The Gospel of Ouguru
Once upon a time there was a guru. His parents had given him a normal, rather dull name, but those who revered him came to call him The First Guru, or Our Guru. Some shortened this to Ouguru. They all agreed that the name didn't matter.
There were stories that Ouguru was wise beyond his years. One fanciful tale had it that even on the day of his birth he had the wisdom of a thousand-year-old man. Perhaps less fanciful were the reports that when he was two years old he would speak of a wonderful land called Gohwawa. (That is how his biographers spelled it.) In later years it was speculated that Gohwawa was actually an early reference to the land of Earth's dinosaurs and that these babblings were Ouguru's first insights into the nature of human consciousness.
His mother was a devout Daoist, while he father was a devout Buddhist. His godfather was a devout atheist, and his uncle was a devout deist. His next door neighbour was a car thief, but he is rarely mentioned in Ouguru's biographies.
Ouguru was merely 15 years old when he began to teach of the distant planet of Rutstaattotdasaicym. Few beside him could accurately pronounce the name of the planet, so most people simply called it “Ruts”. According to Ouguru's teaching, Ruts was encircled, in a manner similar to the planet Jupiter, by magnificent rings. However, whereas Jupiter's rings comprised ice and other debris, the rings of Ruts were composed of pure consciousness.
This, said Ouguru, was the source of all consciousness in the universe. Tendrils of awareness would venture forth from Ruts, travelling through both space and time, attracted to certain peculiar characteristics of molecular complexity. Later adherents connected these statements with quantum physics, though Ouguru himself said nothing about this.
According to Ouguru, the tendrils of awareness did indeed brush against Earth a few million years before the rise of the first reptiles and thus it could be said that the dinosaurs, though stupid by our standards, were conscious in a way that we might recognize.
The scientists of Ouguru's day said that he was an idiot. They said he had no proof whatsoever that there was a planet named Rutstaattotdasaicym, and that since he didn't have a time machine he could not have any observations about the minds of dinosaurs.
To the surprise of his followers, Ouguru agreed. “An idiot I might be,” he said, “but do not miss the point of what I am saying.”
As he grew older and his teaching skills improved, he used to story of Ruts to demonstrate the nature of mind. He taught — or rather, led people to see — that their impressions of what they are can be mistaken. He showed them that we can be led to believe things about ourselves that just aren't so, and can continue to believe them generations after they have been shown false.
Ouguru said to his followers that truly there is no such thing as a Self, and that when all is said and done everything returns to Rutstaattotdasaicym. He spoke of this at the very end of his final public appearance. “When you get there,” he said to the audience with a weary smile, “you may play with the dinosaurs if you wish, or move on to other pursuits.”
This, alas, was his last pronouncement, because the next day he was run over by man in a stolen car who was fleeing from the police.
Some of his followers speculated that he had allowed himself to die because he had said all that he needed to say. Others elaborated further, saying that his last statement was a metaphor he'd left for his most advanced followers to decode. Some even said that Ruts was not a real place at all — that the entire “ring of consciousness” was a teaching trick to break people away from their reliance on received wisdom.
Ouguru was succeeded by The Second Guru. Unfortunately, there were two obvious successors and one minor candidate. All three claimed the title of Second Guru, though all three said that the truth was more important than the title.
None of the three gave the title to one of the others.
One thing they could all agree upon, however, is that Self was an illusion created by the past. However, the first Second Guru maintained that Ruts existed in real space, while the second Second Guru said that Ruts was purely imaginary. The third Second Guru insisted that Ruts was a projection of an overarching reality that only the most advanced gurus could access.
There were other potential Second Gurus, but some of these died under unusual circumstances. The rest were ignored as either crazy or charlatans. Some clever scholars wrote insightful books. Most of these were burned: the books, at first, and later on the scholars as well.
Centuries later, by the time of the Seventeenth Guru (or Nineteenth in the other main lineage), it was generally agreed that Self emerged from the energy of the past (as generated by the movement of time relative to Stillness) and inhabited the fifth through eighth dimensions (corresponding to the four main senses) while the so-called planet Ruts sat alone in the ninth dimension. Very few initiates had the skill to visit it, and fewer still had the ability to describe it. But there was no doubt whatsoever that the finest goal for a human being was to rejoin the dinosaurs and their descendants on Rutstaattotdasaicym.
So when war broke out between the two primary factions, the question naturally arose: which side would end up on Ruts? A few heretics claimed that both sides would end up there. They were immediately sent on an expedition to find out for themselves.
The scientists on both sides worked furiously in the name of truth, justice and thoroughly valid vengeance. Finally one of them worked out how to explode the sun and the rest was history. Or, at least, there was no more history from that point onward.
Fortunately for us, this story happened in a parallel universe. It makes for a good yarn, but of course nothing that stupid could happen here.