The Golden Flute: Tableau One, The Prophecy By Michael A. Guy
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Rated "G" by the Author.
Now after all the prefaces and intros here is the actual Chapter one setting and dialog. If this was anywhere near a normal historical setting, I'd ditch all the intros but I felt it was necessary to set up this novel. The opening really is important I learned that from my first novel: L.R.M. Still, Ancient History speculative fiction is NOT for the average mind or faint of heart. It requires open minds and stamina - it ain't exactly pulp fiction!
It was in the year 10,861 BC; by our standards today. For the people of that time and that world, it was known as the "Year of the Mournful Hototogisu." The Hototogisu was a rare cuckoo bird and it was said that in the ninth moon, when the mountains turn white on the distant horizon, the Silver Trees along the ‘River of Seven Treasures’ turn golden; then the Hototogisu will sing its last mournful cry, for the Golden Age of the 6th world cycle, the Satya Yuga, shall end.
n that ancient land, stood the most magnificent palace by the Seventh Treasure, the famed plateau shrine of the Four Winds along the River of Seven Treasures. There the silver trees shimmered in the wind, tossing their glossy surfaces to reveal opaque undersides that shone a dull white, yet now with just a fringe of gold.
“Oh grandfath..., I mean Master. Master! Wait along that lake road! I have seen the temple of Chambhala this very day! Yes, there at the forest temple, an altar of sticks and stones and a ring of fire, but the Princes were gone.”
“Huh, Chaitya! Come here foolish boy. What an imagination you have! You have not seen the Temple of Chambhala. It is far towards those whitening mountains in the north. Besides, only a Master may take you there... when the Princes so desire of course,” said the old man, his balding head, banded by graying long hair, shining golden in the afternoon sun slanting over the thin blue lake stretching off to the south. The freshening breeze kicked up a dusty whirl along River Road. A few villagers passed by leading their Dumbras, a miniature stringy-haired horse, straddled with supply bags. The old man waved and greeted a few cheerfully, they too so happy to see him out walking.
The old man gently scolded the thin sturdily built boy of perhaps seven years: “I ordered you to spend your mornings studying your mathematics and astrology lessons from Belithzar!I do not wish to deny you recreation. When you go out take your music lessons along. Did you do any of these things Chaitya?”
The energetic youngster dashed up, skipping, kicking up a few stones and more dust along the road. “I’ve at least exercised, Master. See, I’ve ran all the way from the forest temple.”
“Running is natural to a boy. But you do not do your yoga. You cannot sit still so long. I’m disappointed you do not have your fishing pole with you,” the Master said longingly looking south along the lakeshore.
“So, you’ve been up to that ruined hermitage again? And now you’re dreaming it is Chambhala. Silly for a boy who should be learning all he can. Harmless, I suppose. But you are wasting precious time. Harassing monkeys, reading adventure stories. You’ll find no special relics there. The “Ring of Fire” and the “Travel-Portal” are meta-powers to attain by spiritual study. As I’ve said, if you’d only meditate more instead of day-dreaming, you’ll not only attain the object of your studies easily, but you’ll please me.
Someday, I’ll take you to the ChambhalaTemple,” he firmly but gently took the boy’s hand, “if you’ll study today! Besides, next time bring the monkeys some nuts.”
The old man trotted along like one twenty years younger. He was strong and erect, not stooped; was it the exercises he did everyday in the courtyard, where all could see his example? They were a series of special movements, simple yet effective. His routine was working. He was approaching ninety-seven years, a not unreasonable age.
“Master, I thought it was a message from Chambhala, because I found a special box. It had many sticks of unusual shapes, and a scroll with instructions to play a game. Is it a special power relic?” The boy scratched his head and tossed his hair, sounding excited as usual.
“You have found the old monk Ryokan’s prayer sticks that’s all. He’s gone many years, but has preserved his wooden prayer box. I will fetch it. Were there little parchments inside? He was a great poet. The sticks are used with our Book of Changes to toss in piles according to rules of chance. This determines the hexagrams that can be coupled into future predictions. Now I must instruct you since you are curious. Better than to learn in error. But I’ll do so intuitively, I’ve not the time and you have not the patience. Study your music and disciplines. Do you understand Chaitya?”
“Yes Master. I trotted down the hilltop ruins by the stream. I saw the Silver Trees; they’re not silver now. They’re fringed gold.” said Chaitya.
“Do you hear? The plateau wind shrine—the wind has shifted early this year.”
“Can one hear a Hototogisu, Master? Or is it only at night?”
“No. Not now. Perhaps tomorrow. It is the wind shrine whistling a soothing harmony. Now there’s a second tone, very faint. That’s the harmonic of the first, 12 micro-tones higher. You see, the wind is vibrating both sets of strings. It was west this morning, now north. What note, Chaitya? Your ears should be trained well by now. Sing it, and then figure from the lowest tone you blow on your flute.”
“I do not know master. It sounds higher than my low note. Is it € or ђ, perhaps between?
“Close. It is raised from your low ₣ to a sharpened ₣. The wind has shifted. There’ll be no more rain this year,” said the old man.
“Will winter come early, Master?”
“Yes. Tomorrow we’ll hike up the River of Seven Treasures. We shall see how gold our trees are. We may yet have a few warm days, but the rains have ended early.
Now run home. Your step-family will wonder where you’ve been. Come tomorrow by the lake. We’ll hike up to where the bottom is pebbly like stars shining on the sandy bottom—a special place I love,” said the old man with a tinge of nostalgic sadness. “I will meditate here on this rock a few moments, and then I must see Belithzar.He’s making important observations I hear.”
“Thank you grand... I mean Master. I will study tonight. I so much look forward to our walk tomorrow,” said the boy.
“Oh son—I mean Chaitya—bring your fishing pole! We will be where the trout hide in the fast water.” The old man called out to the boy as he ran back down the River Road. “And bring some feathered lures.” Turning back the boy joyfully waved:
“I will not forget! Tonight I’ll get ready. Thank you master, have a nice meditation!” And Chaitya, filled with zest, scrappy bronze hair flying, danced off home whistling a joyful tune of his own making, full of today’s adventures and tomorrow’s plans.
bove the river outside the palace city, stood the four great obelisks on the open plateau, in a great cross pattern, one for each of the four directions. These were circumscribed by an enclosure that in itself, if seen from the mountains beyond to the north formed a great mandala, with a temple at its center. The temple was itself a circular sculpture that seemed to represent the many coils of a snake coiled back on it and biting its tail. The polished stone obelisks, glowing in the last rays of sunset with golden metal plating at the top, high in the open breezes, had a metal sling with an axis attaching a great hoop that represented the mandala patterns. In these hoops were set many tuned strings, strung to catch the wind, and behind each was a tuned gong, called by the people a tam-tam, set closely with a suspended pendulum striker made in the form of a wood mallet. Each mandala was set in its respective obelisk at such an angle as to catch only the wind from the particular quarter it faced. The north mandala sounded only in north, northeast or northwest winds. The east facing obelisk and its attached mandala turned to face east, made sound only in east, east-northeast and southeast winds, and so on about the shrine.
Each obelisk sounded a unique harmony in turn with each season (with some overlapping) when the winds shifted quarter each season. Today, they were coming upon the autumnal equinox, and so the great Shrine of the Four Winds, was sounding its western mandala. Each made it’s own distinct tone: the Winter Mandala, called the sacred direction for it marked the end of the old year, the subtle beginning of the sun turning back along the ecliptic, was marked by the celebration of the solstice. This North Mandala began with a soothing rustling of the harp strings, and as the wind picked up with the days heating, a hypnotic humming of soft, low strings would spread through the grounds towards the palace. When the wind was strong enough, the mallets would periodically move with enough momentum to strike the tam-tam and sound the Winter Gong tuned to the note of E; or the West Equinox Gong tuned to the pitch of D; the South Summer Solstice gong was tuned to G; or in Spring, the East Equinox gong tuned on a harmonic series based on a low Bb. This harmonized with the strings, which were based on the partials of that fundamental tone, and so a chordal harmony made up of tones and their harmonics would offer soothing music to the residents of this harmonious civilization.
The people of this civilization seemed bereft of strife. They worked at various tasks in a quiet orderly way with only the murmurs of peaceful voices. They came and went by foot or ox cart, some using small hairy ponies they called dumbra to carry their goods. They also had miniature elephants, used for centuries from the tropical lowlands below as both pets and for tasks of light burdens. An industrious people, they lived in an unhurried fashion, most of the heavy buildings having been completed centuries ago.
Four times a day, the devoted would sit and face the ensuing direction of the season and chant in harmony with whichever obelisk was intoning the prevailing wind. They entered a meditative peace and chanted thanks and asked blessings. Yet many had forgotten the meanings of the symbolic mandala. Not all had drowned their spiritual ambition in the flood of daily chores, yet with the aural mandala reinforcing their meditations they remained in light, tuned to the progression of the seasons, and the march of the night stars along the ecliptic. The messages were being read, and duly recorded by at least some.
AND in that palace, as ancient as it was futuristic, with its exact geometric line and austere polished marble architecture, there was a studio of a learned astronomer and astrologer named Belithzar. He was hard at work on certain calculations that night, surrounded by his astrology texts. The ceiling of his studio was open to the stars, when his student, Chaitya, a boy of about seven years entered. Writing his calculations on a scroll, he looked up and noticed his student:
"According to my calculations, our sun is at its closest distance to its orbital center, the fixed star Revati in the constellation Aries. By my Spring Equinox calculations of Six Moons ago (when our sun rose due East), I determined that Agni, our Sun, had moved into Virgo; consequently today is the Autumn Equinox and Agni is just emerging from the constellation Aries into Pisces; our sun is beginning to move away from Revati. By the heavenly star signs, we are entering the descending cycle of Yugas or Ages: A gradual descent into darkness and ignorance."
Chaitya curiously asked, "What does all this mean?"
“First you must remember, here I use the Astronomical terms are brothers use in the Sumer Valley in the far-away Sumerian region, since no person except the Devatas seem to understand our Indus terms. There, and those Astrologers in the Nile River valley, consider the Spring Equinox to be paramount. So they say they are descending to the Age of Virgo from Libra just the opposite of how we view it. We, however, orientate our star charts and timekeeping devices towards the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. So we say that we are now leaving the High Age and moving downward towards Pisces. Our grand Civilizations will begin to crumble, though hopefully gradually.”**[mg1]
Belithzar went to the chalkboard and carefully began a discourse on his calculations and theories. "Our observations tell us that all in the universe is arranged in circles and cycles. The Moon revolves around our world, our world turns with its moon around the sun, and our sun, Agni turns with its system of worlds and takes some other star for an axis point and revolves around it in about 24,000 of our Earth years. This causes a backward movement of the equinoctial points around the zodiac. Our philosophers tell us that all things are arranged in cycles. Even the solid things of this world are just swirling masses of extremely small particles, arranged just like the heavens, in systems revolving so fast that they appear to be solid. In my visits to Indus, scholars described a series of Grand Ages or Yugas of the Earth, with civilizations at various stages of development."
Chaitya interrupted, "So the mental world of virtue in man follows the same cycles."
"Oh my . . .” said Belithzar, “quite well put for a boy of seven years!"
He continued: "When our sun is nearest in orbit to the star Revati, mankind is in the Satya Yuga or Golden Age of the world. Our culture is advanced but not technical, simple not primitive, precise not unbalanced. He himself is so evolved in mental powers and virtue that all knowledge of the universe and even spiritual things are his. We are at the end of that age and beginning a long descent into the darkness of a new world cycle. Our cultures will become lost civilizations. Through Sanskrit relics of our neighbors in Indus, our knowledge of this holy science will barely survive, but they who come after will no longer understand its symbols or how we kept such Cosmic Time. As I, and your grandfath... I mean to say, your Master, have taught, there are other Great Cities of advanced people, like those near the far away Sumer and Nile Rivers, who have preserved these truths as well in their own codes of symbols and language, in their buildings and monuments that employ the principles of the Ancient Ones, The Travelers. They came and helped us establish our civilizations; those who came and taught us how to measure our Earth and the Heavens above. It was they who had the traveling ships and taught us the use of numerals and calculating devices to interpolate all of our Earth’s vital measurements in our Shrines and buildings and to build these Astronomical Observatories (of which mine is only a tiny replica). Those High Beings taught us how to plot and chart the Heavens, the stars and the moving lights of other worlds that move against the night sky and against the steady background of far-away stars of other suns. They showed us how to copy the star charts that revealed how these stars change position both with night and day, and with the changing seasons. They taught us our world is round and that all things revolve."
Belithzar returned to his star charts and showed Chaitya the astronomical explanation for his forecast. "It took approximately 12,000 years for the sun to reach the nearest point to Revati—man progressed upward; now the sun will take 12,000 years to reach its furthest point in its orbit around Revati, and man will descend in virtue and knowledge. Brutality, barbarism and wars will be his end lot. At that low point, a Great Light will come into the world to help man ascend again in another one half cycle of 12,000 years."
His student asked, "What do we seek in these great swings up and down?"
"I see you are more of a savant than an astrologer, little Chaitya," said Belithzar looking out his domed studio at the shining heavens, like sparkling silver etched in moonless black. Summer was ending and the autumnal equinox was only a quarter-moon phase away. In these mountains, summer ended with a monsoonal shift in wind, ending the rainy season and abruptly bringing the first dry, cool nights He became contemplative, listening as a gentle night breeze blowing from the plains, hummed through the Western shrine, bringing ever so faintly, the distant droning of the wind harp on the tone ‘D’.
"Always, the Great Creative Force saves a remnant that is less affected by the negative pull away from Revati's attractive force. They reserve their interest in God and are examples for others, saving the world from the fruitless fate of beginning civilization all over again. In the upward age, mankind gradually rises through struggles and discoveries seeking three things . . .
Chaitya broke in with his Master’s words for he had heard this idea before, "To feel existence, to expand consciousness, to know bliss and love."
Belithzar countered, "Yes, but usually only through half-successful ways."
A long pause followed. He continued his scientific explanation. "It is the end of an age, the autumnal equinox is moving into the constellation Pisces. Our civilization will crumble. Our secrets shall be lost. By next season’s winter solstice, we may see... Well, he interrupted himself, I am not sure of those calculations. Nevertheless, you Chaitya, are a Pisces, born on the 7th day of this moon cycle. You must play an important role for the liberation of the Children of Light from ignorance, at the point opposite this Yuga, 12,000 years plus exactly 537 more years into the ascending cycle [2036 A.D.] - after the new Piscean Age has born the fruit of a Great One and given rise to dangerous advances in the Age following. Of course it will be a new Piscean Age and not a Virgo Age because that culture will go by the Spring Equinox, though they will not recognized the Ascending and Descending nature of these semi-circle half-cycles, that we call Kalpas….but rest assured, you will be in an Ascending Kalpa, but one just emerging from darkness. By our calculations we would call it entering the Leonine Age from Virgo but to them it will be Pisces into Aquarius…I think that’s right…”
"Sir, I mean Belithzar, hold on, not so fast! You mean my reincarnated soul, as I cannot see how I will travel in anyway over 12,000 years into the future!" Chaitya interrupted.
"Well of course, I only know what the Devatas said I should teach you, enough so you know how to chart these great cycles and how we tell Time by stars." said Belithzar pausing again. "Perhaps… I do not yet know how the great Brahma Godhead arranged for this future special dispensation. Unless, the Devatas have a plan to rescue you with the Remnant through the ChambhalaPortal… well, I do not know, I’m ignorant of those concerns--your Master will know, trust Him.
Find out what you must learn to prepare for such an immense journey and your liberation from physical bondage. Go now to your Master for our Rishis have predicted events will commence soon upon our world, changing our land forever that could engulf the world we know with the seas. There are signs appearing in the heavens that prophesize these natural forces may commence at any time; the Devatas will then come to save “the Remnant.”
You have only to gaze upon our night sky this evening and study my star plot to see what ‘The Book ofChanges’ warns. A new object has appeared in the southwest quarter as of these recent days, distant, yet bright. I believe it is a portent or it may be an integral part of the prophesized events. I’ve been watching it shift position and grow brighter. I have plotted our axis star, Revati’s position since my childhood; watching it gradually shift position... perhaps, this shining portent is a “traveler” we call comet, from Revati. I can only guess by its fiery tail.
If the ancient astrologers’ charts were correct we’re finally reaching perihelion to Revati. Go now; ask your grand—rather your Master, the meaning of this knowledge and its impact on our world. Many things he knows he’ll not speak of to me, but to a young boy molded after his own heart, his thoughts flow freely.” [
[mg1]**Footnote: I used the standard western Astrology names for constellations as the Hindu or Indus related names would be incomprehensible to anyone but a Sanskrit Scholar.
Records as old as the Ancient Sanskrit Vedas (possibly as old as 8000 B.C.) reveal that the ancient civilizations of the Indus and Harappa areas near Turkey or Iran had some type of Astronomical and Astrology based time keeping system using observation. The Vedas show that they understood how to follow stars along the Ecliptic. They kept records in “seals and tablets” but called these stars by mythical names sometimes forming the name of their gods. But the point is: they kept records and used solar and lunar cycles as the base of a 360 day year (aware of the 5-day gap we compensate for today)
I kinda wish I'd read this first... --slightly embarrassed at my other reviews.
You know how to write, Michael. And this is not your first novel-- very evident.
It's got good atmosphere, and the dialog is good. We get to know the speakers, and it moves the story along. Even the footnotes work well with the story.
Take care. --Charlie