As a young man, I changed my childhood love’s name from Marika to Kumari, never imagining that in fifty years I would encounter the Nepalese goddess, Kumari, who greatly resembles Marika. Author.
The origin of this novel was accompanied by extraordinary secrets. Perhaps the strangest was a meeting in Nepal with my childhood love, Kumari. You will find out more about this and the other mysteries once you open the book. Please don’t expect from it a historical or religious manuscript, nor a detective story – not even a travelogue, even though we’ll travel thousands of kilometers together, both in the present and the distant past. The book is essentially a work of fiction even if based on facts which will shock you from time to time. We live in a world where the undignified status of women is such an accepted fact that we don’t even notice it. I have attempted to show that the disgraceful role of womankind in contemporary political and social systems has its origin in religions where power brokers have fatefully distanced them from original forms. In the lines that I hope you will read I wanted to encourage women, but not women alone, to take responsibility for themselves into their own hands. There is no redeemer who is about to come and do it for you. Each of us can and must fight our own battles. Only then will God help us. That’s the law.
They say that this book is controversial and will stimulate debate. I welcome this warmly; my only fear is that the hypocrites won’t find the courage for such a discussion. As usual they will shout from around the corner anonymously. Indeed, discussion is an expression of the free spirit which is the result of thought. We are free only when we know truth. And that we discover only when we think. Otherwise why did God give us a mind? The man who relies on dogma and does not think or even stops others from thinking stands against God and is therefore no believer. And faith without thought is not faith but surrender to violence. A violent declaration of faith is a declaration of faith in violence. Therefore, as our friend Jesus says: ‘Blessed are you who search for truth.’ At the same time however he adds from his own experience: ‘People will hate you for this, and curse your name.’
Those who fear the truth will condemn this book. The rest, and I know they form a majority, will welcome it.
A Mysterious Woman
September 9, 2009 was a wonderful day. Michal Kráľ returned on the D 2 motorway from Prague, where he had been inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame, which is reserved for the most significant musicians, singers and composers of this genre. The award he had received lay beside him on the right-hand seat. It was a bronze statuette of a famous instrument, the Supro Ozark, Jimmy Hendrix’s first guitar. He was aware that this most famous guitarist in the world was a fairly good student who had problems only in musical education. Michal smiled to himself. He too had disliked musical education at the outset, but later he studied piano at the conservatory and worked his way up to being his country’s first international rock star. He had crowds of female admirers, from among whom he chose the most fantastic. Women became his fate. He had had many in his life; after a while he stopped counting how many. They attracted him not only as lovers, but as ethereal creatures created for man by the Creator in order that he could learn to control himself. The strong man is not he who succumbs to temptation, but the one who overcomes it. The more women he knew, the more he became their defender.
At the peak of his artistic career, he met the second Marika of his life. After four months of meetings for coffee and romantic visits to the cinema, they began to live together. The fact that he had a steady partner, however, did not change his relations with women. It just provided him, in acute cases, with the occasional welcome excuse.
I probably deserved a piano, but a guitar is not too bad, he thought to himself, looking at the bronze statuette. He tried to find on the various Czech radio stations some familiar song to sing along with. He was in a really good mood, full of energy, the result of his recent regime of jogging, swimming and working out. In fact, he was in such good shape that people found it hard to believe he was coming up to his fifty-sixth birthday on the twenty-seventh of September. His friends kept teasing him about his decision to celebrate his birthday in far-away Nepal – they claimed he was doing this to avoid inviting them for a party and having to listen to them mention his age. Since he had taken advantage of his popularity as a musician to get elected to the National Council, his number of friends had increased almost geometrically. On account of his strong languages background, he was more involved in foreign issues than in domestic politics. As a member of the parliamentary opposition, his duties were not great, so along with music he could dedicate his time to his ever increasing interest in the esoteric, religions and history. He found the status of the female in various religions worthy of systematic research. Accordingly, he was grateful to the Chairman of Parliament for excusing him from the plenary parliamentary sessions at the end of September and the beginning of October. In the Far East he could relax from the constant stress, the media, the party councils and meetings with the voters, things which didn’t interest him very much, truth be told.
He was looking forward to being back home. In the afternoon, he was attending a lecture at Pasienky Hall, and he and Marika had invited a few friends over for the evening to celebrate her birthday. She was a little more than three weeks older than Michal. He was coming back from Prague as early as possible in order to attend the afternoon lecture by the fourteenth Dalai Lama, who had arrived in Slovakia the day before.
His car’s motor hummed softly and combined with the air coming in through the back window to remind Michal of a song he had heard somewhere – monotonous, repetitive sounds. In three weeks I’m leaving for my dream trip to China, Tibet, Nepal and India – and shortly before my departure, the spiritual leader of Tibet is coming here. What a remarkable coincidence! he thought. A map of those remote, mysterious lands flashed before his eyes: a map he had studied one hundred times before. He had been dreaming of this trip his whole life, and now it as coming to pass. The expedition was a gift from his whole family, who had combined to give it as his fifty-fifth birthday gift. Beijing, Sian, Le-shan, Cheng-du, Lhasa, the Tibetan temples, Shia-tse, Kathmandu, Pashupatinath, Lumbini, Sarnath, Varanasi, Agra, the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri,New Delhi. Three weeks from now, he would get on a plane in London that would take him to Peking – the dream would begin!
At the same time as the Dalai Lama was preparing for his lecture, ‘The Way of the Heart’, something very strange happened to Michal on the Czech motorway, exactly 108 kilometres from Bratislava. After a sea of music genres waving over him from all the available radio stations, he unexpectedly picked up a smooth velvet female voice speaking a melodious English on some unknown frequency. Immediately, he focused on it. He had no idea who this woman with the attractive voice could be, or precisely what she was talking about, because when he’d tuned in, the enchanting reading was already underway.
I was travelling through a country somewhere in Central Europe. It was a beautiful sunny day, and there were only a few cars on the motorway. The navigation system blinked; the turnoff to Vienna that deviates from the motorway shortly before Brno was coming up in less than a hundred kilometers. I was glad that in a few hours I would be at the Vienna airport, and then flying to Heathrow London, from where I would get to Kathmandu in my native Nepal.
“That’s a coincidence,” Michal remarked to himself. “In a couple of weeks, we’ll also be flying from Vienna to Peking by way of London, and then continuing on to Tibet and Nepal.” In some places, the radio signal faded, and he speeded up to again catch as clearly as possible that haunting voice. Sometimes he lost complete words and even sentences. It seemed to him as if some unknown director was organizing his travelling so he could hear only certain parts of the broadcast and then put them together like a puzzle. The mysterious voice continued: In China there was a water carrier with a wooden branch with two pails which he carried over his shoulders. One of these pails was cracked, the other, whole. He was proud of the pail that carried the entire amount of water, and laughed at the other one, which spilled half of its load along the way. After some time, the cracked pail said to the water carrier: “I’m ashamed that I am not perfect, and my water leaks out.” The carrier answered: “Have you noticed that flowers only grow on your side of the road? This is because I have made the most of your defect, and planted some flower seeds on that side. People come and gather the flowers that grow there as a result of your imperfection. The flowers give light to their faces, lend them their colour and fragrance. The perfect pail fulfills the task for which it was made, but you have managed to use your defect positively. The other one quenches people’s physical thirst; you take care of their spiritual thirst. Everything works out the way it should.
When he approached the basin surrounding the city of Brno, the weather changed dramatically. The sun was lost behind clouds, and the first foggy patches suddenly appeared. A slight rain fell from the sky, and he could hear thunder somewhere in the distance. He drove on past a zone of shopping centres and carried on in the direction of Bratislava. His mood too underwent changes; thoughts, perhaps affected by what he was hearing, swirled in his head.
I realized that my stay in Europe was coming to an end; I had taken care of almost everything that was necessary, and so could return home in peace. But I still had to complete the last task of my trip to Europe. I was unusually nervous. But perhaps that was because the low fuel warning on the dashboard was lit up.
Michal tenaciously kept his eyes on the broken line, which kept disappearing and reappearing in the fog, meanwhile straining to hear the speech of the mysterious woman. Her voice came and went through the ether just like the waves of the Aegean Sea near Heraklion where he and Marika had spent their happiest moments together a few years before.
I slowed down, and so managed to notice a signpost announcing a petrol station with a parking area two kilometers ahead. Then I made out the red and blue colours of the station building. I filled the tank right up and drove down to the far, isolated end of the parking lot. I turned off the engine, the lights, and the radio. Shrouded in fog, the surroundings exuded a complete quiet, broken only by the muffled cawing of crows. I tilted my seat back and stretched, trying to regain my calm. I closed my eyes, breathed in and out deeply, and began to chant a mantra that always works for me in such circumstances. Om mani padme hum… Om mani padme hum… But the more I concentrated on the mantra and meditated, the more uneasy I became. I had the strange feeling that somebody was watching me. I released the lever and raised my seat enough to be able to make out the silhouette of a car through the fog. I had not heard it approaching.
The signal started to break up, and Michal hit the oscillator button to boost the sound. It jumped in for a second, but then faded out again. Please God, let there be a parking area coming up! He prayed from his heart. Almost at once he made out a service station sign through the fog. Shortly he was even able to read, the word ‘BENZINA’ on a blue and red background. He tried to improve receptivity by steering the car from side to side. The parking lot was a long one, and he drove towards a field at its far end, stopping only when the signal was strongest. He turned up the sound and tuned himself into the mysterious female voice. He had the impression that from somewhere he could hear crows cawing.
I knew that the man I was supposed to meet would get out of the car. This was told me in Kathmandu by my one-time royal father, Taba.
Michal listened and with squinting eyes inspected the parking area in front of him. He was able to make out the silhouette of a car parked in front. He thought he saw a movement inside the vehicle. Even though the account on the radio was incredibly engaging, something was drawing him like a magnet towards the other car. He got out and carefully moved up to it. A sudden rain was falling. He looked inside; a woman was sitting at the wheel. On her head she wore a dark-blue scarf, from which onyx hair fell down. She looked out at him with her dark eyes.
The distant thunder rolled, a lightning show lit up the skies, and a steady rain fell on the parking area. Through her car window, the woman made out the blurry face of a man with drops running off his black hair. It was him. She signed to him to come to the passenger side of the car. She had the feeling he was hesitating, and so she opened the door for him. Soaking wet, he took a seat beside her. He looked the athletic type, aged about forty-five. Perhaps he was a little older, but he seemed in good shape. He looked at her, but then right away dropped his eyes.
“Hello; sorry to bother you, but I thought you might be in need of help… ” he explained in Slovak.
“I do not understand,” she answered with a smile.
He repeated his sentence in English.
“What gave you that impression?”
“The fact that you let me in.”
“How did you know I would let you in?”
“I didn’t know.” Then came his smile. “Did you know you’d let me in?”
“I knew, Mahal.”
“Mahal? Who is Mahal?” he asked.
The unknown woman gazed in front of her, considering the secret she and only a few chosen others were party to, and debating if she should share him with him. Her voice struck him as exactly the same as the mysterious voice on his radio. Slowly she untied her scarf. She revealed Her, incredible, perfectly wonderful. Hair of black, shining like onyx, combed into a ponytail, falling to the nape of her neck. It was as if he saw before him both of his Marikas. She had a small, discreet mark in the centre of her forehead.
“Mahal is the original expression from which the name Michal was derived.” He paid close attention. “You are Mahal, the one who loves. And Kumari is the incarnation of love.”
“I’m Michal and I don’t know who… Kumari is.”
“Mahal is the ancestor of Michal. You are the progeny of the famed Chaldean king Nabukadnesar II, who reigned in at the time when in Nepal, in Lumbiní in the foothills of the Himalayas, a son was born to Queen Maya and King Suddhadham Gautam of the Sakja lineage. He was given the name Siddhartha, which means ‘the one who achieved his goal’. Siddhartha lived in luxury, but when he tuned twenty-eight he managed to get out of the Royal Palace. Then he came to know death, illness and suffering. He resolved to help people and to put them back on the road to happiness. When he received enlightenment he began to call himself Buddha, which in your language means the Awakened.”
As the woman in the car spoke, her words seemed like hands which stole into his soul and brought out from its core an age-old secret. The more he listened to her, the more he entered a state of ecstasy. He was looking at a perfect balance of physical and spiritual beauty. The whole time he stared into the woman’s eyes: they were the eyes of his love, Marika. He had the sudden feeling that he knew this voice.
“So I greet you, Mahal,” she smiled, gently taking his hand.
“You are… Kumari?” She nodded. “Why have you come here?”
For a long time she looked at him in anxiety whether he recognized at least one feature of her face. Michal wondered where he had seen a similar smile. “To meet the man who will bring balance, Mahal.”
In the Global Power headquarters at Petit Sablon, a meeting of the special group which some had started to call Code 9 was taking place in penthouse boardroom. Sir Anthony was more at ease, as if the resolution which had been passed the day before came to him as a relief.
“Gentlemen, Major Veselý has failed us, and now we don’t have time to deal with how we are going to set things right. Thankfully we have the special department for that. That accursed mission of that Slovak Member of Parliament is coming to an end, and it’s an embarrassment for us that we’re where we were at its beginning. I can tell you that in the Vatican, New York, London and in Hong Kong some people are starting to get very nervous. They are used to our solving such minor problems right away and now it’s as if all the forces in the world have ganged up against us. It’s some kind of curse. It seems that what I didn’t want to believe is now happening .” Those in attendance looked at him without a word. “This strange conjunction…”
“What conjunction is that?” someone asked.
“The conjunction of two phenomena that by themselves would be without meaning but when they act together increase their energy geometrically.” He paused for thought and as if in fear went on: “And when three phenomena are conjoined, their energy grows astronomically. In the case of this Kráľ we have three nines in action together. Mathematicians would not be impressed by this, but numerologists analyze this phenomenon s something completely unusual, something that happens once in two thousand years…”
“That was what is said in the case of the star that appeared over Bethlehem…” Clark commented in a low voice.
Sir Anthony continued in an offhand voice, but those who knew him heard a sight hint of fear in it. Of the nine cities in which his code is handed on like a baton this man has got through six. There remain before him Varanásí, the Taj Mahal and Fatéhpur Sikrí. All efforts to interrupt the chain of handing over the codes have come to nothing. Even an attempt to physically liquidate him failed. There remains one hundred percent solution. The drawback is that we don’t dare undertake it in a place with a great concentration of people, Even so we’d have to do it as a last resort, but thank God the last place on the chain is ideal for such a solution.” Sir Anthony smiled mysteriously. Everyone looked at him tensely ‒ they knew that when their chief wore that meaningful smile, asking him questions was an unwise and risky endeavour. “No-one wants to know what it is?” His question was a challenge, but nobody took it up. “Colonel Koggler will explain it all. If you please, Colonel.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, our opponent is especially cunning and he also seems to have had more than a little luck. Perhaps his happiness consists of Major Veselý’s failure, as Sir Anthony pointed out, Perhaps the Major even helped him somewhat, hmmm? But never mind about that, we’ll manage. If we assemble the mosaic up to now, we come up with the following: it involves an activity organized by various peace-loving organizations – the Greens, Greenpeace, the Chinese Falung Gong, liberals in the Vatican, feminist groups, vegetarians, religions following Jesus Christ, orthodox Buddhists, Hindus and God knows what other rubbish. We know that from among well-known personalities they have the support of the 14th Dalai Lama, the former Nepalese goddess Kumari Rashmila Shakya, the rich Nepalese businessman Ganeš, probably also the President of Slovakia and, until recently also Pope Joseph I. It is therefore evident that they must enjoy some kind of final backing. The executor of the plan is a Member of the Slovak Parliament, Michal Kráľ, who naturally holds two passports – civil an diplomatic. Along the way they have been helped by a whole range of people. You are aware of his discussions with the Dalai Lama in Bratislava. We do not know on what basis they chose this man, we know only that Kráľ is extraordinarily interested in a in a tomb with the legend M C H S , AD e.l.a.i. DA in the New Necropolis in the Vatican. On each corner of the tomb there are peculiar marks reminiscent of a rounded swastika. That would suggest that it’s the tomb of an important Roman personality. Our people are hard at work deciphering this inscription. We also know that Kráľ is handing on a baton through part of a code. The last place it was passed on was in Fatéhpur Sikrí. Our experts have done their work and have discovered some interesting things. Fatéhpur Sikrí lies thirty-seven kilometers to the west of the Indian city of Agra and about a hundred and seventy kilometers south of Delhi. I would inform you that Kráľs tourist group will be in Agra the fifth and sixth of October. There’s no doubt that Kráľ will be heading for Fatéhpur Sikrí. We have tried to find out who he will be contacting there, and I think we have been successful. We had the help of a stroke of luck and our excellent historians, who unearthed a short article from 1900 in an English magazine where it was reported that in the Indian town of Fatéhpur Sikrí close to the city of Agra the words of Jesus Christ were carved into a wall. The great Mogul Akbar, who reigned from 1542 ‒ 1605 began the construction of Fatéphur Síkrí in 1556 as the capital of one of the most powerful empires of that time, the Mogul Empire. He constructed what was for those times an incredibly extensive royal complex spreading over an area of several square kilometers. He reinforced it with three walls, created an artificial lake, palaces, mosques, terraces, and gardens in the Persian style. The most significant structure was the main congregational mosque part of which was the monumental ‘Gate of Magnificence,’ in their language Buland Darwaza, the largest gate in the world. It is forty metres high and thirty-five wide, and adjoins the southern wall of the congregational mosque. Even today it is regarded as an architectural miracle. And now, people, pay close attention. On the portal of this most precious Mogul structure, on the left side of the massive arch of the gate, is written: ‘Jesus, peace to him, said: The world is a bridge, cross over it but do not stop on it.’ Above the arcade of the northern wing of the mosque there is also: ‘Jesus, peace to him, said: The world is a splendid house, take this as a warning and do not build up on it.’ Koggler’s mouth was dry and he stopped to drink from a glass of cola. All eyes were fixed on him in anticipation. “Opposite the Gate of Magnificence stands the white tomb of Saint Salim Chishti, in whose honour this town was built by King Akbar. Before it is an area of about ten to fifteen metres made of white marble, ending in a fountain. Next to it, almost in the dead centre of the entire complex are plain steps leading underneath the fountain. And now the best – we discovered that at the bottom of the steps is an old forgotten entranceway with a heavy oak door which is always kept locked. But not literally always. Two or three times a year men in white shrouds enter through it to perform a ceremony. These men are not Muslims, although in their appearance and dress they look like it. These are the ancestors of an old Jewish sect, the Essenes, who came to this part of the world in the first century. And can you guess who was the most important Essen? Jesus Christ! There are historians, and not just a few, who have studied Jesus’ wanderings after his leaving Israel. Their findings are not always concordant, but in one aspect they are in complete agreement: the only route which caravans could follow in those times, and therefore the only route by which Jesus could come to the East, was the famed Silk Route, starting in Rome and ending in the former capital of China, Xi’an. On one of its southern branches lie Agra and Fatéhpur Sikrí.” The room buzzed with lowered voices. “And the route along which Kráľ and his group are travelling begins in Sian and ends in Agra. From there they are continuing to Delhi, from where, via London, they are returning home.” Koggler gave a meaningful look at the assembly.
If you would like to put Kráľ´s travels into some kind of mystical connection with the Silk Route, however Rome is somehow missing in this route of the travel agency,” objected Sergeant Li.
“ Kráľ visited the Vatican two days before he left for Xi’an, and will be there again two days after he returns from his trip. He is Slovakia’s delegate to the Interparliamentary Union, which will be meeting in Rome.”
After a moment of silence, Major Clark commented: “That is interesting, very interesting. I must admit I have never heard of Fatéhpur Sikrí, even though I’m a great history buff. This place is certainly not located on the route of Kráľ`s travel agency.”
“You’re completely right dear colleague, it is not. But we know that Kráľ has to hand on the code and bring its last part back to Rome to complete the chain. This will finish his mysterious mission. As I have mentioned, he will be spending two days in Agra and even by bicycle rickshaw thirty-seven kilometers is not a great distance,” said Koggler with a smile.
“It’s interesting that tourists don’t visit this old capital of the Mogul Empire,” said Clark in wonder.
“Well they do go there, but only those who have an interest in Mogul history – and those who have studied the life of Jesus Christ. The city even belongs to Unesco’s register of protected world sites. But the location is not much talked about so your average tourists don’t flock there. There are no restaurants or night clubs after all. The entire population of the town is 25,000 so in Indian terms it’s no more than a large village. To all intents and purposes it’s a dead city.”
“In what way, dead?” someone wished to know.
“Fifteen years after the construction of this architectural miracle was completed, it was discovered that the site lacks water. Its inhabitants left it as quickly as they had come. The capital of the Empire was moved to Lahore and later to Agra. From that time, four and a half centuries ago, no-one has lived in the royal compound. Well, almost no-one, just the guards and a few men in white robes – the same ones which were worn by those at Jesus’ tomb after he was taken down from the cross. Essenes.