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Back on the train, the subject of martial arts came up.
"There are many practitioners, but very few masters," Bhima began. "When I was taking karate, I saw lots of people. Unfortunately, no true masters."
"What do you mean when you say 'Master?'" asked one of the fellow travelers.
"A Master is someone who is able to control the body and the senses. Perfect purity and honesty."
"You know, I would like to see at least one maha-ratha," exclaimed another companion. "He must be a terrific personality."
"Who is a maha-ratha?" Sergey asked.
"Maha-rathas were the warriors who, alone, could battle against more than ten thousand people. And, naturally, against less than that... They knew to perfection how to use any weapon of individual combat. Thrown weapons such as spears, weapons for shooting arrows. They knew how to operate large throwing devices. But their main weapons were the 'astras,' mystical weapons that function based on mantras. Our ancestors, the Slavs, had that lore," the fellow passenger continued. "For example, the Cossacks-Harakternics. Those who worshipped Hara-Radha. The elders of the Zaporozhye Seech knew who the Supreme Lord was and worshipped Him. They knew the laws of nature and the capacities of a human being. They knew how to clear the sky from clouds, how to call for thunder, how to bring fear to the enemy. They used mantras on weapons, walked on water. And that's not all that they could do! Their battle call was 'Ura!' (Hooray), which means 'to the Sun' in Sanskrit, 'U Ra.' Five thousand years ago, at the Kurukshetra battle, the warriors called 'Ura' in the attack. Because they knew, if a warrior dies with this call, he will go to the Sun, a heavenly planet, after death. Calling 'U Ra' the warriors let the enemy know that they were not afraid of death and were ready to go to the Sun. The Book of Veles talks about the Slavic warriors who worshipped Kryshen, or Krishna. This is what it says, 'The Russian lineage was threatened by the Goths. They wanted our women. Hence, our brothers attacked them and returned Russian women. Thus it happened. It was done by ten Kryshenshes.' The Kryshenshes — servants of Kryshen, or Krishna. Just like us, they wore the sikha, a tuft of hair on the back of the head. I don't know how they called it."
"Oseledets. They still wear it." Sergey blurted, surprising himself.
"How do you know? Have you seen them?" everyone turned towards him.
“Learn to control your tongue. You are already seventeen years old, yet sometimes you act like a chatty woman.” Chen's words scolded Sergey, though they had been spoken twelve years prior. I am twenty-nine, and I still can't control my speech. I am so far from perfection.
Sergey sighed, "The village men said they had seen them far in the taiga and spoke with them. And they called their sikha oseledets."
"So this means the martial arts of the Slavs hasn't perished! It would be great to talk to them!" one of the men gasped.
"Last year I spoke with a professor from a Sanskrit college." Bhima recalled, "It turns out academic teaching of the 'Dhanur Veda' was stopped fifty years ago. 'No longer needed.' Of course, that was only a part of the 'Dhanur Veda.' The part that didn't have to be hidden from the non-initiated. In India, there are open-door and closed-door schools. One school is Kalaripayattu. Since childhood, students learn combat, weapon handling, medical sciences, poetry, music, crafts, and well-mannerism. In such schools, especially the secret ones, during the first three years, the students are being prepared with special exercises and oil massages. And only after that, they are given the basics. I've heard there were masters of the 'Dhanur Veda' able to use mantra weapons, even now. They all worship Krishna. Or Rama. Or Nrisimha. Yet those, whose bodies are desecrated with eating animal flesh, especially cows', overindulging in sex, alcohol, are not given this knowledge. For their own benefit. If a desecrated person uses the mantras, those mantras will destroy his body."
"True. I know this woman. She opened a shop on Leningradskaya Avenue two years ago. Then a gang started terrorizing her, 'Give us your money,' Where would she get it from? They were going to kill her. I gave her the protective mantra of Lord Nrisimhadev. I told her how to chant it and warned her, 'Stop eating meat at least for the time being while you are chanting the mantra.' But she continued to eat it. The mantra had protected her. Yet, her body began to have problems. It could not pass the energy of the mantra through properly and started to fall apart. So I had to give her another mantra."
Once alone, Bhima was on to Sergey, "Tell me about the Kryshenshes. It's impossible that you just heard of them. You must have seen them yourself. Where?"
"I know nothing of them."
"This is not fair. You know. You are a master, so why can't you tell the truth. Only to me."
Seeing that Bhima won't leave him alone, Sergey said, "My father would often take me to the taiga. Once, near the Dalny swamps, we met one Kryshensh. My father knew him. He used to spend a lot of time with them, especially after his divorce. And he used to visit them. But he never told anyone. Not even Chen. The Kryshensh allowed me to come to their settlement."
"So how are they?"
"How do they live?"
"They live well. You can't get to them if you don't know the way. Marshlands stretch forever. Their leader is called Batya. Everyone obeys him, even the council members. A mighty cool man."