation.” He was almost shouting.

“You know that Tantra is what supports our path not only to illumination, but also to the siddhi: success in life. And you see it works! I have always considered you my creative power, my shakti, and even I sometimes need to meet your dreadful face of Durga, the terrible deity. ”

“You and I have witnessed the power of our personal mantras that we repeat all the time; it has maintained our unity. I would like our daughter to understand that!” Arun ranted.

“She will. Do not worry; her current attitude is only temporary. Do you remember what you told me about your father? It was the same! You also disagreed about his lack of openness. Nowadays the new generation is more compassionate; they do not search for ideal goals but want to be practical, aware of the situation and not immersed in philosophy or religion,” she said.

“And remember also what our Guru said: ‘Tantra is the science of investigating consciousness. It has always been like this and that is why it will re-emerge as the force of our new age!’ This is what you should explain to your daughter; this is what she expects: action.”

Arun, as always, was slowly becoming convinced by his wife’s perfect common sense. Tantric couples considered the woman as the power, the energy, and the wife was now vitalising her man—who was the source of compassion.

“Let’s practice,” she whispered softly as she embraced him tenderly arousing him. Her silk dress slid slowly from her mature body to the carpet and she was ready to receive his compassion; ready to reach the vacuity, the state of perfection between all things and nothing.

His private mobile phone started ringing. Who dared call at that time? It was a short message from Sheela saying ‘I need to talk to you urgently’. He showed the screen to his wife.

“Never mind,” she exhaled. “Just send an SMS to her that you will answer tomorrow. Even though I agree that she must express herself, I still think she needs to learn some respect.”

As he finished sending the text, she shut off the phone and took him by the hand to their bedroom for an exhilarating, tantric night.

 

 

Women are wiser than men,

because they know less

and understand more.”

James Thurber

 

 

It was already past midnight, and almost all the rich and famous guests from the Mumbai establishment had left. The young ones would stay until the wee hours drinking and smoking with friends in Mumbai’s trendy bars and venues such as The Dome, or a newly opened bar, since the trend was always changing.

Inside the rotunda, waiters and security men assisted with the departure of the last guests. The huge hall was almost empty.

Sheela still felt confused. Her 20 years had passed and she felt that something was missing. She felt depressed—of course not because of her age—but because of the incident that happened a few hours earlier when she met Pascal, the fascinating foreigner. She even refused to join her young friends to continue the party.

Actually, she was emotionally shocked because she loved her father very much and had always wanted to stay close to him, but life was determining otherwise. Busy and preoccupied, her father was becoming more and more distant. He was so conventional sometimes.

Her beautiful and wonderful mother couldn’t help because she felt the same way.

Her father was becoming mysteriously inaccessible and she was discerning an increasing tension in his relationship with the family. A deep trouble seemed to take all of his attention. Something was wrong and she wanted to know what it was.

On the other side, she had a very challenging relationship with Arocha, her father’s trusted, young and brilliant assistant. For no apparent reason, she didn’t like him. She had a strong feeling that he wasn’t sincere, even though he was always very attentive and tried to please her.

Earlier in the evening she observed the subtle way he dismissed the young foreign doctor. Behind the impeccable politeness she sensed his pleasure in getting rid of the guest; it was almost physically threatening.

She heard later on from the security personnel that Arocha, the man she called ‘the frog waiting to kiss the princess’ had an accident using her father’s personal car; his magnificent Rolls Royce. She did feel sorry for him, and didn’t care much about her father’s car; he had too many, but she worried about Pascal.

Instantly she had had a genuine empathy and attraction for him; he showed so much depth and spirituality in his conversation. She had experienced a true connection between them; the beginning of a relationship founded on a mutual spiritual understanding.

But where was the young foreigner? No one knew, and the security guards didn’t seem worried.

She tried to call his hotel to apologise for her father’s loss of temper, but neither Reception nor the Concierge could find him. No one answered the phone in his room and the key was still at Reception.

She really started to worry. Her strong feelings and her sense that a true friendship was developing enhanced her intuition and created a kind of entangled connection. It was not a physical attraction, but a higher level of connecting minds.

This connection fostered the sense of self-discovery that she innately knew she was seeking. She had always felt she had the capability to communicate with her mind. It was a sort of resonance or communing with the world on a vibrational level. She knew she was prepared for this higher level of spiritual attainment and her Hindu culture, oriented in meditation, had been the first step to that understanding. It all made sense to her now.

Until now it had been superficial; too enclosed in a tight family circle; a practice shared as a common tradition and not actually for her. She was ready to believe what she had been taught about her Altman, her soul, and knew intellectually that she could be in oneness with Brahman the Creator, the Supreme Being.

But for her it was intellectual learning, following the gurus’ teaching in the temples. Sita, her mother, was a devotee to Shaktism; a Tantric practitioner recognizing the Universal Feminine Power. Sheela admired her mother’s peaceful presence and since the Hindu Cosmos was a woman, her mother Sita was the perfect representation of it.

Sheela could not understand such a paradox in a culture where women were not yet free to marry the man of their choice except in the case of the special Gandharva Vivaah, the ‘Love Marriage’.

Intellectually, she preferred the concept of Brahman, the Universal Truth of the Cosmos. She didn’t much like the Trimurti, the image of the three goddesses and all the thousands of images of Gods. These images didn’t correspond to her generation’s refusal of rigid and childish representations. A transcendent principle animating her Atman or her soul, was more appropriate.

After conversing with Pascal she could perceive new horizons and new perspectives not imbued in tradition. So much still to explore! She started to laugh at herself. Would the foreigner become her Guru? Everyone would make a fool of her, for it was unthinkable to communicate at this level with a stranger to her Brahman caste.

 

She was still walking nervously between the guests when more news came about Arocha’s accident. The staff said they found the car smashed by an angry mob when it hit a bullock pulling a cart driven by a low-caste peasant. The animal was killed and the ragged people had become hysterical and attacked the car’s occupants to conjure Krishna’s forgiveness for the sacrilege.

Arocha had been very lucky! One bodyguard was killed and two others were still in a critical but stable condition, but there was no trace of the foreigner.

Sheela was suspicious. How was such an incident involving the security chief himself even possible? How come the car was already towed away? How come nobody talked about Louis de Maintenon?

Arocha had always been in command and had acted safely, but now he was involved in a messy situation; he had fractures and a serious wound on his face. This situation was alarming.

The staff reported that he was very courageous and went back to his house to arrange urgent matters and have an initial briefing with his security commander before taking care of himself and later being admitted to a nearby hospital.

What were such important matters that required him to act so heroically?

She decided to think about this later; for the time being her first concern was the young foreigner.

The security man confirmed that the car had taken him to his hotel, which was on the way to Arocha’s house before the accident, but he hadn’t made it to his room; he had simply disappeared.

This story seemed very strange to Sheila; something was not adding up. Was the security man just making this up or was this the message he was instructed to tell her? Could it be possible that Pascal had met some friends and was partying somewhere else? That scenario just didn’t fit with her image of the young man.

She called his hotel again and still there was no answer. She felt a deep anxiety and was almost ready to wake her father. Something terribly wrong was happening.

Her phone rang at that very moment. It was Pascal.

She exhaled a deep breath of relief, but what he was saying to her was not relieving her from her deeper anxiety.

Whatever the circumstances, she was a resolute young woman; she had to do something! She tried to reach her father but he only replied with a brief SMS saying he was not to be disturbed before the morning. By morning, he would have probably spoken to Arocha, so this was a big problem.

When she heard about Mayumi’s kidnapping she was deeply moved. She had to find her, in order to save her, but also as a way of making sure the foreigner was telling the truth.

 

 

Secluded in a tiny room in the underground of a huge building, Mayumi was kept alone in total silence. It had been two nights already. What was happening?

She had arrived through a long corridor that accessed several similar rooms. She had noticed that they had also passed along a large room where dozens of huge screens were attached to the ceiling. It looked like a NASA launching control station. Many people seemed busy and effervescent.

She couldn’t see Arocha’s features properly, but she could sense his self-pride in his organizational skills.

“From here,” he said triumphantly, “everything that happens in our group and associated companies is controlled by my cameras and by our spy network. Our competitors and all-important matters are under our scrutiny. In particular, The Cosmos Program is managed from here under my sole command.”

Mayumi felt a strong shock and deep repulsion upon arriving at her cell.

Although it was clear that they expected her, two foreigners sat with distorted smiles and didn’t engage her at all. The blond giant with a small head sent violent vibrational waves of fear through Mayumi’s body. She remembered Pascal talking about a Russian giant chasing them. And yes, he had that look of a vicious idiot—the worst.

Pascal and Sumit had also described the other man, a stocky Caucasian.

What the hell were they doing here? To be left in their hands was a real nightmare!

Arocha introduced them with gallantry, saying they were ‘nice men’ and very happy to make her acquaintance.

“But don’t even try to deceive them. They know some special treatments that can have a lady like you beg for mercy. They never hesitate to use their imagination—some Thai girls are now living handicapped lives.”

Mayumi scanned the cell. Stark metal furniture was embedded in the concrete walls and floor: a small toilet, washbasin and simple shower with no accessories other than what was absolutely necessary. There was no chair, but a bench was fixed to the wall opposite the table that was fixed into the floor. She had the feeling that many people had experienced this creepy accommodation.

A small lift and a new stairwell told Mayumi that she wasn’t under the tower anymore, but was probably in some kind of subterranean extension independent from the building facilities. She also saw heavy iron, bulletproof gates blocking exit from the cell.

The two filthy men started patting her, cupping her beautiful breasts into their lecherous hands and pinching her firm bottom. The stocky man couldn’t resist kissing her neck. Mayumi jumped, horrified at this experience.

Arocha laughed so much he couldn’t breathe.

“Stop it now!” he ordered as soon as he got his breath back. “You’ll have your time, I promise, but for the time being we have other business to finish.”

The two monsters showed their dirty teeth and mumbled to her, “Wait baby; we’ll take care of you soon.”

They pushed her inside savagely and the door closed with a sinister click.

Feeling desperate, Mayumi couldn’t help but cry, but her strong determination took over quickly and she recomposed herself with breathing exercises from years of meditation training and calmed her pounding heart.

Within a few minutes she was calm. She had to let her intuition show a lead for a solution to her problem. But what could she do? Use the old trick from the movies and seduce a guard to use him as a hostage? This only seemed to work in B-Grade movies.

Could she use her spiritual practice as a way to freedom? It was certainly a better option.

As a selected medium chosen from thousands of Japanese and Western devotees who were members of the very large Buddhist esoteric group, Mayumi had followed a very difficult training with an experienced master to become an Achali, a master medium. Most were able to get easily into trance and communicate with spirits or even ancestors and have supernatural powers such as predicting events in the future.

Mayumi was among the best. As a true medium, she was told never to use her spiritual capacities for personal interest, but to guide other people to a higher level.

In modern society, supernatural or paranormal aptitude—whatever it was called—was often perceived as fake and the work of charlatans. Even inside her Buddhist group she had never tried to use her mediumship to guide people who didn’t ask and weren’t willing to learn and practice. She had nothing to prove. Mayumi held only compassion in her desire to help.

In her tiny cell, she had no access to information. Since her conversation with the arrogant young executive who introduced himself as Arocha, she had only met guards bringing food, water, clothes, and to check on her. She tried to communicate with them, but they had strict instructions and probably didn’t speak English anyway.

Her only contact with the world was through her watch, but instead of relentlessly counting the hours, she immersed herself in long meditations, chanting:

Budham saranam gachami

Sangam saranam gachami…

Dharman saranam gachami…

She also practiced Hatha Yoga’s breathing exercises and she could sometimes connect with the outside world through mental vibrations. For instance, when Pascal had come to look at the building she had instantly felt his presence.

She had been happy to feel his presence and terribly anxious because now he was in the mouth of the tiger.

Water and horrible food was served at regular intervals: fatty curry dumped into sour milk was not her dearest dish. She loved naan bread and papadums, but not when spread with sour butter. But she wasn’t complaining; after all, she wasn’t on vacation in a resort.

She had learned more about her cell; she noticed it was located on a low level, next to the large building on top of which the helicopter had landed.

Her plan was set. She started to refuse food under the pretence that her stomach was hurting. Finally she fainted and a young doctor was summoned to her room. He didn’t seem at ease as he spoke to her in broken English.

“Please tell me what happened.”

He had already inserted a thermometer into her mouth and set the cuff of the blood pressure equipment around her arm. The doctor looked at her stone-faced while he waited for the blood pressure readout.

In less than one second Mayumi was in a trance with her eyes deeply fixed on the doctor’s. Once the two were in a fixed state, she started to talk to him in a raucous voice.

“Your name is Singh and your mother is very sick. Your father passed away from cancer last year in Calcutta and you are afraid your mother also has stomach cancer!”

The doctor’s insensitive face suddenly opened up; his eyes widened. How could she know?

Mayumi went on…

“In your family many problems have been raised over the last two years. It is because you didn’t help them to open their hearts. You know you aren’t providing the right dharma, but you don’t want to acknowledge the truth.”

The doctor was now crying like a baby.

“You come here to torture innocent people; not to care for them. If you continue, your mother will die soon, and you will as well—and you will continue in the lower reincarnations.

The doctor shivered and murmured, “But I have no choice. It is my karma.”

“Your ancestors have always been good devotees to Shiva the Destroyer, but your father wouldn’t listen to the power of preservation of Vishnu. He even started to revere Kali, the dark side of Parvati: the wife of Shiva. Her power is negative when it is used for oneself and not for others. She fights the Devil not for your benefit; she is the Divine Mother as well, and can protect yours.”

“What can I do then?”

In her trance Mayumi was in direct contact with the doctor’s traditional ancestors.

“The spiritual world has confirmed for you. Listen to your heart and not to your ‘pretended’ karma, as this is only your imagination.

“I am sorry, I am sorry.”

The doctor mumbled almost incoherently: “Parvati, Parvati, Parvati…. you are the reincarnation of Parvati. You have the power; you can save my Atman. You can help me finish the cycle of reincarnation.”

He then bowed in front of her and knelt in the Sat Nam mudra posture, touching the floor with his forehead.

“Thank you for showing me the path to Shakti, the power of the vibration.” he said as he regained his calm. His eyes shone with a strong determination.

The doctor continued, “I will talk to Arun Kumar; he must set you free. I will find a way to convince him, but let me keep you here for the moment.”

 

 

Mayumi was in a basement, probably several floors, somewhere below the lobby.

Pascal told Sheela about Mayumi when he called her from the slums and told her the story on the phone. He even confirmed that Mayumi was on one of the secret underground floors and confessed that he knew this because he had visions and perceived vibrational information that confirmed his vision.

Sheela had believed him and together they hatched a plan. Sheela had to free Mayumi and then meet Pascal at the Shivaji Central Railway station. They would all meet and convince her father that he needed to change course before he left for Beijing.

He was to call her early the next morning.

Sheela wasn’t surprised to hear about Arocha’s wrongdoings and conspiracy, as she had always detested him. But delivering Mayumi wouldn’t be that easy, supposing she really was in that building.

As Arocha was in the hospital, it was an opportunity to act behind his back and go to the lower floors in search of the building’s secret security quarters.

She first tried to get permission from the security manager on duty to visit the secure premises, and of course he had not agreed. He had no orders to talk to her and she wasn’t in charge even if she was Arun Kumar’s daughter. Instructions were strict. She needed to show a written note from Arocha himself.

She was furious. As the daughter of Arun Kumar she was humiliated, and most upset to hear the operative giving orders for a higher the level of security. He was ordering the underground iron gates to be closed and all access to the security control rooms and operative rooms to be cut.

What the hell were the ‘operative’ rooms; were they the hostage rooms?

Now she knew something was really wrong, so Sheela decided to play smart and use subterfuge to avoid jeopardising her plan by irritating the security staff who wouldn’t let her through.

She decided to keep a low profile and had a trick of her own. No one must suspect her next move.

Sheela knew the building very well as she had visited the site several times before the building was opened two years ago. When the building was under construction, she loved to come here with her father to inspect the progress. At that time her father explained the building plan to her and she had been impressed by the advanced security technology.

Sheela was an innovative and energetic woman, and as she was quite familiar with the building systems, she had already sorted out a way to override it. She knew exactly where the electrical control room was, right behind the family elevators. She called her personal driver and bodyguard Ira, who was devoted to her, and explained the plan…

Every member of the family had access via their iPhones to the building’s security codes, alarm system, fire extinguishers, electrical fuses and security measures in case of fire, earthquake and riot. Together they would enter the underground levels whether the security guard liked it or not.

She decided to create a distraction by setting off a fire alarm that would attract most of the security people outside first, then hermetically seal the entrance doors, leaving only a small team behind, inside the building. Next, she would switch off the underground electric system and her bodyguard would enter the electrical room and remove the fuses to avoid automatic resetting. She made sure she could get to an electrical torch and manual keys.

All this was to be done quickly, since any disruption to the system and subsequent reset would bring a special team in less than five minutes. Nevertheless, they were going to attempt it.

As soon as the lobby was resonating with alarm sirens she hurried downstairs with Ira. People seemed panic-stricken and not prepared.

On the third basement level she found a long corridor that wasn’t in the original building plans. She had a flash; she understood that part of the tower had secretly been remodelled at the last moment under the security management’s instructions and of course she was not informed about it. This was where Mayumi, the Japanese hostage, would be held.

Sheela entered several rooms and found them empty, but the last one had thick, iron sliding gates in front of it and she had no keys!

Suddenly, the door half-opened on a slim shadow of a man.

Sheela retreated while Ira jumped on the unsuspecting man,, but immediately he began whispering…

“Shhhh…Come in. I want to help; I want to help! Please come quickly,” he said with a young voice as the bodyguard, holding his arm tight behind his back, ushered him into the room and closed the door.

They found themselves facing a terrified young man wearing glasses. He had recognized Sheela and seemed near hysteria.

“I knew you would come for her. She is the reincarnation of Parvati. She is protected by you.” Sheela was puzzled.

“Is this man crazy?” she asked her bodyguard.

“No Ma’am; he is the security doctor.”

Sheela had the feeling that the so-called security doctor was talking about Mayumi and that something had happened between him and the Japanese medium.

She firmly questioned the man, as if she knew.

“Doctor, do you know where the Parvati woman is? I know you have just visited her.”

The man looked at her and bowed reverently.

“You are right. I just visited the Japanese woman because I was called by security. They said she was very sick and had collapsed. After I examined her, I knew it was not true. She used a telepathic method to commune with me mentally. We transcended time through a vibrational wave process that allowed her to communicate with my ancestors. It was stunning. She spoke to me with assurances that there is a way I can redeem myself from my wayward path and provided the guidance that my ancestors shared with her. In return and in gratefulness, I promised to save her… Follow me,” he said as he punched in the code to open the iron gate.

“Unfortunately,” he said “you will be able to see her from the outside of the room only.”

“Why can’t we enter?” asked Sheela.

“Only certain guards have the key to her room. The one on duty is upstairs, but will back in five minutes. I’m not sure we can manage it, but I have a plan,” said the doctor.

“Please leave as soon as you can. It won’t be good for her if somebody sees you here. I will take care of her. I am going to free her…This is my plan: the alarm will be reset soon; in four minutes the special electrical system will be reactivated. It will take 10 minutes for the new security team to arrive. I will inject her with a chemical to simulate a cardiac failure and she will look totally inert for one hour. I will have her transported immediately to a private clinic where we sometimes treat difficult cases. I am in charge there and as Arocha is in the hospital he won’t be able to change my orders.”

Sheela didn’t want to know what kind of difficult cases the doctor was talking about.

“I will certify her dead and put her into a coffin. Please meet me at the Walkerville Temple. Ask for Singh, the temple Guru and he will bring you to her.”

“I know him,” she replied, “he is my personal guru. In that case, I agree. Your plan seems safe enough.”

“How will Arocha react?” she asked.

“That’s no problem. Her coffin will be incinerated immediately—empty of course, as you would expect. My boss will never know and the guru will not tell.”

But what if Arocha knows she didn’t pass away?” Sheela was being cautious.

“That’s impossible,” replied the doctor. “It will be the temple’s duty to hand him the ashes and they will know how to handle that. All the evidence will have gone, but you will have to send the woman to Japan immediately.”

“Of course,” replied Sheela.

“See you at the temple.”

She still had some doubts. “How can I make sure you will do what you say?”

“Oh yes, I will do it,” he replied, “Because she is a reincarnation of Parvati. She saved my life and will save my mother! She broke the cycle of my reincarnation.”

Sheela was, in fact, not very surprised, but said nothing. Indians were so superstitious. She decided she would get more information later.

‘I will remember you. Thank you, doctor!” This was also a warning.

 

 

If you don’t make mistakes,

you don’t make anything”

Paolo Coelho

 

 

The sudden rainstorm fell hard on the crowd around the train station.

Pascal’s Indian rags were drenched and he had to stay inside the station while he waited for his pick up. His turban bent to the side and the greasy black powder on his face drooped like make-up after a cheerful night.

He waited for Sheela.

Whenever he stopped in one place, a crush of people pushed him on. There was nowhere to sit—even the floor was dirty and wet. He couldn’t even wait in a more civilized coffee chop as they were watching him and he didn’t want to run away and miss her. He also had no clue to identify in the crowd who was an hostile.

He didn’t yet know what had happened to Mayumi. His energy was waning. All this trouble to hide from an army of gangsters who held Mayumi hostage and still, he had no proof of Arocha’s malfeasance and nothing concrete to show Arun Kumar.

When was he going to see him? Or would he? Was Arun Kumar ready to listen to his daughter? Sheela was his closest ally to get Arun Kumar’s ear.

He and Sheela had agreed on a simple plan.

It was very early in the morning and the traffic was still fluid. She had said it would take only a half hour to reach Juhu Aerodrome, and she would pick him up a six o’clock in front of the station’s main entrance. Mayumi would hopefully be freed and brought directly to the aerodrome by Ari.

It seemed like a good plan. Nobody would dare touch Shela’s very distinguishable new yellow Mini Cooper and she would pick him up in a popular place, which would be safer.

But she was wrong.

Even though she was cunning, she was not prepared for what happened so quickly.

Pascal believed he was safe as long as he stayed in the crowd, hidden among thousands of anonymous people, but as soon as Sheela’s car stopped and she opened the passenger door, he had to disclose his location.

And…Arocha’s men were waiting for that very moment when they would intercept him.

The moment Pascal went down the stairs and had almost reached the yellow car, a powerful black limousine stopped behind the Mini in a loud screech of brakes. Three men ran from the limo and grabbed Pascal before he could even reach the yellow car.

He suddenly got face to face with the giant Russian doll. Igor! What the hell was he doing here?

Three other men came from nowhere and blocked his way back. In less than no time he was pushed into the limousine and the car was gone.

In a rage, Sheela closed the passenger door. She thought to drive after them, but the abduction was too well planned and she suspected that they probably would change to another vehicle before she could find them.

The clever Arocha knew Pascal would contact her and try to see her. He always was one step ahead; a real clever bastard!

What to do next?

 

 

In the lounge of the private Juhu Airport, Arun Kumar was pontificating one of his favorite sayings: “Every one of us is one with the essential spirit which pervades the universe.”

His security manager Arocha stood by with Mughal and his team: the three leaders of the group, plus Arocha’s cousins Raj and Singh.

“You have to understand that it is the spirit Brahman who made me one of the most powerful men in India. I want to show my gratitude. I feel that it is my duty to bring his message that we are all one divine being. The united spirit of all people will create a shared knowledge and expand peace and love, to everyone. That is why, as a devotee to Brahman, I have begun the development of the ambitious Cosmos Project in harmony with our friends from the BRIC.

China and Russia also need their people to reach a higher level of spirituality, become less materialistic, and stop acting like survivors. It will enhance their social and economic strength and their sense of community, which has been destroyed by communism, the KGB, the CIA, and the fake Democratic Principle. Real sense of community and mutual spirit will stimulate their energy. Happiness and social efficiency comes with the liberation of the mind.”

Arun turned to Arocha and talked to him as a father would.

“Arocha, I was so concerned about you. I am happy now that you have everything under control. I feel so sorry about your accident. I also deeply regret the death of your skilled guard. I will make a special donation to his family. I hope that both the driver and the bodyguard recover soon… Don’t worry about the car.”

Arocha had a large bandage hiding half of his face and one plastered arm was suspended in a strap. His rib cage was broken and his breathing was labored with pain, but he was amazingly strong and impassable.

“First, tell me Arocha, what do you think about the development of our spiritual project? Do you see it as feasible?”

“Of course master, of course, because we have the technology to achieve it.” Arocha answered.

Arocha didn’t seem to understand the real question and couldn’t answer his master’s obsession for universal peace. In fact, he disagreed totally with such fancy ideas. For him such a concept was a fantasy, not a business. Of course, he couldn’t tell Arun Kumar that he was, in fact, working with the military of the BRIC, on a program that was creating a weapon for mind control.

“But tell me now about the mantras necessary to fully start our program. What can I say to the ministers? The Chinese Premier and the Russian President are becoming impatient.”

Arocha now felt exalted. Arun Kumar was hooked and waiting anxiously for him to provide his dream. Soon Kumar will be eating out of his hand.

As Arocha had captured Pascal he felt that he would get the mantras very soon.

The Japanese girl was dead, but he didn’t need her anyway. Job well done!

And all this time, Arun dreamt of general harmony in societies… How pitiful! Was he blind?

Nothing could stop Arocha now.

“Master, I can now control the project. I virtually have the mantras and I can confirm they will be ready when you come back from China. We will then start the experiment.”

“No more problems?” asked Kumar.

“Only one. I brought you the order for the last equipment transfers to the laboratory, but we the shipment has yet to arrive. This is the last one and costs $150 million. We are still waiting for the final money transfers from the Chinese and the Russians. The total equipment and development costs are $350 million. We need to receive the money before you come back.” He felt so self-assured now!

“Really?” questioned Kumar.

The question was surprising; like an icy shower to Arocha. He perceived Arun Kumar’s tone was no longer friendly and the room was now full with a new team of security people that weren’t from his organization.

He also observed that two police cars were outside, yet Arun Kumar almost never used public services. He even had his own air traffic controller.

Kumar, Arocha thought, must have received a threat last night from the young foreigner and hadn’t had time to talk to him. What else could it be?

I am too tired and probably overreacting, thought Arocha. I will achieve my objective soon. So much money! I must keep calm! In one hour Arun Kumar will be gone and I will be

At that moment a connecting door opened and Sheela appeared, looking furious.

“Hello sweet h….” started Arocha, but he stopped talking when he saw behind her the Japanese hostage whom he had believed to be dead!

The sky was falling on his head. Arun Kumar knew of his covert plan!

“Arocha,” said Kumar, “you break my heart. I have given you so much trust!”

But Arocha was smart! Without a hint of hesitation he replied, “Sheela! I know this woman very well; she is the accomplice of the young man we are tracking, I knew she would contact you. What story did she tell you?”

Arocha’s mind was reeling. Of course, Pascal told Sheela about his girlfriend’s kidnapping and she had the guts to manage her release. Kumar’s daughter was a force to be reckoned with!

He had, nevertheless, gone into counter-attack, and since Mughal Hussein had captured Pascal, he didn’t matter anymore. They had control.

His story was very clever.

“Master, I beg your forgiveness for not telling you the entire truth. In fact, I didn’t bring the foreigner back to his hotel after the party as you requested. I wanted to interrogate him first as he was a threat to our Cosmos Project. On our way to his hotel he jumped the driver and tried to strangle him. The car then bumped into a truck and the foreigner escaped from the car. Of course we were not going to shoot him and we couldn’t move because the truck drivers were angry and started to attack us.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this in the first place?” asked Kumar.

“I wanted to be perfect and was ashamed. I needed to find him first for your safety!”

“So how do you explain this young lady’s detention in our tower? How could you detain someone?”

“I detained no one!” he lied. Then he turned to Sheela and asked: “Sheela, did you ever see that woman in our tower?”

“Ah, no. I only met her in a temple,” answered Sheela honestly.

“You see!” cried Arocha. “It is a scheme between this woman and her boyfriend.”

Sheela was nervous and impatient.

“This young woman confirms that she has the mantras you are looking for.”

Arocha directed his attention to Mayumi.

“You said you have mantras. What does that mean? Can you show us?”

“We have them; my friend and me,” answered Mayumi. “He has them.”

“And where is he?” demanded Arocha, already knowing the answer.

“I don’t know really. I heard he is now in Mumbai.”

“Can’t you see it is a trap to get you and your father? This couple wants your money. I checked at the hotel reception. This guy came to your party under a pseudonym. That is why he is hiding. He was very smart to approach you at the party; why do you think he talked to you?” Arocha kept on…

“And this young Japanese woman is a spy in a Buddhist group searching the mantras for us. I have already investigated it. Daisukei, our friend and PR to that group, has also checked on her and discovered she was a mole.

It is true Sheela, we are looking for mantras and these two foreigners know that as well. Daisukei is working for us. In case they found the mantras, he could help us purchase them. He warned me a month ago about this couple; when they knew the story of the mantras they made a plan to fake them and try to sell them to the Buddhists, but the Masters were suspicious.

Later in London the couple went to sell the intel to the British authorities and learned that Arun Kumar, the super-rich Indian, was involved in a vast project that required the ancient mantras. These two came to India with a scheme to try to sell you fakes.”

Sheela couldn’t swallow that story. Her deep connection to Pascal indicated a personality that was very different from a scoundrel.

“But how do you explain why her boyfriend was abducted in front of my car just minutes ago?”

Arocha had an answer for everything.

“I was going to tell you; this wasn’t done by us. We had several agents looking for that guy at the railway station because we suspected he would catch a train to flee the country. My men reported to my commander that he was captured before they could do anything. The car escaped through the small streets and there was too much traffic to run after them. We have to move fast to get them.

Our Japanese friend has the mantras now.”

But Sheela was persistent.

“Why then did he not get into my car?”

“Why should he?” answered Arocha. “It may have been another trick to avoid the confrontation with your father and our security team, so he put the blame on us. They could easily negotiate with you personally and say we are the bad guys. We will prove this when we catch him… and we will.”

He didn’t say out loud what he was thinking: dead, of course.

Arun Kumar was totally puzzled.

“Why did you hide this story from me Arocha?”

“Master, it is not the only one or first time I have kept such concerns from you. Many people try constantly to take advantage of you and it is my duty is to stop them without disturbing you; you have too much to think about. When you first told me to check out the guest you had a good intuition. Personally, I didn’t know he was an opportunist.”

Now confident that his lies were being believed, Arocha added:

“Sheela has a good heart and what she did was very courageous. Unfortunately, not everyone is sensitive and compassionate like her. We cannot point the finger at her.”

Arocha was brilliant! Now he was going to order his staff to kill Pascal—immediately after getting the mantras of course.

Arun Kumar mumbled to himself, trying to solve the dilemma. Then, he reacted as an angry father.

“Go home Sheela! Don’t do anything like this again before talking to me, and please apologize to Arocha. Look at how brave he was to defend our family!”

Kumar turned to his secretary.

“Kya, please call the police and ask them to arrest this Japanese woman and keep her until we can sort everything out when I return. In the meantime, we will have to find her accomplice… and thank you Arocha!”

 

 

Never give up, never, never, never.”

Winston Churchill.

 

 

Pascal knew his attempt to meet Sheela in front of the railway station was risky and probably not a good idea. But what choice did he have? He knew he was not yet prepared to convince Arun Kumar. He could have shown the evidence they already had, but Mohit hadn’t cracked the encryption yet. He knew Arocha was a real genius of technology and Master of Illusion.

And there was no doubt that from Arun Kumar’s perspective that whatever story Pascal told without any tangible proof, Arocha’s story would sound more credible because he was his assistant. He was also from the Brahman caste even though he was from a poor family. And importantly, Kumar had trusted Arocha for years.

The problem now was even worse; he was detained in a car and had no hope of being rescued. Pascal knew it wasn’t the right time to try to escape, so he had no alternative but to wait.

He knew they would probably try to kill him later, so he had to wait for the right opportunity to fight and make his escape.

His first priority was Mayumi. Sheela told her on the phone that she had her released and he thought about her all the time, which was taking its toll on his vital energy.

What could she do without opposing Arocha? He had to concentrate; his priority was to find a way to escape. As the prospect of getting back to Mayumi seemed further away, Pascal became more anxious.

What was Mohit doing? Was he following and ready to make a move? He couldn’t know, as they were taken by surprise this time. But he had to pretend he was feeling relaxed.

Even at this early hour the traffic was jammed near the station and the limousine had to join in the deafening honking to make its way through the crowd.

Of course, Pascal’s two old ‘buddies’ were taking advantage of this; they were exultant, taunting him:

“Hey fag, we swore to screw you up. Do you remember? Your time has come sweetie; we can’t wait to caress you in the way you deserve as soon as we arrive at our destination. Don’t call your mother and cry,” they laughed, shouting vulgar exclamations.

It was a happy time for the Russian giant.

Ia teba unichtozu, slovoch! (I got you, bastard!)”

This time they had tied Pascal’s ankles and wrists very tightly; the nylon rope caused a sharp sting of pain with every movement. The Caucasian teased him as he pushed a dirty piece of cloth into his mouth.

“Hey baby, how do you like the fragrance of my handkerchief? Do you need breast-feeding instead?” he asked as he pointed to his genitals.

The Russian took part in the game.

“Don’t worry Honey; we’ll show you how we took good care of your sweet fiancée. In case you didn’t know, she is now in the hands of our friends, the Mumbai Police. We are going to pick her up at the police station. She has already ‘loved’ both us, don’t you know?”

Pascal was sandwiched between their heavy, sweating bodies and he was an easy toy for them. They enjoyed hurting him, slapping his face and twisting and ruthlessly squeezing his flesh.

As he mumbled at each blow, they joked.

“What did you say? You love it?”

Pascal stayed put, trying not to worsen the situation or joke with them, watching and waiting for the right moment.

What happened next was a miracle, a kind of synchronistic gift.

A large group of hijras invaded the wide avenue and stopped cars to beg for money. These transvestites are a caste of entertainers and beggars famous for their viciousness and their power to cast spells on people unwilling to give them their dime. Many feared them as sometimes they could become very cruel and dangerous, reacting with a female hysteria. They were the only ones to practice castration voluntarily.

The limousine driver refused to stop and almost rammed one of the Hijras. To make it worse, the Russian, totally unaware of their custom, made the mistake of opening the window and insulting the beggars.

A sudden anger spread across the huge group and they all immediately focused on the arrogant foreigners in the limo. The giant tried to close the electric window but dozens of manicured hands on muscular arms grabbed his head, forcing him to open the door to avoid being strangled in the car window. Trembling in fear, the driver threw banknotes at the assailants as the other bodyguard searched for his wallet.

Before the car had stopped, Pascal’s intuition had already foreseen the situation, but he wasn’t free to move. The best he could do was to push against the muscular Caucasian on his right and stretch both legs against the giant with difficulty.

At that precise moment the door was opened by the mob and the furious crowd ejected the giant like a rocket. Taken by surprise, he fell on the street’s hard cement where they surrounded him and kicked him with their high-heel shoes. In a few seconds his whole body was bleeding and wounded—a mass of bloated meat. Even badly beaten, the Russian made the foolish move towards his pistol. That was a fatal mistake. In a hysterical frenzy the hijras smashed his head on the street.

Attackers were opening the car’s other doors.

Pascal tried to slide out of the car in an attempt to flee the Caucasian but the powerful man had already encircled his arm around Pascal’s neck and violently tried to strangle him while hitting his face with his other fist.

To make things worse, the Hijras were leaving in a hurry in fear of the approaching police.

It was at that moment that a group of Sikhs arrived. Two of them grabbed the Caucasian from the opposite door, hitting him with a hockey bat.

Grasping for breath, Pascal was immediately pulled out of the car and onto the pavement by unknown hands. Mohit’s people had arrived and were rushing him to shelter.

His so-called ‘buddies’ were badly hurt, covered in blood and running for their lives with the driver.

The instructions from Mohit were very clear: take the foreigner and vanish; don’t wait for the police who will be late as usual. Most importantly, get out before the limousine’s backup arrives.

The task was performed perfectly and the Sikhs rushed away with Pascal as the sirens howled in the distance and men in black ran towards the location.

Pascal and his rescuers disappeared, swallowed by the huge crowd surrounding the incident.

The backup team had arrived too late. The bodies of the giant and the Caucasian lay on the road and the foreigner was gone. No one could say what had happened.

 

SEASON 3: THE OTHER DIMENSION

 

 

Mohit paced nervously inside one of the vast computer rooms in his microchip factory; large screens, sophisticated apparatus and dozens of extremely busy programmers surrounded him.

Suddenly, he stopped in the middle of the room and a large smile appeared on his face. He had an inspiration!

He immediately ushered Pascal into his huge office and sat him down on a comfortable sofa. They shared a cup of special yogi tea that he had prepared for them; the taste of the cloves and ginger were somewhat stringent but revitalising.

Mohit knew Pascal needed more than just tea. For the second time in less than twenty-four hours he had been abducted and rescued, enduring tough conditions. This time he had a lucky escape but still in shock by the violence he had endured and obviously not ready for action. He was also obsessed by Mayumi’s detention at the police station.

Mohit stood in front of him with a happy face; he didn’t appear worried at all.

“We are going to meet Arun Kumar together and solve the problem right now Pascal, but you have to regain your strength.”

“Can’t you see it is impossible!” said Pascal sadly. “You are a scientific genius Mohit, but it is too late. All these efforts are useless.”

Mohit kept his smile and appeared not at all disturbed by Pascal’s distress.

“We’ve decrypted the black box delicate code Pascal. Arocha’s secrets are no more. My team has uncovered all possible evidence: documents, records of interrogations and beatings, and particularly a meeting between Arocha and Mayumi in her cell. Even a video from just two days ago that shows the Chief of Staff explaining to an air traffic controller and a security operative the plan to get rid of Arun Kumar’s jet. Of course, Arocha was very clever not to attend that meeting so he could use the film against his Chief of Staff in case events turned the wrong way. But one detail he can’t refute is his phone call with Hussein two hours ago. During the call he clearly explained the plot and precisely recapped the various steps for Arun Kumar’s abduction and murder. He thought he was safe because he deleted the call after he had lost and retrieved his phone, but as it turned out, he did it too late!”

Our clear copy has registered the complete plan for the assassination, the names of the terrorist attackers, the technical data… The timing was cleverly arranged. Genuine Islamic extremists had been financed and commissioned to set up a coup in a remote area where the jet was due to land during an emergency. The bad weather and an inaccessible location proved to be propitious for them; they couldn’t send a rescue helicopter in time to save the tycoon..

We have proof of planting of malfunctioning spare parts installed inside the plane to initiate a short circuit and fire on board, the implication of the air controller to guide the pilot to the wrong direction, and instructions regarding the choice of the unreachable emergency airport, AND evidence of the cash payment. We have uncovered every part of the scheme! Even a fake plan for medical evacuation had been simulated. It would show the dedication of the rescuers, but no one could ever discover the truth. After Arun Kumar’s assassination, all evidence would be destroyed and witnesses would be executed, including Arocha’s Chief of Staff. You see, Pascal, we have all the necessary evidence against him now!”

“I know,” mumbled Pascal. “Congratulations Mohit. Yes, we have all this evidence, but who are we going to convince; and when? I just told you it is too late. What can we do? The jet is going to take off in less than two hours. The pilot, co-pilot, the secretary, and two bodyguards are preparing to board. The jet is going to leave and when the occupants are abducted and killed nobody will believe you.”

“I understand all that Pascal, and I have found a way, but we have to move fast. Right now, the problem is you Pascal. You are too stressed to successfully execute our plan. You are too emotionally unbalanced. You are too obsessed about Mayumi and worried about her situation. You have to get your strength back before I can arrange for you to encounter Arun Kumar and let him know the truth. Let me address that quickly.”

“I don’t get you,” answered a confused Pascal.

“Don’t worry, my friend. My personal Yogi Guru is coming to help. As soon as he arrives, please strictly follow his guidance. It is essential you get back your spiritual capacities and open your energy centers to achieve the next step, a difficult one: the quantum mechanics step.”

But Mohit didn’t elaborate, and Pascal gave up arguing, too tired and stressed to ask what a yogi could do in such a case. He surrendered to Mohit’s optimism.

The yogi arrived five minutes later. He managed a small ashram near Mohit’s office. It was where Mohit met him the first time, years ago. As most Indian Sikhs, Mohit was a devotee to Nanak, the first spiritual master, the founder of their nation, who probably inspired Kundalini Yoga practitioners years later.

During Mohit’s years of struggle the Yogi had been his adviser and confidant, then his yoga teacher and his guru who showed Mohit the way to find the energy to survive and the methods to gain clairvoyance and overcome his troubles.

Although rich and successful now, Mohit still practiced his asanas, the yogi postures and exercises that activated his energy centres. He also knew to chant the efficient mantras and use the appropriate finger positions called the mudras. And it worked well for him.

At first sight, the yogi looked fairly ordinary; there was nothing outstanding in his appearance. He was short and fat and not really inspiring. One could say he seemed young even though he was almost sixty. He had a dark complexion and wore his long hair in a white turban, and donned the costume of the Sikh yogi complete with copper bracelet, and of course, he had a curly, whitish beard

When he arrived, he directly walked in Pascal’s direction, joined his hands in Saat Naam, the welcome greeting, and immediately invited him to sit right there in the computer room. They sat in the Lotus position, facing each other in the middle of all the scientific devices. All staff was asked to leave the room.

Pascal felt somewhat irritated, apprehensive about the urgency, nervously willing himself to move away, thinking negatively about the man and the situation.

But his mood suddenly changed.

At the moment he sat and looked into the master’s eyes he felt unexpectedly hypnotised, surrounded in a flow of vibrations, voices, and lights. His fears and apprehension were evaporating like steam evaporating in the sky.

The guru concentrated fully, his hands on his knees as he sent Pascal a strong current of energy.

He whispered slowly…

“This posture is called the Prana mudra. Do you know why?” He didn’t wait for Pascal to answer. “Because prana is vital energy; it is the origin of life. It comes from inside the body, but also resonates with the outside. The Chinese call it Chi. And the position of the fingers: the index over the thumb, is the Gya mudra, a ritual gesture that keeps the vital energy flow circulating in the body.”

He kept the posture for eleven minutes in silence; Pascal was immersed in strong emotions. When the master opened his eyes with an irradiating smile he told him, “I can feel your emotions were blurring your self-confidence, but I can also perceive that you already have attained the level of a master, so I will initiate you to a secret exercise taught by yogi only for practitioners who have attained the highest level of consciousness.

This exercise will clear the main energy core centre of the body known as the Anahata, the heart Chakra, which is located between the nipples. ‘Anahata’ means ‘unbroken’. This energy pointprovides a strong heart and self-confidence. Hindus believe that Brahman, the Absolute Being of the Cosmos, resides in the Anahata chakra, representing the Atman, the soul or in other words, the individual true self.

Try now to follow my instructions; it will take only eleven minutes if you concentrate deeply.

First… in this lotus posture, keep your arms and elbows at ninety degrees and the hands in the Jnana mudra: thumb touching the index finger. Your shoulders must be relaxed; your neck must stay in a deadlock, and your attention be kept focused on your third eye, the virtual eye located between your eyebrows.

You maintain that position for the entire eleven minutes.

Second… start to inhale deeply with strong intent and chant the mantra ‘SOM’; you must feel it resonate in your head. During the exercise you may feel deep pain in the chest. This means the energy of your chakra is awakening and flowing. Ignore the pain and hold the position.

Third… exhale deeply, making yourself resonate with the mantra. You may hear voices from unknown dimensions and noises like flutes playing or bees buzzing.

Fourth… repeat the respiration process slowly and focus. Little by little, while you do the practice, a feeling of ease will consume your body surrounding this centre. This is the energy combating negative thought.

Fifth… during the meditation a disc of deep vermillion or golden light will be perceived (by who or what? Or how?) in front of the heart or at the point between your eyebrows.

Sixth… That’s it! Your heart chakra is awakened. You feel now an overwhelming attitude of optimism. No matter the difficulty, you have now the knowledge that the situation will improve. Your feeling of love for others is intensified. Your psychokinetic ability—the control of the mind over matter— now becomes possible and you are instantly capable of achieving the objective you picture in your imagination.

You are now ready to meet Arun Kumar; Mohit will show you the technical process.

Pascal opened his eyes, full of optimism. As if waking from a dream he said, “I just had a vision of Arun Kumar waiting for me, his aura radiating. He was happy!”

Mohit had observed the session from behind a glass partition; he walked into the room and stopped in front of Pascal, still smiling.

“Bravo! Keep your intent Pascal; we are going to meet Arun now via Quantum physics teleportation!”

Even though he was feeling positive and full of optimism, Pascal reacted with surprise.

“What? How can you say such lucubration, Mohit? You know Arun is probably already in his jet ready for departure; we cannot get there on time. And you know there is by no means the possibility to transport matter by Quantum teleportation. This is not Star Trek; it is not possible now and certainly never will be!”

“Listen carefully, Pascal; I know what I am talking about. It is not a lucubration; I am talking about Quantum teleportation, not the extravagant kind you see in movies. Only the properties of your mental particles will travel. Let me quickly explain it to you. We have to hurry!

Do you remember in Bangkok when you were uncertain of your capacities to know the past and future and travel to the collective consciousness, what we call the memory of the world?

At that time I told you the story of the Einstein Experiment (the famous EPR) which was the two-photons particles that could either communicate faster than light.

The particles have another property that I didn’t explain to you…

From one side of the universe to the other, the twin particles in the experiment had become inseparable forever; they were what scientists call ‘entangled’. Whatever happened to one happened to the other and they kept identical spin. This is a scientific fact: particles that interact become entangled.

If the properties, or the information contained in one of them was changed, the other particle received that information as well, faster than light speed.

It is from that observation that the scientists have created the computer technology of Quantum Teleportation, unbreakable codification and super-fast computers. It works even though no one can really explain why.

But we can use it in telepathic ways because our minds are energy fields that are, in fact, made of particles.”

Pascal was quite perplexed.

The guru spoke now.

“Please don’t feel puzzled! We Oriental gurus know this is exactly what happens in the universe. Don’t mess it up with doubts. This is not bogus talk. It is science! In order to accomplish this telepathic feat, you just need to maintain a strong intent.”

“Are you both crazy?” demanded Pascal. “You know I can time-travel, but I am not using a scientific technology. Where can you find twin particles in your travel idea?”

“Just listen to the way the phenomenon works,” implored Mohit.

“Recall the last time you met Arun Kumar, with a strong intent both your minds exchanged ‘energy’ that had been transformed into mostly unconscious images, feelings, and concepts. Both you and Arun shared mind particles. Once they met, these particles interacted and have become one and inseparable: entangled. You see, Quantum again!

Remember! We all experience this when we just think about someone; immediately images, memory and feelings emerge in our consciousness. These are mind particles: ‘twins’ that are encoded into both our long-term unconscious memory. So the first condition for Quantum teleportation exists.

Now, your mind particles are actually entangled with Arun’s; they are inseparable and share the same properties. This is what human relationship is made of and may be what neurologists call ‘the mirror effect’ from the neurones.

But not everyone can use this technology easily without spiritual training. One needs to concentrate properly so the particles’ vibration is under control, then Quantum Teleportation will function. That is why my yogi guru came to help; to bring to your particles the energy to recover your focused attention,” said Mohit.

“But please don’t ask me to fully understand this phenomenon as nobody knows how it works. Concentrating through meditation is, we know, not a problem for you or me!”

Mohit was now impatient.

“There’s no more time to lose my friend. Let’s travel now!”

Mohit was in a joyful state of mind and started to mimic a pilot talking from the cockpit.

“Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please. Emitter and Receiver are ready now. Maintain your deep focus and fasten your entangled mind particles… Virtual connection is on… Conscious Quantum Teleportation is landing at its factual destination. Welcome to the new connection!”

It had taken only few nanoseconds for them to both be immersed in an unlimited floating space, or a higher state of consciousness with no limits. All at once they were in a virtual reality, standing in front of Arun who was already seated comfortably in his jet.

There was no flash of lights, fireworks, or stormy noise—only a faint aura around them. It was as simple as that!

Mohit switched on his laptop, ready to show Arun the clear evidence.

Both were, in fact, already unconsciously sharing all the information about the set-up, but Arun couldn’t consciously accept it. He had to be convinced forcefully.

Pascal also knew that even though Arun knew intuitively that he could communicate telepathically, it would be difficult to convince his conscious mind.

No one is deafer than the one who does not want to listen. Pascal instinctively knew that he must use a strong argument to satisfy the skeptical man. And he had it!

Virtually, he opened his backpack and took two plates of jade out of it.

“Mr. Kumar, these are the original mantras written by Ananda, the Buddha disciple. I brought them for your Cosmos Project!”

He then carefully put the two ancient, carved jade tablets on Arun’s lap.

Arun was taken aback and unexpectedly became very emotional when he realized these were the mantras his organization was seeking!

“Oh, Shiva! How could you have them?” He was almost crying.

Pascal kept a very firm stance.

“The story of how we did it is too long to tell you, but one thing is for sure; we don’t want any money or benefit in this exchange; we only want to save your life and liberate Mayumi. Please, look at the evidence we have for you.”

Mohit recapped the details and showed a mystified but entranced Arun Kumar the films retrieved from Arocha’s security system, which were taken during previous meetings. He also showed footage of the last encounter with the air traffic control officers just two hours ago at the aerodrome. He pointed out the evidence of the meeting with the security staff and the telephone conversation between Arocha and Hussein, giving instructions to crash the jet.

Arun Kumar became livid, whispering, “All this is impossible, how can it be? A scheme for so many years! Arocha! My spiritual son from my own caste!”

But Pascal was insistent.

“Mr. Kumar, why do you think we are coming to you with this now? We don’t have any personal interest and we don’t ask you to believe us right away, but please check! These mantras are real! You will discover that the Japanese woman you sent to prison is a real Buddhist in search of the mantras for peace and enlightenment. You will learn that we have no interest in your assistant’s conspiracy. He is in search of power and is trying to sell the Project to a military power.

After you check on him you will be able to understand the extent of his malversions, not only with the military force of the BRIC but also to DARPA, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency at the Pentagon which is continuously experimenting control technologies

And not only them, even Britain’s MI6, which is supposed to protect us, wants this new Mantra technology. They are all willing to pay billions to obtain the mantras and the technology that has already been developed

We know your intention is pure and we know your objective is world peace and the happiness of your people, so we are ready to give you the mantras to facilitate your experiments and achieve the success you seek.

Please understand that we have no guns or weapons and we have no intention of hurting you nor do we wish to take advantage of you. We practice Tantra Yoga like you do, and we hope we have proven to you our good intentions through our positive energy. We only want peace for you and hope that you continue to dedicate your life to attaining high spirituality for your country and the world.”

“And,” Pascal added enthusiastically, sending his energy flow to the heart of Arun Kumar, “believe me, Arun Kumar, you should listen to your daughter more deeply. She is not only very clever, compassionate, and intuitive, but she is also capable of running your business far better than hundreds of Arochas.”

It was the right wording! Arun was a man of decision and he instantly took charge.

Snapping out of his trance and reanimated, he called his most trusted security attendant “I need you to do two things, he ordered”.

“First, I need to talk to my daughter. She does not lie to me. I made the mistake of rejecting her and I have now to open myself and understand the facts from her perspective. Please get her. Second, call Arocha for a urgent meeting.. I will talk to him in my way. I will see how he answers my questions. Meanwhile, have his story investigated. He finally turned his attention to Pascal: I have some more questions for you. Be ready. I will call you in a few hours.”

Pascal was breathing deeply, feeling relieved and thinking about Mayumi with optimism. He was totally confident and ready for Kumar’s questions.

Mohit put his arm on Pascal’s shoulder.

“Let’s go, brother!”

 

 

The pair found themselves immediately back in Mohit’s office, waiting for Arun’s not-so-virtual phone call.

Mohit had other news. His IT department could decrypt some parts of the microchip that Pascal recovered from the Burmese scientist and had sent from Bangkok.

You know Pascal, we put all our efforts to reveal the content. As you told me it might be a very important secret file retrieved from Tesla research, I consider it as a extraordinary finding and a priority.

“Was it difficult? Yes, because the encryption was based on an unbreakable Quantum code. However, we discovered that the black box contained some information on the source code and we used the Quantum equations. It is a very delicate process and we need more time to complete the work.”

Pascal was impatient now.

“But what does the incomplete message say? Can I see it?”

“Unfortunately, it is not clear yet but the fragments we could decrypt seem to confirm your assumption that it is a formula to identify and manipulate still unknown frequencies which could be from the field of human consciousness, the famous pulse described by neuroscientists.

The whole thing seems to be a protocol to use magnetic power and control those strange waves.

I understand you Pascal, this discovery could the most advanced scientific discovery and technology of the century.

The only paragraph we could make intelligible is a warning. But we could not understand its meaning.

Mohit took out a pen and started to write on a piece of paper, he passed to Pascal.

Pascal could read:

 

Follow Swammi Vivekananda and his Mandala, and never break the pure sub atomic Quantic symmetry of the hologram, or die in the OTHER DIMENSION.”

 

This didn’t make sense to Pascal, and that made him feel anxious. He had to know the meaning before the experiment took place. He remembered that the Buddhist master had also

said ‘follow the way of the Mandala’, but he still had no clue what it meant.

 

 

The Universe does not exist for itself.

That is why it is eternal.”

Lao Tzu

 

 

Arun Kumar was smiling from within, the warmth radiating around him. Sheela, his daughter, his life’s real and only purpose, was holding his hand. They both stood inside the monitoring room with only glass and time separating them from the final experiment: the transformation of the mind.

Following the events at Sheela’s birthday, Kumar had been forced to investigate the project internally. His ears were tuned to a slightly more sensitive channel. His staff spoke to him as usual, but his mind scanned every inflection scrupulously, trying to filter out the lies. He made sure to avoid jumping to conclusions. Business had taught him the sharp end of that stick.

During a difficult period of insomnia he began to check the Cosmos Project’s balance sheets with his personal financial team, scrutinising and analysing. After many long hours of squinting through bleary-eyed nights, they began to string together facts he had never noticed before. Millions of dollars were completely unaccounted for and transferred into Swiss bank accounts whose numbers he didn’t recognise. He had a rude awakening that many of his business partners, people with whom years of trust had warranted them entry to his inner circle, who proved to have been against him.

The body of the doctor who helped Mayumi escape was eventually found. His genitals had been ripped off and all that was left of him was a bloated mound of flesh floating in a river.

Arun Kumar’s personal detective team had also discovered blatant evidence of torture in the basement of his security team’s headquarters.

The many affiliated groups that had been used to help the Cosmos Project were found to be of criminal nature and in particular, a Russian group based in Thailand that was always referred to as ‘Dimitri’ in the reports.

The air traffic controllers involved in the scheme designed to crash his plane, those who had talked and denounced Mughal Hussein, had also vanished.

Arocha was taken care of first, but the corruption of the whole system had rotted through the foundations so thoroughly that no explanation could be put forward for his vaporization from prison. No doubt his connections had been in very high places and no questions could be asked.

Rumours went flying about a foreigner in a black limousine who was seen waiting for him at the Central Police Station. He had with him two bodyguards. Although the truth would be impossible to draw, onlookers say that Arocha merely stepped out of the police vehicle into the luxurious car and was driven away to the Embassy sector in Mumbai.

Perhaps he escaped by helicopter or perhaps he found an underground route. Nobody knew. In the reports was also mentioned the description of one bodyguard: ‘A giant with a doll-like face’.

And of course, Mayumi’s background was checked out and she was immediately freed. She really was the daughter of the Buddhist esoteric master!

 

 

Hours earlier—although it felt like a lifetime ago—the couple had embraced on the terrace of the royal suite at the Taj Mahal Hotel.

Pascal had slept on the bedside sofa watching Mayumi recover, tracing the closed lids of those almond eyes in his mind. His imagination had led him to see her at first as Imae, the woman of his vision, but in front of him slept the real figure embedded in the jewel of reality, sharing his breath and corporality.

He had awoken to a small and humble smile. She gifted him with a long stare full of golden light, and lifted her fragile body from the covers, reaching out her hands to him. As the balcony welcomed them with the view of a rising pink sun, she stroked the groove of skin between his every finger, interlacing her porcelain hands in his, saying nothing. The sinuous curve of her neck rested upon his shoulder; they had total acceptance for each other.

The long-anticipated launch of the Cosmos experiment was to take place in precisely one hour. Arrangements had been made so that very few invitations were sent out. Physicists and scientists of the highest accolade, political leaders of the BRIC and only the most loyal of Arun Kumar’s associates and family were in attendance for the briefing he had prepared. Mayumi’s father, the Mantrayana Master was also invited and had arrived in the morning from Japan.

 

 

Arun Kumar came to the podium and spoke into the microphone.

“First of all, welcome to you all.” His outstretched arms were wide open, as if hugging his audience from the podium. “I have invited you here today, dear members of the BRIC, to witness the conclusion of our daring adventure; one that I hope will bear the fruits of a radical change in our basic assumptions and belief systems.

Here, we hope to see a revolution in the paradigms of our existence.” And a major social improvement in our countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Under her breath Mayumi was forced to ask the meaning of the word ‘paradigm’. It was a word she had never come across despite her strong understanding of the English language.

“Oh,” he replied, somewhat hesitantly, afraid to disturb the speech. “Well, the closest thing I could say would be that it is the world view or set of assumptions about how things work. An example of a paradigm would be the belief that the world was flat. Until someone went and proved that the world was round, causing a paradigm shift

 

Kumar continued,

 

As a passionate believer of the Tantra, which, as you know, means “woven together”,

I have decided to find a extraordinary way to bring people together to achieve that.

I have experimented that each of us could achieve self-accomplishment and happiness in our difficult environment only when one could attain an expanded consciousness and could be aware of his own tremendous potential for love and compassion. It was my opinion that all countries had to establish a real Democracy by creating a society where its citizen had attained that high level of consciousness.

 

We, at the BRIC have understood the urgency to create in our populations such a state of mind, where every one would attain a better balance between themselves and their environment.

Unfortunately, the many problems people encounters in our societies, the stress to survive, the selfishness of prevailing materialistic systems, the control of individuals, the lack of authentic purpose, has made them blind to that possibility

Our Government leaders have been holding a more and more difficult position between the increasing power of money and the power of badly informed people.

 

Did any nation, until now, really found a way to improve it?

 

The answer is NO. And every one knows it.

 

We, at the BRIC, have acknowledged the danger of a inevitable revolution and tried to implement sustainable ways in the next future.

Spinoza, the famous philosopher from the seventeen-century, used to say:

“the only way to change an affect (or lets say “an attitude” in our case) is to change it by another one, stronger and contrary.”

Our research has concluded that a stronger affect was a high level of consciousness for every one. We could reach that target using new scientific applications and technologies of the Quantum Mechanic, the String Theory and the neurosciences. We could also benefit from thousands years of Cultures and Esoteric practices.

But enough speech. Let me introduce Dr Purananda, the genius who has developed our Cosmos Project, and will explain it all.

 

 

Arun Kumar turned to a small group of people standing on the podium. Dr. Purananda, a short man in his sixties, seemed very shy and was hiding behind the other guests. His white hair contrasted with his black complexion and he could be compared to an Indian ‘Professor Nimbus’: the typical image of the perfect scientist lost in the world of skeptical humans.

Hesitantly, he stepped to the stage next to Arun Kumar. Immediately, his strong and clear voice imposed respect and his charisma attracted admiration. Everyone was instantly under his spell.

He started modestly… “I am only the medium between realities. My only task was to let my intuition put together what others had discovered.”

From a scientific point of view, I studied with my team the new discoveries of the String Theory, Neurosciences, Quantum physics. As Arun Kumar, our enlighten sponsor just said, these theories have been essential for our project.

Their conclusions have allowed me to hypothesise that the mind, the soul, should be a vibration creating a magnetic field, a kind of unknown fundamental force, supported by wave/particles, constantly interacting with themselves and their environment, the cosmos. I have called them the “Soul waves.”

Lucky bastard! Suddenly thought Pascal. The demonstration was exactly reflecting the Tesla document.

What a striking coincidence!

How naive he had been from the beginning! Of course, they had access to the Tesla protocol, and in a clear version. It was obvious that the Lab scientists in Yangoon knew that Aung was a friend of Placido a famous scientist engaged in a similar research. For sure, they heard of his finding and used a tricky way to steal the information from him.

First, as Placida told to Pascal, they tried to discover what secrets Aung was hiding. Probably they noticed that Aung body was emitting unknown vibrations, and, easily, found that he had a microchip hidden in his armpit. they possibly fed Aung in Yangoon with some drugs to retrieve it without arising suspicion. They perhaps made an electronic copy of the microchip content, and replaced the most useful passages with a new encryption. Aung would not know and even be wary about it.

And nobody else could read the document. How clever!

 

Dr Purananda was continuing, ignorant of Pascal thought.

From an Esoteric point of view we have compared most of the different cultures of our planet and observed they also came to the same belief: the mind, the soul, the Altman, were a vibrating force, emitted from the brain and body and connected to unknown fields, with different levels, the highest one, probably virtual, being called “ Brahma, Yawe, Jesus, Tao, spirits and thousands of other names.

We preferred to say “Soul”

Since all findings were pointing to the vibrations, the waves, which were the components of the energy fields, we decided to discover and analyze the frequencies of these vibrations, and conducted many experimentations.

 

Now its show time! You are going to be the privileged witnesses of the fabulous technology we proudly have called the “Cosmos Project”.

And then he bowed.

 

 

After the applause died down, he said:

Please, ladies and gentlemen, give me the honour of watching for a few minutes the short video I have prepared for you.”

A large screen lowered behind the podium and the lights went off. An image of the galaxies appeared on it; intricate waves were spinning around at fantastic velocity and were vibrating, creating the special 3D image of a hologram, where the viewers felt immersed as if they were part of the virtual scenery.

“What you are watching is an image of the subatomic, the infinite small universe. Imagine that the world as you can see it now is actually vibrating.

We had until now believed that matter was made of particles, atoms with electrons spinning around a nucleus. It is not rue anymore: your hair, that seat, the air, the light, my ears, your thought and your, all of it is just made of strings, vibrations that dance around and resonate with each other like a giant salsa class!”

The amazing image of worlds within worlds and waves inside larger waves appeared as holograms within holograms, mirroring ad infinitum.

“According to the new theory of Wave/Particle Physics, every particle is but a loop, a string identified by its frequency. Electrons, quarks, photons, gluons, fermions, bosons—are only symbols of different vibrations. It is not an assumption, but the application of a new theory called ‘The Superstring Theory’, or more simply, The ‘M’ Theory.

The way a wave vibrates, and more precisely its frequency, determines what kind of symbolic particle it is, either from the standard model, or even a wave/particle, still unknown to us, may be the dark matter.

What we are and where we are is only a matter of frequencies.

In other words, there is no such thing as a fixed and intangible world.. The rock-solid reality we think we experience every day depends on the frequencies of its components, the wave particles.

For example, if you could change the frequencies of the waves which together create your body and mind, you would become someone else, totally different. An Alien may be?

As you can now understand, since everything is a vibration with a frequency, a wave we had to identify those, which create the mind, the consciousness: the soul.

That’s why we have used the Quantum equations to find them.

 

“Thank you Tesla,” thought an outraged Pascal, definitely unimpressed.

 

“Before I explain further the different steps of our experiment, I have to recap for those who are not scientists, how the unbelievable discoveries of the Quantum Theory have been the key to our Cosmos technology:”

 

“In Quantum world, there are at least two realities in the universe:

 

First, there is the reality we experimented everyday, a reality we believe is the only one. A reality we can experiment with our sense, our limited perceptions; a reality governed by determinism rules which say that every effect has a cause.

But this reality, according Quantum Theory, is in fact a myth. It exists because we all live in a decoherent world, subject to many disturbances, and particularly the subjectivity of our observation.”

“Now there is this other reality called “Quantum State” or even “Implicate Order” by some scientists as D Bohm. We can never experiment such reality directly because it belongs to a coherent world not disturbed by our observation, not disturbed by any fields or waves: cosmic fields, neutrinos, mind emissions. That reality is also the siege of infinite possibilities, infinite power.

 

We all know that! Exclaimed a stocky bearded scientist. But I cannot understand the relation with your project?

Very simple in fact senor Alvarez.

 

Our super MRI machine had been able to analyse clearly evanescent frequencies emitted by the body/brain, from their auras, or let say the magnetic fields of energy surrounding them.

It also could select the wave/particles we believed were related to the consciousness.

In one word: our soul.

“And then”?, insisted the scientist

“Then, we had to find a link between the Quantum state and the normal state of those particles, or lets say waves.. And this was the question; Could those mind wave/particles benefit from such a state of infinite power and intelligence? Could we bring the normal mind into a Quantum State?”

“Believe it or not, it was in fact simple to do it!”

 

Alvarez interfered again: “Simple? Are you joking?”

 

“Not at all sir, if you consider one of the most fantastic discovery of the Quantum: the entanglement of particles, a fact that even Einstein tried to refute and proved wrong when he created the famous EPR experiment to disprove the assumption that wave/particles could communicate faster than light and share the exact same properties when they became entangled. Particles became twins,.

This strange phenomenon is in fact the essence of Quantum as Niels Bohr, the founder of the theory, explains: What we believe to be separated is only one, forever connected wherever in the Galaxies.

The Senor Alvarez was still adamant;

What technology is that?

 

I am going to show you in detail how we applied that technology; how we could create the entangled wave/particles and establish the link between the Quantum state and the wave/particles, even if they belonged to other dimensions.”

Stil unconvinced, the bearded scientist exploded.

“All this is very theoretical science. Why would you try to link the mind wave/particles, if they exist, to a Quantum State.”

 

Dr Purananda exhibited a huge smile. “Bravo sir, this is the key question, and thank you to ask.”

“If the quantum is a state of true perfection with infinite possibilities, it means that a mind wave/particle, set inside that state, would receive an infinite power, intelligence and clairvoyance, even communicate with other dimensions, as string theory hypotheses.”

 

Pascal was suddenly attentive. The senior Alvarez seemed to be suspicious about the soul wave/particles, but Dr Purananda had avoided answering that question. Did it mean they knew the warning? If they had the Tesla document, they should. These people were bluffing about the safety. That’s why they did not make any allusion to the caution message from the document: They probably did not find the quantum symmetry of the hologram. And they knew that consciousness had a holographic structure, as Prabam, a famous neuro scientist, had recently demonstrated;

Pascal felt disheartened: Dr Purananda was not an honest scientist and was taking considerable risk. He did not care if the experiment was going to engulf the patients into a dangerous new dimension?

 

Dr. Purananda stood up.

“Now that you understand the very basic fundamentals of our project and realize that science is reaching new frontiers, let’s see some action!” Our experiment today is to prove our theories.”

Excited at what they were about to see, everyone started to move.

Pascal was livid.

“ I have just received the signal now. Please follow me directly to the laboratory to observe the real application of this fantastic theory,” crowed Dr. Purananda.”

The group of visitors was brought to an underground facility, an immense room with a ceiling so tall it was hard to discern its height.

“We will condense wave/the particles we had captured from the minds of the chanting monks and create intense and very high-frequency energy to collide them, copy them, and entangle the copies into a perfect Quantum space. Sunlight and cosmic rays must not have access here. Even neutrinos may disturb the experiment. It would cause what we, scientists, know as ‘decoherence’, a nuisance that could stop the particles from behaving as waves, and, consequently, being able to be trapped into a Quantum State.

That is why we are deep underground. The black walls are especially proofed to absorb the radiations.”

A dome-shaped, clear compartment was visible from the elevator in which they were standing. They walked down a platform and entered the monitoring room.

They could see the command room on the other side where dozens of engineers were preparing the machine; their faces were glowing from the holographic panels.

In the middle of the platform was set a gigantic operation theatre surrounded by surgical-white light which illuminated the group of metallic beds where the ‘patients’ lay in silence. They faced large screens that were linked to the wires protruding from their extremities. Nodes were stamped around their temples and toes, all connected to massive scanning machinery that was set all around them.

The patients were connected to crystal glass cube-like forms around them. Although they were entirely clear, looking stable, these cubes were under enormous magnetic field influence and housed microscopic receptors that were impossible to see with the human eye. Various apparatus including large magnets that looked like projectors were set up around each cube, facing towards the patients.

Pascal felt a sweeping cold rush up his spine as soon as they stepped out of the elevator. What stood in front of him was completely clinical and soul-less. And something felt out of place with him. Like a back waiting to be cracked, he was holding out for the release.

Dr. Purananda said proudly.

“Now the most difficult task was to create the Quantum State in the crystal glass cubes you can watch over there, and here we are! They are ready to receive the energetic wave/particles surrounding the brain and the body.

Please look at the halo around the patient’s brain to see how it works. This halo is the manifestation of the body’s subtle energies: the vibrating energies of the body that are emitted to the outside world through the energy portals the Hindus call ‘the chakras’. In our experiment we will not only concentrate on these physical waves but on the other ones, which are not visible. We believe these are the subtle energies or let’s say the soul waves, coming from the center of the forehead known as the third eye, and the Anahata, located near the heart.

Once received and transferred to our mega joule collider, the wave/particles will be entangled, somewhere in the space around the patients.”

“The last mode will be simple: pick up the copies and send them to the Quantum crystal boxes.”

The voice of Dr. Purananda seemed to come from the abyss.

 

“Let’s switch to that mode.”

The lighting was dimmed to near obscurity, and a faint aura of light appeared around the bodies.

“My dear guests, I’m sorry about such a long speech. It is time now to start the demonstration.

The doctor motioned for the monks to lie down on special beds set on a 30-degree angle. Everyone took his place except for a lone, shadowed figure near the front. Calmly, she spoke.

“I am Mayumi and I wish to volunteer for the first experiment. You already know that my life has been dedicated to spiritual practice.”

Dr. Purananda was completely taken aback by the woman and impressed by her courage. He walked over to Arun Kumar and whispered to him. Kumar looked to Mayumi’s Japanese father, the Master of the Mantrayana, who simply nodded.

“Very well then; please follow me.”

Pascal suddenly felt in his own terror the horror of the big risk that his beloved Mayumi was taking. And he knew that her determination was implacable. She wouldn’t change her mind no matter how he tried to change it.

He had to follow his intuition and stop the experiment!

His apprehension at the danger sent a formidable negative energy through his body. His mind reacted violently to this and he found himself surrounded by a whirling torment, after which he landed in a silent space.

How could he have been so blind?

 

 

The Lab Scientists were about to make a big mistake without taking into consideration the symmetric structure of the consciousness hologram. Their research had been incomplete.

All the lights in the spectators’ room were now off. Pascal’s pupils dilated and fixated on the escorted white figure floating towards her inclined bed. Her body was an overflowing power board and the harsh light cascaded down her fine features, causing sharp shadows to fall onto her collar.

Mayumi may have been calm, but the pumping jugular vein in Pascal’s neck was not.

All heads in the room inched forward, eagerly waiting for the experiment to begin. The room was stifling.

Pascal scanned the events that had led him here, cursing himself for letting Mayumi be a part of this.

The monks began to chant. Their voices, shy at first, echoed together; each note danced together in unison. With each passing moment, their enthusiasm grew and with it grew the power of the sound. It sucked into the walls like water to a sponge, and soon the volunteers were drenched, soaking with vibrations.

A beam of piercing white light shot down the center, followed by a loud crack. Colors began to fade in and out from the screens in front of each monk and patterns began to form geometric fractals breaking down into ever more intricate patterns, imploding, destroying, and then reproducing once more. The shapes swallowed each other in an accelerated state, reflecting their light onto the shiny eyeballs of the monks.

Pascal was frozen in a locked stare, observing every movement in Mayumi’s almond eyes which had enlarged as though someone had lifted her lids back with a clamp, literally surrendering her to the forces of the room.

`The engineers scurried around, adjusting the controls then shifting their attention back to the monks.

Dr. Purananda clasped his hands together as they updated him through his earphones.

“The resonance is working,” he heard them saying. “Some wave/particles are beginning to shift and get entangled”

As the process continued, Pascal’s face was millimetres away from the dividing window.

After the incantation, Mayumi’s body had remained completely still until now.

Pascal stood up and started hammering the glass window of the control room.

“Please stop! They are going to die in another dimension! Please, oh please, stop!”

Suddenly, the colours on the screen inside the control room formed breathtaking shapes. Mayumi’s soft arms posed gracefully on her lap began to twitch and her hands began to lift away from her body.

Pascal flinched, agonised by his powerlessness in this situation. He glanced with urgency at the other patients who similarly began to raise their arms to the disappearing ceiling. Many of the elder monks were shaking vigorously now; their legs pulsated to an unheard beat.

The colours on the screen were like a thousand bursting sunsets, but the hues began to change. Darker patches flashed on the screens at first and began to invade the frame. The entire surface of the screens began to melt together in a murky pool of grey.

There was no time to lose; Pascal had to shut down the process. He walked up the few steps to the control room and hammered on the door.

The people inside were terrorised. He heard others shouting into the intercom.

“Stop! We have to shut the mega joules. Untie the monks. Hurry, hurry! Something is happening. The reactor is taking over!” someone screamed.

The screens began to register hysterical movements. An engineer inside the control room saw Pascal’s frantic gesturing and unlocked the door.

Pascal erupted into the dark space and raced to push back all the switches he could grasp on the main control board. The lights on each screen shut off; its patterns and colours were a mere imprint in the retina of those who had watched it moments before. A pig’s last desperate squeal before its slaughter couldn’t compare with the noise of the explosion that followed.

The room plunged into darkness.

The monks’ legs jerked in the air like machine guns and their eyes rolled back into their sockets. Blood streamed out of their ears and eyes and pooled around the collars of their white gowns to form a necklace of scarlet.

From behind the huge glass window of the control room Pascal looked into the experiment room. He stood hypnotised, staring at her silhouette lying on the bed.

paralysed by fear, he seemed to understand for the first time, the full extent of his own affection, his unconstrained attachment.

 

 

Entirely through his own devices he saw the authentic Mayumi, her mind connected to his as entangled wave/particles. He understood how she was united to his consciousness but not dependent on his tangible passion. The veil between them was tearing and disintegrating. They were enveloped in a green glow of light.

He was now holding her hand. The scenery defied any physical explanation; it was a construct of a pure and peaceful feeling.

She smiled that same warm smile and suddenly they were completely and utterly alone. With the same adoration she had displayed to him previously, she stretched out her other hand.

But he still couldn’t move.

Come,” she spoke softly. “We have fulfilled our mission in this dimension; leave the physical and limited world and exist with me in infinity.”

As much as he tried to hold on, her hand was slipping away.

You and I have done our best to let them know. I know now what it is to perceive without my senses, to be myself without having a self, to remove the conscience in the way I used to understand it. Are you ready to come with me?”

Yes, I am,” he finally whispered as though someone else had uttered the words.

But Mayumi was fading and the memory of her being was disappearing.

Mayumi I am here; I am ready to join you!” This time he heard the resonance of his own voice. He saw her almond-shaped eyes opening in a last expectation.

Exhausted by his own attempts, Pascal knew he had to make his ultimate decision.


The Quantum Mantra

  • ISBN: 9781365502859
  • Author: Henri-Paul Bour
  • Published: 2016-11-02 11:50:21
  • Words: 87698
The Quantum Mantra The Quantum Mantra