“Stop!” Said Kishori.
She continued,“Bhrata is in Dhyana. It would not be wise to disturb him.”
“But he was the one who summoned me” I said looking at her, confused.
“You too?”asked Kumari as she approached us conversing with each other outside the entrance of Hridaya Guha.
Kishori was surprised for a moment. She gained herself and we all went inside. In the pitch black darkness, there he sat. No sign of life like a dead corpse he laid himself in Siddhasana. Kishori with her Bhuta Siddhi manifested Sarvagni which she used, to lit the cave. As the darkness fled, his eminent figure stood out. Deadlocks of hair reaching the ground and covering his entire face. His beard as grave as the Paash of Yama which can kill anyone who witnesses . Skin as white as camphor, athletic built with a loincloth to just barely cover his body. A trident by his side and a damru attached to it with rudraksh beads around his neck, he looked as if Ashutosh, himself descended to grace us with his presence.
We approached cautiously and Kishori whispered,”Bhrata. ‘
Slowly the eyelashes went upwards and with an indifferent smile on his face he said,”Come, sit Sakhi.”
We all sat on the ground and looked at each other, perplexed, anticipating his words when he spoke.
“Yes, Bhrata” Kumari replied with her hands joined in namaskar mudra.
“You are probably thinking why did I call you?”
Withdrawing his glance from Kumari, his eyes approached me. I joined my hands too in reverence.
“Sakhi” he said with a faint smile. “We have to proceed with the next phase of the plan.”
We looked at each other, more surprised and confused than ever. Kishori could not contain her curiosity so she asked.
“But Bhrata” she asked “what is the plan?”
He looked at Kishori and chuckled with innocence. He didn’t reply and instead asked me,”Are you ready, Sakhi?”
I smiled and then replied,”Sakha. We have been together for so long. I am with you in every endeavour of yours. Even if I don’t know what it is but I am ready. I trust and will always trust every decision you take because I know that ultimately it will serve the well being of the existence.”
He smiled and the other two replied in unison,”As do we.”
He stood up and held the trident by the side. His beard still touched the ground. The only way I could anticipate him smiling was examining his eyes.
He said,”Sari, Kumari and Kishori. I want you to…”
Sakha’s statement was interrupted by a familiar voice. We came out at the entrance and found Devarshi Narad standing, smiling as usual.
“Pranam Gurudev” said Kishori touching his feet.
“Kalyan Ho, Devi Kishori” said Devarshi placing his hand on her head.
I joined my hands in reverence and he reciprocated by blinking his eyes slowly.
Then he looked at Sakha and smiled mischievously. Sakha too, glanced at him smiling faintly. Then with his khartal and plucking the strings of his Mahathi, he applauded in trance,”Narayan…………..Narayan”
Kumari wanted to touch his feet but Devarshi stopped her.
He said,”Devi Kumari, I see the reflection of Mahadevi in you. Please don’t make me the beholder of sin by touching my feet. I let Devi Kishori touch my feet as I once took her as my disciple otherwise she is also venerable to me.”
Kumari replied,”Devarshi, you are both a sage(Rishi) and a seer(Muni) and above all, you are a devotee. Even my father meditates on his devotees and eagerly waits to wash their feet and be at their service. Please don’t take away this opportunity from me as it is my privilege to touch the feet of such a great being.”
Saying this she touched his feet. At first Devarshi hesitated a little but then overwhelmed by Kumari’s conduct placed his hand on her head and said smiling,”Devi Kumari, you never seize to amaze me by your conduct. As a devotee, I bless you that may your devotion be untarnished always and may you always succeed in all of your endeavours.”
“So, what brings you here, Devarshi?”asked Sakha, smiling faintly.
“Narayan………..Narayan” he said happily playing his khartal.
“Yes, Kumar, yes” he replied grinning. He looked back at Kumari and said smiling,”Devi Kumari, Vaikuntanatha has requested your presence. Before he establishes himself in Yognidra, he wishes to have an audience with you.”
We all looked at each other exchanging glances and Kumari looked at Sakha hopefully. Her eyes asked his permission. Sakha nodded and Kumari gleefully replied to Devarshi,”Let’s proceed, shall we?”
“Narayan………..Narayan” replied Devarshi with joy.
As they took leave, Sakha looked at me seriously. I was a bit nervous. Kishori, perplexed, was oscillating her glance from Sakha to me. He said,”I have a task for you but first” he shifted his glance from me to Kishori.
“Sister” said Sakha in an assertive tone. “It is time that you have an audience with sister Padma and bring me what is mine, in a way., as it will be needed to complete a very important task in the near future.”
“Will sister Padma be willing to part with it?” Asked Kishori concerned.
“Just tell her that its time has come and she will understand” replied Sakha in an authoritarian way.
“So be it. I will leave at once. Give me your blessings Bhrata.”
She bowed down and touched his feet. As he kept his palm on her head., she stood up and left. Then he turned to me.
“I am having a weird feeling about this, Sakha.”
He kept his right hand on my shoulder and said,”Sakhi, we are heading to the next phase of our plan. But before that, we have to make the body eligible for it otherwise the body may break.”
“I understand, Sakha” I replied. “But what is it that you want me to do?”
“Go to Siddhashrama. Find Rishi Ahirbudhnya and ask him to guide you. He will show you the way.”
“Rishi Ahirbudhnya?” I asked, more confused. It was as if I had heard this name before but couldn’t remember where. I nodded and said, concerned,”If you say so, Sakha. I will leave for Siddhashrama at once but…”
“Who will handle the body? Kumari went to Vaikuntha and you sent Kishori to the nether realm and here I am, leaving for Siddhashrama. Until we return, the body and its identity may become vulnerable. It may arouse suspicion.”
“Don’t worry, Sakhi” he replied reassuringly. “I am still here. In your absence I will take care of the body. It is an important means for us. We can’t afford to lose it by any means.”
“Then” I replied with my hands folded in namaskar “I will take my leave.”
As I left, I looked back at him sideways to find him smirking. It is not always he smirks but when he does, it signifies a disaster is soon going to unfold.