Book 3. The Space of Love (1998)
A father’s role
My son, my little Vladimir, finally fell asleep. After his feeding he played for a while with something in the grass. He felt a cedar cone which had fallen to the ground and tried to lap it. He looked up at the clouds floating by in the sky. He listened to the birds sing, then climbed up a little hill, where the grass was thicker, curled up, closed his eyes, smiled at something, and fell asleep. Anastasia ran off to take care of some sort of tasks of her own. I set out for a walk in the forest alone, immersing myself in thought to the exclusion of everything around me. At the same time I couldn’t get rid of the alternating feelings of joy and disappointment.
I sat down under a cedar tree at the edge of the lake and decided to just sit there without moving until I thought of some way that I as a parent could contribute to my child’s upbringing. I had to think of something to make him feel his father was the most important thing in his life.
When Anastasia approached, I didn’t feel like talking with her at first. It was her laughter, in fact, that had distracted my son from me. Anastasia sat quietly by my side, her hands clutching her knees, thoughtfully contemplating the calm waters of the lake. She was the first to speak.
“Please do not be offended at me. Your communication struck me as so funny I could not restrain myself.”
“That’s not what I’m bothered about.”
“What is it then?”
“Many readers’ letters ask about how to bring up children, they want me to ask you everything about your system of
raising children and to describe it in my next book. But what is there here to describe? There is no system — quite the opposite. What you have here is some kind of anti-system. For example, what should fathers do under such circumstances? — a reader might ask.”
“You used a most appropriate word — anti-system — you can describe that.”
“But who would be interested in that? People are looking for practical guides where it tells them what they should do with their baby when he’s say, one month old, and then when he’s two months old, and so on. An hourly schedule. Books that offer a dietary programme. A complete timetable for bringing up the child according to his age. But here you have only a complete indulgence of the child’s whims. An all-permissive attitude.”
“Tell me, Vladimir, what do you want our son to be like when he grows up?”
“What do you mean, what do I want him to be like? Of course I want him to be a happy, normal and successful individual.”
‘And are there many happy people amongst your acquaint-ances?”
“Happy? Well, if you’re talking about completely happy people, I’d have to say: probably not very many Everybody’s got something not quite right with their lives. Either there’s not enough money, or they’re plagued by illness or family squabbles. But I want my son to avoid any kind of unpleasant experiences.”
“Then think about it: how can he avoid them if you deliberately squeeze him into the system everyone is brought up in? And think: might there not be a certain pattern in the fact that all parents want to see their children happy, and yet they grow up and turn out just like everyone else — not very happy?”
‘A pattern?” I queried. “What kind of pattern? If you know, tell me yourself.”
“Let us ponder this question together.”
“This is something people have been thinking about for ages, Anastasia. All kinds of scholars and specialists are pondering it. For this they have invented all sorts of systems of child-rearing, worked out schedules, trying to find the most efficient system.”
“Take a more careful look around you, Vladimir. See the trees, grasses and flowers growing. How could one possibly draw up an advance schedule of the days and hours when they should be watered? You would not go watering flowers when they were being washed with water from heaven simply because someone worked out a detailed schedule for watering them.”
“Now you’re going too far. That’s just nonsense — that’s not an example for raising children. It’s not something that can happen in life.”
“But you know, Vladimir, this is exactly what does happen in life. No matter what the system. It is still only a system. It is always calculated to wean the heart and soul away from Man when he is still small and to subject him to the system. So that he grows up like everyone else, in a way that will fit the system. And so it goes on for ages on end, so as to prevent the human soul from experiencing clarity of vision. To prevent Man from discovering himself in his beauty as a whole, with a God-given soul. Yes, Man! The ruler of all the Universe.” “Hold on a moment, don’t get carried away beyond my reach, speak calmly using everyday speech. What do parents need to do to make it so? So that children will grow up, as you say, with a soul that is free? To be rulers of the Universe, and happy? As God Himself has wished?”
“They must not interfere, they need to see their children clearly in their own thinking the way God Himself has wished. It is the aspiration of all the forces of Light in the Universe that each newborn child be endowed with the very best of creation. It is the parents’ duty not to hide the creative Light under the erudition of invented dogmas. For ages upon the Earth debates have arisen as to which system might be the wisest. But think about it yourself, Vladimir. Debates arise where Truth is hid from sight. Fruitless debates can go on forevermore as to what might be found behind the closed door. But one has only to open the door and it will be clear to all, and there will be nothing to debate, since everyone will be able to see the Truth for himself.”
“But in the final analysis, who will open this door?”
“It is already open. All that remains is for the eyes of the soul to be opened to see and gain awareness.”
“Gain awareness of what?”
“You were asking me about systems. You were mentioning the schedules and everyday regimes and how someone sets them forth for people in books. But think about it: who can tell more clearly about creation than the Creator Himself?” “But the Creator doesn’t tell anything. Up to now He has said hardly a word. Nobody hears His words.”
“Words thought up by Man have many meanings. The Creator patiently and lovingly speaks with each one of us through splendid, imperishable acts. The rising of the Sun and the silvery sheen of the Moon, the soft mist and tender dew, playing with the Sun’s ray and drinking in the heavenly blue. The Universe is filled with so many clear examples like that. Just look around you. They touch you and everyone else too.”
Again, if everything Anastasia said about child-rearing were to be laid out, the result would probably be the complete opposite of how we handle this matter today
I have already said that Anastasia, along with all her forebears through the ages, treats a newborn as a deity or an
immaculate angel. They consider it totally unacceptable to interfere with the child’s thought process.
Anastasia’s grandfather and great-grandfather were able to observe for long periods at a time how their little granddaughter would be fascinated by a bug or a flower, or the contemplation of something. They tried their best not to distract her with their presence. They would converse with her only when she herself paid attention to them and showed a desire to communicate. Anastasia maintained that at the very moment I was observing little Vladimir contemplating something in the grass, he was becoming aware not only of the bugs but of all creation.
According to her, a bug is a more perfect mechanism than any manufactured product, let alone a primitive construction set.
A child provided with the opportunity to communicate with these perfect beings will himself become more perfect than through communication with primitive lifeless objects.
Besides, as she maintains, every blade of grass, every bug, is interrelated with the whole of creation and subsequently aids the child in becoming aware of the essence of the Universe and of himself as part of it, to become aware of his innate purpose. Artificially created objects have no such connection and do not arrange priorities and values in the child’s brain in the right way
To my observation that the conditions in which she — and now our son — were being brought up were totally different from those in which children of our civilised world are to be raised, she responded as follows:
“Even in the mother’s womb, and especially when a helpless infant, as it seems, is given birth in the world, the forces ofLight in the Universe rejoice. They rejoice in the trembling hope that the newly arrived immaculate Godlike Man will become their kind ruler and intensify the Light of Love from the Earth.
“Everything has already been provided for him by the Creator. Through a bug, a tree, a blade of grass, a seemingly ferocious beast, the Universe is prepared to be a good nurse for him. Even in a Man outwardly small we see the great work of the Creator of all. In a burst of bright inspiration Man has been co-created by the Creator. And with his birth has been created for him a Paradise on Earth.
“Nothing and no one has power over the Creator’s supreme co-creation. His burst of love and bright inspiration are already comprehended in each engendered moment for the world.
“Of all the beings in the unfathomable Universe only one is capable of influencing his destiny by coming between God, Paradise, a star of happiness and Man.”
“So,” I queried, “does that mean that there is a being in the world more powerful than God?”
“There is nothing in the world more powerful than Divine inspiration,” replied Anastasia. “But there is a being equal to it in power, capable of coming between God — the most tender educator — and the angelic child — Man.”
‘And who is that, how is he called?”
“That being is Man the parentl”
“What? But how can it happen that parents can wish un-happiness for their children?”
“Everyone wants happiness. But they have forgotten the path to happiness. That is why they are perpetrating violence out of good intentions.”
“Can you offer proof, even just a little, of what you say?” I asked.
“You spoke of various systems of raising children,” Anastasia responded. “Think about it. There are many systems. But there is only one Truth. And this alone means that the many are leading in the wrong direction.”
“How can one tell the true system from a false one?”
“Try to look at life with an open heart. Purify thought from vain and fruitless art, and then you will see the world, the Creator of the Universe and yourself.”
“Where are the eyes of the heart, in place of ordinary eyes? Who is capable of discerning all this? Couldn’t you talk about things in more specific terms? And in simpler, conversational phrases? You said that your language would be similar to mine, but you are talking differently. And you are making me talk like you. I can sense how you are talking differently”
“Only a wee bit differently And you will be able to remember the gist of what I say And my speech will mix with yours. And do not worry, do not feel shy about the combinations of words you use. Your language will be understandable to many people. It will reveal to many hearts the essence concealed in those very hearts. Let the poetry of the Universe express itself in the way you write.”
“What’s going on here? I don’t want anyone to change the way I write.”
“But yet you were offended when a journalist called your language ‘stilted’. I, along with your readers, can make it so your language may leap from ‘stilted’ into ‘the best-sounding of all time’.”
“Well, okay, let’s have it that way down the road, but for now I just want to hear simple language. As it is, the issue is so complex, it is incomprehensible. How does it all happen, and how come parents are closing off the path to happiness for their children? And is that in fact what is really happening? First of all I have to be convinced that that’s really the case.”
“Fine. If you want to be convinced, try recalling scenes from your own childhood.”
“But that’s hard to do. Not everyone can recall things that happened in their infancy”
‘And why might that be? Is it not because memory attempts to spare our feelings and excise what is empty and fruitless? It tries to erase any suggestion of hopelessness, to mb out what you experienced in your mother’s womb when you sensed the world’s verbal abuse through the sufferings of your mother. Do you want me to help you recall the other things?”
“Well, you can give it a try What other things were there that have gone from my memory?”
“The other things are not things you wish to remember — you are reluctant to remember how you, the ruler of the Universe, lay all by yourself helpless in your crib. You were so tightly wrapped up, it was like being bound in a cocoon, and smiling people decided when you should eat and when you should sleep. You wanted to think everything through for yourself, to make sense of what was going on. But so often they would simply make cooing sounds and toss you up toward the ceiling. But what for? — you never got a chance to think about that. After growing a little, you began to see a great many things around you that had no voice and no heart. But you were not allowed to touch them. You could touch only those things which people handed you. And you resigned yourself to trying to figure out: where was the perfection in any of the joy-toys you were offered? But there was no way you could have found, in this absurd primitive object, what had never been there in the first place and never could.
“But still you kept searching, you did not completely give up — you felt things with your hands, you tried to bite them, but to no avail. You did not find any explanation. That was when you first wavered, you who were born to be ruler of the Universe. You decided that you were unable to decide anything for yourself. You were betrayed by those who gave you birth, and you betrayed yourself.”
“You talk about the events of my life. Was there anything in which I was different from other kids?”
“I am talking specifically about you. And about those who are listening to me at the moment.”
“So that must mean there are many rulers of the Universe, if each one of us is born to be one. But how can that be? What sense does it make being a ruler, if there are many ruling over the same thing? Or does that mean there are many universes?” “There is one Universe. Just one. Indivisible. But in that one Universe each one has his own space, and is responsible for the whole. Each one is responsible.”
“So where is it — my space, I mean?”
“It has been lost. But you will find it!”
“When did I manage to lose it?”
“When you gave up.”
“What do you mean, I ‘gave up’? I was just like all the other kids.”
“Like all the other children, you believed in the kindness of people around you, you believed in your parents, you began more and more to repress your own desires. And you accepted their belief that you were nothing but an ignorant, insignificant youngster.
‘And the sensations inculcated in you by the abuse of your childhood keep on haunting you throughout your life, even to the point of attempting to reproduce themselves in your offspring. You went to school like everyone else. There you were told how Man was nothing but a monkey How he was a primitive creature. How foolish he was to believe in God. You were told about how there was just one leader who knew everything. A leader chosen by the people. A leader who alone was more worthy and more intelligent than anyone else. And you got carried away with poems about that leader. You began glorifying him without a second thought.”
“It wasn’t just that I extolled and read verse as I was told — I actually believed it back then.”
“Yes, many people read verse. There were even competitions to see who could extol him better than anyone else. And you tried to be the best.”
“So did everyone else back then.”
“Yes, the whole system demanded that everyone have the same aspirations. And thereby perpetrated violence on everyone. It tried to break people to preserve itself.
“But then, all at once, part way through your life, you dis-covered that there were a lot of systems out there and that they were all different. Then you discovered that Man, quite possibly, was never a monkey. And the very wise leader turned out to be a very stupid tyrant. And it turned out that your generation had been living life all wrong. Now there was a new system to live by.
‘And thenyou became a parent. And unthinkingly you handed over your daughter to the new system, as though you were doing her a favour. You were not thinking, as you did before. You used to wonder when your toys made noise, but you don’t wonder any more. Having accepted abuse yourself as a normal state of affairs, you began abusing your own child. Century after century various systems have come and gone, one after the other, but all with a single goal — to kill yon, a ‘ruler’ and wise creator, and transform you into a soulless slave.
“The system always operates through parents. And through those who proclaim themselves to be wise teachers. They will come up with new teachings, thereby engendering a whole new system. And it does not take much investigation to see clearly that they are motivated by the age-old ambition to separate you from God. To come between you and make both you and God try to live and work only for them. This is the core of any system. And you, Vladimir, started asking me to create yet another system. I shall not be able to fulfil your request. You must look around you. Try to make sense of things through your heart alone.”
“Tell me, Anastasia, what about our son? Do you mean to say that living out here in the dense taiga, among all the wild beasts, he has not known violence, even in the least?”
“He knows neither violence nor fear. He is ever more confident that everything here is subject to Man and that Man is answerable for everything.”
“But wasn’t it violence, at least in a small degree, when the bear lapped his dirty bottom after he woke up? When he fell on his stomach after the bear lapped him? And she did this a second time after he began crawling again. And the second time he fell down. The way I saw it, he really didn’t like the bear lapping him like that. That was why he grabbed the bear by her muzzle, so she would stop pushing him with her tongue.”
‘And right at that point the bear stopped lapping him. A little later he will realise the significance of this procedure, but right now he sees it as a game. He himself plays with the bear and wants her to chase him.”
“You say Man is the wisest creature in the Universe, Anastasia, but here our son is being raised by wild animals. That’s not quite normal. I saw one time on TV how they showed a person who was already grown up. As a young lad he had landed among wolves, and when he was grown up people caught him, and it was a long time before he could talk anything like a human being. He seemed quite backward mentally.”
‘As far as our son is concerned,” Anastasia replied, “all the wild animals around do not serve as child-raisers, but rather as good, kind, capable nannies, who sincerely love our little boy And there is no doubt they would be ready at any moment to give their lives for their little fellow”
“Have you been giving them this kind of training for a long time? Did your grandfather and great-grandfather help you?”
“What need is there for training? Everything was done ages ago by the Creator.”
“But how could He have foreseen everything in advance, to be able to teach each creature what to do in any given
instance? Back there in the glade, as I was watching, our son was looking at the squirrels, and one in particular caught his fancy; He held out his little hand to it, smiled, and uttered a drawn-out eh sound. And the squirrel dashed right over to him — that same squirrel that had caught his eye. The little one then played with it, took it by its paw and stroked its tail. Now how could the Creator have foreseen this particular situation and taught the squirrel what to do?”
“The Creator is wise. He made everything more simple and to perfection.”
“From a Man who is free from aggression, selfishness, fear and many other dark feelings which came along later, emanates the Light of Love. Even though it is invisible to the eye, it is stronger than the light of the Sun. Its energy is life- giving. The way the Creator arranged things, only Man is endowed with such a tremendous ability Only Man! He alone is capable of bringing warmth to all living creatures. That is why all living creatures are drawn to him.
“As Vladimir, our little son, was paying attention to the squirrels, he fixed his gaze on one of them in particular, concentrated his attention on it, and his warmth went out to that little squirrel. In this warmth the creature felt a sense of grace, and rushed toward the source, and was delighted to play with him. Our son can summon any animal that way.
“Thanks to the Creator all newborns have such an ability — when they are still in the Space of Love and nothing has yet erased this magnificent element within them. The Space of Love begins with the mother’s womb, and then only spreads apace. Only Man is endowed with the power to wreck or perfect this Space.
“My grandfather did train the eagle — you remember that — and thereby introduced a new element into the Space of Love. This is what my forebears — my forefathers and foremothers — have been doing from time immemorial. Now, tomorrow will be a special day, and you will see what happens. Tomorrow will be an important day for the future.”