Daniil Andreev. «The Rose of the World»
Book X. On the Metahistory of the Russian Culture

X. Chapter 1. The Gift of Messagery

In one of the preceding chapters, I have already pointed out that the cultural horizon of medieval Russia featured no brilliant thinkers. Neither was this period abundant with artistic geniuses. However, never again did the Russian metaculture shine with such a plethora of saints and righteous ones. It is also widely known that this righteousness was, for the most part, of an ascetic, monastic type in accord with the ethical tradition as bequeathed by the Orthodox Byzantium. From the vantage point of this tradition, any kind of human activity could bear only a relative, transient value. It is true that the role of the state leaders – great dukes and kings – was acknowledged, but it was deemed fruitful and appropriate inasmuch as it consorted with behests of the highest ethical barometer of those times: the chair of the metropolitan and the patriarch, solitary asceticism, the cell. Tellingly, when dying, kings took monastic vows thus heralding transition of their souls into the highest stage of spiritual life.

In the eighteenth century, the depletion of the spiritual waters, from which the roots of the Orthodox righteousness had been nourished, became obvious. There were fewer and fewer prominent religious figures; lofty shepherds of souls who had enlightened their hearts and subjugated their own selves were on the wane in society. The nineteenth century sees only a handful of individuals of such caliber – reverend Seraphim of Sarov, Theophan the Recluse, Ambrose and Makary of Optina. They can be likened to the images of those saints which the land had been rich with in the preceding centuries.

Ultimately, there was nothing in sight on the church horizon in the pre-revolutionary era. Moreover, this erosion of personality turned out to be just one of the manifestations of the overall creative impoverishment of Orthodoxy. Year after year, the church had increasingly lagged behind the requirements and challenges of the rapidly changing epochs. This lag even became raised into a principle: the church hierarchy viewed itself as the keeper of sacrosanct and exhaustive truths regardless of changing times and human psychology. Yet, as this view was buttressed neither with the impeccability of the selfsame shepherds’ life, nor with the intensity of their spiritual doing, nor with the wisdom of their responses to the new questions, whether social, political, or philosophical, the authority and significance of the church rapidly declined. The last spiritual efforts on the part of the church were spurred by the tempest of the Revolution. A host of nameless heroes and martyrs came to the fore. As their life journeys lapsed, the Orthodox Church proved to be even more devoid of the spirit of creativity. Having become a toy in the hands of shrewd politicians, Eastern Christian communities became a mere candleholder and instrument of the antireligious state.

Yet, as the church was losing its significance as the society’s spiritual guide, a new agency was being propelled, which was tasked with this duty and which, in the person of its most remarkable representative, clearly realized it. This agency is “messagery”.

A messenger is someone who is inspired by a daemon and makes other people feel – through artistic imagery in the broadest sense – the highest truth and light pouring from other worlds. Prophesizing and messaging are synonymous, yet not identical terms. A messenger acts only by way of art. A prophet can carry out his or her mission through other means, be it oral preaching, religious philosophy, or even his or her own lifestyle. From the other side, the notion of “messagery” is close to artistic genius, though it does not entirely concur with it either. Genius is the highest degree of artistic giftedness. The majority of geniuses were, to more or less extent, messengers, but, certainly, not all of them. Furthermore, a lot of messengers were not artistic geniuses – they were merely gifted.

The century that passed between the Patriotic War [of 1812, translator's note] and the Great Revolution [of 1917, t/n] was an age of artistic geniuses in every sense of the word. All of them, especially geniuses of literature, were opinion leaders of entire generations that looked up to them as teachers of life. Thanks to them, the formative and educational role of literature strengthened immensely. It manifested in activities of many talents – the influence of some of them was even stronger and more far-reaching than that of their genius contemporaries. From the time of 1860’s, a certain multivalent fact became clearly established of which, however, the society was completely unaware: the influences of geniuses and talented ones started, in a very deep sense, to counterpose one another. Artistic geniuses of that time – Tyutchev, Leo Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Surikov, later on Vrubel and Blok – did not propose any social or political programs which could meet the demands of the masses in that epoch. They enraptured the minds, hearts, and wills of their followers not along the horizontal of social reforms but along the vertical of the depths and heights of spirituality. They revealed the space of the world within and pointed out its unshakeable vertical axis.

With regards to the talents, the most influential of them at the least, these would articulate, with ever growing clarity, the problems of social and political activity to the consciousness of the generations. These were Herzen, Nekrasov, Chernyshevsky, Pisarev, all Sixtiers, Gleb Uspensky, Korolenko, Mikhailovsky, Gorky. Talents-messengers, such as Leskov or Alexei Konstantinovich Tolstoy, were like a handful of isolated islands. They rowed against the stream, as it were, not being properly understood or fairly appreciated by their contemporaries.

As Ivan the Terrible, despite all his stature, is to be acknowledged as an immense, but not great personality as he lacked in largesse – one of the signs of true greatness – so a whole host of artists, to whom many of us would apply the term “genius”, are not and have never been messengers. For their artistic activities are devoid of one of the main attributes of “messagery”: the feeling of being guided by a hierarchy which is external to and higher than one’s self. French literature, for instance, is rich in such names whereas, we have only two-three figures in the times of the revolutionary upsurge: Gorky and Mayakovski. The genius of these writers is a matter of dispute, but hardly anyone would view them as heralds of the higher reality.

The truths of the higher reality are refracted through the subordinate reality of Enrof. If an individual is vested with a mission of preaching and refracting these truths, with a duty of preaching in the language of artistic imagery, if, for this purpose, a daemon is sent to the artist – he or she cannot not feel (with a varying degree of acuity) its inspirational influence. The nature of this feeling and the methods of its expression may vary howsoever, but the same essence will always reveal: an experience of some force external to the consciousness of the artist that irrupts into it and manifests itself artistically. Such an experience may be familiar to people who cannot be classified as geniuses. An example of this is A.K. Tolstoy, a remarkable yet not genius poet. Few genius poets were able to express this feeling with such a clarity and definitiveness as Alexei Tolstoy did in his brilliant poem: “In vain, you, artist, take credit for your creations”. This poem alone may suffice for us to see, with full clarity and certainty, the gift of “messagery” that the poet possessed. At the same time, this poem is far behind some of the other A. Tolstoy’s masterpieces in terms of transphysical insight. Who else in Russian literature save Alexei Tolstoy in his “John of Damascus” expressed with such clarity, tenability, vigor, and ardency the idea that art in general and the art of language in particular could be an expression of the higher reality, of the ultimate Truth, of the other worlds’ breath; that the poet actualizing his or her gift of “messagery” is destined to do this by the Divine forces? Isn’t his poem “Dracon” the first attempt in Russian literature to depict and probe into the metahistorical role of demonic entities not unlike witzraors? Not to mention his “Don Juan”, of which the transphysical concept would require a special research to be made apparent, or such a pearl of the Russian lyrics as the poem “A Tear Trembles in Your Jealous Gaze”?

All this elucidates the difference between the notion of artistic genius and that of “messagery”. We know gifted artists who did not claim the genius perfection of their works. Nonetheless, they heralded such heights and depths of otherworldly spheres which many geniuses fell far short of. From the other side, many creators who are convinced in their genius are, in actuality, simply talented ones. A barely noticeable yet irrefutable sign gives them away: they perceive the creative process not as a manifestation of the suprapersonal principle, but as their own purview, even merit, not unlike an athlete that perceives the power of his muscles as belonging entirely to him and fulfilling his wishes alone. Such pretenders of genius happen to be boastful and inclined to self-glorification. At the turn of the twentieth century, for instance, every so often there erupted the turgid declarations of one’s own genius.

I am the preciosity of slow Russian language,
I climax all the poetry – hark to this message…

– exclaimed one. Another one, rephrasing Horacio, wiped off the name of the great Roman from the plinth and, with cursive letters, now falling to the right, then falling to the left, yet after cacophonously bumping into one another, inscribed his: “…and different people will take my name to their bosom… and call me simply: Valery Bryusov”.

I, Igor Severyanin, a genius,
Am enraptured with my victory…

– announced the third.

My poetry will reach
across centuries’ ridges
And across the heads
of poets and rulers…

claimed the fourth, a wishful thinker as he was.

Each of these reciters was convinced that genius was an unalienable quality of his personality, even an achievement of his. Not unlike teenagers feeling themselves stronger than their peers, they haughtily strained their poetic biceps and, with deep arrogance, looked down on other youngsters. All these are talents who were dazzled by themselves, masters who created in their own name, slaves of their own selfhood. They are not geniuses, but, rather, imposters of genius. Just like the imposter kings of our history, some of them managed to ascend to the literary throne and sit away on it for several years, one of them – even for three decades in a row. But the judgement of time invariably debunked them, posterity allotted humble places to their names, and their personal karma, weighed down with their pride, self-infatuation, and lowered self-rigor (“I am permitted more than others, for I am above all”), swept such personages further and further away in their afterlife from the Synclite of metaculture.

I would be grossly misunderstood if somebody concludes from my words that I am trying to make the following point: the creativity of any artist has to be invariably embedded into an ethical tendency, into an overarching religio-moral idea. Prior to placing any “demands”, I concern myself not with what things ought to be but, rather, with actuality. Precisely for this end, when introducing the notion of “messagery” I distinguish it from the notions of genius and talent. It would be ridiculous and bizarre of me to demand the following from any artist: as such and such thing is intrinsic to being a messenger, kindly live up to it. Genius and talent divorced from the gift of “messagery”, are, nonetheless, standalone Divine gifts. They are just conferred differently and contain different potentialities.

The transphysical difference of a mere genius or a mere talent from a messenger, is always, to a lesser or greater extent, about one’s personal giftedness. Talent and even genius are such universal capacities, which, in a given individual, flourished more than in others owing to his or her psychophysical makeup. These singularities are fashioned teleologically through the formative work of such and such Providential forces over the shelt, astral, etheric, and physical body. No daemon is sent to and no muse inspires such an artist; no invisible being is working behind the scenes on opening his or her spiritual organs of perception. Such a person, whether talented or even of genius, is incapable of experiencing the suprapersonal nature of his or her inspirations, simply because these inspirations do not come from anything suprapersonal in the first place. If claims of this kind come from a gifted prodigy who has not yet reached his or her zenith, one of the following explanations is true: either it really is a young messenger; or, it is a gifted youngster striking an attitude of a messenger and imitating, consciously or unconsciously, the demeanor of great artists; or, finally, we are simply dealing with, by and large, harmless literary technique, something like a hollow apostrophe used by poets when addressing a muse.

A talent or even genius has an obligement rather than a mission, just as any other human being. Yet, a host of deeply individual singularities makes him or her stand out. As for the mission, it always bears a very broad significance, and the entire metaculture wills its accomplishment. For an artist to become a messenger, more strenuous and long-lasting efforts on the part of the Providential forces are needed. A non-stop work is required, starting long before the physical incarnation, over the material sheaths of the messenger’s monad by cherubs, daemons, elementals, the demiurge of the suprapeople and its Collective Soul, by the Synclite of metaculture and the Synclite of the World. For without the unsealing of the spiritual organs of one’s being, “messagery” is simply impossible. It is an extremely arduous process, more arduous than endowing one even with the most powerful artistic genius.

As for genius or talent as such, they can be totally stripped of the task to herald and display – through the magical crystal of art – the highest reality. It suffices to recall Titian or Rubens, Balzac or Maupassant. Only universal ethical imperatives apply to them, and so too one condition: not to hide one’s light under a bushel or use it for malevolent ends leading to the depravation of spirit. Only with such standards in mind, we can gauge the lives and activities of, say, Flaubert or Wells, Mayakovski or Yesenin, Korolenko or Gorky, Repin or Venetsianov, Dargomyzhsky or Lyadov, Montferrand or Thon. In sum, ethical demands placed on a talent or a genius are those of the universal ethical minimum.

A thought may cross one’s mind – in such a case, wouldn’t the demand placed on a messenger be that of the ethical maximum? The matter is, we do not have the right to place demands standing above the ethical minimum on whomsoever. Only the norms of the ethical minimum can be demanded of a messenger. It is not about our demands but the demands of those who, through their strenuous effort, have bestowed this gift of “messagery” upon the given artist. Apparently, in some cases these demands can be more lenient than ours, in other cases – much more severe. Certain violations of the universal ethical minimum on the part of a messenger can be without any consequences. Yet, the gravest outcome stems from the betrayal, distortion of, or obscuring of the mission. For example, creating “The Virgin of Orleans” aggravated the karma of Voltaire incomparably more than a great many unseemly deeds in his personal life.
They say: “Genius and wickedness do not go together”. It is hard to say so judging by historical facts. Be that as it may, heavy vices, deep downfalls, numerous little weaknesses, even transgressions of basic ethical norms are not only compatible with artistic genius but, in the majority of cases, cannot be avoided, especially at a young age. Such people as Mozart who lived an amazingly pure life, are extremely rare. These are angelic beings that have never incarnated as humans and, therefore, carry the devilish yetzerhara only in their etheric-physical tissues, inherited from their human parents, not in their own shelts.

There are geniuses who create their human image, and there are the ones who are destroying it. Those of the first kind, having gone through all sorts of twists and turns in their younger days, enrich the experience of their souls and, upon reaching maturity, free themselves from their downward and backward momentum, outgrow their tendency to self-destruction. Toward their vale of years, they become increasingly harmonized and transform the memory of their downfalls into the knowledge of good and evil. Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Cervantes, Goethe, Wagner, our Dostoevsky exemplify this. In his last days, Leo Tolstoy reached such harmonization of his personality. Pushkin, Lermontov, and Chekhov were, apparently, moving in this direction. As the lives of many geniuses are cut short early, we cannot confidently trace their potential trajectories. The history of culture knows such bearers of artistic genius or a great talent that were harmonious from the very start, though not in the same degree as Mozart: Bach, Gluck, Liszt, Tulsidas, Tagore, Alexei Tolstoy in Russia. There are also ones like Michelangelo who, even at the ebb of their lives, could harmonize neither the different fragments of their personality, nor their personality with the help of their mission.

Yet, there is also a host of geniuses of the descending kind who tragically fell prey to some unresolved inner contradiction: Francois Villon and Baudelaire, Gogol and Mussorgsky, Glinka and Tchaikovsky, Verlaine and Blok. The tragedy of each of them is not only infinitely individual but also so deep, so singular, so enigmatic that one has to approach the riddles of their destinies with utmost care, with chastity and love, with trembling gratefulness for all that we have learned through them, and without even the feeblest attempt to deliver an ethical verdict upon these great unfortunate ones. “To whom much is given, much will be required”, yes. Yet, let the One who gave require, not us. We only learned from their tragedies, we only took and read the poems of Providence written by their catastrophes through which an ever clear, multilayered warning shines:

I'm not hiding; everybody
Look at me, I'm quite well-lit:
Amidst scorching conflagration
I am standing, bitten by the
Blazes, those from the Pit.

Verily, only “God and conscience” is their judge.

The great “monkey of God” (Satan, t/n), of course, does not idle in this sphere either. If there are messengers of Providence, it must be easy to guess that the cultural-historical process has not been without dark messengers. Yet, when it comes to art, they are much less numerous, and, even having met them, it is not easy to discern their true essence. Dark messengers rarely talk openly and forthright about the mysteries of the demonic principles: why would Gagtungr divulge his own utter darkness through them? Often, the activities of dark messengers are negative: they “bust” and mock spirituality in history, art, religion, life, in the human soul. It would hardly occur to anyone that brilliant, charmingly giddy Parny (a French poet, t/n) has been carrying out (perhaps, unconsciously or half-consciously) a dark mission: by clothing profanities into glamorous poetic forms he has downgraded religious values, discredited the manifestations of the World Femininity, curbed spiritual aspirations in the human hearts, and debunked ethical ideals.

However, most often we would see dark messengers in philosophy and science rather than in art. For instance, Bacon was one of the first who has ensured the ultimate divorce of science from whatsoever ethics and whatsoever spirituality. To all existing religions, Comte has counterposed his religion “of the left hand”, his rational, emasculated, ghastly cold “cult of Humankind” based on the whole system of slithery and dispiriting switches. To the same cohort belongs Stirner with his “ethical” system undermining any morality with the razor of the highest criterion “I want”. Nietzsche, with his idea of the superhuman, has distorted and profaned the ideal of combining – all in one person – the utmost giftedness with the utmost power and the utmost righteousness. He has prevented this ideal from being apprehended by the consciousness of his epoch. Marx, having grabbed hold of one of the wheels in the transmission gear, that is, the economy, has declared its onliness and primacy. As for science, dark messengers are hardly ever prominent, genius scientists. Rather, they are those at a lower echelon – interpreters and distorters of profound scientific theories, not unlike Timiryazev who has vulgarized and reduced the teaching of Darwin to the purely materialistic plain.

In art – and so too in science – there happen to be dark messengers who are not on some dark missions. They become heralds of darkness simply because of their personal delusions. A vivid example of this would be Skryabin (a Russian composer and pianist, t/n). He did believe in God and, in his own way, loved Him. He considered himself a messenger, even a prophet but astonishingly easily pulled switches and fell prey to his own spiritual unrestraint, this way turning into a messenger of Duggur. Only few understand that in his “The Poem of Ecstasy” he depicts with striking bluntness precisely that demonic plane with its mystical sensuality, with its en masse sexual orgies, with transference of the impulse of lust onto the cosmic plane. Most importantly, it is held as an ideal, not as something to expose and be wary of. It is only natural that a sensitive listener of “The Poem of Ecstasy” first becomes confused, then enraptured with this phonic panorama of the cosmic coition, then, finally, feels as if in an inner demagnetization and deep prostration.

Under specific conditions of the real historical-cultural process, it is not rare – in the nineteenth century it was particularly common – that the inextinguishable feeling of the religio-ethical mission in a messenger’s soul enters into conflict with the actual possibilities of the given epoch and with the artistic “categorical imperative” of his or her giftedness. Unaware of this conflict were Andrei Rublev (a celebrated Russian icon painter, t/n) and the builders of St. Basil’s Cathedral, Surikov and Levitan (prominent Russian artists, t/n), or even Dostoevsky who was an unmatched expert in thousands of other inner conflicts. The former could not have been aware of it, for their artistic leanings completely concurred with the concrete potencies of the epoch and their own religio-ethical missions. The latter managed to overcome the unfavorable psychological climate of their time. They were lucky to realize that their pieces of work spoke – the closer toward their maturity and old age, the louder – of precisely those spiritual heights to which these artists were messengers and warned of those abysses of which they were given to contemplate and warn.

The inner conflict I am talking about has a triple nature, it is a struggle amid three tendencies: the religio-ethical-proselytizing; the self-contained ethical; and one more tendency, that of the basest freedom, as it were – the yearning of the individual to realize his or her universal human rights for a normal life unburdened with high ethical norms, which also include the right for weaknesses, the right for passions, the right for prosperity. This inner conflict clearly shaped up as far back as in Pushkin. The series of his poems wherein “When the clamor of life quietens down for a mortal”, “Fathers-hermits and immaculate wives”, “Prophet”, “There, to the heavenly cell”, and others scintillate with such a worriment and gloom – this is a stark testimony of the call for spiritual doing that had grown in the poet’s soul from year to year, and only those who had never experienced this call within themselves would not have understood that. This inner conflict intensified in Lermontov, was experienced with an immense acuity by Gogol and Leo Tolstoy, and turned the destiny of Blok into a tragedy of spiritual descent. I will talk about this in greater detail in the chapters to follow.

Some would say: indeed, such conflicts were pertinent to certain luminaries of Russian literature. Yet, other peoples have their literatures, too. Would we find a lot of such conflicts in them? Were many bearers of a great artistic gift even aware of their mission as of synthesising artistic creations and the spiritual feat?

Quite a voluminous work would be required to give an exhaustive answer to this question. Within the bounds of this book, I can only note down as follows.

First of all, a lot depends on precisely what literature we are going to consider. Ancient Greek tragedy, for example, is associated if not with the clear awareness than, at least, with the unflagging urge to announce and establish the higher-order reality. Persian poetry as represented by Ferdowsi, Saadi, Nizami, and Rumi is a sheer constellation of mystical geniuses, teachers of the soul. Indian literature throughout, from Vedic hymns to Rabindranath Tagore, is an ocean of religio-ethical revelations expressed by means of artistic imagery. Without exception, to the very array are to be added as geniuses of the Western Middle Ages from Eschenbach to Dante and Petrarch, so too geniuses of Spain – Cervantes and Calderon, also the great poets of England – Shakespeare, Milton, Shelley, Coleridge, and Keats, let alone the luminaries of German and Scandinavian literature.

Clearly standing apart is French literature which, surprisingly, lacks in “messagery”. Yet, this is closely linked with the overall metahistorical tragedy of France. As early as at the beginning of the sixteenth century, its people-guiding spirit stirred up a revolt of sorts against the demiurgic plan. Apparently, he wanted the French witzraor, which had been born shortly before, to be sanctioned from above for the unification of Roman-Catholic peoples on the basis of the French statehood, not Catholicism. Such a demand led to the displacement of this spirit, and France fell short of the direct guidance. Its Synclite – remaining in Eden – merged with the Synclite of Apostle Peter. Yet, subsequently only the few entered into it from France – the rest ascended to Monsalvat. Hence the progressive spiritual lameness that meets the gaze of a metahistorian overviewing French culture from the seventeenth century onwards.

Later, it finds its expression in literature and philosophical pretensions in the epoch of encyclopedians – the phenomena suggestive of the lamentable supremacy of reason emasculated from any spirituality and even consciously opposing to it. This is not the right place to unravel the extraordinarily complex knot of metahistorical processes, which was the Great French Revolution. In keeping with the name of this chapter, I will merely indicate that the civic ideals of “freedom, equality, and brotherhood”, that is, “human rights” which began their triumphant march across the whole globe were an attempt of the demiurge of Roman-Catholic metaculture, together with his brother – the demiurge of the North-West – to uplift the abandoned people with those ideals which were more intrinsic to it.

Yet, the increasing void in the transphysical planes over France made it more and more susceptible to all kinds of demonic influences. The distortion of the proclaimed ideals and switching them for revolutionary tyranny commenced just a few days after the Storming of the Bastille. A throng of people with dark missions entered the picture, and a furious rampage which inundated France was a clear evidence of the might of the demonic forces that invaded its shrastr from Gashsharva. The disaster was not exhausted with the bloodshed in France itself – it assumed global proportions, for the entire ideological-spiritual stream that gushed into other European lands from this country was contaminated.

Among the bearers of dark missions, the greatest one was unquestionably Napoleon. His dual task was in twisting the international liberative-civic ideas with the idea of single-person tyranny and increasing the plumes of gavvakh by means of the unflagging international bloodshed (*1).

1 The one who was Napoleon had been born a few centuries earlier with a similar mission of “amplifying sufferings” in the khalifate of Abbasids. After his apotheosis as a French emperor he spent several years in the Pit, then in Gashsharva where he was being readied for the third dark mission – creating a religion of the left hand in Germany. Had this been a success, the tasks of Hitler would have been much simplified, and Napoleon, having gotten the third time to the Pit, would have fallen to Sufetkh and been expunged from Shadanakar. Luckily, he was pulled out from Gashsharva: by the way, Saint Louis and Joan of Arc herself took part in this.

Gradually, France slid into a vacuum between two metacultures, two Synclites. As for French literature, its descent upon the steps of the waning spirituality ultimately took shape in the nineteenth century. However highly one can appraise the artistic giftedness of Balzac, Flaubert, Maupassant, France, no signs of messagery can be found in their works. Only few French writers of the latest period have glimpses of it: Chateaubriand, Hugo, and, perhaps, Mallarme. The last one whose works reflected at times the shimmering gleam of “messagery” was, apparently, Romain Rolland.

Such are the metahistorical circumstances, which lead those contemplating French literature to the rueful and worrisome conclusions. Be that as it may, this literature with its combination of high artistry and low spirituality, with its poorly manifested messagery is the exception amid the host of world literatures.

And yet, it is also true that no other literature, save the Russian, has shown so vividly, insightfully, and tragically the apprehension of the following spiritual fact: for a messenger, it does not suffice to be merely a great artist. In this sense, Russian literature truly stands apart. I am not passing a judgement here but simply pointing out a fact of history.

Not only our geniuses but also quite a number of less gifted ones, each in his or her fashion, expressed this thought. It could be shaped into a demand of a civil, even political feat: Radishchev, Ryleyev, Herzen, Nekrasov, Sixtiers, even Bolsheviks vocalized this appeal. Or, artistic activities were combined, or attempted, with Orthodox preaching: starting from Gogol and down to Dostoevsky. Finally, masters of the pen presaged, searched for, and found or, rather, languished in their roaming about the desert in search for the highest synthesis of the religio-ethical and artistic service: not to mention Gogol and Leo Tolstoy, let us recall and ponder about Alexei Tolstoy, Garshin, Vladimir Solovyov, Blok, and Vyacheslav Ivanov. Let us reminisce about the breakthroughs of the cosmic awareness, as reflected in the works of Lomonosov, Derzhavin, and Tyutchev. Let us penetrate into the biographies of the prematurely deceased Griboyedov, Pushkin, and Lermontov, only to find in them enough resolve to step onto the spiritual path. Let us contemplate the images of Leskov’s saints and the ardent faith of this portrayer of spiritual doing. Or, how about the deep sense and understanding of Christ in Leonid Andreev (he was the father of Daniil Andreev, t/n) who, in a number of his works, primarily in “Judas Iscariot”, tried to express this feeling as an unflagging battle in his soul with the comprehension of the dark, demonic nature of the universal law? The latter idea, as profound as only ideas of messengers can be, found its expression in “The Life of Man”, and it was as obvious as the milieu and the artistic, unlike philosophical or metahistorical, mold of this writer(*2) permitted. Let us follow further on the “messagery” tendency, however distorted, in the anthroposophical teaching of Andrei Bely; in the delirious ideas of Khlebnikov regarding the transformation of the Earth and his insane dreams of becoming the ruler of the world for this end; in the civil feat of Gumilyov who grew more and more religious; in the lofty attempt of Maximillian Voloshin to define his personal course as an artist and a contemporary of the revolution and of great wars with the religio-ethical behest: “In times of the revolution, be a human, not a citizen”.

2 In one of his previous incarnations, L. Andreev was a major merchant. That was the epoch of emperor August and Tiberius. Andreev, by and large, only heard about Jesus Christ, but once he saw Christ from afar on a street in Jerusalem. The Savior was walking in the company of His disciples. The encounter lasted for a few minutes, and Andreev did not know who He was. Yet, the face of Jesus astounded him and etched itself upon his memory forevermore.

It is not by accident that the great Russian literature began from the ode “God”. It is for a reason that its first pages shine with the electrifying verses of Pushkin’s “Prophet”! The conventional interpretation of this poem comes down to the depiction of the ideal image of the poet overall. Yet, such interpretation is based on a fallacious displacement of the notions of messenger, prophet, and artistic genius. This visionary poem thunders not about genius, not about the possession of the highest gift of artistic endowment, not even about bearing the gift of “messagery”, but precisely about the ideal image of the prophet. About the ideal image of the one whose highest abilities of spiritual apprehension, with the help of Providential forces, are unsealed, whose sight and hearing penetrate through the entire Shadanakar, inside out, and who heralds about what has been seen and known not only through the works of art but also with his or her own saintly living. It is precisely that ideal image which, as an irresistibly alluring goal, hovered around the eyes of Gogol, who languished from contemplating chimeras; of Dostoevsky, who tearfully prostrated on the ground and lifted up his hands toward the Milky Way shining over the Optyn Pustyn (a monastery in Russia, t/n); of Tolstoy, who longed for the sultry roads of wandering and of preaching to the people’s masses; of Blok, who descended the steps of mystical switches and became aware of this too late. Some would say: it is good that this ideal image only hovered around their eyes. It is just sad that the fruitless aspirations toward it deprived us of those works of art that Gogol and Tolstoy would have created had this image not hovered around at all.

Let them keep their quiet of what they know not! With ever sealed spiritual sight and hearing, from cradle to grave, with wingless imagination kissing the dust – what do they know about the radiant stream of fabulous creations that incomparably exceed everything created before, the stream that would have streamed from the spirit of an artist who would have become a prophet in earnest, not just in imagination? Let no one judge Icarus for his reckless flight and neither the sun that melted his wings.

Do they think that this aspiration, these foaming and heaving waves of culture, passing through a century and a half of the great Russian literature, is just a mere contingency? If such is the contingency, what would the regularity be like? If it is not a contingency but a reverberation of the mighty voice, which, as a categorical imperative, reaches the ears of bearers of the most profound endowments of our Golden Age – how is this voice related to the ultimate goals of the Russian suprapeople? Where does it stream from? From the mouth of the demiurge inspiring his messengers to do what is ought to be done? From the transmyth of Christianity concealing the full knowledge of the future as well as of the concluding epochs of humanity, those epochs of the ultimate confrontation between the two principles when the Russian suprapeople and its Synclite will have to accomplish their planetary mission? The materialization of what ideals of the distant historical future did he preempt by alluring Russian creators toward the synthesis of the artistic and religious service? Finally, what metahistorical significance can be read in their turbulent, sinful, and radiant lives, in their exceptional destinies?

to the next part: 10.2 Missions and Destinies
to the previous part: 9.4 The Feat
to the beginning: «The Rose of the World». Table of contents
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