Pia seemed mesmerised by the beauty ofHiraizumi; a tiny town in the northern prefecture of Iwate, Japan. As the seat of the powerful Fujiwara clan, the town once aspired to be as culturally affluent as Kyoto, but slowly dwindled over centuries into the modest town that exists today.
As a twenty three year old adventurous lass, Pia was here on a solo trip, far from the hustle-bustle of Mumbai, where she lived. This was her first ever solo trip for which she had saved for three years, when she had first started earning.
She worked as a graphics designer and did freelancing. Her skills were exceptional enough to keep her busy and occupied throughout. Though young and active, Pia was well-rounded. Her plump figure was mostly clothed with modest sports athleisure that were comfortable and casual. Her face was chubby and cherubic. She was a dreamer and a wanderer. Her velvety black eyes exuded passion, depth, loyalty and intuitiveness. They sometimes seemed like an expression of a very powerful, enchanting energy; like trying to convey some message.
She sauntered around the UNESCO treasured Buddhist Chusonji Temple. The temple premises stood elegantly decked in gold-leaf, lacquer, and mother-of-pearl — as it did during Hiraizumi’s golden age.
As she ambled out of the temple, her attention stood fixed upon a tiny antique shop tucked peacefully in a corner, especially built to attract tourists who visited this renowned Buddhist Monastery.
Since it was a late spring afternoon, the pleasant breeze carried with it the fresh scents of rich flora that sent Pia to a state of blissful harmony and trance. She felt the antique shop beckoning her deeper and deeper into its boundaries.
Random tourists were busy clicking selfies posing vibrantly against the backdrop of the monastery and the surrounding landscape garden. The scene created in its idyllic features, the image of a Buddhist paradise. They hardly noticed Pia walking inadvertently towards the antique shop.
The warm and cosy indoors of the shop offered a rather welcoming aura. A pleasant aroma diffuser sent out exotic fragrance of the traditional Japanese Cherry Blossom. Pia was pulled inwards only to be welcomed by a quaint looking young lady. Her unique button like hazel eyes shone with the brightest twinkle and carried the essence of a genuine smile. There was certainly a mystical element of goodness about the shop and the shopkeeper that encapsulated Pia.
She started curiously browsing through the various trinkets and souvenirs that filled the shelves. Her yearning eyes caught sight of a peculiar item – a dainty looking, wooden box with intricate Japanese carvings on it. It seemed like a sacred symbol and Pia couldn’t resist owning this wooden box.
Pia asked the mystic shopkeeper about the box, and the enchanting lady replied in broken English, “This box… very special. Bring good luck, change life. Made for you.”
Pia felt ambivalent, but the box was exquisitely crafted, and she couldn’t resist its charm. She finally bought it and came out. She was tempted to disclose her new treasure to someone, but decided against it; besides she was on a solo trip— she remembered. Pia quickly returned to the traditional Japanese home, where she had hired a home-stay. The amicable couple who owned the place were full of hospitality and warmth.
That evening, they offered their traditional Japanese home cooked meal comprising of ‘Onigiri’ (cooked rice ball rolled in seaweed), ‘Miso soup’ (traditional Japanese soup with veggies, tofu and miso paste), ‘Omurice’ (omlette with rice preparation), ‘Udon’ (buckwheat noodles) and ‘Karaage’ (deep fried meat and veg crispies).
Pia sat down on the traditional mats with folded knees at an elevation slightly above the ground with a support pillow for the leg. The food was elegantly served upon an antique looking square wooden table.
It was a tradition of families to respect food and not speak loudly when they sat at the table. While Pia graciously completed her meal and thanked her hosts, her entire thoughts were focused on that wooden box she had purchased from the shop. Pia remained unmindful of the food served and could hardly relish the delicacies served. Post dinner, she quickly and quietly retired to a corner, faking headache.
She was anxious to check upon her nouveau acquired work of art. She carefully opened the case andpulled out the box; examining the masterpiece closely.
The ‘Jindai Sugi’ (Old Japanese Cedar) box was chiseled and handcrafted to perfection. It was at least a thousand years old. The carvings were intricate and the gaps were filled with lacquered gold. There was an obvious glint of magic and a subtle hint of mysticism that Pia couldn’t help notice. The sacred Japanese symbol etched on top of the box glinted brightly and emanated an obvious wave of mist as she carefully traced her fingers over them. Pia marveled at the level of details and found the mindfulness of observing the intricacies of this antique box calming and meditative. This couldn’t be a dream…
Pia was scheduled to leave the next day; back to the usual grind and routine. As the night progressed, she simply couldn’t fall asleep. She hugged the box close to her and started to feel a strange energy emanating from it. It was as if the box had a life of its own. Her mind was filled with visions of the mystic shop owner followed by visions of people she had never met before. They were like apparitions, floating in front of her, and however hard she tried, she couldn’t shake them off. They had smiling faces and a gentle demeanour. It felt like some remarkable blessings coming from ancestors and guiding angels.
The next morning, Pia woke up feeling different. She felt as though she had been reborn, and a newfound sense of purpose overtook her. She started to see the world through different eyes, and everything around her seemed more vibrant and alive. It felt as if she had just come out of an intense meditative trance.
Pia settled her home–stay bills and took a cab to the airport. All through these times, even though she went about her actions, she plainly couldn’t stop thinking about the box. She had to know more about it.
Before she reached the airport, she realised that she had some time to spare and so, she requested the driver to take a detour to the souvenir shop outside Chusonji Temple. It was early in the morning and yet the shop seemed surprisingly open. There wasn’t a soul in sight and it felt that the shop was kept open only to answer Pia’s inner calling.
Pia entered and found the bewitching young lady sitting in profound meditation. As soon as she entered, the lady gently opened her eyes and once again, Pia noticed the sparkling glint in her cryptic eyes. The lady smiled knowingly and responded all pervasively in her broken English “I know why you here. You feel power of box. Correct?”
Pia’s curiosity raised and she nodded fervently. “What is this all about? I’m sure you know. Could you please tell me more?”
The lady explained, “This box, relic from old forgotten tribe of mystics. They power to channel energy— from Universe. This box fully magical. It use as conduit to harness energy, create change in world. You ‘Chosen One’. You have strong power you do not know.”
Pia was stunned; she stood flabbergasted. She had never believed in such things, but then, she also couldn’t deny the strange power that the box had over her. She asked, “I have felt the power since the time I first laid my eyes upon this valuable piece yesterday. Could you kindly guide me towards understanding my pathway ahead and offer me your precious guidance so that I can embark upon this mission that I am curated for?”
The lady’s eyes twinkled in a pansophical smile. She simply said, “I keep shop open now. I know you come. Yes, I become your mentor. I teach Self-Love, meditation and mystic arts. For that, you cancel travel to home. Stay back here. Also, no calls, no internet, no office work. Because full meditation. No focus losing. Are you ready?”
Pia didn’t have to think twice before making up her mind. With folded hands, she said, “I came here because I was meant to come here. Ever since I laid my eyes on this beautiful creation, I knew that there was a greater purpose than just owning it as a souvenir. If I am the chosen one, as you mention it, I feel that I must do complete justice to the role of a healer and be instrumental in creating the change the world deserves to make Earth a happier place to be. It would be an absolute honour to be mentored under your able guidance. Please accept me as your disciple.”
Together, they rose and the mystic lady at the shop offered her shelter in her own home.
But before Pia could continue living here, there was a dire need for an extension of visa and residential grant to be acquired from the authorities. Pia was unsure but the mystic gave her a written document with an ancient seal. She assured her that the visa extension would be granted. Pia headed to the immigration centre and miraculously, with the grace of the Divine forces, Pia managed to get a residential permit within a week on grounds of education. She couldn’t believe her luck but also felt that the guarding angels and masters were instrumental in making this incredible journey towards upliftment and knowledge enhancement possible.
The mystic’s quaint home was modest and aesthetically crafted in traditional Japanese style to perfection. Called ‘Minka’, this traditional Japanese home was characterised by ‘Tatami Mat’ flooring, sliding doors, and wooden ‘Engawa’ verandas. There was a ‘Genkan’— an entrance hall where people could remove footwear. The flooring was raised a little off the ground to prevent dampness from entering and to keep the living area from flooding in the case of heavy rain. The lower level, known as the ‘Tataki’, was traditionally made of packed Earth.
Pia made this abode her home for the next two years where she dedicated her life to learning the deeper roots of the mystic tribe that had crafted the box.
The mystic young guardian never revealed her name or identity but her lessons were impactful. She explained, “This traditional practice to pass box to chosen heir. Normally decided by tribal head who owns box. Many centuries ago, full tribe washed away because… heavy flood. After that, this box recovered in excavation.”
Pia seemed mesmerised by the power of the lessons.
The lady continued, “After many hundred years, this box found again. I am only caretaker, but real owner… you. You use box wisely and change lives around you.”
Pia dedicated her life to finding out more about the mystics and their teachings. After completing her lessons in Hiraizumi, Pia sought the permission from her mentor to take leave.
She went up to the lady who had introduced her to the true purpose of her life and said, “My beloved Mentor, I feel truly blessed to have met you on this journey of life. You have helped me discover my worth and guided me towards unleashing my inner power and potential.”
Pia felt overwhelmed as tears of blissful joy started streaming ceaselessly. The mystic lady hugged her and blessed, ” I only caretaker and guide. You are owner of Magical Box. Real responsibility now yours. My job now over. I feel proud of you. You learn all lessons well. Best wishes.”
Pia offered her heartfelt gratitude and left Hiraizumi. Over the last two years, she had gotten used to the Japanese way of life. She had blended well with the local culture and even though she was in isolation from the general crowd, she had adopted the traditional way of living while sharing the same roof with her mentor.
From Japan, Pia first returned to her motherland India and offered her oblations to the family goddess. She sought the blessings of her parents who had lost hope of ever seeing her again. Her parents were ecstatic to see Pia safe and now, rather enlightened. Her mother shed tears of pure love and happiness. From there, she travelled globally over the years, and became a master of the mystic arts. She started seeking out ancient artifacts and undertaking guidance under the most renowned mystics of her time. She used the power of the ancient magical box to help people in need, spread peace and happiness, heal the sick, fight injustice and create an egalitarian society. The box acted as a guide to help Pia understand exactly how to solve challenging situations by offering some deeper insights as messages from the guardian angels and masters.
Eventually, Pia’s fame spread far and wide, and she became known as the ‘Mystic of the Magical Box.’ She had changed the world, one person at a time, and her legacy continued to live on for generations to come.