Caesar Describes His Surroundings
I have journeyed through life and accomplished my life‚s dream. I subjugated the world and molded it according to my desires. I became very rich in the doing and was perhaps the most famous general of all time.
However in that accomplishment, after my countrymen made certain that I would not survive life in their attack, I find myself in a world of despair. It is a gray world. Not only what I see is gray, but also my mind has become gray in its numbness.
This is a warning to those who would conquer others. This is not a state to be relished, but rather to be pitied. Caesar, the greatest man of my time, confined to a world of utter despair and I have roamed here in this place for such a long time.
When I crossed over to this land, I thought I would find myself in the land of my gods. Rather I find myself in a land that I would have held in contempt when I had lived. It is a land worse than any slave would have been relegated.
This is a land where suffering is so intense because it is a land of hopelessness. This is my due because there were so many souls that suffered as a result of my actions and orders. I write this through my daughter because she had agreed to help me and I want to tell the world what awaits them if they transgress against universal law.
This is a land of the gods, but it is not exactly as I thought it would be. Yes, we suffer because we made others suffer. Anyone who makes another suffer languishes in a state of what I would call, no life. No one can have life if they killed another or themselves. We are anathema to the world of spirit. Taking the lives of others is against all spiritual laws and we are destined to walk a land that is barren and gray, our souls wishing to be in the company of our loved ones, but it is like the shifting sands of the desert here.
I asked higher beings what this land is called and they tell me it is called the bardo. I never heard of such a word before this, but that is what I am told. It is like a life suspended. This was what I saw when Brutus and the others killed me. And I wonder how many other souls I had sent to the Bardo because of my actions. It is not a thought that I wish to hold. I still have my mind, exactly as it was when I lived on earth. I am still what you would call bright and full of observation. Perhaps that is what hurts more than anything else. I have the capability to observe my dismal life and ponder well what I have done before this state.
No one forces me to stay in this state of mind. I have been cast here like a leper away from all of humanity. I suffer because I have my own thoughts that I cannot forget. I have spent all this time thinking of my life when I was full of energy and living in a land where I had everything that I wanted. Even my enemies could be conquered. I had everything and now I have nothing but my memories. These memories fill me with dread. I live in extreme punishment, yet no one hurts me. I have only my memories. I relive every act that I had ever performed while on earth. No one punishes me except my own mind. It is my hell and my punishment.
I speak through my daughter who has been kind enough to take down these words because I want others to hear me and heed me. There is a place of torment. It is not fire and brimstone as you say, but it is torment of the greatest imaginable kind because I relive over and over what is in my mind.
When I lived on Earth, I considered it a victory to have stormed a town and taken all the inhabitants in victory. I considered it something of an accomplishment to subjugate a people and send them into exile and slavery. Here the same events are a torment to me because all I see is this gray world. There is no life here except others like me who have been condemned to a world of thought.
Now I realize that I am not only responsible for my own constraint, but I recognize others here, suffering just like me and I have brought them here. These were good men and faithful men. I am still their leader in a sense because I led them while in life there, and there is a bond between us. I feel responsible for their misery and I would weep if I could, but there are no tears here, only memories.
These memories are emblazoned in my mind and cannot be erased. It would be unbearable for anyone who might find themselves in this state, but in my case it is of greatest torment because I realize that I was responsible for many being here.
If I knew this before I decided to climb up the ladder of the political world and had a desire for my own command, I would have sent myself in exile. The meanest place in Rome or one of her frontiers would have been a blessing compared to this life of torment and desperate existence.
I am not complaining because I deserved this. I talk about my misery in the hope that some would be detained from taking advantage of others. I wanted to describe my desolation because I would want others to pass over this place. It is a mean and low place, worse than anything that you can conjure up in your mind.
Take heed from the greatest general, Caesar, you do not want to find yourself here. Every moment that I am here, I face those faithful men who called me their commander, their friend; citizens of Rome, who were brave, and followed my command. I face them and both of us know I am responsible for all of us being here.
It was my intention to kill, maim and take as many slaves as possible. When I gazed upon the dead, I felt regret that I couldn‚t send them back to Rome as slaves. I felt cheated, because I looked upon them as money that I had lost at their death. In my eyes, they were not people, rather they were a commodity that meant personal wealth to me and a stepping stone to fame.
I salivated at the booty that was mine for the taking. I thought I was great because I was able to share more booty with my soldiers than any other general. I had their allegiance because they recognized that I was a great soldier. Raising legions for Rome was no problem for me because good men understood that they could probably fight under my command and retire wealthy.
Yet, as I look around at this place, I know that where I find myself is the result of my actions, and I realize that what I had done on earth is not considered an accomplishment here, but rather a great failing. This is a land of gray and I cannot find escape. This is bitterness beyond description. I have been here a long time, ever since my assassins killed me.
This is a place where one cannot get out of through their own efforts. I am a captive who cannot raise a ransom for my freedom. I cannot go to someone else and plead for coins to pay for my release. The only way that one can get out of this place is for someone to set us free. And that is what I am hoping, that someone else will set us free, and it will happen soon.
Daughter, I am grateful for your help.
I am understanding more about what love means.
I would not expect my daughter to help me.
I wasn‚t a good father to her in life. I can see that now.
The fact that she is willing and agreeable to help me shows me what love really is.
Carolyn Evers comments:
When Julia Caesar came to me in Rome, I realized that I was accessing her memories. Because of this, I felt that perhaps my soul expressed itself as Julia when she lived that lifetime in Rome.
As I started writing the novel, Caesar‚s Daughter and the Centurion, I began remembering scenes in Rome and they were very vivid memories for me. I could see rolling hills in a peaceful countryside with long rows of grape vines. Olive trees were planted along the sides of the road and I could see the slaves tending the fields followed by men with whips.
I was very much aware of the failed slave revolt of Spartacus. This had made a great impression on Romans because they started fearing their slaves, and stringent laws were passed carrying automatic death penalty if slaves were suspected of any disobedience or plotting against their owners. When Spartacus‚ followers were finally captured, they were crucified and their burning bodies hung all along the Apian Way. I remembered that the stench hung over the city for a long time, a grisly reminder to slaves that Rome would not tolerate disobedience.
I felt the injustice of slavery and I had a great sorrow in my heart for the treatment of farm slaves. When I saw them struggling under their labors, I remembered wondering if they had eaten that day. Even though I had disagreed with the concept of slavery, I had no power to do anything about the situation, because I was a woman and women were powerless also. Some men thought women were only one step above a slave themselves.
I felt that the only women in Rome who had any power of self-determination were the Vestal Virgins. I could remember how envious I felt of them for their freedom and the respect that Romans held for them. I remembered feeling that the women of Julia‚s time were bright and compassionate, but they were powerless. I could feel again the frustration of being completely under the control of the paterfamilias. They were not allowed to follow their own heart and desires.
At the time, Julia would have been considered privileged being the daughter of Julius Caesar, and a patrician, but I felt as much a slave as those working in the fields. I was remembering the relationship between Julia and her father, Caesar and I resented the fact that I had no freedom to be myself. Men then had an iron grip on women‚s freedom and I felt we were bound to the family the same as the slaves were bound to the land.
In my book Under Grace, there is a discussion of the Bardo. According to information that I had received from the earth records, the Bardo is a place of reflection and review of the recent past life. It seems that the soul must pass through the Bardo before they advance to the higher realms after death. The soul must understand completely the wrongs they committed in that lifetime.
When I thought about the Bardo, it reminded me of the story found in the Egyptian book of the dead whereby the heart of the deceased is weighed after death to see if the soul is worthy.
In Caesar‚s last comments, there is an indication that his daughter will play a part in releasing him from the Bardo and we will follow that later in the story.