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Chapter 27 - The artificial sanctuary in the temple of Jerusalem. Abominable Indian penance.
27,1. Roklus says, "Lord, lord, lord, your reply was very good and wise, and I have weighed and carefully considered it syllable by syllable! I found a lot of truth and good in it, and also that you are, hardly understandable for me, a perfectly real cosmopolitan, like there are unfortunately desperately few left, especially at your level.
27,2. The idea of only one, wisest, but at the same time most humane god would be beautiful and highly commendable; but where does such a deity exist other than in the beautiful concept of a poetically aroused human mind? If any divine reality was different, it would have to manifest itself through something special! But one can do whatever one wants, and seek and search with the greatest diligence in the world and with the most intensive alertness and sagacity, and that always with the best will in the world, and all will still be of no use!
27,3. A hooded man stands in the foreground everywhere one looks searchingly, as guards stand before the precious curtain in the temple in Jerusalem, so that no layman can ever step behind the mysterious curtain. With our gold, however, our we as gentiles looked behind such veils of Isis and found nothing other than what man's hands had made: a chest similar to a sarcophagus made of black and brown wood; in the middle of this chest was fastened an iron basin in which naphtha burned with a bright and high flame that supposedly represented the presence of the highest god!
27,4. I, however, ask how much blindness and foolishness is needed in order to believe something like this! Where is the god and not the man, who put all this together for the deception of his fellow-men, from whom he keeps all information about life and death, so that they continue to remain as foolish and blind as possible and work day and night with blood dripping hands, so that god’s work-shy representatives can really grow fat at the expense of the poor, foolish fauns. Why should such humanly divine highness care about the lives of millions? In order to not bring all furies upon themselves, these must be ready at any moment to put their life on the line in order to maintain the ineradicable pest that represents their god and that is actually their greatest curse!
27,5. Friend, if I may call you that, go to India and take a look at mankind there and your hair will stand on end! You will meet penitents there that your imagination could have never dreamt up! Here for criminals they have punishments imposed by the judges. Executioners carry out the punishments on the law-transgressors for no longer than one day in the worst case. There the lightest penance lasts at least one to two years and the sinner must carry it out on himself most exactly and without any mercy. The lightest punishment there is so gruesome that a Roman crucifixion is literally nothing compared to it. I will give you a few of the lightest examples and it will be completely enough for you!
27,6. I saw such a light penitent! He had three iron nails through his calves, yet still had to pull a significant burden around a tree. If his flesh became tired he took a whip with iron tips and dealt himself the most powerful strokes. His daily penitent's food was composed of seven figs and a pitcher of water. This penitent was carrying out his penance for the second year and was still alive.
27,7. Another light penitent I saw, was stuck full of spikes like a porcupine, with the only difference that in the porcupine's case the sharp tips are pointing outwards; in the penitent's case they were pointing inwards and were pushed at least two thumbs thick into the flesh. According to the directions of the most friendly penance prophet the penitent had to personally jab into his flesh these spikes, made either out of hard wood, bone or even out of iron; every day he had to push in one more for the whole two-year penance period, so that at the end of his hopeless penance period he has as many holy penance spikes stuck in his body and flesh, as there are days in two full years. If the penitent survived his penance, he then begins the voluntary after-penance for merit before the all-seeing eyes of the Lama; the first obligatory part of his penance was only to gain forgiveness for his sins from the Lama. Only through the after-penance can he earn merit before the Lama.
27,8. I asked the otherwise very friendly penance herald, what would be the after-penance for this penitent full of spikes. He said, 'It can be of two, even three kinds: he keeps the spikes stuck in his flesh until his dying day, which is associated with very many discomforts, especially during sleep; such penitents can only sleep on drifting sand or in water connected to tubes that are filled with air. Secondly they could pull the spikes out of their flesh, but not more than one a day and so they would have to deal with the pulling out for as long as initially with the jabbing in. Thirdly they could have their spikes all pulled out at the same time and take a remedy bath. This heals the wounds fast and the penitent is immediately afterwards a useful and fit for work person; for that, however, he either has to bring a strenuous sacrifice to the Lama, or be a slave for four years to a priest and cultivate his fields, meadows and gardens, whereby he has to feed himself by his own means. That he will not fare very well in doing so, is evident!'
27,9. This I was told by such a friendly penance pronouncement priest, whereupon I asked him what crime such a sinner must have committed, so that such a torture penance could be imposed on him. The penance herald said, 'Often no real crime is needed for that, but rather it all lies with the unfathomably wise arbitrariness of the eternal Lama! He reveals his holy will only to his highest priest on earth. This one then announces it to us lower priests and thereupon we instruct the people, who have to obey as blindly. Even if we are infinitely small and little before the Lama's highest priest, before the people we are still infinitely much and great and enforcing our will! A word from our mouth is immutable law because the people know that our and the Lama's word are one!'
27,10. I asked him if the Lama ever gives a reason, why he imposes such gruesome penance on a man. Again the priest said with the friendliest and meekest countenance in the world, 'Does the Lama ever say to a man how, when, and why, he afflicts him with a most painful illness? The Lama is highly wise, almighty and just. He does what he wants and never asks anyone for advice, and he loathes people's opinions! But who can oppose the will of the Lama, who is almighty? It would be the most awful of the awful and the most horrible of the horrible to make him angry! That is why, it is more beneficial for man to torture himself in this world where everything has an end, than to eternally burn in the Lama's most terrifying fire of wrath in the other world.'
27,11. Thereupon, I asked the friendly man, who could watch for years with the greatest and most pious composure, how hundreds of penitents torment and mortify their flesh most excruciatingly according to the Lama's will made known to them, why there is no young woman, even less a girl, as well as no priest at all among the penitents. One can only see older people, mostly moors, and very old, usually very ugly women! Thereon the pious priest said nothing else but, 'Dear knowledge hungry stranger, every explanation lies in 'The Lama wants it that way!' If one knows that, any further question is superfluous!'"
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