Daniil Andreev. «The Rose of the World»
Book II. On the Metahistorical and Transphysical Methods of Knowledge

II. Chapter 1. Some Features of the Metahistorical Method

The phrase religious feeling is a commonly used but misleading expression. There is no general religious feeling but, rather, a vast world of religious feelings and experiences, endless in their variety, which often contrast with one another, differing in emotion, focus, intensity, tone, and what we might call their tint. Those who haven’t had any personal religious experience and make inferences about it on the sole basis of others' testimony don’t have the slightest idea of the breadth and variety of that world. Such third-party testimony, in conjunction with the absence of personal experience on the part of the listener, is almost always greeted with disbelief, preconceptions, and the tendency to interpret it in accordance not with the claims of the testifiers themselves but with the dogmatic tenets of areligious schools of thought.

The variety of religious feelings is matched by the variety of methods of religious knowledge. To set forth these methods would necessitate writing an exhaustive research work on the history and psychology of religion. Such a task in no way enters into the aim of this book. But one aim of this book is to help the reader arrive at an understanding of those particular methods of religious knowledge that seem to me to have the greatest creative potential at the current stage of history.

It would be most unfortunate if anyone suspected me of laying claim to the role of founder of a great historical, cultural, and social enterprise – that is, the creation of what we are calling the Rose of the World. The reality of the situation is altogether different. The Rose of the World can and will arise only as the result of the combined efforts of an enormous number of people. I am convinced that an identical process is taking place not only in Russia but also in many other parts of the globe, the foremost of which appear to be India and North America. The grandiose reality of other worlds is bursting into the human consciousness: at first, the consciousness of standalone individuals, then of hundreds of people, and later of millions. Yes, now, at this very minute, people who as yet know nothing of each other, who are sometimes separated by great distances and national borders, and sometimes merely by the walls of a few houses, are experiencing startling breaches in their consciousness and are gazing on transphysical heights and depths. And some are endeavoring – in accord with their own abilities and inner cast – to express or depict their experience, if only approximately, in works of literature, art, or music. I don’t know how many, but clearly already more than a few people are standing under that shower of revelation. As for my aim, it is to set forth that revelation exactly as I have been experiencing it – no more.

Therefore, this chapter will not deal with the scientific mode of thought and inquiry, or even with the artistic, but with things whose understanding requires a definite rethinking of the ideas that have reigned supreme in Russia for the past forty years.

I believe that serious investigation by researchers at the forefront of contemporary physiology and psychology into the large mass of apocalyptic literature, the autobiographical testimony of ecclesiastical authors and religious figures who underwent like experiences, and the unbiased study of material scattered throughout works on comparative religion will, in time, lead to the development of a scientific method on the basis of which it will be possible to lay the foundation for an epistemology of religious and, in particular, metahistorical knowledge. It is realistic to expect the emergence of an educational system geared toward mastering the mechanics of that knowledge, providing individuals who will have theretofore played a passive role in that process with techniques to initiate and control it, if only occasionally. But that all belongs to the future, and not the near future at that. The only thing certain for now is that the process varies in relation to both the subject and the object of knowledge.

It is impossible to seize the unseizable. I can speak here only of those varieties of the process with which my own life has brought me into contact. Although I would prefer to avoid it, I must, therefore, introduce to this book a greater autobiographical element. In doing so I will focus on three types of religious knowledge: metahistorical, transphysical, and ecumenical. However, it will be impossible, as well as unnecessary, to draw a clear boundary between them.

First of all, what exactly is meant here by metahistory? According to Sergei Bulgakov, perhaps the only Russian thinker to address the question openly, metahistory is «the noumenal side of that universal process, one aspect of which reveals itself to us as history (1. S. Bulgakov, Two Cities, Moscow, 1911, p. 103.).

However, I think that the application of Kantian terminology to questions of this type can hardly help to clarify the essence of the matter. The concepts of the noumenon and phenomenon were formulated by a different train of thought and engendered by different philosophical needs. Objects of metahistorical experience can be fit into the system of that terminology only through recourse to procrustean methods.

It would be just as ill-advised to equate metahistory with some variety of the philosophy of history. The philosophy of history is just that – philosophy – while metahistory is always concerned with myth.

In any case, in this book the term metahistory is used in two senses. First, it is the sum of processes – as yet outside the field of vision, interest, and methodology of science – that take place on planes of varioreality existing in other time streams and other dimensions and are sometimes discernible through the process we perceive as history. Those otherworldly processes are bound in the closest fashion to the historical process, and to a significant degree they determine it. But by no means are they identical with it. They are most fully revealed by means of that same method of knowledge that is called “metahistorical”.

The second meaning of the word metahistory refers to the teaching about those varioreality’s processes, a teaching, obviously, in the religious, not scientific, sense of the word.

It should come as no surprise that the ability to apprehend these processes varies from individual to individual in accordance with a number of psychological and perhaps even physiological factors. We are clearly dealing here with a kind of inborn predisposition; we have as little chance of summoning or destroying it as, for example, we do an inborn gift for music. Such a gift, however, can in the course of one's life be stifled or simply left unused like the talent buried in the ground. Or it can be fostered, sometimes in an extremely accelerated fashion. The educational system possible in the future would promote the development of that ability.

As it is now, we have little choice but to grope almost blindly for some means to influence that ability in a conscious fashion, and there would still probably be no noticeable progress toward that end in the whole course of one's lifetime if not for certain forces that, acting in concert with our efforts, take upon themselves the tremendous task of cultivating within us the corresponding organs of perception. Nevertheless, it appears quite probable that something else besides inborn traits and the active cooperation of Providential powers, something we ourselves must acquire – for example, a modest yet definite store of positive historical data – is necessary for the process of metahistorical knowledge to take place. The metahistorical method is closed to any person totally unaware of and having no opportunity to recognize his or her link with history, whether that person lives in the Australian desert or within the labyrinths of modern-day megalopolises. For now, the role of science in the psychological process under examination (or to be more exact, in the preparation for the process) is limited to participation in the accumulation of that same store of historical data. The process itself or, at least, that variation of it which I am familiar with, has no relation whatsoever to scientific forms of knowledge. I wish to repeat and emphasize that.

The process consists of three consecutive stages.

The first stage is a sudden inner experience that occurs involuntarily and, it would seem, without any preparation, although, of course, in reality such preparation must have already taken place beyond the limits of our consciousness. The experience consists of revelations – lightning-quick yet encompassing enormous stretches of historical time – of the essence of great historical phenomena. This essence cannot be divided into categories or expressed in words. The experience may take a minute or an hour, and it overflows with dynamically bubbling images. The individual feels like a person long confined to a quiet, dark room who is suddenly thrust outside at the peak of a storm – a storm terrifying in its power and immensity, almost blinding and, at the same time, brimming with a feeling of breathless euphoria. Before such an experience, an individual will have had no idea of the fullness of life, of even the possibility of such fullness. Entire eras – in a manner of speaking, an entire metahistorical cosmos of those eras with great powers battling within it – are simultaneously captured and synthesized. It would be a mistake to assume that these images must always take visual form. A visual element and, perhaps, an aural element as well are a part of them. But the images to those elements are what, for example, an ocean is to the hydrogen which its water is composed of. Because of the lack of close analogies with anything more familiar, it is extremely difficult to convey to the reader an idea of the experience.

The experience has a tremendous effect on one's whole inner being. Its revelations so far surpass everything else that previously entered the range of the individual's consciousness that they will nourish the inner world of the person who underwent the experience for many years to come. They will become his or her inner treasures.

This first stage of metahistorical knowledge might be called “metahistorical enlightenment”. Such a designation, however, shouldn’t be seen as an attempt to attach a positive connotation to the said psychological phenomenon. I will speak more on that a little later.

The yield of the enlightenment is stored in the depths of one's mind, not as memories but as something vital and alive. From there, individual images, ideas, and entire systems gradually, over many years, float up into the range of one's consciousness. But far more remain deep down, and the individual understands that no mental framework will ever be able to encompass and exhaust the cosmos of metahistory that has come ajar for him or her. It is these images and ideas that become the focus of the second stage of the process.

The second stage doesn’t have the same momentary character as the first. It is a sort of chain of inner states – a chain running through weeks and months, its links appearing almost daily. It is inner contemplation, intense familiarization, rapt examination – sometimes joyful, sometimes painful – of historical images, which are perceived not in isolation but in the context of the second metahistorical reality that lies behind them. I am using the word “examination” here provisionally while by the word images I mean, again, not merely visual perceptions but synthesized perceptions that possess a visual element only in so far as what is being examined can have a visually perceptible form at all. In connection with this, it is extremely important to note that the objects of such contemplation consist of a significant number of phenomena from variodimensional planes of materiality. Clearly, these cannot be perceived with the physical organs of sight and hearing; they are perceived with other organs which are part of our being but are usually separated from our waking consciousness by a thick wall. If the first stage of the process was characterized by the passive role of the individual who became, as it were, the inadvertent witness to an astonishing spectacle, at the second stage it is, to a certain extent, possible to consciously manipulate the process. For example, one might choose one or another object for contemplation. But more often, and as it so happens, during the most rewarding hours, the images surface involuntarily, radiating, I would say, such mesmerizing power and revealing such multileveled meaning that the hours of contemplation turn into watered-down versions of the minutes of enlightenment. In the case of a subject with a creative bent, the images can become the source, lever, or axis of artistic works. And no matter how dark or bleak some of them might be, the power of the images is such that it would be difficult to find something equal to the pleasure afforded by their contemplation.

It seems to me that the second stage of the process might be called just that: “metahistorical contemplation”.

The composite arrived at in that manner is similar to a painting on which certain individual figures and perhaps the overall motif may be well-defined, but other figures are blurred, and there are gaps between them, while other sections of the background or individual details are missing altogether. The need then arises to explain the unclear links, to fill in the remaining blanks. The process enters its third stage, the one most independent of the influence of suprapersonal and supranational powers. For that very reason, the most errors, unwarranted additions, and overly subjective interpretations will then occur. The main trouble is the inevitable distortion by reason. Its effects are almost impossible to escape entirely. But it is sometimes possible to discern the inner logic of metahistory and redirect even the work of the reason along its lines.

It would be natural to call that third stage metahistorical formulation.

Thus, metahistorical enlightenment, metahistorical contemplation, and metahistorical formulation are the three stages on the path to knowledge under question here.

I will mention yet another kind of possible state, one variety experienced during the first stage. It is a special kind of enlightenment associated with revelations of the demonic in metahistory. (Some demons have great power and a wide sphere of activity.) That state which could accurately be called “an infraphysical breach of psyche» is extremely painful and is, for the most part, fraught with a feeling of peculiar horror. But, as in the other cases, it too is followed by stages of contemplation and formulation.
The books that I have written in a purely literary style are based on the metahistorical knowledge revealed personally to me. The worldview that forms the skeleton of this book has been derived in its entirety from those revelations. Where did I come up with its images? Who instilled these ideas in me, and how? What right do I have to speak with such confidence? Can I provide some kind of proof of the authenticity of my experiences? Now, I will attempt to answer these questions as best I can. Going into autobiographical detail holds no attraction for me, so I will try to keep such details to a minimum. But that minimum will include, of course, a brief account of where, when, and under what circumstances I experienced my hours of metahistorical enlightenment.

The first experience of that kind – an experience that played a colossal and, in many respects, even decisive role in the growth of my inner world – took place in August of 1921, before I was fifteen years old. It happened in Moscow as the day waned when I, who by that time had come to very much love wandering aimlessly around the city daydreaming, stopped by a wall along one of the gardens that encircled the Church of Christ the Saviour and overlooked the river embankment. Muscovite old-timers will still recall what a wonderful view it gave onto the river, the Kremlin, and Zamoskvorechye, with its dozens of bell towers and colorful domes. It must have been already past six, for the church bells were ringing for vespers. The experience revealed before me, or, rather, above me, a raging, blinding, incomprehensible world that conflated the historical reality of Russia into a strange oneness with something immeasurably larger above it.

For many years afterward, my inner self was nourished on the images and ideas that gradually floated within the range of my consciousness. My reason could long make no sense of them, attempting to create newer and newer constructs that were supposed to reconcile the contradictory nature of the ideas and interpret the images. The process entered the formulation stage too quickly, almost bypassing the intermediate stage of contemplation. The constructs turned out to be flawed, my reason proved unequal to the ideas bombarding it, and more than three decades of supplementary and illustrative revelation were needed for me to arrive at a correct understanding and explanation of the depths of what had been revealed to me in my youth.

I had a second experience of that nature in the spring of 1928, in the Church of Our Lady of Levshin, where I first stayed for the early liturgy after the Easter matins. That service, which begins at about two o'clock in the morning, is notable for the annual reading of the first chapter of the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word.” The Gospel is recited line by line in different languages – both living and dead – by all the serving priests and deacons in turn who stand in different parts of the church. That early liturgy is one of the pinnacles of the Russian Orthodoxy, of Christianity as a whole, and of religious services on Earth as a whole. If the matins that precede it can be compared to the sunrise, then the early liturgy is verily a spiritual midday, full of light and joy. The inner experience I am describing was altogether different from the first, both in tone and content. It was much broader, linked, as it were, with the entire panorama of humanity and with the apprehension of Global History as a single mystical stream. Through the exultant movements and sounds of the service being performed in front of me, I was able to perceive that higher region, that heavenly land in which our entire planet appears as the Great Church and where an eternal liturgy is celebrated without cease by enlightened humankind in splendor beyond our imagination.

In February of 1932, during my brief employment at a Moscow factory, I fell ill, and one night, while feverish, I was the recipient of a revelation that the majority of people will, of course, consider nothing more than delirium. But for me it was horrifying in content and unquestionably authentic. As in my previous books, I will use the expression “the Third Witzraor” to refer to the creature that the revelation concerned. I did not think up that strange, foreign-sounding name by myself. It came to me at the time. Simplified, I would define that gigantic creature, which somewhat resembles the monsters of ocean depths, yet far surpasses them in size, as a demon of state power. That night was to remain for a long time afterward one of the most painful experiences I have ever known. I think the term infraphysical breach of psyche would be quite applicable to that experience.

In November of 1933, I chanced to stop by a small church on Vlasevsky Lane. There, an acathistus to St. Serafim of Sarov was in progress. Hardly had I opened the door when a warm wave of choral music descended on me and surged straight to my heart. I was overcome by a state that is very difficult for me to write about, let alone describe without tears. Although I had previously disdained to engage in genuflection – my emotional immaturity having led me to suspect something servile in the custom – an irresistible impulse caused me to kneel. But even that wasn’t enough. And when I prostrated myself on the rug, which was faded and worn by thousands of feet, as though some secret door in my soul swung open, and tears of blissful rapture, comparable to nothing else I had ever known, gushed forth uncontrollably. In truth, I care not how experts of various kinds of ecstasies would label what then followed, and into what categories they would place it. During those minutes, I was raised to Heavenly Russia and presented before its Synclite of the enlightened. I felt the unearthly warmth of spiritual rays pouring from the center of the land which is accurately and fittingly called “the Heavenly Kremlin”. The great spirit who had at one time lived on Earth in the person of Serafim of Sarov, and who is now one of the brightest lights on the Russian Synclite, approached and bent down to me, wrapping me, as if with a vestment, in streaming rays of light and gentle warmth. For almost a whole year, until the church was closed down, I went every Monday to the acathistus of St. Serafim and, incredibly, experienced that same state every time, again and again, with undiminished strength.

In early 1943, I took part in the crossing of the ice of Lake Ladoga by the 196th Rifle Division and, after a two-day journey across the Karelia Isthmus, entered besieged Leningrad late at night. During our march through the dark, deserted city to our station, I experienced a state whose content was reminiscent of the experience in my youth by the Church of the Saviour, but it was colored far differently. It was bleak and dark in tone. It burst through the distinctive nocturnal wartime setting, at first showing through it and then swallowing it up. Within it two irreconcilable camps – one of Darkness and one of Light – confronted each other. Their staggering size, and the great demonic being that glared at the rear of one of the camps, made me tremble with fear. I saw the Third Witzraor clearer than ever before, and only the first glimmers from its approaching enemy – our hope, our joy, our protector, the great national guiding spirit of our homeland – saved me from a complete mental breakdown (I tried to depict that experience in my poem «Leningrad Apocalypse,» but the dictates of art forced me to unwind, as it were, the individual threads from the fabric of the experience. The opposing images that appeared simultaneously could only be portrayed in temporal succession, and a number of elements that, though they didn’t go counter to the essence of the experience, were, in fact, absent from it, were added to the general tableau. The bombing of the Engineer's Castle (at which I was not present) as well as the wounding of the protagonist of the poem can be numbered among those arbitrary additions.).

Lastly, something similar, but completely devoid of metahistorical terror, happened to me one night in September of 1949 in a small prison cell in Vladimir while my lone cellmate was sleeping. The experience reoccurred several times between 1950 and 1953, again at night, and in a communal cell. The experience I had acquired on the previously described path of knowledge was insufficient to write The Rose of the World. But movement along that path brought me to the point where I was able, from time to time, to interact consciously with certain members of the Providential forces, and the hours of those spiritual meetings became a source of more precise metahistorical knowledge than the path I have just described.

The etheric body's departure from its physical vessel and its travel through other planes of the planetary cosmos occurs relatively often to many people during deep sleep. But, upon waking, the traveler doesn’t have any clear recollections of what was seen. These recollections are stored only in deep memory which is sealed off tightly from the consciousness of the overwhelming majority of people. Deep memory (the anatomical center of which is located in the brain) is the repository of memories of the soul's prior existences and of transphysical journeys similar to the above. The psychological climate of certain cultures, such as those of India and the Buddhist countries, and the centuries-long religious-physiological study they have conducted have made it possible for them to weaken the barrier between deep memory and waking consciousness. If one puts aside easy skepticism, it is impossible to ignore the fact that in these same countries one can often hear claims, even from very simple folk, that knowledge of their prior lives is not completely closed to their waking consciousness. For Europeans – raised, first, on a Christianity that circumvented the issue, and then on secular science – there was nothing to weaken the barrier with between deep memory and waking consciousness except the individual efforts of rare people.

I must say straight out that I personally haven’t made even these efforts, the reason being simple: I didn’t know where to begin and I had no teachers to consult. But for me there was something else instead, something that I undoubtedly owe to the efforts of unseen actuators of the Providential will: a small opening, a narrow crack, as it were, in the door between my deep memory and consciousness. No matter how unconvincing this may sound to the vast majority of people, I don’t intend to hide the fact that weak, disjointed, yet indisputably genuine flashes from my deep memory began to inform my life from my childhood years, became more frequent in early adulthood, and finally, at the age of forty-seven, began to illumine the days of my existence with a new light. That doesn’t mean that my organ of deep memory became completely unblocked – I am still a long way from that – but the meaning contained in the images that surfaced from it became so tangibly clear, and the images themselves sometimes so lucid, that their qualitative, fundamental distinction from ordinary memories and the work of the imagination is, for me, beyond question.

How can I not be grateful to destiny which consigned me for a whole decade to conditions that are cursed by almost all who experience them? Those conditions were hard for me, too, but they, at the same time, served as a powerful lever to budge open the spiritual organs of my being. It was in prison, in my isolation from the outside world, with my unlimited free time, my fifteen hundred nights spent lying awake in bed among sleeping cellmates – it was in prison when a new stage in metahistorical and transphysical knowledge began for me. The hours of metahistorical enlightenment became more frequent. Long rows of nights were transformed into sessions of uninterrupted contemplation and formulation. Deep memory began to transmit clearer and clearer images to my consciousness, illuminating with a new meaning both the events of my own life and those of history. Waking up in the morning after a short but deep sleep, I knew that my sleep had been full not of dreams but of something else, of transphysical journeys.

If one embarks on such travels through the demonic planes without a guide, while under the influence of the dark desires of one's soul or in answer to the treacherous call of the demonic, then, upon waking, one has no clear recollection of anything, bringing back from the journey only an alluring, seductive, sickeningly sweet sensation. Actions that will, in the afterlife, long bind the soul to those worlds may later sprout, as from a poisonous seed, from that sensation. There were occasions in my youth when I strayed onto those planes, and the journeys gave rise to such actions. I deserve no credit for the fact that the winding path of my life on Earth subsequently led me further and further away from those plunges into the abyss.

If the descent is undertaken with a guide – with one of the members of the national Synclite or the World Synclite – if it has a Providential purpose and function, then travelers, waking and experiencing sometimes the same sickeningly sweet, alluring sensation, are, at the same time, aware of their temptation. Moreover, they are able to find in their memories a counterweight to the temptation: the comprehension of the terrible meaning of those worlds and of the genuine face behind their mask. They don’t attempt to return to those lower planes by means of moral transgressions during their waking existence. Instead, they turn the experience into an object of religious, philosophical, and mystical formulation, or even into material for their artistic works, which, alongside with other meanings, necessarily fulfill a cautionary function.

At forty-seven years of age, I recalled and grasped the meaning of some of the transphysical journeys I had completed earlier. Until then, my memories of them had been mostly vague, patchy, jumbled, and incoherent half-images. As for the more recent journeys, they frequently left a clear and authentic trace in my memory, exciting my whole being with the feeling of secrets revealed, as no dream, even the most vivid, can leave.
There is an even more advanced mode of travel through the planetary cosmos, involving the same departure of the etheric body, the same journeys with a great guide through planes of ascent or descent, but with full maintenance of waking consciousness. Upon their return, such travelers bring back memories even more indisputable and, so to speak, exhaustive. This is possible only in those cases when the spiritual organs of the senses are already completely unblocked and the locks on deep memory are broken for good. This is true clairvoyance. I, of course, haven’t experienced such a thing.

As far as I know – and I may be mistaken – of European writers, Dante alone was blessed with this gift. It was his mission to write The Divine Comedy. But his spiritual organs came completely unblocked only toward the end of his life when the monumental labor on his poem was already nearing completion. He saw the numerous mistakes and inaccuracies, the vulgarization of meaning, and the gratuitous anthropomorphism of his images, but he had neither the time nor the energy to correct them. Nevertheless, the basic features of the framework he set out can be taken as a panoramic view of the variomaterial planes of the Roman Catholic metaculture.

Without daring even to dream of anything similar for myself, I did, however, have the greatest of good fortune to talk with some of those who left us long ago and at present belong to the Synclite of Russia. I hesitate to set down in writing the overwhelming experience of having them near. I will refrain from giving their names, but the presence of each of them was colored with an inimitable and individual tone of feelings. Our meetings occurred in the daytime as well as the night, and I, in my crowded prison cell, was forced to lie down on the bed with my face to the wall to hide the tears of breathless joy streaming from my eyes. The presence of one of the great brothers caused my heart to pound and my body to tremble with exultation and veneration. My whole being welcomed another with warm, tender love, as a dear friend who saw through my soul and loved it and brought me comfort and forgiveness. The approach of the third made me feel a need to kneel before him as someone powerful who had ascended incomparably higher than I, and his presence was accompanied by a solemn feeling and unusual sharpening of my attention. Lastly, the approach of the fourth gave rise to a feeling of joyful celebration and tears of rapture. There is much I can call into question and much I can doubt about the authenticity of my inner life, but not those meetings.

Did I actually see them during those meetings? No, I didn't. Did they speak with me? Yes, they did. Did I hear their words? Both yes and no. I heard them, but not with my physical sense of hearing. It was as though they spoke from somewhere in the depths of my heart. I repeated many of their words back to them, especially unfamiliar names of various planes and spiritual hierarchies in Shadanakar, trying as closely as possible to convey their sounds through physical speech, and then asking, “Is that right?”. I was forced to repeat some names and words several times; there were also some that I was unable to reproduce accurately with the sounds of the Russian language. Many of the strange words pronounced by the great brothers were accompanied by light effects – not physical light, although one could compare them in some cases to flashes of lightning, in others, to a distant glow, and in still others, to moonlight. Sometimes, they were not at all like words in the sense to which we are accustomed but entire chords, as it were, of phonetic consonances and meanings. Translating such words into our language was out of the question, and all I could do was select one meaning and one syllable from all the meanings and all the harmoniously sounding syllables. But our talks consisted not of single words but of questions and answers, of entire sentences expressing very complex ideas. Entire sentences undivided into words seemed to flash and imprint themselves on the silver paper of my consciousness, illuminating with an unusual light the gaps and ambiguities that my questions addressed. In truth, they were more like pure thoughts than sentences, thoughts that were transmitted to me directly, without words.

Thus, my path of metahistorical enlightenment, contemplation, and formulation was supplemented with transphysical journeys, meetings, and talks.

The spirit of our century will waste no time in responding: «Let's grant that what the author calls his experience appears genuine to him. But can it have any more objective significance than the “experience” of a resident of a mental asylum? Where is the proof?»

But there is something strange here. Do we demand proof for all manifestations of spiritual life and culture? And if not for all, then why for this particular one? We do not, after all, demand proof from an artist or composer for the “authenticity” of their artistic vision or musical inspiration. In the same way, there are no proofs in the communication of religious and, in particular, metahistorical experience. Those people whose inner world is even slightly consonant will believe the experience of another without any proof. Those whom that inner world is foreign will not believe it and will demand proof, and even if they are given proof they will continue to disbelieve. Only science insists on faith in its testimony, forgetting at the same time how often today's conclusions are overturned by the conclusions of tomorrow. Other spheres of the human spirit – art, religion, metahistory – reject the necessity of such faith. They offer limitless inner freedom.

On the other hand, it would be the grossest of errors to mix these spheres together, to suppose, for example, that the metahistorical mode of knowledge is some unique and rare variety of artistic creativity. They may interact at certain stages, it is true. But it is possible for the metahistorical process of knowledge to be entirely free of elements of artistic creativity while examples of artistic creativity that have no relation to metahistory are innumerable indeed.

But in the realm of religion, as well, there have been only a few varieties truly enriched by metahistorical knowledge. It is interesting to note that the word “revelation”, which is synonymous with the Greek apokalypse, hasn’t prevented the latter from becoming firmly entrenched in the Russian language. Each word has traditionally carried a special shade of meaning. The word revelation possesses a more general meaning. If we don’t confine ourselves within narrowly religious limits, we will have to include such events as the visions and ecstasies of Muhammad and even the enlightenment of Gautama Buddha in the list of historical instances of revelation. As for apocalypse, is only one kind of revelation: the revelation not of regions of universal harmony, or of spheres of absolute wholeness, or even of groups of stellar or other cosmic hierarchies. It is revelation of the destinies of peoples, realms, churches, cultures, all humanity, and of those hierarchies that take part in these destinies in a most active and direct manner. It is the revelation of metahistory. Apokalypse is not as universal as ecumenical revelation; it is, hierarchically speaking, lower. It deals with the more particular, with what lies closer to us. But for that very reason it answers the burning questions of those people whose destiny it is to be thrown into the crucible of historical cataclysms. It fills the gap between one's apprehension of universal harmony and the dissonances of historical and individual existence.

As is known, only a few peoples at rare times were rich in such revelation: apokalyptika seems to have arisen among the Jews about the sixth century B.C., gripped early Christianity, and endured longest of all in the medieval Judaism feeding off the fiery spirit of its messianism.

As for Christianity, and in particular the Eastern Church, the apocalyptic mode of knowledge almost entirely disappeared as early as the beginning of the Middle Ages. It suddenly burst into small, wavering, smoking flames again in the first century of the Great Russian Schism. This is not the place to analyze the complex and numerous reasons for that tragedy, but it is impossible to ignore the link with the antihistorical attitude prevalent in the religious consciousness and in the world of religious feelings of that time. We can observe this attitude as far back as the time of the Byzantine Fathers of the Church. It is glaringly evident even among the greatest representatives of Russian Orthodoxy, those whose saintliness and higher spiritual experience is not subject to doubt. Antihistoricism approached the status of an obligatory canon of religious thought. It is instructive to recall the unresolved conflicts between the official antihistoricism of the Russian Church and the inherent, irrational pull toward the apocalyptic mode of knowledge and metahistory in the spiritual and artistic life of such lay Orthodox writers and thinkers as Gogol, Khomyakov, Leontyev, Dostoyevsky, Vladimir Solovyov, and Sergei Bulgakov.

But there is comfort in the fact that contact with metahistory can be made in ways altogether different from what has been discussed here. The element of metahistorical experience that one can uncover at times underneath the enormously thick layer of antihistoricism, be it seeming or genuine, testifies to that fact. Tyutchev wonderfully describes the feeling of being a participant in some kind of historical and mystical drama, a participant in the creative work and struggle of the great spiritual, or rather, transphysical powers that most fully manifest themselves at crucial junctures in history. Could Joan of Arc have really performed her heroic deeds without having experienced that feeling? Could St. Sergiy of Radonezh – an avowed hermit and ascetic in every other respect – really have taken upon himself such a decisive, leading role in the political tempest of his time? Without that feeling could the greatest of popes have tried, century after century, to bring the idea of a global hierocracy to fruition? Could Loyola have fathered an organization that consciously strove to gain control of the mechanism guiding the historical progress of humanity? Without that feeling, with reason alone, could Hegel have written “The Philosophy of History” and Goethe – the second part of “Faust”? Could the self-immolation of Old-Style Believers have been conceivable if the icy wind of eschatological, metahistorical horror had not chilled in them all attachment to this world, which, it seemed to them, had already fallen under the sway of the Antichrist?

A vague metahistorical feeling, unillumined by contemplation and formulation, often leads to distorted ideas and contradictory actions. Do we not sense a certain metahistorical fervor in the tirades of French Revolutionary leaders, in the doctrines of utopian socialism, in August Comte's cult of Humankind, or in the calls for global renewal by means of the destruction of all established order? (On the lips of Bakunin, such calls took on a tone reminiscent of the passionate appeals of the Jewish prophets, although me nineteenth-century valor attached a new meaning to those appeals, one directly counter to the ethic of those ancient prophets.) There are hundreds more similar questions one could ask. The answers that necessarily follow lead us to two important conclusions. First, it becomes clear that an undercurrent of apocalyptic experience can be uncovered throughout both Western and Russian culture in a countless number of phenomena that are, at first glance, even alien to it in spirit. Second, it becomes clear that metahistorical feeling, metahistorical experience – unconscious, vague, confused, contradictory – is from time to time woven into the creative process, whether it be artistic, religious, social, and even political.

In speaking of the metahistorical method of knowledge, I unintentionally touched upon the transphysical. The journeys and meetings I spoke of belong in part to the realm of transphysical knowledge. As I said earlier, it is by no means always possible to classify these phenomena into distinct categories. Indeed, were it not for the desire to introduce some clarity to a complex and little-studied group of problems, it would be entirely unnecessary.

Perhaps, some readers are puzzled by my use of the term transphysical instead of the more common word spiritual. But in the strict sense of the word, spiritual properly refers only to God and monads. As for the term transphysical, it is used in reference to everything that possesses materiality, but materiality different from ours, and in reference to all those worlds that exist in different dimensions and time streams. By transphysics (in the sense of an object of knowledge) I mean the sum of those worlds, irrespective of the processes taking place within them. Metahistory comprises those processes that are linked with the evolution of Shadanakar; those linked with the evolution of the Universe make up metaevolution; the knowledge of metaevolution is ecumenical knowledge. Transphysics, in the sense of a religious teaching, refers to the teaching on the structure of Shadanakar. Objects of metahistorical knowledge are related to history and culture; those of transphysical knowledge are related to our plane's natural environment and the environment of other planes in Shadanakar; those of ecumenical knowledge relate to the Universe. Thus, those phenomena that I called transphysical journeys and meetings can be classified, depending on their content, either as metahistorical, transphysical, or ecumenical modes of knowledge.

Now, after that brief aside, nothing hinders us any longer from moving on to an examination of the two remaining types of religious knowledge – but only, of course, those varieties with which I am personally familiar.

to the next part: 2.2. A Brief Description of the Transphysical Method
to the previous part: 1.3. Perspective on Religion
to the beginning: «The Rose of the World». Table of contents
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