As the pyres lay burning beside one another, I diligently walked on the soft pebbled ground covered with the sediments of ashes that oozed out of the remains. The light emanating from the burning pyres was my only source of illumination as it was Amavasya. I took some ash from the burning pyre and smeared it on my whole body. As I sat near the pyre, ash smeared, a hyena laughed from the nearby bush. I took out my dagger and slit my right wrist. Blood oozed out and I filled it in a nearby bowl which was kept adjacent to the pyre.
Holding the bowl near the pyre in a sacrificial mode I recited the potent mantra in which Hari himself had initiated me in. I cried,”Oh mother, Manifest yourself before me. During these wee hours of night, I invoke you. Take my blood sacrifice and be pleased.”
Saying this, I put 2-3 drops of blood on the burning pyre. The fire exploded and huge fumes started coming out. Suddenly, all the background noise subsided and there was nothing but an eerie stillness. Only what continued was the chirping of the crickets and crackling of the firewood.
I closed my eyes and focused on her ever enchanting form. After some moments, I observed that even the crickets had stopped chirping. I knew they were there. Footsteps approached me from the back as if someone was crouching oneself. It came near, so near that its breath was pounding at the back of my neck. I smiled still eyes closed. She came close to my right ear and wisphered something unclear. At the same time, the other one with her pointy nails started to scratch my left hand. Her sharp claws cut through my skin and blood started pouring out. She diligently took some on her claw and tasted it with her long pointed tongue. They moved here and there all around laughing eerily, hopping and dancing. It was painful but strangely orgasmic at the same time.
I still kept my eyes closed hoping to open them upon her arrival. As they danced, I heard the sound of anklets running all over the crematorium. A terrible laugh that shook me to the very core and silenced the duo that rampened around. They stopped and loud, thuddering footsteps approached me. It came to the front and started breathing heavily on my face. The only sound that I could hear was a deep, forceful exhalation which sounded like ‘Hung”‘.
To my surprise, the adjoining footsteps joined her at either sides and it was their exhalations too that I was feeling on my face.
“OPEN YOUR EYES, SON. I AM HERE” said a loud, grave voice.
I slowly opened my eyes. Anklets on her legs, severed hands on her waist with blood spilt all over her dark blue body. She garlanded herself with severed heads of demons from which drops of blood still fell on the ground. Her breasts so soft yet heavy enough to make her bent a little towards the ground. On her right upper hand she carried a lotus and her lower hand was placed in the mode of Abhaya. She carried a sickle om her left upper hand and a severed head on the lower one. As I slowly moved my eyes towards her face, I was petrified with horror. Three eyes protruding out in anger and fury with a long tongue projecting out with fangs dipped in blood on either side of her mouth, her matted coils of hair came towards her feet and covered her whole body.
On her left lay Dakini, and to her right stood Yogini. Both fierce and terrible, they too garlanded themselves with heads and wore waistlets made of hands. They carried a sickle and a bowl and had fangs on either side of their mouth. They were half the height of the divine mother. All of them staring towards me in great anticipation, I picked up the bowl and gave it to her. Dakini took the bowl from me, her claws long enough to touch my hand as I passed it to her. She took a sip and a small line of blood started falling from the sides of her mouth. She licked it, satiated, passed it to Yogini and she did the same. At last, Yogini passed the bowl to the Divine Mother. She transformed to her two handed form, took the bowl and started drinking from it. Lines of blood from her face started dripping all over on the ground. As she finished drinking, she gave a huge sadist laugh and her companions laughed along with her.
She said loudly laughing,”I am pleased with your offering, son. Ask of anything you wish, I shall provide it to you. Is it someone who is troubling you. Tell me and I will slay them for you or someone you want me to enchant for you. Or you want the riches of the world or men and women, kings and emperors begging for your approval? Tell me.”
I replied reverently “Oh Mother, your form is too overwhelming for my eyes. Please show me your sublime, world enchanting form so that I can feel comfortable enough.”
She replied with a terrible laugh “As you wish.”
Soon she took the form of the great enchantresss. Severed heads with red hibiscus, hand waistlet with golden jewellery, drenched blood with red sandalwood paste and naked body covered in a red saree. She was standing in her two handed form. Her companion energies too looked elegant. The trio smiled and I reciprocated with a namaskar.
“Yes, son” she asked, curious “It seems something is bothering you. Tell me.”
“Maa” I said, disappointed. “I am very disappointed with people claiming to be devotees when actually, they don’t know anything about devotion. They are just busy demeaning you, or Hari or Ashutosh and proving who among you three is the most superior. I just can’t take it anymore. If they are devotees, why they are doing such things? Does it suit them?”
She gave a terrible laugh as if she just heard a very good joke. I asked curious and somewhat anguished, “Why are you laughing, Maa? Did I say something funny?”
Not only her, Dakini and Yogini also giggled looking at me and then exchanging glances with each other.
She touched my puffed up cheeks and then said smiling,”Oh dear, you are still like Ashutosh. Many births have passed but still your innocence never ceases to amaze us. Fine. I will give you the answer. But first..”
She held my hand and made me sit on her lap.
She looked at me smiling and said “Let’s start. Shall we?”
I nodded in acceptance.
She started narrating,” Son, all the people that you are observing, who are eulogizing their preferred form of the Divine are actually eulogizing no one but me. Because every form of the Divine is me and I am them. So whether they eulogize Hari or Ashutosh or Vinayaka or Skanda or Brahma or Govinda, they are actually eulogizing me. All those people who are established in their respective positions come from a particular Sampradaya and all the Sampradayas came from me. I am Sampradayeshwari, the presiding deity of all Sampradayas. To enjoy the world and so that human beings can get different paths to spiritual evolvement; according to their nature and competency, I created various Sampradayas so that spiritual evolvement can be feasible to all. So that all my children are entitled to the path of moksha no matter what physical, mental or social situations they come from. For believers, I am their deity of their choice. For atheists, I am the existence and the force that holds it all together. For yogis, I am the Kundalini that pierces all the chakras to merge with the Sahasrarar. For intellectuals, I am the Brahma Vidya which liberates and for my devotees, I am the Soma which always keeps them intoxicated in bliss. Every action is me and what is without action is also me. “
“If that is so Maa, why one Sampradaya belittles the other? Does it suit them?”
She chuckled and replied,” Son, tell me if there are so many paths to spiritual evolvement. For a new aspirant who has already chosen one path and has travelled enough. What happens if he now wishes to choose a different path?”
“He will have to walk back again and start from zero. It is a waste of time.”
“Not only is it a waste of time but also a waste of the efforts of the Guru as well. So, to not get his disciple get distracted and deviated from the path, the Guru applies a trick. He makes his disciple believe that the path he is on is the best path so that it acts a reinforcement for the disciple to stick to that only. Because it is very important that if you have chosen a path, you must stick to it no matter what happens. At last you will definitely reach somewhere but changing your path frequently won’t lead you anywhere. The people those you see frequently are not devotees but new disciples who just joined the Sampradaya and once they heard it from their Guru how their sampradaya is the best, they reach out to the masses and preach the same.”
“Then Maa, why some people who have been in the Sampradayas for so long still keep on doing that?” I asked, curious.
“Because they are still disciples. They have not evolved spiritually despite doing all the daily chores. They have memorized every scripture by heart but are still on the same spot.”
“Why is that so, Maa?”
“Arrogance of knowledge, son.They have deluded themselves into believing that memorizing verses is a substitute for experiential knowledge. Hence, they are on the same level of spiritual competency like the way when they started. And tell me son, the one who already thinks that he is full of knowledge, how can my grace even descend upon him? For grace, one needs to empty oneself. That is the reason, devotees attain to moksha more than anyone because they are not full of themselves.”
“But Maa, there are still some people who claim that they don’t know anything at all but still their conduct shows the complete opposite. What about them?”
“Ohh them!” They all laughed again.
“They are the best” She replied chucking.
“Why is it so Maa?” I asked, more curious than ever.
“They are fools actually who think that they are so cunning that they can deceive the whole world into believing what they want. They even take this approach in-front of their Guru and their deity. Once you take this approach,, you are already lost before you even started because the fundamental basis is already compromised. And I like to play with such people and let them believe that their plan is still working. They live a life of lie and hence suffer terribly during the last moments before death.”
I was relieved. Then she said,”Son”
“Yes, Maa” I replied.
“I would like to show you something.”
She looked at her companions and nodded and both of them reciprocated her by doing the same. I got up from her lap and she stood up and then she transformed into her most terrible form
I was shocked to notice a peculiar thing that I missed earlier. They all laughed terribly and she said,”OH SON, BEHOLD MY FORM AND TELL ME WHAT DO YOU SEE?”
I joined my hands and replied with reverence,”Oh Maa, I see severed heads of the people from various Sampradayas that are encircled around your neck.”
She said,”YES. THIS IS THE ULTIMATE TRUTH. ANYONE YOU WORSHIP OR YOU WORSHIP NO ONE. NO MATTER HAT YOU DO. AT LAST, YOU WILL COME TO ME. IT IS I WHO WILL ENGULF YOU AND EVERYTHING THAT IS MANIFESTED OR YET TO BE MANIFESTED. I AM THE CREATOR, THE SUSTAINER AND THE DESTROYER. EVERYTHING HAPPENS AS PER MY WHIMS AND WILL ALSO HAPPEN LIKE I DESIRE IT TO BE. SO, TRANSCEND FROM THE THOUGHT OF PROTECTING OTHERS BECAUSE IT IS NO ONE BUT I WHO PROTECTS AND I WHO DESTROYS.”
I bowed down and said,”Oh mother, you have enlightened me from the ignorance that I held. Please accept my salutations and bless me so that I can always hold this form of yours in my Chitta and meditate on it.”
“AS YOU WISH, DEAR.”