Visionaries

SMALL CONTRIBUTIONS TO UNDERSTANDING SERBIAN CULTURE AND SPIRITUALITY
Five Great Men
The first gave legal status to the Serbian church and consecrated the state, placing the Serbian foundation in the Holy City. The second performed the greatest ”conservative revolution” in Serbian culture, at the end of the time of slavery and darkness, returning the resurrected nation to culture and culture to the resurrected nation. The third wrote the timeless epic of Serbian survival and ascension, dreaming of Prizren, Peć and freedom. The fourth made discoveries stretching into the secret of the creation of the world. The fifth mathematically expressed the heavenly and divine mechanics, enlightening eons. (…) Those who don’t perceive them will hardly perceive anything important in Serbian culture and spirituality


Such people are rare, but exist in many nations and epochs. The size of a nation and importance of an epoch depends on their size and variety. Their deeds are sometimes results of efforts of many generations, and announce their spiritual maturing. Sometimes they are freelancers, ”appearing out of nowhere”, pushing boundaries, opening expanses, creating foundations. They do it even when they are not entirely aware of the far-reaching impact of their deed, simply fulfilling their fate, following their internal voice. They first see and then act – this is what they all have in common. They are not waiting for things to happen, because they know that ”God is acting through us”. They are not expecting their contemporaries to entirely understand them, because deep inside they know that their contemporaries are in the near or distant future. They are not asking their nation to bow to them, because they know that they are there to serve their nation. They don’t expect mercy from people, knowing that they have already received it from God, as a gift and as a cross.
We have five completely different persons and greatnesses before us. We chose them as chapters from the publication Great Serbian Visionaries, written by Milovan Vitezović and Branislav Matić (Belgrade, 2009) and brought them before our readers, in expectation of the upcoming International Book Fair in Leipzig.
They are not here for us to compare or identify them, or to judge them, but to get at least contours of the richness of the chain to which present Serbian culture is connected. The first gave a legal status to the Serbian church and consecrated the state, placing the Serbian foundation in the Holy City, exactly where the Last Supper took place and the New Testament was established. He thus introduced Serbs into the most significant spiritual stream of mankind, the one leading from the First Revelation to the Last Day. The second performed the greatest ”conservative revolution” in Serbian culture, returning the resurrected nation to culture and culture to the resurrected nation. The third…
We will add more chapters about great visionaries of Serbian faith, culture, art and science in another occasion, in a thicker volume.

SAVA NEMANJIĆ (1175–1235), FOUNDER OF THE HOLY SERBS’ DYNASTY

The idea about the unity of Serbian lands and their unification into a powerful country in the Balkans is certainly as old as the very beginnings of first Serbian states. The possibility of realizing such a complex idea was first perceived by Grand Prince of Raška Stefan Nemanja, who understood the symphony of spiritual and secular authority in a Byzantine state establishment. The departure of Prince Rastko, third Nemanja’s son, the fulfillment of their prayers to God, to Mt. Athos, where he became monk Sava, should be perceived through it. Also perceived through it should be Nemanja’s conceding the princely throne to his middle son Stefan, son-in-law of then Byzantine emperor Alexios Angelos, after Nemanja took a monastic vow. Nothing in their actions was accidental. There was a clear vision, there was a concrete plan.
The erection of the Serbian monastery of Chilandar in Mt. Athos, ”in the name of the father and sons” (Simeon/Nemanja, Simon/Stefan and Sava/Rastko) and taking Byzantine Emperor Alexios Angelos as a co-ktetor, created the foundations of Serbian spiritual independence. Sava wrote the Chilandar Typicon, with the approval of the emperor co-ktetor, based on the Typicon of the Monastery of Mother of God Evergetida, who gave full independence to this imperial monastery in Constantinople.
Created based on the Chilandar Typicon, Sava’s Studenica Typicon enabled independent Studenica to acquire mortmains throughout the Serbian lands and erect Orthodox Serbian churches and monasteries. The clergy and monks for them were prepared in Chilandar, capable of holding services in Serbo-Slavic language.
This is how the Orthodox Serbian church was first founded and then proclaimed independent. When the ecumenical patriarch Mihailo Saraten ordained Archimandrite of Studenica Sava Nemanjić as first archbishop of the Serbian Orthodox church in Nicaea in 1219, the right of Serbian prelates was established to choose their archbishops themselves, further enabling the old Serbian archbishop, in accordance with the symphony, to crown Serbian kings with a Serbian crown.
Sava gave the legal status to archbishopric and royal rights of Serbs with his Nomocannon (Legal Code), selection of the most important laws of Prohorion, Vasilika and Justinian’s Law, translated, interpreted and adjusted for Serbs. By giving legal status to the Serbian church and Serbian state, Archbishop Sava provided recognitions of other rulers (two emperors, three caesars, one king and one caliph) and the highest ecclesiastical officials during his two important journeys. The recognition was confirmed with a Serbian edifice in heavenly Jerusalem. After purchasing the house of John the Theologian from Muslims, where the Last Supper was held in the upper room and the New Testament established, and giving the house as a present to the Patriarchy of Jerusalem, Sava gained the right to raise a Serbian church dedicated to John the Theologian, next to the house on the Zion. Now only foundations of the Serbian church remain, exactly above the crypt of David’s tomb.
Such activities and theological postulates of Sava Nemanjić gave birth to the Serbian spiritual and state idea, later customary laws, postulates of spiritual honor, legal and moral features of the Serbian nation.

VUK KARADŽIĆ (1787–1864), THE ONE WHO RETURNED THE SOUL TO THE NATION

If we observe the personality of Vuk Stefanović Karadžić from such a point of view, we will see much mythological in him. Starting from his appearance. Besides his mythological lameness, he also had the temper of a holy fool. In his letter to Bishop Josif Rajačić, Metropolitan Stratimirović indicated the proclamation of Peter the First a saint as a ”master deed of Vuk”, recognizing his power to ”create saints in the faith of Montenegro”. Many wished to mock him in different occasions in the prince’s office. However, in such mocking, Vuk was never a comical character, but an almost mythological being. If we observe the most faithful portrait of Vuk, made based on the daguerreotype of Anastas Jovanović, we see incredibly shiny roentgen eyes on the face of an old man, which seem to look through times and objects.
Vuk’s achievement, let alone the content, seems mythological. According to its volume and size of the endeavor, it is almost unbelievable a single man could do it in a single lifetime. It was often indicated that Vuk had done work that needed hundreds of people in hundreds of years in other nations. A work equal to the work of national institutes. And Vuk’s work is the entire spiritual experience of ancestors. A national mirror for recognizing the nation. Psychiatrists, psychologists, parapsychologists are all searching for the soul of an individual; if we search for the soul of a nation, we’ll find it in literature and language. Vuk returned the soul to the liberated Serbian nation. It is enough to just take his Serbian Dictionary, which is at the same time a dictionary of Serbian mythology. ”Chesnica (Christmas bread) is described correctly, and not only chesnica, but also the badnjaks (ritual Oak tree for Christmas), Christmas, weddings, abduction (how girls are abducted), Epiphany, memorials, Christmas, St. George’s Day, St. John’s Eve, fairies, witches, vampires, stuachi, vrzino kolo, grabancijaš, ranilo, ružičalo, zavjetina, krstonoša, krsno ime, pobratim, dodole, kraljice, lazarice, koleda … Even those who have never read before will read the Serbian Dictionary” – he wrote to Lukijan in 1817.
”... Vuk Karadžić is the greatest ‘conservative revolutionary’ in the history of Serbian culture… Revolutionary for his methodology, conservative for his loyalty and faithfulness, he bridged a horrible gap between the living people and alienated elite, enabled the return of the people to culture and culture to the people. Neither literature without people nor people without literature…”
This is my nation! We can all say that, recognizing ourselves in how Vuk presented us to the world. And for once, here, we must admit that we are Vuk’s nation. He is telling us who we are, from the first cry to the mourning song around the tomb.
When speaking about Vuk Stefanović Karadžić, considering everything or regardless of everything, we are speaking about him as a myth, as if the myth is at least a thousand, not just two hundred years old. Bringing him in connection with the collected spiritual heritage of a nation, we transfer the entire ancientness of heritage to him as well. The real measures of time are no longer valid, as if our time has a double bottom.
Vuk saved us for ourselves. And for others.
The best way to celebrate Vuk is to be aware of ourselves. Among others.

PETAR THE SECOND PETROVIĆ NJEGOŠ (1813–1851), THE BISHOP OF SERBIAN POETRY

If anyone in the entire Serbiandom after St. Sava ”had a reason to be born”, according to Njegoš’s verses, it is Njegoš himself. It seems that eternity was inborn to him, as well as the time he was born in, and his teacher, poet Sima Milutinović Sarajlija, who introduced him to poetry, to sing of and therefore most permanently and most supremely determine the fate and being of his nation. Even when they overgrow their teachers, great spirits never watch them from the achieved heights, but raise them into heights above them. Thus Njegoš always elevated Sima Sarajlija.
During his visit to Cetinje in 1834, when he brought the cast letters of his new Serbian orthography for the recently purchased monastic printing house, Vuk Stefanović Karadžić advised young Njegoš, just confirmed poet, to ignore bad poetic role models, to abandon foreign classicism, which is disappearing anyway, and to write in the national spirit, which makes nations recognizable in their romanticist exaltations and enthusiasms. He advised him to write in the spirit of folk proverbs’ wisdom, to imagine his poetic weaving on national basis, to use folk conceptions as role models and material: ”Have your rulers, have your dance, have your heroes and heroisms, have your mourning songs, have your proverbs and stories. Sing about Montenegro and pay your debt to the Serbian nation and dear language.” That is how the contents for the most famous Njegoš’s epic, The Mountain Wreath, were created.
Even before its publishing, it was clear to the wisest Serbs who lived in Vienna that not a single epic in Serbian poetry will be able to compare with The Mountain Wreath and its poetic beauty. While Njegoš was personally reading them The Mountain Wreath, it was clear to all of them that he wrote a work which will become the pride of Serbian poetry, a work in which ”the Serbian soul is reduced into the historical fate of national survival and existence”.
After it had been published, it all became clear to every literate Serb. The epic of Serbian survival was published. ”Never has any Serb sang or thought this way” – said Njegoš’s teacher, poet Sima Milutinović Sarajlija in Belgrade, in the Society of Serbian Letters. The publishing of The Mountain Wreath printed in Vuk’s orthography proclaimed the victory of Vuk Stefanović Karadžić’s linguistic and literary principles.
Literary estheticians disputed about Njegoš, most often whether The Light of the Microcosm is above The Mountain Wreath with its spiritual elevation. The Light of the Microcosm is an epic of a spiritual advisor and his questions reaching the highest spiritual realms, and The Mountain Wreath remains the work without which great Njegoš wouldn’t exist in the national meaning, and without which there would be less of us. His entire opus can be called The Serbian Mirror, in which he is magnificently reflected with his nation, whose liberation he dreamed of, as the defender of the Kosovo idea and real author of the cult of Obilić: ”If only Serbiandom would be liberated, so the Serbian prince could set off to imperial Prizren, and I to my Patriarchate of Peć!”

NIKOLA TESLA (1856–1943), GENIUS, SCIENTIST, MYSTIC

It is more or less clear to any serious person today that Nikola Tesla was not only an ingenious scientist, but also an esotericist. Such a merge of science and mysticism is found perhaps only in Newton and Paracelsus or earlier in renaissance magicians. All Tesla’s discoveries, we anticipate, come from the path of the primordial search for God and initiation into the secret of creating the world.
The son of Serbian Orthodox priest Milutin Tesla, from the village of Smiljan in Lika, completed high school in Gospić and studied technology in Graz and Prague. As an engineer, he worked in Budapest, Paris, New York. Then he opened his own laboratory in New York and worked in it until his death.
Most of the fundamental inventions in electrical engineering are his work (more than a thousand patents in total). Patents in the field of polyphase alternating current (1887–1890) are the foundations of present power engineering. The discoveries of induction and synchronous motors, generators and transformers of polyphase currents… His patents were inevitable in the construction of the first large generators for polyphase currents. The invention of a turbine without blades, as well as pumps and speedometers based on the same principle (1913) — in which he invested twenty years of his life and work – was thoroughly understood only in our times, provoking excitement in the scientific world with its originality… Almost a century ago, he astonishingly succeeded in producing high frequency currents with dozens of thousands of periods, with a voltage of several million volts. Tesla’s experiments in New York and Colorado Springs resemble rituals of superhuman intelligence, and his Colorado Springs Research Diary remind of notes about initiation.
His oscillators are used in radio technology, industry, in the process of releasing nuclear energy, medicine. He established the technology of wireless transfer of electricity and wireless remote controlling. His antenna of the ”World Radio Station”, raised in Long Island in 1900, provoked disbelief at the time and was considered science fiction, while today it is commonly used even in the most hidden corners of the planet.
This is when Tesla’s withdrawal from the masses of the world into deep loneliness began. He lived in an urban asylum, alone in the crowd. It is known that he continued his work with the same intensity, some of his discoveries were made public and available for mass consumption, while it is less and less clear what was the main thing he was dealing with and how far he got. It seems that the more was written about it, the more remained hidden. Many serious people are convinced that the discoveries and insights Tesla achieved were so great, that there was no one he could announce them to in his epoch. No one was following him anymore and his eyes, in the world of armed industrialists and greedy merchants, hadn’t met the eyes whom such power could be entrusted to.
The urn with his earthly dust, a golden ball on a stone pedestal, resembling a mystical core of the world or primordial image of the universe, is kept in his museum in Belgrade since 1957. According to his own wish. He bequeathed his entire legacy to his homeland.

MILUTIN MILANKOVIĆ (1879–1958), MASTER OF HEAVENLY MECHANICS

He was a civil engineer, astronomer, mathematician, geophysicist. He founded the academic studies of applied mathematics and heavenly mechanics in Serbia. A medal named after him has been awarded by the European Geophysical Society every year since 1993. According to official citation indexes, he is the most quoted Serbian scientist abroad. He is author of the most accurate calendar in the world, conceived in a way that it needs to be corrected only after 28.800 years. He is the founder of modern climatology and climatic modeling. It was necessary to spend five years of intensive work of a global network of institutes and an enormous dollar amount for a research, which, several decades later, only confirmed his spectacular findings, based on mathematical calculations of heavenly mechanisms. He is one of the founders of plate tectonics, making the basics for modern geology. He proved that the position of continents in the geological past ”was significantly different from the present, and that they have certainly moved in time”. ”There is no other explanation: he could see through time and matter, and mathematically proved the seen and recognized. Although the equipment and technical aid he had at his disposal were null.”
Milutin Milanković was born on May 28, 1879 in Dalj, then Austro-Hungary, as the oldest child of Milan and Jelisaveta (born Muačević). He was twenty-three when he graduated civil engineering in Vienna. Three years later, in 1905, he got a job in the famous civil engineering company in Vienna, ”Adolf Baron Pittel Beobau – Unternehmung”. For four years, he was building ”structures in reinforced concrete”: bridges, viaducts, waterworks, embankments, throughout the empire…
He was spending the fourth month of his fourth decade when the probably greatest reversal happened in his life in 1909. Ljubomir Stojanović, philologist, then minister of education in the Kingdom of Serbia, appointed him professor at the Department of Applied Mathematics of the Belgrade University. Thus began his university and scientific career, which led him to the very top of the epoch.
He proved that precession, slope of rotation axes change and eccentric orbit of the Earth around the Sun are crucial factors of the periodical impact on climate change in the past of our planet. Furthermore, he created and explained a precise periodization of the beginning and ending of ice ages on Earth for 600.000 years into the past, beginning from 1800. The impeccable correctness of his calculations of the cyclicality of those phenomena was confirmed and they are now known in science as ”Milanković’s Cycles”.
The Cannon of Insolation and the Ice-Age Problem is considered the most important work in Serbian science in the XX century. Milanković’s plan for the reform of the Julian calendar was officially accepted in 1923, in Constantinople, at the Pan-Orthodox Council. The highest Orthodox body confirmed it as the most accurate calendar, which corrects all major shortcomings of both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. However, due to known circumstances, the conclusion (still) hasn’t been applied.
”He ploughed the heavenly furrows at the end of the second, while the results of his work will be reaped in the third millennium.”

(From the publication Great Serbian Visionaries”, written by Milovan Vitezović and Branislav Matić, Princip Press” and Politika”, Belgrade, 2009)

***

Knowing Who You Are
”If I have the luck to realize at least some of my ideals, it will be for the welfare of entire mankind. If my hopes are realized, my sweetest thought will be that it was a work of a Serb. Long live Serbiandom! (...) I have, as you can see and hear, remained a Serb even across the sea, where I’m involved in research. You should do the same and, with your knowledge and work, spread the glory of Serbiandom in the world.” (Nikola Tesla in his speech to students of the Great School in Belgrade, June 3, 1892)

***

It Won’t Let Go, but It Will
We will state just a few from the abundance of Serbian folk proverbs, noted and preserved by Vuk Karadžić:
”It is easy to muddy a shallow puddle and make a fool angry.” ”Poverty and cough cannot be hidden.” ”If there is shame, there is honesty.” ”There is no wheat without weed or people without degenerates.” ”A small axe breaks down a large tree.” ”Woe onto that man who waits for the enemy at his doorstep.” ”Everything for honor, honor for nothing.”

 


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