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Adi & Praja 064

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Adi and Praja

Chapter 7

Issue 64: Stoned

Still she could never heal Shano’s hidden inner pain, she could never get a grip on that. Had she been able to see the relation in their past life between the two now young men, she would have understood that the problem wasn’t to be solved that easy.



Father and his two sons became a marvelous team of quality carpenters, and people came even from villages of two or three days walking (or sitting on a donkey) distance, and traders took their furniture on carts to the city, more than a week away. But that of course was mainly the work Marico had done. Sometimes Marico went to the city with the traders, and when he came back he would wear beautiful trendy cloths, new shiny boots and a fancy hat.

Shano, now 17, used to spend the evenings on the village square near the temple with his friends. He had always liked the temple and the quietude, but now it had become quite noisy with the other boys (and sometimes girls). He had become accepted to their group. Some of the boys of about twenty had brought him new experience: they had quite large straight stone pipes which they filled with a substance called hashish on top of some piece of burning wood, and then draw the air through the lower end into their lungs. They were coughing loudly while doing that. When Shano tried the first time he didn’t like that hot experience, and he coughed as if he was spitting out his lungs. He didn’t understand what was supposed to be the fun of this smoking. His friends laughed at him. But he learned soon, and then the world kind of changed. First his mind would run in fear, and he felt afraid and guilty, and his heart beat much louder than normal. It even came to his mind that the witch had something to do with it, and that his friends had a secret association with her. But after some minutes he noticed a calm that even in that silent village was more then he had ever experienced. Everything had changed and nothing had changed. There were the same temple, the tree, his friends, the houses around, and the starry sky. But they were like in another world. Completely new. He saw some small carved ornaments on the outside wall of the temple which he had never noticed before. Yet they must have been there all the time. The architecture showed a harmony he had never consciously noticed: as if the builder of the temple had been a guy who knew what harmony was and had transferred it to the temple. Or was it his own fantasy? It was more like recognition of something always there, but always overlooked by his eye and his too vivid mind. The air was softer and felt like a substance, and colors deeper – as far as one could see colors with the small fire which lit the square – and the moon. The tree had a face, a kind face of thousands of leaves, impressively beautiful. All the houses around he had seen every day in his life now were so beautiful, so peaceful. Once he walked through the village, alone, late in the evening. Everyone had gone to sleep. Some weird  looking camel was ruminating – a new sound, and a little further a buffalo looking even weirder than the camel. He knew he had always been there, but at the same time had never been there before. He recognized the streets but they looked different, new, astoundingly beautiful. The outside walls of the houses were all made of clay outside, and the form of the clay, though basically flat, never had the same form on two places. He saw faces and animals and things and landscapes in the irregularities of the clay. Feeling the form and the roughness of the clay and some pieces of dry grass sticking in it was a breathtaking experience. There was a small crack in the clay, and inside it was pitch dark. He looked down into the crack. It was as if the whole universe was in that dark split, in its essence of beauty – like the deepest awe a human heart can feel. His feelings of beauty were a teaching, a lesson in subtlety at the very spot. A wooden wind chime near a house was sounding in the wind, and the sound seemed to touch heaven. He had forgotten everything else in the world. Was this paradise? He had some trouble finding his way home, but found it anyway, and went to sleep. Even his pillow felt better than normal, and he almost regretted that he had to sleep. He slept within half a minute. The next morning the world had returned to normal. He felt somewhat sleepy; and when he went to the house temple the atmosphere was more quiet even than usual. He felt well, but his mother saw some strange sleepiness around his eyes. It had been a very special and delightful experience.

So the next day, in the evening, he smoked again with his friends, and again and again. Even some old villagers well over 80 or even 90 years old were also smoking, usually alone on the yard of their own house. When Shano could not go because he had to help his father or mother or brother in the evenings, he felt a longing to go to the village square and smoke, and when he could he would escape his home later in the evening. He almost felt part of some secret society. One time, quite in the beginning he had walked into the temple – which he had almost forgotten the last few years, since his childhood was over. The image; the walls, the smell, the atmosphere. But is what different from what he experienced in the village. He felt that in the temple there was something of a higher nature than even his best hashish experiences. Something that was not phenomenal, not hallucinating, but contained a still deeper, more essential and wiser silence. Something that seemed to touch him on a deeper level of reality in stead of a deeper level of illusion like the hashish did. It seemed to even oppose Shano’s habit of smoking hashish. The black stone image had not become more beautiful, but more severe. He felt that being stoned and going to the temple was not a proper combination, so he did not repeat it. But, being back to his friends he choose the first before the last, and took a good draw from the pipe. But deep inside he harbored a lasting respect for the temple. He told his friends the next day, but they laughed and didn’t understand and even ridiculed him. Still he was sure that every one of them could hear the soundless voice he had experienced in the temple – the same voice that was there when he was seven or eight. But Shano was not on an age to go to temples – he was rather ready to experience life. So he continued smoking, and learned the things one can learn from that: that people always showed an image of themselves that was not their real self; that all that had seemed real in the past, was now only relatively real: there was another reality also, he had now discovered. He also found no longer that the essence of life was earning money or fame, or getting things. He found that watching and feeling beauty and watching the movements of his own mind were far more interesting. The result was that he became more dreamy in daily life, and that his work was no longer so very important. He was still doing it, because of his father and because the family needed an income – but he found the people for whom he worked and what went on inside them of more importance that a wooden door or window frame. Sometimes he smoked during the day also – in secret – but then, combined with the heat, he would fall asleep in stead of work, and his customers did not like that. He took less care of his cloths and his hairs and let them grow longer than was usual. People in the village became worried that the boy was moving in a wrong direction.