In the Astral Plane, through the invisible weave of Dark Matter, and amongst the circuitry of SpaceTime there are Sacred Words. As human beings, squeezed into barely capable minds by the Terrestrial Plane’s dimensional constraints, we cannot know them.
Occasionally, some of these words utter themselves to you from the mouth of the Cosmos. Mostly, they come to you in dreams and your teeth chatter around your palate’s incapacity to form the phonemes. You half-choke on a guttural specter as you awake; your mind already vacant of the word. There is a pain in awakening from nearly speaking to the Everything. There’s also a pain in not being able to conceptualize what just happened, despite the fact that every atom in your body knows it did.
Other times, they broil in the heat of your third eye, during psychedelic drug trips. What we can see as frenzied wailing from someone getting a peek behind the Cosmic Curtain, is really just a Sacred Word trying to wriggle free from a mortal cage.
And then you die.
You find yourself sitting at the base of the ornately-rooted Ficus religiosa. The Pipal Tree. The Bodhi Tree, where once sat the Buddha; where always sits the Buddha, in their blissful, unending moment of Enlightenment. To you, they appear as lights that travel the enveined highways of the tree itself.
Some people named this tree Yggdrasil.
You may have heard others call it Sidrat al-Muntaha.
All of the names are right. They all call to the same place.
There you sit, floating almost, at the foot of the Pipal Tree. For a time, you sit in concerted effort to learn to communicate with the tree, but you are thinking too inside the box of your terrestrial mind. After some time, you release your Terrestrial mind and learn to speak with the tree.
The Pipal Tree demands that you learn the Sacred Word as a key to crossing the bridge from the living to the afterlife. For the duration, you will be stuck communing with the tree. Luckily, it is not a torturous form of Purgatory. It is peaceful and comfortable, except for the fact that you need to learn this word. The roots just beneath you slither and vibrate. You see the vague, ethereal forms of Lord Narayana and Goddess Lakshmi come and go. Must be the end of the week somewhere.
It occurs to you, after a period of meditation amongst the lights moving along the venation, to offer water to the tree. One of the heart-shaped leaves becomes particularly illuminated and appears almost to nod acknowledgement to you. Almost as if it is engorged with the energy of gratitude. The pattern of the leaf’s venation, as illuminated, pulls you into deeper focus.
Each day, you are allowed to eat one of the tree’s figs. Again, you offer water, stare deep into the patterns in the leaf brilliant with the warm energy of the enlightened. One day, you swallow part of one of the figs, but it becomes lodged in your throat. You cough in frightened fits until an unusually large black agaonid wasp emerges from your gasping maw. As the wasp leaves your tongue, you scratch out one last cough. It sounds almost as if you are saying “Cuba.”
What you have actually learned to say is the ancient Aramaic word for love, “khuba,” but in the form of an unutterable. There is an accumulation of water in the crevice of the most illuminated leaf and you drink it to clear out the coughing fit’s last convulsions.
The wasp has landed on the tree to lay its eggs and thus pollinate the tree. You have participated in a cycle much grander than your small, mortal self. And as you ruminate on the patterns, the cycle, and the concept of love, you realize, with the last moment of this form of consciousness, that you are being released.
Therein, Bliss is a singular and all-encompassing state. Revelation is release. You have joined the unutterable nothing-and-everythingness. Death truly is the road to awe.
Gabe Bogart lives in Seattle, Washington, where he patiently awaits the return of the Seattle Supersonics. He learned to love words in his senior year high school creative writing class and from his sister and mother. It’s been a long time since he took a major road trip and he’d like to do it next in a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Super Sport. His work has appeared in Pareidolia Lit, Hencroft Hub, Collective Realms, TERSE. Journal, Fahmidan Journal, acloserlisten.com, and thesianetwork.com.