Daniil Andreev. «The Rose of the World»
Book I. The Rose of the World and Its Place in History

I. Chapter 1. The Rose of the World and its Foremost Tasks

This book was begun at a time when the threat of an unparalleled disaster hung over the heads of humanity-when a generation only just recuperating from the trauma of the Second World War discovered to its horror that a strange darkness, the portent of a war even more catastrophic and devastating than the last, was already gathering and thickening on the horizon. I began this book in the darkest years of a dictatorship that tyrannized two hundred million people. I began writing it in a prison designated as a «political isolation ward.» I wrote it in secret. I hid the manuscript, and the forces of good-humans and otherwise-concealed it for me during searches. Yet every day I expected the manuscript to be confiscated and destroyed, just as my previous work-work to which I had given ten years of my life and for which I had been consigned to the political isolation ward-had been destroyed.

I am finishing The Rose of the World a few years later. The threat of a third world war no longer looms like dark clouds on the horizon, but, having fanned out over our heads and blocked the sun, it has quickly dispersed in all directions back beyond the horizon.

Perhaps the worst will never come to pass. Every heart nurses such a hope, and without it life would be unbearable. Some try to bolster it with logical arguments and active protest. Some succeed in convincing themselves that the danger is exaggerated. Others try not to think about it at all and, having decided once and for all that what happens, happens, immerse themselves in the daily affairs of their own little worlds. There are also people in whose hearts hope smoulders like a dying fire, and who go on living, moving, and working merely out of inertia.

I am completing The Rose of the World out of prison, in a park turned golden with autumn. The one under whose yoke the country was driven to near exhaustion has long been reaping in other worlds what he sowed in this one. Yet I am still hiding the last pages of the manuscript as I hid the first ones. I dare not acquaint a single living soul with its contents, for, just as before, I cannot be certain that this book will not be destroyed, that the spiritual knowledge it contains will be transmitted to someone, anyone.

But perhaps the worst will never come to pass, and tyranny on such a scale will never recur. Perhaps humanity will forevermore retain the memory of Russia's terrible historical experience. Every heart nurses that hope, and without it life would be unbearable.

But I number among those who have been fatally wounded by two great calamities: world war and dictatorship. Such people do not believe that the roots of war and tyranny within humanity have been eradicated or that they will be in the near future. Perhaps the danger of one tyranny or war will recede, but after a time the threat of the next tyranny or war will arise. For me and others like me, both those calamities were a kind of apocalypse – revelations of the power of planetary Evil and of its age-old struggle with the forces of Light. Those living in different times would probably not understand us. Our anxiety would seem to them an overreaction; our view of the world would seem poisoned. But a conception of the logical consistency of historical events branded in the human mind by a half century of observing and participating in events and processes of unprecedented magnitude cannot be called an overreaction. And a conclusion that forms in the human heart through the efforts of the brightest and deepest sides of its nature cannot be poisoned.

I am seriously ill-my days are numbered. If this manuscript is destroyed or lost, I will not be able to rewrite it in time. But if, sometime in the future, it reaches only a few persons whose spiritual thirst drives them to surmount all its difficulties and read it through to the end, then the ideas planted within cannot help but become seeds that will sprout in their hearts. Whether that occurs before a third world war or after it, and even if no third war is unleashed in the near future, this book will not die if but one pair of friendly eyes passes, chapter by chapter, over its pages. For the questions it attempts to answer will continue to trouble people far into the future.

Those questions are not confined to the realms of war and politics. But nothing can shake my conviction that the most formidable dangers that threaten humanity, both now and for centuries to come, are a great suicidal war and an absolute global dictatorship. Perhaps, in our century, humanity will avert a third world war or, at the very least, survive it, as it survived the First and Second World Wars. Perhaps it will outlive, somehow or other, a dictatorship even more enveloping and merciless than the one we in Russia outlived. It may even be that in two or three hundred years new dangers for the people of Earth will appear, dangers different but no less dire than a dictatorship or a great war. It is possible, even probable. But no effort of the mind, no imagination or intuition, is capable of conjecturing a future danger that would not be connected, somehow or other, with one of these two principal dangers: the physical destruction of humanity through a war, and the spiritual death of humanity through an absolute global dictatorship.

This book is directed, first and foremost, against the two basic, supreme evils of war and dictatorship. It is directed against them not as a simple warning, nor as a satire that unmasks their true nature, nor as a sermon. The most biting satire and the most fiery sermon are useless if they only rail against evil and prove that good is good and bad is bad. They are useless if they are not based on a worldview, global teaching, and program of action that, spread from mind to mind and will to will, would be capable of averting these evils.

The purpose of my life has been to share my experience with others-to shed light on the future panorama of history and metahistory, on the branching chain of alternatives we face or are bound to face, and on the landscape of variomaterial worlds that are closely linked with ours through good and evil. I have tried, and still try, to fulfill that task through fiction and poetry, but the limitations of those genres have prevented me from disclosing these ideas precisely and intelligibly in their entirety. The purpose of this book is to set out that worldview in an exhaustive manner, helping the reader to see how, though dealing with the preternatural, it at the same time holds the key to understanding current events and the fate of each of us. This is a book that, if God saves it from destruction, will be laid, as one of many bricks, in the foundation of the Rose of the World, at the base of a Community of all humanity.

There exists an entity that for many centuries has proclaimed itself the lone, steadfast unifier of all people, shielding them from the danger of all-out warfare and social chaos. That entity is the state. Since the end of the tribal period, the state has been of vital necessity at every historical stage. Even hierocracies, which attempted to replace it with religious rule, simply became variations of the selfsame state. The state bonded society together on the principle of coercion, and the level of moral development necessary to bond society together on some other principle was beyond reach. Of course, it has been beyond reach even until now, and the state has remained the only proven means against social chaos. But the existence of a higher order of moral principles is now becoming evident, principles capable not only of maintaining but also of increasing social harmony. More important, methods for accelerating the internalization of such principles are now taking shape.

In the political history of modern times, one can distinguish two international movements diametrically opposed to one another. One of them aims for the hypertrophy of state power and an increase in the individual's dependence on the state. To be more exact, this movement seeks to bestow ever greater power on the person or organization in whose hands the state apparatus lies: the Party, the Army, the Leader. Fascist and national socialist states are the most obvious examples of such movements.

The other movement, which appeared at least as far back as the eighteenth century, is the humanist. Its origins and major stages are English parliamentarianism, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, German social democracy, and in our days, the struggle for liberation from colonialism. The long-range goal of the movement is to weaken the bonding principle of coercion in the life of the people and transform what is largely a police state defending race or class interests into a system based on overall economic equilibrium and a guarantee of individual rights.

History has also witnessed examples of novel political arrangements that might appear to be hybrids of the two movements. Remaining in essence phenomena of the first type, they alter their appearance to the extent expedient for the achievement of their set goal. This is a tactic, a deception, but nothing more.

Nevertheless, despite the polarity of these movements, they are linked by one trait characteristic of the twentieth century: global ambitions. The ostensible motivation of the various twentieth century movements can be found in their political blueprints, but the underlying motivation in modern history is the instinctive pursuit of global dominion.

The most vigorous movement of the first half of this century was distinguished by its internationalist doctrines and global appeal. The Achilles heel of the movements vying with it-racism, national socialism-was their narrow nationalism, or to be more exact, the strictly racial or nationalist fences around their promised lands, the chimera of which they used to seduce and dazzle their followers. But they too strove for world dominion, and invested colossal energy toward that end. Now American cosmopolitanism is occupied with avoiding the mistakes of its predecessors.

What does that sign of the times point to? Does it not point to the fact that global unity has grown from an abstract concept into a universal need? Does it not point to the fact that the world has become smaller and more integrated than ever before? Finally, does it not point to the fact that the solution to all the problems of vital interest to humanity can be lasting and profound enough only if undertaken on a global scale?

Taking advantage of that fact, despotic regimes systematically actualize the principle of extreme coercion or partly camouflage it with a cunning blend of methods. The tempo of life is accelerating. Monolithic states are emerging that earlier would have taken centuries to erect. Each is predatory by nature, each strives to subjugate humanity to its sole rule. The military and technological power of these states boggles the mind. They have already more than once plunged the world into war and tyranny. Where is the guarantee that they will not do so again in the future? In the end, the strongest will conquer the globe, even at the cost of turning a third of the world's surface into a moonscape. The cycle of wars will then come to an end, but only to be replaced by the greatest of evils: a single dictatorship over the surviving twothirds of the world. At first it will perhaps be an oligarchy. But, as often happens, eventually a single Leader will emerge. The threat of a global dictatorship-this is the deadliest of all threats hanging over humanity.

Consciously or unconsciously sensing the danger, the movements belonging to the humanist mold are trying to consolidate their efforts. They prattle about cultural cooperation, wave placards about pacifism and democratic freedoms, seek illusory security in neutrality, or, frightened by their adversary's aggression, they themselves embark on the same path. Not one of them has put forward the indisputable proposal that is capable of winning people's trust: the idea that some kind of moral supervision over the activities of the state is a vital necessity. Certain groups, traumatized by the horrors of the world wars, are trying to unite so that in the future their political federation will encompass the entire globe. But what would that lead to? The danger of wars, it is true, would be defused, at least temporarily. But who can guarantee that such a superstate, supported by large, morally backward segments of the populace (and such segments are far more numerous than one would wish) and rousing in humanity dormant impulses for power and violence, will not in the end develop into a dictatorship compared to which all previous tyrannies will seem like child's play?

It is worth noting that the same religious faiths that proclaimed the internationalist ideals of brotherhood earliest are now in the rearguard of humanity's push toward global unity. It is possible to attribute this to their characteristic emphasis on the inner self and their neglect of everything external, including sociopolitical issues. But if one delves deeper, if one says out loud for all to hear what is usually discussed only in certain small circles of people who lead a deeply spiritual life, then something not everyone takes into consideration is uncovered. That something is a mystical fear, originating during the age of the Roman Empire, of the future unification of the world. It is the indefatigable concern for the welfare of humanity felt by those who sense that in a single universal state lies a pitfall that will inevitably lead to an absolute dictatorship and the rule of the «prince of darkness,» the result of which will be the final paroxysms and catastrophic end of history.

In actual fact, who can guarantee that a strong-willed egoist will not assume leadership of the superstate and, further, that science will not serve such a leader truthfully and faithfully as a means for turning the superstate into that exact kind of monstrous mechanism of violence and spiritual disfigurement I have been talking about? There is little doubt that theoretical models for blanket surveillance of people's behavior and thoughts are being developed at this very moment. What are the limits of the nightmarish scenarios that are conjured in our imagination as a result of the merger of a dictatorship of terror and twenty-first century technology? Such a tyranny would be all the more absolute because even the last, tragic means of casting it off would be closed-its overthrow from without by war. With every nation under one rule, there would be no one to war against. Global unity-the dream of so many generations, the cause of so many sacrifices-would then reveal its demonic side: the impossibility of escape if the servants of the dark forces were to seize control of the world government.

Bitter experience has already led humanity to the conviction that neither those socioeconomic movements guided solely by reason nor scientific progress in itself are capable of guiding humanity between the Charybdis of dictatorship and the Scylla of world war. On the contrary, new socioeconomic systems, in coming to power, themselves adopt the practices of political despotism and become the sowers and instigators of world war. Science becomes their lackey, far more obedient and reliable than the church was for the feudal barons. The root of the tragedy lies in the fact that the scientific professions were not from the very beginning coupled with a deeply formulated moral education. Regardless of their level of moral development, everyone is admitted into those professions. It should come as no surprise today that one side of every scientific and technical advance goes against the genuine interests of humanity. The internal combustion engine, radio, aviation, atomic energy – they all strike the bare flesh of the world's people with one end, while advances in communications and technology enable police states to establish surveillance over the private life and thoughts of each person, thus laying an iron foundation for life-sucking dictatorial states.

So, lessons drawn from history should lead humanity to realize that the dangers will not be averted and social harmony will not be achieved by scientific and technological progress alone. Nor shall it be accomplished by the hypertrophy of the state, by the dictatorship of a «strong leader,» or by social democratic administrations that get buffeted by the winds of history, first right, then left, from inept starry-eyed idealism to revolutionary extremism. We must, rather, recognize the absolute necessity of the one and only path: the establishment, over a global federation of states, of an unsullied, incorruptible, highly respected body, a moral body standing outside of and above the state. For the state is, by its very nature, amoral.

What idea, what teaching will aid in the creation of such a supervisory body? What minds will formulate its guiding principles and make it acceptable to the overwhelming majority of people? By what paths will such a body-a body foreswearing the use of force-arrive at worldwide recognition, at a position even higher than a federation of states? If it can in fact introduce into leadership the policy of gradually replacing coercion with something else, then what would that something else be? And in what manner would it be introduced? And what doctrine would be able to solve the incredibly complex problems that will arise in connection with all that?

The present book attempts to give, to some extent, an answer to the above questions (although it shall also deal with wider issues). As a prologue to answering them, however, it is best to first clearly identify what this teaching sees as the irreconcilable enemy against which it is directed.

From the historical point of view, it sees its enemies in all states, parties, or doctrines that strive to enslave others and to establish any form of despotic political regime. From the metahistorical point of view, it has but a single foe: the Antigod, the Spirit of Tyranny, the Great Torturer, who takes many shapes and forms in the life of our planet. For the movement I am now talking about-both now, when it has barely begun to form, and later, when it will have become the decisive voice in history- there will be only one enemy: tyranny and coercion wherever it may arise, even within itself. Coercion will be admissible only in cases of absolute necessity, only in mitigated forms, and only until that time when the highest body, by means of a reformed educational system, has, with the help of millions of highly committed minds and wills, prepared humanity for the substitution of free will for force, the voice of deep-felt conscience for the decrees of human laws, and a community for the state. In other words, until the very essence of the state has been transformed and a living family of all peoples has replaced the soulless and coercive state apparatus.

One need not assume that such a process will require an enormous span of time. By systematically immersing the populations of huge countries in a single meticulously formulated system of education and social conditioning, powerful dictatorships have irrefutably proven what a powerful lever the molding of a generation's psyche can be. Each generation formed closer and closer to what the ruling powers considered desirable. Nazi Germany, for example, managed to achieve its goals in this area in the span of a single generation. Clearly its ideals can elicit no response in us other than anger and disgust. Its methods, as well, must be rejected almost wholesale. But we must take hold of the lever it discovered and not let go. The century of mass spiritual enlightenment, the century of decisive victories for a new, as yet barely discernible pedagogy is approaching. Even if only a few dozen schools are organized on its principles, a generation capable of doing its duty out of free will, not coercion, a generation acting out of creative impulses and love, not fear, would form there. That is the essence of ennobling education.
 
I picture an international organization, both political and cultural in nature, setting as its aim the transformation of the state through the consistent implementation of far-reaching reforms. The crucial stage in the fulfillment of that aim will be the founding of the Global Federation of Independent States. But this must carry the proviso that a special body be established over the Federation – the body I have already mentioned, which will oversee the activities of the states and guide them toward a bloodless and painless transformation from within. The key here is «bloodless and painless,» for in that way it will differ from revolutionary doctrines of the past.

I consider it both premature and unnecessary to speculate on the structure and name of that organization. For now, so as to avoid constantly repeating a lengthy description, we will give it a provisional name: the League for the Transformation of the State. As for its structure, those who will be its founders will be both more experienced and more practical than I-they will be leaders of vision, not poets. I will only say that it seems to me personally that the League should establish branches in every country, with each branch consisting of several divisions: cultural, philanthropic, educational, and political. The political division in each country will assume the structural and organizational aspects of a national party of global religious and cultural reforms. All such parties will be linked and united in the League and by the League.

How, where, and among whom specifically the formation of the League will take place I, of course, do not and cannot know. But it is clear that the period of time from its inception until the establishment of the Federation of States and the moral supervisory body over it will be regarded as a preliminary stage, when the League will channel all of its energies into disseminating its ideas, recruiting new members, expanding its operations, educating younger generations, and forging within itself a future body that in time can be entrusted with a global leadership role.

The League's constitution will not restrict its membership to people of any particular philosophical or religious belief. All that will be required is an active commitment to realizing its program and a resolve not to violate its moral code, the cornerstone of the organization.

Despite all the vicissitudes of public service, the goals of the League must be attained not at the price of departure from its moral code but as a result of faithful adherence to it. Its reputation must be spotless, its disinterestedness not subject to doubt, its moral authority ever increasing, as the best and finest of humanity will be drawn to it and will constantly strengthen its ranks.

The path to global unification will proceed, in all likelihood, through various stages of international solidarity, through the unification and merger of regional blocs. The last stage would take the form of a global referendum or plebiscite-some form of free vote by every person. It may result in a victory for the League only in certain countries. But the inexorable march of history will be on the League's side. The unification of even half the globe will be the final step in a revolution of people's consciousness. A second referendum will be held, perhaps a third, and a decade or so later the borders of the Federation will encompass all of humanity. Then there will be a real possibility of implementing a series of wide-ranging measures aimed at transforming the conglomerate of states into a single state that will be gradually altered by two parallel programs: one external, concerned with political, social, and economic affairs, and one internal, focused on educational, moral, and religious matters.

From the above, it should be clear that the members of the League and its national parties will be able to wield as weapons only their words and their own example, and this only against those ideologies and doctrines that try to clear the path to power for a dictator or support a dictator already in power. Although the activities of the great Mahatma Gandhi and the political party he inspired were confined to the national scale, the League will see them as its historical predecessors. The first political leader/ living saint in modern times, Gandhi consolidated a purely political movement on a foundation of high moral standards, refuting the prevailing attitude that politics and morality are incompatible. But the national borders within which the Indian National Congress acted will be expanded by the League to encompass the entire planet, and the goals of the League will be of a higher historical stage, or series of stages, than were the goals set by the great party that freed India.

Oh, there will of course be many people who will insist that the League's methods are impractical and unrealistic. I've met enough champions of political realism to last me a lifetime. There is no injustice or social villainy that has not tried to cover itself with that pitiful fig leaf. There is no weight more deadening, more earthbound, than talk of political realism as a counter to everything lofty, everything inspirational, everything spiritual. Such political realists are, incidentally, the same sort of people who in their time claimed, even in India, that Gandhi was a dreamer out of touch with reality. They were forced to eat their words when Gandhi and his party, while maintaining high moral standards, won freedom for their country and led it to prosperity. But this was not the kind of material prosperity that blinds people's eyes with the black soot of statistics on the increase in coal production or with radioactive dust from experimental tests of hydrogen bombs. This was cultural, ethical, aesthetic, and spiritual prosperity, which would slowly but surely give rise to material well-being.

Those who are unable to see the good in people those whose outlook has coarsened and whose conscience has withered in the atmosphere of flagrant state violations of human rights will also accuse the League of unrealistic methods. They will be joined by those who cannot see what revolutions in mass consciousness await us in the not too distant future. The trauma of wars, oppression, and every possible violation of human rights already has launched a grass roots movement for peaceful coexistence. Events that destroy our feeling of security, deprive us of all comfort and peace of mind, and uproot our faith in current ideologies and the social orders they uphold are constantly taking place and will continue to do so. The exposing of the unbelievable atrocities perpetrated behind the imposing facade of dictatorships, concrete proof of the foundation and price of their temporary victories and apparent successes, will parch the soul like a hot desert wind. People's spiritual thirst will become unbearable. The elimination of the threat of great wars, the discovery of paths to uniting the world without bloodshed, a spiritual leader and living saint who will head a united humanity in the future, the weakening of state coercion, and the growth of a global community spirit this is what believers pray for and nonbelievers dream about in our century. And it is highly probable that a lofty, global teaching, moral, political, philosophical, and spiritual will transform this generation's thirst into an international creative enthusiasm.

The fact that humanity's last major religious movement the Protestant Reformation took place four hundred years ago, and that the last religion of global impact, Islam, is in its thirteenth century of existence is sometimes cited in support of the argument that the religious era of humanity is past. But one should gauge the potential of religion as a whole, not by its specific forms. What matters is not how long ago the last major forms emerged but whether the evolution of religion has reached a dead-end: whether it is possible to integrate the indisputable laws of science into creative religious thought, whether there glimmers within such a worldview the possibility of making sense of our experience in the new era, and whether religion will be able to play a real and progressive role in such experience.

It is true that approximately four hundred years have passed since the last major religious movement of international scope. It is also true that for many centuries prior to the Protestant Reformation there had been no comparable movements. But is that even the point? Is it still not clear that a definite current of mental, creative work absorbed almost all of humanity's spiritual and intellectual energy during the last few centuries? It would be difficult to expect that while maintaining such a rapid pace of scientific, technical, and social progress and creating such cultural treasures in literature, music, philosophy, and art, humanity would, in the last centuries, find within itself the energy to create more universal religious systems as well.

But the turn of the century was the end of an era. The golden age of literature, art, music, and philosophy came to a close. The realm of sociopolitical activity has drawn to itself and with time this has become more and more apparent not the most, but the least, spiritual representatives of the human race. A gigantic spiritual vacuum has formed that did not exist even fifty years ago, and hypertrophied science has been powerless to fill it. If I may put it thus: colossal resources of the human genius have remained untapped. That is the womb of creative energy where the embryonic global interreligion is forming.

Will religion not its old forms, but the sum religion that the world is now pregnant with be able to eliminate the most dangerous threats hanging over the heads of humanity: world war and global tyranny? It will probably be unable to avert the next world war: if a third world war breaks out, it will likely take place even before the appearance of the League. But after the nucleus of the future interreligion has been formed, the League's first and foremost task will be to prevent all wars that threaten to break out and to prevent the rise of a global tyranny. Will that religion be able to achieve the greatest degree of harmony between individual freedom and the interests of humanity, a harmony conceivable only at the present stage of history? That is only another aspect of that same foremost task. Will it promote the balanced development of the creative impulses with which every person is gifted? Yes, except for demonic impulses that is, impulses toward tyranny, violence, and self-assertion at the expense of other living beings. Will it, like other movements with similar global aspirations, require blood and victims in order to emerge triumphant? No except in those cases when its faithful may be forced to prove their devotion to its message at the cost of their lives. Will its ideas contradict not only the philosophical doctrine of materialism (they will contradict that, of course, at all points from A to Z), but also the objective and indisputable laws of modern science? Not in the slightest. Is it possible to imagine a campaign during the period of its ascendancy wherein dissenters will be persecuted, when it will force its tenets on philosophy, science, and art? To the contrary, its proposed route leads from partial initial restrictions on freedom of expression to eventual unlimited freedom of expression. This being so, what remains of the argument that religion is incapable of responding and providing practical solutions to the most pressing problems of the day?

One has every right and justification to direct such a reproach not at religion but, alas, at science. It is that same system of views that fails to look beyond the limits circumscribed by contemporary scientific knowledge that is incapable of providing answers to the most fundamental and elementary questions. Does the Source, the Creator, God exist? Unknown. Does such a thing as a soul exist? If so, is it immortal? Science does not know the answer. What is time, space, matter, energy? Opinions are sharply divided. Is our world eternal and endless or, on the contrary, is it limited within time and space? Science does not possess the necessary data to give a definite answer. Why should I do good and not evil, if evil appeals to me and I can be sure of escaping punishment? The answers are totally unintelligible. How can science be used to avert the possibility of wars and tyranny? Silence. How can social harmony be attained with the least human cost? Mutually exclusive proposals are put forward that resemble each other only in that they are all equally unrelated to pure science. It is natural that on such shaky and subjective and, indeed, pseudo-scientific foundations doctrines have arisen based only on class, racial, nationalist, or party interests that is, on those very systems whose purpose is the justification of dictatorships and wars. The distinguishing mark of such doctrines is their low level of spirituality. It follows, therefore, that the desired moral supervisory body cannot be organized on the basis of the so-called scientific worldview, for, in essence, such a worldview does not exist. Rather, it shall arise through communion with the world of spirit; through the reception of the rays of that world pouring out and into our hearts, reason, and conscience; and through the application of the precept of active and creative love to every facet of our lives. The moral level which incorporates all of the above traits is called sanctity.

There is yet another popular fallacy: a view of religion as a phenomenon that is reactionary by nature, particularly in our age. But it is just as ridiculous to speak of the reactionary nature of religion in general, irrespective of the specific forms it takes, as it is to try to prove the reactionary nature of art in general or philosophy in general. A dynamic thinker one who perceives evolving sets of facts and the processes by which those sets are shaped will be able to distinguish the telltale marks of reactionary and progressive forms in art, in religion, in all areas of human activity. One may find a large number of reactionary forms of religion, even more than one would like, but that fact has no relation whatsoever to the embryonic sum religion with which this book is concerned. For there have not been, nor are there, more progressive aims or methods in our century than those that will be fused together in that religion. As for the scientific method's claim to supremacy, it is powerless to stamp out the methods of art and religion, in their widest sense, just as an aggressive religiosity was powerless to stamp out science in its time. That is because their methods are differentiated not only by how they cognize but by what they cognize. In the last century, the rapid progress of science and technology gave rise to predictions about the death of art. A hundred years have passed and the constellation of arts has not only not faded away but has been brightened by yet another star the art of cinema. Thirty or forty years ago many in Russia believed the demise of religion was inevitable as a result of scientific and social progress. And yet, despite all the resources mobilized against it, the constellation of religions has not only not faded away but scientific and social progress has caused it to be brightened by the ability to turn the world's religions from a collage of separate petals into one single, whole spiritual flower the Rose of the World.

It follows from the above that a religious movement that integrates humanity's positive experience into its philosophy and praxis and draws conclusions from the negative experience that require too much courage and honesty to be made by other streams of social thought; a movement whose first and foremost tasks are the transformation of the state into a community, the unification of the entire world, and the ennobling education of humanity; a movement that will guard against the distortion of its ideals and methods with the indestructible shield of a higher morality such a movement cannot but be recognized as progressive, promising, and creatively young.

A shield of morality! On what principles will such a morality be founded? I spoke of sanctity. But is it not simply utopian to think that entire segments of society, and not just single individuals, could be saintly?

It is necessary to state what exactly is meant here by the term «sanctity.» An ascetic life spent in a monastery is not a prerequisite for the attainment of sanctity. Sanctity is the highest stage of moral development for a person. Whoever surpasses it is no longer just saintly, but is a prophet as well. Sanctity can take many different forms depending on time, place, and a person's character. If we generalize, sanctity, defined negatively, is the internal state of a person, constant and ending only with death, in which the will is free from egoistic impulses, the reason is free from slavery to materialistic desires, and the heart is free from bursts of random, turbid emotions that demean the soul. To define it positively, sanctity is the permeation of all one's inner and outer life with an active love for God, people, and the world.

It is doubtful that the necessary psychological climate for the emergence of a moral body founded on that same sanctity could be better prepared than in an organization whose meaning and purpose lie in the hope of this emergence. The League will be that very organization. Even atheists could number among its members. But the League's basic tenet the necessity of a global moral body standing above all the states will be the very thing to fuse the most committed, creative, energetic, and gifted of its members into a nucleus a nucleus characterized by an atmosphere of unflagging spiritual creativity, active love, and purity; a nucleus composed of people enlightened enough to be aware not only of the danger threatening each of them if their ambitious impulses are unleashed but of the danger, as well, of a too superficial formulation of religious moral values, which can lead to ethical formalism, hypocrisy, spiritual staleness, and sanctimony.
 
No one but God knows where and when the Rose of the World's first flames will be kindled. The country Russia has only been designated; tragic events might still take place that could interfere with that mystical event and force it to be relocated to another country. The time the sixties has only been projected; disastrous cataclysms might take place that would move the date far ahead into the future. It is possible that the first flame will kindle not in the League for the Transformation of the State but in a different, as yet unknown group of people. But here or there, in this country or another, a decade earlier or later, the interreligious, global church of the new age the Rose of the World will appear as the sum total of the spiritual activity of many people, as the joint creation of people standing beneath the shower of heaven-sent revelation it will appear, emerge, and embark on its historical journey.

Religion, interreligion, church I cannot render the idea with the necessary exactitude using those words. Its many fundamental departures from previous religions and churches will in time require new words to be coined for use in reference to it. But even without them, it will be necessary to introduce such a large vocabulary of new words into the pages of this book that now, at the beginning, I think it best not to run to the aid of those words but to rely on a descriptive definition of the distinguishing features of what will be called the Rose of the World.

It will not be like any restricted religious faith, whether true or false. Nor will it be an international religious order like the Theosophists, the Anthroposophists, or the Masons, composed, like a bouquet, of various flowers of truth eclectically picked from every imaginable religious glade. It will be an interreligion or pan-religion, in that it will be a teaching that views all religions that appeared earlier as reflections of different layers of spiritual reality, different sets of variomaterial facts, and different segments of our planetary cosmos («Planetary cosmos» refers to the sum total of planes of differing materiality, dimensions, and time streams that are necessarily linked to the Earth. The planetary cosmos is the planet Earth with all the complexity of the material (and not just physical) planes of its existence. Many heavenly bodies possess such gigantic systems. They are called bramfaturas. The Earth's bramfatura is called Shadanakar. A brief glossary appended at the end of the book gives definitions for those words that are either used here for the first time or altered by a new sense.). That point of view treats Shadanakar both as a separate entity and as part of the divine universe. If the older religions are petals, then the Rose of the World will be a flower: with roots, stem, head, and the commonwealth of its petals.

The second distinction concerns the globality of the Rose of the World's aspirations and their historical concreteness. Not one religion, with the exception of medieval Catholicism, has made the reorganization of human society its aim. But the papacy, stubbornly trying to contain feudal chaos with the dams of hierocracy, was unable to weaken the exploitation of the have-nots by the haves, to lessen social inequality with wide-ranging reforms, or to raise the overall standard of living. Be that as it may, it would be unfair to blame the ruling Catholic hierarchy for its failure: the material resources, both economic and technological, necessary for such large-scale transformations were still unavailable. It was no coincidence that evil in the world was felt to have existed from time immemorial (and right up to modern times has been considered eternal and unavoidable), and that Catholicism in essence focused, like all the other religions, on the «inner self» alone, teaching individual perfection. But times have changed, material resources have become available, and it is thanks to the entire historical process, and not to the Rose of the World, that the latter can now regard social justice not as something alien to its purposes, doomed to failure, and not worth the efforts, but can link it inseparably to the growth of the inner self: work on oneself and social justice will become two parallel processes that should complement each other.

One often hears that Christianity has failed. If it were only a question of the past, one could say that from the social and overall moral point of view it has failed. «Religion has failed.» Yes, if humanity's religious creativity were spent by what has already been woven, religion in the above-mentioned sense truly could be said to have failed. But at present it is fair to say only this: the older religions could not substantially decrease the amount of social injustice, because they did not possess the necessary material resources, and the lack of those resources gave birth to a negative attitude toward all such attempts. In that way the ground was prepared for the secular stage of civilization.

In the eighteenth century social conscience awakened;– Social disharmony was finally felt and perceived as something intolerable, demeaning, and to be overcome. That, of course, occurred in connection with the fact that the material resources that had been lacking began to appear. But the older religions were unable to grasp that fact. They did not want to take advantage of those resources, did not wish to direct the process of social transformation, and it is that same sluggishness, intellectual laziness, conceptual immobility, and closemindedness that is their greatest fault. Religion discredited itself by its centuries-long powerlessness in that respect, and it should come as no surprise that Europe, followed by other continents, fell into the opposite extreme: the transformation of society by purely mechanical means in conjunction with a complete renunciation of the spiritual side of the process. The result, too, should come as no surprise: upheavals the world has never before witnessed, loss of life that had never been envisaged even in our worst nightmares, and a decline in the overall moral level, whose very possibility many people in the twentieth century see as a grim and tragic enigma.

The responsibility for the depth and perseverance of the resulting secular stage rests to a large extent on the older religions. They also bear responsibility for the spiritual fate of millions of souls who, in the struggle for social justice, placed themselves in opposition to religion in general and thus tore the spiritual roots of their own existence loose from the soil of world spirituality. But genuine religious activity is a definite kind of social service, and genuine social service is at the same time religious activity. No religious act, even the self-abnegation of a monk, is done in isolation from the whole, and every such work contributes to world wide enlightenment. No positive social activity can help but increase the amount of good in the world that is, such activity cannot help but have religious meaning. The pulsing of social conscience, active compassion and concelebration, unflagging practical efforts for social justice this is the second manner which the Rose of the World is distinct from the older religion.

The third distinction concerns dynamism of outlook. There have already been religions that have incorporated concepts of metahistory-Judaism and early Christianity-but only in remote and brief periods during their formation did they try to formulate a spiritual framework to explain the historical processes taking place at the time. During those brief, half-forgotten times, the astonishing insights of the Apocalypse remained hidden from people's eyes by a blanket of allegories and innuendos; its code of images allowed for every imaginable interpretation. Thus, a genuine framework for understanding historical processes did not take shape. Historical knowledge was as yet scarce and limited in scope, geographical horizons were small, and the mystical mind was not yet ready to grasp the internal logic of metahistory and the incredible complexity of Shadanakar.

But the appearance of the Rose of the World has been preceded by the scientific era, an era that revolutionized humanity's view of the universe, of nations, of cultures, and of their fates. It has been preceded by yet another era: one of radical social changes and upheavals, of revolutions, and of world wars. Both kinds of phenomena have loosened humanity's psychological crust, which had remained for so many centuries unbroken. In that soil, plowed up by the iron teeth of historical catastrophes, the seeds of metahistorical revelation will fall. And the entire planetary cosmos will reveal itself to people's spiritual sight as a constantly evolving system of variegated worlds, a system speeding toward a blindingly brilliant goal, spiritualized and transformed from century to century and from day to day. Images from future eras are beginning to show through our reality-each in all its inimitable uniqueness, in its correlation of metahistorical forces battling within it. The goal of the Rose of the World is to become a receptor, fosterer, and interpreter of that knowledge. The collective mystical consciousness of all living humanity, it will illumine the meaning of the historical processes of the past, present, and future in order to assume creative guidance of those processes. If one may speak of any dogmas in its teaching, then those dogmas will be deeply dynamic, multifaceted, and capable of further enrichment, development, and long-range evolution.

From that follows the fourth distinction of the Rose of the World, which entails a program of consistent, spiritual-historical tasks that are entirely concrete and achievable in principle. I will list once again the foremost of them: the unification of the planet under a federation of states overseen by a moral supervisory body; the establishment of economic well-being and a high standard of living in every country; the ennobling education of younger generations; the reunification of the Christian churches and the creation of a free amalgamation of all religions of Light; the transformation of the planet into a garden and the state into a community. But those are merely tasks of the first order. Their realization will open the way to tasks of an even higher order- the spiritualization of nature.

Interreligiosity, the globality of its societal aspirations and their concrete nature, the dynamism of its outlook, and consistency in its global historical tasks-these are the characteristics that will distinguish the Rose of the World from all religions and churches of the past. The bloodlessness of its paths, the painlessness of its reforms, its kindness and consideration toward people, the waves of spiritual warmth that will emanate from it- these are the characteristics that will distinguish it from all sociopolitical movements of the past and present.

Obviously, the essence of the state, as well as the moral cast of society, cannot be transformed in the wink of an eye. An immediate and complete renunciation of coercion is pure fantasy. But that element will decrease over time and societal space. Every kind of discipline is made up of elements of coercion and consciousness, and one or another type of discipline results from the ratio of these two elements. Slave economies, prisons, and concentration camps boast a high percentage of coercion and an almost complete absence of consciousness. There is a slightly higher percentage of consciousness present during army drills. And further, to the extent that the element of coercion is weakened within disciplinary models, the categorical imperative of inner self-discipline grows and replaces it. The new pedagogy will be based on the fostering of that same impulse. Its principles and methods, as well as methods for the moral rehabilitation and rebirth of criminals, will be discussed in a later chapter. But it should be clear even now that the external stimulus of coercion will disappear quickest of all within the inner concentric circles of the Rose of the World, for those circles will be filled by the very people who have wed their entire life to its tasks and principles and no longer have any need of outside coercion. They will be its conscience, and who, if not they, should occupy the seats of the Upper Council?

Is it possible to overstate the edifying effect exerted by political systems where the worthiest people stand at the head of society, guiding and creating? Think not of those whose will is overdeveloped at the expense of other sides of their self and whose strength lies in their unscrupulous approach to means, but of those in whom will, reason, love, purity of thought, and a profound understanding of life are harmoniously developed and combined with conspicuous spiritual gifts-those we call living saints.

Recently we saw an example of just such a saint: we were witnesses to India's decisive hour and the great spirit of Gandhi. We were presented with an astonishing spectacle: a person wearing a loincloth, with no government authority, without a single soldier or servant at his command, without a roof over his head, became the conscience and the spiritual and political leader of three hundred million people. One soft-spoken word from him was enough to unite those millions in a massive, nonviolent struggle to free their country, in which the shedding of their enemy's blood gave rise to nationwide fasting and mourning.

It is easy to imagine how tragically the Indian people's historical course would have been altered if, instead of that saint, a person of a self-willed nature, like Mussolini or Stalin, had at that decisive minute stepped forward as leader-a so-called strong leader, a master of demagoguery and political intrigue, who masks his despotic nature behind fulsome speeches about the people's welfare! How skillfully he would have played on the baser instincts of the people, on their natural hatred for their conquerors, on their envy of the rich. What waves of fire and blood would have broken over India, flooding islands of high moral consciousness fostered and strengthened over thousands of years by the brightest children of that great people! And, in the end, what a tyranny such a person would have established over the exhausted country, taking advantage of the people's habit of obedience, formed through centuries of slavery. Gandhi channelled the country's thirst for self-determination and national identity down a different path. Here is the first example in modern times of the power that will gradually replace the sword and whip of state rule. That power is the loving trust a people have for whomever gives proof of the moral elevation upon which rests the authority of living saints.

I foresee a host of objections. One is as follows. Yes, such a thing was possible in India, with its unique characteristics, with its four-thousand-year religious history, with the moral stature of its people. Other peoples have different legacies, and India's experience is not applicable to any other country.

True, every people has its own historical legacy. And India's legacy has led to its people becoming a pioneer on that road. But almost every nation has encountered, either within or beside their borders, dictatorships and tyrannies of all imaginable colors and ideological masks, and each has had sufficient opportunity to realize into what a disastrous abyss a blind leadership-unenlightened by sanctity, not even meeting the minimum requirements of an average moral level-can plunge their country. After all, government leadership demands self-renunciation, and an average moral level is too low for that. Many nations, as well, have come to realize that where, in place of dictators, political parties alternate, faces change like a kaleidoscope. Diplomats and generals, bosses and lawyers, demagogues and business people-some are self-seekers, others are more principled, but none is capable of breathing a new, clean, and vibrant spirit into life or of solving problems of vital national interest. No one can trust a single one of them more than they trust themselves, because not one of them has paused even a moment to think about what sanctity and spirituality mean. They are fleeting shadows, fallen leaves blown about by the winds of history. If the Rose of the World does not make its appearance in time on the international scene, they will be scattered by the fiery breath of willful and merciless dictatorships. If the Rose of the World does appear, they will dissolve, melting under the rising sun of its great message, because the hearts of the people will trust one living saint more than a hundred modern-day politicians.

But an even greater and brighter effect will be exerted on the people and their destiny if three of the highest gifts-sanctity, religious vision, and artistic genius-are all combined in one person.

O, so many aspects of religion belong entirely to its past stages. One such aspect appears to be the power that strictly delineated, didactically formulated, law-like dogmas incapable of growth have had over people's minds. Human experience and the growth of individuality during the last centuries have led to human beings feeling cramped by and suspicious of any dogma. As a result, no matter how nondogmatic the Rose of the World's teachings will be, no matter how much they will be permeated by a spirit of religious dynamism, a great many people will have difficulty accepting them. On the other hand, many millions will respond to its call, as it will be addressed not so much to the intellect as to the heart, resounding in masterpieces of literature, music, theater, and architecture.

Works of art are more capacious and multifaceted than theosophical aphorisms or philosophical arguments. They leave more room for the imagination; they permit each person to interpret the teaching so that it is more understandable and in tune with his or her own individuality. Revelation flows down from many streams, and if art is not the purest then it is at least the widest of them. Therefore, every art form and a beautiful repertoire of ritual will outfit the Rose of the World with colorful and glittering habiliments. And for that same reason, it would be most natural for a person who possesses three of the greatest gifts-religious vision, sanctity, and artistic genius-to stand at the head of the Rose of the World.

Perhaps such a person will never come, or will come much later. It is possible that a collective of the worthiest, and not one single person, will lead the Rose of the World. But if Providence sends a person of such great spirit to our century-and it has sent them before-and the forces of evil are unable to thwart his or her mission, it will be the greatest of good fortune for the entire planet. For no one can exert a greater and brighter influence on humanity than a genius of the word who has become a visionary leader and living saint and who has been raised to the heights of being global guide of a cultural and social renaissance. That person, and only that person, can be entrusted with an extraordinary and unprecedented task: moral supervision of all the states of the Federation and guidance of nations with a view to transforming those states into a global community.

O, we Russians paid dearly for the unconditional trust we placed in a strong-willed man, whom many of us viewed as a benefactor of humanity. We will not repeat the same mistake! There are unmistakable signs that distinguish a person worthy of such a mission from an evil genius. The latter is gloomy; the former is bright with spiritual vitality. One consolidates power with executions and torture; the other will not spend a single day seeking power, and when that individual accepts power no one's blood will be spilled. One will cultivate the cult of personality across the land; the other will consider such glorification ridiculous and repellent. One is unapproachable; the other is open to all. One is wracked by an unquenchable thirst for life and power and hides from imagined dangers behind impenetrable walls; the other is free from worldly temptations and calm in the face of danger, with a clean conscience and unshakable faith. They are two antipodes, the ambassadors of two irreconcilable camps.

Of course, such elected leaders would be but the first among equals in an Upper Council. In everything they would rely on the cooperation of many, and their own activities would be monitored by many. They would be able to assume their extraordinary post only after undergoing rigorous tests. Such a post cannot be filled by the young, not even by the middle-aged, but only by those ripened by old age. Temptations and negative emotions must be long overcome. As for the election itself, it seems to me that it could be conducted only in the form of one or another kind of plebiscite. And even during the term of office of the High Mentors, the Council would be keeping watch on their activities. Departure from their path would result in the transfer of their powers to the worthiest. In general, all the issues involved could be carefully thought out, the dangers foreseen, decisions precisely weighed and later adjusted. But as long as the High Mentors keep to the preordained path, they will be the mystical links between humanity and the other worlds, the revealers of the will of Providence, the spiritual guides of billions and the guardians of their souls. There is nothing to fear by uniting all spiritual and secular power in the hands of such people.

Some will say that such people appear perhaps only once in every five hundred years. I will go one step further: individuals of such stature, who possess the sum of these above-mentioned gifts, could never have existed before. An Einstein could not have appeared among the Maoris of the nineteenth century. It would be ridiculous to expect to find a Dostoyevsky, such as we know him, among the subjects of Tutankhamen or Theodoric. He would have possessed a different sum of gifts then, and many of them would not have found outward expression in his life. People like those I am speaking of could not have realized the gifts they were endowed with even in the recent past, and their contemporaries would have remained in the dark as to their true stature and potential. The prerequisite conditions already seem to be taking shape as the new age begins; the Rose of the World will see them ripen in such a way that the social and cultural atmosphere will provide the High Mentor with a chain of successors worthy of the post.

Some will also say that even all the above-listed gifts are not enough for such an extraordinary position, that such people also need a versatile, sober, and practical political mind. No doubt. Such a leader will have to deal with thousands of the most varied problems; knowledge and experience-economic, financial, judicial, even technical-will be needed. But the age of Aristotle is long past; minds of encyclopedic breadth are unthinkable in our day and age. And the activities of those I am speaking of are just as unthinkable apart from the collective mind, from the Upper Council. The most profound minds, those wise in the vicissitudes of leadership, as well as specialists from every branch of knowledge, will take part in it. It is wisdom, not encyclopedic erudition or practical management skills, that will be demanded of the High Mentors: wisdom to understand people at first sight, to go instantly to the heart of complex issues, and never for a second to remain deaf to the voice of conscience. The High Mentors should be so elevated morally that love and trust in them will replace other methods of rule. The use of coercion or force will be a torment for them; they will resort to it only in the rarest of cases.

But that is only one possible option, although it is in my opinion the most desirable. It is easy to imagine an alternative: leadership of the Rose of the World, a relationship with the Federation government and legislative bodies, where the collective principle will be limited by nothing and no one. The task of working out a constitution belongs to the far future, and our fortunate descendants, not us, will have the chance to choose one option from the many possible.

But isn't that a theocracy? I dislike the word theocracy. Theocracy is the rule of God; to use it in reference to any kind of social or political system would be absurd from the point of view of atheists and blasphemous from the point of view of believers. History has never witnessed, nor will it witness, a theocracy. Not theocracy, but hierocracy, the rule of a priesthood, should be used in reference to the ecclesiastical states of the Pope or the Dalai Lama. The system I have described is the exact opposite of any type of hierocracy: the church will not disappear into the state, which swallows it up and rules in its name. Rather, the entire conglomerate of states and assembly of churches will gradually merge into a global community and interreligious church. Posts in the higher bodies-legislative, executive, and supervisory-will not be occupied by the upper hierarchy of a church but by the finest representatives of all nations, all faiths, all social classes, and all specialties.

Not a hierocracy, not a monarchy, not an oligarchy, not a republic: something qualitatively different from all that has come before will emerge. It will be a global-wide social system working toward sanctifying and enlightening all life on earth. I do not know what it will be called. The point is not in the name but in the essence. Its essence will consist of work in the name of spiritualizing individuals, all of humanity, and nature.


to the next part: 1.2. Perspective on Culture
to the beginning: «The Rose of the World». Table of contents
 
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