The Spirit Trap


Much to wonder, much to ponder.
Let me sing again, before you wander.
The fourth story bubbles in my mind,
Be patient as my words unwind.
A little village in the midst of gigantic heights
Himalayan winds roared unforgivingly through the nights.
The villagers abided by frugality,
Exception being their devotion to spirituality.

Every morning, in the early hours,
They gathered together with some flowers.
Together they walked down to the temple square
They meditated for calm and chanted a prayer.
As soon as their prayer was said,
A young monk would come ahead.
“Brothers and sisters, we start a new day.”
He would bow with them, not a word more he would say.

When the sky would begin to wear a tinge of black,
All the villagers would tread back.
They would gather again and chant another prayer.
The monk would emerge, holy incense would temper the bitter air.
Then all would retire for the night,
The village would rest, not a soul to be in sight.

Such were the days and nights in the village,
Till one day, a stranger came, with an intent to pillage.
A spy from a foreign land,
He was there to observe the village firsthand.
Was the village worth a loot
Or was it worthy of territorial pursuit?
He had hid himself all day, trained was he,
“Strange! Not a single man or woman at this hour I see.”
He said to himself as he moved in the shadows.
“Now what is that, one would suppose.”

He looked at the roof of a nearby house,
He ventured close, quiet as a mouse.
A strange contraption adorned the roof,
Bright threads in a spindle left him further aloof.
He looked about and soon observed,
There was one on each roof, it left him unnerved.
“Get it together soldier! You are a master of stealth.
Finish the job and there will be considerable wealth.”
He boosted his morale as the wind spat in his face.
“The temple, my steps from the morning I shall retrace.
Lets see what riches it keeps,
Might nick some souvenirs while everyone sleeps.”

He walked stealthily in the middle of the night
Till a strange creature came in sight.
It had a thin straw like neck and a great pot belly,
Its eyes darted around, fast and haphazardly.
The spy was petrified and smothered a cry,
Not yet had this creature glanced upon the spy.
It carried the weight of its belly in its brawny hands,
As it waddled about, waving its very many strands
Whipped by the harsh Himalayan air,
The spy ran towards the temple square.

He looked back over his shoulder,
The creature was hurling after him like a boulder.
The spy sped up and held on to his gait
While the creature followed, carrying his weight.
Soon the spy burst into the temple hall,
The monk emerged, he stood tall.
“It’s here, help me. It’s here.”,
He uttered, cowering with fear.
The monk stood in front of him and waited.
Finally the creature came, its sharp teeth it grated.

The monk closed his eyes as if to pray.
The creature chomped hungrily, the monk was eaten away.
No sooner had it taken a bite,
The creature howled over his plight.
The spy still cowered in the shadows
He waited his turn, death was close.
The creature choked and coughed in pain,
But his hunger he could not restrain.
It rested for a moment, as its form gorged,
Unaware of the energy that surged
From behind, until it spoke,
It chanted a prayer and the creature awoke.
But it neither howled, nor it stirred,
In a snap of the fingers, it took the form of a bird.

The spy was dumb-struck and turned towards the light
The monk! He held a torch, burning bright.
“Ser Na, hungry was that ghost,
Ever consuming , a disease among most.
From its Bardo state it has emerged,
Reborn as a bird once its senses converged.
Forget your violent ways and embrace serenity.
It is time that you remember your identity.
A spy of a ruthless kingdom nearby
You died of your own doing, acting on the sly.
As you fiddled with the spirit traps on the roof tops,
They resisted you and left you but an undead corpse.”

The spy remembered now, life came and went fleetingly,
He felt his form change, he smiled one last time, sheepishly.
“I have been found but what awaits you.”
With a loud hiss, out of snakeskin it grew.
And so did hiss the Himalayan wind that night,
As the monk came to realize his own plight.

About the post: The post uses the beliefs around Tibetan Ghosts. A hungry ghost as per Tibetan beliefs, has a narrow neck and a huge stomach and thus, can never be satisfied.

Bardo: An intermediate state after a person dies, between two lives, the one over and the next one.

Ser Na: Used to refer to the emotional state of the hungry ghost.

Spirit Trap: A spindle like object with bright threads entwined and used to catch spirits. Once the spirit is caught, the spirit trap is burnt.


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