'Lazatar's Fire'
from Parables from Other Planets
by Hugh and Gayle Prather

Added 19 April 1997

On the sun side of Styn, in the cavetown of lssupulie, lives a blacksmith whose forge is often encircled by those who wait for him to pause in his work so that they might ask a question, or by those who merely wait to hear what answers Lazatar, the blacksmith will give.

A long answer can take several hours to complete, for when the color of the iron is right, it must be struck, However, Lazatar is as great a speaker as he is a blacksmith and knows how to punctuate his answers with grunts and bangs and long profound pauses in such a way that his words are often drummed out as if spoken from a thundercloud. Many a concluding sentence has ended in a shower of sparks that has delighted his listeners as noticeably as his wisdom has changed them. The show is all the more dramatic because Lazatar is blind.

One day a monk, who had traveled from the Isthmus of Potii, asked Lazatar, "How does one dive from this world to swim in the sea of God?"

"It's not so difficult," said Lazatar, flipping his mighty mallet while he waited to see if the monk was there merely to argue.

"Is it the reward for a life well spent?" the monk continued.

Satisfied that he was sincere, Lazatar said, "Death is not the door to the heart of Life. God does not wait for a life to be spent before he bestows his peace."

"Can you tell us, then, what one must do?"

"Gladly," said Lazatar, but so long did he work after making this promise that the monk began to think that his answer was that one must become a blacksmith.

Suddenly Lazatar closed his bellows and said, "During the reign of the Empire of Equality, there was a man who, like you, strove to live his life immaculately. This one, whose name was Jameel, came into the world strongly sensitive to the waters of Reality, and after many years of faithfully performing the duties that the Empire divided to him, decided that his time to awaken had come. So Jameel sat on a stone by the ocean, looked out to sea, and began a single chant. His words were: 'You are everything I want. You are everything I need. You are everything I am. I drown in the ocean of Your Love.'

"It was not long before the authorities discovered that Jameel was no longer doing his share of the country's work, and they promptly threw him into prison. Still he did not divert his eyes from the direction of the ocean or make any sounds but the sounds of his chant.

"When it was brought to the Warden's attention that, even though using very few words, Jameel was speaking more than his share, the Warden ordered that his tongue be removed.

"Now Jameel could only mouth his chant with his lips alone, but this he did with reverence, and he held his gaze toward the sea.

"Again the guards reported Jameel to the Warden: 'Although making no sound, he is still attempting to speak ore than his share.'

"'His intention is the same,' said the Warden. 'Not even the appearance of inequality will be tolerated.' And he ordered that Jameel's lips be removed.

"Thus was Jameel left with only the deep inner music of his chant and the outward focus of his eyes.

"But still the guards were not satisfied. This time they returned to the Warden and pointed out that during the period when all the prisoners were supposed to sleep, Jameel, by keeping his eyes opened toward the sea, was using more than his share of wakefulness. Naturally, the Warden had no choice but to order his eyes removed also.

"Now was Jameel left with no outward way of worshipping, and yet his heart did not cease to chant and his mind did not cease to focus on the ocean of God's love. And when the guards returned to Jameel's cell to see how else the could torture him, they found only a tongue, a pair of lips, and two eyes."

Lazatar picked up his bellows and turned toward the monk. "You asked what one must do in order to enter the sea of God. The answer is, there is nothing to do, because anything you set out to do can be thwarted. There is only something to decide. Do, therefore, whatever you must, but decide that God is the only thing you want. Decide this, and God will welcome you with a dance more joyous than the dance of fire welcoming air." And with these words Lazatar sent such a blast from his bellows onto the open furnace grate that many who were present say that for an instant all of Issupulie glowed with the light of Lazatar's fire.

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