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

X. Chapter 2. Missions and Destinies

All that is created by the demiurge Yarosvet, all that is manifesting his influence upon the historical plane is directly or indirectly connected to his supreme task, which realization has to justify the thousand-year path of gory and appallingly agonizing development of the Russian suprapeople. I have already talked about this task, for it is comprehensible and expressible with the help of our conceptions, but I shall repeat this again. Metahistorically, its realization is the birth of Zventa-Sventana by the demiurge and the Ideal Collective Soul of the Russian suprapeople. Historically, it is the appearance of the Rose of the World, that is, such a religio-ethical body which, through exemplifying unblemished purity, aesthetical richness, and comprehensive cultural understanding, would earn the highest reputation among the peoples of the globe and, by way of the world-wide referendum, assume ethical control over the activities of all states-members of the Global Federation. Gradually shaping generations of ennobled humans through diverse cultural means, it will preempt the ultimate rather than merely palliative transformation of the state’s very essence into an international brotherhood.

Apparently, it was clear to the demiurgic wisdom as early as in the seventeenth century – human religious wisdom came to terms with this much later – that the Orthodox Russian Church, the centuries-long spiritual guide of the society, had proven to be incapable of comprehending its ultimate goal; that the transphysical significance of its existence had turned out to be something else; and that it was high time to introduce another power in order for this goal to be achieved.

Orthodoxy, as a teaching and practice, by and large, had formed as far back as in Byzantium times and was based on the long bygone stages of the overall cultural awareness. It is only natural that, consequently, Orthodoxy was not able to rid itself of a certain archaic primitivity, a certain narrowness and constraint in the cultural awareness and social mindset. This type of awareness and mindset was to hand over its leading role to a novel type – the one that was to be heralded by the artistic geniuses and most brilliant talents of Russia, thereby transforming itself into a new historical factor of utmost importance.

What prerequisites exactly would enable the future task of Zventa-Sventana which, only for brevity’s sake, I have defined as the transformation of states into Brotherhood? Let us outline just some of them – the most important, apparent, and simple ones.

Firstly, this transformation is impossible unless the boundaries among world religions have been eliminated or downplayed at the least; unless such a religious perspective has been formed that views Christian doctrines and those of all other religions of the right hand not as mutually exclusive but, rather, complementary; unless the Rose of the World has unified all Christian churches on a new ground and closely drawn in other religions as freely affiliated.

Secondly, the transformation of state essence is impossible within local boundaries alone: if this process has taken place only in one state whereas others continue to exist as is, they would take over and absorb such a brotherhood that has sprung amid them. Hence this task cannot be resolved unless the overall fragmentation has been overcome, unless a world state has been brought into being. It is impossible without the establishment of a new approach toward state, toward societal organization, toward such phenomena as boundaries, wars, and dictatorships in the consciousness of Russia and the whole of humanity. There have to emerge such conditions that would rapidly necessitate the need for global unity, the loathing of violence, and the dread of tyranny. Strange though it may appear, to a certain extent witzraors are culpable in the development of these feelings in humans: the dread of tyranny can be familiar only to those who have experienced it directly or close enough; the need for global unity develops only in those who can no longer physically tolerate the fragmentation. Therefore, the activities of witzraors and antihumankind dialectically elicited such a state in people which set the stage for the paralysis and defeat of witzraors. However, for this state to reach the due condition, that is, to become a psychological prerequisite for global unity and the end of the world’s fragmentation, the world had to pass through a stage when states would have outgrown into tyrants, penal system – into the machine of unheard-of mass repressions, and wars – into the tragic extermination of entire countries and peoples. At the same time, there still remained a risk that the tyrannical apparatus would have proven to be stronger than the sum of all the active protests it had spawned forth. That is the reason why the efforts of the demiurge or, rather, of all humanity’s demiurges had to invariably strengthen the complex of such feelings and ideas in people that would spur them to confront tyranny, to overcome the fragmentation, and, ultimately, to unify.

Thirdly, the transformation of the state’s essence is impossible until a certain level of universal material well-being has been reached, and each and every individual has partaken of it matter-of-factly. For this to happen, the entrenched class, national, and social antagonisms and prejudices have to be eradicated, and the progress of science and technologies is to be fully expedited from one side. From the other, the development of corresponding intellectual and volitional qualities in human beings is to be aided by Providential forces despite the fact that, with every decade, the meddling of Gagtungr into this process widens the breach between the level of human technologies and that of human ethics.

Fourthly, the transformation of the state’s essence is impossible without people’s recognition of its depravity. Therefore, all effort is to be hurled into exposing it.

Fifthly, the transformation of the state into a brotherhood is hardly feasible until the contradiction between two cultural tendencies has been resolved: between ascetic spirituality renouncing the world and the so-called “heathenry” asserting the world and physicality; until Nature has been apprehended as something dualistic: as a source of joy, happiness, and Light from one side and as the arena of demonic forces’ rampage from the other; until Nature has been approached with a lofty moral and creative duty and consumed with active love; until the worlds of light-filled elementals have been treated with spiritual and physical amiability.

Finally, the triumph of the Rose of the World is impossible unless and until a new, deeper significance has been discovered in the aspiration toward Eternal Femininity; unless and until a whiffing of Zventa-Sventana has mollified and enlightened the burning severity of the masculine principle, which has reigned supreme in ethics, religion, and social life thus far.

There was a host of other historical prerequisites, of course, let alone the metahistorical ones, without which this task could not be accomplished. But the ones I have mentioned seem to suffice.

So, the most immediate and concrete goals of the demiurge were: the loosening of the barriers across different, historically formed types of religiosity; the strengthening of those ideas and feelings in human souls which could be directed toward confronting tyranny, overcoming the world’s fragmentation, and unifying all; deepening the feeling of social compassion, the thirst for social justice and the recognition of universal social rights; the uncorking of those potentialities of mind and reason in humans which would foster the rapid development of science and technologies; exposing the aggressive and vampirical essence of the state; resolving the contradiction in the minds of many people between the spiritual-ascetic and “heathen” tendencies, as well as developing a synthetic approach toward Nature; the activation of the Eternal Femininity’s manifestations in the historical reality, whose emaciated and bedeviled vessel in Russia, Navna that is, has been in an agelong captivity.

In the light of these objects of the demiurgic involtation, the total inaptitude of the Russian Orthodox Church becomes clear. Precisely for these ideas to gain traction, the demiurge and Navna have involtated great artistic geniuses and the most brilliant talents of Russia, those who we call “messengers”. The psychological picture, of course, was aggravated with plenty of purely human factors, be it cultural, social, or individual, and, at times, with the radiation from the great spiritual receptacle of the past centuries, that is, Orthodoxy. Every so often, inspirations from demonic worlds, mainly Drukkarg and Duggur, irrupted.

Had I dedicated at least one chapter to the mission and destiny of each and every Russian messenger limiting myself to the art of writing alone, there would have been a separate work with more than twenty chapters. Therefore, I had to make do with the minimum – the number of totally aphoristic and undeveloped characteristics along with my judgments about these figures will invariably take the form of mere statements, mostly stripped of any argumentation. I had to bypass – not even making a brief stop – the epochs of Lomonosov, Derzhavin, and Karamzin and begin from the metahistorical characteristics of the one whose name has long been associated with the onset of our literature’s Golden Age.

As is known, there are piles of research on and thousands of opinions about Pushkin. Let me add on yet another characteristic coming under an angle which has not been considered thus far – that of metahistory. Under this angle, the mission of Pushkin was the creation of a concise, flexible, rich, and exceedingly expressive literary language, so as to give a decisive impetus to the development of a nationwide love for language, word, verse, and the culture of language itself as the primary means of human communication; in order to equip creators following in his footsteps with this perfect tool for expressing all ideas and feelings; to elaborate a host of new genres for this end; and, finally, to take the helm of this process of expressing these ideas and images artistically.

What are these ideas and images?

Firstly, these are the ideas consorting with the task of exposing the demonic nature of the state and strengthening the complex of the moral-liberating aspirations of the individual soul and the entire nation. Among them numbers the idea of not forgiving the crimes of the highest authority, that is, acknowledging the ineptitude of the authority, if it violates ethical norms (the ode “Liberty” and, especially, “Boris Godunov”). Another idea is the inability to resolve contradictions – neither logically or rationally, nor within one’s humanistic conscience – between the individual and the state, between the individual and the demonized laws of the world (“The Bronze Horseman”). A related idea would be confrontation between the basest, selfish individual freedom and social harmony (“Gypsies”). These ideas were to influence the consciousness of the masses that were taken to literature so as to have them, ultimately, acknowledge the superiority of ethics over the principle of statehood. In other words – however utopian it may appear to us now – the idea of the establishment of a highly ethical agency controlling and leading the amoral statehood was to be inculcated.

The second cycle of ideas orbited around the task of changing Christian humanity’s stance toward Nature. In the main, it was the idea of experiencing Nature as something objectively beautiful, not accursed or hostile in any shape or form, but having a side to it, which often leads to apprehending Nature as indifferent toward and uncaring of the human being. Yet, at the same time, this perceived indifference did not preclude one from experiencing Nature as something subjectively lovable. These experiences which found their expression in a host of exquisite verses and parts of big poems readied the consciousness for the vaguely dreamt-of, new kind of interaction with Nature: the jovial-sensual, amicable and, at the same time, not at all sinful.

This intertwined with a new apprehension of the current of life in its everyday guise: discovering elements of poetry and beauty and enlightening the base and mundane layers of human existence with them. All this and so too the preceding were at odds with the behests of the ascetic period and paved the way for understanding the faraway future tasks of the Rose of the World – the tasks of steeping all aspects of life with spirituality and religio-poetic impulses.

The third cycle was about discovering a new, more profound significance of human religious aspirations toward Eternal Femininity. Here, it seems, not only a whiffing of Navna but also of Zventa-Sventana herself have manifested.

The idea of Eternal Femininity as a transcendental cosmic principle belongs to this cycle. The howsoever manifestation of it in the concrete human plurality or in an individual woman is unthinkable and impossible (“The Poor Knight”). Compounding it is the antinomic idea of Eternal Femininity as a principle inherent to humans: certainly, it does not become embodied as such but assumes a distant reflection in a beautiful soul of the woman walking amid us (“Eugene Onegin”). In Karamzin’s “Poor Liza”, one may trace the first, bleak glimmers of Navna. All images of beautiful femininity, be it even feeble attempts to depict it in art, carry in glimpses of one of the Great Sisters. For – before Zventa-Sventana’s descent from the cosmic heights into Shadanakar, prior to the nineteenth century that is – the presence of Ideal Collectives Souls of the peoples in Shadanakar alone enabled the forces of Femininity to penetrate into human selves. Amid the female images of our literature, Tatyana Larina (a main character in Pushkin’s “Eugene Onegin”, t/n), the first charming and harmonious image that continues to influence descendants across a century with the same force, is enveloped in the subtlest fragrance of Navna.

Furthermore: Pushkin was the first who fully raised the specifically Russian and, later, global question about the artist, as a messenger of the supreme reality, and the ideal image of the prophet, as the ultimate obligement of the messenger. Of course, he could not see clearly that his intuition reached beyond the compass of what could have been realized in the nineteenth century and dashed toward the coming epoch, when the Rose of the World would have been embodied in the historical plane.

Finally, in a host of his works (“The Captain’s Daughter”, “A Feast in Time of Plague”, “Mozart and Salieri”, and many others) Pushkin raised a number of more specific psychological, moral, and cultural issues, which were picked up by his successors.

It goes without saying that the thoughts I am laying out here would hardly make up the exhaustive metahistorical characteristics of Pushkin. It is just the first experience of this sort, and I have no doubt that the works on Pushkin’s significance made by successive generations will totally eclipse this lame draft of mine.

Many researchers pointed out that Pushkin’s harmony is only illusionary. According to them, in actuality he was besotted with contradictions, and the way of his development was quite complicated and meandering if, rather, it be aimed at a greater harmonization. This is certainly so. No less important is the fact that, despite his contrariety, despite all his twists and turns, as it were, Pushkin was and still remains a bearer of the harmonious confluence of poetry and life in the minds of millions. And this illusion plays its positive role (and so do many other illusions in the history of our culture): this sunny god of our Parnassus (the world of poetry; named after a mountain in Greece, t/n) passes by, now laughing, then contemplating, now playing, then grieving or praying. In the consciousness of many, this brings closer together the domains of poetry and life, removes the barrier separating human everyday activities and the lives of ordinary people from the sphere of the solemn, empyrean, and fleshless voices of poetry.

Every line of Pushkin evokes in us, Russians, so many cultural and historical associations, which we hold dear and sacred, that we become too easily inclined to exaggerate his significance, to see the global dimension in the otherwise national messenger and genius. My personal conversations and meetings with foreigners formed in me a strong conviction, which has been molded under the influence of reviews on Pushkin from abroad: foreigners lacking in associations which intrinsically strike us and apprehending the works of Pushkin in their nakedness, as it were, simply cannot understand why his name is so much revered in Russia, in a nearly cultish sort of way. Perhaps, had better quality translations of his works appeared in the European languages while he was still alive, they would have been more eagerly embraced. But translations were done too late, and now there is no call to hope that a trove of ideas and images in Pushkin’s poetry or, all the more so, his lyrical tunes would ever incite the cultural space of other peoples. Tellingly, foreigners of any nationality, which I happened to talk with, whether it be Germans, Japanese, Polish or Arabs, were struck with the emotional phonation of and acknowledged the global dimension in Lermontov, not Pushkin.

It seems that Dostoevsky in his famous speech at the opening of Pushkin’s memorial in Moscow a bit exaggerated precisely the international dimension of Pushkin’s works. Nonetheless, Zhukovsky and Pushkin were the first Russian poets whose poetic vision assumed a global scale, not in line with the conventionality and false classicism of Knyazhin or Ozerov, but in terms of truly deep, intuitive penetration into the spirit of other nations and cultures. It is only natural that this cultural-historical fact belongs precisely in the first half of the nineteenth century. Back then, among the chief tasks of the involtating forces of the demiurge, there clearly was as the task of bridging the cultural gap among peoples, so the task of bringing the Russian people closer together with other peoples, and the task of developing the capacities for the psychological and ideological penetration into the essence of other cultures.

All talks to the effect that Pushkin presumably reached the zenith of his creativity when he turned thirty seven, and nothing could have been expected of him save some historical and cultural works and a few second-rate pieces of writing had he stayed alive – all these talks are worthless and groundless. The only merit of such talks was that they have revealed the shallowness of analysis on the part of judges, who could not distinguish the unavoidable periods of creative rut and the accumulation of energy in the life of any artist from a total depletion of the creative impulse.

The nationwide grief over the poet’s death swept across Russia. This showed that, for the first time in history, a mission of nationwide scale was placed not upon a kin-guardian, a hero, or an ascetic, but upon an artistic genius. This also showed that the people, if not fully aware of that, then certainly felt it. The murder of the genius was apprehended by all as an utter malefaction, and the criminal was ejected from Russia like slag. One may feel impotent wrath and indignation reading about the well-being and prosperity which the further destiny of d’Anthes (the one who killed Pushkin in a duel, t/n) showered upon him – the destiny of a smug moneybag and dealmaker, senator of the Second Empire, who did not show even a tincture of remorse in the committed crime. Yet, for metahistorical contemplation, it is as clear as day how transient and cheap this triumph actually was, and how horrendous the afterlife of d’Anthes turned out to be. Now, after his accomplishment of the second dark mission and another fall into the Pit of Shadanakar, the third dark mission looms over him only to be followed by his ejection from our bramfatura.

Whereas Pushkin’s death was a great disaster for Russia, the death of Lermontov was a sheer catastrophe – this blow shattered the creative womb of not only Russian but also other metacultures.
The mission of Pushkin, not without difficulties and only partially, is yet explicable in human terms; essentially, it is clear.

Lermontov’s mission is one of the deepest enigmas of our culture.

From a very early age, Lermontov featured as follows: the unflagging feeling of his chosenness, of some exceptional duty weighing down on his destiny and soul; the phenomenal precocity of a raging, blistering imagination and a powerful, cold mind; a supranational psychological mold coupled with Russian impulsivity; a stern and clear gaze, piercing the human soul to the core; deep religiosity, relaying even doubts from the philosophical plane into a mutiny against God – the legacy of previous incarnations of this monad into the humankind of Titans; remarkable artistic giftedness, together with harsh self-criticism, which pushed him to select only the cream of the crop, only masterpieces for publication… All this was combined in Lermontov, and it can only strengthen our conviction that a thunderstorm near Pyatigorsk that muffled the shot of Martynov (Lermontov, just as Pushkin, was killed in a duel, t/n) raged far beyond Enrof at the moment. Thus the common Enemy overtook and thwarted the unfinished mission of the one who, over time, was to create something, which significance goes beyond our imagination and inklings – something truly titanic.

To my knowledge, there are three great contemplators of “both abysses” – the heights of the heavenly world and the depths of the demonic planes – in our culture: Ivan the Terrible, Lermontov, and Dostoevsky. I could also add Alexander Blok as the fourth had it not been for his lesser stature compared to those individuals.

If the mystery of Lermontov’s unaccomplished mission is never going to be unraveled, at least we could guess its trajectory through metahistorical contemplation and pondering the polarity of his soul. Such contemplation would lead to the following conclusion: two opposite tendencies are discernible in Lermontov’s personality and creativity. The first – the struggle against God, which shaped up as early as in his childhood poems and would seem to a superficial observer as a variance of the fashionable Byronism. If Byronism counterposes a free and proud individuality to the human society, enchained with conventions and mediocrity, then Byronism it is. Yet, this is only on the surface. The undercurrents of these manifestations in the creative development of these poets are quite different. The mutiny of Byron, first and foremost, is directed against society. The images of Lucifer, Cain, and Manfred are merely literary techniques and artistic masks.

A bearer of a genius poetic gift as he was, Byron had a rather small stature as a human being. He never was a Titan in his previous incarnations. A dream about the crown of Greece would seem a petty and pathetic childish fancy to a genuine Titan, and the demonic poses, which Byron loved to strike, would elicit but the Titan’s smile, hadn’t a real demonic influence been discernible through them.

Actually, there were such influences and rather insistent at that. A burning longing for fame and power, the unflagging masquerade of life, the baseness of Italian adventures – all this points out this man’s susceptibility to the demonic involtation rather than the Titanic nature of his. As his overall giftedness was immense, and the backdrop of his activities – the then society – was totally bleak, his masquerade could delude not only Countess Gvichioli, but even such a true Titan as Goethe. Byron is non-mystical. His creativity, essentially, was nothing but an English variance of the cultural phenomenon, which had formed on the continent as the ideological revolution of encyclopedians: the revolution of skeptical consciousness against, as Spengler would put it, “the great forms of antiquity”. Lermontov’s mutiny against society was something secondary: his mutiny was not as consistent, stubborn, and deep as Byron’s; it did not throw him into voluntary exile or into the hotbeds of the liberation movements. Yet, Lermontov’s “Demon” was far from a mere literary technique or the means to apater the aristocracy or bourgeoise – it was an attempt to artistically express a certain profound and ancient experience of his soul, which had been acquired in preexistence and from encounters with such a formidable and powerful hierarchy that the trace of them surfaced from the poet’s deep memory to his consciousness throughout his life. Unlike Byron, Lermontov, essentially, was a mystic. No, he was not a mystic-decadent of the later, depleting culture, which mysticism was predetermined by the epoch’s fashion and social-political existence. He was a mystic “by God’s grace”, as it were, for his subtle organs – spiritual sight, hearing, and deep memory, as well as the ability to contemplate cosmic panoramas and the gift of comprehending human souls – were unsealed from his very birth, and another reality was seeping through them into his consciousness: the reality, not a fantasy. Merezhkovsky brilliantly demonstrated this in his analysis of Lermontov’s works. He was the only critic and thinker who, in his judgments of Lermontov, did not just skim through, but grabbed hold of the transphysical root of things (D.S. Merezhkovsky, “Lermontov”).

Till the end of his life, Lermontov felt discontented with his poem “Demon”. As he grew more mature and astute, he couldn’t help seeing how much of the personal, timely, humanly, casual, and autobiographical was entwined into the fabric of the poem, thereby lowering its transphysical level, muddying and downgrading the image, and anthropomorphizing the plot. Evidently, hadn’t he died, he would have returned to these texts time and time again and, ultimately, created a poem which would have retained only a few dozen of the original stanzas. The matter is that not only was Lermontov a great mystic, but also a man living to the fullest, and one of the nineteenth century’s most brilliant minds. Apart from the mystical experience in his deep memory, Lermontov’s God-fighting tendency manifested on a purely intellectual plane and in his various everyday activities. In this light, many facts of his “outer” biography are to be understood: his carouses and escapades; his debauchery at a younger age – not mirthful like Pushkin’s, but somber and onerous was his conduct with those women to whom he appeared now as Pechorin (a main character in Lermontov’s “The Hero of Our Time”, t/n), then almost as Demon; and, perhaps, his valiancy (by twenty five years of age, Lermontov had outlived and lost any interest in all those ‘somersaults’, whereas Byron remained a puppet for all kinds of forces till the end of his thirty-five-year life). Intellectually, this rebellious tendency took the form of a cold and bitter skepticism, of grievous, gnawingly pessimistic reflections of the one, who saw through human souls so well. This tendency of his reflected in “The Hero of our Time”, “Sashka”, “Poems for Children”, and so on.

In parallel with this tendency, from Lermontov’s early years onwards, there quietly flowed and gurgled yet another stream in the depths of his poems, rising at times to majestic tones – that of light-filled, soulful, and toasty faith. To overlook this is to demonstrate the total lack of understanding of the spiritual reality – just what the Russian critics of the last century did with regard to Lermontov’s poems, which speak of this reality in black and white and testify of it loud and clear. One’s thought must have been paralyzed to be unable to see that the Angel carrying Lermontov’s soul to the earth and singing him the tune, which “none of the earth’s boring songs” could replace is not merely a literary technique – not unlike those used by Byron – but a fact. It would be interesting to know: what other poetic image as testifying to a daemon, long accompanying him, except this could one expect from a genius and messenger? One must be totally stripped of any religious hearing to not be able to feel all the authenticity and depth of Lermontov’s experiences, which spawned forth the lyrical canticle “I, Mother of God, Am Now Prayful”; to apprehend that musical-poetic fact that most perfect stanzas of Lermontov, in terms of their musicality and poeticism, speak precisely of the second reality shining through the all too well known: “The Branch of Palestine”, “Mermaid”, brilliant lines on the East in “The Dispute”, “When the Yellowish Fields Get Ruffled”, “On the Ocean of Air”, “At Blazing Noon, in Dagestan’s Deep Valley”, “Three Palm-Trees”, in pictures of nature in “Mtsyri”, “Demon”, and many more.

Apparently, further polarization of these two tendencies, their deadly fight, victory of the life-asserting principle, and achieving the highest wisdom and enlightenment of the creative spirit made up the unaccomplished mission of Lermontov. The matter is that Lermontov was not “an artistic genius in general” or simply a messenger – he was a Russian artistic genius and Russian messenger and, as such, could not be contented with the formula “words of a poet are his deeds” (this motto belongs to Pushkin, t/n). Essentially, the whole life of Mikhail Yuryevich was a painful search of how to apply the force that was tearing him apart. The university, of course, proved to be too small. The Bohemian life of the then professional writers was hopelessly shallow.

Even the best-minded ones, I think, could not picture Lermontov to be bound by the family, to be withdrawn into personal well-being. The military campaign in Caucasus nearly lured him with its romantic side and enriched him with a plethora of impressions. Yet, after “Valerik” (a war poem, t/n) Lermontov must have apprehended military activities as something totally alien to what he was to do in life. But what exactly? What feat could a man of such a stature and such a circle of ideas find for himself had his life lasted forty or fifty years longer? Imagining Lermontov as joining the revolutionary movement of the 1860’s -1870’s is as impossible as picturing Leo Tolstoy as a member of a terrorist organization or Dostoevsky as the Social Democratic Party’s champion. A poetic retirement into Tarkhany (Lermontov’s estate, t/n)? His Herculean powers would hardly have permitted this. A monastery? A cell? Indeed: the burden of monastic solitary life was within the abilities of this spiritual athlete; his powers could have been well applied along these lines. Yet, Orthodox monasticism is incompatible with the artistic creativity of his type and those forms which have marked our late times – Lermontov, apparently, would have never renounced his kind of creativity. Perhaps, this Titan would have never solved the task he was given to, that is, merging artistic creativity with spiritual doing and the feat of life, transforming from a messenger into a prophet. I personally believe that something else was yet more likely: if it were not for the catastrophe in Pyatigorsk (the town where Lermontov died in a duel, t/n), over time, Russian society would have witnessed such an unimaginable and idiosyncratic way of life, which would have led the elder-Lermontov to the heights where ethics, religion, and art merge into a single whole; where all wanderings and downfalls have been overcome, thought out, and have enriched the spirit; and where wisdom, acumen, and enlightened grandeur have reached such an extent that all humanity would gaze at those colossuses of culture with awe, love, and vibrant joy.

In what exact forms of the artistic word would this life and spiritual experience have found its expression? As is known, Lermontov conceived a trilogy novel, the first part of which would have described the times of Pugachev’s Rebellion, the second – the epoch of Decembrists, and the third – the 1840’s. Yet, he would most likely have completed this trilogy by age forty. What next?... Perhaps, a cycle of “ideological novels” would follow? Or, an epic mystery not unlike “Faust”? Be that as it may, in the 1870’s and 1880’s Europe would have witnessed an unparalleled creation from the mysterious bosom of Russia, which would have preempted those times when, out of the very bosom, the flower of planetwide brotherhood – the Rose of the World nurtured by messengers, geniuses, saints, and prophets – would sprout.

Lermontov’s death, of course, did not send a single ripple into the historical Europe. Yet, when the fatal shot resounded at the foot of Mashuk (a mountain in the vicinity of which Lermontov was shot, t/n), the creative heart of not only Russian but also Western metacultures convulsed – perhaps, demiurge Yarosvet himself would have cried in a similar fashion had the life of Wolfgang Goethe been cut short somewhere on the banks of the Rhein.

Lermontov bears a considerable share of responsibility for his own death. I do not know what purgatories he went through in the afterlife, while untying the knots of his karma. What I do know is that he is now one of the brightest stars in the Russian Synclite, that he invisibly passes amid and through us, creates over and inside us, and that the scope and grandeur of his creativity is beyond any of our conceptions.

Therein, another of our luminaries is busy creating other creations: the one who used to be our near and dear Gogol.

The task presaged by Pushkin, the task, which Lermontov may have resolved by the end of his life, proved to be exceptionally burning when Gogol came to grips with it.

No conscious progression is possible without awareness and understanding of the imperfection of the current level.

For Russia to grow cognizant of all the imperfection of its stage of development, of all the unseemliness of its unenlightened life, Gogol was there to help, and help he did. He was endowed with a dreadful gift of seeing the underside of life. His second gift was the artistic genius that made it possible for him to objectively embody everything he saw in his works for everyone to see. But the tragedy of Gogol was his apprehension of yet another gift which was hidden inside him and poignantly demanded to be unsealed whereas he did not know and did not find out how to do this – this was the gift of the “messagery” for the ascending worlds, the gift of prophesy and guideship. He could not differentiate between “messagery” and prophesy at that: it appeared to him that the “messagery” for the worlds of Light must have been associated with ethical heights, with personal righteousness. The limited capacities of his mind, as compared with his artistic genius, did not enable him to see the incompatibility between his task and the forms of Orthodox proselytizing in which he tried to clothe it. Debilitated through contemplating monsters with “dull faces”, the psychophysical makeup of Gogol’s being could not withstand the collision between Orthodox asceticism and the demands of his artistic creativity, between the sense of his call for prophecy and the feeling of his own inadequacy, between emaciating visions of infernal rings and his ardent thirst for heralding and teaching about heavenly worlds. Finally, his lack of volition, as compared with Lermontov, seemingly drove this conflict into the innards of his soul, rid him of necessary outward manifestations, and colored the last, decisive period of his life in mystery.

“Gogol is fasting away…”, “Gogol is praying away…”, “Gogol strayed away in mysticism…” – how pathetic are these banalities which have lingered in our press for some hundred years. Repin’s painting “Self-immolation of Gogol” is widely known. After all, each viewer imparts something of his or her own into a painting, and it is impossible to confirm whether he or she sees something in it which others do not. Professional artists, at times, give rather skeptical or even indignant reviews of this painting of Repin. Some hold that this is an illegitimate intrusion of “literature” into art. There appear even harsher reviews misrepresenting the spiritual tragedy of Gogol as a purely physiological collision. I personally see none of this. I do see something else: no commentator, even such a deep analyst as Merezhkovsky, was as deep and astute as otherwise rather short-witted Repin.

When peering into the painting without any professional biases, it is as though one gets pulled into the psychological abyss through successive psychophysical layers.

First, one sees what appears as an ailing, half-mad or, perhaps, fully demented person languishing in his struggle with, perhaps, some hallucinatory visions. One would experience a mix of compassion and that unconscious repugnance which “psychologically normal” people feel when coming in touch with those mentally impaired. Now, this layer flakes off. All of a sudden, one discerns a human face distorted with a near-death anguish, a human that has seemingly sacrificed everything that he had held dear: his innermost thoughts, most loved creations, cherished dreams – the whole purpose of life. The terror and despair of true self-immolation shows in the fading eyes and contorted lips. This terror passes onto the viewer and mixes up with pity; it seems that no heart can bear such emotional intensity. And now appears the third layer – I am not sure whether the last: the very fading eyes and lips, either cramped or crooked with a wild and desperate smile, begin to shine with a childish, pure, and unshakeable faith and the love out of which a sobbing baby would fall onto the mother’s lap. “I gave up to You everything – accept me, dear Lord! Soothe me and embrace!” say the eyes of the dying.

The wonder of the artist is in giving the answer in the supplication of these eyes, which seemingly behold the Great Mediatress, embracing and accepting this excruciated soul into the womb of love.

The one who will pass through the layers of this stunning Repin’s piece would hardly cast into doubt this highest, all-comforting, and all-justifying connotation: the gates of the Synclite have swung open before Gogol, as before one of its most lovable children.

These first three great geniuses of Russian literature elevated and established it, at the height where it became the society’s spiritual guide, teacher of life, landmark of ideals, and herald of the worlds of spiritual light. They won for this literature fame and nationwide authority and crowned it with the halo of martyrdom.

to the next part: 10.3 Missions and Destinies (cont.)
to the previous part: 10.1 The Gift of Messagery
to the beginning: «The Rose of the World». Table of contents
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