My Father

As I have happened, in the logical course of the exposition of this chapter devoted to the memory of my father, to mention his friend, my first tutor, Dean Borsh, I consider it indispensable to describe a certain procedure established between these two men who had lived normally to old age, and who had taken upon themselves the obligation of preparing me, an unconscious boy, for responsible life and deserve now, by their conscientious and impartial attitude towards me, to represent for my essence ‘two aspects of the divinity of my inner God’.

This procedure, as was evident when I later understood it, was an extremely original means for development of the mind and or self-perfecting.

They called it kastousilia, a term derived, it seems to me, from the ancient Assyrian, and which my father evidently took from some legend.
This procedure was as follows:
One of them would unexpectedly ask the other a question, apparently quite out of place, and the other, without haste, would calmly and seriously reply with logical plausibility.

For instance, one evening when I was in the workshop, my future tutor entered unexpectedly and, as he walked in, asked my father: ‘Where is God just now?’

My father answered most seriously, ‘God is just now in Sari Kamish.’

Sari Kamish is a forest region on the former frontier between Russia and Turkey, where unusually tall pine-trees grow, renowned everywhere in Transcaucasia and Asia Minor.
Receiving this reply from my father, the dean asked, ‘What is God doing there?’

My father answered that God was making double ladders there and on the tops of them he was fastening happiness, so that individual people and whole nations might ascend and descend.

These questions and answers were carried on in a serious and quiet tone as though one of them were asking the price of potatoes today and the other replying that the potato crop was very poor this year, Only later did I understand what rich thoughts were concealed beneath such questions and answers.