The Sanctuary

The deafening blast hurled him several feet from the ground. Before he realized what was happening, the dome was on fire. The Temple’s oil lamps lay scattered on the floor. Agni, the God of Fire, appeared to be voraciously hungry, whooshing and swallowing everything in sight at a blinding pace. It wouldn't be long before the entire structure collapsed. The ever smiling Krishna idol was standing still, flute in hand and engulfed in flames. 

A few seconds later, high pitched screams of agony pierced the sky, dwarfing the sounds of destruction created by the fire and wind. He turned around to see bodies and parts lying everywhere. Men, women and children were running or dragging themselves away from the scenes of death and destruction. 

This Ashram was his life. All these years of painstaking effort, the collection of rare scriptures dating several centuries, and the beautiful works of art were reduced to ashes in an instant. He could not bear it any more.  He had always believed in, and preached God’s will, and how everything falls under a pattern, but this was too much to take.

At that instant, beneath the shrine of Krishna, his eyes caught a beautiful little boy surrounded by flames. He could not have been more than five years old. Without hesitating for a moment, he sprang towards the shrine.  Krishna was standing still, flute in hand, and completely charred. The little boy was nowhere to be seen. Frantically, he looked all over. Were his eyes deceiving him? He turned around. The Temple had now become a huge funeral pyre with no way in or out.

He heard a creaking sound, and ducked sideways just in time from the huge beam that was coming towards his head. It hit his right leg instead. He let out a scream of agony that could be heard for miles. With the searing pain of his leg being crushed and burnt by the hot beam, he tried to lift it off his foot. His hands burnt as he touched it.  The smell of burning flesh grew stronger, and he realized it was his leg. He could not move an inch.

He was trapped and panic-stricken. No, it was not supposed to be his time yet! “God, I still have so much to do!” he cried. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he clasped his hands together and prayed, reciting the thousand names of the Lord. The heat and the pain were unbearable. He was beginning to suffocate. Agni was coming towards him in full fury. He closed his eyes and was fast losing his senses. And then, the little boy appeared again, smiling at him. This time he was surrounded by a soothing white light. Suddenly everything became calm and peaceful.

The End

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