Which concerns the initial
deciphering of the discovery at St Claire's Monastery
and the need to go to the
Srinagar, Kashmir Valley,
Jammu & Kashmir Province
in the houseboat, Hellmantle promptly took out the black stone and placed it on
the table. He even closed the door to the boat. With his Swiss Army knife on
the table, he rubbed his beard and pondered how the stone might fit into the
new theory of the story of Jesus.
"His bones being in
Srinagar, and thus not in the place where millions believed He is, I
think is important. But depending on what these stones say, it may be a whole
different ballgame." He began to scrape at the hole with his knife.
"Careful soldier. It's dried
mud that flakes off like sand."
"But there is a wax that has
hardened." He placed the stone between his knees and put some elbow grease into
it, applying enough force to remove little bits. When scraped off, the wax was
almost translucent as if a type of amber.
"You can see through the
flakes." Hellmantle worked the knife into the hole over a centimeter when the
knife penetrated the wax.
"It's open!" he said.
Hellmantle drank his Elephant beer in an effort to calm his nerves at the task
at hand, and then used the hole to pry it open, bending his knife a few degrees
in the process. But a large chunk of the wax flung out of the hole. He fingered
it. It was very dry.
I can feel something. It feels like...soft leather." He used his
fingernails to clean around the hole and then placed the black stone on the
ready padre?" he said to D'Aqs, opening another Elephant beer.
Hellmantle leaned back to operate. Reaching in the hole he couldn't get a good
"Wait, let me use this." He
pulled out the tweezers in his Swiss Army knife. This time he was able to get a
firm grip. He slowly pulled out an animal membrane weighted with something
membrane I think." Hellmantle was laughing. "To keep it dry. It's brittle, but
the membrane has dried." It slipped off without friction.
a...; it's a scroll!" Hellmantle was now laughing hard. "It has been
preserved somehow but I'm afraid I will tear it because I'm laughing."
"Then stop laughing."
"I can't help it." He placed
the rolled scroll on the table and they both stared at it. Hellmantle breathed
deeply. Some small petals of a flower were on the tabletop beside the papyrus.
heart is beating like a race horse," said Hellmantle. "And it's March 1st.
It's all so...; so destined."
"It's made on papyrus. I
can't believe how durable this stuff is! Ummm, this is a scroll from
Jesus the Prophet, man." More laughter came like he had turned into a
"Okay then, let's read it as if it's not such
a big deal. If we regard it as a divine piece from the hand of the Son of
God, then we'll never open it."
"You're right." Hellmantle staring at it,
eyes wide open.
"I am right."
"Or we could look at it as
just another treasure found in the pursuit of truth? It all depends on how you
look at it." Hellmantle's laughter balanced out. "Employing divine grace to
have found it has been a holy affair."
"I can see writing," said
D'Aqs. They looked closer and saw handwriting.
"Let me see if I can open
the first page," taking the top corner between his fingertips. "It's thin, much
thinner than the map." He unraveled it off slowly. The papyrus creaked but
"What language is it?"
"Looks like Aramaic again
but a little different. With some elaborate swirls in the handwriting. Let's
"I'll get him," D'Aqs offered.
When he was gone, Hellmantle
started to think about the enormity of what he was faced with: the words of
Jesus published in the 21st century alongside the words of Mohammad
in the same book with the same message, both men being equal under God's eyes, both
being prophets and spokesmen for God's will, both kneeling before God,
everyone's one God, uniting mankind and beginning a new point of worship in a
one-world religion. Again Hellmantle spoke directly to God:
"And the greatest discovery
will be that the words of Jesus match verbatim mutual parts of the Koran and
the Bible. And the Jews too, they should unite under Jesus' words in the scroll
because they are part of the royal bloodline of King David and King Solomon. It
is a common brotherhood."
D'Aqs returned. Abid's eyes
were red as ochre. Hellmantle had put the black stone under the table so he
didn't know where the scroll had come from.
we need to see a holy man," he said. Abid eyed the membrane and the scroll on
man? You mean Christian?"
What I mean is we need to find a holy man who knows languages and about
religious history." Abid looked at the scroll again.
a document we have. We're researchers." His eyes believed us but Abid's
curiosity wanted to doubt it. He reached for the scroll.
with that cowboy," said Hellmantle. "We think it's written in Aramaic." Abid
took the scroll into his hands.
a valuable piece."
does it say?" Abid ran his finger along the first line.
ancient Aramaic. I know it."
says ‘Jesus the Prophet.'"
The hair on the back of
Hellmantle's neck stood on end. D'Aqs could hear the water licking the side of
the boat and felt the water under the wood. Moisture seeped into the marrow of
his shinbones and up his femurs. D'Aqs felt chilled but sweat appeared along
his forehead and upper lip.
held it out wider to read, but he could only open it halfway before he feared
the paper would crack.
I can see. It is written in old Arabic. No, I cannot read. I can read ‘Jesus'
and ‘prophet' because these are known old words in the language still
used today that I see as a religious man in India. If you know something about
religion then you would know these words. But the rest-"
The only place you can find such a man is at the Ganges."
course!" said Hellmantle. "The mighty Ganges! Where else would there be
a holy man in India? I must have sunstroke. Why didn't I think of that?"
there a particular holy spot along the Ganges?"
is famous," Abid replied, "but it is dirty there. There is Hardiwar, where
there are many holy men. It is good because the water is clean. Very close to
I don't know if I want to deal with Varanasi," said Hellmantle. "Hardiwar is
clean and north of Delhi."
"The water is clean from the
Himalayas. It is mountain water, but it's cold."
you ever taken a dip in the Ganges, Abid?" His eyes opened wider and a lazy
pride heavied his eyelids.
I have cleansed there. It was very good. I go when I can go. It is medicine for
the soul we say." Hellmantle located Hardiwar on the map.
I see it. Right on the Ganges, yes."
we want to go to the Ganges, then we'll need to fly back to Delhi," said
"Well I don't really think I
want to endure another long bus ride."
right. Let's go to the mighty Ganges by taxi." Abid nodded.
"I will arrange for it," he
said. He stood up to leave but stopped, and then spoke to the cousins:
"Mr. Hellmantle," he said,
now a bit serious. "You know Thomas was known as ‘Judas Thomas' here in
yes: the brother of Jesus. Perhaps also known as The Beloved Disciple."
is a Bible name but many of the old people speak about Jesus and Judas here."
In The Acts of Thomas, Jesus appeared in front of a young man, and the
young man sees Jesus in the likeness of the Apostle Judas Thomas." Hellmantle
assumed a mocking posture of a preacher:
"‘The Lord says to him:
‘I am not Judas who is also Thomas, I am his brother.'"