Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Priest and the Prostitute

The novel, Black Hole, continues.

Story so far:

Chapter 1 - The Original Sin:  Kailash Public School in Delhi is donated by Sitaram Rana to Nityananda Baba of Devlok Ashram.  The ashram was founded by Kailash Baba along with the material assistance of Amarjeet and Mahendra Rana.  An Anglican Pastor, Aaron Matthews, is also an integral part of the ashram.

Chapter 2 - A Gospel: Ishan Salman Panicker is one of the English teachers at Kailash Public School.  His foot is fractured the day the school's management changes.  Lying in bed he begins to write a gospel which has its roots in Shillong. He was born of Farishta Kharmawphlang and Shankara Panicker  in Shillong. Shankara disappeared the day Ishan was born; it was during Indira Gandhi's Emergency. Father Joseph Kunnel becomes Ishan's guardian.  Ishan, however, cannot accept the gospel taught by the priest. He becomes "the lost sheep" for the priest, while the priest is a worshipper of a helplessly lamenting god for Ishan. 

Read on:

*

*
The priest was leading the crowd.

Ishan was writing his gospel.  His foot, caught between the horns of Rahu and Ketu, remained imprisoned in plaster of Paris.

Mary Magdalene discovers Jesus

Jesus looked up hearing the roar of a multitude.  “Stone her to death.”  “She’s a prostitute.”  He heard the cries.  Jesus looked at the Rabbi who led the multitude all of whom were carrying stones in their hands.  They were dragging a woman along. 

Jesus recalled the face of the Rabbi.  It was the same man who had questioned him a few days back about the morality of his disciples who had plucked some ears of corn from the field and eaten them.
 
“Your disciples are breaking the law about the Sabbath,” the Rabbi complained.

“The law is made for man,” Jesus said looking into the eyes of the Rabbi as if he was searching for something in them.  “Not vice-versa.  You rabbis have placed the law above everything else.  Above man.  Above God.  By doing so, you are placing yourselves above everything.  I have come to change that.  Man comes before the law.”

The Rabbi had gone away scandalised.  Only to return now with a huge crowd and a bound woman. 

“This woman is a prostitute,” said the Rabbi to Jesus.  “The law says that she should be stoned to death.  What do you suggest?”

“Let him who has not broken any law so far be the first to cast the stone at her.” Jesus looked at the multitude.  He looked into their eyes.  He was searching for something in their eyes. 

The people felt within them the meaning of that look.  The look was entirely different from the looks they were used to receiving from their Rabbis.  From the Pharisees.  From all the preachers of the law.  The look touched them.  It had the softness of the silk gifted to their King Solomon by the Queen of Sheba.  It wafted like a cool breeze in the air before sifting through the pores in their skins.  It touched some parts within their bodies.  The stones fell from their hands.  They began to go away.  One by one.  In small groups.  Mumbling.  Grumbling.  Regretting the loss of an entertainment.
 
The Rabbi watched the men walk away.  Fury mounted in him.
 
“You are a subversive,” he said to Jesus bitterly.  “You will pay for this,” he spat out as he turned and walked away.

“Why don’t you go too?”  Jesus asked the woman who stood alone now.

“Where will I go?  I am yours now,” she said.

“Mine is a hard path.  It’s full of pain and sorrows.”

“I’m sick of pleasures and delights.”

“Didn’t they give you what you were searching for?”

“They gave me power over men.”

“Was that what you wanted?”

“Yes.”

“Then?”

“Men are deceptive.”

“Life is deceptive.”

“This same man, the Rabbi who led the crowd here carrying stones to pelt me with, was with me the other day drinking avidly the pleasures and delights of the body.  Surrendering himself to me.”

“Such a surrender makes a man ashamed of himself.  It became necessary for him to defeat you.  To reinstate his honour to himself.”

“The law came to his aid.  The law is with him.  He makes the law.  And he used it now with multiple targets.  Me and you.  If I were killed, not only I but also you would be defeated.”

“I have no victory, nor defeat.”

“That’s what I too want.”

“Welcome to the way of the cross, Mary.”

*


PREVIOUS PARTS

Chapter 1: The Original Sin


Chapter 2: A Gospel

2.2 Dkhar
     2.4 Cry from Calvary
     2.5 The Lost Sheep

Next: The Handmaid of the Lord

9 comments:

  1. Orthodox religion is always hardcore. People, especially priests, think that they are anointed by the God and forget that even they are mortals like their brethren. This is the same for all the religions.

    Some day God Himself will get frustrated and jump down from heaven and show the truth.


    ...or may be, He's too disgusted and has given up us as a lost cause! Who knows!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ... Or as Philosopher Nietzsche said God must have died laughing :)

      The cross - the painful path - is the ultimate fate for the spiritual person. He/she will choose it him-/herself even if the orthodox religious people or the society don't impose it on them.

      A related question: do you think real, solid philosophy can ever come except from pain?

      Delete
    2. Right. Philosophy is born out of ultimate misery and rejection. They are simply the 'sour grapes', but on a higher plane and truer. It's a form of a consolation and preserves our sanity.

      Delete
  2. Sir read a part of it only in the blog I wd surly love read it through but as u know no job no money so hw do I buy it only u can send me a copy of ur story book

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and I, like many others, were ill-fated to live a brief period with people who carried the devil in the heart and the angel in the smile. Such chicanery may not be found anywhere except in that organisation. It is that chicanery which prompted me to write this novel, to look at what religion is, what it means to me at least. This novel is still being written. It has not been published; it is being serialised here in the blog.

      You are probably referring to my short story collection. I will send you a pdf copy by email. The print version has been suppressed apparently by the same forces - the publisher turned hostile for no reason!

      Best wishes.

      Delete
  3. Amazing read. So much what I believe about religion and God.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to find one more person who shares similar outlooks.

      Delete
  4. Surrender, honor, shame - forces that undo many.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Was Jesus weary of mankind towards the end of his 'civilising mission'? Was he really capitulating as Lazarus accused him of in a previous part of the novel? The novel will explore this further through Ishan's gospel.

      Surrender can be a good spiritual exercise. But in today's world is it relevant?

      Delete