Chester had never seen the Master so excited. At first, he tried to shrug it off because the Master had gotten back all of his gold. He had to get the smell of donkey off of him before he was ready to share the intensity of the experience. The bath Sanjiv had drawn for him was helping him slow down and process what he had just experienced. As he dried off he went back in his mind's eye and replayed the look of shock and joy that transformed the Master's face into a shape he had never seen. He could hear his encouraging words as he went off to take a bath, "Come back ready. We have so much to discuss. I have so much to tell you!"
Chester was wearing an old but very comfortable robe. He sat in a chair across from the master. To his right was another chair. "Chester you passed a test and you proved to me you were my former Master."
Chester frowned and shook his head, "I haven't ever known you before I showed up on that donkey two years ago."
The Master chuckled, "Not in this life for you, it was for me. In your previous life. Everything I know I learned from you. I met you when I was 12 in 1930. You taught me until I was 27 and you died. I think you were close to 100 at the time. Most of my life has been me successfully proving something I had learned over 50 years ago. Just before you died you gave me two signs. One would be finding where you had hidden 32 coins made of gold that summarized your teachings. And secondly, soon after I found the coins, you would show up and teach me a religion that had no God. So, I assumed you would show up as some Buddha. Buddhism doesn't worship a God.
Chester laughed, "Yes, that is why so many scientists become Buddhist, it's like having the cake and eating it too. I'm feeling so zen right now."
The Master laughed, "And that was my blind spot. I never, ever thought my Master meant I would meet you later in life as an Athiest."
Chester was stunned. He collected himself, ever the cynic. "Wait, nothing you have said proves I was your master in my previous life, even if the math works out. I was born in 1956, so there was enough time for me to die, go do whatever spirits do unattached to a body and decide to come back as an atheist to fulfill a prophecy! It makes perfect sense."
Sanjiv tried to stifle his laughter. "It sounds ridiculous when you say it like that. For a long time, the Master assumed I would somehow fulfill the prophecy. When we met I was already a devout Buddhist."
Chester was startled. He could have sworn until Sanjiv spoke he was invisible. "How do you do that? You never speak, and it's like you know what we need but we never see you until show up to serve us."
Sanjiv looked delighted as if he was glad to hear such blunt questioning. "One of the first things I discovered when I achieved my Buddahood, I could make myself invisible at will. If you like, I can teach you how to do it."
Chester looked over to the only other chair in the, where Sanjiv was sitting, only to notice the chair was empty. Chester felt a tingling sensation all over. On many occasions, the Master had totally surprised or shocked him. This was the first time Sanjiv had. But the feeling of tingles and goose bumps was very intense and familiar.
The Master said. "I saved one coin in case this day ever came. The inscription as translated from the Sanskrit is 'Death will not keep me from my treasure. In my next life, it will be mine to earn, to give away in order to gain everything.' And you told me before you died, only by receiving the gold and miraculously giving it back to me. would I know for sure it was you again in this life."
Chester suddenly felt a de-ja-vue. Stunned while feeling a strong sense of having done this all before. He could remember dreams of living the life of a mendicant and teaching a young boy. In a strange way, it made sense. The Master was an expert on all religions except atheism. By him having no religion he believed in, being exposed to all of them in a concentrated two-year span, while maintaining a scientific cynicism, allowed for him to be in a position to explain it all back from a scientific perspective.
The Master just beamed.
Chester shook his head and grinned.
The Master and Chester both looked over to the other chair, there was Sanjiv, suddenly visible again, grinning. This was going to be interesting.