Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 185

185. You Do Not Know Where I Work (doko i hataraki ni)

On March 12, 1886, Chushichi Yamanaka and Ihachiro Yamada returned to the Residence together. Oyasama would stay in bed for most part of the day ever since She returned from the Ichinomoto Branch Police Station. When they said to Her that they had returned, Oyasama gave them these words:

“No one knows where I intend to work. If I am awake, it may hinder My work. So I will sleep until I wake up by myself. Do never think that I have grown weak or that I am losing strength.

Now, I will prove this with my fingers. Anyone can poke with one’s fingers. But, see the strength of My fingers with which I pick things up, and consider for yourselves.”

She pinched the hands of the two persons at the same time, and Her fingers were so powerful that their hands hurt very much. They were amazed. She went on to give them the following words:

“Would anyone who is too old to turn over in bed have as much strength as I?

To live to be two hundred or three hundred years old without becoming ill or feeble—would not the joy of man be great? If children were never to suffer from measles or smallpox? If there were no diseases of the head? If an are could yield fifty-six or seventy kilograms of rice? For all these things, God hastens.

Oh, how I regret that the authorities have stopped Me again and again. I cannot help but clear away My regret.

In this world, there is nothing at all for which God does not care or work. There is no knowing what you will hear, or when, or where. I tell you that you must be convinced that whatever you hear, it is the working of Tsukihi. Tell it to those who have sincere minds.

Now is like a time when farmers sow their seedbeds. If you sow the field with unhulled rice, the rice will all sprout in due time. It is just like that.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 145–146

My take

It may be worth mentioning that Oyasama endured her last “Hardship” at Ichinomoto Police Station between February 18 and March 1 during what was said to have been the coldest winter in over 30 years. (Click here for a detailed account.) It should also be noted that Nakata Gisaburo, who was also arrested with her, would soon pass away, presumably as a result of his imprisonment, in June 1886.

I would imagine that Yamada Ihachiro had all the more reason for concern for Oyasama’s condition because her arrest occurred because followers from his Shin’yu-gumi Confraternity had gathered nearby to perform the Service dance and this attracted the attention of the police. Yet Oyasama dispels any concern over her condition with yet another “contest of strength.”[1]

Oyasama then gives her reason for staying in bed, explaining that being awake could “hinder [her] work,” a statement that suggests her physical immobility actually freed her to work as she pleased. Such a notion foreshadows the development of the belief that Oyasama is “everliving,” despite her “withdrawal from physical life” in 1887.

Oyasama is also portrayed divulging a list of blessings that she claims God was hastening to make available. I have decided to do a quick appraisal here regarding how these specific promises happened to pan out since then.

  • Mentioned first is the prospect of people living up to 200 and 300 years “without becoming ill or feeble.” It may be noted that there are several Ofudesaki verses that touch upon this theme. Among them is a verse that asserts it is God’s intent to allow all human beings to live for 115 years without illness, (premature) death, and weakening (III:99–100). I found it intriguing that, according to the “Hayflick limit,” human cells are confined to dividing only so many times, consigning the maximum human lifespan at roughly 120 years. Adherents of the singularity claim that human beings will attain immortality in 2045, but I would have to assume there are significant differences between what they envision and what Oyasama may have anticipated.
  • Although measles is still with us, arguably, it is not as deadly as it once was. On the other hand, while stocks of the smallpox virus still remain, the disease has been successfully eradicated with relentless vaccination efforts.
  • I presume that “diseases of the head” here refers to psychological disorders. Call me pessimistic, but I don’t see these being eliminated in the same way as smallpox has been anytime soon. Nevertheless, better diagnosis in recent years may be a harbinger of improved treatments. Also, that people with psychological disorders have come to be designated as “patients” to be treated instead of “inmates” that deserve to be locked up in an asylum must be considered a positive breakthrough in of itself.
  • It appears that the level of rice production Oyasama mentions in Anecdotes 185 (5.6–7 tons per hectare) has already been achieved and may have even been surpassed. This 2008 article from The Jakarta Post describes a new process of planting rice that potentially yields up to 11.5 tons per hectare.

While this is all fine and dandy, I assume that the heart Oyasama’s message here is twofold:

  • There is nothing that lacks God’s involvement in one way or another. Although one will come to hear about all kinds of things from now on, Oyasama wished for her followers to be convinced that God is behind it in some way.
  • She urges her followers to “sow seeds” (spread the faith) at this particular time (or “peak season”). She promises that these seeds will result in a great harvest in the future.

I would conclude that Yamada Ihachiro and his father-in-law Yamanaka Chushichi were greatly relieved and encouraged by this message.

Further reading

Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 62 (See epilogue)

Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 13


[1] There are several of such accounts in Anecdotes. See Anecdotes 174 for an example.