Vyasa was not in his best mood as he reached Swarga on this day. Today he was wearing colorful robes from his native place, Nepal. He missed wearing his regular ascetic’s robes. While never the sharpest of dressers Vyasa still liked to dress in simple comfort but however when the Apsaras and Gods command, one has to obey. Besides Ethnic Days only come once in a while.
The entire Swarga was bedecked gaily with ornaments and multicolored lights strewn all around. For whatever his faults, Narada was certainly an ace in decorating Swarga. This was going to be a special festival here at Swarga for multiple reasons. For one thing the new batch of Fresher Acolytes are passing out from their training. Swarga was announcing a new portfolio. Also the Senior God of Business Development, Shiva is here in Swarga. All in all, a momentous occasion. Vyasa kept his satchel at his designated Homa site and looked around for Mandukya. Mandukya seemed extremely busy at his work staring into his Homa kunda, apparently deep in thought, Mantras blaring into his ears. Vyasa tapped him on his shoulder and Mandukya jolted into wakefulness.
“Rishiji, you were sleeping? How excellent your deception was! Even I thought that you were intently concentrating on your Yajna,” Vyasa said laughing silently so that Maharishini Gargi does not hear him
“Vyasaji, I was not sleeping. I was merely exploring the intricacies of Advaita Sidhantha for the purposes of crafting my Upanishad. I am experimenting on the differences between the various states of consciousness, the differences between the conscious, subconscious and the unconscious. The difference between the perceptive reality and dream reality and how they are both insignificant in front of Turiya state,” Mandukya explained.
“Rishiji, I know you have been doing a lot of Shiva Pooja, but don’t try to pull a fast one over me. Now come on, let us go check out the new Rishis and go out for some Shiva Pooja,” Vyasa said clapping Rishi Mandukya on his shoulders and walking out. While on their way out they saw the Fresher Acolytes congregating on one of the smaller Yajnashalas. The doors were closed and they seemed to be preparing some sort of elaborate Yajna. Some strange chants of mantras were being heard however they decided to keep their curiosity at bay and headed downstairs on a passing cloud.
“So Mandukyaji, how was your Millennium end? What were you upto? Any Somarasa Puja or were you full time occupied with Shiva Pooja,” Vyasa asked.
“No Brother Vyasaji, this Millenium end I was out practising Martial arts with my local club. With the grace of Almighty Maradona, our skills are getting better and in the next match I am sure we shall triumph with ease,” Mandukya replied.
“I can never understand how you can excel in these martial arts despite your constant practice of Shiva Pooja. You truly are a gifted athlete Mandukyaji,” Vyasa told with a bow.
“Okay enough. Now let us head up to Swarga. I think Lord Shiva has arrived,” Mandukya said observing the special luxury cloud that belonged to Lord Shiva. The presence of this very thundercloud in the parking lot was a veritable sign of the arrival of Lord Shiva in Swarga and was usually enough to put all the Devas and Rishis in their best behaviour. His presence was particularly unnerving for the Cosmic Infrastructure Team as Lord Shiva was reputed to have a very short temper and was quite unforgiving of even the slightest disturbances in the cloud systems. The connectivity and cloud visibility in the land of Rakshasas was particularly good and having lived there for such a long time Lord Shiva was too used to excellent Cosmic Infrastructure. It was only Lord Vishnu who could calm Lord Shiva in such times of temper and the Cosmic Infrastructure Team are always grateful to the pleasant and magnanimous Lord Vishnu.
As they waited for a passing cloud to reach to the Seventh Heaven, Swarga, Mandukya and Vyasa saw Indra arriving on his Airavat. Indra himself was quite splendidly decked, wearing dresses from his native Trigarta.
“Good morning Gentlerishis, how are you today,” Indra bellowed pleasantly at the two Rishis. Though generally jovial Indra was also a bit intimidating to most Rishis.
“Good morning Indraji. Are you not well, you seem to be quite tired,” Vyasa asked.
“Yes Vyasaji, we have been doing some extremely long millennia. Patala is onboarding a new client and we are training the Devas to handle the new business. Also the random disconnections in cloud visibility does not help, ” Indra said adding a jab at Vyasa.
“Well you know our travails as well as we do, but rest assured we shall support as best as we can. Unfortunately there is not too much we can do about Vayu or Varuna,” Vyasa said and immediately took up his Grantha pretending to write down a sloka he suddenly created.
As they reached the floor of Swarga they saw that the festivities were beginning. Everyone were congregating near the Prasada hall and the Apsaras were making some announcements. Durvasa was running around trying to capture the festivities through his Divyadrishti Yantra 600D while the three Gods were hanging out at the back enjoying the festivities. Menaka, the manager of Apsaras was introducing the Acolytes. There were five rishis and five rishinis in this first batch of Acolytes here at Swarga. All of them were hired from the top Gurukuls and the Gods had huge expectations of them. These youngsters were supposed to be the creators of the new in house project, Bhoomi. The senior Rishis had all participated in the training of these Acolytes who after this graduation day would become full fledged probationary Rishis and Rishinis. While majority of their training was done by Gargi and Mandukya, Vyasa too had conducted two whirlwind sessions on cloud and meteorology. One of the acolyte Sanaka seemed to be very keen in joining the Cosmic Connectivity Team and Vyasa had high hopes about him.
The ten acolytes arranged themselves around a Homa kunda and announced
“O Lofty Lords, Hallowed Rishis and Rishinis, we thank you for attending this special Yajna that we have created as a mark of our thanks and veneration at the training and lessons imparted to us,” said Acolyte Dakshayini.
The acolytes then started an elaborate synchronized Dance Yajna to the tune of several changing popular mantras. It was a parody of how their intense training program was, their lack of time to imbibe any lessons and the immense pressures put on them during training. The sudden entry of Maharishini Gargi as a caricature of herself was particularly hilarious. After this hilarious Yajna got over the Gods, Shiva and Vishnu made their announcement of the start of Project Bhoomi and a timeline spanning a Yuga for its launch and operation. While most of these acolytes would be tasked with the development and operation of Bhoomi some of the acolytes would be pullled into the Patala and Naraka operations apart from Sanaka who would be expected to support both Bhoomi as well as Swarga working with Vyasa.
With the celebrations of festivities done the Apsaras called everyone to receive Prasadas and the main event of the day as far as Vyasa and Mandukya were concerned started. Special delicacies were usually brought to Swarga on such days and usually these delicacies were the only thing that made these festivals bearable. As the feast too started to wind down Vyasa made his way to his Homa Kunda as his work with Patala was approaching. Life and work goes on at Swarga.