Book 5. Who are we? (2001)
Take a taste of the Universe
For a long time it bothered me that Anastasia appeared so content to leave her nursing child all by himself. She would simply put him down on the grass under some bushes or next to the dozing she-bear or she-wolf. I was already convinced that not a single creature would touch him. On the contrary, they would defend him to the death. But from whom? If all the animals around were acting like nannies, then who would they need to protect him from? Still, it was unusual to leave a nursing baby all alone, and I tried to dissuade Anastasia, saying:
“Just because the animals won’t touch him, that doesn’t mean that there are no other misfortunes out there that could befall him.”
To which she responded:
“I cannot imagine, Vladimir, what misfortunes you have in mind.”
“There are a lot of things that could happen to helpless children. Let’s say he crawls up a hillock, for example, and then tumbles down it, twisting his ankle or his wrist.”
‘Any height of ground the baby could crawl up on his own would not cause him any harm.”
“But say he eats something harmful. He’s still too young, everything goes into his mouth, so it won’t be long before he poisons himself, and then who’s going to be around to flush out his insides? There aren’t any doctors in the neighbourhood, and you don’t even have an enema to flush out his intestines in case of emergency”
Anastasia just laughed.
“What need is there for an enema, Vladimir? The intestines can be flushed out another way, and much more effectively than with an enema.”
“Would you like to try it? It will do you a world of good! I shall simply bring you a few little herbs...”
“Hold on, don’t bother. I understand. You want to give me something to make my stomach upset.”
“Your stomach has been upset for a long time, Vladimir. The herb I have in mind will expel anything causing your stomach harm.”
“I get it — in case anything happens you can give a herb to a young child and it will make him go to the bathroom. But why take things to such lengths when it comes to a baby?”
“It will not go that far. Our son will eat nothing that is going to harm him. Children — especially those who are nursing and accustomed to the taste of their mother’s milk — will never eat anything else in any significant quantity And our son will only take a little taste of any berry or herb. If he finds it noxious or bitter — a substance that could harm him, he will spit it out himself. If he eats a little of it and it begins to affect his stomach, he will vomit it, and that will help him remember and he will not try it again. But he will come to know the whole Earth — not from someone else’s reports, but by tasting it on his own. Let us allow our son to taste the Universe for himself.”
No doubt Anastasia is right. It is true nothing bad has happened to the little one so far, not even once. Besides, I noticed a particularly interesting phenomenon: the creatures around her glade themselves train or teach their young how to interact with Man. I used to think Anastasia was the one that did this, but later I became convinced that that is not something she wastes her time on.
This is what I saw on one occasion: we were sitting in the sun at the edge of the glade. Anastasia had just finished nursing our son, and he was blissfully lying in her arms. Initially he seemed to be having a nap or just dozing, but then all at once his little hand began touching Anastasia’s hair, and he broke into a smile. Anastasia looked at her son and smiled back, whispering something in his ear with her tender voice.
I saw the she-wolf come out into the glade with her brood — four cubs, still quite young. The wolf came over to us, and stopped about ten metres away and lay down on the ground. The cubs trailing along behind her quickly began nuzzling up to her belly. Upon seeing the wolf and her cubs lying there, Anastasia rose from the ground, babe in arms, and went over to her. She squatted down about two metres away and began inspecting the wolf’s brood, her face all smiles, and saying:
“Oh, what beauties our clever wolf has borne! One of them will most certainly be a leader, while this little one is the spitting image of her Mama. She will be a joy to her Mama, and a worthy inheritor to carry on the family line.”
The mother wolf seemed to be dozing, her languishing eyes closed tight either from drowsiness or from the soft caressing of Anastasia’s voice. The cubs turned away from their mother’s belly and began looking at Anastasia. One of them, still unsure of his step, began making his way over to her.
The mother, who just a second before had looked so drowsy, suddenly sprang up, seized the cub with her teeth and dropped him back among the others. Then the same thing occurred with a second cub, then the third and the fourth, all trying to get closer to Anastasia. The inexperienced cubs continued their attempts, but the mother would not let them go until they had finished their little adventures. Two of the cubs began tussling with each other, the other two sat meekly and kept a watchful eye on us.
The baby in Anastasia’s arms also noticed the wolf family. He began watching them, and then his legs began kicking im-patiently, and he uttered some kind of beckoning sound.
Anastasia reached out her hand toward the wolves. Two of the cubs began heading, with unsure step, in the direction of the outstretched human hand. This time, however, the mother didn’t try to stop them. On the contrary, she began nudging the other two cubs, who were still at play, in the same direction. And before long all four were right at Anastasia’s feet.
One of them began nibbling on one of her fingers, a second got up on its hind legs and rested its forepaws on her arm, while the other two crawled over to her leg. The boy started to squirm in Anastasia’s arms, evidently wanting to get closer to the cubs. Whereupon Anastasia let him down on the ground and he started playing with them, oblivious to anything else! Anastasia went over to the mother wolf, and after giving her neck a gentle stroking, came back to me.
I realised that the wolf had been trained never to disturb Anastasia without being invited, and would approach her only upon a predetermined gesture. Now she was teaching this same rule to her offspring. The wolf, no doubt, had been taught this by her own mother, who in turn had learnt it from her mother, and so on from generation to generation — all the creatures transmitted to their young the rules of interaction with Man. A reverent and tactful interaction, it must be said. But who taught them that other kind of interaction and how — to attack Man?
My exposure to the life of the Siberian taiga recluses1 raised a whole lot of different questions — questions I could not have even imagined asking earlier. Anastasia has no intention of changing her reclusive lifestyle.
But... stop right there! When I think of Anastasia as a ‘recluse’, each time I associate the word recluse with someone who has isolated himself from society, from our contemporary information systems. But what is really going on? After each visit to her glade I end up putting out a new book. A book that is discussed by all sorts of people, young and old, scientists and religious leaders. The way it turns out, it is not I who bring her information from our over-informed society, but it is she who offers me information that proves to be of great interest to our society
So then, who is the real recluse? Haven’t we got caught up so much in the abundance (or, more correctly, the seeming abundance) of information at our fingertips that we have set ourselves apart, distanced ourselves from the true source of information? It’s simply amazing when you think about what’s really going on — Anastasia’s remote taiga glade serves as a real information centre, like a launch pad propelling us into the other dimensions of our existence. Then, who am I, who are we? And who is Anastasia?
In any case, perhaps it isn’t all that important. Something else is much more important, namely, her latest sayings concerning the possibility of transforming the life of any individual Man for the better. Or, for that matter, any country, or even human society as a whole. And this is effected through changing the living conditions of an individual.
It’s all incredibly simple: just give a Man at least one hectare of land, and she goes on to explain what to do with this land, and then... Incredible, how simple it is! And Alan will always be surrounded by the energy of Love. Those in marital relationships will love their spouses. Their children will be happy, many diseases will be eradicated, wars and catastrophes will cease. Man will draw closer to God.
She has, in fact, proposed the construction of a whole lot of glades similar to her own in the proximity of major cities. But this doesn’t mean she rejects making use of our civilisation’s achievements — “Let what is negative be pressed into service on behalf of good,” she says. And I have come to believe in her plan. I believe in that splendid turn of events that is to come about as a result of implementing her ideas in our lives. And a lot of them seem so logical to me. All we have to do is go over everything, think everything through, in the right order. We have to adapt her proposal to each location.
I was especially struck by Anastasia’s idea regarding land and its development. I could hardly wait to get home and see what scientists have to say about similar communities — does anything along this line exist anywhere in the world? I wanted to see if I could start by designing a new community in all its detail, and then start building it through the concerted efforts of those desiring to participate in its construction. Naturally, neither I nor anyone else can undertake the responsibility for getting this marvellous community of the future going all on our own. It is something we need to do together! We shall have to examine all the information collectively and design our community, taking into account mistakes other people have made.