68. The Way Ahead Is Long
In 1874, at the age of nineteen, Tatsujiro Hirano of Sakai became sickly and for the following six years, he was on a diet of wafers. Then in 1879, when he was twenty-four years old, the fragrance of the teachings was spread to him by Risaburo Yamamoto. He listened to the teachings of God and received such marvelous divine providence that he discontinued the wafer diet and on that day he ate thirty small fish for one meal.
He returned to Jiba in his great joy for being saved. There he enjoyed a steam bath, and later he listened to the words of God related by intermediaries. After he returned home, Tatsujiro promptly enshrined God in his own home and began to strive fervently to spread the fragrance of the words of God and to save others. Thus, he often returned to Jiba.
On one such day, he had an audience with Oyasama, and She said:
“One who is called Tatsujiro Hirano of Sakai, is that you?”
Then She extended Her hand and said:
“Hold My hand.”
When Tatsujiro reverently held Her hand, She said:
“Is that all the strength you have? Put forth more.”
So he gripped Her hand with all his might. Oyasama gripped back with much greater strength. Tatsujiro was utterly awestruck and deeply impressed by the greatness of Oyasama. At that time he received the following words from Oyasama:
“How old are you? It is remarkable that you have followed the path this far. The path ahead of you is long. No matter what you may encounter, do not become discouraged in faith. The future is all well.”
Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 59–60