The occult paths to the contacts
Now we can examine another variety of CPW's artistic collaboration with a painter, when they found it possible to establish a contact only because the artist indulged in occult practices. What follows is an extract from a letter sent by a man who had experiences all this himself.
"This took place in the late 70s when spiritual questions had at last come to the fore among the intellectual youth in the Soviet Union. Christianity was certainly out of the question: it seemed something obsolete, merely moral and dead. We were all sons of the Soviet system, subject to atheistic propaganda of all sorts from our very childhood. Was not its goal to form in the people an utter ignorance and steady contempt to Christianity? We could not help looking upon it as a set of old-ladies' prejudices deprived of either true spirituality or sound philosophy that could answer our thirsty minds.
The exotic spirituality in extravagant Oriental wrapping (I wonder who had brought it to Russia?) seemed far more alluring, we were all ready to rise the bait of the newly-fledged 'Hindu' wisdom. Everything here was sacred for us. Everything filled us with great enthusiasm. The very thought of a possible outlet from the stuffy impasse of the Soviet atheism, that was deadening every artistic soul by its utter vapidity, this possibility alone could bring us to raptures. We all, artists, poets, actors and sculptors (as "normal" Soviet people) had been made to believe that death was the utter end, absolute darkness, perfect annihilation. This ruinous lie had stuck fast to the mind, poisoning out lives with a permanent sense of absurdity. Many took to drink broken by the terrible atheistic motto: "life for death's sake". We had been firmly taught that there was nothing ahead except death.
Now imagine, what a rapture - after years of all this -an artist's soul feels when told of the endless scopes of spiritual growth! A soul that had for years been nailed down to the wall of permanent death... Our famished souls rushed eagerly after the underground literature on Agni-yoga, Radga-yoga, on "karma" and "reincarnations". Add to this the lures of the notorious paranormal abilities: healing, clairvoyance, telepathy, etc. And those charming Indian scents. And that special music "for meditations". All that was carrying you to another, much more exalted and beautiful world, far from that terrible greyish reality. Many of us, young intellectuals, then rose to that bite.
Occult circles and sects multiplied rapidly. Curiosity overcame fear and young artists in piles went in for "enlightening" and "widening" their minds up to the cosmic dimensions. I was no exception and entered a circle where I was to be taught how to be charged from the cosmic powers and get information from the Absolute Mind. That required total abstinence pledge (what an unusually noble impulse!), a fully vegetarian diet (even that was acceptable for the sake of the "divine" gifts) and so on. Special physical exercises were aimed at cleaning our energy canals, etc. Our gurus (this also I wonder: where had they all come from?) were sometimes lucky enough to rent a gymnasium in a school, or, more often, we had to gather in somebody's flat.
The results did not make us wait long. What started to happen at our gatherings was more than strange. Nevertheless we trusted our gurus who kept telling us that all that was nothing but cleaning the canals. Our bodies during the exercises suddenly swayed to and fro or went in regular circles, our hands spontaneously rose and moved as if not belonging to us. When the disciples were lying practising full relaxation, their bodies suddenly started shaking, rattling with all their limbs against the boards or the floor, though nobody felt pain. It all produced a rather eerie impression resembling a mass epileptic fit, but the gurus were sure: the successfully started canals' cleaning had just taken its normal course. (By the way I should like to note that something very much alike was taking place about twelve years later at Kashpirovsky's TV seances).
As we went on, it was growing more and more strange. I recall one of us rising from the floor lifted by a "divine" power and... an enchanting, indescribable oriental dance starts; the rhythm is so peculiar and the movements so perfectly facile that you'd never guess the chap had never danced before. Later he told me that throughout the whole dance he was amazed no less than the others, looking at what his body was doing as if from outside and feeling the same relaxation as he did lying on the floor. Yet despite he did not control his movements (nor did he even feel them!), they were just perfectly graceful as he went along the spacious gymnasium in an exquisite dance. The astonished performer had neither done nor ever seen anything like that before. He was followed by two other young lads, who suddenly rose to their feet and so skilfully performed a noncontact karate sparring bout (this I could well tell, I had been keen on it myself) that when they swore they hadn't had a slightest idea of what they were doing I was really shocked. What a power it was, I wondered, that could operate a man's body with so grace and ease? Whose power was it?
While thinking all this over I felt as if a running line emerged inside my head before my inner sight. An irresistible urge to read it aloud came together with the vision. I could not help reciting it word after word. All the rest became silent. The two our gurus came up to me and stopped behind making fanciful passes over my head. For some five minutes I preached about love, friendship and mutual aid among those going in for esoteric practice, with a strong feeling of being transmitting the information received from above. Then suddenly I felt as if switched off, and the prophesy passed to somebody else, then to another one, and so on. The gurus in their turn seemed to have gained through their passes some new information on me, which they conveyed to me later. Who could have imagined! They told me that once I had been king Solomon, then a German crusader, and in my "last but one reincarnation" I was - (whom do you think?) - the Russian tsar Nicholas II. A flattering nonsense, isn't it?
Once, returning from such a coaching to my studio, I ventured an experiment. I was eager to know whether this "divine" power was able to paint anything with my hands. I fixed a canvas upon the easel (a large one, 1 x 1.5 m), prepared the paints, brushes and a rag - and lay on the floor in the posture of full relaxation reciting the "mantra".
A wave of energy came suddenly penetrating my body from top to toe. My hands soared upwards in wide and rhythmical movement. Then the whole body rose from the floor and went dancing in a fluent and steady rhythm heard somewhere inside my head. (I felt my body as fully relaxed as if I were still lying). The rhythm entirely fascinated my mind, enchanting with its quaint variability and driving me to the state of perfect rapture or even ecstasy. As I could judge by the movements it was a kind of Indian dance. My body was following that bewitching rhythm and I was just an observer. Some minutes passed in merely stepping from one foot to another in a most beautiful manner. Then, without ceasing the dance, my feet stepped towards the easel. My right hand took the brush (I did nothing, just watching!) and, following the same dancing rhythm, mixed several oils. The body was dancing, coming closer and moving farther from the canvas in the same rhythm. When it was near enough, the hand made several strokes in accordance with the same rhythm, mixed some more oils and returned back. I did not know in advance which colour it would choose or what paints it would take: I only observed.
The dance took more than two hours during which the canvas was ready. Though I had been incessantly moving I was not at all tired. The painting was a perfectly abstract one. Such naked abstractionism had never appealed to me before. Neither the manner nor the colours were mine".
So, the "switching on" to the unknown cosmic power has clicked. The story seems quite instructive throwing light upon two points:
1. Esoteric schools (and those descending from India first and foremost) are all aimed at introducing their followers into a contact with the creatures of parallel world.
2. The so-called paranormal abilities are results of such contacts and belong, properly speaking, to these very creatures (CPW) and not at all to the medium who naively considers them his own 'latent' faculties.
But what about the "love, friendship and mutual aid" among the esoteric disciples and other exalted "information received from above"? The letter says further that many of those taking part in the described gatherings discovered their real meaning in the sequel. The unusually strong vicious bents opened up quite soon driving some to rather quick degradation and grave personality disorders. Some sank into utter despair and ended in suicide, some went mad, and only a few continued their esoteric studies. But very soon they became hard to get on with, for their monstrous self-conceit allowed them to feel at ease only among those who admired them.
The author of the above letter, however, was lucky enough to doubt the altruistic purposes of his cosmic benefactors rather quickly. Somehow it became clear to him that the true holders of the "latent abilities" use them for merely luring the inexperienced spiritual "fortune-hunters" into a contact, whereupon they simply enslave them. Quite deliberately he decided to get rid of the "divine" (really inhuman) powers and the creatures hiding behind them. That brought him to the Orthodox Church and its sacraments.
This is how he describes his condition after receiving the holy baptism.
"Some books on prayer fell into my hands and I was step by step habituating myself to thinking of God. One quiet evening I stayed in my studio doing my usual work and repeating in my mind: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son on God, have mercy on me, the sinner". Suddenly I noticed something unusual: my breast started heaving and the breath became unnaturally deep as if I was desperately endeavouring to utter something very important but couldn't. I kept praying in my mind. My lips suddenly trembled and moved by themselves and a terrible roar broke from inside. My consciousness was absolutely clear and I knew well that all that was happening took place in spite of myself, and I knew the reason: it all was produced by the same power that used to enter me during my occult exercises. The "power" was evidently displeased by my prayer. Well, I doubled my diligence: "Lord... Jesus Christ... have mercy..." repeated my mind simply and calmly. My lips moved with more vigour as if trying to articulate something, and the lion's roar gave place to the distinct cry:
- Stop praying! I can't bear it!
I insisted: "Lord Jesus... Son of God... have mercy..."
The howl inside became desperate: "You'll scorch me!" Somebody was seething with anger inside me: "Well, that beats all! Stop it!! Oh, I'm leaving!"
At that moment I felt as if a powerful and solicitous hand took my entrails and turned them inside out throwing away all the rubbish that had been piled up in me for many years; a flapping sound like that of an opening champagne bottle was heard somewhere. Next page moment my bosom was all filled with ineffable radiance white as the light, and the feeling of childish purity overshadowed me. There was also a perfectly unknown music (I'd like to say - heavenly) heard inside, and a profound gratitude to Him taking me out of all that dirt, and a heartfelt glorification of the Redeemer.
That was the end of all my paranormal abilities. My works have all been done 'normally' ever since: I paint by myself, asking for God's help".
The episode seems to reveal quite clearly both the demonic nature and personal character of the "cosmic power" that had come into a contact with the artist.