Asian studies in Lithuania

Devil of Overseas

Authors: Jauniškis, Bronius
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 1992
Publisher: Viltis

Two memories by two tellers this is what this book is made of. This documentary novel speaks about Lithuanian missionaries who are preparing for their great spiritual mission in China. This novel takes us back to before and after World War II. While reading this book, readers can easily imagine picturesque scenes from Buddhism, Taoism confessors, their religion and lifestyle. This book also exposes a small part of Confucius truths and what confessors this religion contains of. Also, friendship …and first love these are keywords that makes this book throughout more interesting.

Before World War II, Chine. This is the time that memories of the main character are spoken. Jonas Dziedulionis was his name, he is also known as Dze Jen.His journey as missionary starts in Shanghai, his assigned mission was to spread Christianity to Buddhist. He spent a lot of time and energy analyzing Buddhism. Despite that, his mission failed, the thought of knowing or doing everything perfectly ruined it. “By any chance… Are you smarter than Christ?” were Dze Jen last words before leaving Buddhist monastery. This was the first time that Dze Jen doubted his own religion. His second missionary started in Harbin during the Word War II. This time he had to deal with Taoism religion. However, unlike the incident with Buddhism, this time, his mission wasn’t an entire failure. Christianity caught Taoist attention and everything would have gone perfectly if not for Japanese firefight attack. His last mission took place in Beijing where he was introduced to Confucius truths. Due to them, Dze Jen unconsciously started to recede from his own religion. Sometimes catching himself doubting Christ and his existence.

Second memory is spoken by Jeronimas Budzinskas, a childhood friends, guardian, protector of Jonas Dziedulionis. Jeronimas story brings us way back to their childhood times, to their lovely hometowns. Jonas was always a nature lover he never took the idea of studying or becoming a missionary to thoughts. However, one thing lead to another and he, together with Jeronimas, started attending school in terms of becoming missionaries, people who get missions to spread Christian religion. Jonas was a scatterbrain, a true troublemaker and Jeronimas duty was to watch over Jonas, to take care of him so that he could get education and become a great missionary. And he did so, he took care of him well, so well, that he was the one who got into trouble all the time, in Lithuania and Vatican.

“Overseas devil” this documentary novel has everything starting from history, a philosophy of different religion to a novel that has love and drug themes in it. But this book is not at all about all of these. It is about people who learn things and become people whom they don’t want to but because they have to. They don’t make choices; choices are made for them by others. Putting aside their feelings, desires, finding ways how to secretly break rules or believing in things that they read and know by brains and not by heart. Protecting others instead of yourself. Trying to make someone else believe in things that you, yourself don’t believe is the toughest mission to accomplish.

Bronius Jauniskis was interested in topic, which hasn’t picked up interests from other writers, of Lithuanian missionaries from Ecuador, Brazil, Kong, India, China, for a long time. He collected all possible information, all possible stories, to some of these countries, he traveled himself. This specific book, “Overseas devil” was written by narratives and all collected information from Chinese doctor, who was living in Kaunas, who author befriends. “Overseas devil” in authors five book cycle which consist of stories about Lithuanian missionaries.

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU