Apr 25, 2016

FLASH FICTION: How I Went From Prince Asoka, To ‘Shiva The Destroyer of Worlds’, To King Asoka (My Story In My Words)

The wandering hermit & yogi had said that silence and a clear head would allow forgotten thoughts to arise into awareness. So I, Asoka, the warrior prince of the Maurya kingdom of Northern Hemisphere… sat down at the center of a cavern from which several tunnels spread out.... seeking to calm myself and recall which path I had taken so I could get back out of the cave complex I had gotten lost. Why was I here in the God forsaken place? I was seeking a flying chariot or “The air ship of The Lord Rama Himself!” that has been promised to me by some half crazy ascetic, who had also declared, just as ominously, “The time has come!” But, what the hell. I had nothing better to do so I went in search of this crazy fantasy. Adventure was, afterall, adventure.

So, I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled allowing my body to relax. I did this for many hours, not getting any closer to remembering what path to take to get back when I finally drifted off to sleep.

When I awoke I imagined the sun being up though it could just as well have been night, I had no way of knowing.

OK. I’m going to take the right path and leave marks to follow my way back. I said aloud, more to hear myself speak than anything else and heard my voice echo deep into the cavern which brought another shiver to my spine. Thank the Gods no demon made it’s home there or I would have been dead.

I walked for, what felt like, many hours. Doubling back and taking a different tunnel a few times before I got the whiff of the smell of water. Following that I emerged in yet another cavern but this one seemed to have it’s own light source which was a good thing as my glow ball was growing weak. As I entered deeper I began to see a crack far above in the ceiling from which both the water and light has come into this deep dark place.

Then I saw it. The writing the crazy sage had told me about on the far wall to the side of a pond of rainwater that had trickled down through the crack in the ceiling of this new, even larger, cavern

This part I could remember just fine. I chanted the phrase the sage had drilled into me when he told me to come here and claim my destiny.


I jumped. Still emerged in my mantra the loud sound took me unawares.

I opened my eyes and saw the bottom of the cave wall began to tilt upwards revealing itself to be a door. I peered though, hoping to see the ship of Rama as had been promised to me.
I little sigh escaped from me as I realized there was more walking to do. So I got up and walked down a ridiculously long tunnel. I was a warrior of the Maurya clan. We laughed in the face of adversity. Though I often wished we didn’t have to face so much of it.

After walking for sometime through a tunnel that seemed naturally illuminated by some source I could not comprehend. My glow ball used a plant oil but I could find no fuel source for these lamps lighting my way. These seemed to be lit magically or by some ancient technology my father was known for ranting about. My father believed our religious scriptures were actually historical documents. A heretical belief but no one was going to mess with my father. He may have been king of only a small kingdom but it was a kingdom nevertheless and kings had rights. If he wanted to believe that Lord Rama was a man who had access to man made technology that gave him the power of flight and missiles, such as Rama’s war against the demon Ravana, then he the right to do so… as long as he allowed everyone to follow the historically approved rituals to please the Gods.

Which was how I had ended up walking through these strangely lit caves after swimming underwater with an air bag for air to emerge in these caves, which though aboveground, could only be accessed through a short underwater swim under a cliff. I believed in some sort of ancient technology and if I could get my hands on some of it I could bring our scattered tribes together and reassert our dominance on this planet as our legends spoke of in our historical documents. Later these documents came to be called scriptures when the belief spread amongst the masses that this were the dairies of the Gods and their stories for mankind to learn from and live by. Which was impossible as many documents contradicted other documents but it somehow didn’t seem to matter. All the masses cared about was ritual not truth or knowledge. Or so it seemed to me at the time, till I found the teachings of the path of liberation of Siddhartha, but I digress.

“I don’t believe it!” I said aloud. “I think I found it”

There it was... a silver colored craft half covered with vines. Clearly enough had been cleared so I could find it easily. Once again I began to wonder where that sage had shown up from when I was roaming through the mountains looking for secret passageways to a lost civilization or remains of one that legend had told us would exist. He had directed me here and I had found it.

I knew my father was right. Our clan was descended from the Annui of the ancient religious texts of the Western Hemisphere. We weren't their creations as many claimed. They weren't Gods. They were us or more accurately our ancestors in some long forgotten time when we had advanced technology like the recently developed steam engine used to propel boats down the rivers at a pace that made the older boats with multiple rowers look primitive by comparison. How else could you possibly explained similar boats in the myths? And if the self-propelled boats were real then so were the the air-land-water craft that could shoot fire or stone that exploded with the might of a hundred tons of black powder.

If I found an ancient vehicle not only would my father be proven right but I would have an implement of power. Something with which I could bring our clan to a place of glory it had never seen before and I would be its leader.

I thought all this while I frantically pulled vines from the craft. Realizing my mind was in turmoil I stopped and centered myself. I had to do this right. These vehicles weren't powered by engine alone. The mind was a factor. So I had to keep mine as focused as possible.

Repeating the chant I was taught to invoke the sentient intelligence I was told I would encounter, I suddenly wondered if maybe I was wrong and this wasn’t the mythical ship of Rama and I was being stupid. Then a loud thought went off in my head saying ‘the chant had worked just fine a moment ago at the door, why are you filled with so much doubt?’ The thought was so strong and alien from my previous line of thinking I began to wonder why I would think that. I suddenly jumped as I realized where the thought had come from. It was the ship. It thought I was stupid and needed to focus. It was telling me it wasn’t the mythical ship of Rama but of his enemy Ravana. I stood still, in shock. ‘Wait, wasn’t Ravana a demon. Am I in trouble’. Supernatural dread began to overcome me till I remembered ‘Of course! This is alien technology from what I’m used to. Ravana was probably just called a demon because he was Rama’s enemy or because he was evil’, I hoped with my fingers crossed.

Another thought occurred to me... I had been told I would encounter intelligence but I always thought it would be some sort of spirit. That’s why I was trained for years in meditation, so I could control the ship with my mind. But another possibility was beginning to dawn on me. The ship was telepathic and if it was telepathic then all my training was just so it could communicate with me.

“O God! What have I walked into!” I said out loud.

I got back the image of flight, fighting and glory upon the throne.

We agreed. We both wanted the same things.

With that thought a light appeared on the side of the ship and I had to climb over a pile of rocks & boulders to get to it. I recent cave in from some of the mysterious earthquakes we've been experiencing lately, I thought. There it was, the entrance into the ship. I walked in trembling in shock & awe. Not daring to believe this was true but not stupid enough to believe I hadn't found what I had set out to look for. The map was very clear to someone who had lived in these hills. Only the names were different.

There it was, the throne. I suddenly realized that the throne i had seen in my head wasn’t of a kingdom but the seat within the ship itself which was exactly like a throne, covered in gold and jewels. Or was it literally made of gold. It didn’t matter. I had wealth, it was the ships and it’s power that I wanted.

I sat in the chair and felt the ship as if it was a part of me. Then the jewels seemed to sparkle and suddenly I felt the brush of an external mind filled with thoughts against mine. I struggled to concentrate and then understood. “Where to my master” it had basically said. Wow! I thought In my mind. I felt back a response, “What?”. “Home” said I out loud and visualized home in my mind surrounded by the estate, orchard, mountains and next to the lake. The ship began to hover. Soundless we began to move towards a pool of water at the end of the cave. The ship dove into it. I already knew from what the ship was saying that this was the way out through an underwater river and out from the center of the lake in a mountain valley. We were off! After all this time I suddenly had the power to bring glory back to my clan and claim the mantle of Kingship. Lord of the Tribes.

I could see the hill, followed by the fields and forests below me... in my mind’s eye, as if the ship were projecting the scene into me head.

This was working out well. I immediately set to work at claiming what was rightfully mine. ‘I am the chosen one. The rest were meant to be ruled by me. It is time to claim what is mine, I said to my ship.

“Move to the left” I said aloud as it was easier to communicate with the ship by talking aloud. I couldn’t deal with the fact this was Ravana’s ship so I have decided it would always just be ‘My Ship’ from now on. The Ship, with a feeling of joy as serving my needs, the chosen one.... which is how he seemed to respond to all my commands which I was previously interpreting as ‘Yes, Your Highness’. The ship didn’t seem to have the fear & adoration attitude I was used to growing up in my part of the world, it seemed to say to me, ‘I love you and will do as you will, no questions asked’.

“I have to secure my border”. The ship veered off towards the direction and kingdom I had in mind. I mean, why go home when I could just finish off my enemies now and return home a hero?

Within minutes we had come to the mountain chain and river that marked the boundary between my kingdom (I was enjoying calling our Clan’s kingdom “mine” despite me not having taken over yet. Well, that was about to change soon).

There it was the fortress of Bihar. The ship told me I could destroy it easy. So with a thought I gave the command and off went several streaks of lights from my ship’s right and left sides. I couldn’t believe it! The fortress simply disintegrated before my eyes in a huge explosion as if I was Lord Rama himself in his magic ship! The weapons at the bottom of the ship were even stronger creating fields of fire, as if by magic, in which my enemies and their armies burnt to a crisp in seconds!

That day I killed millions. Well, at least hundreds of thousands of people. I wiped out the whole army in all 5 of the northern kingdoms. After that day I would forever be known as “Shiva, The Destroyer Of Worlds”. I made sure of it.

I declared myself king of the 5 kingdoms and proceed to ban warfare in my lands. No one was allowed to have an army except me and the laws had to be followed or I would vet out punishment through my morality enforcement forces. I set sensible laws up. Punishment for theft, murder, etc and I put these laws up on pillars so people would know. I set up a group JUST to handle trade in my lands so it would prosper, particularly for myself and my royal courtiers and houses of nobles I deemed worthy.

Then I began to look outwards. Word of my rise to power had spread. Kingdoms from other lands began to send me tribute so I wouldn’t wage war on them. Frankly, I wanted a peaceful planet as long as they swore an allegiance to me. Some did, some didn’t. It the end I was absolute ruler of all lands of any consequence on our planet (& I had been outside of it on my ship several times by them so I knew it was roundish and colorful and definitely a separate planet, like a glow ball existing, as if my magic, in emptiness… just like the scripture described it).

I was “Lord” and the word Lord was beginning to lose it’s meaning. It was all empty, no truth, nothing felt real anymore… human “civilization”, from my vantage point became just a bunch of societies crumbled together to survive in a difficult world which was in a difficult universe and no one knew anything but thought they did and thus kept saying and doing stupid things. I was fed up. I was bored.

Then, as if to clear away my boredom (or so I thought at the time), I saw that my conquered enemies turned subjects had gathered together a large army! My subjects had turned rebels! I was so angry. I went to the dungeon in which I hid my ship. I had built in a secret passageway out so I could get out quickly and so now one would ever know where this passage was, I killed the labourers who made it. The perfect secret.

As I rose into the heavens I looked across this army arrayed against me, already at my doorsteps, and cried out in anger, “I am Shiva, The Destroyer of Worlds, how dare you enter my domain”. Then I let loose with all my weapons. Sidewinders and big blasters. I felt my ship shake like never before as my weapons on the sides and below fired repeatedly.

I saw herds of war elephants wiped out in a blast. A horde of archers, having just released their arrows at me (pointlessly as my ship was impenetrable) go up in another blaze of fire and noise. The herds of knights on their horses were blasted away by green streaks of fire that erupted in an explosion. The ships arrayed at the entrance of the bay to my palace erupted in a blaze of red flame. The masses of the army... I flew threw at waist level, just to show how invincible I was. Chopped through those soldiers like a knife through butter. After the army basically turned and ran like cowards… I loosed several missiles to treat my fleeing enemy to the fire that blazed within me as expressed by my ships missiles.

I returned to my palace and left to survey the fields of war with my small army. The scene was shocking. People were screaming in pain. Some were killing themselves, Some were committing mercy killings for their comrades in arms. Legs, arms, torsos and heads were everywhere. I saw my personal guard weeping and then I saw the dead and screaming bodies of children, who had joined their parents in a desperate struggle to overthrow me. That scene shook me to my soul. Too much death. Too much blood. Too much pain and misery… and desperation!

That was day I decided I would no longer be Shiva, the Destroyer of Worlds. I would help people. My life till then had been a dream of boredom punctuated by moments of exhilaration. My life after that moment became filled with the desire to pay back my debt to humanity & the Gods for what I had done to it’s children. I became King Asoka learnt about and began to practice a path of liberation and peace. I helped spread the teachings of this practice so that people would find the peace I had robbed them of. I erased my past from societies stories. Forbade them to talk of what had happened before I become King Asoka. I am sure they would still talk in private but over time they would forget so that their children didn’t accidently reveal to me what their parents said at home… and over time society would forget my violence and only remember my benevolence.

This is my story. I pass it on down through the sages of the Himalayas so that future generations can learn from my mistakes and not repeat them. Till my rebirth to earth to atone for my past sins, I bid you farewell.

{Note: This story was inspired by this page.}

Copyright A.E.Abedi

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