This may not seem like a story about an amazing lamp, but it is. It doesn't take place in China, but in the Kingdom of Golkonda.
I traversed the great ocean and reached China. From there, I traversed farm fields, hills and mountains and finally arrived in Delhi -- late at night and in a thick fog. It seemed like our guide drove around in circles for hours and then we turned off onto a narrow street. A monk quietly walking through the shadows. A drunk laid out on the ground below a bench. We arrived in an inn and tried to sleep. The following morning I went to the shrine and meditated.
We headed for the Kingdom of Golkonda. It was a slow journey. When we got to Golkonda, I was entertained until quite late by a Muslim prince -- who looked like Keanu Reeves. In fact, for someone of such humble background. Being entertained by a Muslim prince was quite magical all around. The people that lived in the city around the palace were quite friendly.
A many number of strangers wanted to entertain and socialize with me and the invitations were quite numerous. However, after the late night entertainment by the prince, I decided to decline all.
We then joined a caravan leaving for the village of the final destination -- so I thought. As we got closer, the road to the village was still being built. Somewhere in the middle, the road was most rough. But we carried on and arrived in the village. It wasn't really a village any more. What was normally a small village of 500 peasants was transformed into a city of almost 200,000.
You see all of this seemed so magical. Princely entertainments, a mirage city. But the real magic was still to come.
In the middle of this hot desert under tents, more than 100,000 prostrated, sat and listened to the words of this wise sage. Night and day, hundreds of monks chanted to purify the land and the sky. It was the convergence of these many different universes that a magical resonance. But it was not until I had entered behind the curtain did the real journey begin. When the wise sage was present, a light fog appeared and cooled the land.
Then, I entered behind the curtain. I walked through the black eastern doorway. His words then pulled me quickly through many hallways with many perfect beings. I could see the detail so clearly but it was so fleeting. I felt like I was looking through a pinhole. I was overwhelmed with symbols, color, sensations. Then, I came to another set of four walls and another entrance. More corridors. More perfect beings. This occurred once more. But it was so overwhelming. I clung to the hand his words held out to me. The flood of sensations, symbols and colors did not slow but increased. Then, a square platform. Then, at the center another square platform. But no matter how close to the center I got, I could not, on my own, buoy myself from the inundation. Then, at the center, my guide appeared embracing his consort -- Love. The unity, my God.
The bells began to ring. The chanting began to pick up again. And slowly the intensity began to dissipate and dissolve. The colors, sensations and symbols dropped away until then, I returned to the mysterious cool fog in the middle of this mirage city in the desert.
And then, it was done. I got to peer behind the curtain and found it to be incomprehensibly beautiful and terrifying. The rest of the journey and the return, I crossed paths with many magical things but it was what I saw behind the curtain which continues to haunt my soul.
The stories behind my favorite pics from our Taiwan trip this year - The bf and I have a serious case of wanderlust. So we found ourselves traveling again this month. Now, it's Taiwan, the land of xiao long bao (which we did...