Wordcarpenter Books

Chapter Forty-three 


 

About Hellmantle of Normandy's meeting with the holy man

after taking a dip in the Ganges River

Hardiwar, the Ganges River, Uttaranchal Province

תּוֹ

During the ride to Hardiwar in a rented jeep, D'Aqs thoughts kept drifting back to the dream he had had last night. All night he dreamed in a rapid fire of scenarios and situations, and realized in the twilight between dreams and semi-consciousness that he wasn't only dreaming from the perspective of himself but also from the perspective of Hellmantle and his father. Never before had he dreamt from a multi-perspective viewpoint. All three of them looked out upon D'Aqs dreamscape thinking the same thoughts. He wasn't surprised that Hellmantle shared the same perspective, but with his father it was odd. In one of the dreams he found Hellmantle at the end of a long struggle and there he was holding the scrolls safely in his hands.

During the ride he confessed his dream to Hellmantle. His reaction was concise.

"Do you know it means?" Hellmantle asked him, a smile curving at the edges of his mouth. He didn't know he really wanted to hear what he thought but he had to find meaning in such an unusual and vivid and arresting dream.

        "No, I can't figure it out."

        "Well, as I see it, you have come to see things from our perspective. You have experienced firsthand these hidden truths of the New Testament and come to regard it all as substantive truth. Therefore the sharing of three points of view in three peoples confirms that you have indeed grown and changed." That was what he was afraid of. It meant there was no turning back to his life as a preacher of the gospels that he no longer fully believed in with his heart. In effect, he was now out of a job.

"I can't lie to you," he replied. "That's what I thought it might mean. I've changed my beliefs after all our adventures, grown maybe but it means I cannot go back to my life as a minister."

        "Yes, you're out of a job."

        "Don't beat around the bush!"

        "I think you know me well enough now that I never beat around the bush."

        But for D'Aqs, the directness of his words was like the removal of a thorn in his paw, a sliver that had started to fester that needed to be pulled out with sharp tweezers. There was relief in this revelation for he could move forward to a new life, one that was no longer hampered by inconsistent dogma that he now knew had been fudged.

        They rode the rest of the way to the Ganges, but when they arrived Hellmantle had one more thing to say, and he spoke thus:

        "My cousin Grosseteste, do not be saddened by this change in you for you have been blessed by your open-mindedness and your willingness to say yes to these adventures. You have evolved My Son and now have the future open to you to do what is in your heart. That is your task; that is what you now need to find out. Listen to the new murmurings in your heart and follow your intuition because there is no wrong when a man evolves as you have. There can only be good in it. Opportunitites will present themselves to you and you will open one of these doors and step through to a new world, a new life. I can only envy how you have come into your own and now have a firmer foundation from which to govern your new life."

There was nothing for him to say for he knew what had to be done and the Ganges was the perfect place to start anew.

 

Ω

 

They finally reached the swift flowing Ganges River just as it gained momentum falling from the melted snow tops of the Himalayan chink. Hellmantle knew they were at the ‘Gateway to God' when he saw the monastery on the hill overlooking an old colonial clock tower by a shrine on the riverbank where holy men sat cross-legged with long white beards.

When the three of them crossed the bridge to the holy shrine and the dipping area around the old tower, they had encountered their first leper. There were many sitting in small groups on the bridge leaning against the railing and selling wares. All of the men wore their beards long and white. The holy men sat among the sick with their backs straight and limbs as thin as chopsticks. Most were shirtless and some were decorated with the red and yellow coloring that signified enlightenment and cleanliness of spirit.

"Hellmantle, sir" said Abid, stopping. "I go eat while you clean, OK?" Abid, the son of an Indian military officer, could no longer ignore the pains in his stomach. Leaving them Abid hurried off to a café below the monastery at the top of the escarpment. He was feeling hungry after skipping lunch so his passengers would have more time at the sacred river.

When Abid turned on his heel to satiate his hunger, Hellmantle saw a line of ascetics sitting contentedly by the water in the classic Asian squat. Some had made a spot on the water's edge their own. No possessions save a cup and cloak that doubled as their bed blanket. Hardiwar, already 3000 feet above sea level, when the sun dropped behind the surrounding mountains even the holiest men needed a cloak. Holding their metal cups, they dranl steaming sweetened tea.

With Abid at the café, a strong mixture of thrill and panic coarsed through his heart because he was new to this world. Past the venders selling jewelry and empty plastic bottles, he and D'Aqs stepped onto the platform that kissed the fast-moving river. It was here where the British had left their mark with a classic single turret showing the world the time in the empire with long skinny black arrows pointing to Roman numerals. But what first caught Hellmantle's attention was not the number of stalls along the water or the number of people who were bathing in the sacred river, but the size and swiftness of the Ganges River itself. He regarded it as a flow with divine purpose from the mountains that touched the clouds.

Chains lined the manmade platform that had been built on the side of the river for pilgrims to dip without being swept away by the current. A flowing narrow channel went between the British bell tower and the natural shore of high rock. The water was fast so they had funneled part of the river inside a pontoon, where older women and children could bath. After the narrow mouth of the channel widened, the current waned and there was a manmade eddy where builders had indented part of the shore. This was where the very old bath, where the eddy was safest.

But it was on the other side of this pontoon where Hellmantle and D'Aqs stood and watched the white-bearded men dip into the dangerous open waters in the fleetest part of the Ganges. Hellmantle noticed an old holy man with flowing hair and a long white beard watching them, but the look on the old man's face was not derision or suspicion but one of wonder and implicit respect. He wore only a small loincloth, without shoes or socks or shirt or robe. Cross-legged, he leaned his back straight against a pole beside the bell tower. The eye contact was brief but warm, with a hint of communication that Hellmantle couldn't put his finger on.

Then the old white-haired holy man rose slowly, patiently, showing his emaciated slimness and the yellow markings on his body. He walked as slow as molasses towards the water where he and D'Aqs were watching him. The old man looked straight ahead at the water but they both could see the half smile on his face. Hellmantle knew that the holy man could see him through the corner of his eye.

Slowly the man with the long white beard stepped into the rushing water, and then took another step, and then another, downward, holding a metal chain until the water raced past his waist. Still keeping Hellmantle in the corner of his eye, he turned toward the current with his half smile and neatly dipped under the water submerging his body completely. He was only under the surface for a few seconds, when he emerged with the poise of a veteran that could only be seen as holy. He again submerged himself into the river with only his tooth of an arm still visible, clinging to the metal chain. He surfaced a second time with the same holy aplomb, and then plunged a third time in the same manner. No one seemed to take notice of him except Hellmantle and D'Aqs, who were his audience.

The man with the white beard stepped up the concrete steps onto the pontoon where he returned to his spot by the bell tower. The half smile had blossomed into a full smile but with his mouth still closed. Again Hellmantle was sure that the holy man kept his eye on him out of the corner of his eye. A minute passed by while Hellmantle pondered and observed, savored and wondered. Then, in a sudden burst, he approached to the Ganges, removed his clothes save his boxer shorts, and stepped into the cold water step by step, and grabbing hold of the metal chain just as the holy man had done.

At first he was in shock at how chilly the water was, but looking up to the horizon at the Himalayas, he saw why. He could feel the ice in the water.

He wavered for a moment and then looked over to the holy man with the long white beard and full head of long white hair. Seeing that he was still looking at Hellmantle, he faced the flowing river and held on to the chain, and just as the old man did, submerged his entire body in the ice-cold river. Without making too much of a splash, he rose up slowly and immediately experienced the cool rush of his skin burning from the holy mountain water under the hot Indian sun. His spirit swelled as if percolating towards Great Hall in the Sky. He knew God was present.

Now feeling the eyes of the holy man watching his white skinned body reacting to his first dip in the Ganges, Hellmantle slowly descended under the surface again going completely under but with his right arm holding the chain, just as the old man had done. He did it a third time like his teacher had shown him, and then he stood there in the Ganges waist deep for a moment letting the medicine water heal him. Fatigue brought forth emotional truth and the mirth was palpable as bodies immersed into the holy stream, regenerating the spirit. Ills and omens washed away by the pilgrimage and by the belief in the holiness of the Ganges River. Even lepers sat by hoping for the miracle of life to cure their affliction, bathing in the waters like all others.

As per the existing dynamic between them, it was Hellmantle who lead first and D'Aqs who followed however just as he was about to derobe and cleanse in the holy river a leper approached him holding a bucket in his hand with no fingers. The leper asked him for money but D'Aqs didn't want to touch him or the bucket. Wanting to be left alone and unhindered beside the river, the leper demanded money by moving closer and closer to him forcing him to move away. The leper followed him, invading his personal space. He very kindly said he was sorry but he wouldn't give him money, but the leper stepped still closer to him, which forced D'Aqs to the water's edge. D'Aqs couldn't do anything but repeat the word "sorry" as he tried to walk forward but the leper kept crowding him so he turned around the other way and walked to the inner part of the platform around the man with leprosy to return to where Hellmantle dripped with holy water near the holy man.

"Made a new friend I see." Abid, who had come back from the café on the hill, laughed.

        "I can't-" D'Aqs felt bad about the situation because he knew he was a compassionate man. He was just afraid of lepers.

        "Here," said Hellmantle. He gave a few rupees to the leper. The relief was almost quantifiable. The leper thanked Hellmantle by patting his shoulder with his fingerless hand and walked away.

        "Thanks Hellmantle. I just couldn't-"

        "I understand. The water's great. It's time." There were tremendous forces working on D'Aqs at that moment and he could see the struggle going through his mind. "It's a spiritual rebirth. You'll feel better. Overcome your fears. Only then can you have true freedom. The water comes from the heavens up there." He pointed up to the Himalayas lost in the clouds. "Trust me."

        "I trust you," he replied. "You're right. It was my need for a spiritual rebirth that lured me to the Ganges. That's what brought me from the Himalayas to the river's edge in Hardiwar." So the ex-missionary proceeded to strip down to his jockeys and undergo the same immersion three times as the holy man showed them.

        As D'Aqs was reborn, Hellmantle spoke thus:

        "Nowhere else have I ever felt such deep belief as when I stand here bathing in the Ganges, watching the joy in people's faces, the same as I feel." Hellmantle saw the holy man painting his forehead with a bright yellow paint.

        "I see a holy man," said Abid. He looked at Hellmantle and then at the man with the white beard. His body was now completely marked by the yellow markings.

"It is from this holy man in a loincloth that gave me the Ganges River dipping technique as the key to undergo the ancient Aryan rite of spiritual rebirth." D'Aqs returned from his new beginning.

        "Yes," said Abid. "He is a holy man." Then, looking at D'Aqs, he said:

"He's the one who showed me how to cleanse in the mighty waters." Abid walked to him and bowed respectfully, and they spoke in Hindi. The old man listened, eyes glistening in the sun. There was an urn behind the holy man where ashes could be seen around its mouth.

        "Do you have the scroll?" asked Abid. Hellmantle removed the scroll from his breast pocket and took off the membrane. Walking towards him, Abid sat beside the holy man and then gestured that Hellmantle and D'Aqs should sit with him. They all sat around the long white beard and Hellmantle handed him the scroll. He studied the writing carefully.

        "Can he read it?" he asked, impatiently. There were more lepers in the vicinity who were targeting D'Aqs for more money. Abid spoke some more Hindi.

        "Yes, he can." The old man now opened the scroll more, and then he read it aloud in a bold and clear voice. Abid translated after every sentence the following ancient scripture:

 

The Thirteen Principles Lie Herein

 

These are the Thirteen Principles of the Book of Life for all four races of humankind that one can deduce truths to create harmony among all.

 

1.    The essence of the creator is our essence,
Are you not the same essence from whence the fire came?
 
2.    Harnessing divinity is man's special identity in the universe,
Let the spirit show the sacred geometry of self within.
 
3.    Positive sentience is the sign of evolution in man,
Living from the heart is the sacred way.
 
4.    Negative energy is a karmic boomerang that bites,
We live for eternity with everyone we meet.
 
5.    The candle is thy body,
The fire that burns in the candle is thy spirit.
 
6.    All flames burn alike,
Join them to make the light of mankind brighter.
 
7.    Honor the spirits of your ancestors,
Through acting respectfully on behalf of them.
 
8.    To help another is to help oneself,
To do harm to another is to do harm to your self.
 
9.    Let your spiritual flame rest in your heart,
We alone judge our soul.
 
10.   To disrespect another is to disrespect your self,
Without respect there can be no harmony.
 
11.  Each man is a fragnment of God,
Like his sprit he is immortal.
 
12.  Spirit is a conduit to the divine flame,
The purpose of life is to honor the creator's gifts.
 
13.  Without genuineness & sincereity there can be no true self,
Let intention be driven by the goodness of spirit. 

Recorded by the twins Joshua & Jude the Nazarenes

 

When the old man with the white beard stopped speaking, Hellmantle looked at D'Aqs and then away at the river where he saw a half-sunken ship that was grounded right in the middle of the strong center current. Its mast stuck out of the water and the big white statue of the Hindu God Vishnu was near it, but the Himalayas enclosed and protected it.

A man approached him with cups and a kettle in his hands.

"Yes please," he said to the man with the tea. He took the cup in both hands after paying the man, and made sure the holy man, D'Aqs and Abid also got a cup.

It was only after D'Aqs had heard the scrolls translated that he finally believed.

"Ah, Doubting Thomas. Prolonged doubt, but no longer."

"The dip was my purification," he said. He made the Blonde Aquitaine cross on his heart and gave a wink with the left eye.

"Purification. Hm, yes. That reminds me." He went to the rake-thin Holy Man where Abid stood.

"Abid, this is a Holy Man of great wisdom, yes?"

"He is Hellmantle."

"I would can you ask him a question for me: Is there an afterlife?"

"There is Hellmantle. You do not believe?"

"It's not that I don't believe. I wish to hear this man wisdom on the matter. Please ask him, and if he says yes, then ask him: What is it?" Abid considered it and then saw what he was after. With a light step he asked the Holy Man.

        Hellmantle stood in front and watched his reaction. Without speaking the Holy Man looked at Hellmantle and nodded. And then he spoke thus in Hindi:

        "The cycle of life is like a river," he said, pointing to the Ganges. "A man's soul never dies; it is timeless. The soul stays but we cannot see it because there is no body or space, only one dimension: time. With senses like eyes or ears, a soul can only feel the emotions from the chi that runs through us starting at our heart. This is why one must keep love in their heart. If you a good person souls who love you will want to be with you, and will protect you through exuding an emotion that you can sense if you're are open to hearing." The Holy Man stood up and put his hand on Hellmantle's right shoulder. "You have lost someone and care he still exists. Calm yourself young man. Calm. Take a deep breath like me." The slowest breath he had ever witnessed was difficult to copy. "Now, feel the tingling in your arms and legs. That is the chi energy a soul can feel. Keep that chi abundant and good things will happen. It will make your friend's soul smile."

        "My identical brother died twenty-seven years ago and I want to know if he is still around and if I will ever see him." Abid translated, interest piqued.

        "My Son," he said. The Holy Man's slow smile revealed two teeth but his eyes grew in intensity, the brown iris swamped with light. "Twins forever remain together through eternity. You will never lose your brother. He is waiting for you to shed your earthly vessel so you will join him in the one-dimensional afterlife where you will be bound together in unison with the love you both feel, entwined as one like you were in your mother's womb. Just as you had an innate understanding of each other here in this life, you will again have that in another time when you will be born as twins again. You will have another journey together, laugh and share the love of life you had before." He stepped closer. "And I see in your eye mischief. Take comfort young man that that mischief will again be shared with your twin brother. This is the way of life. The afterlife is a mystery to us but not to them. Your brother is here." He waved his hand above their heads.

        "Thank you very much Holy Man," he said, but he did not let go of his shoulder.

        "You have purified your sins in the Ganges. Please come with me so that you can cleanse the sins of your twin brother. It is a Holy River with water from the highest place on earth. Do it for him." They walked to the river, Hellmantle disrobed and they stepped into the cold water not saying a word. In unison they sumerged their bodies three times, his heart full of love and sadness for Rhein.

        Once done and ripping, they went back to Abid and D'Aqs where water fell into his eyes and mixed with the tears overflowing from his eyes, his heart never so full of love and warmth knowing Rhein was there with him. And always would be. The Holy Man beamed with happiness at the transformation of the tall young man in front of him. Like an ethereal spirit himself, the Holy Man felt the happiness spilling forth into the ethers like a magnet for the countless souls swirling around the Ganges River.

  

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                             
          The Family of the Bible
FIRST PART
1.       Concerning the famous Hellmantle's position, character and way of life
2.       Concerning the ingenious man's visit with his uncle Jack Grosseteste
3.       Which relates to how Hellmantle is given his first adventure
4.       About what happened to our adventurer when he goes to the Philippines
5.       In which the story of our crusader's journey begins in earnest
6.       About Hellmantle's time in the city of sin on Christmas Eve
7.       About the brave Hellmantle's success on his adventure to Baguio City worthy of happy memory
 
SECOND PART
8.       In which the courageous Hellmantle of Normandy journeys north into the Cordillera Mountain Range
9.       About what happened to Hellmantle in the mission in the mountains and the crucifixion of Jesus
10.     Concerning Hellmantle of Normandy in the land of the headhunters
11.     About the required riding techniques to reach the destination of Sagada and the church organist
12.     In which the German artist is tracked to the Shamrock Café and dangers of the northeast of Luzon Island
13.     In which Catharine is tracked to the Shamrock Café and an eery coincidence of a reoccurring dream
14.     About Hellmantle reaching the rice terraces and finding a way to the northwest
15.     About what happened to our intrepid philosopher in the middle of the Sierra Madre Mountains
16.     In which a record is given about the brave Hellmantle through uncharted territory on his trusted dirt bike
17.     Which relates to Hellmantle of Normandy reaching the northern coast and the rubble of Aparri
18.     About the final day of the motorcycle journey and discussing the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel in Vigan
19.     About the sermon in Agoo Basilica and what they find at the church with the rouge bell tower
20.     Concerning the Dutch Padre and what he knows about the hidden map
21.     About the return to Manila and the coup that causes the Great Man from Normandy grief
 
THIRD PART
22.     Which brings Hellmantle of Normandy back to Hong Kong to re-evaluate the next step in his quest for truth
23.     In which their journey is related to Jack Grosseteste and a new task is set before the Man from Normandy
24.     Concerning the journey to northern Vietnam to track down the map hidden at a French prison
25.     About how Hellmantle and D'Aqs compare notes on their task at hand in Hanoi
26.     In which an account is given of the beginning of the journey of Hellmantle in Vietnam
27.     About how Hellmantle and his brave squire ride north to the place where the four rivers meet
28.     Concerning the French prison and what Hellmantle finds there
29.     Concerning the discovery of the bottle and what lies inside of it
30.     Concerning the journey to Dien Bien Phu in honor of their grandfather the Great Dane Hellmantle
31.     About what the motorcyclists see on the fields in Dien Bien Phu
32.     Concerning the motorcycling required to reach Hanoi via the other side of the Da River Valley
33.     Which tells of the final stage back to Hanoi and the discussion after their most beautiful ride
 
FOURTH PART
34.     Concerning the visit with the knowledgeable Jack Grosseteste and the sally to India
35.     Concerning the arrival and journey to Kashmir Valley
36.     In which the journey begins in earnest through the checkpoints to the foot of the Moghul Fort
37.     In which Srinagar is reached and how the houseboat was as it was hundred years ago
38.     In which Hellmantle reach their houseboat on the lake below the fort and beside the mosque
39.     In which Hellmantle sets out for the Tomb of Thome and his brother Joshua beside him
40.     Which relates to the agreeable history of the journey north to the monastery on horseback
41.     In which Hellmantle returns to Srinagar and finds the first translations of the black stones
42.     Which concerns the deciphering of the discovery at the monastery and the need to go to the Ganges River
43.     About Hellmantle of Normandy's meeting with the holy man after taking a dip in the Ganges River
44.     About Hellmantle's meeting at Jack Grossetests's place with D'Aqs and Catharine the artist from Sagada
 
o       Chronology of Historical Events
         
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