Daniil Andreev. «The Rose of the World»
Book III. The Structure of Shadanakar: Worlds of Ascent

III. Chapter 1. The Sakwala of Enlightment

I have at times met people who have the same kind of cracklike opening in their deep memory, but not one of them has summoned the courage to speak of it with any but those closest to them. It has never even occurred to them to attempt to set those recollections down in writing. What has prevented them was both a conviction that such disclosures would evoke only ridicule and the natural diffidence of the inner self, which shrinks from holding up to the judgment of skeptical strangers what is intimate, inviolate, and at the same time unverifiable. For a long time I, too, viewed the matter in the same light, and even now I am undertaking the task without the least pleasure. But since positively everything I speak of in this book comes from the same unverifiable source, I see no reason to remain silent about the breaches in my deep memory. I should either have not begun the book at all or, once having started, I should, despite my apprehensions, speak of everything. In addition, I am encouraged by the hope that those readers who do not trust me stopped reading during the first chapters and that only people who are favorably disposed will continue to read further.

My last death occurred approximately three hundred years ago in a country at the head of a different, very old, and powerful metaculture. I have suffered my entire present life, since earliest childhood, from homesickness for my former homeland. It may be that I feel that homesickness so strongly and deeply because I lived not one but two lives in that country, and very full lives at that. But in departing from Enrof three hundred years ago, I was, for the first time in my entire journey through Shadanakar, free of the obligation of expiatory descents after death to the depths of planes where sinners unravel-sometimes for centuries, even millennia-the karmic knots they tie during their lives. For the first time, I succeeded in unraveling the knots in time-that is, while still in Enrof-having paid for the wrongs and mistakes of my youth with long years of suffering and painful personal losses. For the first time, I died with a light heart, though according to the religious beliefs of that country a truly horrific afterlife should have been awaiting me. But I already knew that, through expulsion from my caste and a forty-year life lived among the pariahs, I had atoned for everything. My death was replete with serenity and hope.

It was a prophetic hope, the kind that does not deceive. To the present day, I have been unable to recall anything about the first hours, even the first few days, of my new existence. But I do remember some sections of the new plane on which I existed for a long time afterward.

Although it is common to all the metacultures, this plane differs widely from one metaculture to another. In the ancient, tropical, immense metaculture that twice played host to my life on Earth, it resembled the metaculture's natural environment in Enrof, only milder, without its extremes of harshness and splendor, without its violent tropical storms and the deadly aridity of its deserts. I remember white clouds of unusually full and glorious forms on the horizon, towering almost motionless up to the middle of the sky. Days and nights passed, and still the gigantic, radiant towers hovered there, their outlines barely changing. The sky was not light or dark blue, but a deep green. And the sun there was more beautiful than here. It glittered with slowly and smoothly alternating colors, and I am unable to explain why the color of the light source had no effect on the color of what the light illuminated: the landscape looked almost the same as ours, the dominant colors being green, white, and gold.

There were rivers and lakes. There was an ocean, though I never did get a chance to see it: once or twice I made it only as far as the shore of a sea. There were mountains, forests, and wide open spaces reminiscent of the steppe. But the vegetation in these areas was almost transparent and as sparse as in the northern forests of Enrof in late spring, when plants have only just begun to don their leafy mantle. The mountain ranges and even the soil were just as airy and translucent, as if they were the ether bodies of those elements whose physical bodies we know so well in Enrof.

But there was no trace of bird, fish, or animal. Humans were the sole inhabitants. I say «humans,» meaning not such as we are while in Enrof but such as we become after death in the first of the worlds of Enlightenment. On that plane I at last discovered firsthand that the comfort older religions offer us in the prospect of being reunited with loved ones in the afterlife is neither fable nor delusion, but it occurs only if our actions during our lifetime do not draw us down to the woeful planes of atonement. Some of my loved ones were there waiting to welcome me, and whole periods of my life on that plane were taken up by the joy of being with them. The plane is a very old one, at one time having been the home of the angelic protohumankind. It is called Olirna, and that melodious word seems to me a fitting choice for its name. Being with loved ones did not give rise to any of the tension, sorrow, petty worries, or misunderstandings that tarnish it here. The experience was true communion, sometimes accompanied by speech, but more often by silence, the kind we know here only at especially tender moments with the few to whom we are joined by an especially deep love.

Our life was entirely free of worries about the daily necessities of life, worries that play such a pivotal role in Enrof. The mildness of the climate eliminated any need for shelter. That may not be true in the Olirna of some other metacultures, but I cannot say for sure. The wonderful vegetation served as food, and springs and brooks, which, as I recall, tasted different from our water, served as drink. Clothing-or rather, that beautiful, living, softly glowing material that we try to replace in Enrof with garments of wool, silk, or linen-was produced by our very own body, by that same ether body of which we are here almost never aware, but which in the afterlife becomes just as visible and seems just as vital as the physical body is for us. Life is impossible without it both in the worlds of Enlightenment and in Enrof.

Nevertheless, my first while in Olirna was clouded by thoughts of those I had left behind in Enrof. I had left behind children and grandchildren, friends, and my elderly wife-the woman I treasured above all other people in Enrof, the woman for whom I had violated the laws of caste and become an untouchable. After our separation, I was constantly beset by anxiety for their fates, but I soon learned to distinguish their figures through the haze as they stumbled down thorny paths in Enrof. Some time later, it was my turn to welcome my wife, as young as she had once been, only more beautiful. Her journey in Enrof had come to an end a few years after mine, and now there was nothing to tarnish the joy of our reunion.

One after another new sense organs came unblocked: not those organs of sight and hearing that in the ether body coincide exactly with the corresponding organs of the physical body. No! These organs of sight and hearing had been working since the first minutes of my arrival, and it was with them that I perceived Olirna. What came unblocked were those organs we call spiritual vision, spiritual hearing, and deep memory; what the wisest of the wise strive to unblock in Enrof and what is successfully unblocked by only a few out of millions; what gradually comes unblocked in each one of us in Olirna. Spiritual vision and hearing can penetrate the partitions between many planes. It was with them that I perceived the life of those I had left behind on Earth-as yet hazily, but perceived nonetheless.

I enjoyed spending time in the enlightened natural surroundings-never have I seen such picturesque beauty in Enrof. But strangely enough, I felt there was something missing, and soon I realized what: a variety of life. With sadness I recalled the singing and chirping of birds, the buzzing of insects, the darting of fish, the graceful bodies and unconscious wisdom of the higher animals. Only then did I realize how much the animal world means for us and our relationship with nature. However, I was assured by those who knew more than I that humanity's ancient, vague dream about the existence of planes where animals are enlightened and intelligent is not a dream at all but an intuition of the truth. In time I, too, would be able to enter those planes.

Later-quite recently in fact-I was reminded about certain areas in the Olirna of all metacultures. They are regions that resemble rolling steppe, and those who were too engrossed in their own personal growth in Enrof, whose karmic knots have been unraveled but whose soul is too constricted and cramped, remain there for a time. Now nothing prevents them from redressing that inner imbalance amidst the transparent, silent hills and under the magnificent sky, absorbing the rays and voices of the cosmos and stretching the limits of their everexpanding selves.

I was also reminded about areas in Olirna that resemble alpine country. Those who were able only after death to believe in-or to be more precise, to personally experience-the existence of a different reality, work on themselves there, in the valleys. From down below, they gaze up to the mountaintops, mountains that appear not as we see them but in their spiritual glory. The powerful spirits that hold sway there pour forth into the gazers streams of their own energy. And the faculties of the gazers' souls, which had been paralyzed by a lack of faith, come unblocked over days and years of direct contemplation of the multiplaned universe and of the glorious majesty of other worlds. But I have no clear recollection of all that, perhaps because I was only a guest there. Also, I cannot be entirely sure from the source of the information that the information itself was not simplified and thus distorted to facilitate my understanding of it.

Besides enjoying nature and the company of humans, I also spent time working on my own body. I needed to prepare it for transformation, as the path out of Olirna to the next, higher worlds lies not through death but through transfiguration. I understood that the verses in the Gospel that tell of the Ascension of Jesus Christ hint at something similar. His Resurrection from the dead altered the nature of His physical body. Upon His ascension out of Olirna, it was transfigured a second time, together with the ether body. I, like everyone else, was to undergo the transfiguration of my ether body alone, a transfiguration similar to the one the Apostles once saw with vision that penetrated into Olirna but could not yet reach the worlds lying beyond. How else could the Evangelists have expressed the passage of our Savior from Olirna to higher planes if not by calling the event His Ascension into heaven? And I, raised under strict Brahmanism, began to understand what strange and inexhaustible truth the Christian myth contained.

The image of the great betrayer, which I had hitherto taken to be mere legend, became reality in my eyes. I learned that he lives there in total seclusion, on a desert island amidst the seas of Olirna. His journey through the planes of torment took more than sixteen centuries. He was hurled down to the deepest of them all by the weight of his karma, a karma unparalleled in its gravity, and neither before nor after did he encounter a solitary human being. He was subsequently raised by the One he had betrayed on Earth, but only after the Betrayed had attained in His afterlife the incredible spiritual strength needed for it, strength that no one in Shadanakar had ever attained before. Raised higher and higher up the stairway of purgatories by the forces of Light, he finally reached Olirna, having atoned in full for his betrayal. Having not yet had any contact with its inhabitants, he is preparing himself on the island for his further ascent. I saw the island from a distance: it has a forbidding appearance. Strange cliffs, the tops of which all point in one direction, rise upon it. The tops are jagged, and the cliffs are a dark color, even black in places. But no one in Olirna has seen Judas himself: only the glow from his vigils can be seen above the island at night. In the future, when the rule of the one whom it has become customary to call the Antichrist has begun in Enrof, Judas, accepting an important mission from the hands of the Betrayed, will be born again on Earth and, after performing his task, will die a martyr's death at the hands of the Prince of Darkness.

But I am unable to say through what exact efforts I arrived at my own transformation and what actually happened to my body at that moment. At present, I am only able to recall what then took place before my eyes: a crowd of people, perhaps hundreds, gathered to see me off on my journey upward. The attainment of transformation by anyone living in Olirna is always a cause for, celebration for others as well; a bright and joyous atmosphere surrounds the event. As I recall, it took place in the afternoon, on a height like a hill and, as with everything else in Indian Olirna, in the open air. I remember the rows of human faces turned toward me slowly beginning to blur as they seemingly receded into the distance, though it must have been I rising above the ground who was moving away from them. I could see a mountain range far away on the horizon, translucent as ever, as if it were of crystallite. Suddenly I noticed that the mountains had begun to radiate a marvelous light. Quivering rainbows crisscrossed the low horizon, out of nowhere wondrous luminaries of different colors appeared high above me, and the resplendent sun could not outshine them. I remember experiencing a mixed feeling of breathtaking beauty, incomparable joy, and astonishment. When my gaze wandered down, I saw that the crowd of well-wishers was no longer there beneath me; it was a different landscape altogether, and I realized that the moment of my passage to the next, higher plane was already past.
 
I had earlier been told that my stay on that plane would be very short, as all those passing through it leave after only a few hours. But during those hours the entire plane-it is called Faer-would be immersed in rejoicing for me, who had reached it. It is a great celebration prepared for every ascending soul- not only for human souls but also for those of other monads of Shadanakar that are climbing the stairway of Enlightenment, even those of higher animals. Faer is in a certain sense a parting of the ways: reincarnations in Enrof can still take place afterward, but only when there is a definite mission to perform. Subsequent falls or revolts are not precluded. Neither is a deeply conscious-and thus all the more grave-betrayal of God. A blind fall, however, will never be possible again, and spiritual paralysis is struck from the list of potentialities forevermore. This spiritual paralysis, which manifests itself in the psyche of those living, has through the centuries changed its complexion and name in Enrof. In our century it is primarily, but not exclusively, defined as materialism.

If one searches for a familiar image even distantly analogous to what one sees in Faer, it is impossible to settle for anything less than a holiday fireworks display. There is hardly a need to add that the most lavish fireworks display on Enrof compared to Faer are no more than a few lamps compared to the constellation Orion.

I saw a great many beings in their doubly and triply enlightened forms. They had come there from higher planes out of a desire to share in my joy. The enlightened are capable of sharing others'joy to an incomparably greater degree and intensity than we are. Every soul that reaches Faer arouses rejoicing in millions of those who have already passed through it. How can I convey my feelings when I saw hosts of the enlightened rejoicing because I, insignificant I, had reached that world? It was not gratitude, not embarrassed joy, not even shock-it was more like waves of that blissful emotion that causes mortals in Enrof to burst into silent tears.

I do not recall the time or manner of my passage to the next plane. The overpowering experience of Faer brought on a deep exhaustion and a relaxation, as it were, of the tissue of my entire soul. Everything that I can now reconstruct from my memory of the experiences at the next stage of my ascent can be reduced to a single state, yet one that lasted very long, perhaps for many years.

Radiant calm. Does it not sound like a contradiction in terms? We associate an abundance of light with activity, not rest-with movement, not calm. But that is here, in Enrof. It is not like that everywhere. Besides, the word «radiant» itself is not as precise as I would like. For the light of this next plane, called Nertis, is radiant and at the same time inexpressibly gentle. It combines the enchanting softness of moonlit nights with the bright airiness of blue springtime skies. As if lulled by something more soothing than the softest music, I sank into a contented sleep, feeling like a child who, after months of neglect, suffering, and undeserved pain, is cradled in his or her mother's lap. Feminine tenderness permeated everything, even the air, but it radiated with particular warmth from those who hovered around me, like caregivers who look after the sick and weary with inexhaustible love. They were beings who had earlier risen to even higher planes and had descended from there to Nertis, to such as me, to perform works of tenderness, love, and joy.

Nertis is the land of great rest. Imperceptibly, without any efforts on my part, but as a result only of the work of the friends of my heart, my ether body slowly underwent changes, becoming ever lighter, more permeated with spirit, and more obedient to my wishes. It is in Nertis that our ether body acquires the form it takes in the zatomis, the heavenly lands of metacultures. And if the loved ones I had left behind in Enrof could have seen me, they would have known it was I. They would have caught an elusive resemblance between my new appearance and the one they were familiar with, but they would have been astounded to the bottom of t heir hearts by the otherworldly brightness of my transfigured self.

What remained from before? My facial features? Yes, but now they shone with everlasting, unearthly youth. The organs of my body? Yes, but two soft blue flowers, as it were, glowed on my temples-my organs of spiritual hearing. My brow seemed to be decorated with a magical glittering jewel-my organ of spiritual sight. My organ of deep memory, located in the brain, was not visible. The changes that my internal organs underwent were also not visible, as all those adapted to feeding and procreation either disappeared altogether or were subjected to radical changes and took on new functions. Eating resembled breathing, and I replenished my energy by absorbing radiations of Light emanating from the elementals. Procreation as we know it is not to be found in any of the worlds of ascent. There is something else, and I will speak of it when we have reached the chapter on Heavenly Russia.

After a long period of time, I began to feel with joy my strength growing ever greater, as if mysterious and long-awaited wings were opening. The reader should not take me too literally: I am not referring to anything resembling the wings of flying beings on Enrof. I refer to the ability to move freely through four-dimensional space. It was still only something to look forward to-immobility lay on me as before-but the possibility of flight turned from a vague dream into a definite prospect.

I learned from the friends of my heart that my stay in Nertis was drawing to a close. It seemed to me that the cradle-like something in which I was resting began slowly to swing up and down, as it were, with every swing higher than the previous one. The motion aroused in me an eagerness to taste the even greater happiness I was soon to experience, and I realized that I was already on another plane, in Gotimna, the last of the worlds in the sakwala of Enlightenment. It was filled with gigantic flowers, as it were, whose size did not deprive them of a wonderful softness, and the spaces between them revealed endless heights and expanses of nine colors. All I can say about the two colors that lie outside our spectrum is that the impression produced by one of them is closest to a sky blue, and the impression from the other is distantly reminiscent of our gold.

Entire forests of the enormous flowers of Gotimna bob up and down, swing and sway, making sounds of unimaginable rhythm. Their rustling is like the softest of music, never wearying, as peaceful as the sound of forests on Earth. Yet it is full of inexhaustible meaning, affectionate love, and concern for all those living there. We moved with a lightness and ease no being in Enrof is capable of approaching, gliding, as it were, between the singing flowers in any one of the four directions of space or pausing to talk with them, for we came to understand their language and they understood ours. There, in sky-blue meadows or next to huge, softly glittering gold petals, we were visited by those who descend to Gotimna from the zatomis to prepare us, their younger brothers and sisters, for the next legs of our journey.

Gotimna is called the Garden of Higher Fate, for the destiny of souls for a long time to come is decided there. I arrived at a crossroads, one that lies on the path of all who ascend to that plane. For many centuries afterward it is impossible to change.

That was the path I chose. I understood that I had agreed to shoulder a burden that would be impossible for me ever to throw off without serious repercussions for myself and others.

From the Indian Gotimna I was taken to the Russian Gotimna, where preparation for the mission my higher self had undertaken was to be completed. But falls, revolts, and betrayals are possible after moral lives of Light as well, because what slept in the sunlight can later awaken in the soul. Such falls also took place on my journey after Gotimna. I will have to shed light on that, however, in other chapters of the book. Now it is time to speak of the zatomis, the heavenly lands of the metacultures.

I have been able to speak of the sakwala of Enlightenment on the basis of what I have been able to recall from experience. In contrast, my memory contains only infrequent, sporadic images of the zatomis sakwala, images imprinted in my mind much later, during the transphysical travels I made while asleep here, in the Enrof of Russia. Those hazy images were supplemented by another, invaluable source of information: transphysical meetings and talks. The autobiographical style is not suited to the presentation of this material. Thus, the following chapters will unfortunately be formal and dry, like the chapter on points of departure.


to the next part: 3.2. The Zatomis
to the previous part: 2.3. Points of Departure Metacultures
to the beginning: «The Rose of the World». Table of contents
 
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