Chapter 9 – Potalaka
Altair was alone in the cave. After six months he began to look more deeply into his journey across the bridge between worlds as his mind and heart grew calmer. He saw more of the light because he now saw more of the darkness.
He began to question the nature of consciousness itself. If everything around him and within him was God or Source or Buddha then surely he could communicate with that pure consciousness like he did with extraterrestrials and dolphins and Tanya.
He let his mind grow calm and surrendered to the stillness within the cave.
At first nothing happened. Altair knew not to expect anything. He just sat still with his inner eye fixed on the third eye area and waited. He sent out a soul call to the One, the Source of All Love like a dart filled with desire to see the Beloved and he rested In total faith that an answer would come.
Altair became aware of a subtle change. The air around him became still as if matching the stillness he was resting in within. The consciousness that was the air began to arrange itself like a cosmos of consciousness and he could feel tendrils of that consciousness reaching out to touch him, the awareness that he called Altair.
He felt the hairs prickle on the back of his neck. He became aware of the cave and the paintings and statues, the lawn outside, the garden, Priya and the children sleeping, the house and other houses with people asleep in the neighborhood, the beach that started just down at the end of the street, the waves and the great ocean the waves were part of, the waves that were conscious, the ocean that was breathing, the sky above that was listening, the stars looking down, everything connected, to us.
It was as if he had connected to the heart of the world, the mind of the cosmos. The stars themselves were whirling and spiraling around him, jumping and diving in the universal currents.
Then he heard a voice. And saw a face. In front of him. It could have been Swami Shyam or Sai Baba. Mother Mary or Guan Yin.
And all it said was
“Sleep. Remember your dreams and visions, meditate upon them. Then act. So sleep child.”
So he did.
His dream was simple and very clear. Sai Baba came to him in the dream.
“Visit Bruce. Tell him I want to see him. That is all you need to do. When it is time I will come to you in another form, as a Chintamani Stone in the form of a pearl and Amrita in the form of nectar. Until then know that the living consciousness of All That Is comes to you in the form of the Masters. All of them, Christ Krishna Buddha Mohammed Thoth All Divine Mothers are all embodiments of the one pure existence consciousness and bliss that is Love and Wisdom and speak the same truth with One Voice.”
When he woke he took a deep breath, pushed the covers back and opened the garden shed door. The morning was bright and filled with wonder. He could feel his heart racing with fresh new blood, a cosmic detective on the trail of the greatest mystery of all. Life.
He didn’t go in for breakfast, he got straight in his car and drove over to Bruce’s place. He had known Bruce for years, Bruce was a friend of both he and Priya and Tanya’s and a wild man when it came to love. He had no end of female suitors pursuing him but he always claimed he was free and open so no one woman ever lasted long. He was still in bed when Altair called.
“Bruce, wake up!”
“Altair, are you nuts? I’m not awake. Go away. Go home. Do something useful with your life!”
“I had a dream about Sai Baba. He came to me and told me he wants to see you.”
There was complete silence.
“Bruce?” Altair opened the door and walked in. Bruce was lying awake on the sofa in the lounge.
“I had the same dream. Sai Baba told me he wants me to go and see him in India.”
“So are you going?”
“Nah, I always believe in three signs. Tell me if he visits you again.”
Altair walked out, irritated. Surely Bruce wasn’t that stupid.
He drove into town and had to get some cash out before he started work. He stopped at an ATM machine just next to the cathedral.
There was a woman standing in front of him in the line at the machine. She was taking a long time withdrawing her cash. Altair hummed a tune impatiently. He didn’t want to be late for his first meeting.
The woman turned around but instead of leaving she stared straight at, or rather through Altair.
“Tell your friend Bruce he needs to come and see Sai Baba in India.”
Then she turned on her heel and walked off into the early morning breakfast crowd.
Altair now knew he must find a Chintamani Stone in the form of a pearl. Both Sai Baba and Manjushri had mentioned it. But where? He knew it would come from the heart of Guan Yin but what did that mean? The only answers ever came when he surrendered totally to the stillness and right now he had to attend a meeting. He was late when he arrived. And he was dreamy when he was supposed to be concentrating on their next marketing trip to Europe.
“What?” asked Altair.
“You should go on your own,” said Mark.
“You’re the most experienced,” said Frances. She looked at Altair with concern.
“Are you OK? No sleep?”
“Right,” said Altair.
“Get a coffee at the break. The Arts Centre has the best.”
“The Arts Centre? But I don’t drink coffee.”
Frances laughed. “That’s code for take a decent break. Walk off those blues.”
Altair took the hint. As business partners Mark and Frances had been very good to him. Allowing him time away from the business whenever he needed it. So after an hour he walked down to the Arts Centre, which was full of crazy stalls and market bargains at any time of the year.
“Want custom clothes?” asked Colleen, the auburn haired woman at ZigZag. She dealt in one off clothing and Altair rather liked what she imported.
“This top is great,” said Altair, choosing a pattern of black, red, green and white that he had never seen before. “How about the bottoms?”
“Sorry,” said Colleen. “Strangely a young woman bought them this morning just before you came here. Striking blonde. Said she wanted them for a singing audition. Didn’t want the top.”
Altair looked at Colleen for a moment. “Oh well, if they are supposed to get back together they will,” he said.
Pity, he thought, they would have looked so good together.
Altair slept fitfully in the cave that night, filled with dreams of Dakinis that beckoned him on the one hand into the light and Demons on the other that enticed him into the dark. He was drowsy when he woke and hurried into the house once he saw Priya’s car drive off with the children for school. He had a band meeting after work where he was auditioning a new singer and he wanted to make sure he had all the music. He made tea and toasted barley bread with Manuka Honey. As well as starting a company he also had formed a band so his world was taking shape again.
And as so often happens, things that look good together, find each other again, no matter how slim the odds.
“What song do you want to do first up?” said Tim. Tim was a doctor, guitarist and lyricist extraordinaire. Tim and Altair were rehearsing at a friend’s house near the beach.
“An original,” said Altair. “That will give her a better feeling for what we are about.”
“What’s her name again?”
“Good name for a singer.”
“I think that’s her now.”
A blue Toyota pulled up outside on the road between the beach and the house. They watched a blonde woman in a green tie-dye dress get out. They had advertised for a new singer so had auditioned a few before today.
“Did you check her stars?” grinned Tim.
“Not yet,” smiled Altair.
“I would, you’re pretty spot on with that sort of stuff.”
“I used to be, I haven’t touched it in a while.”
The door opened and a woman with sparkling blue eyes strode in. She held out her hand to Altair.
“Hi, I’m Aria.”
“Altair, and this is Tim.”
“Shall I sing first?”
And that was it. She set up the music stand she’d brought with her as if she were giving a concert on a stage and began to sing.
She had the voice of a nightingale and couldn’t keep her eyes off Altair. There was no doubting their connection. Altair could feel it from the moment she walked in. When she had finished she was the consummate professional.
“Will you let me know?”
“Sure,” said Altair. “You have a beautiful voice.”
“Thank you,” she said with an equally beautiful smile. And she left.
Tim was silent for a few moments. He hadn’t spoken at all in the time she was there.
“She had eyes for you man.”
“I noticed,” said Altair. “She has an amazing voice.”
“There are lots of good voices.”
“I felt something. Something old. Something very familiar.”
Something had stirred in Altair.
“She’s knows what she wants man, that’s all I’m saying.”
Altair wasn’t listening. Just like he hadn’t listened to his good friends Tom and Derek or his Mum when they’d talked to him early on about Priya.
That was his hubris. A stubborn pride when it came to love. Yet uncannily and in spite of everything Aria would accompany him to one of the greatest treasures of all, a Chintamani Stone, from the Goddess of Deep Listening Herself, Avalokiteshvara Guan Yin.
Altair and Aria quickly formed a love duet and a musical partnership. On their first date something extraordinary happened, a sign to make sure he wouldn’t miss their connection.
They were back at Aria’s place after a restaurant outing. Altair happened to walk past her bedroom on the way back from the bathroom and sneaked a look as the door was open. There on the bed were a pair of pants. An unmistakable pattern of black, red, green and white. He couldn’t believe his eyes.
“Aria can I ask you something?” he said when he returned to the lounge.
“Sure,” she smiled expectantly.
“I noticed a pair of pants in your bedroom, an unusual pattern. Where did you get them from?”
“Oh,” she looked puzzled. “A lady at the Arts Centre. They were a pair actually, but I didn’t want the top. Why?”
“You won’t believe this, but I bought the top the very same day as you bought the bottoms. I must have just missed you buying them. From the lady at the Arts Centre.”
And so it continued, from this unmistakeable sign, to another and another.
But something was missing in his heart. He had tried going through months of counseling with Priya in the hope of winning her back but all she ever said was “I don’t want this relationship.” That was devastating enough on top of the pain that comes along with the actual separation. The children were doing OK but Altair was suffering. He realized just how much when Priya announced one day that she had met Brinn, an airline pilot with the same birthday as her. And that they were taking the children to America and wanted Altair’s permission. Altair agreed with a heavy heart. He had watched his son Orion born in water under the constellation Orion and his daughter Skye born in their living room. He wept a long time with his children on the night they left for Washington. And then he tried to pick up the pieces of his life.
Aria wanted to sing in Europe so Altair decided to accompany her. He had marketing to do for the new company he had set up so they travelled Europe together, singing in King Ludwig’s Ballroom in Neuschwanstein Castle, doing duets for the British National Opera in London and eating pizza with world-renowned violinist Nigel Kennedy and singer Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin in the Cotswolds.
They returned to New Zealand and had to choose whether to continue on and live in Europe or move to the US.
That night Altair had a dream. He was standing on a beach in Los Angeles and three dolphins swam along and one stood on its tail and waved to him.
“We’ve got to go to America,” said Altair and he told Aria his dream.
“Then we will,” she said and they flew out the following morning.
Three days later they were standing on a Palos Verdes beach and three dolphins swam along and one stood on its tail and waved to him.
Altair and Aria stayed with relatives right on the coast. They arrived the day after a massive earthquake in which their uncle’s swimming pool had slipped 1.5 meters into the neighbors’ property. That day Altair drove to Trader Joe’s to pick up some organic veges to cook for dinner and some grains to soak for breakfast. As he was leaving the store he noticed a young girl crying on the sidewalk.
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
“I’m homeless,” she said. She looked up at him through a tear-soaked face and then began to sob again. She must have been no more than fifteen years old thought Altair.
“I’ll tell you what,” he said with a smile. “I’ve just bought these groceries for the family for tonight. There’s enough to feed one person for a week. Why don’t you have them?”
He knelt down in the road in front of her and placed the bags at her feet.
She looked up at him and then rubbed her eyes in bewilderment and then shock.
“What’s that, what’s…that…at your shoulder…”
She could hardly breathe or get her words out.
Altair felt it first and then saw it. The most serene calm came over him as if he too had gone past his last breath and was floating somewhere indescribable in human terms. He looked just past his left shoulder and saw the most magnificent glow like a million suns concentrated in a ball behind him and a tall beneficent female form reached out past him towards the girl’s heart.
“It’s an angel!” she cried.
And indeed it was.
A gift from God sent in this most unlikely of places to bring redemption from pain and freedom from suffering.
Years later Altair would learn Her Name.
Something had happened and Altair knew it. The One Consciousness we call God or Source was communicating to him through the most unlikely channels, dreams, dolphins, a homeless girl and an angel. The angel was a distinct sign and it galvanized him into action. He and Aria headed north, working for a spiritual publishing house then singing as they went to Festivals and groups from Self Realization Foundation at Lake Shrine and Sri Daya Mata to Ananda Village and Kriyananda. One night when they reached Canada they stayed with Josephine, a yoga teacher on Qualicum Beach in Vancouver Island. None of them could have predicted what came next.
“Altair, how is your search for magic and the stars unfolding?” asked Josephine.
Altair laughed. “Slowly. I’m waiting for the One Consciousness to speak to me when it’s ready.”
“No more angels?”
“Just the ones I see around me,” said Altair with a smile gesturing at the guests attending Josephine’s dinner party.
“That’s what I wanted to speak to you about. Do you see that couple over there?” She nodded towards the doorway. A couple looked just about ready to leave.
Altair nodded back.
“They heard you read the stars and wondered if you had time to read theirs.”
“Tonight if possible. They’re having marriage troubles. I have a small room out back you can use.”
“Sure. Tell them yes. I can do the reading for them in about an hour. Can you get their details?”
An hour later Altair found himself sitting across from the couple he had just met. Jennifer and Dave were having a great deal of trouble even listening to each other when they came in. Altair settled them down with presence and meditation.
“OK I want you to breathe with me. God is sitting here in both of you. Your breath is God’s breath and your words are God’s sacred words of the One Shared Heart,” Altair began.
He asked them to visualize that breath of God rising and falling in a cycle around the interior planets of the chakras.
He asked them what their God-Self would each want from the relationship.
Then he began to read their soul path, both individually and together.
An hour later and they both came out of the room smiling.
They paid Altair by Koha which for Maori people is a gift of the heart. The Shared Heart.
The next morning a line of more than fifty people were lined up outside Josephine’s door.
Jennifer and Dave had been very generous with their gratitude and spread the word. It spread like wildfire.
All the way through Canada and the US the same lines appeared outside someone’s door as if by magic, guided by the stars. When Altair got tired he would move on to a different city, hoping to remain anonymous, but word would get around, and he would be invited to a different house and there would be a new line of people. He did it all on Koha and received gifts of original paintings, silver tea sets, cash and jewelry, crystals and offers of exchanges like massage, many gifts he could not carry or take up so he gave them away. There were so many miracles that people began to call him Merlin.
A Native American Indian came to visit him. Altair had helped her with her business which had been in a slump and now two weeks after a Reading was flourishing.
“How can I help you?”
“It’s my son.”
“How can I help your son?”
“It’s a very difficult case.”
“Nothing is too difficult for the Lord. We do nothing on our own. Everything is the will of the Lord.”
“He was in an accident. He’s a logger. There was an accident at the mill and he was trapped between two logs. His spine was crushed. He’s in a full cast and won’t get out for six months.”
“How can I help?”
“Would you put something on a tape for him? There’s no phones there so I need to send it by mail.”
Then she hesitated.
“There’s one more thing.”
“He thinks you can help him with his dream.”
“What is it?”
“He wants to become an actor in Hollywood.”
“Does he have a family to support?”
“Does he have any experience in acting?”
“And he’s in a full cast with a broken back somewhere north of here with no phones.”
“I see. Give me his details and I’ll see what I can do.”
Altair made the cassette tape and gave it to his mother to send to her son. He didn’t hear anything for two weeks. Then one day the phone rang.
“Altair, Altair,” came an excited voice. “You’ll never guess what happened.”
“I probably won’t. Who is this?”
And the Mom who had tried to get Altair to help her son told him this story.
“Well, he did what you told him. He meditated on the problem and the solution and then handed it all over to God. Then just as you suggested he called ten movie producers in Hollywood including the numbers you gave him.”
Altair had recently returned from Hollywood and passed on some contacts in the movie industry that he knew there to the woman’s son.
“The first nine said no. When my son got to the tenth he was starting to feel dejected. He still went ahead with the call as you suggested. The secretary to the producer was very kind, took his number, as he was calling from a friend’s house, and said she would call back if there were any auditions coming up that he might be interested in. Only a matter of a minute or so later there was a call.
“Hello is this Allan?”
“I happened to be in the office and overheard your call. Would you mind retelling me what you related to my secretary?”
And so my son told his story all over again. The movie producer was so touched he invited Allan down to visit him in Hollywood when his health was better!”
Three years later Allan’s mom contacted Altair again. She told him the follow up to the phone call. The producer gave her son an audition for a small part in an up and coming play. Then he flew the family down and had them stay in his own private apartments while they got settled. Now Allan is happily based in Hollywood as an actor earning a reasonable salary and living his dream.
These were messages from the angel for Altair.
He was being given more and more signs that the conscious universe was communicating to him.
The numbers of people who sought him out for advice became quite overwhelming so he sought his own advice from a medical intuitive named Ruby. She was employed by hospitals in difficult-to-diagnose cases as she could look into a patients body and see where the trauma was.
“Oh,” she said the moment she met him. “You’re a Naga!”
Altair looked her straight in the eyes.
“You see? You know how to manipulate the energies, you’re doing it right now. You can weave the matrix that exists right across the cosmos and tap into its energies. You can see people’s place in it and help awaken them to it.”
It was true. Altair had been visited by a number of psychics and spiritual healers all who wanted to go deeper in their experiences. He only had to look into their eyes and raise his own energy and whatever experience they were desiring would be granted instantaneously. It was all to do with the fire of bliss in the inner spine that God or Spirit activated through him when he connected with people by touch or by gaze.
“But be careful,” she cautioned. “The Naga energy or serpent Fire is very hypnotic and can lead to enormous trouble with the opposite sex. You must be very careful about your boundaries with people or your relationships will be destroyed.”
Altair knew this already. The power of the inner fire often activated powerful sexuality mixed in with love so had to be dealt with very sensitively. Altair had spent time in many communities where the leader, often a male, at some point was involved in sexual misconduct and Altair was left to help counsel the many angry devotees.
“The Naga is an ancient energy. You can wield powers that may seem miraculous to ordinary folk.”
Altair had witnessed many miracles merely by him saying that a person would receive healing or abundance or love if they had faith. He had visited a wonderful man called Albert in Ashland who had been a fighter pilot in the war.
“I was shot down over the ocean,” said Albert, “and when I bailed I landed near a Japanese freighter whose men opened fire on me with machine guns. I sustained shrapnel wounds in my spine and was left for dead in the water for many hours until a rescue crew found me. I’ve had this pain in my back and legs for years and can hardly walk.”
“Lie on the bed,” said Altair, “and we’ll see what we can do.”
Altair worked on Albert’s legs and back for two hours, sometimes praying, sometimes laying hands on, and sometimes using a combination of acupressure and shiatsu touch points. By the time he left Albert was fast asleep.
The next morning he received a phone call from a Californian TV station.
“Hello, is this Altair?”
“We have a gentleman here called Albert who claims you healed him.”
“Healed? He’s healed?”
“Yes, he says he has had bad pain in his back and legs for years and that you came like an angel and touched him and he was healed.”
Altair was silent. The angel’s hand at work again.
“My name’s Joan,” said the voice. “I’m the producer for the show. Would you mind coming down to the studios? We’d like to interview you.”
Altair told Aria and together they went to the TV studios. Altair told his story and they sang together on air and were promoted across California as the singers who heal the heart.
That pretty much summed up Altair’s mission, an earth angel who heals the heart.
Altair looked at Ruby. Ruby was beautiful and fierce-eyed, and now he saw something different. He was looking straight into the eyes of another Naga. Her cheeks flushed as he met her gaze and his heart quickened as he felt the familiar rush of energies in his spine.
In her place it was the Dalai Lama speaking to him.
“Your brain, your heart is your temple. Look there for what you seek. Let your path be love and kindness.”
Some years ago Altair had sponsored the Dalai Lama’s first trip to New Zealand and had been fortunate enough to meet His Holiness for a private audience. Then, as in all their meetings, whenever he asked about Avalokiteshvara Guan Yin the Goddess of Compassion, the Dalai Lama would say to him,
“Study, and then practice being Avalokiteshvara by being love and kindness and compassion for all people in your heart. Then teach ten people and ask them to teach ten more and ask them to do the same and so on until this entire world is transformed and liberated through your loving kindness. Then you will have successfully transformed yourself and all others into Avalokiteshvara.”
Now the Dalai Lama transformed back into Ruby and then again into Guan Yin.
“Just as two of the Buddha’s disciples are Great Naga and hold naga-jewels or Chintamani Stones, so you who are Naga will find your own naga-jewel in My Heart.”
Then Guan Yin gathered Altair into Her own heart and flew with him to Her celestial palace in the Pure Land on Mount Potalaka, where beings of every kind from many worlds came to seek Her Wisdom and Compassion. Altair could see monks and nuns, making their way through the Goddess Tara’s Rosewood Forest, seeking rebirth on Potalaka and even more who had come to seek the advice of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Guan Yin. The passes on the mountain were very dangerous, its sides precipitous and its valleys rugged. On the top of the mountain was a lake, its waters as clear as a mirror. From the grotto flowed a great river which encircled the mountain and flowed down to the southern sea. The celestial palace lay beside the lake. Rare medicinal herbs grew in its gardens and exquisite lotus flowers bloomed in small ponds. Lions, elephants, horses, peacocks and garuda roamed the larger garden areas, all in the peace and bliss of the presence of Guan Yin.
The vision vanished and Altair was sitting still facing Ruby.
“To cross the bridge between worlds takes great love and compassion,” said Ruby. “You never take the trip alone. Because to succeed you need to free humanity of its fear and suffering. That is what we are all here to do, together.”
Altair travelled up and down the west coast of the United States and Canada bringing healing and love and compassion before he returned to New Zealand and then Australia. Of all the wonders he could imagine it is often the simplest things that bring the deepest joy. He was reunited with his childhood friend Suzie in Sydney and he and Aria and Suzie and her partner Michael all settled in the same suburb in Sydney right near the beach. Every morning Altair brushed tiger sharks and man-o-war jellyfish as he swam, not without incident especially one day when he was stung badly by a jellyfish and had to spend three days in bed, unable to walk.
While he was looking for work Suzie introduced him to Joan, a Sai Baba devotee and very wealthy millionaire who had made her money in the property market.
“How would you like to run a health clinic for people here in Sydney,” asked Joan one day out of the blue.
“I have the money to fund it and Sai Baba came to me in a dream and told me that you are the person to run it.”
As simple as that, Altair found himself running a clinic with doctors, massage therapists, Chinese acupuncturists, astrologers and counselors all bringing health and healing to the public.
It was on one of those health and healing days that Sai Baba acted again in Altair’s life, in the most mysterious way.
Altair was walking in the local Mosman shopping area with Aria when a woman walking past stopped them.
“Sai Baba wants you to come and visit him at my sacred shrine. He has a gift for you. He has been waiting for you.”
“Sai Baba is a Messenger from God,” said Altair.
The woman nodded and gave them her card.
“My name is Shanti. I will see you at 5.”
So that afternoon, Altair and Aria went to a house just above Balmoral Beach and knocked on the door.
The same woman who had met them earlier bowed and let them in.
“Follow me,” she said.
They went with her down into her basement where there were two statues, both sitting in pools of what at first appeared to be water.
The first statue was of Ganesha, the god of good fortune, remover of obstacles, patron of the arts sciences and wisdom.
Out of his trunk poured a golden nectar for which Altair could see no obvious source.
Shanti pointed to the large bowl that was overflowing now with the liquid which dripped onto plastic sheets on the floor.
“Taste it,” she said. “Nectar from Heaven. Amrita. The Ambrosia of Immortality. To taste it is to attain higher knowledge and power.”
Altair did taste it and it was sweet, not like honey or sugar but a different sweetness altogether with the lightness and glow of heaven.
Then he turned to the second statue.
It was a statue of Guan Yin.
He looked at Her and She looked at Him and he finally understood what Manjushri and Sai Baba had said, that he would find the Chintamani Stone in the Heart of Guan Yin.
“Kneel down and pray to Her,” said Shanti. “If She is willing and you touch Her Heart with compassion She will give you a priceless gift.”
Altair knelt and prayed. He knew he had been waiting for this moment for a long time.
“Hold out your hands,” said Shanti.
As Altair held out his hands, cupped, under the Heart of Guan Yin’s statue, the most amazing miracle occurred. From the Heart of Guan Yin the most beautiful pearl began to grow. It emerged little by little like a baby from the womb of Her Heart and to his amazement as the head of the pearl and then the body appeared he saw the beautiful pearl was attached by a thin strand of pearl silk to the statue’s heart like a baby’s umbilical cord to its mother. Gradually the weight of the pearl allowed the silk strand to stretch and lower the pearl and eventually to break off in Altair’s hands.
“You must be a monk,” said Shanti. “When I travelled to see Sai Baba he guided me to a monastery in Sri Lanka where his monks had prayed over this statue for years. They gave me the statue and said to use it to heal the world. They said it had great powers of manifestation and miracles and would recognize a monk by the power of his compassionate heart and give him a Chintamani Stone accordingly.”
Altair’s eyes filled with tears of gratitude.
He bowed deeply to Guan Yin and gave deep and reverent thanks for this miracle.