Lives Journal 5

Rajko Shushtarshich

 

THE STORY OF PILATE I

Pilate's dreams

 

Pilate's dreams

 

That night was a strange night,

one of those that give no sleep.

The eye saw nothing,

and yet he knew that something was in the air,

the wind blew more softly in the treetops,

it wanted to tell him something, but what?

 

He did not like talking to the people,

he was a foreigner to himself.

Pilate would talk to the dog,

who taught him love,

for people and beings that are not people;

but that night he could not speak with anybody,

not even with himself.

Pilate lay tired,

perhaps he would sleep a little.

 

He dreamt,

Pilate dreamt the strangest dreams he had ever dreamt;

he dreamt solitude.

He was alone that night,

the night before the night of preparation;

and on the second night, the night of preparation,

he was even more alone;

and on the third night, the Great Night, [translation of Easter in Slovenian]

he was more alone than he could possibly say.

Pilate dreamt that on that night he did not sleep a wink,

that he returned to his thoughts, his more intimate speech,

made efforts to stay in it;

he wanted to leave it all behind,

but he could not, it was in him;

if he could fall asleep, depart into the world of sleep,

and the next world that sleep does not reach,

as he did all the other nights of the days,

leading up to the day he met Him.

 

There was something in Him,

that his experienced eye had never seen

before in a man,

and he had known so many people.

 

Again now he dreams the anguish of solitude:

His disciples had departed together,

but each one of them was alone;

but not one of them was as alone

as he was.

Only he knew, without believing the miracles,

he alone needed no miracles,

and therefore was so terribly:

alone.

 

Still in his dreams Pilate said:

I will forget these dreams. Pilate knew how to give orders

to his spirit of the night which dreams follow.

Then Pilate moved to the world beyond dreams,

he fell into a deep sleep.

 

He got up feeling strong and was pleased about that,

for a hard day was ahead of him.

Reports brought to him spoke of,

unrest amongst the Jews; some mentioned the possibility of rebellion,

but Pilate knew that there was no danger of this, that this was the report of those,

who desired praise and even more so advancement.

He did not remember his dreams so the order had been fulfilled.

 

 

 

 

Pilateís second night

 

Pilate did not sleep a wink that night.

He pondered;

and again he tried desperately to fall asleep,

to forget everything that had happened that day,

and follow the day with the morning,

like all other days,

that had preceded the day he met Him.

There was something in Him,

that his experienced eye had never seen before in a man

and he had known so many people.

And neither could he be certain:

did he not already know him from somewhere?

Perhaps he had dreamt about him, but no;

Pilate would remember such dreams.

He attached much importance to dreams, no less than to everyday reality;

in his dreams he made out reality twice as real.

If someone prefers dreams to reality,

then dreams are more real for him than reality itself,

this is what Pilate thought so as not to start dreaming during the day,

to remain on firm ground; for even wonderful dreams,

in which you are free; have the deficiency;

that in them you draw and erase yourself, as your free will

dictates.

But everyday reality is tough, it is not so easy to blot out

the record of oneís actions.

 

Pilate began to question himself,

the one whom he could best rely on,

whose thoughts he attached the most importance to.

When today did I make that great mistake?

When did I miss my opportunity,

to act better, more elegantly,

for even the aesthetics of the judgement,

was important for Pilate, seeing as justice was escaping him.

There was here one thought he could not influence;

it festered in his head which was tired of the weight of the life,

he had taken upon himself for the sake of some faint glory;

it threatened to destroy the purpose of all his efforts,

his whole life:

I have done this man an injustice;

but he is not the first one I have done this to,

could he be the last man?

Is he then the one I have judged,

so important to me for that reason?

 

As he thought these thoughts he knew he was close.

This thought for the man was the key,

perhaps it contained the answer to his questions?

He knew now he would find,

he must just ask the correct question.

Did I ever even try to believe him?

No, I never believed him.

And if I believed him?

Then he would lead the trial and I,

I would be his plaything.

For he was not alone.

He did not control himself.

There was a sorrow, a yearning in his eyes;

but Pilate was not used to seeing this,

certainly not in trials.

Each man that stood before him,

was afraid of his power;

fear shone from the eyes of those on trial.

But not this man,

he was different again.

He was not afraid,

Pilate was certain of this,

he was not afraid of death,

he did not even fear God.

But I,

drew from the depths of my imagination and addressed the crowd

with some beautiful, really beautiful words.

These words were full of magical power,

which had an effect on the crowd,

all those masses,

the whole mob.

But these words had no effect on them, none at all.

But perhaps one of them did have some effect, and it was:

Behold, the man!

Did he not look at me somewhat differently,

when I said those words?

What did he want to say, what did his eyes say?

Did he want to say: You cannot treat a man this way.

No.

But maybe he was not sure in himself,

if he is a man, if he is a king:

what else could he be?

What would he be for himself,

what was he for himself truly?

But I did not say: Behold, he is only a man!

Nor did I say: Behold, he is a man!

However, Pilate could not delude himself;

his tone of voice said it all,

more than the words themselves.

And when did I speak with him?

wondered Pilate,

Never?

The conversation was of one person who has power and is deaf,

with another who has no power;

and yet he has it, he exudes it as if he were the king of kings.

He said most to Pilate through his silence;

and his silence was deepest twice.

Twice he insulted Pilate,

as no man before had ever insulted him,

and only twice had Pilate in all his proud life been,

truly insulted:

and I heard him not, understood Pilate, not because

he truly hurt my pride,

I did not hear him because in his speech of silence

I did not listen to him.

Was this a different kind of offence, from the bottom of the soul, which closed my

eyes and ears, and I did not hear him through it?

Now Pilate knew he should have spoken with him;

he should have investigated this manís thoughts.

For he knew nothing about him;

not even how many in number are those that are truly with him.

All these reports about him; reports from the best secret service,

anyone ever had in the Roman Empire, which was his;

are empty.

They are abundant, but empty;

they said nothing about him, the man;

about what he is, nothing;

about all else yes,

about trifles and minutiae,

and more than about these things, about the blindness of the reporters, their miserable intellect.

It is sad to rule with the weapon of secrecy;

in secrecy power is extreme, all the power of the empire, its organisation is based on it.

But it is so sad to rule through a denunciation, with the fear it inspires;

to rule this way is treacherous, but that is not the worst;

to rule this way is miserable,

when you think you see everything, you see nothing more,

to rule like this is blind.

In his thoughts Pilate approached him:

cleansed of the pride of power, sad, poor;

robbed of his lifeís meaning;

tired of one nightís thoughts,

he had not had thoughts this heavy before this night.

A strange feeling hitherto unknown to him:

Pilate was free,

he had never been so free,

he knew not that freedom can be felt,

he had never felt it this way.

 

Pilate had once been so proud of his freedom;

but now he knew he did not know what it was,

he had no idea what it was.

When he thought he knew more about it than all the rest;

he was the first in the empire,

in terms of freedom to act;

all his life he had subjected to free will,

he acted according to it, and he could make the empire act,

according to it but he did not want that,

for he wanted more,

and in this way he was unique;

and this meant more to him,

than if he was in charge of the court in Rome.

 

This man had the power,

to take from him the most precious thing he had,

at least that is what he thought until that day;

he took his self away;

his proud self.

Now Pilate knew he would stop the tumult of thoughts,

that threatened to take his night and the sleep he needed so badly,

and dreams,

and what is beyond dreams.

 

 

 

 

Pilateís dreams

 

He was alone,

he waited for him, he knew he would come.

Unfinished, and yet explicit thoughts

were those that tormented Pilate;

and brought him to Him;

he was now clean,

purified of the burden of his knowledge,

which was not small.

 

They looked at each other and conversed in silence.

There were no apologies, no repentance;

perhaps only tears,

not even that,

only Pilateís dreamy eyes threatened,

to water,

and blur their sight

even further.

 

They were this way,

with each another,

they told themselves about the other,

and there is no witness that could testify,

to their dialogue.

The witness was their dialogue:

silence.

 

Will he ever be able to separate himself from Him,

wondered Pilate?

But He only kept looking at him,

perhaps a little more deeply.

Pilate wanted to verify what he felt,

and they exchanged a few sentences;

after an hour of silence and gazing they sounded so strange.

Then Pilate left Him.

 

Pilate went away,

and those two tears dropped,

onto the prison floor,

they were bright as sparks,

at least that is how the sentinel saw them.

 

 

 

 

The dream report

 

In the report of the empireís secret police,

the one that was charged to keep an eye on Pilate,

the one he knew about but which did not trouble him,

for such are the rules of this sombre game,

everything was written.

 

Pilate attentively read both versions,

although it could be said that these were two reports

on the same subject.

So both of them could not be used;

he would decide later,

which one was the right one.

He said to himself:

if anyone understands this, fine,

itís fine with me.

 

In the first version of the secret reporter,

who was, incidentally, the best,

in the empire,

and he really was not bad,

but how could he record silence?

So everything that was written in the first version,

was of no importance at all for the second.

And everything that was written in the second version,

was of no importance for the first,

for everything had already been written in it.

 

 

It was written...

 

 

 

 

 

Interrogation before execution

 

Interrogator: Pilate alone, in person

Person interrogated: incriminated Nazarene Ė Roman

 

Pilate My knowledge of free will then was not mistaken, I understood it correctly?

Nazarene Yes.

Pilate Does not free will then contradict divine will?

Nazarene No.

Pilate Did God give man free will, did he create him this way?

Nazarene He did not give it to him and he does not take it from him; he did not create him this way; he is more than a creation, he is the one who created; he is that which he created.

Pilate Are free will and divine will the same then, there being no difference between them, is this the same will?

Nazarene It matters not, as you say, they may be confounded and this is often done, but they are not the same.

They are not the same for you but they become the same; but there is still a long way to go as you would say.

In truth it is here, ever-present, man just cannot reach it.

Pilate And those who say they act according to it, according to the highest will, do they deceive?

Nazarene They do not deceive him, they do not deceive me, and they would find it hard to deceive you too.

They deceive themselves, but it is most difficult to deceive your own self.

Pilate I think I understand now.

Nazarene Now you understand. But you do not understand once and for all times; your understanding disappears, with every breath of yours it evaporates like your breath and the very next moment you feel you do not understand that you have never understood. But once you find it, you can always find it if you want.

Pilate It matters not so much then what we call it but what we fill it with, the certainty with which we feel it. No-one else can tell us this.

Nazarene Your path is the path of free will even if it has made a somewhat unusual beginning. But it could not end; if someone really desires it, it will soar up. It will soar up on its own, it will soar up because it is free and it will soar up into infinity, towards Him.

In infinity all paths come together.

Pilate Into one path? You will now go down the path of suffering, you will be tortured, crucified, according to your own free will?

Nazarene That is His will, the will of God the Father, but you should look for my free will elsewhere. You would say it is far and before I came to fulfil it; that was my free will and before it came yearning. But you would call yearning desire,

but it is no longer desire because it is infinitely more than desire.

What you see is His will.

Pilate Could you act differently, more freely, in your mission?

Nazarene You mean could I die in a different way?

I could depart in a different way but tell me now:

would I then fulfil my mission?

If you see my way, my yearning, it is brighter than the way itself. You would again say that I desired more than I could have.

What about them, what is their freedom? They could do what they wanted; they could manage this path, the path of love was close to them;

They came closest to Him along this path.

Pilate Another thing torments me.

Nazarene I know, just say it, it will do you good.

Pilate If you have seen that it has already happened, what must inevitably happen, what is yet to happen for us, then at least in this you have no freedom; you could not act any differently.

Nazarene If I truly wanted I could have acted differently;

but then I would see things differently too.

Pilate Then you too are not perfect?

Nazarene No. No-one can be perfect on this earth, if they were,

they would not end up on it.

Pilate Not even with a mission?

Nazarene No.

Pilate You came with the mission to give them meaning again, meaning which has grown pale for them, is that not the perfect mission?

Nazarene That was my path, if you see it, if you see the path then you see my imperfection, you see the whole path: from its beginning up until now,

where is perfection here?

Pilate Your path at the beginning is less perfect to show them the way ahead, they can only see this way; but it was the path of incredible freedom; the path of free will is bright, ever brighter.

Nazarene My way was the way of love;

it was a free way

the only true way for me.

In Him this is one way, only He is perfect.

Pilate But our guilt remains; and it is greater, why is that so?

Nazarene No-one with the greater good in himself can excuse

his baser meanness. Each level of the self must be purified, must act according to itself, according to its level, it is here.

Appealing to God on every occasion is as though,

He were here, that we would appeal to him, take Him into our accounts.

Pilate Most of our mistakes are: here.

Nazarene Perhaps sometimes some people learn something from them, but not even that excuses them.

You cannot wash your hands with invisible water if you have dirtied them in filthy water.

I too do not wash them with twice invisible,

truly clean water.

Pilate Do you mean Judasí sacrifice?

Nazarene Yes, that is what I have in mind.

Pilate God is with you.

Nazarene And I am not with him.

Pilate That is your strength?

Nazarene That is my path.

That is the path of my free will,

from far yonder where your understanding does not reach, but it will; mine will also reach itself.

Pilate You see that too?

Nazarene I see it.

But it will be of no use to you if I tell you.

Remember: what I told you must not be of any use to you.

 

 

Before Pilate left Him,

two human tears filled his eyes;

they did not glisten,

no-one saw them.

They were not recorded

they were his alone.

 

Now Pilate was alone again.

Pilate was only left with these two tears.

But these two tears were truly only his.

Now he knew he too had betrayed him.

How could he delude himself and say

he did not write the report himself,

Pilate.

 

 

 

Translated from Slovenian by Marko Petrovich

 

 

 

Slovenian (gajica)

Slovenian (bohorichica)