P. D. Ouspensky

The Struggle of the Magicians

Ouspensky describes events before the Russian Revolution as he travels from London, through Norway, Sweden, and Finland, and his arrival in Petersburg, which was already renamed “Petrograd” and was full of speculation and pa¬≠triotism.
Soon afterwards Ouspensky went to Moscow and began editorial work for the newspaper to which he had written from India, and stayed there about six weeks. During that time he describes an episode which was connected with later events:


“One day in the office of the newspaper I found, while preparing for the next issue, a notice (in, I think, The Voice of Moscow) referring to the scenario of a ballet, “The Struggle of the Magicians,” which belonged, as it said, to a certain “Hindu.” The action of the ballet was to take place in India and give a complete picture of Oriental magic including fakir miracles, sacred dances, and so on. I did not like the excessively jaunty tone of the paragraph, but as Hindu writers of ballet scenarios were, to a certain extent, rare in Moscow, I cut it out and put it into my paper, with the slight addition that there would be everything in the ballet that cannot be found in real India but which travelers go there to see.


Soon after this, for various reasons, I left the paper and went to Petersburg. There, in February and March, 1915, I gave public lectures on my travels in India. The titles of these lectures were “In Search of the Miraculous” and “The Problems of Death.” In these lectures, which were to serve as an introduction to a book on my travels it was my intention to write, I said that in India the “miraculous” was not sought where it ought to be sought, that all ordinary ways were useless, and that India guarded her secrets better than many people supposed; but that the “miraculous” did exist there and was indicated by many things which people passed by without realizing their hidden sense and meaning or without knowing how to approach them. I again had “schools” in mind.”

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