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Chapter 134 - Mathael comes to the dying father of Lazarus. The strange natural phenomenon on his way to Bethany.
134,1. Mathael says: “Lord, am I also allowed to mention the strange natural events which I in the company of my father observed in the middle of the night when travelling eastwards to Bethany?”
134,2. I say: “Certainly you may; since this plays a vital part in the experience you had seventeen years ago in Bethany! Therefore, just begin right now!”
134,3. Mathael says: “My Lord, I can see that nothing is unknown to You in the whole of the infinite sphere of creation! I certainly do not have to tell You the story; but for the benefit of our other friends and brothers it pleases me to speak of these higher things, especially as I can see that my audience believes me. Everything which I will tell you now is of a character which looks to have a very mystical and fairy-tale quality. Be that as it may, everything you will hear is true, so please give me your full attention once more!
134,4. Listen! It was already late autumn. The high mountain peaks were covered in fog, and an unfriendly northerly wind whirled the dry leaves from the trees through the air; only in the east were there still some places, where the lovely stars looked down on earth like falling tear drops. This was the scene which I and my father, who was a great lover of nature even with regard to its much less friendly effects, made observations until midnight. When we prepared to go inside to take our rest, we saw someone walking quickly towards our house carrying a lantern made from a sheep’s bladder in his hand. A few moments passed and a rather sad, still quite young, man stood before us.
134,5. Knowing that my father was a doctor, he said in a sorrowful voice: ‘Good friend and doctor! I come from Bethany; my name is Lazarus and I am the son of old Lazarus, whom I love above all! He quite suddenly fell ill today and it looks very bad! Our rabbi, who in emergencies is also something of a doctor, does not know what to do for him! He himself sent me to you as you are an extraordinarily good doctor who has helped sick people in cases where no other doctor could offer any remedy. Please come and cure my suffering father if at all possible!’
134,6. My father said: ‘If some other doctor has judged an invalid to be close to death, we will have to perform miracles again! There would be no problems if they were possible immediately and universally! I will go to him and see what can be done, taking my only son here, who must be at hand since he has the gift to see spirits and can also converse with them in extreme cases. If you had brought horses you would have got here sooner and we would return more quickly with you, perhaps resulting in an easier cure. If the Hippocratic signs of death are already there, no cure is possible as no herb has ever been grown, not on the Alps and even less in any garden, to combat death’s power!’
134,7. The messenger from Lazarus was content with this answer and greatly regretted not having brought any horses Nevertheless we quickly set off on our journey as, even walking quickly, our destination was about an hour away.
134,8. As we made our way, absolutely silent and deep in thought, the fog in the east disappeared completely and the sky became lighter and lighter - after about a quarter of an hour it was as light as half an hour before sunrise. This puzzled us so much that, despite our haste, we were obliged to stop and try to find the source of this strange light.
134,9. Finally it all became as completely light as day and above the eastern horizon something that was almost a real sun rose, but much faster than the usual one, or - as one is accustomed to say - the every-day sun. But when this quickly ascending light appeared, the lower end of the eastern horizon did not begin to become visible.
134,10. This light phenomenon became a column and within a few moments the top shone as brightly as the mid-day sun and soon gave out so much light and heat, that we were forced to seek shelter underneath a fig tree which still had a dense covering of leaves to ensure that we would not be blinded or perish from the heat. Soon this column of light became thinner and thinner and the light and the strong heat which it gave out, disappeared.
134,11. After less than a quarter of an hour the light was gone, as was our eyesight as, when the light had gone out, the darkness was so intense and our eyes so weakened, that we were not able to make out our guide’s lantern properly.
134,12. After a few moments our eyes started to recover and we could again hardly see the road by the very weak light of the lantern as we walked. What had happened nevertheless delayed us by a good half hour and my father immediately asked me, if I had seen any spirits when the bright light was shining.
134,13. I said to him in all sincerity: ‘In the light, which was anyway much more difficult to look at than the midday sun because of its extreme brightness, there was nothing to be seen, but that was certainly not the case with us on earth. A large number of figures appeared but were indistinct - they were all moving purposefully towards the west; their movements thus in tune with the phenomenon of the light itself. There was only one single spirit figure which came very close to us and was completely visible. It had a serious expression, like that of an old man, and appeared to be greatly comforted by the presence of the light. However, when the light began to disappear from the skies, the spirit figure also disappeared quickly also, it seemed to me, moving westwards but more in the direction of Bethany!’ I saw nothing else and was therefore unable to tell my father any more.
134,14. Our guide was surprised by my gift of clairvoyance and believed my statement since he thought that my fantasy and powers of imagination could not possibly have reached a poetic level so inventive that I could so easily produce a story like that from my sleeves. In this he was right since I was never very innovative and as a boy or youth I had almost no fantasy or power of imagination but I did have a great deal of talent for learning foreign tongues.
134,15. After this small talk we finally arrived in Bethany at Lazarus’ very decent house where we found the sick man already making his last convulsive movements, to calm which it is said there is no known herbal cure.
134,16. Around the bed stood the two daughters of the dying man, both in tears but very attractive, and also quite a number of aunts and cousins who sobbed and wept as was customary at those times. Our guide, as the son of the house, also wept and in his sadness forgot to ask my father if Lazarus could still possibly be helped or not.
134,17. It was only the little rabbi who came to my father and ask if there was still anything which could be done so that the old man might regain consciousness even for a short while. My father did not answer the question immediately but asked me very quietly how it was with the old man and whether the soul had already begun to leave the body.
134,18. I innocently told my father what I saw: ‘The entire soul is already half the size of a man and is hovering above the body in a horizontal position only connected to it by a thread of light the thickness of a hair which in our experience is unlikely to be there for more than a minute and will break at any moment. It is however strange to see that the immense column of light, which we saw on our way here with our own eyes, is once more present above the head of the soul, giving out the same powerful light and also a warmth which feels very welcoming. The soul does not avert its eyes from the column of light and it appears as if the soul is greatly comforted by its presence.”
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