Fakir's hatred

    On becoming a priest, father Nikolay Drobiazgin, not long before an excellent naval officer and a warship captain, was appointed missionary and had to officiate in a number of Russian parishes in China, Tibet and India. When at the close of the 19th century he was travelling to one of his destinations in India the following occasion happened:
    The steamer "Louisa" with the young missionary onboard was approaching the Ceylon island. In Kolombo it was to replenish its coal supplies and the passengers had enough time to go ashore. Colonel Elliot who knew the town well proposed: "Ladies and gentlemen! We have a rare opportunity to visit one of the local sorcerers-fakirs: he lives about a couple of miles from the wharf and the road is quite good. We are sure to see something worth remembering there". The day was already waning when a group of eight people, father Nikolay among them, set out on their journey along the romantic jungle road. Late at night they reached a large glade with the fakir's hut under a huge tree. A gaunt old man in a turban was sitting cross-legged in front of a big fire near the hut, staring silently at the flame. The colonel talked to the fakir's apprentice and he brought wooden stools for the curious travellers. The dark of the night was thickening up.
    "Alas! Look there! - Miss Mary's excited whisper sank into the sultry darkness - Look at the tree!" The whole crown of the huge tree over the fakir's head seemed to be drifting in the gleaming moonlight, melting away. An unusually clear picture of the flickering night sea opened before our astonished eyes, exactly where the tree had just been. A white steamer was seen faraway. Dark smoke was belching from its two chimneys. It was quickly approaching us. <...> A surprised whisper escaped our lips when we read the name written on it in golden letters: LOUISA. Yet the most striking thing was to follow. There were WE onboard the ship, each recognised himself. (Here I'd like to remember that it was at the times when we had not yet even heard of the cinematography and could never have thought of anything of the kind) I was perfectly carried away by staring at "myself" on the deck, and at the same time by watching the bird's-eye view of the tiniest details on the deck - feeling, however, somewhere in the back of my mind that it was impossible and that all was unreal. <...> The spell was so strong that I clean forgot that I was a priest and a monk and that it was hardly appropriate for me to take part in such shows. My heart was as if paralysed and my mind - silent.
    Suddenly I came to myself. My heart painfully throbbed with anguish, I was seized with fear. My lips started to whisper the life-giving words: 'My Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me the sinner!' It gave me relief at once. I felt as if some invisible chains I had been muffled in, started to fall from me one after another. The prayer deepened and with it peace entered my soul. I was still staring into the former tree when all of a sudden the magic picture vanished. There was only the huge old tree in the moonlight with the gaunt fakir under it before my eyes. Yet for my fellow travellers the show was obviously going on. They were discussing their impressions in a low whisper peering into the three's crown.
    But then something happened to the fakir. He fell on his side and the seance broke off. The frightened boy went running to him. <...>
    Leaving the place I turned to look at the whole scene for the last time. Suddenly a strange sensation shocked me. The fakir was looking me straight in the face. Our eyes crossed. Oh, what an intense hatred radiated from him! <...> That glance of his said much to me. At that moment I realised, once and for all, whose power was the real source of such miracles" (A.P. Timofievich.
"The God's People". Moscow, 'Palomnik', 1995, p. 57-61).

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