The Heretic

20 Aug

Who can foresee where anything will end up when one begins?

Not the young Eojen when he first came to the Hesychia Academy. Nor did his teacher and counselor, the revered mystic named Khidr.

The neophyte traveled to the capital city of Merkavah from a distant desert village at the tender age of thirteen. His local teachers, recognizing the boy’s unique intellect and spirituality, obtained a stipend grant for him. The poor parents of Eojen had seen him off with tears in their eyes, unable to give him more than a few spondulics to pay his travel expenses by motor caravan.

Tall and underweight, the student began to fill out at the Academy’s refectory. His curly auburn hair appeared to be reflected by the orange uniform he and his fellow pupils wore. He impressed everyone with his glowing, attractive presence.

His teachers soon recognized how exceptional the youth with the sea green eyes was. But his master, old Khidr, was first to foresee a dangerous hazard in his future. This short, slight adept was a dark Merkavian without a single hair of white. His ebony eyes took in the star novice, now eighteen, across a poonwood desk from him.

“I am worried,” he began in a low tone, “about your direction, Eojen.”

“Direction?” asked the puzzled young man.

Khidr picked up a piece of papyrus lying on his desk and read from it.

“The ultimate entirety, the absolute and eternal celestial spirit is, at bottom, a total paradox. Reason and logic cannot explain the unimaginable riddle of a mystical experience and should not try…”

The adept looked up and across at his student. “You wrote that in your personal journal, did you not, Eojen?”

“Yes, I did,” answered the surprise writer. “How did it reach you, sir?”

Khidr gave him no explanation, but continued with his warning.

“We must not speculate so wildly about matters we are not familiar with. Have you yet experienced the joy of surrendering and merging, my son?” His dark eyes focused sharply on the narrow face of the novice.

“No,” confessed Eojen. “Not yet.”

“Until you have, do not delve too deeply into abstract philosophy. Wait until you have had a union and elevation of spirit before you soar with thoughts. Take your time, young fellow.”

The innocent youth gave him a nod and said “Yes.”

Realizing that they were finished, he rose and left.

Eojen tried to comply, but more and more failed.

In his sessions with his counselor, he concealed the originality of his inner thinking.

By himself, in his private study cell, the neophyte sought a totally different order and level of existence. The goal was to free his soul from all distractions, all multiplicities, and become sufficiently free to soar and ascend. I must transcend the self within me, the young man told himself. Slowly, he became aware of a higher, hidden presence within his very self.

Unlocking the seals of his spiritual core, that was his purpose, his wish.

An enlightened soul was what he had to develop. It would be difficult, long, and painful. There was nothing easy about what he aspired to.

What was he after? the ground of all being, Eojen came to realize.

A return was required to the unimaginable, to the darkness brighter than any light. To the dark flame in the innermost recesses of both thought and being.

Ever new images arose in the contemplative mind of the spiritual wrestler.

I am reaching for the unknowable, the inconceivable, the impenetrable, the underived. It is out there, but also deep within me as well. What is it?

Late one evening, the agony and anxiety evaporated for him. Joyous ecstasy engulfed Eojen.

He realized at once that he had experienced inner enlightenment. His mind had journeyed to regions previously unknown to him. I must write down what has occurred, the newly successful mystic told himself. This elevated revelation must not be lost. It has to be communicated to other minds and souls. An accurate, definite record of it is what is needed.

All night the youth wrote with a stylus. By morning he had a small notebook full of what he could remember about the glorious enlightenment that occurred. But this account included bold conclusions about the event as well.

At an early hour, Eojen took the results to his counselor.

Khidr read with rising excitement, his face reddening. The final paragraphs of the notes struck him like lightning out of the summer sky. The words of the young novice shook the older man.

“Why does our fundamental ground contain so many great contradictions? Why is it that mystical union brings out the eternal antimonies of existence? The enigmatic riddle plagues us all, both consciously and unconsciously. Perhaps the ultimate answer lies in radical transformation and reformulation of our basic perspective.

“Here is the interpretation that appears to me as the simplest and the most reasonable: our natural viewpoint is to understand our universe as a monocosm. It seems to be a unified whole, says our intuition. But for the mystic, there is more. There is a higher existence that must be called a multicosm. The macrocosm we inhabit is at the center of something much greater than itself alone. But it is only when one is in mystic ecstasy that this unseen universe become comprehensible. From this new state of the mind and soul one perceives the contradictions, the inconsistencies, the oppositions. The mystic can see the antimony between our universe and the greater on that encloses and envelops it. Each stage and level clashes with those above and below itself.

“There are an infinity of separate universes, each one in contradiction with the higher or lower ones. That is the truth that can open mystical doors and windows for us.”

The adept master looked up with a strange grimace on his dark face. His eyes blazed with emotion as he addressed his student who was now a mystic.

“What you have written down is absurd. Have you turned mad? I never expected such nonsense to originate in you, Eojen. You have leaped too far, into what is prohibited. My advice to you is to destroy these lines and forget you ever wrote them. You must reject these embarrassing thoughts.”

All of a sudden, Khidr took the offending notebook and threw it at the young man across the desk from him. Eojen, astounded and confused, grabbed hold of the pages he had composed. Then he rose and stalked out of his master’s office. This was not the reception that he expected.

What was he to do now? How was he to proceed?

Because he made no retraction or denial of what he had written, Eojen was summoned to appear before the Academy Synod. He was required to defend his views before a board of seven adepts, one of whom was his counselor, Khidr. Many questions were thrown at him about the startling ideas that he persisted in claiming to be true.

Why are you still adhering to your foolish ramblings and fantasies?

How did you arrive at such a misunderstanding of mystical union?

Have you allowed your wild imagination to escape from rational control?

Eojen gazed about in stunned wonder, uncertain how to reply. He decided that he had to be completely candid with those judging him. Nothing else would be right or adequate.

“I believe that I have uncovered the truth of why the mystic falls into uncertainty and confusion. Let me tell you this: our universe is like an egg, but one that is inside other enclosing eggs around our own. Each of these is a separate cosmic system. Such a scheme helps explain what occurs whenever a mystic achieves union with the Absolute. It is a neighboring macrocosm with which one has merged. One temporarily melts into a universe that is out there at an infinite distance, invisible and uncomprehended. But there is much more beyond and above, as well.

“That is the vision I received in my mind and soul.”

Eojen quit speaking and surveyed each of his judges.

What were they thinking? he asked himself.

Khidr was the one who dismissed him. The Synod had his fate to decide.

Another neophyte came to the cell of Eojen to summon him to the office of his counselor.

His face an expressionless mask, Khidr asked the one under judgment to sit down.

“I cannot understand, Eojen, why you did not keep this novel perspective and its unfounded ideas to yourself. Why did you have to tell it to me and then to the entire Academy? Why could you not preserve it for yourself in complete secrecy?

“Mystical contact must always remain the most privately subjective aspect of life for all human beings engaged in it. Isn’t it true that each person has separate, unshared visions of the Ultimate Ground? I believe that the most futile of activities is to attempt to share whatever one learns about the Ineffable. That knowledge we obtain in privacy is best kept confidential. Each one of us has to progress forward on his own. The final goal can only be gained through individual initiative. There is, really, no other way.”

The mentor stared fixedly at his gifted pupil.

“I am sorry to have to inform you that the Syndics have convicted you of major heresy and expelled you from the Hesychia Academy. This will be your last night here among us. Tomorrow is the day on which your departure is expected.”

After a moment of thought, Eojen rose and exited without a word.

What remained to be done? the cashiered young mystic asked himself after packing up his few belongings in a travel sack.

Lying down on his cell pallet, he allowed his mind to go over all that had happened to him in recent days. His thoughts always returned to that fateful moment when he had first realized that a multicosmic chasm surrounded him, both objectively and subjectively. There was no end to the alternation of universes within universes. Outside this infinite series lay chaos, it appeared to him.

His thoughts fell into a whirl of harmony and contradictions.

All that night, Khidr failed to find sleep, even a minute of it.

The student he prized more than any other in all his years at the Academy had soared into forbidden zones of mystical thinking. His excellence and originality had led him into heresy and final dismissal. The responsibility for the tragedy was a personal burden belonging to the youth. Yet the counselor had an inner sense of his own guilt. Why had he not foreseen the trouble that was coming? Why had he not made any attempt to avert the fatal catastrophe?

I have to talk with him, decided Khidr. I must question him further about how this strange picture of interlocked universes came to him. My own failure has to be admitted and confessed to this pure soul.

He approached the door of the student’s cell and softly knocked on it. Because there was no reply, the mentor decided to enter on his own.

Eojen lay on his pallet, his body unmoving and uncovered.

Only after bending down and feeling for a pulse could the intruder confirm his growing conclusion.

Yes, the expelled novice was lifeless. He had passed into a state of death.

Khidr sighed deeply, then moved to the small cell table where a sheave of pages lay.

These are the last words of the mystic explorer, realized the shaken adept.

I shall take this and make a study of what his final thoughts were.

He cannot be my student any longer, but I can learn from him.

Learn what?

What he found out about his multicosm. What I refused to accept when his mind was still thinking.

If Eojen were a heretic, perhaps his tragic end will make me one, too.

Perhaps many of us will now follow the young pioneer in the direction he opened up for us.

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