Personal accounts of the Santo Daime doctrine
 

 
Luiz Mendes do Nascimento and friends [1]
In the late 80s -- Acre state, Brazil.
 

Luiz Mendes and FriendsThe available video starts in the middle of the interview, from what has been transcribed below.

Luiz Mendes -- (...) the whole world. It includes everyone. It covers nationally and internationally, everywhere. But many people believe that they can monopolize, because they learnt a little bit with him [Mestre] and stuff, then they think it only works inside four walls. No sir, it is for the whole world... It is for the whole world.

And the courage and endowment of Padrinho Sebastião Mota de Melo comes exactly from that. Undeniably, those who want to deny, deny, and I do not deny, he is the man to conduct the story to take it and spread it worldwide. You see that the doctrine is already practiced even in the United States, and this is above all about the courage and the ability to disseminate with which he is gifted, and this nobody can deny.

Now, precisely within this divergence, which happened anyway after Mestre's departure from this material world, starting with Sebastião Mota, he felt that it wasn't going to work that way, that he would not have space, and then he went out and founded his mission on his own. We say on his own, but the process comes from above, isn't that right? Well, but it did not stop only with Sebastião Mota. It is then that other cases happened, like mine, for example.

Well, the truth is that the cake was divided and each one took a slice. Among this sharing I also popped into the story. At least one of the smallest slices I took. And I held on to it, and that's that.

Like they say, I don't listen to chitchat. Because Mestre himself says in one of his hymns: "Even if you don't learn much, you always learn a little bit". Isn't that right? And, look, what would have become of me if I had not learnt this little bit? What would have become of you if you had not learnt at least that little bit that he recommended? What would have become of Alex? What would have become of Sebastião Mota, and, in short, what would have become of all who have learned a little bit? Because this is how things work today and not being subdued by the whim of others.

Now, in all this, no one can wash their hands and say, after all, that it is the responsibility of everyone who seeks to congregate, because within any congregation there has to be a leader, right? This is common sense, it is clear that there has to be a person who heads the story, and the person who heads the story, as they say, is the one who suffers the most. It is undeniably the leader who suffers the most, because knowledge is a heavy burden. And Mestre would say that the worst beast to struggle with was with the people. He did not even say "animal". He would say "beast". "The worst beast to change is the beast called human". And it's indeed true, therefore...

But one thing that I don't do is lose heart. We know that this path is a sacrifice; it is tough and even painful. At certain times, on certain occasions, it is even painful, but at the end of the road there is a taste, and that taste is sweet. That's what holds us, right? That's what stimulates us, because it is indeed sweet. As the Antônio Gomes hymn says, "it's as sweet as honey". This is true.

So, comrades, when talking about this doctrine, the doctrine of Mestre, we can talk for hours, for days, endless nights, for weeks, for months, for years if possible, and there is always something to talk about and it never ends, right? Nobody gets to the end, because when we stop the conversation itself there are the hymnbooks, which is another story, only that it is sung, right? But if we decide to sing all the hymns that already exist in the doctrine, do you think it can be done in a month?

Wilson CarneiroWilson Carneiro -- no, it can't.
Luiz Mendes -- even if we sing every night, I don't think it can be done in a month, not anymore.
Wilson Carneiro -- no, it can't.
Luiz Mendes -- So, Mestre Irineu did not... I, likewise Wilson Carneiro and many others, had the good fortune to know him for at least a short period, a few years, right? This is really a blessing. I do not even say that I know him, because we knew very little of Mestre, especially in his path on Earth.

But we've lived alongside him for a bit. But even so, within that interaction, I consider it to have been a blessing. But without trying to undervalue those who were not so fortunate to meet him in person, in the matter, eh, because those who did not have this opportunity are fortunate as well. Yes, they are. They did not know him in the physical plane itself, but they are getting to know him in the spiritual plane, and the story is really spiritualized, right? I mean, if it is to get on their good side -- and we can't do that in this line of work -- but if it is to get on their good side, if there is an opening for us to do so, we are going to notice that around this vast world, everywhere, there are people who didn't know Mestre in the physical plane -- speaking in terms of doctrine -- who are much more advanced than many who knew him. There are and nobody can deny this; many good people.

Yeah, man, Mestre Irineu... To have another like him, one would have to be born again. For he even said, or says, in one of the stanzas of his hymns: "Maybe you won't find another brother with such joy." But he did not say "Never again". He said "maybe". "Maybe you won't find another brother with such joy", because it is difficult indeed. And if we do ever find another, yes, because it is very difficult to find a man like that.

Nowadays, sometimes we are going through some difficulties, on a Sunday, for example, in the afternoon, looking for someone like that to talk to or to listen to... Because Mestre was the following, and Wilson Carneiro knows this: we talked very little with Mestre, since we did not have much to talk about. We could only listen, but we listened to Mestre tirelessly, because we never got enough of it. Sometimes I would go there... I think that it happened to me as it happened to others.

Alex PolariAlex Polari -- Do you recall a conversation?
Luiz Mendes -- Ah, I remember many of them.
Alex Polari -- So, tell us in the most faithful words possible.
Luiz Mendes -- The talk of Mestre, whatever it was, even in a playful way was telling the truth. It was only telling the truth; even joking, because he also joked. He had his jokes, right? But hey, even joking, everything that he said was telling the truth. Sometimes people even deserved a reprimand after having done something wrong, and he would begin to talk... "This, this and that..." He would tackle the subject, but he would not just say: "It was you." But he would talk about the subject at hand in his conversation.

But Dr. Alex asked me to say something about a conversation that I had with Mestre, or Mestre had with me or with us.

For me, the talk of Mestre that struck me the most was the following: I was 23 years old. I married at 22 and I entered the mission at 23. Then, one day Mestre was talking with a group -- his living room was full of people -- and he said that he only felt pleasure working with people over 40 years of age. He also gave Daime to the young and such, as it was an obligation to give, sometimes even out of consideration for the parents and this and that, but with true satisfaction only with people over 40 years of age. At this point I was sitting on the edge of the bench and his remark made me sad, isn't that right? And he turned to me and said,
"Luiz? Did it make you sad?"
"Yes, godfather. I have to confess that it made me sad because of what you are saying, making this statement. Now that I am 23, it will take too long to reach 40, which is the age that you enjoy working with people."
And he said,
"No, Luiz... Don't be sad. Happy are the young like you, and others, who have had or are having the blessing of finding a path of light like this. You are happy too."
Well, then I got full of myself and it pleased me, right?
"But let's work, Luiz, because if you work you will get there."
Today I got there. I even surpassed it by eight years. I am already 48, although not yet being the man of his dreams. Because I am sure that I am still not the man of Mestre Irineu's dream.

Wilson Carneiro -- You have 25 years of service.
Luiz Mendes -- Yes, 25 years of service.
Wilson Carneiro -- So, I started drinking Daime before you?
Luiz Mendes -- Wilson...
Wilson Carneiro -- I started in 1962.
Luiz Mendes -- Yes, I think it was 1962. Because I got married in 1962, but I didn't drink Daime right away.
Wilson Carneiro -- I took Daime for the first time in June of 1962.
Luiz Mendes -- But I think that we started at the same time.
Wilson Carneiro -- I do not know if you noticed, but one thing that I thought was very important was his behavior at the table. He would sit at the table, with his plate ready, and he would not exchange a word with anyone. You see that he was a talkative person, right? But he would not say a word at the table, and I sat at his table on several occasions. He would bring his plate already served and, after he was done... [Wilson Carneiro stands up and makes the sign of the cross, likewise as Mestre would do] (...).And he would not say a word at the table. Did you notice?
Luiz Mendes -- I did.
Wilson Carneiro -- He did not speak at the table. There was no talking from him.
Woman -- And what about the meal hymn? How is it? Is it sung?
Luiz Mendes -- It is sung. Now, people don't pay it much attention, but it is a hymn just for the meal.
Woman -- And do you know how to sing it?
Luiz Mendes -- I do.
Woman -- Sing it for us then.
Luiz Mendes -- He loved to sing it, especially when we were eating cassava. He loved unsalted cassava and tea. Justly, every daimista knows that the only adequate diet for the doctrine's work is manioc without salt and tea.
Woman -- Sing the hymn for us, Luiz.
Luiz Mendes -- Wait a minute; let me see if I can get it right.
Woman -- Because the lyrics are here.
Luiz Mendes -- Do you have them? Give them to me.

[Luiz Mendes sings]*

Heavenly Father of the heart
Who, today on this day
Gave us our bread
Thanks to the Mother
Thanks to the Mother

Heavenly Mother of the heart
Who, today on this day
Gives us our bread
Praised be God
Praised be God

Heavenly Father of the heart
Who, today on this day
Gives us our bread
Thanks to the Mother
Thanks to the Mother

Heavenly Mother of the heart
Who, today on this day
Gives us our bread
Praised be God
Praised be God

Heavenly Father of the heart
Who, today on this day
Gives us our bread
Thanks to the Mother
Thanks to the Mother

Heavenly Mother of the heart
Who, today on this day
Gives us our bread
Praised be God
Praised be God

***

*There are different versions for the same hymn, the most accepted being the one reviewed by the deceased Percília Matos, who was the caretaker of the doctrine's hymnbooks.

It goes more or less like that -- for the lack of a better singer. Did you like it? Yeah, and we did not shame ourselves. If he wanted to adopt it, we would happily abide. Not "would", because we can indeed adopt. But what really matters is to take it seriously. Why can't we sing it at the meal? Can we not? Is it not appropriate?

Alex Polari -- Sure.
Luiz Mendes -- Wilson spoke about the meal time, that he noticed that Mestre spoke little or did not say a word during the meal, right? And I add the following when saying that it is not easy to find a person with such an education in this regard, also in all aspects, but the issue at hand is Mestre and the meal, so, his plate was only served once. When he served himself, he would serve from all the dishes on the table, but only once. Otherwise, his plate was already made by comadre Peregrina. So, it was his plate. He would not resort to repeat the serving and get a little more of this or a little more of that... It was only one round (laughing)! It was like this, right? It's another recollection that I have.
I never saw him repeat the serving. But it was always one plate... I will not say it was exaggerated. It was average. A deep plate, well calculated, but it was just that. It had everything, but that's all. And he was fast. His meal was brief. When we were getting the hang of it, in the middle of the plate, he had already finished.

Alex Polari -- do you remember any other conversation? Something he said about this time that we are going through today, about this turn of the century that we are awaiting? I mean, not century, but millennium, right?
Luiz Mendes -- Of the millennium.
Alex Polari -- Do you remember anything that he would speak about this?
Luiz Mendes -- He talked a lot.
Alex Polari -- About his mission and the people of the Daime?
Luiz Mendes -- You want to know in terms of foretelling, right? Of him saying something that could happen. Yeah, he would talk about it both spiritually, and he still speaks, and materially speaking, as he would warn us. So he said that we would see many things, a lot. What he meant by that was unpleasant things; that we would see a lot. For us to see and not be surprised, because more would come. We would still see a lot of stuff. "To see and not be surprised".

Precisely, during those seventeen years since he passed away, we have seen a lot and the tendency is that we are going to see even more, because, no, life isn't joking around. Then we start to put the blame for what's happening on so and so, but I think the blame is in all of us. And everything comes from God. There is no event, whatever it is, that happens by chance. It happens because it has to happen. It has to, isn't that right? There isn't a single event, whatever it is, pleasant or unpleasant. It only happens because God is who consents. If he does not consent, it does not happen. Not even a hair from your head falls without his consent, and we are talking about just a hair, but even this, it only happens with his consent, right? So it all comes from Him.

And the story focuses more upon this statement: "My brothers and sisters, let's firm ourselves." My brothers and sisters, lets affirm ourselves. But he would lead us away from the wrong path, always leading us away from the wrong path. And he would also say to us as a way of encouragement: "You, people from the Daime, will suffer. You will. You will suffer less, but you will also suffer. Unite yourselves and get to work". But this union is the tricky part.

Wilson Carneiro -- I heard him say: "Blessed are those who have at least one little sip of Daime." You heard that, didn't you?
Luiz Mendes -- Yes, happy are those who take at least... I mean, this was a conference that he had with the Queen. At a certain point the Queen said to him: "Look, my son. Blessed are those who at least have a little sip of this drink. They will be blessed." But, Wilson and the gentlemen who are listening here, we have to understand that Mestre also spoke in parables, likewise every master. He would leave the parables for us to study.

This is one of those: "Blessed are those who have at least one little sip of this holy drink."
But it does not stop there, because at least we should hold our own. For example, I deal with my own burden; I don't place it on anybody's shoulders. If I were to gather all the Daime that I took in 24 years, I would think that I drank at least a barrel like that one. If I gather all the Daime that I have taken, I think so. After 25, 24 years? I've taken a barrel of Daime like that one. So, the happiness is already overflowing, because I already had a lot of Daime. But that's not it. You have to take Daime and follow the teachings. At least to have some care and polish things up. I mean, hey, if things were that simple in life, to take Daime just once and you are done, you don't have to drink anymore? But it is not only to take it. You have to drink it and perfect yourself in order to be. Do you agree?

Wilson Carneiro -- I agree.
Luiz Mendes -- Otherwise life would be a walk in the park, right? You would only need to drink Daime once. But let's say that there is some significance simply because you took a little sip of Daime. I think this implies that you already have some powerful people that interceded for you. But it does not stop there. You have to work and develop your mission, because we all... Sometimes we want to, as they say, place a value on things, to qualify... All right, there are people with greater responsibilities, this we cannot deny, but at the end of the story, we all are accountable. We have to face everything with responsibility.

It's like: "Oh, but I don't have an obligation." You do. We all have our jobs, our obligation. And we are missionaries. But it is necessary to learn to be able to teach. That is clear. How can I teach without learning? But, to be legitimate, what is it that he says? "It is to indoctrinate". Starting from your family, if you have one. You have to teach. Cipriano has a hymn that says: "If we open ourselves to learn, we are also going to teach". But you have to be open to the teaching. And aren't the teachings for everyone? Yes, it includes everyone.

***

 

[1] Luiz Mendes do Nascimento, in an interview granted to Alex Polari, in the late '80s, presumably in 1988, with the presence of Wilson Carneiro and friends -- The video belongs to the collection of the Centre for Documentation and Reference (CEDOC) of the Cefluris seal and of the Santo Daime portal.

Transcription and translation by Rodrigo Tavares and English review by Moonvine.