Part 2: THE HIDDEN TEMPLE
The gift of inventiveness is a great miracle and the persecuted nuns of Nonakdow had been blessed with enormous ingenuity. Not only had they kept their temple hidden for many years beneath a brothel but they had hid their prayers within common speech and their bible within books of other kinds and because they made their religion invisible so their religion did not disappear but, like the arctic hare that hides in the snow, it flourished.
Senyatsulin, the secret high priestess of Nonakdow, had dreamt of Hiriki’s coming long before he arrived at the hidden temple carrying the chest and royal infants on the back of a haycart. She had dreamt of a great hand with the old imperial crest of the falcon tatooed upon its palm and upon its four fingers she had seen 4 crowned heads and upon its thumb she had seen the head of a lion and so, the day that Hiriki arrived in Nonakdow and told her of his meeting with the divine mother and of the four infants in the treasure chest, she knew straight away that he was telling her the truth because it explained her strange premonition. “The four fingers are the four infants”, she told Hiriki.
“And what about the lion?”, asked Hiriki.
“Four fingers can do nothing without a thumb. The four children need help and protection from someone who is brave and noble like the lion. The goddess selected you to help and protect the infants and so I believe that you, Hiriki, are the lion”, said Senyatsulin.
But Hiriki did not want to be the lion of Senyatsulin’s dream, “My lion days are long behind me. My roar left with my mane”, he said, stroking his bald head, “Now I am the cautious tortoise that keeps inside its shell, moves slowly and carefully and so lives a long life and I have already spent too long out of my shell so I must get home to my forest. Just as the farmer cannot abandon his orchard for too long, a bandit
must not abandon all those unwary travellers when their riches are ripe ”.
“I am sorry to hear that”, said Senyatsulin, “The goddess never picks up a thing just to cast it away; I am sure that she has some greater purpose in mind for you”.
“My paragraph is written; let others fill the chapter with their deeds, besides I am purpose great enough for myself”, said Hiriki, “And there is always gold and gambling and women to live for”.
“All the things which you have mentioned are not purposes”, said Senyatsulin, “They are tools to achieve a greater purpose. Gold is a tool for improving the lives of those in need; gambling is risk and, in the form of courage, this is a tool to save people from death and injustice; love and sex are tools for the continuation of human life and you and I, we are also tools for the service of the greater good, we are not ends but merely means to greater ends. Your pleasure is like the pleasure of an impotent man, without purpose, you do not even give back the pleasure which you take, you are a tool but a broken tool because you do not know your purpose”.
“I am not impotent!”, said Hiriki angrily, “And I’m a tool for nobody”.
“We are all tools”, said Senyatsulin, “All cells within the organ of this world, within the organism of the Goddess, Mother Universe but a broken tool is of no use, you must mend yourself before you can mend other things”, persisted Senyatsulin.
But she could not change the direction of Hiriki’s mind. He was determined to return to his forest and so she sent him away with a prayer that the goddess would protect him and that his feet would always follow her hand.
Some pour blood and some sweat upon the altar of the greater good. The nuns of Nonakdow gave their milk and kindness, as they raised the abandoned children of Samegusha as if they themselves had bore them, and taught them the love of their goddess and the laws of her religion and yet Senyatsulin was not happy, “Here they have a hundred mothers but no father and what is to become of them or of us if Samegusha comes to look for them”.