From T.LOBSANG RAMPA's book:

"THE HERMIT" - here part 2

As for all of his books - he claims they are absolutely true -

and the people who KNOWS IN THEMSELVES - can recognise the wisdom…


Some pages ahead from chapter 5, again from the surroundings where the hermit lived and where he told young Lobsang his strange lifestory:

Thoughtfully the young man entered the cave, picked up the can and strode off down to the lake to get fresh water. With the can freshly scoured, and filled with water, he was ready for another task. Peering around, he frowned with dismay. There were no fallen branches in sight. No more easy-to-reach twigs. He would have to go further afield in search of fuel. Into the copse he wandered. Small animals stopped their never-ending search for food to stand on hind legs and stare curiously at the invader of their domain. Here there was no fear, here animals did not fear Man for here Man lived in harmony, in sympathy, with the animals.

At last the young monk reached an area where a small tree had fallen. Breaking off the biggest branches that his young strength would permit, he turned again and dragged them one by one back to the entrance of the cave. Fetching the can of water, he soon had tea and tsampa ready once again. The old man sipped gratefully at the hot tea. The young monk was fascinated at his manner of drinking. In Tibet all food containers such as cups and bowls are held with two hands in order that respect may be shown to the food that nourishes. The old hermit, through long practise, held the bowl with two hands so that a finger of each hand overlapped the inner edge. Should there be any danger of spilling, through not being able to see the angle of the liquid, a finger on one side would get wet and so would warn the old man. Now he sat there contentedly, greatly appreciating hot tea after decades of cold water.

'It is strange,' he said, 'that after more than sixty years of sheer austerity, I now crave hot tea. I crave also the warm comforting glow brought by the fire - have you noticed how it warms the air of our cave?'

The young monk looked at him in compassion. Such little desires, so little comfort 'Do you never get out, Venerable One?' he asked.

'No, never,' replied the hermit. 'Here I know every stone. Here loss of sight does not trouble me greatly, but to venture outside where there are boulders and precipices - THAT is another matter! I could even walk off the bank and fall into the lake; I could leave this cave and be unable to retrace my steps.'

'Venerable One,' said the young monk diffidently, 'how did you get to this remote, inaccessible cave, did you find it by chance?'

'No, I did not,' answered the old man. 'When the Men from Another World finished with me they brought me here. They MADE THIS CAVE SPECIALLY FOR ME!' He sat back with a satisfied smile, well knowing what an effect that would have on his listener. The young monk rocked and almost tipped over backwards, so great was his amazement 'MADE it for you?' he stuttered, 'but how could they cut such a hole as this in the mountain?'

The old man chuckled with glee. 'Two men brought me here,' he said, 'they brought me on a platform that flew through the air even as the birds fly. It was noiseless - more noiseless than the birds, because they creak; I can hear their pinions squeak as they beat the air. I can hear their feathers as the wind rustles through. THIS thing in which I came was as silent as a shadow. It rose in the air without effort, there was no draft, no sensation of speed. The two men made it alight here.'

'But why HERE, Venerable One?' queried the young monk.

'Why?' responded the old man. 'Why? Well think of the advantages. It is a few hundred yards off the trade route and so traders come to me for advice or blessings and they pay me by providing barley. It is near the trails leading to two small lamaseries and seven hermitages. I need not starve here. I get news. Lamas call upon me, they- know my mission - and they know yours!'

- 'But, Sir;' persisted the young monk, 'surely it made an awful commotion when passers-by found a deep cave here where none had been before.'

'Young man,' chortled the hermit; 'you have been about here, did you notice any caves between- here and By Waters? No? There are no less than nine. You were not interested in caves and so you did not notice them.'

'But how was this cave made by two men, it must have taken months!' The young man was bewildered.

'By the magic of what they called atomic science,' answered the old hermit patiently; 'One man sat on the flying platform and looked about in case there should be onlookers. The other held a small device in his hand, there was a roaring like hungry devils, and - so I was told - all the rock vaporized leaving this as two chambers. In my inner chamber there is a very small trickle of water, which fills my bowl twice a day. Ample for my requirements, and it was so arranged as I could not visit the lake for water. If I have no barley - as has happened from time to time, I eat the lichen, which grows, in the inner cave. It is not pleasant, but it sustains life until I again have barley.'

The young monk rose to his feet and walked to the cave walls nearest the light of day. Yes, the rock DID look peculiar, akin to the tunnels of extinct volcanoes he had seen in the Chang Tang highlands. The rock looked as though it had been melted, dripped, and cooled into a glass-hard surface without roughness or projections The surface seemed transparent and through its clarity could be seen the striations of the natural rock with here and there gleaming veins of gold. -At one point, he saw, the gold had melted and had started to flow down the wall as a thick syrup, then it had cooled and had been covered by the glass formed when the silicon dioxide layer had failed to crystallize during that cooling. So the cave had natural glass walls!

But there were household duties to be done; not all time was for talk. The floor had to be cleaned, water fetched, and firewood to be broken into suitable sizes. The young monk seized the sweeping branch and set to without marked enthusiasm. Housework WAS a bore! Carefully he swept over his sleeping place, carefully he moved toward the entrance, still sweeping. His sweeping branch struck a small mound in the floor, dislodged it, and there uncovered lay a brownish-green object Crossly the young monk stooped to remove the intruding stone, wondering how THAT got there. He grasped the object and jumped back with an exclamation; this was not a stone, this was - what? Cautiously he peered at the thing and prodded it with a stick. It rolled over, chinking. He picked it up and hurried to the old hermit with it. 'Venerable One!' he called, 'I have discovered a strange object beneath where the convict lay.'

The old man stumbled out from his inner chamber. 'Describe it to me,' he commanded.

'Well,' said the young monk, 'it appears to be a bag as large as my two clenched fists. It is of leather or some kind of animal skin.' He fumbled at it. 'And there is a string round its neck. I will get a sharp stone.' He hurried out of the cave and picked up a sharp-edged flint Returning, he sawed -at the thing around the neck of the bag. 'Very tough,' he commented. 'The whole thing is slimy with damp and is covered with mildew, still, ah! I've cut it.' Carefully he opened the bag and tumbled the contents on the skirt of his robe. 'Gold coins,' he said, 'I have never seen money before, only pictures of it. Shiny bits of coloured glass. Wonder what THEY are for? And here are five gold rings with bits of glass stuck in them.'

'Let me feel them,' ordered the hermit. The young monk lifted his robe and guided his superior's hand to the little pile.

'Diamonds,' said the hermit. 'Rubies - I can tell by the vibration - and....' the old man fell silent as he slowly fingered the stones, the rings and the coins. At last he drew a deep breath and remarked, 'Our convict must have stolen these things, I feel that they are Indian coins. I feel EVIL in them. They are worth a very great sum of money.' He mused in silence for a moment and then said very abruptly, 'Take them, take them and throw them as far as you can into the deepest part of the lake. They will bring ill if we keep them here. There is lust, murder and misery in them. Take them, QUICKLY!' So saying, he turned and slowly crept back into the inner chamber. The young monk piled the things back in the leather bag and walked out of the cave towards the lake. At the water's edge he spread the things on a flat rock and examined them curiously, then taking a gold coin he held it between finger and thumb and threw it force-fully so that it skipped from wavelet to wavelet until with a final plop it sank beneath the water. Coin after coin followed. Then the rings, and the stones, until none were left.

Rinsing his hands, he turned and smiled with amusement, a large fish-eating bird had flown off with the empty bag and two other birds were following in hot pursuit Humming a verse from the Chant to the Dead, the young monk turned about and made his way back to the cave - and housework.

But housework does not last for ever. There came the time when the young monk could put aside the well-worn twiggy branch which he used as a broom. There came the time when be could look about him appreciatively and see clean sand on the floor, a pile of wood by the low fire, the can full of water and when he could rub his hands together as a sign that HOUSE-WORK for the day was finished. Now came the time when young, alert memory cells were ready to receive and store information.

The old hermit came shuffling out of the inner chamber. Even to the inexperienced gaze of the young monk the old man was visibly failing. Slowly the hermit settled himself on the ground and adjusted his robe around him. The younger man took the proffered bowl and filled it with cold water. Carefully he placed it beside the old one and guided his hand to the edge so that he would know the exact location. Then he too sat on the ground and waited for his senior to speak:

"For a time there was no sound as the ancient man sat and marshalled his thoughts in an orderly manner. Then, after much hawking and clearing of his throat, he commenced. 'The female slept, and then I slept. But I did not sleep for long. She was snoring horribly and my head was throbbing. It felt as though my brain was swelling and trying to push off the top of my skull. There came a pounding in the blood vessels of my neck and I felt upon the verge of collapse. There came a change in the tempo of snores, the sound of a foot shuffling, and abruptly, with a remarkable exclamation, the female leaped to her feet and rushed to my side. There came the sound of tinkles and clinks and a different rhythm in the rushing of the fluids circling within me. In a moment or two the pulsing in my brain ceased. The pressure in my neck ended and the cut bone edges jarred and thrummed no longer.

'The female bustled about moving things, making glass clink against glass and metal against metal. I heard her creak as she bent to pick up the fallen book. Some article of furniture squealed as it was pushed along the floor to a new position. Then she moved to the wall and I heard the slither and slight clang as the door was slid shut behind her. There came the sound of her footsteps diminishing down the corridor. I. lay there and thought of all that had happened to me. I HAD to lie there, because I could not move! Definitely something had been done to my brain; I was more alert. I could think more clearly. Previously there had been many woolly thoughts which, because I had been unable to bring them into sharp focus, I had pushed to somewhere in the obscure background of my mind. Now, ALL thoughts were as clear as the waters of a mountain stream.

'I remembered being born. My first sight of the world into which I had then been precipitated. The face of my mother. The wizened face of the old woman helping at the birth. Later, my father handling me, the new-born baby, as though he were afraid of me - the first new-born baby he had seen. I remembered his alarmed expression and his concern at the 'sight of such a red and wrinkled face. Then scenes of early childhood came to me. Always it had been my parents desire to have a son who would become a priest and bring honour to the family. School, and a whole crowd of us sitting upon the floor practising writing upon slabs of slate. The monk-teacher going from one to another giving praise or reprimands and to me saying that as I did well I should stay longer so that I might learn more than my companions.

'My memory was complete. I could recall with ease pictures which had appeared in magazines brought by the Indian traders, and pictures which I did not even know that I had seen But memory is a two-edged instrument; I recalled in all detail torture at the hands of the Chinese. Because I had been carrying papers from the Potala the Chinese had assumed that they were State secrets and so had kidnapped me and tortured me to make me reveal them. Me, just a humble priest whose most secret knowledge was of how much the lamas ate!

'The door slid open with metallic sibilance. Immersed in thoughts I had not noticed approaching footsteps along the corridor. A voice asked, "How are you now?" and I felt my captor standing by my side. As he spoke he busied himself with strange apparatus to which I was connected. "How are now?" he asked again.

'"Fair," I replied, "but unhappy at all the strange things which have happened to me. I feel like a sick yak in the man square!" He laughed and turned away to a far side of the room I could hear the rustle of paper, the unmistakable sound pages being turned.

'"Sir!" I said, 'what is an Admiral? I am greatly puzzled. And what is an Adjutant?"

'He set down a heavy book, or at least it sounded like a book and came over to me. "Yes," he replied, with compassion in his voice, "I suppose from your point of view we HAVE treated you rather badly." He moved, and I heard him draw up one of those strange metal seats. As he sat upon it, it creaked aIarmingly. "An Admiral," he said amusingly. "Well, it is qulte an explanation and one which you will have later, but let us assuage your immediate curiosity. You are on a vessel which travels through space, the SEA of space we call it, because at the speed at which we travel the sparse matter in space is encountered so rapidly that it feels like a sea of water. Do you follow?" he asked.

'I thought about it and - yes - I followed by thinking of our Happy River and the skin boats which traversed it. "Yes, I do," I responded. "Well then," he continued, "our ship is one of a group. This is the most important of them. Each ship - including this, has a captain, but an Admiral is, let us say, a captain of all the captains. Our term for that is 'Admiral'. Now, in addition to our space sailors, we have soldiers aboard and it is usual to have a very senior soldier-officer to act as 'assistant' to the Admiral. We call 'such an assistant an Adjutant To refer it to your own terms, an abbot has a chaplain, one who does all the general work while leaving the great decisions to his senior."

'That was clear enough for me; I was just pondering the matter when my captor bent lower and WHISPERED: "And PLEASE do not refer to me so much as your CAPTOR. I am the senior surgeon of this ship. Again, in your own terms of reference - I am akin to the senior medical lama of Chakpori. You call me Doctor, not Captor!" It really amused me to know that such great men had their foibles. A man such as he being stressed that an ignorant savage (as he had termed me) called me "Captor". I resolved to humour him, so I replied meekly, Doctor." My reward was that of a most gratified look and pleasant nod of his head.

'For some time he was intent opon certain instruments which appeared to be connected to my head. Many adjustment were made, fluid flows varied, and strange things which left a tingling to my scalp. After some time he said, "You will rest for days. By that time the bones will have knit and forced - healing will be well under way. Then, provided you are as well as we hope, we shall take you back to the Council Chamber and show you many things. I do not know if the Admiral will want to speak to you, if he does, fear not. Just speak to him as you would to me." As an afterthought, he added, ruefully, "Or rather more politely!" He gave me a light pat on the shoulder, and left the room.

'I lay there, immobile, thinking of my future. Future? What future was there for a blind man? What should I do if I ever left this place alive, or did I even WANT to leave alive? Should I have to beg for my living like the beggars who swarmed at the Western Gate? Most of them were fakes, anyway. I wondered where I would live, where I should obtain food. Ours was a hard climate and was no place for a man who had no home nowhere to rest his head. I worried and exhausted by all the events and the worries, I fell into a fitful sleep. From time to time I sensed the sliding door open and the presence of people who came maybe to see that I was yet alive. Clicks and tinkles failed to more than rouse me from the threshold of sleep. There was no way in which I could compute the passage of tin normal conditions we used our heartbeats to mark the of minutes, but this was hours, and hours during which I not conscious.

'After what seemed to be a long interval, during which appeared to hover between the world of material and spirit, I was rudely roused to a state of quick awareness. Those fearful females had again descended upon me like vultures upon a corpse. Their giggling chatter Qffended me. Their lewd libties with my defenceless body offended me more. Yet I could not speak their language, I could not even move. A marvel it was to me that females such as these, members of the so-called weaker sex, could have such hard hands and harder emotions. I was emaciated, frail, atid in remarkably poor condition, yet these females moved me around as callously as though I were a block of stone. Lotions were daubed upon me, foul Smelling unguents were rubbed into my shrinking skin, and tubes were snatched from my nostrils and other locations and were as roughly replaced. I shuddered in spirit and wondered anew what devilish stroke of fate had decreed that I should endure such humiliations....

'With the departure of the offensive females peace came upon me for a short time. Then the door slid open again and my captor, no, I must remember to say, "the doctor", entered and closed the door after him. "Good morning, you are awake, I see," he said pleasantly.

'"Yes, Sir Doctor," I replied somewhat grumpily, "there is no possibility of sleep when those chattering females descend upon me like a plague!" That seemed to amuse him greatly. By now, presumably because he was beginning to know me better, he was treating me more like a human, although a half-witted human. "We have to use those nurses," he said, "so that you will be looked after, kept clean, and smelling sweetly beautiful. You have been powdered, perfumed, and prepared for another day of rest."

'Rest! REST! I wanted no rest, I wanted to get out. But where was there for me to go? As the doctor stood there examining the site of the operation on my skull, I thought anew of all that he had told me, when was it? Yesterday? Or the day before that? I did not know. I DID know that one thing puzzled me very greatly. "Sir Doctor," I said, "you told me that I was on a vessel of space Is my understanding correct?"

"'Of course it is," he replied. "You are aboard the flagship of this supervisory fleet. Now we are resting upon a mountainous plateau in the Highlands of Tibet. Why?"

"Sir!" I answered, "when I was in that chamber before all astonishing people, I saw that we were in a vast STONE chamber; how can a STONE chamber be on this vessel?"

'He laughed as though I had made the greatest joke. Recovering he said, amid chuckles, "You are alert, very alert. And are correct. This rocky plateau upon which this vessel rests was formerly a volcano. There are deep passages and immense chambers through which, in ages long gone, molten lava flowed spewed forth. We use those passages, and we have used the volume of those chambers for our own purposes. We use this site extensively - different ships use it from time to time.You were taken from the ship and into a rock chamber."

Taken from the ship into a rock chamber! That accounted for stran impression I had received, an impression of leaving a metal corridor for a rock chamber. "Sir Doctor," I exclaimed, "I know of tunnels and rock chambers; there is a large concealed chamber within Potala Mountain, it has a lake as well."

'"Yes," he remarked, "our geophysical photographs have shown it to us. We did not know that you Tibetans had discovered it though!" He went on with his fiddling - I was very aware that he was making changes to the fluids coursing through the tubes and into my body. An alteration in my body temperature became apparent and without my conscious volition my breathing became slower and deeper; I was being manipulated like a puppet in the market place.

'"Sir Doctor!" I remarked eagerly, "your vessels of space are known to us, we term them The Chariots of the Gods. Why do you not make contact with our leaders? Why do you not declare your presence openly? Why do you have surreptitiously to abduct such as I?"

'There was a sharp indrawing of breath and a pause before he finally replied, "Well, ah, er, I mean to say," he stammered, "if I tell you the reason it will merely evoke in you those most caustic remarks which are good for neither of us."

'"No, Sir Doctor," I replied, "I am your prisoner even as I was the prisoner of the Chinese, I cannot afford to provoke you. I am trying in my uncivilized way to understand things - which presumably is also your desire."

'He shuffled around with his feet and clearly was deciding what was best to do. Coming to a decision, he said, "We are the Gardeners of the Earth, and, of course, of many other inhabited worlds. A gardener does not discuss his identity or plans with his flowers. Or, to elevate matters a little, if a yak-herder finds a yak who appears brighter than average, the herder still does not go up to him and command, 'take me to your Leader.' Nor does the herder discuss with the intelligent yak matters, which clearly are beyond the yak's comprehension. It is not our policy to fraternize with the natives of any of the worlds we supervise. We did that in eons past and it brought disaster to all and gave rise to fantastic legends in your own world."

'I sniffed in anger and disdain; '~First you say I am an uncivilized savage, and now you call me, or liken me, to a yak." I expostulated. "Then if I am so Iow - WHY DO YOU KEEP ME PRISONER HERE?" His reply was sharp: "Because we are making use of you. Because you have a fantastic memory which we are increasing. Because you are going to be a repository of knowledge for one who will come to you almost at the end of your life. Now sleep!" I heard, or sensed, a click, and then a wave of black unconsciousness fell softly upon me.



'THE endless hours dragged wearily by. I lay in a stupor, a daze in which reality was not and in which the past, the present, and the future were rolled into one. My past life, my impotent state wherein I could neither move nor see, and my dreadful fear for my future after I got out of "here" - if indeed I did. From time to time females came and did quite amazing things to me. My limbs were twisted and flexed, my head was rotated and all portions of my anatomy were squeezed, pinched, pummelled and kneaded. From time to time groups of men came in and stood around me while they discussed me. I could not understand them, of course, but the inference was clear. Then too, they would stick things in me but I denied them the satisfaction of seeing me wince at the sharp prick. I drifted, drifted.

'There came the time when I was alert once more. I had been drowsing, somnolent as for unknown hours before. Although aware of the sliding open of the door of the room, I was not disturbed by it. I was withdrawn, feeling as though embedded in layers of wool and not caring what happened to anyone, not even to myself. Suddenly there came a series of sharp tearing pains all around my skull. I was prodded and poked and a voice said in my own language, "Ah well, let us revive him!" A subdued buzz of which I was conscious only when it ceased, was terminated with a faint click. Immediately I felt alert, alive, and tried to sit up. Again I was frustrated, my most violent efforts produced no movement at all in my limbs. "He is with us again," said a Voice. "Hey! Can you hear us?" asked another.

'"Yes, I can," I replied, "but how is it that you are speaking Tibetan? I thought that only Sir Doctor could communicate with me." There was a subdued laugh; "YOU are using OUR language," was the reply. "You will now understand everything that is said to you."

'Another voice broke in, in an aside, "What do you call him?" One whom I recognized to be the doctor answered, "Call him? OH! We have no name for him, I just say you.

'"The Admiral requires that he have a name," asserted another, "decide how he is to be addressed." A quite animated discussion took place during which many names were suggested. Some of them were VERY insulting and indicated that to these men I enjoyed less status than that which we afforded yaks, or the vultures which fed upon the dead. Eventually, when the comments were becoming too ribald, the doctor stated. "Let us end this, the man is a monk. Let us therefore refer to him as that and call him 'Monk'." There was a moment of silence, and then spontaneous noises made with the hands and which I rightly took to be applause. "Very well," said a voice which I had not previously heard, "carried unanimously; henceforth he shall bear the cognomen of Monk. Let it be so recorded."

'A desultory discussion followed, one in which I had no interest as it appeared that these men were discussing the virtues and lack of virtues of various of the females and appraising the degree of ease with which they could be had. Certain of their anatomical allusions were completely beyond my comprehension, so I made no attempt to follow the trend of discussion but contented myself with visualizing in my mind their probable appearance. Some of the men were small and some of them were very large. Now that was a very strange thing and one which puzzled me exceedingly for as far as I knew there were no peoples on Earth who possessed features and size ranges such as these men possessed.

'I was jerked back to the present by a sudden shuffling of feet and by what appeared to be the sliding back of those strange seats. The men stood up and one by one left the room. At last there was one only remaining, the doctor. "Later," he said, "we shall take you again to the Council Chamber, the one inside the mountain. Do not be nervous, there is nothing to fear, Monk, it will be strange to you, but you will not be harmed." So saying, he too left the room and I was alone with my thoughts again. For some extraordinary reason one particular scene kept presenting itself to my shuddering memory: I was tied spread-eagle fashion against a wall. One of the Chinese torturers approached me with a fiendish smile and said, "One last chance to tell us what we want, or I will pluck out your eyes."

'I replied, "I am a poor simple monk, and I have nothing to tell." With that the Chinese torturer thrust a finger and thumb hard into the corners of my left eye and the eye popped out like the stone from a plum. It hung dangling on my cheek. The pain of the distorted vision was terrible; the right eye, as yet intact, looked straight ahead, the left eye, swaying and dangling on my cheek, looked straight down. The mental impressions were terrible. Then, with a quick jerk, the Chinaman tore the eye free and threw it in my face before giving the same treatment to the right.

'I remembered how at last satiated with their orgy of torture, they had thrown me out on a garbage heap. But I was not dead, as they believed, the coo~ness of the night had revived me and I had wandered off, blindly, stumbling, until at last some "sense" had led me from the Chinese Mission grounds, and eventually out of the City of Lhasa. With such thoughts I lost all track of time, and it was somewhat of a relief when at last men came to my room. Now I could understand what was said. A special lifting device, something with the strange name of Antigravity, was positioned over my table and "switched on". The table rose into the air and men guided it through the doorway and into the corridor beyond. It seemed that although the table now had no apparent weight, it still had inertia and momentum, although that meant nothing to me! Care was still needed that no damage should take place. That DID matter to me.

'Carefully the table and associated equipment was towed or pushed down the metal corridor with its distorted echoes and out of the vessel of space We came into the great rock chamber again and there was about me the sounds of a great concourse of people reminding me of the forecourt of the Cathedral of Lhasa in happier days. My table was moved along and at last was Swung about and lowered the few inches to the floor. To my side came a person who whispered, "The Surgeon-General will be with you in a moment."

'I spoke back: "Are you not going to give me sight?" But he had gone and my request went unheeded. I lay there trying to picture in my mind all that was happening. I had just the memory of the brief glimpse I had had previously, but I greatly desired that the artificial sight would be provided.

'Familiar footsteps echoed on the rocky floor. "Ah! They have brought you safely. Do you feel all right?" asked the doctor the Surgeon-General.

'"Sir Doctor," I replied, "I would feel much better if you would permit me to see."

"'But you are BLIND and you must get used to being blind, you will have to live a very long life in that state."

'"But, Sir Doctor," I said in some considerable exasperation, "HOW am I to learn and memorize all these wonders which you promised I would SEE if you will not provide me with that artificial sight?"

'"Leave it to us," he answered, "WE will ask the questions and give the orders, You just do as you are told."

'There now came upon the crowd around me a hush; not a silence, for there cannot be a silence where people are congregated. In the hush I could distinguish very sharp footsteps which ceased abruptly. "Be seated!" commanded a curt, military voice. There was a relaxed rustling, the rustling of stiff cloth, the creak of leather, and the shuffling of many feet. A scraping sound as though one of those strange seats had been pushed back. The sound of a man rising to his feet. A tense, expectant hush pervaded the place for a second or so and then the voice spoke.

'"Ladies and Gentlemen," carefully enunciated this deep, mature Voice, "our Surgeon-General considers that this native is now sufficiently recovered in health, and indoctrinated, so that he may without undue risk be prepared with the Knowledge of the Past. There is a risk, of course, but we must face it. If the creature dies, then we must again resume the tedious search for another. This native is in poor condition physically; let us therefore hope that his will is strong and his hold on life firm." I felt my flesh creep at this callous disregard of MY feelings, but the Voice went on:

'"There are those among us who consider that we should use only written Records revealed to some Messiah or Saint whom we have placed upon this world for that purpose, but I say that these Records have in the past been given a superstitious reverence which has nullified their benefits, because they have so often been misconstrued, misinterpreted. The natives have not sought the meaning contained within the writings but have taken their face value alone, and often falsely interpreted face value at that. Frequently it has harmed their development and has set up an artificial caste system under which certain of the natives assume that THEY have been chosen by Higher Powers to teach and preach that which was NOT Written.

'"They have no real conception of us of outer space. Our patrol ships, when sighted, are deemed to be various natural celestial objects or mere hallucination on the part of the be-holders who are therefore mocked and their sanity is frequently questioned. They believe that Man is made in the image of God and therefore there cannot be life greater than Man. They have the firm conviction that this puny world is the ONLY source of life, not knowing that the inhabited worlds are greater in number than the grains of sand upon this whole world, and that their world is one of the smallest and most insignificant.

'"They believe that THEY are the Masters of Creation and all the animals of the world are theirs to prey upon. Yet their own life-span is but the twinkling of an eye. Compared to us, they are as the insect which lives for but a day and has to be born, grow to adulthood, mate, and mate again, and die all within hours; Our average life-span is five thousand years, theirs a few decades. And all this, ladies and gentlemen, has been brought about by their peculiar beliefs and by their tragic misconceptions. For this reason they have been ignored by us in the past, but now our Wise Ones say that in the span of half a century these natives will discover some of the secrets of the atom. They may thereby blow up their little world. Dangerous radiations may escape into space and constitute a threat of pollution.

'As most of you know, the Wise Ones have decreed that a suitable native be caught - we have caught this one - and his brain be treated whereby he may remember all we are going to teach him. He will be so conditioned that he can reveal this ONLY to one whom we shall in due time place upon this world with the task of telling all who will listen to the facts and not the fancies of others in worlds beyond this small universe. This native, a male, has been specially prepared and will be the recipient of the message, which has to be transmitted later to another. The strain will be very great, he may not live through it, so let us all think strength to him for if his life ends upon this table, then we have again to commence our search for another, and that, as we have found, is tedious.

"'A crewmember has protested that we should take a native from a more developed country, one who enjoys high standing among his fellows, but we believe that that would be a false move; to indoctrinate such a native and let him loose among his fellows would be to ensure his immediate discreditment among others of his kind, and would seriously delay our programme. You, all of you who are here, are going to be permitted to witness this recall of the Past. It is rare indeed, so remember you are being favoured above others."

'No sooner had this Great One ceased to speak before there came a strange strange rustling and creaking. And then a Voice, but WHAT a Voice! It sounded unhuman, it sounded neither male nor female. Hearing it I felt my hair rise and little pimples form on my flesh. "As Senior Biologist, responsible neither to the "navy" nor the army," rasped this most unpleasant Voice, "I desire to put on record my disapproval of these proceedings. My full report will be forwarded to Headquarters in due course. I now demand to be heard here." There seemed to be a sort of resigned gasp from all those assembled. There was for a moment much fidgeting and then the first speaker rose to his feet. "As Admiral of this fleet," he remarked dryly, "I am in charge of this supervisory expedition no matter what specious arguments emanate from our disgruntled senior biologist.

However, let us hear once again the' arguments of the opposition. You may continue, Biologist!"

'Without a word of thanks, without the usual formal salutation, the drawling rasping voice continued: "I protest at the waste of time. I protest that we should use any more endeavours on these faulty creatures. In the past, when a race of them were unsatisfactory, they were exterminated and the planet re-seeded. Let us save time and work and exterminate them now before they pollute space."

'The Admiral broke in, "And have you any specific suggestion as to WHY they are faulty, Biologist?"

'"Yes, I have," the Biologist remarked angrily. "The females of the species are faulty. Their fertility mechanism is at fault, their auras do not conform to that which was planned. We caught one recently from what is referred to as one of the better areas of this world. She screeched and fought when we removed the clothing with which she was swathed. And when we inserted a probe into her body to analyse her secretions - she became first hysterical and then unconscious. Later, conscious again, she saw some of my assistants and the sight deprived her of her sanity, or such of it; as she possessed. We had to destroy her and all our days of work were lost."'


The old hermit ceased to speak and took a sip of water. The young monk 'sat almost stupefied with horror at the strange things he had heard, at the strange things which had happened 'to his superior. Some of the descriptions were in a strange way FAMILIAR. He could not say how, but the hermit's remarks evoked strange stirrings, stirrings as though suppressed memories were being revived. As though the hermit's remarks were indeed a catalyst. Carefully, without spilling a drop, the ancient man set his bowl of water by his side, folded his hands together, and resumed...

'I was upon that table, I heard and understood every word. All fear, all uncertainty left me. I would show these people how a priest of Tibet could live, or die. My natural rashness constrained me to utter, loudly, "See, Sir Admiral, your Biologist is less civilized than we, for WE do not kill even those who might be termed inferior animals. WE are the civilized ones!"

For a moment the whole of Time stood still .Even the breathing of those about me seemed to stop. Then, to my profound amazement and indeed shock, there came spontaneous applause and not a few laughs. People smacked their hands together which I understood was a sign of approval among them. People uttered cries of delight, and some technician near me bent and muttered, "Good for you, Monk, good for you. Now say no more, do not chance your luck!"

'The Admiral spoke, saying, "The native Monk has spoken. He has demonstrated to my satisfaction that he is indeed a sentient creature and fully capable of completing the task allotted to him. And, er, I fully endorse his remarks and will embody them in my own report to the Wise Ones." The Biologist snapped out sharply: "I will' withdraw from the experiment." With that, the creature - he, she, or it - made a very noisy withdrawal from the rock chamber. There was a collective sigh of relief; obviously the Senior Biologist was not a person in great favour. The murmur died down in response to some manual admonition which I could not see. There came a slight shuffling of feet and the rustling of paper. The air of expectancy was almost tangible.

'"Ladies and gentlemen," came the voice of the Admiral, "now that we have disposed of objections and interruptions I propose to say a few words for the benefit of those of you who are fresh to this Supervisory Station. Some of you have 'heard rumours, but rumours are never reliable. I am going to tell you what will happen, what it is all about, that you may the better appreciate the events in which you will soon participate.

'"The people of this world are, developing a technology which, unless checked, may well destroy them. In the process they will contaminate space that other infant worlds in this group could adversely be affected. We must prevent that. As you well know, this world and others in this group are our testing grounds for different types of creatures. As with plants, that which is not cultivated is a weed; in the animal world one can have thoroughbreds or scrubs. The humans of this world are becoming of the later category. We, who seeded this world with humanoid stock, must now ensure that our other stock on other worlds is not endangered.

"'We have before us here a native of this world. He, is from a sub-division of a country which is named Tibet. It is a theocracy, that is, it is ruled by a leader who places greater importance in the adherence to a religion, than he does to politics. In this country there is no aggression. No one fights for the lands of another. Animal life is not taken except by the lower orders, who almost always without exception are native of other countries. Although their religion appears fantastic to us, yet they live it completely and do not molest others, nor do they force their beliefs on others. They are most peaceful and require a very great amount of provocation before they will resort to violence. It was therefore thought that here we could find a native with a phenomenal memory which we could even in-crease. A native in whom we could implant knowledge which has to be passed on to another whom we shall later place upon this world.

"'Some of you may wonder why we cannot tell our representative direct. We cannot do it with complete satisfaction as it leads to omissions and aberrations. It has been tried on a number of occasions but never has it been as we wished it to be. As you will later see, we tried it with fair success with a man whom the earthlings named Moses. But even with him it was not COMPLETE and errors and misunderstandings were prevalent. Now, in spite of our respected Senior Biologist, we are going to try this system which has been worked out by the Wise Ones.

'"Just as their superb scientific skill millions of earth-years ago perfected the faster than light drive, so have they also perfected a method whereby the Akashic Record itself can be tapped. In this system the person who is within the special apparatus will see all that happened in the past. So far as his impressions will tell him, he will actually LIVE all those experiences; he will SEE and HEAR precisely as though he were living in those long bygone days. To him HE WILL BE THERE! A special extension direct from his brain, will enable each one of us vicariously to participate. He you - or should I say 'we' shall to all intents and purposes cease to exist in this time and will, so far as our feelings, sight, hearing and emotions are concerned, be transferred to those ages past whose actual life and happenings we shall be experiencing just as here. Now, we have been experiencing ship-board life, or life aboard small patrol ships, or working in this world far below the surface in our subterranean laboratories.

'"I do not pretend to understand fully the principles involved. Some of you here know far more of the subject than I, that is why you are here. Others, with different duties will know less than I and it is to them to whom I have been addressing these remarks: Let us remember that we too have some regard for the sanctity of life. Some of you may regard this native of Earth as just another laboratory animal, but as he has demonstrated, he has his feelings. He has intelligence and - remember this well - to us at present, he is the most valuable creature upon this world. That is why he is here. Some have queried, 'But how will stuffing this creature with knowledge save the world?' The answer is that it will not."

'The Admiral made a dramatic pause. I could, not see him, naturally, but I assumed that others also experienced the tension, which was overwhelming me. Then he continued, "This world is very sick. WE know it is sick. We do not know why. We are trying to find out why. Our task is first to recognize that a state of sickness exists. Second, we must convince the humans here that they are sick. Third, we must induce in them a desire to be cured. Fourth, we must discover precisely what is the nature of the illness. Fifth, we must evolve a curative agent, and six, we must persuade the humans to do that which will effect the cure. The sickness is connected with the aura. Yet we cannot discover why. Another must come, must be not of this world - for can a blind man see the ailment of his fellows when he too is blind?"

'That remark gave me quite a jolt. It seemed to me to be contradictory; I was blind, 'yet I was being chosen for this work. But no, no, I was not; I was merely to be the repository of certain knowledge. Knowledge - which would enable another to function according to pre-arranged plan. But the Admiral was again speaking:

"'Our native, when he is prepared by us, when we have finished with him, will be taken to a place where he can live out, the days of a (to him) very long life. He will not be able to die until he has passed on his knowledge. For his years of blindness and solitude he will have inner peace and the knowledge that he will be doing much for his world. But now we will have a final check on the native's condition and then we will commence."

Now there was considerable, but ordered, bustle. I sensed people moving swiftly about. My table was grasped, raised, and moved forward. There came the by now familiar tinkle and chink as glassware and metal came into contact. The Surgeon General came to me and whispered: "How are you now?"

'I hardly knew HOW I was or WHERE I was, so I merely responded by saying, "That which I have heard has not made me feel any better. But do I still have no sight? How am I to experience these wonders if you will not give me sight once again?"

'"Just relax," he whispered soothingly, "everything will be all right. You will see in the best possible way at the right moment."

'He paused a moment while some other person came and addressed a remark to him, then continued, "This is what will happen. We shall draw upon your head that which to you will appear to be a hat made of wire mesh. It will appear cold until you become accustomed to it. Then we shall put upon your feet articles which you may interpret as wire sandals. We already have wires going to your arms. You will first experience some strange and quite possibly uncomfortable tingling, but that will soon pass and you will have no further physical discomfort. Rest assured that we will take every possible care of you. This means a very great deal to all of us. We all want it to be a great success; there is too much to lose for it to be a failure."

'"Yes," I muttered, "I stand to lose more than any, I stand to lose my life!"

'The Surgeon-General stood up and turned away from me. "Sir!" he said in a very official tone of voice, "the native has been examined and is now ready. Permission requested to proceed."

'"Permission granted," replied the grave voice of the Admiral. "Proceed!" There came a sharp click and a muttered exclamation. Hands grasped me behind the neck and raised my head. Other hands pulled what seemed to be a metal bag of soft wire over my head, over my face and then they fumbled beneath my chin. There were three strange pops and the metal bag was tightly over me and fastened around my neck. The hands moved away. Other hands meanwhile were at my feet. Some strange, greasy evil-smelling lotion was rubbed in and then two metal bags were pulled around my feet. I was not at all used to having my feet thus constrained and it was truly most unpleasant Yet there was nothing I could do. The air of expectancy, of tenseness, was growing.'


In the cave the old hermit suddenly toppled over backwards. For a long moment the young monk sat in petrified horror, then galvanized into action by the emergency, he jumped to his feet and scrabbled beneath a rock for the special medicine placed there in preparation for just such an occurrence. Wrenching out the stopper with hands, which shook somewhat, he dropped to his knees beside the old man and forced a few drops of the liquid between his slack lips. Very carefully, so as not to spill a single drop, he replaced the stopper and laid aside the cantainer. Cradling the hermit's head on his lap he gently stroked the old man's temples.

Gradually a faint trace of colour returned. Gradually there came signs that he was recovering. At last, quaveringly, the old hermit put out his hand and said, 'Ah! You are doing very well, my boy, you are doing very well. I must rest awhile.'

'Venerable One,' said the young monk, 'just rest here, I will make you some hot tea, we have a little sugar and butter left.' Tenderly he placed his folded blanket under the old man's head and rose to his feet. 'I will put the water on to boil,' he said, reaching for the can which was yet half full of water.

It was strange, out in the cold air, to reflect upon the marvellous things he had heard. Strange, because so much of it was FAMILIAR. Familiar, but forgotten. It was like waking from a dream, he thought, only this time memories were flooding back instead of fading away as does a dream.


some pages foreward:

'Venerable One,' asked the young monk, 'have you never been to the lake? Never wandered up to that large stone slab to the right of this cave?'

'No,' replied the hermit, 'since I was brought into this cave by the Men from Space I have never been further away from it than this point where we now sit. Why should I? I cannot see what there is about me, I cannot travel with safety to the lake, for I might fall in. After the long years in the cave, in darkness, I find that the rays of the sun are troublesome to my flesh. When first I came here I used to feel my way to this point and be warmed by the sunlight, but now for many a long year I have remained inside. What is the weather like now?'

'Bad, Venerable One,' replied the young monk. 'I can see our fire, I can see the faintest outline of a rock beyond. All else is blanketed by this greasy grey fog. The storm clouds from the mountain, a storm from India.'

Idly he examined his nails, very long they were. Uncomfortably so. Casting about he found a strip of rotten stone, burned rock flung out of the mountain by some volcanic upheaval ages ago. Energetically he rubbed the slip of rock against the nail of each finger until it was worn down to a suitable length. Toe-nails too, they were thick and hard. But far too long. Resignedly he hoisted up one foot and then the other until at last he had all his nails trimmed to his satisfaction.

'You cannot see any pass?' queried the old man. 'Are the traders fogbound in the mountains?'

'They most certainly are!' exclaimed the young man. 'They will be telling their beads in the hope of keeping the devils away. We shall not see the traders this day - or night - until the fog lifts. And even then the ground is covered with frozen hail, it's THICK here.'

'Well, then,' answered the Old One, 'we should get on with our talk. Is there any more tea?'

'Yes, there is,' replied the young monk. 'I will fill your bowl but you must drink it quickly, for it is cooling rapidly. Here it is. I will put on some more wood.' He paused to place the bowl in the old man's outstretched hands, and rose to throw more wood on the cheering fire. 'I will fetch some more of the wood from out of the rain,' he called moving into the thick fog. Soon he returned dragging branches and twigs which he placed around the perimeter of the fire. Proximity to that heat would soon cause the steam to rise and the wood to dry. 'Well, Venerable One,' he said, seating himself near the-old man, 'I'm ready to listen when you are ready to speak.'

For some minutes the old man remained silent, probably reliving in his mind those long-past days. 'It is strange,' he remarked eventually, 'to sit here as the poorest of the poor, as one poor even among the poor, and to contemplate the wonders which I have witnessed. I have experienced much, seen much, and been promised much. The Keeper of the Heavenly Fields is almost ready to welcome me in. One thing I HAVE learned -and you will do well to remember it in the years ahead, is this -THIS life is the shadow life. If we do our tasks in THIS life we shall go to the REAL life hereafter. I know that for I have seen it. But now let us continue with that which I am charged to tell you. Where was I?'

He hesitated and stopped for a moment. The young monk took the Opportunity to throw more wood on the fire. Then the hermit spoke again:

The artificial controlled astral-travel (headline added. R.Ø.rem.)

'Yes, the air of tension in that rock chamber grew and grew and I was the most tense of all. Reasonably so, for all the risk was to ME! At last, when the tension had reached an almost unbearable point, the Admiral uttered a curt command. There was a movement of some technician near my head and a sudden click. Immediately I felt all the pains of Hell surge through my body; it seemed that I was swelling and was about to burst. Jagged lightning flashed across my brain, and my empty eye-sockets felt as though filled with glowing coals.

There was an intolerable wrenching, a sharp, painful snap, and I went spinning and whirling through (I felt) all eternity. Crashes, bangs, and horrendous noises accompanied me.

'Down and down I fell, spinning and tumbling head over heels. Then I felt as though I were in a long black tube of woolly, clinging material and at the top of the tube there appeared a blood-red glow. Now the spinning ceased, and I began, a slow slow ascent towards the glow. Sometimes I slid back, sometimes I halted, but always a terrible, inexorable pressure drove me on again, painfully, hesitantly, but always upward. At last I reached the source of the bloodred glow and could go no further. A skin, or membrane, or SOMETHING obstructed my passage forward. Again and again I was forced against the obstacle. Again and again I was prevented from proceeding. The pain and the terror increased. A violent surge of pain and a terrific force behind me slammed me again and again against the barrier; there was a screaming, ripping sound, and I was propelled at vast velocity through the crumbling barrier.

'Upwards I sped until my consciousness dimmed and was extinguished by the appalling shock. There was a fading impression of falling, falling. In my brain a Voice was dinning, "Get up, get up!" Wave after wave of nausea engulfed me.' Ever that forceful Voice exhorted "get up, get up!" At last, in sheer desperation, I forced open my eyes and stumbled to my feet. But no, no, I HAD no body; I was a disembodied spirit free to roam anywhere on this world. - This world? What was this world? I looked about me and the strangeness of the scene grew upon me. The colours were all wrong. The 'grass was red and the rocks were yellow. The sky was of a greenish cast and - there were two suns! One was blue-white and the other orange. The shadows! There is no way in which to describe the shadows cast by two suns. But worse, stars were showing in the sky. In daylight. There were stars of all colours. Reds, blues, greens, amber, and even white. Nor were they scattered as were the stars to which I was accustomed; here the sky was covered with these stars as the ground is covered with stones.

'From afar came - NOISE, SOUNDS. By no stretch of imagination could I call those sounds music, yet I had no doubt that it was music. The Voice came again, cold and implacable, MOVE, WILL yourself where you want to go." So I thought of floating to the spot from whence there came the sounds - and I was there. On a level patch of red grass, with the purple and orange trees fringing the edge, there danced a group of young people. Some were clad in garments of startling hues, others were not clad at all. Yet these latter excited no comment. Off to one side others sat on seats on legs and played instruments - which it is quite beyond my ability to describe. The noise they made is even more impossible of description! All the tones seemed to be wrong, and the beat had no meaning to me. "Go among them" commanded the Voice.

'It suddenly occurred to me that I was floating above them, so I willed myself to a clear patch of grass and thought myself upon it. It was hot to the touch and I feared that my feet would scorch, until I remembered that I had none and was but a disembodied spirit. The latter was soon made apparent to me; a naked young female chasing a garishly-clad young man ran right through me and neither of us felt a thing. The young female caught her man and linking her arms with his, led him off behind the purple trees from the locality of which there came many screams and shouts of joy. The users of musical instruments went on misusing them, and everyone seemed to be remarkably content.

'I rose upon the air quite without my own volition. I was directed as is a kite directed by the boy who holds the string. Higher and higher I rose until afar I could discern the glint of water - or WAS it water? The colour was a pale lavender which gave off flashes of gold from wave crests. The experiment had killed me, I decided, I am in Limbo, in the Land of the Forgotten People. NO world could have such colours, such strange strange things. "NO!" muttered that inexorable Voice in my brain, "the experiment was a success. You will have a commentary now on all that happens that you may be the better informed. It is VITAL that you comprehend all that is shown you. Pay great attention." Pay great attention! Could I do aught else? I wondered ruefully.

'I rose higher and higher. From afar came the glitter of burning gleams upon the skyline. Strange and fearsome Shapes stood there, like Devils at the Portals of Hell. Faintly I could discern bright spots which dipped and rose and shot from Shape to Shape. And all around there were vast roadways, which radiated away from those Shapes as the petals of a flower radiate away from its centre. All this was a mystery to me; I could not imagine the nature of that which I saw and could but float there amazed.

'Abruptly I found myself jerked into motion again and with increasing speed. My altitude lessened. I descended, quite involuntarily, to a point where I could discern individual homes dotted along each of the radiating roadways. Each home seemed to me to be at least the size of those of the highest nobles of Lhasa, each contained within a quite sizeable plot of ground. Strange metal things lumbered across the fields doing those things, which only a farmer could describe. But then, as I was brought much lower, I discovered a very large estate, which consisted mainly of shallow water in which there were perforated benches. Wondrous plants were resting upon the benches, and their roots trailed in the water. The beauty and size of these plants were immeasurably greater than those growing in the soil. I gazed, and wondered at these marvels.

'Again I was lofted to whence I could see far ahead. The Shapes which had so intrigued me from afar were now much closer but my bemused brain was not able to comprehend that which I saw, it was too stupendoils, too utterly incredible. I was a poor native of Tibet, just a humble priest who had never been further abroad than one short visit to Kalimpong. Yet here before my astonished eyes - DID I have eyes? - loomed a great city, a fabulous city. Immense spires soared perhaps eighteen hundred feet into the air. Each spire, or tower, was beringed with a spiral balcony from each of which radiated slender, unsupported roadways joining the whole into a web more intricate than that spun by spiders. The roadways were thronged with speeding traffic. Above and below fluttered mechanical birds laden with people, each avoiding all others with a skill which filled me with the utmost admiration. A speeding echanical bird came upon me. I saw a man in the front staring but seeing me not. My whole body contracted and writhed with fear at thought of the impending collision, yet the contraption sped on, through me, and I felt it not. What was I? Yes, I remembered - I was now a disembodied spirit, but I wished someone would tell my brain that, for I experienced every emotion, and principally fear, that a normal complete body would have experienced.

'I loitered among those spires and dangled over the roadways. And I discovered new marvels; certain high levels had stupendous hanging gardens. Incredible playgrounds for what were obviously nobles. But the colours were all wrong. The people were all wrong. Some were vast giants and others were dwarfs. Some were definitely human and others very definitely were not. Some, indeed, were a strange mixture of humanoid and avian, with the body seemingly of human construction, yet possessing a definitely birdlike head. Some were white, some were black. Some were red, while other were green. There were all colours, not merely hues and tints, but definite, primary colours. Some had four fingers and a thumb on each hand, yet others had nine fingers and two thumbs on each hand. And one group had three fingers, horns extending from the temples and tail! My nerve broke at the latter sight and I willed myself up - fast.

'From my new altitude, the city clearly covered an immense area, it extended as far as I could see, but at one distant side there appeared a clearing which was free of tall buildings. Here the air traffic was intense. Shining dots, for so they appeared from this distance, soared with eye-baffling velocity in a horizontal plane. I found myself drifting towards that district. As I approached, I discovered that the whole area seemed to be made of glass, and upon its surface there were strange metal craft. Some were spherical in form and seemed from their direction of travel to journey beyond the confines of this world. Others, like two metal bowls stuck rim to rim also appeared to be for out of world travel. Yet others were like the spear that is thrown, and I observed that these, after rising to a predetermined height, then became horizontal and journeyed to an unknown place upon the surface. There was stupendous movement and I could scarce believe that all these people could be contained within one city. All the inhabitants of a world were congregated here, I thought. BUT WHERE WAS I? I felt panic rise.

'The Voice answered me saying, "You must understand that the Earth is a small place, the Earth is as one of the smallest grains of sand upon the banks of the Happy River. The other worlds of this Universe in which your Earth is located are as numerous and as diverse as the sand, the stones, and the rocks which line the banks of the Happy River. But this is just one Universe. There are universes beyond number just as there are blades of grass beyond number. Time upon Earth is just a flickering in the consciousness of cosmic time. Distances upon Earth are of no moment, they are insignificant and do not exist compared to the greater distances in Space. Now you are upon a world in a far, far different Universe, a Universe so remote from the Earth, which you know that it would be beyond your comprehension. The time will come when the greatest scientists of your world will have to admit that there are other worlds inhabited, and that Earth is not, as they now believe, the centre creation. You are now upon the chief world of a group numbering more than a thousand. Each of those worlds is inhabited, each of those worlds owe allegiance to the Master of the world where you now are. Each world is entirely self-governing although they all follow a common policy, a policy aimed at removing the worst injustices under which people live. A policy devoted to improving conditions of all who have life.

'"Each world has a different sort of person upon it. Some are small as you have seen, some are large' as you have also seen. Some, by your standards, are grotesque and fantastic, others are beautiful, angelic you might say. One should never be deceived by outward appearances, for the intention of all is good. These people owe allegiance to the Master of the world upon which you now are. It would be useless and a strain to your intelligence to try to give to you names because the names would have no meaning in your own tongue, in your own comprehension, and would merely serve to confuse you. These people owe allegiance, as I have said, to the Great Master of that world. One who has no territorial desires whatever, One whose main interest is in the preservation of peace, peace SO that all Man - no matter his shape, his size or his colour - may live out the days allotted to him and devote himself to good instead of the destruction which will ensue whenever a person has to defend himself. Here there are no great armies, there are no battling hordes. There are scientists, traders, and of course priests, and there are also explorers, those who go out to remote worlds ever increasing the number of those who join this mighty fellowship. But none are invited to join. Those who join this federation do so at their own request and only when they have destroyed weapons.

'"The world upon which you now are is the centre of this particular Universe. It is the centre of culture, the centre of knowledge, and there is none greater. A special form of travel has been discovered and developed. Here again to explain such methods would be to overtax the brains of the greatest scientists' of the Earth, they have not yet reached the stage of thinking in four and five dimensional concepts, and such a discussion would be gibberish to them until they can rid their minds of all those beliefs, which have so long held them captive.

'"The scenes you now see are the leading world as it is today. We want you to travel its surface to see its mighty civilization, a civilization so advanced, so glorious that you may not be able to comprehend. The colours you see here are different to those to which you are accustomed on Earth, but Earth is not the centre of civilization. Colours are different on each world and depend upon the circumstances and requirements of each of those worlds. You will look about this world, and my voice will accompany you, and when you have seen enough of this world to make its greatness apparent you will travel into the past and then you shall see how worlds are discovered, how worlds are born, and how we try to help those who are willing to help themselves. Remember this always; we of space are not perfect for perfection cannot exist when one is in the material state of being in any portion of any universe, but we try, we do the best we can. There are some in the past, as you will agree, who have been very good, and some who to our sorrow have been very bad. But we do not desire your world, the Earth, we desire instead that you should develop it, that you should live there, but we must ensure that the works of Man do not pollute Space and endanger the people of other worlds. But now you will see more of this, the leading world."

'I mused upon all these worlds,' said the old hermit, 'I pondered deeply on the portent behind the remarks because it seemed to me that all this talk of brotherly love was but a sham. My own case, I thought, is one which shows up the fallacy of this argument. Here am I, admittedly a poor and ignorant native of a very poor, arid, underdeveloped country, and absolutely against my wishes I was captured, operated upon, and so far as I knew forced out of my body. 'Here I was - where? The talk of doing so much for the good of humanity seemed rather hollow to me.

'The Voice broke in upon my disturbed thoughts saying, "Monk, your thoughts are vocalized to us by our instruments, and your thoughts are not correct thoughts, your thoughts, indeed, are the fallacies. We are the Gardeners and a gardener has to remove dead wood, he has to pluck unwanted weeds. But when there is a better shoot then sometimes the gardener has to take away the shoot from the parent plant and even graft elsewhere, that it may develop as a new species, or even develop more greatly as its own species. According to your own beliefs you have been rather roughly treated. According to our beliefs you are being given a signal honour, an honour reserved for very, very few people of the world species, an honour reserved." The Voice hesitated and then went on. "Our history goes back billions of years of Earth time, billions and billions of years, but let us suppose that the whole life of your planet which you call Earth was represented by the height of the Potala, then the lifetime of Man upon the Earth could be likened to the thickness of one coat of paint upon the ceiling of one room. Thus it is, you see, Man is so new upon the Earth that no human has the right to even attempt to judge what we do.

'"Later your own scientists will discover that their own laws of mathematica, probabilities will indicate clearly that there is evidence of the existence of extra-terrestials. It will also indicate that for real evidence of extra-terrestials they must look beyond the far reaches of their own island universe and out into other universes beyond that which contains your world. But this is neither the time nor the place to indulge in a discussion of this nature. Accept the assurance that you are doing good work and that we know best in this. You wonder where you are, and I will tell you that your disembodied spirit, only temporarily detached from your body, has journeyed beyond the furthest reaches of your own universe and has gone right to the centre, of another universe, to the centre city of the chief planet. We have much to show you and your journey, your experiences, are just beginning. Be assured, however, that what you are seeing is that world as it is now, as it is at this moment, because in the spirit time and distance mean nothing.

'"Now we want you to look about to familiarize yourself with that world upon which you now dwell so that you may the more easily credit the evidence of your senses when we come to much more important things because soon we shall send you into the past, into the past through the Akashic Record, where you will see-the birth of your own planet, Earth."

'The Voice ceased,' said the old hermit, and he stopped for a few moments while he took a sip of his tea, which was now quite cold. Reflectively he set aside his bowl and clasped his hands together, after rearranging his robe. The young monk rose and put more wood upon the fire and pulled the blanket more tightly round the old hermit's shoulders.

'Now,' continued the old man, 'I was telling you that I was in a state of panic; yes indeed I was in a state of panic, and then as I dangled there over this immensity I found myself dropping. I found myself passing various levels or bridges between great towers, I found myself dropping down to what appeared to be a very pleasant park raised on a platform, or so it seemed so supported to me. There was the red grass, and then to my astonishment at one side I found green grass. There was a pond in the red grass, which had blue water and another pond in the patch of green grass, which had heliotrope water. About the two were congregated an amazing assortment of peoples. By now I was beginning to distinguish somewhat which were natives of this world and which were visitors from afar. There was something subtle in the bearing and comportment of those who were native here. They appeared the superior species, and fully aware of that status.

'About the pools there were those who appeared possessed of great masculine virility and those who were extremely feminine. A third group of people who were obviously epicene. I was interested to observe that all the people here were quite naked except that the females wore things in their hair. I could not distinguish what they were but they seemed to be some type of metal ornament. I willed myself away from that spot because some of the sport of these naked people was not at all to my liking - having been brought up from my very earliest days in a lamasery, and so in an entirely male environment. I but dimly understood the purport of some of the gestures which the females were indulging in. I willed myself up and away.

'I sped across the remainder of the city and came to the outskirts where the habitation was sparse. But all the fields and plantations were marvellously cultivated and many large estates were, I perceived, devoted to hydroponic farming. But that would be of little interest other than to those studying agronomy.

'I rose higher and cast about for some objective to which I might direct myself, and I saw a marvellous saffron sea. There were vast rocks fringing the coastline, rocks of yellow, rocks of purple, rocks of all hues and tints, but the sea itself was saffron. This I could not understand. Previously the water looked a different colour. Gazing upwards I perceived the reason. One sun had set, and another was rising which made three suns! And with the increasing ascension of the third sun and the descent of one other the colours were changing, even the air appeared of a different tint. My bemused gaze beheld the grass changing its colour, from red it turned to purple, from purple it turned to a yellow, and then the sea itself gradually changed colour too. It reminded me of the manner in which at eventide when the sun was setting low over the high ranging mountains of the Himalayas colours would sometimes change, and how instead of the bright shining of day in the valleys a purple twilight would form and even the high snows would lose their pure white and appear to be blue or crimson. And so, as I contemplated the matter, this was no great strain upon my comprehension. I surmised that the colours were always changing on this planet.

'But I did not want to go over water never having seen much before. I had an instinctive dread of it and a fear that some mishap might occur, that I might fall in. So I directed my thoughts inwards, inland, at this my disembodied spirit wheeled around - and I sped for a few miles over rocky coastline and small farm areas. And then to my ineffable delight I found that I was over terrain which was somewhat familiar, it reminded me of moorlands. I swooped low and saw the little plants nestling together on the face of that world. Now with the difference in sunlight they appeared to be little violet coloured flowers with brown stems, akin to heather. Further along there was a bank of that which, under this lighting, resembled gorse, yellow gorse, but here the plant had no thorns to it.

'I rose a few hundred feet and gently drifted a, long over this the most pleasant sight, which I had seen on this strange world. To these people, no doubt this would be a very desolate area. There was no sign of habitation, no sign of roads. In a pleasantly wooded dell I found a small lake and a little stream trickling over a high cliff tumbled into it and fed it. I lingered awhile, watching the changing shadows, and their van-hued fingers of light permeating through the branches above my head. But there was this continuous urging that I should keep on the move. I had the impression that I was not here for my own amusement, my own pleasure, my recreation; I was here that others could see through me. I was lifted again and flung high in the air, and prodded into extreme speed. Beneath me the land blurred by, land, a broad river, a spit of land, and again the sea. Against my will I was propelled over that sea until I came to what was no doubt another land, another country. Here the cities were smaller but entirely vast. Accustomed, as I was now, to size they were small but much, much larger than anything I would ever hope to see upon the Earth, which I had now left….

link to part 3

link to danish hermitsite - from the book in danish