The Shah Of Blah slept through the night peacefully, as did his audience. When they awoke the next morning, they looked out onto a black sky dominated by a blood red sun.
“Do you see the sun smiling at us?”, asked The Shah Of Blah. “When the sun rises in this manner, it signifies a change in the tide of some of us sitting here. I wonder, I wonder”.
“And now, on to the tale”, he continued.
“The trio awoke in the morning to see a black sky dominated by a blood red sun. The sun seemed to be winking and smiling at them. Did the sun suddenly develop a soul of it’s own? If so, was this a wicked soul? What was the sun smiling about? Did it smirk at the folly of man, at man’s tendency to put himself above nature? No matter. The three companions, looking at the sun shivered, despite the angry flares that seemed to emanate from the bloody sphere.”
“They looked across at their host, Yama, who sat there by the river slowly twirling a twig in his mouth. He chewed and spat as he seemed to clean his teeth with the twig. Slowly he got up, his bones seeming to creak under his skin.”
“Approaching the three sitting there, he smiled. Blood seemed to ooze from his gums, and he spat blood. Blood mixed with the blood oozing from the ground, and the drops hissed as they fell to the earth. ‘Bismillah’, he said. ‘You promised to tell us your story. Let us hear the tale. Let it unfold. We are all waiting'”
“Bismillah coughed, and hesitated. The look on Yama’s face seemed to shrivel his tongue. His eyes bulged, and his long beard seemed to crackle with electricity. Never before had he experienced something like this. In his life, it was he who sat in front of people, silently chortling as he watched them squirmed in front of him. He had enjoyed playing his little games with them, laughing at the follies of people, as one by one they fell for his little schemes. Suddenly, it all seemed so insignificant now, as he sat before someone who, despite his creaking bones, possessed the far larger power to play with, manipulate and toy with the person in front of him.”
“‘We have time, dear Bismillah’, said Yama. ‘We have eternity before us. The river you see in front of you, has been flowing since almost the beginning of time, and it shall flow until the sands of time dry up, and the hour clock of our universe has done it’s time. Until then, it shall flow, and I shall tend to the waters, and ply my boats. We have time. That is all we have.'”
“Continuing, Yama went on, ‘When all is said and done, all that we really have as our ultimate resource, is the time that we have allotted to us. How we spend it, is something we choose. It is our choice. We may often talk of how we were made to this, and made to do that. While there are extenuating circumstances at times, it is for us to choose how well we spend our time. When all is said and done, you believe that you will be called upon to account for your time, to God. But, have anyone of you seen God? Have any of you seen the Devil? Or, have they both been invented by man himself?'”
“‘Where indeed does Heaven exist, and where indeed does Hell exist but in your minds,in your souls? The tortures that you feel, the pain that you feel, is all the Hell that you need. Will you be reborn? Who knows? Do you? Do I? Will you disappear into the infinity of space? Who knows?'”
“‘We have time, dear Bismillah. We have time. When all is said and done, this is all that we have. The money that you accumulate will be left behind. All that you take with you into the beyond, is the time that you were given, and an account of how wisely you spent it.'”
“A silence stayed and grew in the hearts of his three companions, and their minds were still. Here they were, at the banks of the Vaitarna, with nothing but the tales of their lives. They realised that all that they had to contribute, was the stories of their lives, their beliefs, their actions, their hopes. Infinity raged about them, and they finally realised that the next steps that they would take would be influenced only by the stories of their lives”.
Silence reigned in the room, and all seemed dark for a while. The Shah Of Blah crossed his legs one way and then the other.
“Let us have some tea”, he said, “and then maybe, we can hear the beginning of Bismillah’s tale.