Chapter 14: - Page 5 of 8

Tasio: Lunatic or Sage

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

But it could have existed in potentia and not in actu,[2] observed Don Filipo.

Very well! But yet I must answer that some knew of it and as existing in actu.  One of these was Zarathustra, or Zoroaster, who wrote part of the Zend-Avesta and founded a religion which in some points resembles ours, and Zarathustra, according to the scholars, flourished at least eight hundred years before Christ. I say ‘at least,’ since Gaffarel, after examining the testimony of Plato, Xanthus of Lydia, Pliny, Hermippus, and Eudoxus, believes it to have been two thousand five hundred years before our era. However that may be, it is certain that Zarathustra talked of a kind of purgatory and showed ways of getting free from it.  The living could redeem the souls of those who died in sin by reciting passages from the Avesta and by doing good works, but under the condition that the person offering the petitions should be a relative, up to the fourth generation.  The time for this occurred every year and lasted five days. Later, when this belief had become fixed among the people, the priests of that religion saw in it a chance of profit and so they exploited ‘the deep and dark prison where remorse reigns,’ as Zarathustra called it.  They declared that by the payment of a small coin it was possible to save a soul from a year of torture, but as in that religion there were sins punishable by three hundred to a thousand years of suffering, such as lying, faithlessness, failure to keep one’s word, and so on, it resulted that the rascals took in countless sums.  Here you will observe something like our purgatory, if you take into account the differences in the religions.

A vivid flash of lightning, followed by rolling thunder, caused Doray to start up and exclaim, as she crossed herself: Jesús, María, y José! I’m going to leave you, I’m going to burn some sacred palm and light candles of penitence.

The rain began to fall in torrents.  The Sage Tasio, watching the young woman leave, continued: Now that she is not here, we can consider this matter more rationally.  Doray, even though a little superstitious, is a good Catholic, and I don’t care to root out the faith from her heart.  A pure and simple faith is as distinct from fanaticism as the flame from smoke or music from discords: only the fools and the deaf confuse them.  Between ourselves we can say that the idea of purgatory is good, holy, and rational.  It perpetuates the union of those who were and those who are, leading thus to greater purity of life.  The evil is in its abuse.

[2] In possibility (i.e., latent) and not: in fact.—TR.

Learn this Filipino word:

nagpápatirapâ sa paanán