Templar Heresy A Story of Gnostic Illumination is a novel by noted author James Wasserman published by Inner Traditions. This novel describes the rituals and techniques of the Nizari Ismailis (the legendary Assassins) being communicated to selected Knights Templar during the Crusades. We are providing an excerpt from this fascinating work! Enjoy!
Several days went by. Roland kept to himself, meditating and thinking over the last two years of his life. He at last understood that Sinan was right. He had no more doubts about his path.
His mind and heart were filled with sorrow about Pierre, but clearly the Templar sergeant had behaved in a way that would have had disastrous and far-reaching consequences. Had he left Al-Kaph and incited Guillaume, Henry would have had little choice but to act. Would he have abandoned his alliance with Sinan and thereby weakened the Crusader position? Would he have attacked Al-Kaph plunging the region into war?
Would he have arrested Roland and been forced by pressure from Guillaume and others to submit him to interrogation and torture? It was one thing for the king to trust a diplomat and childhood friend; it was quite another for him to countenance a traitor and a heretic.As far as Roland was concerned, he was neither. He understood that he was, in fact, a sincere seeker after a Greater Truth whose quest has been regularly rewarded by his relationship with, and exposure to, the teachings of Sinan. He knew he was growing under the tutelage of the Assassin king, and anyone who jeopardized or threatened his pursuit of Wisdom was an enemy.
He was also aware that his friendship with his Master was a stabilizing force for the survival of the European mission in the Holy Land—a politically advantageous relationship for his countrymen—exactly as Henry had hoped it might be. Pierre’s precipitous behavior was in direct opposition to the wider Crusader interests, no matter how well-intentioned or innocent his motivations may have been.
Roland realized he had come through the ordeal of uncertainty and was at peace with his conscience. While he was certainly not happy about Pierre’s death, he accepted it as a necessary event over which he had no control. He emerged from his isolation and joined Sinan.
The two men walked outside to a large field beyond the walls of the castle. Sinan carried a bow. A quiver filled with arrows was slung over his shoulder. They stopped by a brook. Far in the distance was a target, a wooden disk painted red.
Sinan asked, “That target . . . can you hit it?”
“It is beyond the useful range of a longbow. It is an impossible shot.”
Sinan handed the bow and an arrow to Roland. Roland took careful aim. He shot, but missed by many yards.
As he turned to face Sinan, Roland could see Aisha standing a considerable distance behind them. She was drawing an arrow. She released it, and they watched as it soared skyward. Roland was incredulous when the arrow slammed into the target.
Sinan explained, “You were correct. You could never have made that shot, Roland. But you can allow the arrow and the target to unite, guided by your will.
“Let us put your meditation training to practical use again. Take an arrow.”
Roland pulled an arrow from the quiver and notched it in the bow. He breathed deeply and studied the target far in the distance. He lifted the bow, drew the bowstring, took aim, and followed Sinan’s instructions.
“Focus on the target, the bow, the arrow, and your intention. All else will disappear. There is no sun, no sky, no earth, no brook. Your mind is one-pointed.”
Roland stood with absolute stillness, hearing only the sound of Sinan’s voice. He then relaxed the bowstring and lowered the bow as he listened with deep concentration to Sinan’s words.
“When you next draw the bow, your stance will be firm. Your body is the platform to steady the shot. The forward pressure of the bow in your left hand will be perfectly offset by the pull of your right hand as it holds the arrow against the bowstring. The point of the arrow is aligned with the target. Let the longing of the target adjust the arc of the arrow that they may be united. See only the target.”
Roland entered the state of mind he knew from his meditation practices. He exhibited a profound inner stillness as he continued to listen to the instructions.
“You are completely relaxed. You will raise the bow and aim the shot. Then you will test your aim by closing your eyes, breathing evenly, and checking to see that the arrow has remained in perfect alignment with the target when you next open your eyes.
“You may, if necessary, adjust your position to refine your aim rather than trying to correct it by using muscle tension.
“Your sole concern is to let neither mental nor physical interference disrupt either your shooting platform or your natural point of aim. You will release the arrow to its destination. In your mind, it has already found the target.”
Roland raised the bow into the firing position again, drew back on the bowstring, and took aim.
He closed his eyes for a moment, breathed deeply, opened his eyes, slightly adjusted his position by moving his feet, rechecked his aiming point, and fired. The arrow slammed into the wooden target within inches of Aisha’s arrow.
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