REPORT TO GRECO
One of the greatest literary masterpieces of the 20th century:
True fiction or a philosopher’s swan song. Imagination, legends, dreams, physical and spiritual journeys, in other words, a soul’s truth. The homeland and the world, ancestors and parents, friends and beloved enemies. Nikos Kazantzakis recounts his life as a soldier’s report to his general, his “grandfather”, a fellow Cretan, who lived, painted and died centuries before him; El Greco, the artist who painted wings a little too big for the status quo that he openly defied. A warrior-artist who understood the spiritual battles of Nikos Kazantzakis, the author-warrior, who battled with ineffable powers of our universe, which he struggled to perceive.
One night I had a strange temptation in my sleep. I saw myself as a great sage in Jerusalem. I could cure many different diseases, but first and foremost I was able to remove demons from the possessed. People brought patients to me from all over Palestine, and one day Mary the wife of Joseph arrived from Nazareth, bringing her twelve-year-old son Jesus. Falling at my feet, she cried out tearfully, 'O illustrious sage, take pity on me and heal my son. He has demons inside him.'
"I had the parents go outside. When I remained alone with Jesus, I caressed his hand and asked him, 'What is the matter, my child? Where does it hurt?'
" 'Here, here . . .' he replied, pointing to his heart.
" 'And what's wrong with you?'
" 'I can't sleep, eat, or work. I roam the streets, wrestling.'
" 'Who are you wrestling with?'
" 'With God. Who else do you expect me to be wrestling with!'
"I kept him near me for a month, addressed him ever so gently, gave him herbs to make him sleep. I placed him in a carpenter's shop to learn a trade. We went out for walks together and I spoke to him about God, as though He were a friend and neighbor who came in the evening to sit with us on our doorstep and chat. There was nothing impressive or difficult about these talks. We spoke of the weather, of the wheatfields and vineyards, the young girls who went to the fountain . . .
"At the end of a month's time, Jesus was completely cured. He no longer wrestled with God; he had become a man like all other men. He departed for Galilee, and I learned afterwards that he had become a fine carpenter, the best in Nazareth."
The monk glanced at me.
"Do you understand?" he asked. "Jesus was cured. Instead of saving the world, he became the best carpenter in Nazareth! Never be cured!