Book 2. Ringing cedars of Russia (1997)
The ringing sword of the bard
“What do you mean, Anastasia, by such extraordinary turns of phrase in speaking about the holiday? You pronounced each word in such a tone that every sound was crystal clear on its own!”
“I tried to reproduce a picture of the holiday with preci-sion, to use detailed images.”
“But what about the words? What particular significance do they have?”
“Upon each word was borne a multitude of happy pictures and events. And now they will all come true. For thought and word, you understand, are the principle instrument of the Grand Creator. An instrument bestowed not on all that grows with flesh and bones, but just alone to Man.”
“Then why doesn’t everything that people say come to pass?” “When the thread between the spoken word and the soul is broken, when the soul is found empty and the image dulled, then what is said, though it be plenty, is as empty as chaotic sound. And nothing can it betoken.”
“That’s sheer fantasy! Come on now, you let yourself be-lieve in everything, like a naive child.”
“How can it be a fantasy, Vladimir?! After all, I could give hundreds of examples from the world you live in, and even from your own life, as to what power a word has when it projects the image connected with it!”
“Then give me an example I can understand.”
‘An example? Here is one. A person is standing on the stage before an audience and speaking words. An actor, for
instance. He will repeat the same words people have heard many times before, but there is only one actor people will listen to with bated breath. Another they will not adore. The words are the same, but there is avast difference in how they are declaimed. What do you think? Why does that happen?”
“Well, that’s actors for you. They spend years studying at drama school — some are outstanding in their profession, others just so-so. They memorise their lines at rehearsals so that they can say them with expression.”
“They are taught at drama school, Vladimir, how to get inside the image that underlies the word. Then they try to reproduce that image during rehearsals. And if an actor suc-ceeds in projecting even ten percent of the invisible images underlying the words he utters, the audience will then listen with their whole attention. And if he should succeed in pro-jecting the images behind half of his words, you will indeed call that actor a genius. For his soul is speaking directly with the souls of those sitting or standing in the auditorium. And during the play people will laugh or cry as they feel in their soul what the actor desires to convey. Such is the instrument of the Grand Creator.”
‘And you, whenever you speak, with how many words can you project the corresponding image — ten percent, or fifty?”
“With all of them. That is the way Great-Grandfather taught me.”
‘All of them? Really?! A1 the words?!”
“Great-Grandfather said it is even possible to project the images contained in the letters of the alphabet. And I learnt how to come up with an image for each letter.”
“Why letters? Letters don’t mean anything.”
“Letters do mean something! Behind every letter in San-skrit, for example, there are words, even whole phrases.
There are letters there too, and beyond them many written words, so that infinity is hidden in every letter.”
“Well isn’t that something?! And we just splutter out our words.”
“Yes, that is what happens to words that have been passed down to us over thousands of years. They have passed through and penetrated time and space. And the forgotten images underlying them still today are once more attempting to knock on the door of the human race. And they watch out for our souls, and even go to war on their behalf.”
‘And what kind of words are these? Is there at least one that might be familiar to me?”
“Of course there is. At least as a sound you have heard. But people have forgotten what underlies these words.”
Anastasia lowered her eyelids and sat silent for a while. Then, very quietly, almost in a whisper, she asked me: “Vladimir, please pronounce the word bard7’
“Bard,” I said.
She shuddered, almost as though in pain, and said:
“Oh, the indifference and banality in your pronunciation of that majestic word! Tou blew a cold gust of emptiness and neglect upon the candle’s restless flickering flame. A flame that has been connected through the centuries and possibly even addressed to you or someone else living today by a dis-tant forebear. Forgetfulness of our derivation is the cause of our modern devastation.”
‘And just what didn’t you like about my pronunciation? What should I be remembering in connection with that word?”
Anastasia fell silent. Then in a quiet voice she began uttering phrases straight out of antiquity:
“Long before Christ’s birth there lived certain people on the Earth — our forefathers, who were called Celts. Their wise teachers were known as Druids. Many peoples inhabiting the Earth at that time knelt before the Druids’ knowledge of the material and spiritual worlds. Not a single Celtic warrior would dare unsheathe his sword in the presence of a Druid. To be awarded the title of Druid even at the starting level, they had to undergo at least twenty years of arduous training at the hands of a spiritual teacher — a Druid priest. Those who were consecrated in this domain were known as Bards. They alone had the moral authority to go out among the people and sing about and inculcate the light and truth contained in their song, using words to project images and heal people’s hearts.
“The Celts fell subject to attacks by Roman legions. Their last battle took place at a river. The Romans noticed that there were women walking among the Celtic warriors — women with long, flowing hair. Experienced Roman commanders, though knowing what this meant — that they would have to outnumber the Celts six to one in order to defeat them, were unaware of the reason why. Nor do modern historians and researchers have a complete explanation. It all had to do with these unarmed women with their long, flowing hair.
“The Romans surged in with a mighty force, outnumber-ing the Celts nine to one. Aligned with their backs up against the river, the last family of fighting Celts was on the verge of defeat.
“They stood strong in a semicircle. Behind them was a young woman, breast-feeding a wee baby girl, and singing. The young mother sang a bright and cheerful song, so as not to instil doleful fear in the little one’s soul — so that she would be left with images of light.
“Whenever the little one tore herself away from her moth-er’s breast, their eyes would meet. The woman would cease her singing and each time tenderly utter her baby’s name: Barda.
“Soon there was no longer any semicircle to defend the pair. All that stood between the nursing mother and the flood of Roman legionnaires making their way along the narrow path was a young and blood-gored Bard armed only with a sword. He turned to look at the woman, their eyes met and they smiled at each other.
“The wounded Bard managed to stave off the Romans while the woman went down to the river and put her wee baby girl into a little boat and pushed it away from the riverbank.
“With one last great effort of will-power, the bleeding Bard threw down his weapon at the woman’s feet. She took up his sword, and fought for four hours straight with the legionnaires on the narrow path, preventing them from reaching the shore. Their strength became spent and they spelled each other off on the narrow path.
“The Roman commanders looked on in silent astonish-ment, but could not understand how strong and experienced soldiers could not come close enough to even scratch the woman’s body
“For four bruising hours she fought the flood of Roman attackers. Then the woman’s lungs gave out, dried up with dehydration as no liquid had touched her tongue, and drips of blood began oozing from her cracked, beautiful lips.
“Slowly sinking to her knees, her strength waning all the while, she still managed one more faint smile in the direction of the little boat carrying away her wee Barda, a future song-stress, downstream with the current. And one more gleam of the word and its image which have been carried down through the millennia for the benefit of many living upon the Earth today
“Man’s being is not only in the flesh. Man’s invisible feel-ings, aspirations and sensations are immeasurably sharper and greater than what can be discerned by the eye or ear. As in a mirror, they are but partially reflected in the visible material state.
“The baby Barda grew into girlhood, and later became a woman and a mother. She lived on the Earth and sang. Her songs imparted to people only bright feelings and, like the all- healing Ray, helped them chase away the gloominess of the heart. Many of life’s afflictions and deprivations tried to extinguish the source of this Ray. The hidden forces of darkness tried to break through to it, but could not overcome the one obstacle in their way, the Bard and his wife who stood looming before them on the narrow path.
“Man’s essence is not in the flesh, Vladimir. The Bard’s bleeding body projected into eternity the smile of his soul’s blessed light, reflecting the unseen essence of Man.
‘And the lungs of the young mother holding the sword gave out after a while, blood dripped, then poured from the cracks in her lips, which had caught the Bard’s bright smile.
And now, Vladimir, believe in me. Understand and see! And you will hear the ring of the invisible sword of the Bard, beating back the attack of the dark and angry forces on the path to the hearts of his descendants today
“Now, please pronounce the word Bard once again, Vladimir.”
“I can’t. Not until I can say it with the proper meaning. Then I shall most certainly pronounce it.”
“Thank you for not attempting it, Vladimir.”
“Tell me, Anastasia — after all, you are able to tell. Who among those living today are the direct descendants of that nursing mother and the girl — the songstress Barda? Of the Bard-warrior who stood on the narrow path? Who can forget something as important as his ancestry?”
“Tell me, Vladimir, why this question came to your thought.”
“I want to get a good look at that person or persons who have forgot such things. Those who do not remember where they came from. Those without feeling for the same.”
“Perhaps you want to make certain that you are not the one who is forgetting?”
“Now what does that...? Never mind, Anastasia, I’ve got it now You needn’t give it another thought. Let each person figure it out for themselves.”
“Fine,” she replied and fell silent, looking at me.
And I too kept silent for a time, reflecting on the pictures Anastasia had painted, and then I asked her:
“Why did you choose that particular word as an example?”
“To show you how the images underlying it in the real world will soon take visible form. Guitar strings in swarms are now vibrating under the fingers of today’s Russian bards. Even back when I was dreaming about it all in the taiga, these bards were the first to feel the images. Their hearts and their souls...
‘At first it was only in one of them that flared a flickering burning flame and the delicate resonance of a guitar string, but then the souls of others caught the rhythm and joined in. Soon their songs will be heard by many both near and far. These are the bards who will help us behold the new dawn. The dawn of enlightenment of human hearts and souls. You shall hear their songs. And these will be new songs, songs of the awakening dawn.