Daniil Andreev. «The Rose of the World»
Book IX. On the Metahistory of the Petersburg Empire

IX. Chapter 4. The Feat

«Statehood is marred with the primordial sin; its enlightenment is impossible» – Alexander I could have clothed his subjective experience of kingship in such a formula, unwittingly making use of traditional notions of Christianity.

Alexander I himself – both as a monarch and breacher of ethical foundations on that murderous night of March 23, all for the sake of his own and his country’s wellbeing – became a bearer of the primordial sin of immoral statehood, doubly so. He felt responsible both for those who had reigned before him and for his successors. Could he live up to this responsibility while remaining in power? Yet, the ennoblement of state that can be practically realized is fraught with the shattering of all bonds, with revolutionary outbreak, and all-out destruction. Objectively, there are no other ways toward enlightenment. Besides, a patricide has no such right.

There is yet another, suprastate truth, the only one upon which Alexander firmly stood: repentance, love, and spiritual doing for the sake of humanity and in the name of God.

And so: was this a call to solemn abdication and receding into monastic life? Yet, Alexander was no Charles V (a European monarch that retired to a monastery, t/n). Turning the most intimate drama of his destiny and soul into a theatrical-mystical masquerade in the full view of everyone… Not for the world! Becoming a monk in complete secrecy, however, seemed a way, as well as leaving the country in the hands of those who were young, full of energy, without the pangs of conscience, unstained by the prior crime, and oblivious of the inevitable terrifying ethical and religious dilemmas. To leave it would be! To leave as a nameless vagrant wandering along dusty roads, from village to village. It would be such a delight for him to be asking for alms! Yet, he had no right even for this. The richest of the world monarchs, clothed in tatters and begging for brass from his own subjects: what a pathetic farce! No. Just letting two-three people into this secret – there was no other way – including Empress Elizabeth. She would understand. She would justify and support him. And the leaving was to be arranged in such a way so that all forty million subjects would think he has gone to the next world; so that the sealed, empty coffin would sink into the royal sepulcher in the full view of everyone.

Some time ago, in the moment of great jeopardy for his country, Alexander I let it drop that he would rather grow a beard and hit the road in a linsey-woolsey than surrender to the enemy. And now, the time had come for deeds, not words. Now, the enemy was not the French emperor, but the demon of statehood himself. Yet, he would leave him exactly in this way. In an armiak (a peasant’s coat of heavy cloth, t/n) or chuika (a long cloth overcoat, t/n), as a commoner, he would reach the designated monastery. It would be too premature to take the monastic vows: work of penance comes first. Praying for the rest of his life cleansing and redeeming himself. Praying for Russia. For the sinful and bloodstained royal dynasty. For its enlightenment; for its wisdom; let this cup of retribution pass from children and grandchildren! And, if it is not meant to be, then let this small bit from him be accounted for in their after-death judgment. For them! For all of them! For the whole people, already overshadowed with something unknown, something imminent, something inconceivably dreadful.

His train of thought, of course, might have been not exactly this, for I impart it the coloration inherent in my consciousness. There are no indications that he was aware of or acutely felt the existence of the demon of statehood or the demiurge as transphysical personages, as hierarchies. Besides, he might have long been pestered by the idea which had grown deeply rooted in his church-shaped, denominational consciousness: whoever becomes anointed to reign has no right to voluntarily take down the crown – never and under no circumstances, for it is tantamount to betraying a mission vested from above. Perhaps, this idea had long prevented him from taking the fateful step, until he clearly felt that the forces at the helm of his country had fallen short of the Divine blessing, perhaps, forevermore. We may presume that precisely at that moment he felt that he could step down. Be that as it may, his psychological orientation, the major landmarks of his inner path were shaped, apparently, along these lines. This can be drawn from everything that had preceded and all that followed.

It is the early spring of 1825 with golden foliage lit by the sun. There was no longer that tormenting anxiety which made him toss about all the provinces and towns of the empire but rather a thoroughly thought-out plan that brought Alexander I to Taganrog. The Rubicon was reached, an unheard-of turn of destiny was being shaped. No one except the empress, medical doctor, and personal attender were admitted to the ruler: final preparations were underway. Then the coffin was brought in. A tall, aged traveler garbed like a commoner, with a sack on his back and a staff in his aristocratically small hand was heading north upon leaving Taganrog. At the same time, there were muffled movements, the rustle, and whispery voices reverberating across the palace. The coffin was screwed and sealed with lead. A grievous news was announced to Russia: Emperor Alexander has timelessly deceased. The medical doctor drew the ruler’s profile on the deathbed: in the capital, it was going to be proof that the emperor had died in earnest, and the coffin contained none other than his body. They were transporting the coffin all across Russia so as to lower it down into the royal sepulchre with all the due ceremonies.

Historical science has not yet delivered its authoritative verdict as to what is known in literature under the strange title “A Legend on Elder Fyodor Kuz’mich”1.

Apparently, the powers of Zhrugrs, both the Second and the Third, took much trouble creating such a mentality as in the dynasty, so in the society and scientific circles that even a thought of Emperor Alexander’s leave would appear outlandish. This was only natural. In the eyes of the state church, such an act remained a treachery, a betrayal, a spiritual crime. To the dynasty, it appeared as a feared temptation for the people, a dangerous precedent casting into doubt the legitimacy of all successive monarchs and, at the least, of the moral essence of the state. It is clear that, until the demise of the Second Witzraor, a serious scientific probe into this question remained nearly undone. When the Third Zhrugr marked his presence in the transphysical layers of Russia, another, no less formidable impediment came about: the ruler of the overthrown dynasty with a halo of a feat, self-renunciation, and saintliness around him was to sink into oblivion. Yet, new data cropped up waiting to be clarified. There appeared studies abroad which were silenced here. After the revolution (the October Revolution of 1917, t/n), science, as an obedient slave of the Third Witzraor, made haste to discredit the names of numerous historical figures, and Alexander I, among a few others, was targeted with particular animosity. His image was debunked, debased, denigrated, marred; ==========================================================

1 The word «legend» is inappropriate here in any event, for it was not the reality of Fyodor Kuz’mich as such that was cast into doubt, but his identity to Emperor Alexander I.


they attempted to present even a mere supposition of his leave as out of phase with reality. All this, perhaps, was due to an inkling that the demon of statehood had acquired a great and intransigent enemy in the person of this great spirit. The “legend” about elder Fyodor Kuz’mich was as though shrouded in conspiratorial silence. Barely known yet is the stunning historical fact that the coffin of Alexander I turned out empty when unsealed at the Peter and Paul Fortress.

Here, I cannot go on at length presenting my arguments in favor of this so-called legend. I am not writing a historical research but a metahistorical article. The one who, with his inner gaze, caught a light-filled giant whooshing through the aerial abysm; the one who, transfixed and awe-struck, apprehended the meaning of the inimitable path which this enlightened one (Alexander I, t/n) stepped upon a century ago – his knowledge could not be shaken by the lack of scientific proof or even the total absence thereof.

O, a hundred years ago he was far, far from that. There remained a full-size portrait of elder Fyodor Kuz’mich painted with the brush of an unskilled local artist (he was from Tobolsk, it seems). This document was published2. It is more telltale than any of the other proofs. It stuns one.

A giant, bare, half-spherical skull. Vestiges of snowy white hair above the ears half cover the pinna. The “cold and glossy head”, which the sculptor furnished with wrath, is now almost awe-inspiring. The lips, which clearly show between the moustache and the patchy beard, are pressed together with unspeakable sorrow. The eyes staring at the viewer are full of austere reflection and impervious mystery. The withered features shine with rueful wisdom – the very features which we saw so many a time in the emperor’s portraits. Precisely these. They became transformed to the extent and in the way, which only years and the inner fire of a true feat could enable.

In order to “fabricate” this portrait, in order to deliberately (what for?) lend the elder an intentional semblance to Alexander I – with such a depth of psychological penetration into the logic of the king’s spiritual tragedy at that – for this kind of insight, the unknown artist must have been a genius. Yet, a genius, even a modest ==========================================================

2 “Hagiography of Homeland Zealots of Piety of the XVIII and XIX Centuries”. January, 1906. The St. Panteleimon Monastery on the Holy Mt. Athos Press


talent, he was not: in terms of its artistic merit, the portrait remains rather homespun.

Against my will, I am getting into an argument. I would love to go out of my way to convey my knowledge to the reader, for the number of great rulers with such a momentous catharsis can be counted on the fingers of one hand in world history. Diocletian (a Roman emperor, t/n)? Yet, having given up power, he did not go “into the dessert” but simply retreated into his private life, just like Sulla (a former Roman consul, t/n). Charles V? But, while in the Monastery of Yuste, Charles was still involved in politics, and he was surrounded with such a comfort of which any duke would be jealous.

No, I recall certain Indian rulers, truly great ones, that is, spiritually. Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the first Indian empire, comes to mind: after a spectacular rule, he abdicated, entered the ascetic path of Jains, and took his life through the expiatory suicide which is allowed in this religion (Jainism, t/n): the refusal from food. Emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest figures of all times, realized, upon a smashing victory over the state Kalinga, the sinfulness of the killing of one human being by another. He proclaimed his abandoning of the path of “conquering the world” for the sake of spreading piety, and, after a long reign – nearly the most light-filled in history – became a Buddhist monk. But all these destinies are deeply individual. Besides, I do not know another such story about one of the greatest monarchs who secretly left the throne and died in total obscurity many years later.

My passionate desire is for this to be finally understood. Precisely for this reason, sometimes I resort to historical arguments. But I do not have to, nor am I willing to. This is a task for researchers. As for me – certainly, without any argumentation on my part – I can only pinpoint, just a little, the metahistorical significance of some phenomena. Those years concurred with the last years of a great Russian saint whom we can and must put on the same plane with ascetics of the distant past: reverend Seraphim of Sarov. A word about him spread all over the country, and, among venerators of the Sarov shepherd and miracle-worker, there numbered names of the grand-ducal titulary.

At the end of 1825, an unknown middle-aged wanderer arrived at the Sarov convent. Reverend Seraphim himself received confession from him. The newcomer was admitted to the monastery as a novitiate named Fyodor under the reverend’s guidance. His origins and past were known, apparently, to no one save the reverend.

A few years passed by – a time sufficient enough for the official version of Emperor Alexander’s death in Taganrog to have grown deep roots in the public consciousness. A small circle of those let into the secret earnestly kept quite: each of them understood that revealing even a tiny bit of it was fraught with ending up in the dungeons of Shlisselburg (a fortress, t/n) or in more somber places. December 14 (quashing the Decembrist revolt, t/n) was still fresh in memory, and even a slightest hearsay capable of casting into doubt the legitimacy of Nikolai I as a ruler would have been nipped in the bud. Empress Elizabeth (the wife of Alexander I, t/n) died. The new sovereign took hold of her diaries and letters, familiarized himself with their content in absolute privacy, and burned them in the fireplace with his own hand.

Burn them he did. But shortly after, his majesty the emperor, all of a sudden, visited the Sarov convent which was more than 1200 kilometers away from Petersburg. Barrel-chested, with awe-inspiring glassy eyes, he strode to a humble temple followed by his retinue. On the church porch, there awaited him a little humped old man in festive garments, with a tracery of wrinkles on his face and blue eyes, so bright as if he were seventeen, not seventy years of age. The emperor stooped, and his fuzzy, fragrant, well-groomed whiskers touched upon the sanctifier’s pale hand, his fingers coarsened with non-stop work and strangely smelling of cypress.

After a stately service and no less stately meal, the king retired to the abbot’s cell. There, a two- or three-hour conversation took place between the three: Seraphim of Sarov, Nikolai I, and the one who labored in Sarov under the humble name “novitiate Fyodor”.

What did Nikolai feel when he saw his predecessor on the throne, his sibling brother in a plain black robe here, in the backwoods resounded only with the ringing of the bells? However much he had always reveled in his grandeur, the very first minute of their meeting brought forth a mix of trembling, horror, grief, admiration, a strange hope and a strange envy – all waved through his soul. He had never believed in such spiritual tragedies like the one of his brother which seemed either an extravagancy or a farce to him. Now – perhaps, just for a few hours or minutes – he realized that it was not a mere play or madness. Also, a vague joy stirred in him that this obscure seeker of God presided for him and the entire royal dynasty.

What did they talk about? The milieu precluded some insignificant topics or inquiries into each other’s private living. The emperor did not travel more than a thousand kilometers on horses just to trifle away the time. Was Alexander Pavlovich trying to persuade him to carry out the reforms which he himself had sidestepped? Not on horses, but on foot did he himself traverse more than a thousand kilometers from Taganrog to Sarov, receiving a direct experience of his country, not from a carriage window. And if he did learn something from the horrible sightings of Russian life, first of all, it must have been the sheer immorality and political madness of serfdom which was to be abolished immediately.

Yet, what could this conversation lead to? Whatever Alexander was asking for, whatever he admonished his brother about, however much he attempted to convey his hard-won knowledge to the young sovereign – what could possibly persuade him who was in the zenith of his might? Alas, they spoke in different languages.

The emperor came back to Petersburg. The logic of power carried on its relentless momentum. That blindness which then-politicians deemed as common sense – they could have called it, perhaps, the political realism, had this term been coined by then – was nearing the end of the empire. It goes without saying that only before his departing could Emperor Alexander I hope for his individual feat or even joint spiritual efforts of the entire Heavenly Russia to eliminate the karmic mesh of the dynasty, that is, to save it from its inexorable dues. When Alexander, having long left behind Sarov, was dying in the Siberian taiga as a very old man, his consciousness reached much more clarity, and he could see into such depths and heights which he, perhaps, could have not imagined in the beginning.

What made him leave Sarov – we know not. Reverend Seraphim passed away in 1832. And, in the fall of 1836, a very tall aged man, poorly yet neatly dressed, rode up to a blacksmith shop at the outskirts of Krasnoufimsk (a town in Russia, t/n). He asked to shoe his horse. Yet, his visage and manner of speech appeared out of the ordinary and strange to the smith and people crowding there. The man was apprehended and delivered to the town’s prison; there, he called himself Fyodor Kuz’mich. But he refused to provide any further explanations for he declared himself a vagrant who did not remember his origins. He was tried precisely for vagrancy and, having first received twenty lashes, exiled to a settlement in Siberia. Village Zertsaly of Tomsk province was the destination.

Thus began the Siberian period of his life – a long, twenty-eight-year period. Cossacks, peasants, merchants, hunters, and priests – they all played a part in his destiny, for his vagrant life, piety, and the medical care which the locals received from him, the religious conversations which he engaged in soon lent him an air of righteousness and sagacity. But he considered himself as weighed down with a great sin, and, wherever he chanced to live, most of his time he spent in prayer. Everywhere and at all times, he had on him a few religious books, an icon of Alexander Nevsky, and a small ivory crucifix which stunned everybody with its non-Russian workmanship. Fyodor Kuzmich’ did not discuss his past with anyone, even with the bishops Innokenti and Afanasiy of Irkutsk who paid him great honors. Only on rare occasions, his reminiscences of the 1812 events dazed his listeners, for such details about the life of Petersburg’s high circles could come only from an insider.

Fyodor Kuz’mich passed away in 1864. It would be a childish pretension to try to conjecture what “other worlds” had been revealed to him in his last years of life, and in what sequence he had apprehended mystery after mystery. Each spiritual way is unique, hence inimitable; what remains in common are the basics.

Yet, one of those basics comes down to the fact that the so-called “narrow path” (all chief religions have its varieties) not only prevents the ascending one from going down into the afterlife purgatories and tormentaries of the soul, but also shortens his or her stay in the worlds of enlightenment. For, to a point, ascetics enlighten material coats of their monads while alive, whereas the majority of us have to cross to the netherworld for this end. The degree of enlightenment achieved here determines the pace of the ascent yonder.

With a light breath, barely touching the ground of those worlds, Alexander the Blessed went up through the layers of Enlightenment and into Heavenly Russia. There, his creativity grew; there, a ladder of ever new enlightenments awaited him while decades were passing here.

The one who, in the time of a great peril, had been at the head of defending the people and had seen to the liberation of Europe, was destined to take the lead of the enlightened forces of Russia in their struggle with the forces of antihumankind, with witzraors of our metaculture and with Gagtungr himself.

Archistratigus (a captain in the host of the Lord, t/n) of the Heavenly Kremlin, he remains there, in Holy Russia. But his spiritual might, his lightness are on the rise. He ascends higher and higher, he has already entered into the Heavenly Jerusalem, a blue glittering pyramid, the highest Transmyth of Christianity.

The one who, by way of his feat, broke away from the loops and knots of the kingly karma was destined to set free those who had been brought by this karma into agelong captivity – giants-prisoners in the citadel of the igvas and witzraors.

The one who, at one time, had laid the foundation of a great cathedral in the capital of Russia, which was never called into being by the second demon of statehood, was destined to overlook, along with the immortal architect of this cathedral, the erection of an unparalleled shrine: soon, it would become the abode of Zventa-Sventana, the most holy daughter of Yarosvet and the Collective Soul of Russia.

He leads battle after battle between the Synclite of Russia and antihumankind. Yet, when the struggle between the demiurge and the demon of “greatpowerness” culminates in the release of Navna, and Zventa-Sventana assumes enlightened flesh in the Heavenly Kremlin, he will leave the summit of the Russian metaculture so as to enter into the Synclite of the World – those spheres which have already seen him as an iridescent guest.

As a light-filled nebule, whose oncoming billows appear as glittering waves of power and joy in the fabric of the visited planes, this rider, along with angels, daemons, and armies of the Synclite, is speeding toward the walls of Drukkarg. A rider he is, but his stead is magnificent and highly intelligent – it is one of those beings of the animal kingdom that rose above Hangvilla. And their riding together and battling together signify a union between enlightened humanity and enlightened animal kingdom.

Thus Alexander unraveled the knots of his karma. What about his brother Nikolai? And the Second Witzraor left to his own devices by Yarosvet? Enraptured with victories, Zhrugr now saw the demiurge’s will not as a guidance but as a nuisance, and this incited nothing but rage in him. A long era of struggle commenced – the struggle which was destined, spilling over the bounds of the suprapeople, to turn from a purely battle for Russia into a liberating struggle for the whole humankind.

Thus Nikolai I, an obedient tool of the demon of statehood, will unwittingly reiterate the apostasy of Ivan the Terrible. Likening these two historical figures may seem strange, but only to a historian: for a metahistorian, it is only grounded and rational. Different cultural-historical ages and milieus, dissimilar political situations, the singular individualities of the two witzraors, and, finally, the different temperaments of the two kings… yes, true, these differences are so sweeping that they eclipse what the kings do have in common in terms of their metahistorical destiny.

Especially dissimilar are, apparently, these two temperaments. After all, there can be different styles, as it were, of tyrannizing… And yet, these differences are but superficial. When the outraged Nikolay I riveted his jelly-like light eyes with two black pellets of pupils onto a subject, the unfortunate one would freeze and petrify just like a boyar or a serf did under the hawk’s gaze of Ivan the Terrible.

When Nikolai I played the role of a monarch, unfathomable in his largesse and nobility of his aspirations, and, believing in this farce himself, drove Ryleev (a Russian poet, t/n) into remorseful sobbing and the wise, incorruptible Pushkin into writing panegyrics to the great grandson of Peter I – isn’t this reminiscent of the sadistic buffoonery of Ivan IV? Didn’t both these monarchs believe, intoxicated and blinded with pride, in the glorious formula: “God – in the sky, me – on the earth”? Didn’t they hallow themselves as shepherds of souls and bodies, unfellowed in their elevated knowledge of what the sheeple were or were not needful, of what was beneficial and harmful to them?

Nikolai I and Ivan IV heralded the zenith of the demon of statehood’s might – this was first; second came his entering the path of struggle with the demiurge of the suprapeople; third, the maximizing of the tyrannical tendency; and fourth, the onset of the state’s erosion.

Synchronistically, the lost wars with the Poles and Livonians at the end of Ivan the Terrible’s reign run parallel to the lost Crimean war [in the time of Nikolai I]. Oprichnina can be matched with the terroristically stifling regime of Nikolai I, but now the gentry, which had been promoted by Ivan IV through oprichnina, was mirrored by bureaucracy. The suicide of Nikolai I who lived to see the downfall of what he had erected is equivalent to Ivan the Terrible’s death. What matters, of course, is not the fact that one voluntarily poisoned himself, and the other vehemently and panicly resisted his own demise. What matters is that both these deaths are most vivid examples of spiritual-state bankruptcies.

to the next part: 10.1 The Gift of Messagery
to the previous part: 9.3 Withdrawal of the Sanction
to the beginning: «The Rose of the World». Table of contents
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