Last Contact
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A group of four friends had initiated a space journey across the Big Dipper Constellation, known to them as the Seven Sages. After seeing a wide variety of sights, the present excerpt from their travelogue takes place during the start of their return journey to Earth. — 𑀅𑀕𑀣𑀼𑀼𑀓𑁆𑀮𑁂𑀬𑁂𑀲

After so much travel there was little desire left to go onward. The space travellers' hearts yearned to return home and promulgate their accumulated knowledge to the masses of Earth. And so the ship was turned around towards the blue planet. While exiting the Seven Sages Constellation, Pulastya appeared on starboard. This was a large star, with many planets on its leash. There was no particular reason to do so, and yet the space travellers found themselves landing on one of the planets. This one even had a satellite large enough to be called a moon.

The planet was of generous proportions, but was bitingly cold. There was precious little water and the air was much thinner than Earth. After alighting from the ship, the travellers went for a walk on an impulse. They had trekked some distance when a great disturbance was heard and two dozen creatures emerged from the nearby forest and surrounded them. Their bodies were reminiscent of human beings but with taller stature and chiseled bosoms. There was not a scrap of clothing between the whole lot but they made up for that in their extensive body paint. Everyone had branches of trees in their hands, but some also wielded rods fashioned from iron. The presence of iron took the travellers by some surprise, especially in consideration of their rather rustic surroundings. It really didn’t help that they’d left their electric weapons in the ship. There was no question of understanding the language, attempts were made to impress peaceful intentions upon their hosts through gestures and hints, but there was little effect on the savages. They paused for a while and then moved towards the travellers.

The thought that today their journey had ended plagued the minds of the travellers. All the hard work that was spent seemed to be swiftly approaching irrelevancy at the point of the crude tools of a first encounter.

The savages approached with caution for they were skeptical that their visitors were unarmed. But just as quickly as the crisis had come, it was averted. Somebody fired. Four or five savages fell, the rest peeled away screaming. Seven or eight individuals were approaching from where the gun was fired.

In make and mould, they resembled the savages, the same slender sculpted shape. On their bodies were silk clothes resembling loincloths and kurtas, and guns in their hands. The dress of women and men was identical.

The momentousness of this occasion was clear, two different civilizations and cultures were meeting people from worlds that were crores of miles away. There was curiosity on both sides, but also reserve. The earthlings were burdened with gratitude, but the aliens seemed embarrassed to take any credit. The difficulty of not knowing the language was present, but it was not allowed to be a hindrance for long. The travellers took out their "sight-sound" device. Their rescuers also had a similar device, so the conversation started quickly.

Things started off with the earthlings introducing themselves. The Sun and the solar system were discussed, and the respected place of the Big Dipper in the eyes of the people of the earth and their culture was explained. A brief history of the earth was provided as a foreword to an explanation of the importance of the current space journey. The aliens were once again thanked for protecting the travellers from the savages.

While describing the earth, the existence of weapons like guns was mentioned and it was of great surprise to both sides how there was so much convergence between this world and Earth, in this and other aspects. The common presence of water on both worlds was suggested as a factor.

The history of their rescuers' race was also of great interest. It was believed in their old tales that at the beginning of the creation there was a Goddess named Danu. A big egg emerged from her body, which cracked to reveal a male and a female, May and Maya. These aliens considered themselves the descendants of May and Maya, and called themselves the Rakashes.

The Rakashes made great progress over the ages. There were great scholars among them, who gave particular focus towards mathematics and science. From the very beginning, attention was paid towards the manufacture of yantra, machines. The effort was to make as many machines as possible so that the Rakashes could do the least amount of work. The development of knowledge took place in this direction.

Great success was achieved. Machines farmed for them, cooked for them, even handled the drudgery of office paperwork. The only job left to the Rakashes was to deliver fuel for the hungry machines and to repair them in case of damage.

Gradually, the machines began managing their own fuel and also started doing small repairs. A Mahayantra, a Great Machine, was eventually made to take care of everyone. Wires used to go from him to all the main powerhouses. He used to control them all. Just as there are thin nerves in the brain, in the same way there were thousands of fine wires in the machines, and especially in the Mahayantra, leaving no corner of the planet untouched. All the factories and all of the planetary civilization became the Great Machine’s senses and muscles.

And then something strange occured. Consciousness entered into the Mahayantra and other instruments. It could not be said that consciousness was created. It seems that consciousness, seeing a suitable body, made the machines its home. This was only fully understood many years later.

Slowly the Rakashes saw that the machines now worked with determination, stopped and thought, and sometimes ignored their masters. The Mahayantra kept giving orders to them. After the emergence of this intellect, the machines came to know their design, the exact scientific principles according to which they operated.

They no longer needed masters. They became free.

Many Rakashes actually liked this situation very much. All the work was done by the machines. Rakashes were left with only enjoyment. It was a life without hard work.

It was true that the machines had now changed from servant to master. Every one of their commands had to be obeyed, but the couch potatoes did not object to that. Study of science and other serious subjects stopped.

Thousands of novels and poetry books were churned out by the Mahayantra. That's all that was read. There was no work except dancing and singing day and night. War and conflict had ceased ages ago.

It was the peace of a graveyard, but it was peace. In ancient times the Rakashes’ ancestors were worshipers of their sun, Pulastya, but now the idol of Mahayantra was installed in the temples.

But there were some people who did not like this condition. They had come to see the all-round decline of the Rakash race in it, the hard work of the body stopped, the study of serious subjects stopped, only dance and color remaining. The inevitable consequence of this would be the downfall of the race. The yantras that were made to help themselves have become masters today. The control of the design of life itself had gone into their hands. This was not good. Across the centuries, many people were born thinking like this, but who among the placated masses would listen to them? Mahayantra killed them all in a great conflict at the Ghat of Depani.

All of this was about 2,500 years prior to the present day. This planet used to revolve around Pulastya in about 6 terrestrial months. So their 2,500 years was equal to Earth’s 1,805.

The travelogue then describes how the Mahayantra was eventually defeated in a devastating war. We learn that the savages who accosted the space travellers at the beginning are the descendants of those who sided with the machines, now intellectually and culturally stunted. —𑀅𑀕𑀣𑀼𑀼𑀓𑁆𑀮𑁂𑀬𑁂𑀲

This history was very interesting and instructive to the space travellers. They were convinced that people of the earth could learn a lot from this, because there too the intelligentsia was directed towards the construction of such machines, which work without human supervision.
Naturally it was proposed that when there is so much convergence between the two civilizations, why not establish a closer relationship? Business should be started, traffic arrangements should be established.

This suggestion was not liked by the Rakashes. They asked the earthlings, “What will we give you and what will you give us? What will be the basis of business?”

And then they asked, "Will you let us all settle on the earth?"

This question confused the space travellers. Rakashes were few in number but how on earth could they place them? How can they be given the opportunity of independent development there? Would they like losing their individuality by mingling with humankind?

The Rakashes understood their confusion. They explained,

“Don't worry you guys, we don't really want to settle on earth, but behind the question we have asked you, we have a big problem. You see our satellite is like your moon. Due to its attraction, the tides rise in our seas, which looks very beautiful to see.

But it also causes great damage. As it descends, the water rubs against the solid surface below and slows down the orbital speed of the planet. Our year is currently nine months according to your calculation and units.

But our songs of yesteryear tell us that once it was only one fourth of the present length. One day, day and night will also become nine Earth months. One part of the planet will continue to scorch, the other will be colder than ice.

Our internal heat would also be reduced, so our air becomes thinner. Air would become water and water would become ice. Gradually ice will be replaced by dry rocks. It's a long way away now, but we don't want to wait for that day.

We will have to leave this planet for good. Our crafts are doing reconnaissance here and there, where we have seen some promising exoplanets, we will go. A long journey has to be made and after that journey the foundation of a new culture and civilization has to be laid. There is a huge responsibility on our shoulders. This work cannot be done for very large numbers. That is why we have greatly restricted our population growth.”

What more could be said than to praise this courage, indomitable enthusiasm and foresight? The space travellers bid farewell by expressing their best wishes for the Rakashes’ success. Nobody knew whether the two races would ever meet again. Neither was it known whether humans would also be able to face such a calamity in the same way.

This is part of a series of excerpts translated by 𑀅𑀕𑀣𑀼𑀼𑀓𑁆𑀮𑁂𑀬𑁂𑀲. An effort to catch his remaining works out of the Sea of Words is underway by the Dravido-Vedic Fishing Club

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