Book 5. Who are we? (2001)
It was almost midnight by the time Anastasia and I got back to my apartment. As I put the key into the lock, I felt a sense of exhaustion after all the intense experiences the day had brought. Upon seeing my bed, I told Anastasia that I was extremely tired, and went to take a shower. When I came out of the shower, Anastasia told me she’d already made up my bed, and that she herself would lie down on the balcony.
It’s probably too stuffy for her in one of these mass-produced apartment blocks, I thought, and went out to the balcony to see what kind of bed she had made for herself there. It turned out she had put a little strip of rug down on the balcony floor and covered it with some white paper, which my landlord had got ready for wallpapering the flat. In place of a pillow she had folded her cardigan, and put a small tree-branch at the head of her makeshift bed.
“How can you get a good night’s sleep here, Anastasia? It’s hard, and you’ll be cold. At least let me fetch you a blanket.”
“Not to worry, Vladimir. I shall be fine here. The air is fresh, and I can see the stars. Look up and see how many stars there are! There is a soft, warm breeze blowing — I shall not be cold. You go lie down, Vladimir, and I shall sit on the edge of your bed for a while, and once you fall asleep, I shall lie down, too.”
I lay down on the bed Anastasia had made up for me and thought I was so tired that I’d nod off right away, but it didn’t work out quite like that. The thought, or realisation, that Man — i.e., every single individual — was nothing more than
a plaything in the hands of some sort of coincidences, kept gnawing away at my mind, giving me no peace. This led to a growing feeling of irritation at those who had arranged these coincidences, and Anastasia too. Anastasia in particular, since I considered it a definite possibility that she had actually par-ticipated in the formation of these coincidences, at least as far as my life was concerned.
“Is something disturbing you, Vladimir?” Anastasia calmly enquired, and I even raised myself slightly on my elbows.
‘As if you didn’t know!... I believed you... I wanted to believe... I particularly wanted to believe that Man — every Man — is capable of making his own life happy. I especially believed in the eco-communities you talked about, where people can live a secure existence thanks to their own family plot of land, and raise their children to have a happy life. And that there would be good schools there for the children. I believed you when you said that every Man is the beloved child of God. ‘Man is the summit of creation’ — you did say that, didn’t you?”
“Yes, Vladimir, I did tell you that.”
“Of course you did! And how convincing you made it all sound! I not only believed you, I started acting on it, started organising a community I’ve already submitted the necessary paperwork to the authorities. The Anastasia Foundation is collecting people’s applications. A design’s been commissioned, along with a layout for gardens and all sorts of plantings. It would have been all right just to believe you and all that, but I actually started carrying things out, and with pleasure! Ton knew! You knew I’d carry things out!”
“Yes, Vladimir, I knew. After all, you are an entrepreneur. You are always ready to carry out practical actions, to make things happen...”
‘Always ready?” I echoed. “How simple it all is! Of course. No need to be a clairvoyant to see that. As long as an
entrepremir believes in something, he will start to act. And I, fool that I was, started too.”
I couldn’t stay lying down any longer. I jumped out of bed, walked over to the window and opened the fortochka/ since I felt a sudden wave of heat — either in the room or within me.
“Why did you think your actions foolish, Vladimir?” Anastasia calmly asked.
And her equanimity, along with her feigned ignorance, as I then considered it — made me even more angry
“And you just sit there talking all calm-and-collected-like? Calm and collected! As if you didn’t know all along that Man is a puppet in somebody’s hands. They control Man through various circumstances. Each Man is easily controllable by some kind of forces. If they feel like it, they can plunge half the human race into war. They plunge people into war and then take up a position somewhere up above or on the sidelines to watch us kill each other. If they feel like it, they’ll slip some sort of religion into the proceedings and watch, once again, as people go to war over their faith. If they feel like it, they can play with just a single individual. I’m convinced of it. I’ve been convinced by people who are smart enough to analyse what’s going on.”
‘And just how did these ‘smart people’ succeed in convincing you that Man is just a plaything in the hands of some kind of forces?”
“I listened to a report. They were talking about me. Some smart people became interested in public reaction to the books. They became interested in you, and in me too. They followed my every move during my time on Cyprus, while I was working on the fourth book. They recorded everything
and then analysed it. And, if you can believe it, I’m not mad at them for following me. I’m even grateful to them — for finally opening my eyes. They showed how Man is being toyed with. Coincidences don’t just happen, they’re arranged, and I’ve become convinced of this through my own experience.”
“What experience is this, Vladimir? Have you been conducting an experiment?”
“I haven’t, but they’ve been conducting an experiment on me. When I was on Cyprus, I happened to mention freshwater fish, and presto! — freshwater fish appeared. I mentioned cedars, and cedars appeared. I wanted to pay a night-time visit to a church — and, lo and behold, there was a church, and the church doors were open at night. A whole lot of other things happened — all I had to do, no doubt, was write what they wanted me to.
“But the main thing — the granddaughter of the goddess Aphrodite appeared. I mentioned to several people on Cyprus that I wanted to meet with her granddaughter, since I had had it up to here with their Aphrodite. There were posters everywhere about her Baths, and people were forever carrying on about her. Anyway, I told them I was going to meet vrith the granddaughter of this goddess Aphrodite. I mentioned this, and a few days later along comes this girl with fire in her eyes — anyway, the way things turned out, everybody decided that Aphrodite had indeed sent her granddaughter, and was working miracles through this girl, and the girl herself underwent some kind of transformation.
“But who arranged all these circumstances one after another? Who? I certainly didn’t arrange anything. If only one thing like this happened to take place, well, okay, but here was a whole chain of them together, and if you take them altogether, it’s no longer a coincidence, it’s a pattern. This is the conclusion the academics came to. And I’m convinced they’re right. And you can’t persuade me otherwise.”
“But I was not about to deny that there is a pattern to what has been happening, Vladimir,” Anastasia calmly observed.
I felt my whole insides turn cold, and I was suddenly over-whelmed with some kind of extraordinary sense of apathy fol-lowing these last words of Anastasia’s. I did have a hope — a faint one, but still a hope — that she would be able to dissolve the whole feeling that had been building up in me of Man’s utter insignificance — not just my insignificance but all mankind’s — but this she didn’t do. In any case, how could she have? Who would dare deny what is so patently obvious? Indifferent to everyone and everything, I stood by the window in a room lit only by moonlight, and looked out at the stars.
Somewhere out there, perhaps on one of those very stars, lived those who were controlling us, toying with us. They were living, they were real! But could our existence really be called life? A toy in subjection to somebody’s will cannot be said to live an independent life — which meant only one thing: we were not living. This is why we are indifferent to so many things.
Once again Anastasia began talking in that same quiet and calm voice. But this time her voice didn’t arouse in me any emotions whatsoever — it was more like some kind of extraneous sound.
“Vladimir, you and the people who sent you that cassette with the report were right: there really are energies out there capable of changing time, joining together into a single chain various events or, as happened with you, arranging a chain of circumstances required to achieve a predetermined goal. Pure coincidences do not happen — that is already clear to many people. Coincidences, even those which seem to be the most far-fetched, are programmed. Everything that happens to each individual is programmed. And what happened to you on Cyprus, which served as a clear illustration for the researchers as well as, naturally, for you, was also programmed, and then turned into reality.
“Tell me, please, Vladimir, would you not like to know where the one directly responsible for programming your coincidences is now?”
“What difference does it make where he is? Doesn’t matter to me. On Mars, the Moon... Whether he feels good or bad.” “He is right here in this room, Vladimir.”
“That means, it’s you?... If so, that still doesn’t change anything. I’m not even surprised. And I’m not angry. I simply don’t care. We are manipulable, and that’s the hopeless tragedy of the human race.”
“I am not the one in charge of programming your coincidences, Vladimir. I am able to exercise but a tiny speck of influence.”
“Then who is in charge? There’s only two of us in the room. Or is there a third — a programmer who’s invisible?”
“Vladimir, this programmer is right within you — it is your desires.”
“Only Man’s desires and aspirations can launch any kind of programme of action. This is the law of the Creator. Nobody, none of the energies of the Universe, can ever break that law.
Because Man is the master of all the energies of the Universe! Man!”
“But I didn’t launch anything on Cyprus, Anastasia. Everything happened all by itself, by coincidence, apart from me.” “There were indeed certain minor incidents that were not part of the more significant events — though they contributed to their realisation — and these incidents did happen apart from your will. But the basic events themselves were preceded by your desires. Was it not you who wanted to meet with the granddaughter of the goddess Aphrodite? You expressed your wish in the presence of witnesses and repeated it a number of times.”
“Yes, I did...”
“And if you remember that, then how can you call servants carrying out the will of their lord masters, and how can you call the master a plaything in their hands?”
“Yes, that would be silly Interesting, how all this is turning out! Wow! Desires... But why then aren’t all our desires fulfilled? Many people wish for things, but their wishes aren’t fulfilled.”
“So much depends on how meaningful the goal is. On whether the desire corresponds to the light or the dark. On how strong the desire is. The more substantial and bright the goal, the more the forces of light are drawn to fulfil it. To bring it about.”
‘And if the goal is a dark one — let’s say, for example, to get drunk, or get into a fight, or plan a war?...”
“Then the dark forces take over — Man through his desire has given them the opportunity to act. But, as you can see, it is still Man’s desire that is first and foremost! Your desire, Vladimir.”
I began to ponder what Anastasia had said, and my heart felt better and better. The very pleasant moonlight filled the whole room, and it seemed as though the stars in the sky were shining not with a cold light, but with a warm one. And Anastasia, sitting there on the edge of the bed, seemed to look even better than before. I said to her:
“You know, Anastasia, back there, when I first arrived on Cyprus, to be honest with you, I very nearly went on a binge. Because at first I couldn’t find anything there I liked. Nobody spoke Russian. It was too noisy to work — people were whooping it up all around. Why on earth did I end up here, I thought, maybe to get to know some hookers? There are lots of women there, shall we say, of loose behaviour — from both Russia and Bulgaria.”
“You see, Vladimir? You had the desire, and there they were. You got drunk on vodka, and set up a date with them.
With one woman from Bulgaria, and another from Russia. Only even before that you wanted to meet with Aphrodite’s granddaughter — your first desire proved to be stronger, and she appeared, and saved you from all the wretched stuff. She helped you.”
“Yes, she did. And just how might you know about the Bulgarian girl?”
“From my feelings, Vladimir.”
“I don’t understand that, but never mind. Tell me rather: this girl, Elena Fadeyeva, she’s not the daughter of the god-dess Aphrodite — she’s Russian, she’s simply an employee of a tourist agency on Cyprus. But I was talking about Aphrodite’s granddaughter. Does that mean these forces of light were too puny to show me the real granddaughter of Aphrodite?”
“They are by no means ‘puny’. And they did show you. The goddess Aphrodite today exists as energy. She is capable of connecting for a time with the energy of any Man — if she can see some meaningful reason to do so. That Elena Fadeyeva, whenever she was with you, had two energies inside her. There was a lot she could do during those days. There was a lot she succeeded in doing, and she managed to help you, too.”
“Yes, Em grateful to her. And to the goddess Aphrodite.”
All my concerns and unpleasant sensations, connected with my assumption that all people were simply pawns in the hands of some kind of forces, literally flew out the window: Now, after my talk with Anastasia, a sense of confidence and peace set in.
For some time I just watched silently as Anastasia sat on the edge of my bed in the moonlight, her hands meekly fold-ed atop her knees. And then... to this day I cannot figure out how this happened, but I suddenly came out with:
“I realise that you, Anastasia, are a great goddess.” And as I said this I fell on my knees before her.
A cry of pain and despair burst from Anastasia’s lips. She immediately rose and stepped back from me, leaning against the wall and clasping her hands to her breast as though in prayer.
“Vladimir, I beg of you, get up off your knees — you should not bow down to me. О God, О God, I have overdone it, I have been in too great a haste — forgive me for not making myself clear enough to Your sons. In God’s sight, Vladimir, all people are equal. They should not bow down to one another. I am simply a woman — I am Man!
“You are so vastly different from all other people, Anastasia, so if you are simply Man, then who are we? Who am I?” “You are Man, too, only as you are living out your life in vanity, you have not yet been able to think of what your purpose is.”
“Moses, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Rama,2 Buddha — who are they? And how do you relate to them?”
“Those are my elder brothers you have named, Vladimir. I am not in a position to judge their works, but I shall say one thing: none of them had their fill of earthly love.”
“That can’t be — every single one of them has millions of worshipping followers, even today”
“But worship does not mean love. It only exhausts the worshipper’s power of thought — a power exclusive to Man. Great is the egregor3 of my brothers — for millions of years many people have fed it through their worship, and in so doing each worshipper lost some of his energy Over the centuries there have been many willing to condemn the deeds of my brothers. And I could not understand why they made such great efforts to feed their own egregot; building up its energy over thousands of years. Nobody has been able to guess their secret until the dawn of the present age. And my brothers decided to gather the accumulated energy into a single whole, in order to distribute it to souls now living on the Earth. A new millennium will soon be given birth, in which the gods will settle the Earth — those people whose conscious awareness will allow them to accept this energy in all its worth.
“Vladimir, I beg of you, get up off your knees! It is painful for any father to see his son bowed down and enslaved. It is only the dark forces that have always tried to demean Man’s significance. Vladimir, get up off your knees, refuse to betray yourself. Do not separate yourself from me.”
Anastasia was extremely upset, and I did as she asked. I got up off my knees and said:
“I wasn’t separating myself from you. On the contrary, it seems I’ve just begun to understand you. Only I don’t agree that worship interferes with love. On the contrary, all believers say that they love God. And I am bowing before you as a goddess, but you are frightened for some reason, you’ve become upset.”
“We have known each other for five years now, Vladimir. A lot of time has gone by since that night when our son was conceived, but ever since that time, not once have you had the desire to touch me, to give me the look you give to other women. Lack of understanding — and now, worship — do not allow love to reveal itself. Worship does not bring forth children.”
“Well, that’s because you’re not exactly a woman, Anastasia. You’ve become a kind of information node. It’s not just me — others too don’t get your meaning right off. For example, what does ‘don’t betray yourself’ mean? Why did you say that in reference to me?”
“You wrote a letter to the President of Russia, Vladimir, but at the same time you have come to doubt yourself — you
almost perished. You have ceased creating on your own and handed your problems to others — basically to a single President.”
“That’s because he’s the only person in Russia who can re-alistically do anything.”
“One person cannot do it by himself — the will of the majority is required. Besides, why did you send your letter only to one president? There are presidents in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan...”
“But you’ve always talked about Russia. Besides, Russia is my Motherland.”
“But your passport4 says you are a Belarusian.”
“That’s right. My father was Belarusian.”
‘And you spent your whole childhood in Ukraine.”
“Well yes, I did. And that was the best part I remember from my childhood. I remember the white cottage with its straw roof, and the weir where I fished for mud loaches along with the neighbourhood lads. And my grandma and grandpa never once quarrelled in my presence, and never punished me.”
“Yes, yes, Vladimir, and remember how you and your grand-father planted tiny seedlings in the garden...”
“I do remember. Grandma would water them from a bucket.”
“But you know that even today in the village of Kuzdnichi, in Ukraine, in the village where you were born, that garden has been preserved, its trees are all crusty now, but they are still bearing fruit — they are waiting for you.”
“So then, where is my Motherland, Anastasia?”
“It is within you.”
“In you! You can materialise it forever on the Earth, wherever your soul indicates.”
“You’re right — I have to figure it all out somehow. At the moment I get the feeling I’m scattered all over the land.” “Vladimir, you are tired. This whole day has brought a lot of emotion upon us. Lie down and go to sleep. By morning your sleep will have built up fresh strength for you, and you will have a new conscious awareness...”
I lay down on the bed, and could feel Anastasia taking my hand in hers. Now a deep sleep would ensue, and I already knew that she could make it deep and peaceful, so that everything would be all right by morning. But just before I dropped off I managed to say:
“You know, Anastasia, could you please see to it that I shall be able once again to catch a glimpse of Russia’s splendid future?”
“Fine, go to sleep, Vladimir. You will see it.”
And Anastasia started singing very quietly — a wordless song, like a lullaby. Anyway, it’s great that people can program, everything for themselves, I managed to think before plunging into a peaceful and pleasant dream about the future of Russia.