Sanjay and his cousin’s murder mystery occupied most of Meera’s mind space the whole day. She was appalled at how some so-called babas and sadhus fooled people, and exploited them. What level of superstition would that be, to give up on logic completely? Her driver Sanjay had been working for her for the last fifteen years, and had great trust in her as well as respect, yet she knew that her trying to show him sense, would be utterly useless. Yet, to accept that a clear murder has been solved by the powers of a Baba, living in a village, was a bit too much for her.
Neena, her colleague, was sure that something was troubling Meera. So, during lunch time, she accosted her.
“Meera, out with it please! You’ve not been yourself since morning. You are always the calm one, Meera. I have rarely seen you so disturbed. What’s the matter?” Neena insisted.
Meera narrated how Sanjay, her driver, and his family, had been exploited by the baba in the village. How so easily they believed in ghosts. Neena let her speak, and then she very calmly said,
“Have you ever heard of Mahayogiraj?”
“Mahayogiraj? No. What about him?” enquired Meera.
“Well, he is a yogi with great powers. You have to see him to believe in him. He can bring the dead back, alive!”
“What? What are you talking about, Neena? You, an educated person, speaking like this? How can any dead person be brought back alive? Sheer rubbish, Neena!” Meera burst out impulsively.
“ This Mahayogiraj defies all common beliefs. No one knows his age; some say he is 110 years old, and some others say he is 140 years old. He says nothing. He is always meditating, and opens his eyes only on very specific days. He rarely meets anyone and even when he does, he does not speak a word. He lives with his two disciples who are said to be spending their days only in learning from him, although no one knows what they are learning, and how! They have been with him for ages, yet they haven’t been able to attain all the powers that he has,” Neena paused.
Meera was all ears now. She had never heard of such a person, or of anyone having such powers.
“Neena, where have you heard these stories? I guess you would have read about this Mahayogiraj somewhere? What all people can write, to attract readers!” Meera tried her best to rubbish all that Neena was saying.
“No Meera, there is a science called the Occult … it is all actually very scientific. I too never believed in such claims but when I heard of this Mahayogiraj from my cousin, who had actually seen him, I had to believe. I too, one day, want to see him,” Neena confessed.
“Your cousin has seen him? Well, can I also go see him? Where does he live?” Meera threw one question after the other.
“You really mean that, don’t you? Let me find out then, Meera, and then maybe both of us can go together to see him,”
It took some days to find out where Mahayogiraj supposedly lived, because Neena’s cousin had gone to see him many years back. He lived high up in the Himalayas, some thirty kilometres ahead of Narayan Ashram, the first stop for pilgrims on their trek to the Holy Kailash Mansarovar. Meera and Neena made arrangements and set off to meet Mahayogiraj. From Dharchula they had to walk the whole day to reach Narayan Ashram, where they rested for the night. It was an amazingly serene place, nestled among the lofty Himalayas. Meera had never before seen such a blue, clear, star-studded sky. It seemed she could just reach out for the stars. It all felt surreal.
Meera and Neena sat chatting, till late. Everything was so tranquil that chatting too was a different experience. They discussed the sudden pandemic caused by a not so well-known virus, the Covid-19. How the world was going crazy fighting this microscopic creature that had managed to bring the whole world, including the mightiest of the countries, to their knees. They sat now far, far away from all that fear and panic that had gripped the people. Here, amidst the mountains, it seemed like all that was happening in some other world. From the world of face masks and sanitisers, they were now in the lap of nature with all its fresh air and its stark, innocent beauty. It seemed Covid-19 could never find its way up here.
Next morning, the two left early. It took two days to reach their destination. It was a beautiful, scenic place situated along the River Dhauliganga. There was not a single human soul to be found. They kept searching for the place where Mahayogiraj lived, and suddenly they stood still. There was a clearing right ahead and there was something going on, that Meera and Neena could not fathom. A strange-looking person, completely naked, his whole body smeared with ashes and with a peculiar blue tan, pretty frail and small, sat near a fire with eyes shut, chanting some mantras. Two others were there, also without a shred of cloth on their bodies, and they were doing some strange actions with their hands, as if invoking someone or calling out to some unknown power. Their bloodshot eyes were open and their matted hair almost touched the ground. The sight filled the two girls with an unknown fear. Then their eyes fell on a calf that was jumping and running in the field. It seemed to be going in circles and, after about half-an-hour or so, it fell on the ground. The chanting of the mantras stopped. The invocation stopped as well. The two persons who were standing so far, now sat down with folded hands, and closed eyes, near the fire.
Meera and Neena were rooted to the spot. Their legs were shivering. They had witnessed something that they could not understand, yet it sent a chill down their spine. All of a sudden, a man with a bag slung across his shoulders, came out from behind a tree. He was walking towards their direction and, on seeing them, completely taken aback, he stopped in his tracks. But soon, gathering his composure, he asked them to follow him. Meera and Neena followed him to a small apartment, seemingly built for tourists.
“Hello, what exactly are the two of you doing here? Are you on your way to the Kailash Mansarovar?” the man started off by shooting these questions.
“We have come here to find Mahayogiraj!” Neena replied curtly.
“Mahayogiraj? You have come to find Mahayogiraj? Why, may I ask?” a question filled with curiosity was thrown again.
“Who exactly are you? Why do you want to know about us?” Meera somehow countered.
“Well, my name is Jamshed and my research has brought me here.”
“ We have heard about some extrasensory powers that Mahayogiraj is said to possess. We have come to see that with our own eyes,” Neena explained.
There was silence. None of the three spoke. Then Jamshed ordered some coffee for themselves and, while sipping coffee, he said,
“I am a student of the Occult science. I am doing research on ‘Bringing the dead back to life.’ I have come here to meet the same person whom you too want to meet. He is the only one in the country now, who possesses such powers. He can make a dead person alive again, within a few hours of his death. You don’t believe me, do you? Well, the calf that you saw in that field, it was dead last night. But you just saw it jumping in circles, didn’t you? He has the power known as the ‘Surya Sparsh’ by which, with the help of the sun, he can cure incurable diseases. Believe me, all this is pure science, and that is what I am doing my research on. He has no connection with this world; nothing matters to him. He is meditating all the time, except when he opens his eyes on his own. He has these two disciples, who have been with him for no one knows how long, and they too want to attain the sidhhi from this yogi.”
“How can you expect us to believe all that you just said? Do you think anyone would buy this in the name of science?” Meera argued quite aggressively.
“ I understand your shock and disbelief. Actually, whenever a person dies, he is pronounced dead when the brain stops functioning. He becomes brain dead. But a living creature is made up of countless cells. Each cell is living, and has its own force. After being brain dead, in the normal course, it takes some days for all these cells in the body to let go of their life force. This is the window of opportunity when Mahayogiraj can wield his power, which is nothing but scientific knowledge that he has mastered by years of practice. By activating the not-yet-dead body cells, he brings the dead alive but that can be done only for a short time. By practice, he knows exactly how much life force is left that can be activated. The ‘Surya Sparsh’ is also making use of the power of the sunlight by concentrating it on one point, somewhat like a magnifying glass, with which you can burn paper. By converging sunlight on one point, its potency magnifies and he can cure many incurable diseases with this. I am doing my research exactly on these powers and am trying to find out about these from Mahayogiraj. But the problem is that he does not interact with anyone. I am staying here for the last two years, but have failed to get into any conversation with him. I just keep watching him and on rare occasions like today, I get to see the demonstration of the powers.” Jamshed finished his coffee.
Meera and Neena were dumbstruck. They did not know if they still belonged to this world, for what they had heard was something totally unheard of.
“Then what do so many of the sadhus and their likes do, to exploit the innocent? That surely cannot be science?” Neena was talking to her own self.
“Definitely not! They are mere cheats who fool people. The Occult science is a very dark subject, but it is a proven science. The very few ones who have developed these powers through the knowledge of this subject, do not even care about others. It is such a deep subject that they are completely immersed in its depth, all the time trying to unravel its mysteries. These people have reached such a stage by rigorous practice, and nothing affects them any more. I want to learn about all this knowledge before it perishes, with the death of such learned ones. These people have mastered their bodies in such a way that they defy age and all bodily needs. They can go without food for long periods of time. No one has any idea about their age too. Such science needs to be kept alive, and I am trying my very best in doing so.” Jamshed sounded so genuine that the girls just could not disbelieve him.
Suddenly Jamshed snatched his bag, got up, and ran towards the clearing where Mahayogiraj and his two disciples were practising their art. The girls saw that Mahayogiraj was now standing up, and was looking around. Jamshed would have gone looking for an opportunity to try talking to him, again.
All of this was a bit too much for both Meera and Neena, to take in. They were feeling some sort of discomfort and, unknown to them, they had started on their way back to Dharchula, from where their walking had begun, three days back. They did not speak a word all the way back. Both of them were assimilating all that they had gathered from Jamshed. The Occult was indeed a very heavy and dark science for them.