Veliyar’s Departure from the Community
Time passed. Rada grew up, has become more mature. Already fourteen springs have passed! She soon will be a bride!
She was transforming from a girl — to a beautiful young lady. Like a bud which began to open its tender petals — so her beauty blossomed!
But in the community, meanwhile, the situation did not turn out all right. Discontent of some members of the community was accentuated — by the way in which Blagoslav managed the life of all.
And this dissatisfaction was fanned by the same Veliyar, whose meditations Rada also listened to sometimes and whose reasoning she tried to comprehend.
He most of all showed discontent with the strict guidance of Blagoslav. He was a man who had a great power: he was the great soul and had a strong body. He was skilful in many ways. People often listened to his words.
And Veliyar wanted the headman to listen to his opinions and to agree with his proposals. He wanted to strengthen his influence in the community.
He saw himself the successor of Blagoslav after the death of Radomir.
But it did not work for him! It was only a rivalry and struggle with the headman for influence on the people in the community.
Situations began to happen more and more often when, contrary to Blagoslav’s instructions, he expressed his opinions only in protest. He passionately wanted people to follow him, admiring his mind. He reluctantly obeyed to Blagoslav and did not resent his pride even for the sake of appearance. And more and more often behind Blagoslav’s back, he said that the headman was not right: here he did not decide right, because of that — harm came out, and in that — Blagoslav also seemed to be mistaken… Veliyar began to say even completely evil and disgusting: “Our old man has lost his mind completely! And he has already ceased to understand God!”
Blagoslav observed this for a long time and tolerated, but it was time to make a decision.
Blagoslav invited Veliyar to his house. Veliyar entered, bowed slightly — not with an earthly bow, but just slightly bent his back.
“Hello to you, Veliyar! Sit down to the table, regale yourself!” — Blagoslav greeted.
… But only there was nothing on the table! It was empty! Even the tablecloth was not laid…
“Do you mock me? Treats are not served!”
“And you — treat yourself! Take it from the oven! Rada has prepared it!…”
“But in your house — is it appropriate for me to manage?!”
“Yes? Do you really think so? But to manage in the community — is it appropriate for you? And to manipulate the people behind my back to trouble — is it good for you?”
“So it’s not only your community! It is mine too!”
“The community is neither yours, nor mine… We here live together for God, but not separately, as to whom it occurred. So let the community make the choice! If the whole community will elect you, then I listen to you… But in the meantime, I should be responsible for ordering here! You do not do right, mudding the people!”
“But in each of us, God can speak! It would be appropriate that they also listened to me!”
“Yes, in each He can speak…”
“So why do you not listen to me? Why should everyone listen only to you forever? It’s fed up with living under your power!”
“I called you so to listen to you, and so you could hear me too!
“I do not fulfill your advice, because your self distorts God’s thoughts — for the sake of your proud self, which requires to be respected!”
“Well, let the community decide whom to hear and obey! Gather tomorrow everyone! I will keep my speech! Let’s see: who wants your tediousness and coercions, and who needs the freedom!”
Veliyar went out without saying goodbye, slammed the door…
… Rada did not hear this conversation. But she felt what was happening.
She was very sensitive to this discord in the community. And she decided to talk with Veliyar herself:
“Why do you, Veliyar, always contend against my grandfather? As if we are not one spiritual family, but people who do not know about God at all?
“We are so few in the community… If every one of us will live separately, will it be better?”
“You do not understand, granddaughter!” — Veliyar answered with malice. He looked at Rada with a sneer.
He perceived her as a small and unthinking favorite of the headman, although Rada has already matured, learned a lot, and she tried to find the deepest in everything.
Veliyar continued in a lecturing tone:
“Your grandfather rules people like a despot! He does not listen to anyone, does not trust anyone except himself!”
“But he is responsible for everyone, he cares about everyone!” — Rada tried to object.
“But if not such care is needed for people? If all have gotten tired of living under his commands? And if there were others who could be responsible for everyone — would it be worse? If I cleverly say — why not listen to me, eh?”
“You often say the words of faith, but unkind thoughts are behind your words! If we ourselves will not live together as good friends, then all the best will be lost, for which we are trying to live together!
“And how can we merge with God by souls, when we do not even agree with each other?”
“Where were you found out from! As if smart! You already have learned lots of beautiful words! You could talk also about ‘knowledge from time immemorial’…
“We all live separately already a long time! Visibly it only is, but not really a unity between people!”
“But you are the first who calls to it!”
“I call because I’m tired of dancing your grandfather’s dance! Enough! You are not afraid of him, because you’re relatives! He will scold you, but not drive out! But the rest obey for the fear of him, tremble before him! But I’m not afraid! And with me — all the brave of the community will leave it, if the people do not elect me now as a headman!”
“What are you up to?”
“We will do the gathering of the community tomorrow — and you find out!”
… The next day Veliyar himself began to convene the community to keep the speech, fearing that Blagoslav would not allow this.
The people have gathered, listened to Veliyar: his calls to elect him as a headman, his accusations against Blagoslav… For all, he now openly expressed it for the first time. And his full desire to rule and manage has become visible to everyone…
Blagoslav listened too. He looked at people’s faces. Waited…
Then he came out, bowing to the earth to the people:
“For many years, I was a headman here… If you do not like it now, then you, people, decide! Speak your thoughts!”
… Comrades spoke one by one. Many people talked about their discontent, about what is not good in the community, in their opinion… They spoke calmly, judiciously. Though, everything was somehow only earthly in their speeches…
But Veliyar was not approved, people did not want to elect him as a headman. He was told in the eyes about his pride, about his desire not to live for all, but to command and control…
Veliyar was very surprised that no one wanted to support him…
“I’ll go with my wife from the community.
If anyone wants to leave with me, then we will make a new free community!”
On that, it seemed, the conversations ended.
But Rada had a feeling that the most important words were not pronounced.
Blagoslav remained silent, pondering over the accusations, addressed to him, deciding: was he really wrong in something, or just the absurd wantings of the people were splashed out?
Rada went out in front of people and asked for permission to talk.
People looked at her with surprise.
Such gatherings allowed even small children to speak. But in the memory of the community members, children and teenagers only listened, none of them gave speeches.
Rada heard her heart beating in the chest. She took a deep breath — and slowly breathed out the air, as Radomir had once taught her: to cope with excitement.
She began to speak — and was surprised how calmly and smoothly her voice sounded. The words seemed to rise from the depth as if by themselves.
“Do we all live in the community together — by our own will? Or did someone force us to do this?
“Do we only want to save our lives and feed our bodies? Or do we have greater thoughts, and our main Goal is attached to the other?”
Rada continued to talk. Her voice was ringing and clear. The fragile girlish body was filled with extraordinary strength, her words penetrated into the souls…
When she finished her short speech about the love for God, about His Presence here in every moment of life — then there was a special silence.
After her, blacksmith Mikula has come to speak.
He was of enormous stature, of a stout physique. And even though he was over fifty already, he possessed such power that there was no one stronger in the community, although there were strong bodies among the community members.
He lifted Rada with his huge arms, kissed, stroked the head with a special caress!… It was — as if in her childhood, when Rada-girl resorted to the forge to look at the mysteriously beautiful work of Mikula…
“Yes, you have grown, our clear head!
My beloved people! My dear friends! Through the words of Rada, God enlightens us! For many years, we have been living as one family… But now, we are bogged down in our worldly affairs and desires, in grievances of empty and pretentious claims to each other — as if we are floundering in a swamp…
“It seems that we all remember about God… But the spiritual aspiration has withered in us, it has been overshadowed with worries about the earthly!
“I’m talking about myself too.
“Although I did not speak about my claims to Blagoslav, I also had an offense against him. I asked his permission to melt the iron: ‘Under our feet — the ore is good!’. But he had forbidden, he said: ‘We will become noticeable!’.
“I thought about this insult today, but not how we should continue the spiritual life in the community: not how to approach God by the souls, how to increase the love for God in every word and deed!
“When people are united together by spiritual aspirations, by love for God — then small personal disagreements disappear, God’s Love helps each one to cultivate the Divine in oneself and to manifest It in the world around — both in the large and the little! Then — the mutual care increases! And in any deed, beauty and inspiration are manifested!
“Everything in our lives must be for God!
“The unity in love for God of the spiritually aspiring people — creates those human relationships which generates an amazing space of common life! In such a life together, it is easier to move forward for every soul! These are the best conditions for spiritual accomplishments, for the growth of souls, for the improvement of each of the community members!
“If discords and quarrellings, resentments, envy, condemnations of each other even in small things begin, this means that God has ceased to occupy the main place in our lives!
“We all here know about God! About the steps of the Path — we have all the knowledge! But there is no desire to learn more! It is as if we were already at the top of the mountain, saw from there the Sun and then went back down to the valley. ‘We saw the Sun — so, we already have cognized what was necessary…’
“But it’s wrong! Only the one who has become the Source of the Divine Love, only kindling in oneself the Sun of God — becomes the Son or the Daughter of God!
“And now, let’s take a look: how far we all are from this!
“There is something for us to think here about, people my beloved!
“And a headman better for us than Blagoslav — we do not have!”
He said so and bowed to Rada separately, separately to Blagoslav, and then to all the community members.
Blagoslav asked forgiveness from all those whom he offended, not wishing that. He also thanked for the words now uttered.
The gathering was over. The members of the community began to disperse to their huts — with their thoughts.
About Veliyar, all apparently had completely forgotten.
He, angry and annoyed with this, also left…