Pashupati Star pulled on his natural shawl, made of handmade hemp fiber, and swung one end up, and around his left shoulder, keeping his right arm, free. He had a bag hanging from his left shoulder, of the same, but more beat-up, and layered, hemp fiber, lined with cotton. In this bag were his day’s tools. Star was a bricklayer by profession, just like his father and grandfather had been, before him. His staff was also his measuring rod, as it was the length of a standard measure, for building human spaces. The town was planned with straight and perpendicularly divided streets, by the brick lined roads, which formed the thoroughfares. Star turned from the large roadway, into the narrower one, to get back home.
They had lived in this town for many generations, and he enjoyed his profession. It was rumored that his Great Grandfather’s, father had come from a much bigger town, across the great river. Their home was standard brick design, with high walls facing the street. The house lived inwards, in its open courtyard. There was a large entrance, with two large rooms on either side. The side walls were lined with rooms for his family, and a granary and a kitchen. The fourth side was for the household animals, and their feed. There was even a well for water, which was sweet and abundant, and that is why his Grandfather, had chosen to build here.
“Hey Star,… have you lost … your hearing,” came a panting voice, from behind him. He knew that voice, but decided to keep going, as if he didn’t hear, speeding up slightly. “Star, I will kill you this time, if you don’t stop.” He heard the approaching voice, and her bangles, but Star kept going. He had managed to avoid her, for a whole month.
“My Star!… Why do you not wait for me,… why must you always torture me, so?” she said, panting, as she caught up with him, running on her long legs. “Mother Goddess, please give me the strength, to put some sense, into this fool.”
“Full Moon, you can’t stop me like this. Not in the middle of the street, and bar my way?” Star said, looking up at the tall young woman, who stood barring his way, with her arms out and her patterned brass bangles, reflecting the fading sun.
“Just call me Moon dear,” Full Moon smiled at him, and gave him a slight push, in his chest, and tilted her head, looking him up and down. “Just like you did the other night, my dearest Star.”
Star was staring at her breasts rising and falling, under her shawl, as she took deep breaths. He noticed the beautiful brass necklace with carved and shaped beads rising and falling, and then turned his head away.
“Yes Moon,” Star looked up into her brown eyes, finally, as she continued to rub and poke his chest, and then pointed 2 fingers up to her eyes.
“I just finished work, and I am tired, and want to just, go home.” Star said softly.
“OK so you are not doing anything, but just going home,” Moon said, stepping aside, and giving him way. “Good, as I am also not doing anything also, and will happily accompany you.”
Star pushed her aside with his shoulder, and at the open opportunity, started walking off towards his locality. She walked besides him stride for stride, and even skipped a few steps ahead, or followed behind, if he scowled. She hummed a tune, as she accompanied him. He was used to her antics, and he even smiled, when she even tried to do a cartwheel. Instead she ended up on the bricks, with all her long graceful limbs spread out, and flat on the ground. He giggled, and walked away faster.
“Dear Star,” she said catching up with him, near his home’s entrance, as he was still giggling, from seeing her spread out like that, at his feet.
.”Dear Moon,” he responded, and she flung her arms around him, and hugged him tightly.
“Oh so sweet,” Moon said gazing down into his eyes, and he tried to break away giggling harder, as she rolled her eyes at him, and wouldn’t let him go. He was rubbing against her, as he tried to escape, and she was exaggerating it, by her rolling sensuous movements. Then suddenly, even she could not hold in the pleasure, of seeing him, in her arms again. She also looked at his stupid expression, and broke into giggles, as he tickled her. He released himself, and burst into laughter, “You looked so silly Moon, sprawled out in the street like that.”
Embarrassed, she started laughing nervously, with him. He dropped his bag and reached out and tickled her. They both cracked up then, and soon were down on the bricks, pounding them, and roaring aloud. “Sweet Star…Sweet Star.” Moon said between laughs, and Star said “Dear Moon. Dear Moon.” They raised their heads, and looked at each other, sitting in the street and laughing at each other. Moon made a face, and then, they broke into spasms of laughter again.
“Oh Mother Goddess! Will I see you by the silent grove of Pashupati, tonight after sunset,” Moon asked, when she could compose himself.
“Tonight? Well let me try, and get there, as I have some things to do.” Star replied.
“Oh Star it will be so good, if you can make it,” Moon almost begged. Star nodded and agreed to meet her later.
Moon smiled back at him, and wrapped her wrap around her, now that she had heard, what she wanted to hear. She straightened out the handwoven cotton shift, that she had wrapped around her waist. The joy of seeing Star again, was just like her Mother Goddess, had promised her, when she prayed to her last night. The Mother had calmed her, and assured her, that everything will be alright, in the evening. Her brass necklace and her bracelets and bangles, shone in the setting sun, as she turned, and headed off to her home. She had a lot to do, to[KR(1] get ready for the night.
Star ate an early meal, and finished off the chores he had to complete. He then decided to go to the bath. He was feeling dirty and decided, to clean himself, from all the dust of the day, from working, in construction. The public baths were a short walk away, past his local market. He headed out and soon another friend joined him, and they talked as they walked, as he was headed for the baths also. His friend worked in the sanitation department, and they kept the drains cleaned and covered, and the streets clean. He really needed a bath he said, after this day’s work. They enjoyed the hot baths, and then relaxed in the cool pool, and let the day’s tiredness; seep out, of their pores. Then they dried themselves, and applied oils, to smoothen, their chapped hands and feet. With glistening hair now, cleaned and tamed by the oil, they were ready to return, to civilization.
Star fade farewell to his friend and headed for the Pashupati Grove, on the outskirts of the town. As he approached he saw the full moon start to rise, above the clouds on the horizon. He felt a sudden jump in his anticipation, at the sight of the big white moon rising. There were two more couples, ahead of him, also strolling along, in the same direction. He realized that they may be headed for the Pashupati Temple, for the special prayers, offered on every full moon night. Star believed deeply in Pashupati as the lord of all living creatures. His friend Full Moon believed more in the power of our Mother Goddess, and tonight the two would meet in the silent Grove.
Star entered the Grove and headed for the Temple, and saw that a lot more couples, had gathered, for the celebration. On one side, a stage had been built, in a clearing in the grove. A lot of people, had already spread themselves, on the grassy slope, all around the stage. There was light from oil lamps, hung on the brick and wooden stage. The surrounding areas, were in semi darkness, and only lit by the stars and the moon. There were four people, sitting on the stage, playing music, and the sound of their drums, and voices, spread the music all around. The rising moon above the trees, brought light into the clearing, and you could see people and shapes more clearly now.
He felt her presence, even before he saw her. She was sitting under a tree, in the shade; erect, and looking at the musicians. Star felt a strange vibration arising from her, a serenity as if she was the Mother Goddess herself, as Moon had described her to him. She was glad in a thin cotton wrap and on her arms were bangles of brass with tiny beads hanging from them. Her hair was washed, oiled and neatly parted. In the middle parting she wore vermillion, and it seemed to add to his desire, as she was in service, to the Mother Goddess.
This strange tall beauty, and raw feminine power, in full display, had attracted him before, when he met her last. Suddenly all his efforts at self-discipline was gone, causing him, to break his promised fast of the senses, to his lord Pashupati. He approached her from behind, and saw her shoulders relax, and she swayed slowly with the music, as he approached her. He knew she could feel his presence too, as the power of Pashupati flowed to the mother goddess, and their disciples, are surely swayed, by the same vibrations. As he reached down to touch her shoulder, she looked up and smiled, as if she already knew he was here.
She patted the ground besides her and her bangles made music of their own. She looked up into his eyes and smiled, “I came early, and found a good spot for us,” Moon said, “We can hear the musicians, and see the stage clearly from here.” Star grunted, as he lowered himself to the ground, and sat down beside her, on the reed mat. She had come well prepared for the evening with snacks and drinks. . There was a coarse cotton sheet covering the reed and the soft grass below, for comfort. The moon rose higher, and another larger group of musicians, came on the stage. They were louder, and the tempo picked up, as the moon shone brighter on the people. Star felt the music take him also, and he closed his eyes and swayed.
She reached down and offered him a drink from the baked clay amphora, which she carried for that purpose. It was a special drink, from the Mother, and she had prepared it carefully. Star took a deep swig, as he was thirsty and felt the greenish golden liquid, flow down his parched throat. He coughed, as some of it went down the wrong way, and Moon pounded his back, to help him recover. “Don’t be in a rush Star, I made more than enough for us, for the evening, just like last time.” Moon joked, as she took another sip, of her favorite drink. It had come out just right she felt, just like her mother, had taught her. She smiled as the herbs and intoxicants carefully prepared, in the ancient recipe, would soon have the desired effect. She wanted tonight to be spent devoted, to the worship, of the Mother.
Then Moon started to dance and she motioned to Star to rise also. She and he danced in the moonlight, as the musicians, sent them into a strange trance. Star felt his whole universe become free as he swayed and danced in the moonlight. Moon had a natural grace and a good ear and flowed with music. She would hum along, and let her tall body follow, the waves of the melody
When the moon reached its peak, the high priest of the temple, came out from the Temple. He was clothed all in white and his junior priests followed, also dressed in white, carrying torches that lit, his way. On their shoulders, they carried the shining brass image, of Pashupati in all his glory, surrounded by his living creatures all around him on a large brass seal. The people bowed as the image passed, and Star prostrated himself to the ground, as he knew that without Lord Pashupati’ s help, he would never find joy in this life.
Moon was the only one who remained erect and stared curiously at all the creatures surrounding the lord. She smiled as she knew, that without the Mother, none of them would have existed, for Pashupati to rule. The power to give birth remained, only in her and the Mother
Star had spent the past few years in devotion to Pashupati. He had worked hard on his body, to make it stronger and virile like his lord. He had shunned all base pleasures of the other bricklayers, and concentrated on making himself better. He was attracted to the power of the lord, over all creatures, and wanted to emulate him. Unfortunately a month ago, he had met Full Moon, on the same moonlit night. She had bewitched him and he had lost himself, and all his training and restraint, had become lost. He remembered having the same drink, and all his senses coming alive.
He felt his mind had become very fluid and his rigidity of discipline was gone. All his efforts at self-control, and all his meditation, had become lost. He had gone so far out of himself that, had it had not been for Moon, he would have been lost. He wandered into a strange world, of disbelief and wonder and imagination and profundity, as if everything was growing in a mother’s love. It was the sound of her bangles, as she danced in abandon, which brought him back to reality. The sight of her flushed face and body sent him into a new realm of joy which was missing in his hard life..
She had called him with her power, as this was her first time, and the Mother had told her she was ready and the time was right. She sent her feminine force and calmed his male force, with her love, and brought him back, from the dark recesses of his mind. She had stroked him and slowly guided him, into the ways of the Mother. The power of his years of training vanished, in her soft embraces. He was suddenly more awake, than he had ever been. Each moment was a delight, and each touch, was a pleasure. “Sweet Star” Moon had whispered, as she showed him the ways, of the Goddess. ”Sweet Star” again at him, as the music played, and they swayed. Star had clung to her, as only she would save him now, from himself, in this strange new world. He realized that all his power was only built, for her pleasure. She completed him, and there was no other way; that he could live, from now on.
“Dear Moon,” He whispered back, as the drink took hold, of their imaginations, and their spirits soared. They became so co-mingled, that nobody could tell, where Pashupati ended and the Mother started. A joy arose within them, at the realization that, this was just meant to be.
Star looked up after an eternity it seemed, and he noticed that the moon had slid down, behind the trees. The night was passing fast and he felt, as if he had just arrived. He smiled in a strangely contented way, and Moon looked at him and smiled, and poked his chest. Star giggled as the waves of happiness rose, from her caressing touch. Moon giggled at his reaction, and Star reached out, and tickled her, some more, on the curvy spots she loved. She laughed, and squealed. Soon they were rolling on the grass, laughing and mingling, in the joy, of the Mother’s blessing. Their spirits mingled and they were one.
Their laughter became a primordial sound, and they reveled in their creation. Moon with her bangles, and the soft music in the background, spread love across the clearing. More and more couples had joined them, in the glow, of the Full Moon ceremony. Now their laughter became infectious, and spread out, across the clearing in compassion and joy. Star was so entangled in Moon, that their laughter, turned into a deep satisfying feeling, inside. From there, the force spread outwards, and spread to everyone. In that magical night, they were all connected, in this great ceremony. He felt his mind, become one; with hers, even as they laughed softly. The Mother Goddess, and Pashupati, existed that night, in a co-mingled joy celebrating life and creation.
The Grand Priest of Pashupati, declared this month’s Full Moon ceremony closed. He turned to face east and prostrated himself towards the rising sun and the Temple. He then spread his arms high and thanked Pashupati for making this ceremony, a roaring success. He blessed all the couples, to go forth, and be happy!