The authors of this book did not intend to present “the one and only true story of Mestre Irineu”. What is a biography, other than a selection of a person’s life that an author carries out to unveil to a reader the importance of the person to the world (with critical judgment) using a selection of facts on which the biography was constructed?

In this case, Paulo Moreira and Edward MacRae, authors of this book, filled a gap in studies on Amazonian religion with the story of Mestre Irineu and his enthronement of his “sacrament” – the Daime. The biographers filled with extraordinary competence the arduous mission of revealing to Brazilians and different nationalities “the worldview presented by Mestre Irineu in his doctrine and community organization”. These are the authors’ words that are transcribed in this brief presentation.

Mestre Irineu saw over with the greatest caution, an implementation of an entire institutionalization of ethical principles on which to base norms and procedures with the religious use of ayahuasca. It is important to transcribe the author’s words of this work:

It is of central importance here the rules that developed the production and religious use of the Daime, establishing standards for the interpretation of experiences produced under the influence of the drink within a religious framework that encompasses values, rules of conduct and rituals, of great important in structuring the lives of its adherents.

The social fact was designed by discrimination, intolerance and a disservice to cults of afro-indigenous origin as mentioned by Paulo Moreira and Edward MacRae. They reported on police persecution to groups that claim to be Christian. Ethical principles are built on social fact. Well, due to prejudice and contempt, “Mestre Irineu, despite the persecutions and even the imprisonment he suffered, used to adopt a conciliatory posture in relation to the government.” And as for internal conflicts, “he tried to calm them down, keeping order.”

Today public authorities, scholars, researchers, people of goodwill, lovers of peace, worshippers of freedom (especially religious freedom) all seek to preserve respect for the choice of many people in the many states of our country Brazil. This Brazilian religion came from afar, for many centuries until it found our Amazon.
This book now offered to the public tells the saga of the Brazilian man who became Mestre Irineu. He experienced poverty, physical suffering, racial, social and religious prejudice. He overcame bitterness, sharing with his followers his spiritual quest.

[…] he created not only a doctrine, but a way of life that came to influence the very way in which the world, society and the body were perceived and conceived. He thus generated among his followers a feeling of collectivity and a shared religious morality, linked to the consumption of daime and Christian moral principles, under his charismatic authority.

The hinário O Cruzeiro, composed of the songs “received” by Mestre Irineu, is a sacred source of the religion he founded and a valuable object of ethical research, full of moral values adopted in several other religions, embodied by human figures who revolutionized the vision often dwarfed by religiosity. The words as of Franciscan simplicity, but of profound and liberating richness will say better:

Sol, lua, estrela
A terra, o vento e o mar
É a luz do firmamento
É só quem eu devo amar

O Cruzeiro Hymn 29: Sol Lua Estrela

O sol veio à terra
Para todos iluminar
Não tem bonito nem feio
Ele ilumina todos iguais

O Cruzeiro Hymn 64: Eu peço a Jesus Cristo

Com amor tudo é verdade
Com amor tudo é certeza
Eu vivo neste mundo
Sou dono da riqueza

O Cruzeiro Hymn 40: Eu canto nas alturas

Estou na terra, estou na terra
Estou na terra eu devo amar
Para ser um filho seu
Fazer o bem não fazer mal

O Cruzeiro Hymn 19: O amor eternamente

Meu divino pai do céu
Soberano onipotente
Perdoai as minhas culpas
E vós perdoe aos inocentes

O Cruzeiro Hymn 17: Confissão

The title, “Eu Venho de Longe”, tells us: I come from far away, with a taste of provocation. One could say that, coming from afar, we are still very far away.

I prefer, however, to respond to healthy and intelligent provocation by suggesting –
I come from far away… but today we’re much closer.

Domingos Bernardo Gialluisi da Silva Sá
Jurista Representante da Câmara de Assessoramento Técnico- Científico do CONAD (Conselho Nacional de Políticas sobre Drogas)

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