Jalamanta: A Message from the Desert

Jalamanta: A Message from the Desert

by Rudolfo Anaya

NOOK Book(eBook)

$10.99 $17.99 Save 39% Current price is $10.99, Original price is $17.99. You Save 39%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now
LEND ME® See Details

Overview

A spiritual parable about a rebel with the power to transform lives

For thirty years, Fatimah has tended her herd of goats and waited for her lover to return. Amado was banished after leading a revolt against the cruel despots of their village—the Seventh City of the Fifth Sun. He followed the teachings of the wise men and women and roamed the desert in search of knowledge. When his exile finally ends, he returns transformed—no longer the innocent lover of Fatimah’s youth but a prophet named Jalamanta, or “he who strips away the veils that blind the soul.” He brings enlightenment, cures addictions, and can perform miracles, But Jalamanta’s enemies see him as a dangerous threat to the status quo and will use any means necessary to stop him. His deep wellspring of faith and compassion will not allow him to give up or give in—even as he faces the greatest betrayal of all.
 
A searing indictment of tyranny, oppression, and human suffering, Jalamanta is about the age-old battle between good and evil that rages in every heart. It is also a tribute to the love that is the creative force of the universe—the light that can banish ignorance and fear and illuminate the darkest corners of the soul. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504011785
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 06/02/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 197
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

A spiritual parable about a rebel with the power to transform lives

For thirty years, Fatimah has tended her herd of goats and waited for her lover to return. Amado was banished after leading a revolt against the cruel despots of their village—the Seventh City of the Fifth Sun. He followed the teachings of the wise men and women and roamed the desert in search of knowledge. When his exile finally ends, he returns transformed—no longer the innocent lover of Fatimah’s youth but a prophet named Jalamanta, or “he who strips away the veils that blind the soul.” He brings enlightenment, cures addictions, and can perform miracles, But Jalamanta’s enemies see him as a dangerous threat to the status quo and will use any means necessary to stop him. His deep wellspring of faith and compassion will not allow him to give up or give in—even as he faces the greatest betrayal of all.
 
A searing indictment of tyranny, oppression, and human suffering, Jalamanta is about the age-old battle between good and evil that rages in every heart. It is also a tribute to the love that is the creative force of the universe—the light that can banish ignorance and fear and illuminate the darkest corners of the soul. 

Rudolfo Anaya is professor emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico. He has received numerous literary awards, including the Premio Quinto Sol and a National Medal of Arts. He is the author of the classic work Bless Me, Ultima, which was chosen for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read. Anaya’s other books for adults include TortugaHeart of Aztlan, Alburquerque, Rio Grande Fall, Shaman Winter, Jemez Spring, Serafina’s Stories, The Man Who Could Fly and Other Stories, and Rudolfo Anaya: The Essays. His children’s books include Farolitos of Christmas, My Land Sings, Elegy on the Death of César Chávez, Roadrunner’s Dance, and The First TortillaBless Me, Ultima was adapted into a feature film in 2013. Anaya resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Read an Excerpt

Jalamanta

A Message from the Desert


By Rudolfo Anaya

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 1996 Rudolfo Anaya
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-1178-5



CHAPTER 1

The Exile Returns


At the end of the day, Fatimah waited by the river.

Early that morning, as was her custom, she had led her small herd of goats to the river to drink, then into the hills where the goats would graze while Fatimah watched over them. Now on her way home, she paused to look across the river.

On her side of the river, along its banks, lay the mud huts of Fatimah's neighbors, people who many years ago had revolted against the authorities and had become outcasts from their homes in the city. They then settled along the bank of the river, where they existed as best they could. Fatimah learned to survive by keeping a small herd of goats, whose milk and cheese she traded for corn and other staples.

After the revolt a wall had been built around the city by the authorities. The once open and fabled Seventh City of the Fifth Sun was now at war with neighboring kingdoms.

Fatimah sighed in the gathering dusk. Thirty years ago Amado, the young man she had loved, had been exiled by the authorities of the Seventh City for daring to question their dogma. For thirty years she had watched and waited for his return. Across the River of the Golden Carp lay the southern desert, the place of Amado's exile.

Even now, Fatimah could hear his words, and the passion that rang so clear in his voice:

"The authorities use the sacred books to oppress us," he said. "The sacred books were written as signposts to guide our path. They were not written to enslave us. We must create our own path if we are to illuminate our souls."

She understood his objections, for she too believed the teachings of the moral authority had grown pedantic and restrictive. The old books of the prophets of the desert contained the knowledge needed to understand mankind's relationship to the Universal Spirit, but the interpretations of the moral authorities had grown burdensome. Those in power believed it was necessary to destroy the faith of those who hungered for a spiritual path. For the authorities, nothing could be allowed to challenge their complete control.

As a young man Amado had dared to seek a new way. He listened to the wise teachers who roamed the desert, those who from time to time appeared at the edge of the city to preach. From their insights Amado began to evolve his thoughts on caring for the soul, his way to illumination.

"The soul is an entity of light within," he said to Fatimah the day he was banished. "It is an essence that seeks clarity. But how can we achieve clarity when we are burdened with veils that hide the light? To seek clarity, one must walk the Path of the Sun. I will walk that path, and I will take your love with me."

On this afternoon Fatimah's memories were as palpable as the light of the setting sun. She felt with renewed poignancy the love they had shared so long ago.

For thirty years she kept that love alive. She had never given up hope that he would return.

Now the time of his exile was completed. The southern desert was a place of suffering, death, and forgetfulness, but Fatimah knew Amado had survived, for through the years she had heard reports from wandering tribesmen of a prophet who preached in the desert camps. They said he went from tribe to tribe, speaking of a path of illumination, and that he called himself Jalamanta, he who strips away the veils that blind the soul.

Fatimah listened eagerly to these reports. He was alive, she was sure. He had lived through his ordeal. And so each afternoon at close of day, she turned to gaze across the river. He would come, she was sure, he would come.

Even now as the sun streaked the clouds of the western sky with vibrant mauve and red, she saw a figure appear in the distance. She stood and shaded her eyes. Yes, it was a man moving slowly toward the river. His long hair and beard were white, and his robe was the white cotton of desert wanderers.

She felt her heartbeat quicken.

How many times had she seen a desert wanderer cross the river and enter the city, and how many times had she been disappointed?

But her heart would not be denied. Something about the purposeful stride of the man reminded her of Amado. Could it be?

She ran to the river's edge where Clepo, the ferryman, and his dog lay sleeping by the side of the small and battered skiff.

"Clepo!" she called. "A stranger comes! Hurry!"

Clepo's mangy dog barked, awakening his master.

"What is it? What do you say?" Clepo opened his eyes and looked at Fatimah.

"A stranger approaches," Fatimah pointed.

Clepo looked. "Ay, strangers come and go. And why do they come to the Seventh City? Is it that when the end of the world is near, people gather to console each other?"

He laughed, a bitter laugh. He had ferried souls across the river for as long as he could remember. People seeking answers to the loneliness they felt within, seeking answers to the chaos and violence that surrounded them.

"Hurry, Clepo!" Fatimah commanded. "Don't make him wait!"

She could see the stranger now, nearing the opposite bank. There could be no mistake, the man was Amado! Her heart would not lie!

"Yes, yes," Clepo grumbled. He whistled for his dog, who jumped into the small boat. "I'm going, I'm going. Only for you, Fatimah, would I row across the river this late in the day."

He cast off and rowed slowly across the river, complaining. "Yes, we gather to console each other when death is near. Look around you, Tibodabi," he spoke to his dog. "Death and destruction everywhere."

It was true. Behind them the once prosperous Seventh City of the Fifth Sun was dying. The wars of the world beyond had reached this far. People without homes gathered in the streets. Children without parents wandered fearful and hungry through the rubble.

The end of the millennium was near; the end of time was near.

The man waiting for Clepo was robust and stout, but the desert's heat had withered his countenance. He held tight to his staff to steady himself.

Poor soul, Clepo thought, another desert wanderer gone in search of the Holy Grail. And what did he find? Only that the desert is cruel and full of demons.

His boat pushed against the shore.

"Old friend," the stranger greeted him. "Thank you for coming."

"Don't thank me, thank Fatimah." Clepo gestured toward her as the man climbed aboard.

He was surprised that his dog didn't bark at the stranger. Always his dog snarled in distrust at those he ferried across the river, but now he lay quietly at the stranger's feet.

"Do I know you?" Clepo asked as he rowed. He looked into the man's eyes. Yes, burning with fever, but sparkling with an inner light. The man was no ordinary desert wanderer.

"Thirty years ago you took me across the river," the man answered, his gaze fixed on Fatimah, who waited on the opposite bank.

"Ah." Clepo nodded. Now he understood Fatimah's concern. "You are Amado. Banished these thirty years by the moral authorities for heresy. Many have waited for you, including Fatimah."

"Yes, I am Amado, the same man you rowed across the river thirty years ago."

"No, not the same man," Clepo said wisely.

Jalamanta smiled. "You are right. I am no longer the youth I was. I am now Jalamanta, a man changed by time and the teachings of the desert."

"But you do not carry the staff of a prophet," Clepo said.

Jalamanta carried only the staff of a shepherd. A weathered staff made from the twisted roots of a desert tree, crowned by the carved heads of two entwined snakes. And his robe was the plain cotton attire of a desert shepherd.

"I am not a prophet," Jalamanta answered as the skiff drew near the bank.

"Ah, but many report they have heard you speak to the desert tribes. They call you a prophet."

"I am no prophet," Jalamanta said. "I only speak of the Path of the Sun. The path I have chosen to follow."

He stood as the small boat touched the bank. His legs trembled. Fatimah stepped forward and helped him from the boat. For a moment they held each other.

"Is it truly you?" she whispered.

"Yes," he replied. "The exile has returned."

She kissed his hands and touched his cheek. Softly her hands touched his lips, lips parched by the desert. She felt the fever coursing through his body.

"Fatimah," Jalamanta whispered. The woman waiting for him was Fatimah. She was there to greet him on his return. His love for her had sustained him those long years in the desert, and now the sight of her filled him with joy.

His heart rekindled with love. Love was the Holy Grail he had sought, and now he would drink from the cup.

"Welcome home," she said, smiling, her eyes full of tears.

"I am glad to be home. I have dreamed of this." He also smiled. The fatigue of the hurried journey and the emotion of seeing Fatimah were too much to bear. He felt his legs grow weak. He stumbled, and he heard Fatimah call for help as the darkness enveloped him.

He heard voices as he collapsed, then strong arms lifted him. He was home and safe; he smiled and allowed himself to be carried.

Later, when he opened his eyes, he found himself lying on a cot, and Fatimah was pressing a cool, wet cloth to his forehead. The softness of the goat-hair mattress surprised him, as he was used to sleeping on the bare ground.

"Where am I?" he asked.

"You are home," Fatimah replied. She held a cup of water to his lips and he drank. "Santos and Iago helped bring you here."

Santos and Iago, he thought, old childhood friends. So they were still alive. He looked around.

The hut was dark, except for a lantern burning over the cooking area. Pots of goat milk and fresh cheese sat on the table.

He looked at Fatimah. Her hair was gray around the temples; otherwise it was as black as the day he last saw her. The dim light reflected in her almond eyes. Her face radiated beauty as she held the cup of water to his lips.

"Drink," she said, and when his thirst was quenched, she served him a plate of goat cheese, the round flat bread of the natives, and small sweet figs from the trees in her patio.

He ate greedily, satisfying his long hunger, while admiring Fatimah's beauty in the dim light. He was ill but had forced himself to hurry to his homeland, anticipating but afraid to hope that she would still be waiting.

"What of my parents?" he asked after he had finished his repast.

"Our fathers died in the Revolution many years ago. I brought your mother and mine to live here on the bank of the river. Both died some years ago."

Jalamanta closed his eyes. He saw his parents as he remembered them from his childhood. Two energetic, lovely people, gifted musicians. They had taught him to trust himself, to guard his freedom from the manipulators of power. Now they were dead.

"I am sorry that you were alone," he whispered, and held her hands.

Fatimah sighed. "We lost everything when we were banished from the city. Here I could raise goats and plant fig trees. The authorities do not often come down to our village by the river. We are poor, but we breathe free air. The community here is friendly. Many of the elders are here. They speak to the young of the old ways. I have been content here."

He looked at her. Her complexion was robust, tanned from her days in the sun and wind. The struggle to survive had made her strong. The beauty of her youth still played in her eyes and smile.

"So there was a revolution?"

She nodded, "We took arms against the central authority. But it was too late, they had consolidated their power. Many of our fathers and brothers died, the rest were banished."

"What of Santos and Iago?" he asked.

"Iago has prospered as a wine merchant. He does business in the city. Santos spends his time reading the holy books. He is a fine scholar, but he is frail. Your return will bring new life to him. Already the people know you've returned. There is great excitement in the community."

"Excitement for an exile?"

"The people have heard that you preached in the desert. They are eager to hear your words."

Jalamanta laughed softly. That was the way it had been in the desert camps, always when he arrived in the isolated communities he was asked to speak. The armed clashes of powerful nations had reached even into the desert. Everywhere, people sensed the end of the age had come, and the violence that afflicted humanity was a warning of an impending catastrophe.

Wherever he went, people asked how the soul could be guarded in the time of chaos. Those who respected the essence within themselves sought to preserve its capacity for love. He was asked to speak of the Path of the Sun and the way to clarity.

"I didn't come to preach," he said.

"Then why?" Fatimah asked.

"Do you have to ask?" he replied. "I came for you."

"As you promised."

"I kept my promise. But I bring nothing of worldly value."

"You brought yourself," she whispered. "You are all I need." She leaned close and kissed his lips, and he felt the warm flow of her love, so familiar it seemed it was only yesterday they had last touched.

"I returned for you," he repeated.

"And I waited," she said. "But now you must rest."

He lay back down, and she pulled the wool blanket over him.

"This fine woven blanket is worthy of a king," Jalamanta said, admiring the texture and colors of the blanket. It was woven in the tradition of the old natives of the valley, those called "the ancestors" in the old legends.

"I thought of you sleeping in the bitter cold of the desert, so I wove this for you. It is my gift to you," she said.

The blanket was soft to the touch, woven with the colors of desert flowers.

"The nights on the desert are cold," he said, and thanked her for the gift. "Wrapped in this, I will sleep like a king."

"Yes, rest. You are home now," she said.

He reached and touched her cheek. "I have dreamed of you since the day I left," he whispered.

"And I have dreamed of you," she replied, feeling the warmth of love in his touch. She reached for his hands, caressing and kissing them. "It is in the power of dream that love reveals itself. You said yourself, the soul is capable of flight. I have been with you."

"And yet I bring you so little."

She placed her fingers on his lips. "Hush. Do not speak of things I do not need. You have brought joy to my soul."

He smiled. "You have not changed. You speak to me as you did when we were young. Ah, there is so much to talk about. So much to share. I do have one gift for you."

He reached into his pocket and took out a small crystal hung on a gold chain. Even in the cool shadows of her room, the crystal shimmered with green light. He placed it around her neck.

"This one thing I have kept with me. Deep in the southern desert are the pyramids of the ancestors. There on a high mountain I first spoke to the Universal Spirit, and I first saw the dance of the Lords and Ladies of the Light. The energy and love of that moment are captured in this crystal."

Fatimah touched the necklace. She looked into Jalamanta's eyes. The love they had kept alive throughout the years was vibrant between them.

"It is a beautiful gift," she said with a smile. "Now you must rest."

She placed her hand over his eyes, and in an instant he was asleep.

CHAPTER 2

Fatimah's Love


For many days Fatimah tended to Jalamanta. She fed him goat milk and cheese, watercress and wild spinach that grew along the river, figs from her arbor, blue corn mush sweetened with honey and cream, and fried hot chiles and onions rolled in the native bread.

She massaged his body and face with almond oil, and soon the parched skin grew supple and moist, and his strength returned.

During the day he rested in the shade of her arbor. From there he watched her go off with her goats early in the morning. Neighbors of the river community on their way to work passed and called a greeting but did not intrude. They knew he had crossed the desert and he had suffered, but they also knew Fatimah's reputation as a healer. In time Jalamanta would be well enough to speak.

One morning Jalamanta rose at dawn. Outside, the mother-of-pearl light suffused the valley. A soft apricot color tinted the wisps of clouds over the mountain. A glorious awakening filled Jalamanta as he watched the light fill the sky. It was at this moment, just before the Sun broke over the rim of the mountain, that he prayed.

As he stood, head bowed, the memories of people he had known and loved flooded his mind. Many masters of mind control practiced the art of arriving at nothing; he was content to let the memories be part of his meditation. He was bound to the Earth and its people, and so he was bound to the relationships that he had forged.

He thought of childhood, his parents, his grandparents, who had settled the land and built the Seventh City, and he thought of the tribes he had visited in the southern desert. Many wise men and women had helped him see the way. Fatimah appeared as a young woman, and he remembered the day he first tasted her lips. He smiled. All these memories were pleasant, for the free flow of memory was the first step of meditation.

Along the river the leaves of the giant cottonwood trees shivered in the cool of morning, like his soul shivering in the presence of the rising Sun. River willows and tamarisks swayed as the morning breeze swept through the valley.

Fatimah appeared at his side and he turned to greet her.

"Did I disturb you?" she whispered.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Jalamanta by Rudolfo Anaya. Copyright © 1996 Rudolfo Anaya. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

The Exile Returns,
Fatimah's Love,
The Youth Gather,
The First Creation,
The Lost Son,
Pain and Suffering,
The Kiss of Life,
The Lords and Ladies of the Light,
The Soul,
Good Acts,
Becoming God,
The Dance of Life,
The Summons,
The Inquisitor,
A Dream of Love,
Death,
Proper Conduct,
The Ancestors,
Love,
Love of the Earth,
Kindra, the Witch,
The Fragmented Soul,
Flight of the Soul,
The Dark Night of the Soul,
Wisdom,
Parting,
Betrayal,
A Biography of Rudolfo Anaya,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews