Oolbatism is a religion based largely on the belief that the mortal world is largely illusion and that the goal of each human soul is to attain to the True World. The leader of the religion is called the Oolbat, a teacher based in Refuge who is believed to be a recurring reincarnation. Adherents are called Batsi.
Oolbatism teaches that mankind was created to exist in a perfect state, but has been trapped in a waking dream by Illusion. As such, it is the responsibility of each soul to escape the bounds of this world and attain to a higher state, known as the True World. Things that are associated exclusively with this world, such as social hierarchies and physical needs and passions, are treated as chains that hold one to this world and weigh the soul down after death.
While there are no official deities within Oolbatism, and they do not encourage the worship of deities from other religions, the religion does teach the existence of a few powerful beings that outsiders interpret as gods. These are as follows:
Batsi believe that the True World, mankind, and all true entities were created. While they acknowledge that this implies a creator being, there is no solid teaching on this being and it is generally considered largely unknowable, at least by those still confined to this world.
Illusion is a term used by Batsi to describe not only the nature of the physical world, but also the being who rules over it. Oolbat Challabahn taught that Illusion is a powerful, formless, and clever entity who ensured that mankind would be subject to its laws shortly after the Creator formed them. Its reasons are inscrutable, and its mind unknowable, but it stands in direct opposition to those who seek to attain the True World. There is significant disagreement whether Illusion was created by the Creator or if it is a coexisting entity.
The Oolbat is a human, and officially, nothing more. Reverence for the Oolbat and some of the claims about what they can do, however, often sound divine to those outside the religion.
True World Edit
The True World is both a place and a state of being. Here, there is no passion, no need, and no injustice. All people are equal and free to carry out their purpose for eternity. It is believed that those who attain to the True World will be free from the machinations of Illusion and will meet the Creator, who delights to see mankind achieve their proper place and role in the universe.
Things that tie one to this world are considered to have weight on the soul. If one dies having been too concerned with worldly needs, or too enslaved to their passions, or reveling in injustice, or any of a number of other 'burdens', Batsi believe the soul cannot escape this world and becomes trapped here. Most immediately reincarnate, being reborn into this world to try again. The one exception to this is the Oolbat, who is believed to undergo voluntary reincarnation.
The Batsi do not believe in any form of punishment after death, aside from being trapped in this world. Some, however, are more trapped than others. Those who actively and willfully serve Illusion in life, or are prevented from reincarnation to some degree or another, are left as slaves to Illusion and unable to reincarnate or escape this world. It is believed that there are ways to help the Damned, if they are willing to accept the help, but even encountering one outside the Age of the Seeker is rare enough that there are no records of a successful attempt at redeeming one. In other parts of the world, the Damned are assumed to be members of the Wandering.
It is believed that all Oolbats are one person, the continuing reincarnations of a man named Challabahn. Having achieved enlightenment and seen the path to the True World, Challabahn began to teach and founded the religion in what would become Refuge. Believing that he had a responsibility to future generations, he promised to willingly undergo reincarnation and continue guiding people to the True World until the day that Illusion was finally defeated. Every Oolbat carries two artifacts: the Gilded Dagger, believed capable of slicing through reality itself; and the Staff of the Oolbat, a walking stick inscribed with unreadable runes that is believed to help the Oolbat hold Illusion at bay. Armed with these artifacts, which Challabahn claimed he acquired when confronting Illusion during his journey to enlightenment, the Oolbat is believed to be able to mitigate the full force of Illusion. In this way, during the Oolbat's lifetime, the True World is somewhat more accessible and visible to mankind, and the world we inhabit is less bound to Illusion.
One of the fundamental beliefs within Oolbatism is that Khadaka is, in its natural state, wild, chaotic, untamed, and fleeting. This is in comparison to the True World, which is organized, structured, stable, and eternal. Batsi hold that the world we experience only knows any peace and regularity, down to the stability of natural laws, by the influence of the True World upon it thanks to the work of the Oolbat. Batsi therefore regard magic as a breaking of the natural order, a resurgence of chaos and disorder on the world. This makes magic, and those who practice it, tools of Illusion and enemies of enlightenment.
Fatebinding, as a system which relies on understanding and connecting with the orderly fabric underlying reality, is seen as a highly positive concept. Fatebinders, and the Sylanthal, are welcome allies and highly regarded among the Batsi.
Oolbatism teaches that humans, upon dying, leave their mortal bodies either to reincarnate, pass to the True World, or be trapped as thralls to Illusion. Either way, the body is nothing more than a vessel, and the Batsi have only a simple funeral rite in which the body is laid out to be eaten by wild beasts.
Batsi Calendar Edit
The Batsi have the most complicated calendar on Khadaka. While the actual measure of years is done by the motions of Sholis, like many other calendars, the years are grouped into ages, and these have primary importance. Each age is measured from the birth of an Oolbat to their death, and are named after the Oolbat of that age. Currently, we are in the Age of Sūng.
Because each age begins on the morning that the Oolbat is born, and the years are measurements within an age, the Batsi calendar does not line up with any other calendar on Khadaka. Year 0 for any age is always the first year of the Oolbat's life, beginning at their birth. The last year of a given age, then, is almost always shorter than any other year. This requires that translation from Batsi to any other calendar involves a detailed understanding of exactly when each age actually begins. This is not helped by the fact that there are two other notable ages that do no occur during the lifetime of an Oolbat.
Chimeric Age Edit
Before Challabahn achieved enlightenment (believed to be -1617 Reformed), the Batsi believe that the world was completely under the thrall of Illusion. Reality, time, and even life were a jumbled, half real mess. As such, this entire period is considered one timeless age, without years counted and with no reliable history.
Age of the Seeker Edit
The Age of the Seeker is a recurring age which happens between the other ages, in which the Seeker searches for the new Oolbat pending reincarnation.