A story about Taras Bulba

‘Somebody comes to consult me about a problem: they tell me that they have a terrible vice and that they are miserable and completely discouraged because although they have been trying for years to overcome it, it always gets the better of them. When I hear them explaining all this I exclaim, ‘Oh, but that’s magnificent! Wonderful! That just proves that you are very, very strong.’ They look at me in astonishment and begin to wonder if I’m not laughing at them. ‘No, no,’ I assure them; ‘I’m not laughing at you. It’s just that you don’t recognize your own strength.’ ‘What strength? I always give in. The temptation always gets the better of me. Doesn’t that show how weak I am.’ But I tell them, ‘No, I can’t accept that; your reasoning is at fault. If I explain exactly how it all happened you will realise that I’m not joking.

‘Who formed that vice in the first place?’ I ask them. ‘Wasn’t it you? To begin with it was no bigger than a snowball in your hand, but as you went on adding to it and amusing yourself by rolling it in the snow, it got bigger and bigger until it became a mountain, and now it is blocking your path. To begin with, the vice you are so upset about was no more than a tiny thought in your mind, but you harboured and nourished it, in other words, you ‘rolled it in the snow’ and now you’re overwhelmed by it.

But what is striking in this is your strength. After all, it was you who made this vice what it is today. It was you who brought it into the world, and now your son and so big and strong that you can’t get the better of him. You should be very proud.’ ‘Proud? How can I be proud of that?’ they object. ‘Haven’t you read Gogol’s short story about Taras Bulba?’ I ask them. ‘No? Well then I’ll tell you about it. It is very instructive.’

A little Story about Taras Bulba

‘Taras Bulba was an old Cossack who had sent his two sons to college in Kiev. When they came home after three years at college, Taras Bulba was delighted to see that they had turned out to be two strong young men. In his pride and joy, and as a sign of his fatherly affection (Cossacks sometimes have strange ways of expressing their affection, you know), he began to pummel them with his fists. But the boys had no intention of letting themselves be punched, even by their father, so they punched back and soon knocked him down.

Perhaps you think that, as he scrambled to his feet a little the worse for wear, Taras Bulba would be furious, but not at all: he was as proud as could be at having fathered two such vigorous young men.’

To be continued…

Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
Izvor Book 221, True Alchemy or the Quest for Perfection
Chapter 1, Spiritual Alchemy

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