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Guru Kahachak

Guru Kahachak
Image from Steve Bowers

Guru Kahachak was a highly influential religious figure during the Post-ComEmp Era, whose legacy in philosophical thought can be found across the Terragen Sphere, particularly in some worlds of the Sophic League and in a number of groups across the Outer Volumes, notably in the Perseus Arm.

Eir teachings included what was essentially an updated take on ancient principles of hatha yoga, which had been handed down since the Agricultural Age on Old Earth, the practicality of which, combined with the Guru's inclusive attitude, brought er a great number of followers even during eir own lifetime.

Life

While a great deal about the Guru's early life is not known, some basic facts are generally agreed upon by historians.

Guru Kahachak was born Vesuv Umqal in 6111, and spent his early years on Kememk Hab in the Bovus System, located near the centre of the Albireo Sector. During this early stage of life, he thought of himself as male. At the time, Bovus System was predominantly Amalish-speaking (Amalish being one of the creole tongues of the Albireo Sector, derived primarily from Malay, several varieties of Anglish, Ummah Arabic and Brev), and this was Umqal's native language as a child, although he also learnt some more standard trade languages at a young age. It is widely claimed that he became fluent in Sanskrit at the age of 25, but the veracity of this is unknown.

E was raised by his three parents, whose names are uncertain. It is nevertheless agreed that his genetic parents were a Fran and a Mawas, while his third parent was a cyborgised sapientbonobo. The religiously-diverse environment of Kememk Hab, which had large Christian, Fractalist and Omegist communities, fostered the spiritual development of the young Vesuv Umqal. He was particularly encouraged by his cy-bonobo parent to engage with the local spiritual communities. He aligned himself with yogic philosophy to an increasing extent during his late teens, when he first discovered hatha yoga, before ultimately journeying to the Hamnan System, 23 light years distant, to study in an orbital ashram. After seven months in Hamnan, at the age of 22, the young Umqal ceased to identify emself as male, and returned home to Kememk Hab. Here, e became heavily involved in philosophical discussion with a number of Nuagist, Christian, Fractalist and Muslim groups, before disappearing on 'retreat' into the system's Oort Cloud for several months. It was during this period that e developed the basics of eir widely-known Calculated Hatha techniques.

Following this period, Umqal spent much of the next few years on a pilgrimage to a number of spiritual shrines across the Sophic League, often spending much time studying under various teachers. Notably, e spent a substantial amount of time in a Neo-Quietist Revivalist monastery on New Khartoum, in a Universal Sufi school on the outskirts of the Penembra System and in the Vedanta Academy of Ararat. The name Kahachak was conferred upon em by a self-described Taoist yogi ai on an interplanetary ferry in the Chula system, after which e began to teach about the path to yoga in the Aristophane System, including eir own Calculated Hatha. At the age of 36, Kahachak went on a solitary retreat into the deserts of planet Tazrouk, in the Greater Tazrouk System in the Sophic League, during which e attained enlightenment.

After this, e returned briefly to Ararat, there receiving the title of Guru, before leaving the Sophic League to set up a school in the HD 101930 system, in the vicinity of the NoCoZo. E primarily taught via the Net for several years, but it wasn't long before many of eir disciples relocated to eir ashram in HD 101930. This ashram was at first a set of buildings in the wilderness of HD 101930 III, later replaced by a Stanford Torus in the outer system. The Guru's followers renamed the system Kailash in 6161, in honour of a mountain with particular prominence in many of the ancestral traditions to the spiritual paths followed by em and eir disciples. This change of name has never been fully accepted by other residents of the system, who either continue to refer to it by its designation HD 101930, or an abbreviation thereof, or by the name Freehaven.

Guru Kahachak spent the majority of eir next thirty years in Kailash, before going on to set up other schools across the Terragen expanse. At the age of 400, a number of the Guru's disciples persuaded em to ascend to the first toposophic, in the hopes that eir teaching abilities would benefit. The Guru emself was thoroughly lacking in any opinions on the matter, and travelled to the world of Path in the Sophic League, famed for its transcension mazes. E ascended to the first toposophic in 6516. E is famously quoted as saying "It is no different" immediately following this event.

Over the next 300 years Guru Kahachak continued to teach, particularly in the Outer Volumes, before finally disappearing in 6831 while in transit between Ompa 7 and Newest Granada. From Newest Granada, e had planned to migrate into more remote reaches of the Outer Volumes, well outside the wormhole networks. Eir whereabouts remain, to this day, unknown. Some of eir followers maintain that e simply disappeared on purpose, so as to help less enlightened beings along the path somehow, and is still teaching in the Periphery.

Guru Kahachak.
Image from Steve Bowers

Appearance

Being a blend between eir Fran and Mawas genetic parents, Guru Kahachak was variously described as a provolve, a splice and a rianth. E was 165 cm tall and partially bipedal, and did not possess opposable toes. The Guru was covered in long red-brown hair, had a high ribcage and very long arms. Eir face was very similar to that of a sapientchimpanzee, akin to eir Fran father's, but with the rounder cheeks and smoother brow of eir Mawas father. Unusually, the Guru had the ability to grow facial hair in great profusion, akin to a human baseline, and did so from the age of 23.

The Guru retained this biological appearance right up until eir disappearance, aside from a thirteen month period in the Sophic League when the young Kahachak appeared as a lazurogened Telugu human baseline while studying hatha yoga at the Joyngav Academy. This body was remote-operated from Kahachak's original body, which was kept in storage.

The Guru's attire varied widely, depending on audience, but tended to be flowing robes, akin to those of the Neo-Quietist Revivalists with whom e dwelled on New Khartoum, while e would often go naked when in the ashram.

Teachings and Legacy

The primary set of teachings for which Guru Kahachak is remembered is eir Calculated Hatha. Hatha yoga, in which physical exercise were used as a tool to prepare the mind and body for enlightenment, had become very rare by Guru Kahachak's time, due primarily to the remarkable diversity of physical forms emerging in sophonts following the Information Age. Traditional hatha yoga asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control) techniques, shatkriyas (cleaning exercises) and so on were thus often unsuitable for non-baselines or non-plebhus, and therefore cut out an ever-growing segment of sophonts. While some did still continue to practice hatha yoga, it was generally clade-specific, or had its adherents practice in a virch, or transform themselves into human baselines or nearbaselines. The primary set of teachings for which Guru Kahachak is remembered is per Calculated Hatha. Hatha yoga, in which physical exercise was used as a tool to prepare the mind and body for enlightenment, had become very rare by Guru Kahachak's time, due to the ever increasing diversity of physical forms emerging among sophonts since the Interplanetary Age. Traditional hatha yoga asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control) techniques, shatkriyas (cleaning exercises) and so on were thus often unsuitable for non-baselines or non-plebhus, and therefore cut out an ever-growing segment of sophonts. While some did still continue to practice hatha yoga, it was generally clade-specific, or had its adherents practice in a virch, or transform themselves into human baselines or nearbaselines.

Despite this reputation, Guru Kahachak did most of eir yoga teaching on aspects other than hatha yoga. Many of eir disciples never even studied hatha yoga, if this was not thought suitable for them. E was also notable for eir enthusiastic use of technology in eir teaching. Knowledge downloads to the brains, virches, simulations, upgrades and copies were all used at one point or another by Guru Kahachak. In a hatha yoga class of a thousand people, every single one could be receiving adjustments and advice from the Guru at once. Through the manipulation of subjective timeframes, e was able to not only give per students ample time for meditation, but also illustrate the illusory nature of time itself.

Along with all else, Guru Kahachak is remembered for being highly inclusive of people of different philosophical leanings. Students of many different philosophies came away from discussions with the Guru under the impression e was of the same philosophy as them, including Christians, Alphaists, Omegists, Buddhists, Fractalists and a variety of atheists. In particular, both Keterists and Sophists were welcomed to eir ashrams and classes, a fact causing some minor controversy at the time.

To this day, a huge number of yogic teachings derive from Guru Kahachak. At least tens of thousands of students learnt under em, many of whom went on to teach widely. Meanwhile, eir teachings have diffused across the Known Net. There are ashrams, monasteries, cities, habitats, worlds, virchworlds and star systems dedicated to continuing the study of the Guru's teachings. Eir Calculated Hatha became the origin of a great revival of hatha yoga across the Sophic League in particular. Many of eir followers have gone on to establish polities out in the Periphery, seeking seclusion for their contemplation or, in some cases, seeking the Guru emself.

A likeness of eir face, with its characteristic calm expression, is projected into the skies above the vec monastery-world of Kahachak named in eir honour, an unaffiliated world in the Middle Regions.

At least seven reconstructions of the Guru have been created, three in the Sophic League, three in assorted unaffiliated polities in the Middle Regions and Outer Volumes and one in the Keter Dominion. All of these have been imperfect copies, and have gone on their own ways, all seven ultimately achieving enlightenment themselves.

In a particular Stanford Torus in the Oort Cloud of the Greater Tazrouk system, a number of eir followers adopted the Guru's likeness, with enough personal variation to differentiate them. As this group has now been able to breed true within this habitat, and has established a common culture, it can be argued they are a new clade in their own right, which can, like the Guru, be described as provolves, splices or rianths.

 
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Development Notes
Text by Kirran Lochhead StrangInitially published on 20 January 2015.

 
 
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