Probably, I will not be original with my first question: What is the meaning of human life in general?
I think the meaning of life is not limited to one certain idea. Everyone has their own meaning. All people, during their lives, try to solve certain inherent problems that pertain only to themselves ‒ plus other tasks which involve making a particular decision. The problem is that we all resemble a map for ourselves ‒ with an enormous number of blank spots. The entire human life involves a process of cognition of oneself, a process of filling in these blank spots.
What does the process of learning consist of? Is it a commitment to certain teachings or religious movements? Or is it enough to have one’s own psychoanalyst, as is seemingly customary in the West in order to help the patient to bring out subconscious impulses and desires?
Any help is good, if it truly allows a person to understand themselves. However, simply attending religious services or psychiatric sessions, it is impossible to comprehend truth. For this to happen, one must first strive towards genuine understanding of oneself and one’s place in the world. Only through the process of self-perfection will ways forward emerge for the person. And there are a lot of different ways. This is not without reason that most Eastern philosophies and teachings are based on a single postulate: that there are many paths towards Truth ‒ and that everyone chooses the path closest to them once they are sure that it really leads to the Light. This demonstrates the way in which Oriental religions and teachings are the most progressive. They do not reject, but they treat all other movements and beliefs with respect.
Do you think that this is the right approach? After all, dogmatism is inherent in us. For example, Orthodox Christians consider an indulgence, adopted by Catholics, the direct route to hell fire, therefore concluding that the entire movement is imperfect. Catholics might have a grievance against, for example, Protestants. And Christianity as a whole may have a huge grievance against, say, Krishna worshippers. And so on… the process is endless. Crusades, Muslim Jihad, and other sects are all links in the same chain, demonstrating the intransigence of religious canons and dogmas.
In fact, the inconsistencies in various teachings and religions have been invented by people during many centuries of the official Church. This has been done for the sake of the church’s authority or any other form of government. However, there is nothing truthful in these contradictions. Sheltering behind the name of their Messiah, the leaders of all nations and heads of all states have been doing things that are, in fact, not godly at all.
I know that you — a historian — have studied, in depth the history of many world religions and the majority of various teachings. I know that you have been to India, the Himalayas, and Tibet many times. Moreover, in the course of your travels, you have met and talked with people of different faiths and religions. Have these experiences, taken together, led you to a particular perception of the world?
Undoubtedly, the amount of knowledge I’ve accumulated has played a huge role in my quest to understand world order and my place in it. By my birth and upbringing, I am an Orthodox Christian, and from early childhood I studied the history of Christianity and the life of the great Russian saints. Later, I became interested in other religions too. In no way has it affected my religion, but received knowledge made me incline still more towards the opinion that, basically, absolutely all religions teach the same things: compassion, decency, non-violence, and, most importantly, Love. Love for one another, for the world, for life, and as the paramount Love — Love for God. Yet I still didn’t know how to reconcile this discovery with my faith within myself.
However, having set off on the path of comprehension, nobody proceeds without Higher Help. And apparently, thanks to this assistance, my childhood dream came true: in 1995, I visited India for the first time and spent my very first night in the town of Darjeeling. Perhaps it was here that true understanding came to me. It happened like this: Early in the morning, before dawn, I was woken by the singing of a mullah in a Muslim mosque right in front of my window. I’d barely had time to enjoy his amazing voice modulations when suddenly I heard the bells of the Church of St. Andrew, which was located nearby. Immediately after this, the chanting of mantras in a Hindu temple seamlessly blended into that morning music. I was absolutely captivated by the mystery of sounds — it was one melody of life: not in the least disparaging or denying each other, Muslim, Orthodox, and Hindu temples were all greeting dawn, welcoming the Sun — the source of human existence. Precisely then, I suddenly clearly understood that the division of people by race, nationality, and religion is simply a convention and that in fact we are united, we are the children of the only one Father. We have all been created to learn to live solely according to his laws.
A little later, I had the chance to visit the Temple of All Religions. It is the temple of the One Creator, within which there are shrines of all world religions. Icons, crosses, and images of the Buddha can be found here, as well as numerous Hindu gods, the Quran, Upanishads, sacred books and scriptures and much, much more. They do not belittle each other but simply emphasize the truth of each shrine, because these have all come from the One God. All of this has finally convinced me that my perception of the world is right. Remaining an Orthodox Christian, I have come to love all religions, among which none is unworthy. All of them teach Love. And Love indeed is the only thing that can move the world.
I happened to talk to a young Muslim woman and asked how she treats people of other faiths, to which she replied: “With love.” For me, it still seemed unusual, and I asked how she, as a Muslim, could treat other beliefs with love. Do you know what she replied?
“I have so much love in my heart, there is not enough space for hatred.”
I was amazed and captivated and later I became convinced that, fortunately, many people of various religions and beliefs are able to regard Love as being paramount.
And was it then you realized that you need to teach people to love? Was it then that you decided to devote yourself to creativity, bringing enlightenment and love?
It is hard to say exactly when that moment was. Since childhood, I have always wanted to help people. But I didn’t know how to do this. Having graduated from the history faculty, I began work as a teacher at a school, hoping that I could be of help to children. Then I decided to become a doctor, and even started to study for this profession. But human sufferings made me abandon my intention, as it now appeared that this was not my path to realizing my love for people. I had always been looking for my path and I finally found it. Books, music, poetry, and children’s fairy tales — all these, although minor, are my sincere contribution to serving humanity. And different people write to me: old and young, men and women, educated and not so educated. They all say the same thing — there is something in my creativity that has helped them understand themselves, cure themselves, and sometimes it has even given them the strength to carry on living.
Let us talk a little about your work. I know that the very first thing you ever wrote was the blank verse of a Celestial Warrior. And that this verse came to you out of nowhere; you just wanted to write something, and it happened.
Actually, not exactly. It so happened that my long reflections on how I can realize my dream — to serve people — had led me to understand that I needed to write. First I wrote poetry and prose, then music. I do not know where it came from, but my first attempt to write something (the poem of the Celestial Warrior) showed me that I could do it. And when I realized that books and music were my way, and since then, other lyrics and melodies came to me, quickly and easily.
Does this mean that you have some kind of special gift or, as they say, paranormal abilities?
Everyone has such abilities. It’s simply that in some people they are more developed than in others. I think that in the process of working with themselves, any person can discover various potential abilities. Personally, I have never thought about my paranormal abilities: I live the way I live, and I feel the way I feel. What is a paranormal phenomenon and what is not doesn’t concern me. It seems that having found my path in life, I am now in a light stream. It is through this that I obtain everything related to creativity: music, poems, beautiful melodic words and phrases.
One last question: What do you appreciate most of all in your present life?
Not only in the present but more than anything in my entire life, I appreciate Love. As far back as I can remember, I have always been full of love ‒ firstly for my parents and for the grandmother I lost in my early childhood. I believed that they lived in heaven, so I loved both the sky and the sun that shone upon us. I loved the trees, a river, rain and my prayers. All of these reminded me of the fullness of life — and so, how could I not love? The longer I lived, the more I was filled with love: love for my children, for my profession, for the work that I do, and so on. Love is infinite and it alone brings true happiness. A person cannot be happy if they are unable to love. The Creator, the embodiment of True Love, could not have created us incapable of loving, for he made us in his own image and likeness.