Rosicrucian Writings Online

Legends and Dreams

By Frater Nicholas Roerich, F.R.C.
(Sent from his sanctum in the Himalayas)
[From The Rosicrucian Digest July 1931]
PROFESSOR ZELINSKI, in his very interesting work about the myths, comes to the conclusion that the heroes of these myths are not only legendary figures, but really existed. Many other authors also came to the very same conclusion, thus overthrowing the materialistic tendency of the past century, which sometimes actually tried to prove that even historical figures were only myths. Thus Senard, the French scholar, tried to prove that Buddha never existed and was nothing else than a scholar myth. Likewise attempts were made to deny even the existence of Christ, overlooking that we have proofs very near to the epoch of His existence, besides which there was also discovered the Roman inscription with the edict against the first Christians in Syria, so very near to the time of the great Manifestation. In this fight between those who acknowledge and those who deny, is revealed a trait of universal psychology. It is instructive to see in this how those who deny are gradually defeated and those defending heroism, truth and reality find support in the very facts themselves.
Besides, those who have appeared as dreamers of heroes and myths suddenly appear as the realists, whereas the denying sceptics gradually occupy the position of dreamers who trusted slander of a counterfeit source. Thus, slowly but surely, the wheel of evolution turns, carrying with it the revelation of the forgotten truth.
Let us look back and see how quickly and easily humanity forgets even recent events and personalities. Only recently such personalities as Paracelsus and Thomas Vaughan* were listed as impostors even in Encyclopedias. But then, those who were impartial undertook to read their works and found, instead of the pronounced charlatans, profound scholars from whose discoveries humanity benefited. I remember how in my childhood I was fascinated with the book by Gaston Tissandier, "The Martyrs of Science." Those who perished as a holocaust, in tortures and on the scaffold, are regarded now as great scientists. But false scepticism continues its work and instead of those martyrs it hastens to create new ones in order thus in a sure way to honor them by monuments and celebrations.
In recent years there has become apparent a social manifestation which gives us hope that some time--perhaps the time is even at hand--the harmful denials will be bridled and set in their deserved place.
People have become desirous of reading biographies. Truly even here the sceptics try not to give in. Shrugging their shoulders, they will say, "How can we be sure about the true impulses of the actions of the portrayed personalities?" or "How can we be certain what were the accidents which created the events, marking the lives of the portrayed personalities?" or "And how can we be certain of the impartiality of the biographer?"
Let these remarks even be true to a certain extent! Let us allot a certain part to the personal mood of the biographer! But, nevertheless, the collection of historical documents offers us exactly the same milestones of true reality. Likewise, up till recently chronicles were considered to be inadequate documents not worthy of serious consideration. But a detailed study of the contemporaneous chronicles, documents and discoveries has shown that chronicles deserve much more esteem than usually was supposed. Certainly one has also to hope that humanity will not overlook entire centuries before paying attention to outstanding manifestations.
Through reading biographies, humanity will learn also to inscribe them. Of course, it is erroneous to think that heroes could be the attribute only of antiquity. The synthesis of our era will likewise crystallize its heroes and we may hope that holocausts, prisons and executions will no longer be the portion of these great souls.
Having ascertained that the gods of antiquity were heroic personalities imprinted upon the memory of the peoples, we shall affirm ourselves in the knowledge that in our days individuality and personality are likewise laying their hand upon the rudder of humanity. Ascertaining the existence of such personalities, we shall learn, as did the ancients, to accompany them by an affirmative exposition of their lives. We must not forget that in the future these life-descriptions shall reach the schools as torches of history. Hence let our youth not only like to read biographies, but also learn to write them or, rather, to discern which of the manifestations of their contemporaries shall become history.
Through reading legends, youth shall also learn to dream. And this is a great capacity: to know how to dream, filling one's heart with the best fires. With these fires of the heart the youth will learn also to discriminate wherein lies truth. No calculations shall provide the truth--it is but the language of the heart which knows where abides this great truth, which, in spite of all, leads humanity upward.
Legends, are they not the collection of the best flowers? Of the small, of the insignificant, humanity does not create legends. Often, in seemingly negative legends, is contained a great part of reverence to power. In any case, each legend contains something unusual. And does not this unusualness lead us beyond the twilight of the mechanical standard? But the legend which liberates us beyond the limits of the oppressive daily routine refreshes our trend of thought and permits us to merge into new depths of knowledge, with an eternally unextinguishable youthful ardour.
Ask a great mathematician, a great physicist, a great biologist, a great astronomer, whether he knows how to dream. I do not even mention artists, musicians, poets, for their entire being is composed of the capacity to dream. And a great scientist, when truly great and when not confused by the presence of a witness, will tell you beautifully how he knows to soar in dreams and how many of his discoveries have at their foundation not only calculations but precisely a dream.
We have remembered then that legends are not abstractions, but usually reality itself. We also remembered that dreams are not signs of illiteracy, but are qualifications of refined souls. Let us then encourage in our youth the striving to the calling and creative legend, and remaining young together with youth pay tribute to dreams as to the leading and uplifting medium of our regeneration and perfection.
Striving, the Hierarchy, Infinity and Beauty--only under these milestones we progress indisputably. Everything of which activity of our Societies consists must be immediately applied in life. Paying tribute to dreams we shall not become dreamers.
Let it be the dreams of a Creator. In this dream will be no intoxication, nor vacillation but the immutable knowledge gathered in the depths of our spirit. And first of all we shall remember that the word "Culture" signifies Cult-Ur or cult of Light.

--Nicholas Roerich.
* Eminent Rosicrucians.

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