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A  Deer  in  a  Lost  Paradise  

I  am  a  deer.  I  am  the  sense  of  sorrow  in  the  universe.  Long,  long  
ago  Someone  thrust  onto  the  earth  everything  that  was  sorrowful  in  all  
worlds,  and  from  this  He  formed  my  heart.  And  therefore  I  am  the  sense  
of   sorrow.   I   live   by   absorbing   the   sorrow   out   of   all   beings   and   creatures.  
Every  being  drops  dark  drop  after  dark  drop  into  my  heart  as  soon  as  I  
approach  him.  And  the  dark  dew  of  sorrow,  like  a  fine  tiny  stream,  flows  
through   my   veins.   And   there,   in   my   heart,   the   dark   dew   of   sorrow   is  
refined  into  a  pale  bluish  dew.    
Some   magnetic   power   of   sorrow   runs   through   my   being.  
Everything   that   is   sorrowful   in   the   world,   that   power   irresistibly   draws  
and   stores   in   my   heart.   Therefore,   I   am   more   sorrowful   than   all  
creatures.  And  I  have  tears  for  everyone's  pain…  Do  not  laugh  at  me,  you  
who   are   grinning!   I   am   astonished   by   the   knowledge   that   in   this  
sorrowful   world   there   are   beings   who   are   laughing.   Oh   what   a   cursed  
and  thrice  accursed  gift  -­‐  to  laugh  in  a  world  where  sorrow  seethes,  pain  
boils,  death  rages!  What  a  damnable  gift!...  On  account  of  sorrow  I  never  
laugh.  How  could  I  laugh,  when  you  who  are  grinning  are  so  crude  and  
cruel!   When   you   are   so   evil   and   ugly!   And   you   are   ugly   on   account   of  
evil.   For   only   evil   makes   the   beauty   of   earthly   and   heavenly   creatures  
ugly…  I  recall,  I  remember:  this  earth  was  once  a  paradise,  and  I  –  a  deer  
in   paradise.     Oh,   the   memories   of   when   I   would   delightfully   stumble  
from  joy  into  joy,  from  immortality  into  immortality,  from  eternity  into  
But   now?...   Darkness   has   completely   covered   my   eyes.   Every  
which   way   I   turn   there   lies   a   thick   gloom.   My   thoughts   are   dripping   with  
tears.   And   memories   seethe   with   sorrows.   Some   inextinguishable  
conflagration  of  sorrow  has  enveloped  my  entire  being.  Everything  in  me  
burns  with  sorrow,  but  by  no  means  will  it  burn  out.  And  only  I  alone  am  
the  wretched  eternal  sacrifice  –  the  holocaust  offered  on  the  universe's  
altar   of   sorrow.   And   the   universe's   altar   of   sorrow   is   the   earth,   that   grey  
and  somber,  pale,  and  duskish  planet…  
My  heart  is  an  inaccessible  island  in  a  boundless  ocean  of  sorrow.  
It   is   inaccessible   to   joy.   Is   every   heart   an   inaccessible   island?   Say   that  
you  have  a  heart!  Do  you  know  what  completely  surrounds  your  hearts?  
Mine   –   all   with   the   same   oceanic   chasms   and   abysses.   And   one   is  
continuously   drowning   in   them.   There   is   no   way   to   pull   oneself   out   of  
them,  no  way  to  get  out  of  them.  Everything  one  can  grab  hold  of  is  as  
soft  as  water.  Therefore,  my  eyes  are  blurred  by  tears,  and  my  heart  is  
undermined  by  sighs.  The  pupils  of  my  eyes  are  in  pain,  because  many  
midnights  have  spent  the  night  in  them.  Last  night  the  sun  set  in  my  eye,  
and  the  morning  did  not  give  birth  to  it.  It  married  the  darkness  of  my  
Something   fearful   and   terrifying   has   begun   to   move   through   my  
being.  It  frightens  me,  everything  around  me  and  above  me.  Oh,  would  
that   I   could   flee   from   the   fear   of   this   world!   But   does   any   world   without  
fear   exist?   I   am   immured   by   torment,   drunk   with   wormwood   liqueur,  
satiated   with   bitterness.   I   awake   my   flustered   heart   from   its  
drunkenness  by  means  of  sorrow,  but  it  becomes  all  the  more  drunk.   I  
call   out   to   my   soul,   frightened   and   chased   away   by   the   fears   of   this  
world,  to  return  to  me,  but  more  and  more  heedlessly  it  flees  from  me,  
leaving  me  sad  and  dejected...    
I   am   a   deer.   But   how?   –   I   do   not   know.   I   see,   but   I   do   not  
understand  how.  I  live,  but  I  do  not  apprehend  what  life  is.  I  love,  but  I  
do   not   comprehend   what   love   is.   I   suffer,   but   in   no   way   do   I   understand  
how   suffering   sprouts,   grows,   and   ripens   within   me.   In   general,   I  
understand   very   little   of   what   is   in   me   and   around   me.   And   life,   and  
love,  and  suffering  –  all  this  is  broader  and  deeper  and  more  boundless  
than   my   knowledge   and   understanding   and   comprehension.   Someone  
dropped  me  into  this  world  and  put  little  understanding  into  my  being;  
therefore  I  understand  little  of  the  world  around  myself  and  of  the  world  
in  myself.  Everything  that  is  incomprehensible  and  extraordinary  stares  
at   me   out   of   every   creature;   therefore   I   am   frightened.   And   my   large  
eyes,  are  they  large  for  this  reason  –  to  store  the  incomprehensible,  to  
contain  the  uncontainable,  to  perceive  the  imperceptible?  
Along   with   sorrow,   Someone   poured   something   into   me   that   He  
made   immortal   and   eternal   –   something   that   is   greater   than   sensation  
and   stronger   than   thought,   something   that   is   as   lasting   as   immortality  
and  as  huge  as  eternity.  It  is  an  instinct  for  love.  In  it  there  is  something  
all-­‐powerful   and   irresistible.   It   runs   through   all   my   senses,   through   all  
my  thoughts,  and  controls  my  entire  being.  My  being  is  like  a  little  tiny,  
islet,   and   around   it   there   stretches,   spreads   and   glistens   that   riddle   of  
my  soul:  love.  No  matter  which  way  I  turn  in  my  being,  I  come  upon  it.  It  
is  something  omnipresent  within  me,  but  also  ever-­‐present.  Within  me,  
“I  am”  is  equal  to  “I  love”.  Through  love  I  am  what  I  am.  To  be,  to  exist  is  
the   same   to   me   as   to   like,   to   love.   Can   there   really   even   be   a   being  
without  love?  My  deer  heart  knows  of  no  such  being.  
Do   not   insult   the   love   in   me.   For   you   are   insulting   my   only  
immortality  and  my  only  eternity.  For  what  is  of  value,  except  that  which  
is   immortal   and   eternal?   And   I   am   immortal   and   eternal   only   through  
love.   This   is   everything   to   me.   By   means   of   this   I   feel,   and   think,   and  
look,  and  hear,  and  see,  and  know,  and  live,  and  am  immortal.  When  I  
say,  “I  love”  –  I  have  encompassed  with  this  all  my  immortal  thoughts,  all  
my  immortal  feelings,  all  my  immortal  yearnings,  all  my  immortal  lives.  
With   this,   I   am   above   all   deaths   and   above   all   non-­‐beings:   I   –   a   silvery  
deer,  a  gentle  deer,  a  flustered  deer…  
Across   terrifying   abysses   and   horrifying   chasms   my   love   crosses  
over   to   you,   blue   sky   –   to   you,   kind   man  –   to   you,   blossoming   grove  –   to  
you,  fragrant  grass  –  to  you,  O  All-­‐good  and  All-­‐gentle  One!  My  love  has  
made   its   way   through   a   multitude   of   deaths   to   you,   O   my   sweet  
Immortality!  Therefore,  sorrow  is  my  constant  companion.  Each  cruelty  
is  an  entire  death  for  me.  Most  of  all  in  this  world  I  have  been  surviving  
the  cruelties  of  one  being  called  man.  Sometimes  he  is  the  death  of  all  
my   joys.   O   my   eyes,   look   through   him   and   above   him   to   the   One   Who   is  
All-­‐good  and  All-­‐gentle!  Goodness  and  gentleness,  this  is  life  for  me,  this  
is   immortality,   this   is   eternity.   Without   goodness   and   gentleness  –   life   is  
hell.   When   I   keep   in   mind   the   goodness   of   the   All-­‐gentle   One,   I   am  
completely  in  paradise.  If  human  cruelty  closes  in  on  me,  how  hell  then  
closes   in   on   me   with   all   its   terrors!   Therefore,   I   am   frightened   of   man,  
every  man,  unless  he  is  good  and  gentle.  
I  am  beside  a  stream,  whose  banks  are  adorned  with  blue  flowers.  
And   the   stream   is   from   my   tears.   Men   wound   me   in   the   heart,   and  
instead   of   blood,   tears   flow.   O   gentle   heavens,   to   you   I   tell   my   secret:  
instead  of  blood,  I  have  tears  in  my  heart.  In  this  lies  my  life,  in  this  my  
secret.   Therefore   I   weep   for   all   the   sorrowful,   all   the   innocent,   all   the  
humiliated,   all   the   insulted,   all   the   hungry,   all   the   homeless,   all   the  
distressed,  all  the  tormented,  all  the  saddened.  My  thoughts  soon  choke  
up  with  sorrow  and  turn  into  feelings,  and  the  feelings  pour  out  in  tears.  
Yes,  my  feelings  are  boundless,  and  my  tears  are  countless.  And  almost  
every  feeling  in  me  grieves  and  weeps,  because  as  soon  as  it  turns  from  
me   to   the   world   around   me,   it   encounters   some   human   cruelty.   Oh   is  
there  any  being  more  cruel  and  brutal  than  man?...  
Why  was  I  cast  into  this  world,  among  men?  Oh  once  –  long,  long  
ago  –  when  I,  in  my  dense  and  boundless  forests,  did  not  know  of  men,  
the  world  was  joy  and  paradise  for  me.  I  would  joyfully  weave  my  own  
paradisiacal  moods  and  ecstasies  between  the  fragrant  flowers  and  the  
supple  birches,  between  the  cultivated  groves  and  the  blue  heavens.  But  
he  stepped  into  my  paradise.  He  –  cruel,  brutal  and  arrogant  –  man.  He  
trampled  my  flowers,  chopped  down  my  woods,  and  darkened  the  sky.  
And  thus,  he  transformed  my  paradise  into  hell...  Oh,  I  do  not  hate  him  
for   this   reason,   but   I   rather   feel   sorry   for   him.   I   feel   sorry   for   him  
because  he  has  no  feeling  for  paradise.  And  for  a  creature,  any  creature  
whatsoever,   there   is   no   greater   terror   than   man.   You   know,   a   deer  
cannot  hate;  it  can  only  feel  sorry  for  someone  and  pity  him.  It  repulses  
all  insults,  all  cruelties,  with  sorrow  and  pity.  Sorrow,  this  is  its  revenge.  
Sorrow,  followed  by  pity…  O  men,  how  brutal  and  cruel  you  are!  I  have  
heard   that   demons   exist.   Is   it   really   possible   that   they   are   worse   than  
men?  I  ask  only  one  thing,  I  desire  only  one  thing:  not  to  be  a  soul  in  a  
man,  a  feeling  in  a  man,  a  thought  in  a  man…  
I   experience   every   human   cruelty   as   a   heavy   blow   in   my   heart.  
Hence,  a  tumor  has  appeared  in  my  heart.  Oh,  how  many  bruises  I  have  
in  my  heart!  Oh,  how  many  blows!...  Ah,  yes!  And  I  am  in  a  lost  paradise:  
a   deer   in   a   lost   paradise!   Oh,   have   mercy   on   me,   All-­‐good   and   All-­‐gentle  
One!  Piles  of  bruises,  one  after  the  other,  one  on  top  of  the  other,  and  
thus  a  tumor  has  formed  in  my  heart!  Oh,  save  me  from  men,  from  cruel  
and   evil   men!   In   this   way   you   will   transform   my   world   into   paradise   and  
my  sorrow  into  joy…  
More  than  all  that  I  love,  I  love  freedom.  It  consists  of  goodness,  
gentleness,   and   love.   And   evil,   cruelty,   and   hatred   –   this   is   slavery   of   the  
worst  sort.  By  being  a  slave  to  them,  one  is  a  slave  to  death.  And  is  there  
any   slavery   more   fearful   than   death?   Men   –   these   fabricators   and  
makers  of  evil,  cruelty,  and  hatred   –  led  me  away  into  such  slavery.   And  
they   sent   me   into   the   world,   telling   and   foretelling,   determining   and  
predetermining:  “Be  sorrow  and  love”.  And  with  all  my  being  I  carry  out  
my  assignment:  I  sorrow  and  I  love.  I  sorrow  through  love,  I  love  through  
sorrow.  And  can  I  really  do  otherwise  in  a  world  inhabited  by  men?  My  
life  lies  in  this  framework,  in  this  frame.  I  am  all  heart,  all  eye,  all  sorrow,  
all  love;  therefore,  I  am  shaken  by  fear,  that  deer  fear,  of  which  only  a  
sorrowful  deer  knows…  
In  their  arrogance,  men  do  not  even  have  an  inkling  of  the  sort  of  
beauteous   and   wondrous   feelings   we   deer   carry   within   us.   Between   you  
and   us   a   great   gorge   gapes,   and   you   cannot   reach   us   and   we   cannot  
reach   you.   You   do   not   have   a   sense   of   our   worlds.   If   we   deer   were   to  
enter  you  through  the  heart,  we  would  be  entering  hell.  Once,  we  were  
in  paradise.  You  men  transformed  it  for  us  into  hell.  What  devils  are  to  
you,  you  men  are  to  us.  The  birches  told  us:  "We  saw  Satan  falling  from  
heaven   onto   earth,   falling   among   men   and   remaining."   He,   the   one   who  
fell  away  from  heaven,  has  declared:  "It  is  very  pleasant  for  me  among  
men;  and  I  have  a  paradise  of  my  own  –  men..."  
I   know   and   presage   that   a   better   immortality   awaits   me   than   that  
of  men.  For  you  men,  there  in  that  world,  there  also  exists  hell.  But  for  
us   deer   –   only   paradise.   For   you   men   consciously   and   voluntarily  
fabricated   sin,   evil,   and   death;   and   then   without   our   consent   you   also  
pulled  us  into  them  through  your  malice  and  malevolence,  because  you  
had  authority  over  us.  Therefore,  you  shall  also  have  to  answer  for  us  –  
for  all  our  torments,  troubles,  sufferings,  and  deaths.  You  shall  also  have  
to  atone  for  us  and  on  account  of  us…  I  have  been  listening;  the  blue  sky  
has  been  whispering  to  the  black  earth  this  eternal  truth:  On  the  day  of  
judgment   men   will   have   to   give   an   answer   for   all   the   torments,   for   all  
the   sufferings,   for   all   the   troubles,   for   all   the   deaths   of   all   earthly   beings  
and   creatures.   All   the   animals,   all   the   birds,   all   the   plants   shall   rise   up  
and  charge  the  human  race  with  all  the  pains,  with  all  the  injuries,  with  
all   the   evils,   with   all   the   deaths   that   it   has   caused   them   in   its   arrogant  
love   of   sin.   For   with   the   human   race,   before   it,   and   behind   it,   go   sin,  
death,  and  hell.  
If   I   were   to   choose   between   creatures,   I   would   choose   a   tiger  
before   a   man,   because   the   tiger   is   less   bloodthirsty   than   man.   I   would  
choose   a   lion   before   a   man,   because   a   lion   is   less   bloodsucking   than  
man.   I   would   choose   a   hyena   before   man,   because   a   hyena   is   less  
repulsive   than   man.   I   would   choose   a   lynx   before   man,   because   a   lynx   is  
less   fierce   than   man.   I   would   choose   a   serpent   before   man,  because   a  
serpent   is   less   cunning   than   man.   I   would   choose   any   monster   before  
man,   because   even   the   most   terrifying   monster   is   less   terrifying   than  
man…   Oh,   I   am   speaking   the   truth,   I   am   speaking   from   my   heart.   For  
man  invented  and  made  sin,  death,  and  hell.  And  this  is  worse  than  the  
worst   thing,   more   monstrous   than   the   most   monstrous   thing,   more  
terrifying  than  the  most  terrifying  thing  in  all  my  worlds.    
I  have  heard  a  brook  of  tears  babble  that  men  boast  of  some  sort  
of   intelligence.   But   I   view   them   from   their   main   works:   sin,   evil,   and  
death.   And   I   have   come   to   the   conclusion   that,   if   their   intelligence  
consists  in  the  fact  that  they  invented  and  created  sin,  evil,  and  death,  
then   this   is   not   a   gift   but   a   curse.   Intelligence   that   lives   and   expresses  
itself   though   sin,   evil,   and   death   is   divine   punishment.   Great   intelligence  
–  great  punishment.  They  would  insult  me  if  they  were  to  tell  me  that  I  
am  intelligent  –  intelligent  in  the  human  sense.  If  such  intelligence  is  the  
only   characteristic   of   men,   then   I   not   only   reject   it   but   curse   it   as   well.   If  
both   my   paradise   and   my   immortality   depended   on   it,   I   would   reject  
paradise   and   immortality   forever.   Intelligence   without   goodness   is  
divine  punishment.  And  great  intelligence  without  great  goodness  is  an  
unbearable  curse.  
With   intelligence   but   without   goodness   and   gentleness,   man   is   a  
ready-­‐made   devil.   I   have   listened   to   the   angels   of   heaven,   when   they  
wash   their   wings   in   my   tears:   the   devil   is   great   intelligence   bereft   of  
goodness  and  love.  And  man  is  this  also,  if  he  has  no  goodness  or  love.  
An   intelligent   man,   lacking   goodness   and   compassion,   is   hell   for   my  
gentle  soul,  hell  for  my  sorrowful  heart,  hell  for  my  innocent  eyes,  hell  
for   my   humble   being.   My   soul   aspires   to   one   desire:   not   to   live   either   in  
this  world  or  in  the  other  world  next  to  a  man  who  is  intelligent  but  has  
no  goodness  or  compassionate  gentleness.  Only  in  this  way  will  I  agree  
to  immortality  and  eternity.  If  not,  O  God,  annihilate  me  and  transform  
me  into  nonexistence!  
 In  ancient  times  the  white  deer  told  me  that  He,  the  All-­‐meek  and  
All-­‐merciful  One,  passed  over  the  earth  and  transformed  the  earth  back  
into  paradise.  Wherever  He  stood,  paradise  appeared.  Out  of  Him  onto  
all   beings   and   all   creation   there   would   flow   boundless   goodness,   and  
love,  and  gentleness,  and  mercy,  and  meekness,  and  wisdom.  He  walked  
over   the   earth,   and   brought   heaven   down   to   earth.   They   called   Him  
Jesus.   Oh,   we   saw   in   Him   that   man   can   be   wondrous   and   exceedingly  
beautiful  only  when  he  is  sinless.  He  shared  in  our  sorrow  and  wept  with  
us  on  account  of  the  evils  that  men  have  committed  against  us.  He  was  
with   us,   and   against   those   human   creations:   sin,   evil,   and   death.   He  
loved  all  creatures  gently  and  compassionately;  He  hugged  them  with  a  
divine  longing;  and  He  defended  them  from  human  sin,  human  evil,  and  
human   death.   He   was,   and   has   forever   remained   our   God,   the   God   of  
sorrowful  and  saddened  creatures,  from  the  smallest  to  the  greatest.    
Only   those   men   who   resemble   Him   are   precious   to   us.   They   are  
our  family,  and  our  immortality,  and  our  love.  The  soul  of  these  men  is  
woven   from   His   goodness,   and   compassion,   and   love,   and   gentleness,  
and   meekness,   and   righteousness,   and   wisdom.   Their   intelligence   is  
divinely   wise,   divinely   good,   divinely   humble,   divinely   compassionate.  
And   they   resemble   the   radiant   and   holy   angels.   For   great   intelligence  
and  great  goodness,  combined  into  one  is  an  angel.  
Therefore,   all   our   love   rushes   toward   the   all-­‐meek,   all-­‐good,   all-­‐
merciful  and  gentle  Jesus.  He  is  our  God,  and  our  Immortality,  and  our  
Eternity.   His   Gospel   is   ours   more   than   man’s   because   more   of   His  
goodness,  His  love,  and  His  gentleness  is  in  us…  He  –  oh,  Blessed  is  He  in  
all   our   hearts   and   in   all   our   worlds!   He   –   our   Lord   and   God!   He   –   our  
sweet  consolation  in  this  bitter  world  which  is  passing,  and  our  eternal  
joy  in  that  immortal  world  which  is  coming…