Foreword of Richard Bach´s Illusions

  1. There was a Master come
    unto the earth, born in
    the holy land of Indiana,
    raised in the mystical
    hills east of Fort Wayne.
  2. The Master learned of this
    world in the public schools of
    Indiana, and as he grew, in his trade as a mechanic
    of automobiles.
  3. But the Master had learnings
    from other lands and other
    schools, from other lives that
    he had lived. He remembered
    these, and remembering became
    wise and strong, so that others
    saw his strength and came
    to him for counsel.
  4. The Master believed that he
    had power to help himself
    and all mankind, and as he
    believed so it was for him,
    so that others saw his
    power and came to him to
    be healed of their troubles
    and their many diseases.
  5. The Master believed that it
    is well for any man to
    think upon himself as a son
    of God, and as he believed,
    so it was, and the
    shops and garages where he
    worked became crowded and
    jammed with those who sought
    his learning and his touch,
    and the streets outside
    with those who longed only
    that the shadow of his
    passing might fall upon them,
    and change their lives.
  6. It came to pass, because
    of the crowds, that the
    several foremen and shop
    managers bid the Master
    leave his tools and go
    his way, for so tightly
    was he thronged that neither
    he nor other mechanics had
    room to work upon the
  7. So it was that he went
    into the countryside, and
    people following began to call
    him Messiah, and worker of
    miracles; and as they believed,
    it was so.
  8. If a storm passed as
    he spoke, not a raindrop
    touched a listener’s head;
    the last of the multitude
    heard his words as clearly
    as the first, no matter
    lightning nor thunder in
    the sky about. And always
    he spoke to them in parables.
  9. And he said unto them,
    “within each of us lies the
    power of our consent to health
    and to sickness, to riches
    and to poverty, to freedom
    and to slavery. It is we
    who control these, and
    not another.”
  10. A mill-man spoke and said,
    “Easy words for you, Master,
    for you are guided as we
    are not, and need not toil
    as we toil. A man has to
    work for his living in
    this world.”
  11. The Master answered and said,
    “Once there lived a village
    of creatures along the bottom
    of a great crystal river.
  12. “The current of the river
    swept silently over them
    all – young and old, rich
    and poor, good and evil,
    the current going its own
    way, knowing only its own
    crystal self.
  13. “Each creature in its own
    manner clung tightly to the
    twigs and rocks of the river
    bottom, for clinging was their
    way of life, and resisting
    the current what each had
    learned from birth.
  14. “But one creature said at
    last, ‘I am tired of clinging.
    Though I cannot see it
    with my eyes, I trust that
    the current knows where it is
    going. I shall let go, and
    let it take me where it
    will. Clinging, I shall die
    of boredom.’
  15. “The other creatures laughed and
    said, ‘Fool! Let go, and that
    current you worship will throw
    you tumbled and smashed
    across the rocks, and you
    will die quicker than boredom!’
  16. “But the one heeded them
    not, and taking a breath
    did let go, and at once
    was tumbled and smashed by
    the current across the rocks.
  17. “Yet in time, as the creature
    refused to cling again, the
    current lifted him free from
    the bottom, and he was bruised
    and hurt no more.
  18. “And the creatures downstream, to
    whom he was a stranger,
    cried, ‘See a miracle! A creature
    like ourselves, yet he flies!
    See the Messiah, come to save
    us all!’
  19. “And the one carried in
    the current said, ‘I am
    no more Messiah than you.
    The river delights to lift
    us free, if only we dare
    let go. Our true work is
    this voyage, this adventure.’
  20. “But they cried the more,
    ‘Saviour!’ all the while clinging
    to the rocks, and when they
    looked again he was gone, and
    they were left alone making
    legends of a Saviour.”
  21. And it came to pass when
    he saw that the multitude
    thronged him the more day on
    day, tighter and closer and
    fiercer than ever they had,
    when he saw that they pressed
    him to heal them without rest,
    and feed them always with
    his miracles, to learn for them
    and to live their lives, he
    went alone that day unto a
    hilltop apart, and there he prayed.
  22. And he said in his heart,
    Infinite Radian Is, if it
    be thy will, let this cup
    pass from me, let me lay
    aside this impossible task.
    I cannot live the life
    of one other soul, yet ten
    thousand cry to me for life.
    I’m sorry I allowed it all
    to happen. If it be thy
    will, let me go back to my
    engines and my tools and
    let me live as other men.
  23. And a voice spoke to him on
    the hilltop, a voice neither
    male nor female, loud nor
    soft, a voice infinitely kind.
    And the voice said unto him,
    “Not my will, but thine be
    done. For what is thy will
    is mine for thee. Go thy
    way as other men, and
    be thou happy on the earth.”
  24. And hearing, the Master was
    glad, and gave thanks, and came
    down from the hilltop humming
    a little mechanic’s song.
    And when the throng pressed
    him with its woes, beseeching
    him to heal for it and learn
    for it and feed it nonstop
    from his understanding and to
    entertain it with his wonders,
    he smiled upon the multitude
    and said pleasantly unto them,
    “I quit.”
  25. For a moment the multitude
    was stricken dumb with
  26. And he said unto them,
    “If a man told God that he
    wanted most of all to help the
    suffering world, no matter the
    price to himself, and God
    answered and told him what he
    must do, should the man do
    as he is told?”
  27. “Of course, Master!” cried the
    many. “It should be pleasure
    for him to suffer the
    tortures of hell itself, should
    God ask for it!”
  28. “No matter what those tortures,
    nor how difficult the task?”
  29. “Honor to be hanged, glory
    to be nailed to a tree
    and burned, if so be that
    God has asked,” said they.
  30. “And what would you do,”
    the Master said unto the
    multitude, “if God spoke directly
    to your face and said,
    would you do then?”
  31. And the multitude was silent,
    not a voice, not a sound
    was heard upon the hillsides,
    across the valleys where
    they stood.
  32. And the Master said unto
    the silence, “In the path
    of our happiness shall we
    find the learning for which
    we have chosen this lifetime.
    So it is that I have
    learned this day, and
    choose to leave you now
    to walk your own path,
    as you please.”
  33. And he went his way
    through the crowds and
    left them, and he
    returned to the everyday
    world of men and machines.

Richard David Bach (born June 23, 1936) is an American writer widely known as the author of some of the 1970s’ biggest sellers, including Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970) and Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (1977). Bach has written numerous works of fiction, and also non-fiction flight-related titles.

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