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Bergonian Prophets

Ierecina, the Great Prophet who founded the Shufrantei Faith -- Like Mohammed he founded a state and sent armies (the Subanei) to conquer.  In the beginning, however, he was the "Storyteller," who retold all the great myths in a new, highly structured version.  270-202 BC.

The Nine "Minor Prophets" -- These nine ancillary prophets of Shufrantei  followed Ierecina.  They laid down the norms, rites and rituals for the Shufrantei religious, and thereby completed the cultural transformation that Ierecina started.

Krathnami, the gentle prophet who founded the Miradi religion -- With the humility he gained from a personal tragedy, he combined and reformed all religion in Bergonia.  922-999 AD. 

Click here for a long, detailed article on Krathnami's life and thought.

Revolutionary leaders who sought to emulate Ierecina -- Throughout Bergonian history, many men were inspired to rise up against oppression.  The Great Prophet remade society, and many of these revolutionary leaders have had enough hubris to try the same thing.  Some of these men have produced great reforms, while others became murderous monsters.  Cf. Prakai Eleusi, the worst of the lot, and Chroflia.

"Prophet" is the uneasy translation of the Nacateca term, Uleishe ("oo-lay'-sheh").  An Uleishe is a man of superior holiness who teaches and shares his vision of the holy.  He strives to elevate the mass of unenlightened people.  

Unlike Mohammed and the Hebrew "prophets," whom God specifically selected, Uleishe are men who by their own holy attainments rise up to great wisdom and power.  As they ascend the "mountain of holiness" the Gods reward them with vision and power, but the Gods have not specifically singled them out or summoned them. The Gods, instead, call to all men (perhaps some more than others), and will invest power in the rare heroes who climb to their level.  In a word, these men are saints.

In theory any man or woman may attain holiness and awareness of the holy, but the office of Uleishe primarily means leadership, and so while all Uleishe are saints, very few saints are Uleishe.  Thousands of men and women have attained the vision, but only a handful of them have ever deserved recognition as Uleishe.  Two Uleishe, Ierecina and Kranami, are credited with founding the major religions of Bergonia.  Many Bergonians credit Jesus with being an Uleishe, which of course outrages Christians.

Ierecina, (pronounced "Yer'-eh-kee'-nah"),
founder of the Shufrantei religion,
the holy avenger, the mystical campaigner, the story-teller

He brought kings and cities to heel, and at the end of his days miraculously transformed into an eagle and rose up into the heavens.  He was the culture-bringer to all Bergonia.  

When he came into the world in 270 B.C. the Ancita culture had matured into a restless amalgam of petty kingdoms (each one ruled by a "tieri") and fiercely competing priestly cults.  Three generations before the Ancita warriors had conquered the Lasa cities, and new ideas had infected the comparatively rustic Ancita. 

He was born with the name Utlimao.  When he was a boy he demanded entrance into a monastery by sitting down by the front gate and refusing to move.  As a young man he left just as forcefully and began wandering the countryside with a small band of followers.  In a burst of vision Ierecina aggressively preached a new version of the old Gods.  He started telling a new, more coherent set of myths about the Gods, and accompanied the storytelling with newly revamped rites.  

Warriors of different kingdoms and priests of different sects greeted his new religion enthusiastically.  A strong movement arose around him.  He likely didn't mean to become a secular leader, but he was equal to the opportunity and declared a new regime in 242 BC, when he was 28 years old.  He went across the Ancita heartland campaigning for his new way with processions of priests, and hundreds of banda warriors preceding and following him.  This became Subanei, the "campaign," and it continued onward, seemingly with no bounds.  Banda lodges, one after another, swore allegiance to his new way.  The petty kings (tieri) had to sit at his feet, listen to the new stories, and learn the new rites.  By 230 all the Ancita heartland and most of the Lasa cities had come under his control.  One of the most dramatic moments of Ierecina's career was when he, with his army, arrived at the western coast in 228, and how he waded into the waves and stood there to watch the sun set.  The subsequent iconography incorporates this scene.

His followers built him a new city-- called Ancitaselticoi ("place of the people's new jewel"), and commenced campaigns on neighboring lands. As they proceeded, his disciples related the new tales, taught the new rites and established the new regime.  He appointed governors who would answer to a "Holy Ruler" (called the naithitieri) who in turn would serve under him. 

He lived until his sixties.  He prophesied the day of his passing.  One of his servants stabbed him a few weeks before the appointed day in a deranged attempt to disprove the prophesy.  The wounds were serious, and he slipped into unconsciousness, but he stubbornly refused to die.  Then his condition dramatically improved and three days before the appointed day he dramatically regained consciousness.  During his time of unconsciousness he had gone on his last vision quest and upon waking he gave his disciples his final teachings based upon his last vision.   In his sick room on the appointed day he transformed into a white eagle, flew through a window out over the courtyard where many priests and priestesses were assembled, then over the rooftops and northward for the mountains.  This occurred in 202 B.C. 

How Ierecina dealt with the sin he met along the road  

Utlimao [who later became Ierecina the Blessed Prophet] left the temple after the Abbot denounced his storytelling and ordered him to quite his tongue. He stepped through the gate and into the roadway alone. But he had not gotten far before three other young priests from the temple came running and caught up with him.

They asked, "Brother, now that you have turned your back on us, where will you  go? What will you do?"

He answered, "I go in search of ears that will welcome my stories, and I search for the truth in them, the truth of the Gods and their Laws. I do at least know where not to find it, and that is inside the temple."

The three asked if they could accompany him and he passively assented. They went along a way. Up the road toward them came an old man. Just before they reached him he collapsed. He lay in the dirt and shook with palsy. He moaned and extended a thin emaciated hand. Then he choked and rasped and fell perfectly still; he was dead. The four were arrested in their tracks, mortified.

One of the young priests whispered, "What truth lies here?"

Utlimao said, "All things must end. Sad, but as certain as the sun above."

The young priest turned and with a distressed moan fled back the way they had come.

Utlimao shrugged and said, "I will learn to understand death." He stepped over the corpse and went on, and the two remaining priests followed.

They went on a ways further. Toward them came a blind man, tapping with a cane. He was dirty, dressed in rags, and blistering sores covered him. He slobbered and begged for food in a hoarse voice.  The priests could see that he had no teeth. His suffering was awful to witness.

One of the young priests murmured, "What truth lies here?"

Utlimao answered, "The suffering of men and women never ends. Sad, but as certain as the stars at night."  He sauntered over to the blind man and handed him the small loaf of bread that he had in his small pack, all that he had. "Here," he said. "Bless You."

The young priest scurried back down the road the way they had come.

The blind man thanked Utlimao with a stutter. Utlimao went on, with the one remaining priest following.

They went a ways. There came down the road toward them a large man. He had by the hand a young woman. The man wore the fine close-fitting raiment of a warrior. The maid wore a simple wool dress and deerskin moccasins. She didn't want to follow the man, and he had to drag her. Suddenly she broke away from him. He turned and raised his arm. He swung and knocked her to the ground. She lay stunned, and bled in a trickle from her nose. The man kicked her.

The remaining priest exclaimed, "What truth lies here?" The warrior kicked the woman again.

Utlimao said, "People are cruel, causing each other suffering. Sad, but as certain as tomorrow's sunrise."

Utlimao walked up to the man.  The man began to turn, but he could do nothing before Utlimao brought his staff crashing down on his head. The blow sent the warrior staggering forward, tripping over the girl and then to the ground with a senseless thump.

The remaining priest turned and fled. Utlimao turned and shouted in his deep voice, "The Gods punish us sometimes to test our faith." These words arrested the remaining priest in his tracks. Utlimao said to him, "The Gods give you whatever they feel like giving you, but you are sovereign over your faith, and you may choose to stand upon it, above the cruelty and indifference of the world."

Utlimao went to the girl and helped her to her feet. He addressed her gently with kind words and offered water from his sack.

Both she and the young priest followed him on down the road. They left the warrior sprawled in the middle of the dusty road.

After Ierecina came the Nine Minor Prophets, who spread and refined his message.     

They ostensibly added nothing new to Ierecina's teachings nor deviated from  them; instead they served to confirm and amplify what he taught.  Each one prayed and mediated with the greatest piety, and each one acquired vast wisdom.  In turn the body of priests came to believe that each one spoke with the same authority that Arkan and Icotesi had conferred on Ierecina, and they too received the title "Prophet."  All nine of them were, like Ierecina, of the Eagle Clan.  

Four of them sat at the feet of Ierecina while he preached, and mourned his passing.  The other five came in succeeding generations, after his death.

Kresine, the first of them, was a banda general who led armies in the field before turning to the purely religious path.  After completing honorable service as a banda he studied the scriptures in the temple and attended to the rites.  He became a preacher of doctrine and attended the debates on the temple steps.  In this way he attracted much attention.  

But he concluded that temple devotion was not enough.  He sought his own personal purity by entering the forest and as a hermit living "the pure life," as he called it,  sleeping in the open, eating what he could gather or beg, and spending his days in prayer and meditation and in delight of the forest's beauty.  He said, "I once served the Prophet with the sword, but how little the sword accomplishes compared to the righteous word, and how little good comes from the word compared to the righteous heart."  He was the one who first referred to the faith as Shufrantei, thus essentially naming it.  He inspired many devotees to retire from ordinary life and retire to the forests for "the pure life."  Such men came out of the woods only to attend to rites at the closest rural temple.  They wore only plain kilt and robe and carried only a little cloth sack for carrying the berries and nuts they picked or the bread given to them by villagers.  This was the birth of Shufrantei's "Forest Tradition."

The second, Fierisime, spent much of his time painting pictures of landscapes.  He demonstrated that the righteous can pursue devotion to the Gods with art.   People can apperceive and approach the holy through the beauty of the world, so amplifying that beauty only amplifies the opportunities for approaching the holy.  See cult of beauty.

Pecliare, the third, was a banda warrior, but when he was 31 he lost his leg in a sword duel.  He learned to walk with a crutch.  "In my weakness I found strength."  He was a strong preacher, dear to warriors, and he help organize the Subanei campaigns. 

Ierecina's armies had conquered huge territories.  He appointed a great general named Mamitlo to rule them and propagate the new faith.  So Mamitlo became the naithitieri, ruler of the Prophet's realm.  Naithitieri meant "priestly tieri."  Pecliare became one of Mamitlo's closet advisors.

When Mamitlo died, a crisis of succession occurred because of disagreement over who had the stature to designate the new Naithitieri, and whether the new ruler should be a priest or a warrior.  In Mamitlo's new great city, the priests and the warrior tieris squared off against each other.  In an assembly called to debate the issue, Pecliare admonished the priests and warriors that they took the dispute too seriously, and that their concern mocked what Ierecina taught was important. 

A priestly leader retorted, "Then why don't you take the matter out of our hands?  You should arbitrate the dispute of succession between the tieris and the priests." 

Pecliare immediately responded, "If you have me decide today, then what about the next time?  Who will you ask to arbitrate then?"   Pecliare then suggested a permanent compromise, that the priests should choose the naithitieri, but they had to choose him from among the panitei warriors.  Everyone accepted his decision as wise. 

Like Kresine he spent the later years of his life pursing the "pure life" of the forest.  He and Kresine gave an example to many banda/panitei-- that after a career of serving the faith as warriors they could continue their life's devotion.  As he said to the thousands of warriors to whom he preached, retiring to the forest was just his own way of deepening his devotion, and that there were many ways for retired warriors to serve the faith, and as a result the banda developed a tradition of post-warrior service, which included joining the priesthood, retiring to pray at a monastery, working in clan-based mutual aid societies and other kinds of charitable efforts.

The fourth, Chuslera, was blind, but he professed to see into the souls of men and women.  (Centuries later, people would say that the prophet Krathnami had the same gift.)  He certainly had the greatest influence of all nine, because he regularized  all  the essential rituals of the Shufrantei faith.  He defined peshlue, the ritual singing of prayer for purification, which swiftly became the staple of Shufrantei worship.  He went on and defined all the other major and minor rituals than had come into being.  Most of the rituals predated  Ierecina, and Ancita priests and laypeople had practiced variations of many of them for centuries.  Now Chuslera examined each one in turn and either included it in his canonical list or rejected it, claiming that he did so in reliance upon his study of Ierecina's teachings, his own  prayer and meditation, and the resulting revelation.  

Another three prophets emerged in the next generation after Ierecina:

The fifth, Thiofire, suffered from a divine madness.  The historical records leaves little doubt that Thiofire experienced auditory hallucinations, as well as a few significant visual hallucinations, consisting of appearances by Gods.  He enjoyed feverish ecstasies, and imparted great poetic descriptions to the transfixed devotees. 

From his madness he generated hellish premonitions into the abandonment of the impure  soul, and  cautioned  incessantly about the wild, random aspects of the holy.  He walked the highways, without entourage or official links.  He slept under trees and bathed in creeks along the roadside.  He lived by begging and foraging.   Once a man offered him food and he replied, "better you offer me water for a bath. My body profit more from cleansing than from a meal."  In his career he wandered over seven hundred miles as he preached.   He terrified people and by terror and dread he strengthened the emerging orthodoxy.  

The historical record somberly relates that Thiofire for the last five years of his life did battle with an invisible evil spirit, whom by one account he chased from this world into another "Mansion"-- a parallel world, which explains why he left no body behind.  Another version, less popular, relates that the demon chased him into the other world.  There seems no doubt that Thiofire disappeared, without leaving a trace, thus causing great consternation among his contemporaries.  

The sixth, Purechisia, labored as a diplomat and lawgiver in the service of the new state.   He advised Meiproslato, the second and most powerful of the naithitieri, in drafting a new legal code and aggressively promoted  it.  But he also preached that one could not depend on law alone for vindication, and that law was nothing without piety, good will and wisdom.  Unlike Thiofire, Pecliare and Krefine he walked marble floors and enjoyed linen sheets.

Tioara, the seventh, was a woman who gave birth to four children and worked as a communal peasant cook before commencing her holy career.  She apparently leaned to read and write from the local priestesses.  She lived simply, proclaiming the value of poverty and modesty.  She devised the first independent order of priestesses, which she called the "comforters."  The idea of providing solace and intercession reflected devotion to the Goddess Mara, and Tioara's work is given great credit for creating what became a cult to Mara within the body of Shufrantei belief. More broadly, she regularized the participation of priestesses within the faith.  To a large degree priestesses had held a subordinate role in Ancita worship, but Chuslera had made her job easier, by giving priestesses vital roles in all the rites he prescribed.  As a result, women became important masters of Shufrantei rites, never to let men forget the Goddesses' influence. 

The last two prophets came fifty years after Ierecina's death.  

Clumbarethe eighth, was a great teacher and temple-builder.  He spoke eloquently and impassionedly about the faith.  His lectures were recorded and added to the Shufrantei canon of holy books.  He went about the conquered territories and preached, and as he did he commissioned the building of new temples in the cities.  By this time the converted lands included over a fourth of Bergonia, and he covered nearly all of it.

In his wake he left a series of municipal "building commissions" to organize the construction and maintenance of temples, crematoriums and other public facilities.  Since water was crucial for the purification rite, and cleanliness essential for the holy life, the building commissions raised funds for maintaining the aqueducts, reservoirs and water systems.  In subsequent centuries every city and town had a building commission, an important branch of local government.

The ninth and last, Suleara, was also a woman, a pampered daughter of a new Shufrantei tieri who cast her luxurious life aside, spurned well-placed suitors and took to the religious life. She first fled the city streets and parlors for the temple precincts, and then she fled the city altogether to life in a monastery founded by Tiora's disciples. Finally she fled to the woods and lived under the trees and bathed in the creek. As she went through each of these simplifications she simplified her clothing-- except that she kept a wide-brimmed hat of the sort that ladies of the era wore.  Even in the forest, when she wore a simple tunic and skirt of rough un-dyed wool, she also wore the once-gorgeous, now worn, wide-brimmed hat.

She furthered the thrust of Tioara's work.  Pilgrims came from all over to meet her, and hear her sing the prayerful chants in her beautiful voice. She came out of the woods and stood on the edge of a field to greet them. She often had a priest in attendance with her, and together they conducted purification rites for visitors.  Even when she became old and frail people still came, and her small entourage occasionally brought her to the edge of the field.  All the visitors respected the rule that no one could enter the woods and risk disturbing Suleara.  She died peacefully at the age ninety-one, curled up on the ground under an oak, amidst the fallen acorns, covered by the wide-brimmed hat.

Religious historians do not understand how these 9 men & women came to their special status. The four of them who sat at Ierecina's feet as students were not favored by him.  All four waited until after Ierecina's passing before manifesting their unique spirits.  Ierecina did nothing to designate any of them as special men, and he did not lay down any rules that would guide his followers in recognizing other, new prophets.  Shufrantei doctrine holds that these nine were prophets, just like Ierecina, but while Ierecina received certain signs of his special holiness, these nine came into their status by more indirect means, really by nothing more than acclamation by the priesthood.  Some doubted the status of Chuslera, contending that he never explicitly expressed obeisance to Ierecina's legacy, and actually regarded himself as an equal to or an evolutionary step beyond Ierecina.  The four sermons ascribed to Chuslera (again the subject of much debate) differ radically in emphasis from Ierecina's teachings, by actually denying the miraculous effect of ritual and ridiculing the idea of a single set of rituals. 

While Ierecina himself assumed an overarching all important role, ambiguity clouded the roles of each of these nine, but when considered together their importance becomes clearly legible.  They each demonstrated how the Shufrantei faith can integrate with and enhance the work of life.  Each of these men and women had a specific facility or calling-- painter, warrior, statesman, beggar, etc.-- and magnified it in their Shufrantei piety.  Each one was accomplished within their respective field, but Shufrantei was the thing that made them each great.  Their lives were exemplary, for future generations to imitate.  Their lives illustrated to the faithful how Shufrantei makes a better way of life. 

Individually each of the nine extended a bridge from Ierecina's central inspiration  to some particular aspect of life:

Kresine ("creh-see'-neh") showed how Shufrantei can wage war; he not only fought valiantly but he displayed courtesy and restraint in dealing with prisoners, civilians and his own men.  

Fierisime ("fee'-eh-ri-see'-meh") showed that Shufrantei endorsed aesthetic endeavors and demonstrated how the Shufrantei faith can find aesthetic expression.   

Purechisia ("poo'-reh-chee'see-ah") demonstrated how a devotee should behave in the field of diplomacy and government.  

Theofire ("theh-oh-fee'-reh") converted the otherwise random and painful energies of mental illness to produce visions in the Shufrantei spirit. 

Clumbare ("cloom-bah'-reh") demonstrated how Shufrantei enables good government and organization, to create a better material life for all. 

Tioara ("Tee-oh-ah'-rah") and Suleara ("soo-leh-ah'-rah") showed that women have an active part to play in the propagation of the faith and created invaluable precedent for generations of women who served as priestesses.  

Suleara in particular demonstrated the mystic side of the faith, and how Shufrantei could free a person utterly from the world.

the nine individuals shared some common characteristics. Each one explicitly preached. Each one was prodigiously creative.  Each received adulation and deference from the body of priests & priestesses within their lifetime. Each was assumed to have -- as was Ierecina -- a special relationship with the Gods. The relationship produced visions and spoken messages from heaven. Many saints and holy men and women had visions and messages.

Shufrantei might have produced an endless number of minor prophets, but the ninth one, Suleara, shocked everyone by proclaiming, "I am the last to come through the doors of prophesy.  I am the seal.  Arkan and Icotesi have shut the door behind me, content that they have well marked the trail for men and women on earth to follow."  The image of a little old lady wearing a floppy hat and holding a cane became the symbol for finality.  This occurred in 85 B.C.

Several people later on professed to be prophets, but Suleara's injunction held, and the vast majority of the faithful rejected these as frauds or misguided sufferers of delusions.  There were many great saints, and some of them were great leaders as well, but no one would credit them with prophetic stature.  A certain sort of circular logic worked here to exclude any subsequent prophets.  One requirement of a prophet was evident holiness such that others would recognize it, which meant acceptance by the devout.  Since no one accepted prophets after Suleara, because of her injunction, no one could attain the necessary acceptance... until Krathnami.   

Many have drawn the parallel between Shufrantei's nine prophets and the eastern Nine-God Worship that Shufrantei crushed and replaced in eastern Bergonia, and have wondered if the Nine-God Worship inspired the idea of nine minor prophets.

Krathnami, the laughing prophet, lived out the last half of his long life in a hut on the side of the Zein River, raising a fine garden, and rather incidentally founded the Miradi religion. 

When he came into the world in 922 AD Bergonian society was divided among different denominations, orders, sects and underground cults, defined largely by the gulf between the dominant Shufrantei religion that was stale and institutionalized, and Hiestat, the subversive minority faith that was growing. The Shufrantei religion had sharply divided into different sects with widely divergent opinions about the proper role of ritual, especially the nature of ritual purification, and the nature of the enlightenment process.  Hiestat was something of a regression for an urbanized, almost cosmopolitan, culture, since it was virtually animistic, recognizing a network of intertwined nature gods who deserved reverence and fear. Some of these gods gave spells to mankind as a sort of reward for obedience and deference.  Others hated and tormented humankind. Hiestat wise men communed with the gods and "the world-spirit."  Wise men and sorcerers sought insights into the perspectives of other worlds.

Krathnami's personal tragedy:

Krathnami, of the Rattlesnake Clan, was a priest in a Shufrantei monastery near the city of Varsca (now in Zeinran State). To deliver a message for his abbot he took a road through a deep wood. There a bandit stabbed him under his ribs and robbed him. A Hiestat priestess-witch who live alone in the woods found him. Her name was Sesnan.  She nursed and healed him, and they fell in love and married each other. Together, in imitation of Arkan and Icotesi, they merged their different faiths and produced a synthesis. To them the chief values were accepting, patient piety "for the one we do not see," and pliable unconditional compassion for all who suffer. 

Other Hiestat priests learned that Sesnan allowed a priest of the enemy religion to live with her, and they became indignantly angry. They convinced five banda to roust her out of her hut and bring her forth to make an account of herself.  When Krathnami's abbot learned of the cohabitation, he succumbed to rage.  He ordered five banda affiliated with his sect to go kill Sesnan and bring Krathnami back to the monastery. One of the five refused and suffered the abbot's rebuke, but the other four did as the abbot instructed and killed Sesnan in the woods where they found her picking berries. When they saw the horror of their act, they turned and fled. Krathnami found her ruined body. The animals emerged from the shadows of the forest to help him build a pyre for her body.  Just as he was ready to light the pyre, the errant banda arrived, hoping to come in time to warn Sesnan and Krathnami.  "I am too late," he cried in anguish, but he ended up becoming Krathnami's protector.  

Krathnami's ministry:

Krathnami did not thereafter enjoy a great illumination, as did the Buddha, nor did he receive a revelation as did Mohammed. No watershed event, like baptism in the River Jordan, marked the beginning of his mission. He was certainly not God become Man, and he was no Krishna-like avatar.  Instead he was a man who found whatever truth he found only by his own "luck, fate, and spirit."  

He resolved to live by the credo that he and Sesnan had contrived. He went across the countryside, assisting people he met in need. He continued performing the purification rite and added a Hiestat component of lighting candles, but he said these were symbolic only, and he eschewed all the other Shufrantei rites. He declared that prayerful meditation, right attitude and compassion were the essential work of the faithful. He went about for several years, working as a healer, using Hiestat herbal concoctions, and caring for the sick. Shufrantei and Hiestat priests both came to visit him because he became such a powerful teacher. His abbot sent a group of priests to summon him back to the monastery, but he rebuked and ridiculed them.

In Krathnami's time, hermits in pursuit of perfect vision (pursuing Cerin) often lived in huts near peasant villages and the peasants fed them. Krathnami built a hut along a riverbank just upstream from a village near the city of Chambolet. He cleared a little land and grew vegetables and flowers. He built a grape arbor. The animals favored him; deer and bear came up to him, and birds perched on his outstretched fingers.

When troubled people approached him, he pulled them close and whispered private things to them that caused them to gasp in wonder and then smile in relief and gladness.  He went around for a while curing madmen.  Disciples came to him and sought to learn his wisdom.

Krathnami's doctrine:

He started out believing that all the religions are false as to their literal descriptions.  He also believed that all religions are true as to their substantive spiritual worth.  Since each of the religions depended on a particular way of perceiving things, and each raised a unique set of , each has set up a different set of conclusions.  When two religions differed, neither afforded men a compromise, but together forced men to choose between them.  Krathnami said that it is just as likely that both religions are wrong as that either one of them is right.  So, on those matters where religions differed with each other, humankind simply did not know the truth.  Thus we may use the measure of our disagreements to measure the degree of our innate ignorance.  But on those matters where two religions agreed, he reasoned, they were both right, unless a third religion appeared to disagree.  (He was speaking about comparisons between Shufrantei and Hiestat, and spoke hypothetically about a third religion-- but centuries later the third religion appeared in the form of Christianity.)

Once we understand that humankind has deficient vision, keeping us from seeing the real divine stuff, we should realize that most religious statements are unfounded and unsupported. Krathnami and Sesnan, in comparing their religions, felt justified in testing all religious statements by asking "how do we know that?"  They ended up rejecting most the religious doctrine of both Shufrantei and Hiestat.

The first step in their inquiry led Bergonian religion to the conscious move from polytheism to a point beyond monotheism. Krathnami could not explain the existence of separate gods, so he concluded that the matter of whether God was unitary or multidimensional was beyond mankind's ability to know. He called Arkan and Icotesi, and all the other gods "masks" or "presentments" of God, and made it clear that the worship of any god was the worship of the one god.  He thus divested the myths of all objectivity, but he used the myths himself for allegorical and symbolic expression, and he even spoke prayers to Arkan and Icotesi, claiming that a prayer to any god was a prayer to the one god.

The faith he left us has little express cosmology and absolutely no eschatology. It says little about the afterlife, because Krathnami plainly declared, "I do not know what happens after we die."

The based dogma went something like this: The one life-force, the one God has come flowering forth as the universe, in billions of manifestations, and everything is of God and animated by his force.

The Dilemma:  Mankind, being flawed, lacks the capacity to know very much about God or about the universe. Because of blindness, we are separated from God and do not feel him as he touches us, so we feel alone and alienated, and we drift, slaves of our passion, pretending we know more than what we do, and do great mischief. 

The Solution:  If we go to God with devotion, he will transform us  with new vision. so that we can see him.  We "gain focus," and behold the world's true beauty that had been concealed from us.  Once we apperceive the true harmonic, we join it and come to recognize the presence of God in all things.

Krathnami rejected any sense of revelation occurring in history.  Krathnami said that "any man or woman who opens his eyes becomes a prophet," and that "no words exist for what of God man can see."  He taught that if words cannot describe or name it, it is beyond the realm of reason (which includes all philosophy and theology) -- reflecting a Bergonian philosophy that "reason" is essentially related to language.

Krathnami was an empiricist, skeptical of any belief not susceptible to verification.  But he was also a metaphysician because he had no doubt that great things happened all around us in the universe that we could never perceive.

Krathnami's passing:

In 999 A.D. Krathnami died in old age of natural causes after attaining great holiness.  A million butterflies-- a million dots of color-- swarmed when he died, and the animals of the wild hung their heads.  Thousands of priests grieved too, for during his life hundreds of truth seekers visited him and carried his words across the land. Within four generations his message had spread all across Bergonia.


The Revolutionary Leader, in imitation of Ierecina, became a theme in Bergonian History.   

Ierecina was a revolutionary who came up from a common family to change the state and lead a social revolution.  Like Mohammed he carried a sword, and he was leader of a state.  Throughout the ages afterwards, leaders have arisen from humble circumstances, usually mere humble priests or soldiers, at best the sons of minor or disgraced noblemen, and attempted to imitate the Prophet's revolutionary ascension.  Each one of them had his own vision of a reformed holy and society that would come after the end of oppression.  They repeated the message over and over that religion requires opposition to oppression, that religion should never side with the rich and powerful, and that even a religiously sanctioned social order deserves a good, violent cleansing from time to time (like Prakai Eleusi's "brushfire").  These men have all claimed that the Gods were on their side.  They all claimed that social inequalities based on riches and arbitrary power contradicted the holy way.  

Christians have often quoted Christ-- "Give unto Caeser what is Caeser's and give unto the Lord what is the Lord's-- to justify the separation of political affairs from religious.  Conservatives have always approved of Paul's admonitions to the slave in Philemon to obey his master.  The private life (especially that of the upper & middle classes) must be lived according to perfect rectitude, but mass exploitation and terror is institutionalized.  To the modern Westerner (especially the secular-humanists, and especially after 9-11) the mixing of religion and politics (and the further mixing of both with the sword) is a horrible thing.  Indeed, the Bergonian will admit, as Prakai (and 9-11) shows, that the mixing of the two can be a terrible thing, but only if the religion itself is defective and warped..  

But it need not.  Indeed, if one's religion is good and true, then how could a person refrain from doing good works in society.  Salvation is not a private matter for the individual, while social and economic life are exempt from religious dictates.  How can a pious individual practice his salvation when he is overwhelmed by the effects of social and economic sin?  Therefore salvation is a matter for the family, the tribe, the city, the whole world of people, and everyone moved to do good should be moved to do public and social good.  A poignant and risky extension of this belief says that evil must be actively resisted, within one's own soul and within the social unit.  Thus In Bergonia, the Lord condones opposition to Caeser-- a false god-- and encourages the slave to revolt.  Indeed, after the rise of the Miradi religion, the Miradi faithful felt moved to oppose the corrupt political and economic establishment, and create the Tan movement.  

The most perfect example of this type was the guerilla and revolutionary leader Churoflia.  

Also see Prakai Eleusi, the "Clearing Axe" the utterly most perverse example in Berg's history.  He killed hundreds of thousands.




[rev. 28 Sep 02]


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