The Saga of Odin/Chapter Eight: Death and Immortality
Death and Immortality
More than three years have passed since Ódin started telling this saga to me. Sometimes I wrote a lot from Him at once about the life of heroes, sometimes — only small episodes which supplemented what I had already heard.
And now — early spring. The first sunny days already caressed with their warmth.
But the weather suddenly changed dramatically: the cold wind blew again, bringing rain and snow.
In such bad weather, meditations usually get worse and there is no point in leaving home without special need.
But I had such need: I was called to leave the house by Odin. And, covered in a raincoat, I overcame the bad weather.
Suddenly, Odin Himself approached my body — and everything changed! The cold and icy streams of rain almost disappeared from my perception, I immersed myself in the Caress given by Him.
He appeared in all His Power — as the Chief Divine Curator of the development of souls in all the North-European lands:
“Yes, I also once lived in flesh — in the harsh and volatile conditions of these places…
“And I love this part of the Earth!
“I’m used to bad weather, including, — to gusts of wind, which hit the face with streams of rain or thorny ice! I’m also accustomed to the leaden heaviness of clouds over the unruly masses of waves!
“But now — I freely manifest Myself through all this and even through the thickness of granite rocks — by the Divine Fire!
“And I’m not afraid of earthly storms!
“I saw many hurricanes and tempests when I lived here, incarnating more than once! I saw terrible storms and terrible for mortals streaks of lightning striking the sea, and I heard rolls of thunder that shook the space…
“What causes fear in many people — teaches strengths for fearless persons of strong nature!
“And yet — it teaches also to appreciate the beautiful: gentle and subtle!
“Including, the tender sun, and the quiet smooth surface of the calm sea, reflecting the blue of the sky, will be then invaluable treasures!
“Clean streams of brooks with beautiful water are more expensive than diamonds — for those returning from distant sea trips! Such water is the most delicious of terrestrial drinks — for those who have cognized the thirst!
“And green meadows with blossoming flowers are more expensive than emeralds and rubies for those who have visited the edge of death in sea storms and no longer hoped to see land!
“Strong hands of friends, love of gentle wives — all this becomes meaningful a hundredfold, when life is not a standing swamp, but a heroic path to the goal!
“Courage, honesty, purity, tenderness, and strength of the soul lead along the Path of cognizing Power, Love, and Wisdom of God!
“And sometimes even evil people who inevitably are met on the Path to the Goal also help to pass through the necessary tests and gain understanding and stability in Unity with the Divine Power!”
… Odin showed me a camp of people resembling robbers. Their leader talked with a man obsequiously bowed before him…
* * *
The leader said:
“The vessel laden with gold and other jewels? A rich ransom for the right to marry the daughter of the konung? It would be a noble loot! But are you sure that this is not gossip?”
“Kund, who told about this, himself participated in the tournament at Ingvar and heard how merchant-foreigner Olav asked Ingvar to give him Ingvar’s daughter in marriage and promised to bring a whole vessel of gold!”
“Are you sure that our people saw the approach of this same vessel?”
“I think I was not mistaken! Kund is confident that he has recognized both the silhouette and the sail. He was close and heard foreign speech.
“They stopped in a cove nearby. A storm is coming, which, most likely, will be strong and long-lasting. They will wait. There are only twenty of them. And a better time to attack cannot be found!”
… The leader was Bolly. He changed over time not for the better. His envy toward the successes of others and the anger that arose in his childhood, as well as his desire to sweep away his failures on the weak, his pleasure in humiliating people — all these worst qualities have increased in him and acquired devilish power.
He gathered around himself many men outcast from Viking communities. The main principles of their life were “power makes right” and the absence of any morality. Bolly did not hesitate to attack the houses and families of other Vikings during the long marches of their husband and fathers. He could do business via meanness, betrayal, deception — and then admire his own evil cunning. He boasted that Loki — “‘god’ of all cunning” — bestows him luck.
Bolly continued to question:
“Tell me, who is this Olav? Where is he from?”
“One person among those who arrived with him, named Vagni, said that this Olav was from these places. But I think that this is not true. They sailed from far-away southern countries, where our vessels have not yet reached.”
… Bolly has heard another name he knew. “Coincidence? Or is it, in fact, — Vagni-helmsman? Could this be? Is this merchant really the same Olav whom I hated, with whom I once sat at the same table in my mother’s house? The same one — of whom I was so envious, when he, over me, was taken on a voyage, although he was the younger? That same Olav — news of the death of which made me so elated?… Well, let’s see now!”
Bolly was used to not disclosing his thoughts to others. He said aloud:
“It’s necessary that no one thinks that namely we have captured foreigners! konung Ingvar can consider these riches — already his own! We do not need his vengeance!
“We will attack this night: we will go down by boats on the river, which flows in the depths of this bay. It does not take a lot of time. And the dangers from there — they do not wait for a better time for us.
“We will then take their vessel to the open sea so that the people, who will find the wreckage, presume and tell everyone that when trying to hide from the storm in this bay the merchant Olav’s vessel crashed against the rocks and sank.
“We need to act quickly before the bad weather is out! The storm will be strong!”
“They are very skilled fighters… Though we are three times as many, each of them is dangerous!”
“It does not matter: we must not let them have time to use weapons! I know how to defeat this stranger!
“Send Orm and Skeggy to reconnoiter! And — to remain quiet: so even a branch does not crackle nor a pebble roll!
“The rest — quickly prepare boats and weapons for battle!”
… Bolly acted according to the plan. His scouts reported that Olav himself, the scald-boy and two other foreigners remained on the vessel in the bay. The rest are sheltered from the weather and sleep in a cave on the shore. The entrance is guarded by only two.
* * *
The attack went according to Bolly’s plan. Robbers have managed to capture without much effort the two sailors guarding the entrance and all comrades of Olav sleeping in the cave.
The noise of wind and waves, increasing every hour, drowned out sounds from the movements of the infiltrators.
On several boats, Bolly’s men made for the vessel and boarded. Olav and his two companions snatched up their swords, Roon in his clear high voice tried to alert about the attack those who were in the cave. He did not know that all, who were there, are already tied up.
The battle that took place on the vessel was more difficult than Bolly had anticipated. Olav and two of his friends fought back the attackers. All three have already received wounds, but Bolly’s people could not cope with them.
Behind their backs, Roon stood on the bow of the vessel and sang about the scoundrels, attacking under cover of night, about cowards who strive to strike in the back, about shame and the Heavenly retribution, which awaits those who overlook the laws of honor and valor, about brave heroes who always win!…
The rain increased. The wind grew stronger.
It was time to implement the second part of the plan: to bring the vessel into the open sea, otherwise the storm would make this impossible.
Bolly already recognized Olav. Now he decided to act himself, being sure of the success of his insidious intention.
He quietly rose from the outside to the bow of the vessel along the anchor cable and seized Roon, bringing a knife to his neck.
“Stop, Olav, and order your people to surrender! Otherwise, I’ll cut the throat of this ‘songbird’!
“Come on! If you stop resisting, I’ll save your people’s lives — both those who are here and those on the shore! They there are already tied up. If not, you will be guilty of their doom!”
“No, Olav! No! I’m not afraid of death!” — shouted Roon. But Bolly plugged his mouth with the folds of his cloak.
… Olav appreciated the situation:
“All right, we’ll surrender! Remember: you promised not to hurt my people, Bolly!
Lower your weapon!” — he said already in Arabic to his friends, and they reluctantly obeyed.
… Olav and his friends were tied up.
All the cargo from the vessel and captives were hastily overloaded on the boats. Only Olav remained on the vessel.
“Faster!” — Bolly commanded his people.
… Then he went to Olav:
“I also have recognized you, Olav! Let’s see which one of us will now be happier and more lucky!
“I will save your people’s lives, but not because I have promised you this. To keep promises is the rule of naive fools! But I will save their lives because it is profitable for me! I will sell them as slaves in Hedebyu in Jutland. We will sell them there with great benefits! And no one here will know about their fate! They are strong! And they will bring me great income! And those with black faces, like coal, will be in triple price!
“But as for you — I did not even promise life! You will now experience the ‘laws of justice’ of your God!”
… He ordered:
“Tie him to the mast! Stronger!”
… And Bolly continued to enjoy the triumph of his superiority and power in this situation:
“You will die slowly of wounds and thirst! Or — by the grace of Thor — you will get lightning struck! Or, by Njord’s grace, you will be broken against cliffs with this ‘floating shell’!” — Bolly scornfully kicked the side of the vessel.
“Orm, Lyot, Skeggy! Take the vessel out of the bay, remove the sail — and take it with you to the boat! Cut off the stern oar! Throw overboard all the other oars so that people can find them on the shore! By these special carved arms on the oars — they easily will determine that the vessel of Olav was lost, even if the remains of the vessel itself are not cast ashore by the storm.
“Then come back on the boats! Faster: after a couple of hours the storm will crush this trough into small chips, throwing it on sharp rocks! Or — the storm will take it so far away that a quick death for Olav might be considered a blessing!
“Now — goodbye, Olav! Give my greetings to your God and enjoy your ‘laws of goodness and justice’!”
* * *
The storm played out in full force. Arching lightning flashes cut through the blackness of the clouds…
Lead-black shafts crashed onto an unguided vessel.
The body of Olav, tied to the mast, seemed almost lifeless. But he was still alive.
Olav turned to God. He did not ask for salvation. He was not afraid of the death of his body. But he tried to understand the reasons for everything that was happening to him now:
“What is this all for? By what I have attracted all these troubles to my friends and my beloved, who will never wait up for me? What did I do wrong? Is it really that so stupid and ignominious a fate will be the end of my earthly life?”
“Sometimes it is correct to ask not ‘what for?’, but ‘what is the reason?’!” — the answer came from the Shining Living Light, Which was seen suddenly by Olav everywhere around.
He decided that this is death. Because he ceased to perceive the raging sea and black clouds, ceased to hear thunder.
He — really completely left the body and found himself among the Divine Souls, Who constituted by Themselves this Sea of Divine Light!
He realized that he had become… one of Them! He became — a Part of the One All-Powerful Lord, consisting of many of the Perfects!
… Always before in meditations, feeling God, Olav perceived Him as a certain Force, Light or Divine Fire, separate from Olav himself. He could merge with Him for a while, but there always remained one who understood that here is a soul which for a time is united with God…
But now — Olav felt himself completely identical with Him! Olav became an inseparable Part of the All-Creating Divine Consciousness — the Omnipresent, Mighty, and Gentle in His Divine Omnipotence!
From this Oceanic Part of Himself — Olav recalled and saw all of His last earthly life…
… He was greeted by Others — the same as He, the Divine Souls in male and female Forms. In Them, there was so much Beauty, Caress, Wisdom, Care!…
They began to speak:
“Yes, You are now — One of Us!
“Life in the body on the Earth makes it difficult to remember what was before the incarnation.
“But You, in fact, wished to come in a body on the Earth to return to people Knowledge of the Highest!
“And now — the time has come for you, having been enriched with many qualities necessary for the attainment of Divinity, including the ability for strong emotions of love, — to realize fully Your Divinity.
“Moreover, You have to learn to live possessing the Immortal Body!”
… Again Olav felt Himself in the body tied to the mast of the dying vessel… But He returned to the body — being in Divine awareness of Himself.
He began to try to substitute the totality of the Divine Being — for the raging sea, the thirst, the pain of the helpless bound body at the mast… And again, He became the Radiant Divine Light!
… The storm raged for a long time…
Olav seemed to die in the body — and then resurrected in it again, learning to feel Oneself in the body — as the Possessor of Divine Mind, Omniscience, and Power. This was repeated again and again, until nothing remained in the body tied to the mast — of the former Olav-man.
Then — the Divine Flame flared up and filled all His earthly body.
He has now acquired a new Body that could no longer be separated from God. This new body retained the shape of the former body. But it could not be killed any more. It was — the Divine Immortal Body, by which God could easily do His Will on the Earth! To see, hear and speak — Olav could now with the help of this new Body.
And this Body was only a small part of Him. As the Soul — He was huge! He could freely penetrate the abyss of the sea and the earth’s firmament, rising from the Deepest Depths.
… The storm began to subside quickly. In gaps between the clouds, sunshine began to shine.
Olav moved his shoulders — and the ropes fell apart, like ash…
He stretched out his hand — and a bowl of water was in it. And He drank.
He thought that the thirst and hunger, from which He had recently died, were like a dream.
He stretched out his hand — and took from the unmanifested world the warm bread. The bread was as delicious as the purest water from the bowl.
Olav realized that His Intention alone was enough to control the vessel.
In the distance, on the cliff, He saw a female figure. It was Annika. She was waiting for Him.
It turned out that the storm had driven the vessel close to the familiar shore. A little more — and He will be in place.
* * *
It was a complete calm after a terrible storm.
Olav sent — by His Intent — the vessel to the shore. And… habitually took by the hand a stump of the steering oar which did not even reach the water…
The vessel obeyed without any material effort. Olav now accustomed to a new way of living, realizing the Divine opportunities which He had attained. He learned to control Oneself-Power — just as He once mastered control of the drakkar with the help of the steering oar.
… He saw Annika running to meet him along the path from the cliff, when Vagni came out of the small house and stared in amazement at what was happening.
Olav is back! But — no longer as a man, but as God-Man!
Now — in the fullness of the Divine Awareness — He must continue that Work for which He was born on the Earth as man, and then as God!