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Contemporary knowledge about God, Evolution, and the meaning of human life.
Methodology of spiritual development.

 
How Vasilisa Became Wise
 

How Vasilisa Became Wise

Dobrynya was riding along the land, protecting people from enemies. His fiery shield was in his hands, so arrows were not dangerous for Dobrynya. His sword, forged in an unbelievable way and hardened not by a simple fire, hung on his waist. Dobrynya single-handedly could defeat an army. When he faced those who decided to do evil to villages and towns, the fear arose among them.

If Dobrynya raised his fiery shield — the arrows did not fly at him. If Dobrynya unsheathed his shining sword — no force could equal him.

The horse under Dobrynya was also Heroic: this horse listened to the rider without reins, understood every thought, and felt the Power of Mother-the-Earth with each step.

When Dobrynya rode through thick forests and clear fields — his heart rejoiced at everything around: at fluffy forest animals, at free birds, at thick grass… But when he rode where people lived — he became sad…

Dobrynya came to a village, whose people called him to defend them. He saw well-built and rich houses, high fences covered with stakes. Angry dogs were sitting behind them on chains, barking and howling. They became like quarreling people… No one came out to meet the Hero, to receive him with bread and salt, and to invite him to pass the night after a long road. People only were showing with their hands where the enemy army was…

Dobrynya became sad, thinking: “How to protect You, Mother-the-Earth, if Your children meet a Hero in this way? They even did not give him a sip of spring water… But well, I have to accustom myself to this!”

So he went to an open field to sleep and prepare himself for the battle.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a little girl came to Dobrynya. Her body was very small and puny. It was surprising how it retained the soul. She wore an old shirt with patches. Her two braids were sticking out like mouse tails. Her nose was covered with freckles. Her eyes were kind: golden lights were burning in them, and if the girl smiled — they would start shining.

She bowed to the ground before Dobrynya and handed him some spring water in a scoop and some strawberries in her palm.

Dobrynya took these gifts and thanked her warmly for fragrant berries, for pure water, for the good and affection.

“What should I call you, honey?” — he asked.

“Vasilisa-orphan,” — the girl replied, being glad about the praise.

“But why has no one taken you in the house?”

“They took me to be a worker, but I didn’t cope with it,” — Vasilisa answered.

Dobrynya broke off some bread for Vasilisa and explained the nature of its magic. Then he said:

“Go away from this village, Vasilisa. Here a battle will be. Go where the sun rises in the morning. There you will find kind people.”

… The next morning Dobrynya went to a clear field and saw a foreign army… Yet he felt confused, thinking: “Are the people from the village better than their enemies? They live a comfortable life but did not even shelter an orphan…”

Dobrynya was riding to face the hosts…

Dobrynya was riding, but he was not raising his fiery shield…

Dobrynya was riding, but he was not unsheathing his sword…

The enemies’ arrows started flying already…

But Dobrynya kept riding without raising his fiery shield…

He was riding without unsheathing his sword…

The blood already started flowing on the grass from the wounds of Dobrynya…

But he kept riding without raising his fiery shield…

He was riding without unsheathing his sword…

The enemies became frightened and fled from that warrior who could not be killed…

… And Dobrynya fell to the ground. Blood was streaming from his body… But death did not take him…

He fell into unconscious state, and saw before him the Great Bright Sun, and heard inside his own great heart the tender Voice of God-the-Father:

“Why did you, Dobrynya, decide to abandon your service? Why did you lower your fiery shield that I tempered? Why did you leave the sword that I gave you?

“If everything on the Earth was in order, if people were living in love and tenderness, would I have sent you to perform your Heroic service? Come back! Carry out your duty: I gave you the power and understanding for that very purpose!”

While God-the-Father was saying these strict words, He was embracing Dobrynya with Love and Tenderness at the same time.

Dobrynya opened his eyes and saw Vasilisa standing above him and washing his wounds with living water. And next to her, his Heroic horse stood.

His wounds closed up, as if they had not existed.

And Vasilisa said to him:

“Take me, Dobrynya, with you! You can’t be left without my care!”

Dobrynya sat Vasilisa before him on his horse — and they rode.

They rode through the village where Vasilisa lived. People were glad about what Dobrynya had done but did not thank him. Only boys ran out into the street and started shouting:

“Give us your strength, Hero! Give! Give! Give!”

Dobrynya decided to play with these boys. He dismounted and gave the reins to Vasilisa. He took off his belt and said:

“Well, let’s play ‘tug-of-war’! I have this magic belt. There is great power in it. The one who will put it on will have a hundred times more power! Let’s pull this belt: that one who will win will receive the belt with all its magic power.”

“You are sly: we can’t compete with you! You are trying to deceive us!” — the boys answered to him.

“Well, I’ll pull it with my little finger only…”

“All right!” — the boys agreed.

Every one of them tried to pull, but no one was stronger than Dobrynya’s little finger.

Dobrynya then said:

“Pull it all together!”

All the boys grabbed the belt and pulled. At that time Dobrynya released it secretly — and the boys won. Then they began to fight about who would be the owner of the belt and the strongest one of them.

Dobrynya said:

“Thus nothing good will come out! You have gained the belt together — so its power may be yours only when you are doing everything together. If one of you should help his father to chop wood — you all should help. In this case, the work will be completed in a moment. When one of you should help his father to repair the roof — do it all together as well. In this way, you will increase your common strength! And when every one of you grow up to the age of a Hero — each one will have such power, as you all together have.”

The boys thanked Dobrynya, and he told them the most important precept:

“This belt is filled with the power that can be directed for good purposes only! So if someone tries to use it for an evil purpose, the power will leave this belt and never return…”

The boys started thinking how they should live from now on… They gradually began learning goodness and friendship. They started working together and accumulating the Heroic power.

… Dobrynya with Vasilisa rode further.

During the daytime Vasilisa sat in front of him, and Dobrynya was narrating tales to her and showing everything around. During the nights she hid under Dobrynyaʼs raincoat, embraced him with her arms and slept. When the enemy approached them, Dobrynya sat Vasilisa on a high tree and waged a battle alone.

If Dobrynya just directed his sword towards the enemies, those who planned evil — a robbery, murder, or seizure — trembled with fear and ran away. The shield reflected the spite of enemies back to them. And the sword was shining with great purity and never stained with blood. There was great power in it: the power of Love, which is beyond the power of death. This power was received from God-the-Father.

Yet it was inconvenient for Dobrynya to perform his Heroic service with Vasilisa. That is why he was searching for a house where she could grow and become beautiful and wise.

Once they saw a good and well-built house with a well-kept field near it. The earth in that place gave a lot of fruits, and the apples bowed the branches of the apple trees to the ground. In that house three brothers lived: Mikula, Jaroslav, Ivan, and their sister Mary-Weaver.

Mary-Weaver came out to meet the guests. She was beautiful: stately, rubicund. She has thick and light-brown braids. Her hands were strong but gentle; her eyes were as if the entire sky had reflected in them in a clear day! Mary-Weaver bowed to Dobrynya and called him to a chamber. She was happy to receive the Hero and show him her beauty…

“Where have you, marvel Hero, found this so unsightly companion?” — she asked.

But Vasilisa did not travel with Dobrynya in vain: she learned to meet the unfriendly words with no offense.

Dobrynya put his hand on the shoulder of Vasilisa. They smiled, bowed to the ground before the owners, and passed to the chamber.

Dobrynya began to present some gifts to the hosts.

He handed the first gift to Mary-Weaver:

“This is a magic mirror. A human soul in all its beauty reflects in it. Would you like to take it?”

Mary-Weaver took the mirror with joy, looked in it to admire her own beauty… — but suddenly burned with shame… Tears welled up in her eyes…

“Will you keep this gift for yourself?” — Dobrynya asked and glanced at Mary-Weaver.

“I’ll keep it… Thank you, Dobrynya! And especially thank you, Vasilisa! Forgive me, unreasonable and arrogant, for the unfriendly words! Live at our home! I’ll be a kind sister for you! And the magic mirror will serve for both of us: you, too, will look in it sometimes and grow up even more beautiful than I am! And I will teach you to bake bread, weave cloth, and embroider skillfully!”

Dobrynya smiled. The first gift turned out to be good!

The brothers also took their gifts:

“These are the plow that helps to produce a lot of grain, the ax that helps to build beautiful houses, and the pipe that awakens and exhilarates hearts. Choose which one you like!”

Mikula, the elder brother, chose the plow. He thanked Dobrynya:

“Your gift is pleasant to me, Dobrynya! I will grow wheat, bake bread and feed people! And this plow will never become blunt!”

Jaroslav, the middle brother, chose the ax. He thanked Dobrynya:

“I like your gift, Dobrynya! I will build good and beautiful houses for the prosperity of people!”

Ivan, the younger brother, chose the pipe awakening hearts. He thanked Dobrynya, then brought the pipe to his lips and began to play… Marvelous music started flowing. It was like running spring water, like opening green leaves, like blooming fragrant flowers… If people heard this music during their work, this work became joyful! If this pipe played on a holiday — the happiness came! If a disagreement arose, the pipe began to play, and people forgot completely about the cause of their dispute and about how to be angry…

Vasilisa rejoiced at this music, began dancing, and the golden sparks in her eyes started shinning with bright light!

“Thank you, Dobrynya, for the main present: for our new youngest sister,” — Mary and her brothers said.

Here Dobrynya began to say goodbye:

“Well, now, Vasilisa, listen to my instructions! If you can fulfill them — you will become not only beautiful but also wise! I give you the task of observing that the plow will not become blunt, that the ax will not lay idle, and the pipe, awakening the souls, will not become silent! And if one of your brothers forgets about these instructions, you with Mary immediately bring him the magic mirror that reflects the soul, so that he can see himself and become ashamed!”

Vasilisa said:

“Let me, my good brothers and my affectionate sister, accompany Dobrynya on his way to the outskirts.”

“Accompany and return home quickly!” — they answered.

Dobrynya took Vasilisa’s hand and started walking with slow pace. Vasilisa began to ask him questions:

“Tell me, Dobrynya, how that magic mirror became magical.”

“If one is ready to see the reflection of oneself-soul in its true appearance, then every mirror becomes magical!”

“Tell me, Dobrynya, how that plow became magical.”

“That plow met kind hands and hot heart — and so it became filled with the magical power for good work!”

“And the same with the ax, right? And the same with the pipe that sings the song of the beautiful soul of the singer?”

“Yes. You are clever, Vasilisa: you understood the secret of this magic! Now you, growing up, help people with your brothers and Mary! Give people magical gifts and awaken the souls from their sleep!”

Dobrynya embraced Vasilisa, and she ran home happily. He followed her with his eyes and saw that she would grow, become wise and beautiful and be able to help people greatly!

… Dobrynya rode further.

Dobrynya was riding along the land, protecting people from enemies. His fiery shield was in his hands, so arrows were not dangerous for Dobrynya. His sword, forged in an unbelievable way and hardened not by a simple fire, hung on his waist. Dobrynya alone could defeat an army. When he faced those who decided to do evil to villages and towns, the fear arose among them.

If Dobrynya raised his fiery shield — the arrows did not fly at him. If Dobrynya unsheathed his shining sword — no force could equal him.

The horse under Dobrynya was also Heroic: this horse listened to the rider without reins, understood every thought, and felt the Power of Mother-the-Earth with each step.

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Dobrynya
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