Updated: Jun 17
One of the manuscripts that I have been developing is called "Third Testament". It is a science fiction novel that takes place in the same universe as my 15-book science fiction sage, "The Ido Chronicles", the first of which ("Plenum - The First Book of Deo") will be published in the December to January time frame this year or early next year. "Third Testament" is a prequel to the saga - it takes place about a thousand years before the Chronicles, and recounts the events that led up to the writing of what is referred to with the Chronicles as the Third Testament. I wrote the first version of the manuscript during the National Novel Writing Month (also called "NaNoWriMo") of November 2017, following my return form Australia and Asia.
The Third Testament is not a religious doctrine, even though it is loosely positioned as a kind of "sequel" to the Christian Old and New Testaments. Instead, it is an attempt to find common ground across all religions and spiritual practices. The novel, also called "Third Testament", presents the participation of the author of the fictional Third Testament within a radical movement that sought to overthrow the legitimate government of the Humanitat and replace this with a religiously organized society around the idea of an Emergent God. Ionian Nazari became involved in this revolutionary movement via hir friend, Shom Rudik, but later distanced hirself from the worst excesses of the movement. The book that became the Third Testament would end up transforming religious thought across the Humanitat, long after the Emergentist Movement was a forgotten footnote in history.
The idea for this story came to me as a result of the year I spent time in Australia and Asia, studying not only the Buddhists and the Balinese variant of Hinduism, but also the Australian aboriginal culture. My contact with Hinduism, which began during time spent in Vancouver the year previous to my Australian adventure, during which I stayed with a Sri Lankan man who practiced Hinduism and had frequent visits by others of that faith, had already led me towards a profound re-evaluation of the ways in which different faith practices may open up shared spiritual paths. I had long had a loose association with Buddhism as well as a number of Christian sects, and a passing acquaintance with Islamic practices as well. Since then, I have been furthering my education with a deep dive into Vedic texts and engagement with a Jewish community in Quebec, my home town.
Interestingly, my current efforts to understand religion are informed by increasingly extensive readings within the writings and thought of Sri Aurobindo, a visionary Indian man, educated at Oxford, who also wrote with a view to integrating spiritual practices, albeit during the early part of the twentieth century. Aurobindo's understanding of what he called 'integral yoga' was grounded in his readings of the vedas, which he re-interpreted within a broader spiritual framework. Also of interest, Aurobindo's writings include a lengthy epic poem called "Savitri", which presents the essence of this thought in poetic form, but in such a way that the reading itself nourishes the emergence of states of consciousness conducive to accepting integral yoga. I have been reading "Savitri" aloud with a group of Aurobindo aficionados, after also reading in group settings other books by Aurobindo, including "The Life Divine", "The Synthesis of Yoga", "The Secret of the Veda", and "Hymns to the Mystic Fire". Although my own writings do not, as of yet, speak to Aurobindo's ideas, since they were developed before I encountered his writings, I am now struggling to find a way to bring the two approaches together. Perhaps not for the Chronicles as they are currently unfolding, since those books are already largely written, but certainly for the next cycle of books I might eventually end up writing.
Third Testament, like my other manuscripts, is currently undergoing revision. Since I have more than a dozen book manuscripts undergoing revision, it is hard for me to determine when I will be finished with Third Testament and get it into print. I had decided earlier this year that I would look into "self-publishing" for this novel since that would give me the greatest control over the conditions under which it will appear, albeit at a higher cost than my other efforts. This is still my plan, but other manuscripts currently hold a higher priority. I am hoping to progress on Third Testament and get it ready for publication this year, however.
The image I chose for this blog posting is of a dog, because animals play a prominent role in the story. They provide one of the ways for understanding how different spiritual practices can speak to one another.