The Dream of a Man
I made the station
And I am its announcer
I established my fellow partner
To become its director
And whosoever wishes to hear it
Must then switch on its receiver
In the frequency of yearning
In the fine tuning of love
(Nova Irradiação – Zico & Zeca)
From the top of a tree at Seringal Sunta, on the border between Brazil and Bolivia, a rustic radio antenna can be seen. Only switched on in the morning and at night – so its batteries can be spared –, this device is the main world news transmitter for the families of Mestre Gabriel and many other rubber tappers like him.
The year is 1961, and the world is in turmoil. Peace seems to be gasping for its final breath as an unlikely, fading dream amidst the Cold War between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, as these two powers draw toward an all-out atomic conflict. The Berlin Wall is soon to be built in August, and so cold intolerance will set apart families, friends and hearts.
At this moment, in the silence of a forest, a man who is conscious of his mission exerts his mastery and prepares a future and a hope for people from all races. While a large part of humanity closes its borders in fear and oppression, José Gabriel da Costa creates the União do Vegetal in the light of July 22, 1961, within the sacred mysteries of divine nature.
Some years before – in 1959 – in a decade that witnessed the war and separation between the sibling populations of North Korea and South Korea, rubber tapper Gabriel reencountered the Vegetal – then known as Daime, Cipó, Mariri, ‘Cinema de Índio’ and Ayahuasca, among other names – by the hands of another rubber tapper named Chico Lourenço. With his companion Pequenina and his family, Gabriel resumes his history of love and commitment with the Hoasca, and also with all men and women in search of a more fraternal life of peace and conciliation.
As men compelled by unfettered greed compete for the conquest of outer space, Mestre Gabriel works in silence. Driven by the clairvoyance of Hoasca and Solomon, the Great King, he amplifies his consciousness and inner expanses, crested by the star of wisdom. On a certain day, Mestre Gabriel reclines over a familiar tree trunk on the path of his daily rubber-tapping routine, and is surprised by the presence of a Mariri.
In the slits and nodes of its vine, a quiescent mystery is aroused with the strength of ancestral remembrance. This is the moment Mestre Gabriel is waiting for, in order to announce the creation of the União do Vegetal. In the fortuitous presence of an unusual Mariri specimen, he beholds duality: evil and good; poison and health; the undesired strain side by side with the pristine and redemptive force of Sacredness. The mysterious rose reveals itself.
As he arrives home, he tells his ever-present companion Pequenina, his children and some friends that he is about to prepare the Vegetal with the Mariri he has been presented with. The long awaited sign has emerged. And thus on July 22, 1961, under a crescent moonlight, with the strength of the firm and true words of a God-made Mestre, Mestre Gabriel declares the creation of the União do Vegetal.
A crossing journey begins. The outpouring stream of a river born at the heart of the Amazon Forest bursts out beyond its banks and unites men and women, deserts, villages and cities in the mysterious Hoasca sap, in superior teachings and advices, and in Mestre Gabriel’ steps, always humble and constant, as water itself.
In 1965, Mestre Gabriel moves to the city of Porto Velho and starts the process of structuring the Beneficent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal. There, he constitutes a Cadre of Mestres with our first brothers – some of them, dearly missed in the present – to transmit his teachings and keep alive the flame of the truth of this União.
The União do Vegetal is now reaching its 56th anniversary. As a sincere religion, it reflects the feeling of its Creator, Mestre Gabriel. And with the joy I can feel with my heart, I close my eyes as a small apprentice and a disciple among other disciples of this Sacred Order. I am thankful to all persons who can penetrate their own inner space to perceive the marvels of Creation. I am thankful to each person who has been able to break through the rough and stony walls of human weakness. Finally, I am thankful for each person who, after drinking from the spring of the Mestre and his Sacred Heart, now extends his and her hand to unite with the battalion of this work and strengthen this army of Light, Peace and Love – this symbol of perfection, and the symbol of the União do Vegetal.
*Edson Lodi is General Assistant Mestre at the Beneficent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal.
Translation by: Dermeval de Sena Aires Júnior – Instructive Body, Núcleo Canário Verde, 8th Region (Brasilia, DF).