- Apr 1, 2001
This time, I quote and/or use ideas from "the Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson- hope I won't spoil anything for someone reading the book
Traveling through empty land.
Clouds hazy, moon waning and chill.
Sky, frost-colored, cold to look at.
Wind piercing. Sudden terror.
A thousand trees roar in the sparse woodland:
A lonely monkey cries on a barren hill
He had travelled far and wide, through dense forests, sickening wastes, wading through rivers where there were no bridges, climbing hill and mountain, looking for a way to end his misery. He drank the strongest poisons, was sentenced to death a few times, only to be chased off after he rose up again. Year upon year he travelled, never ceasing in his attempts to end his curse.
That is, untill he met Iwang. Iwang was but a humble merchant from Tibet, but his ideas, his beliefs, and his views upon life were so simple, yet so sufficient to have him lead a happy life. Bistami found back atleast some joy in life from his travellings with Iwang, and most importantly, from their discussions.
Bistami was dieply grieved when Iwang died, but he didn't fall back to his life of misery. Instead, deeply influenced by Iwang's ideas, he went on a search again. This time, he was searching for a cause, a great cause, a cause that he could dedicate his life, and his powers, to. After a time, his travels brought him to the Deccan. The beliefs of these people were remarkably similar to those of Iwang, despite the large distance that separated Iwang's usual trading routes. Bistami decided to stay for a while, and try and find a scholar, or a group of scholars, to share his concerns with.
However, the relative peace that Bistami now enjoyed was shortlived, as the muslims living to the north attempted to impose their religion upon the people of the Deccan. Having little to lose, he joined the able-bodied men of his village, when they marched off to fight the Muslims. At Kammitadurga, the people of the Deccan decisively beat back the Muslims. Bistami's courage, most likely because of his immortality, attracted the notice of one of the captains of Harihara's army. In the following years, Bistami slowly rose in rank in the army.
Avatar of the Gods
However, by this time, his failure to age with his fellow soldiers and officers, had attracted some attention. Fortunately for him, his success in the various wars and skirmishes with the Muslims had earned him a great reputation, and the people hailed him as a saviour. In the end, he was declared an avatar of the gods, sent to earth to help the Hindus retain their culture and religion. He was placed in command of the entire army, and his advice was usually followed even in other matters. Eventually, for lack of a successor, Bistami was appointed to rule over the free Hindu people, united in the kingdom of Victory, Vijayanagar. By this time, most of the Deccan was a part of the kingdom of Victory, but Bistami realised that Vijayanagar could not hope to stand against the might of the Muslims forever. Therefore, he planned to unite, peacefully when possible, by force when necessary, all Hindu people he could find, and hopefully drive back the Muslims oppressors far enough to leave the kingdom of Victory to it's own faith.