Three companions sat together in friendly talk. One recalled a recently told story of an eyewitness about the instantaneous destruction of Quetta. How the people who returned from the theatre sat on the veranda, and suddenly there was heard a kind of cosmic rumbling and roaring; they rushed to the top of the steps and before their very eyes, in one instant, Quetta was destroyed. In this instantaneous destruction of a whole city and of almost fifty thousand victims, in the opening up of a new volcano were revealed one more cosmic tension and a warning.
Another companion recalled ancient signs from the Puranas, which predicted how entire cities will be destroyed, how the earth will dry up, how entire nations will die out, and other nations will return to the worship of the forces of nature. The man who reminded them of these prophecies at the end of Kali Yuga — the Dark Age — said: "Should we not confess that at present signs that were regarded but recently as fantastic, appear before our very eyes. Are not whole nations dying out? Is not the rate of deaths beginning to exceed the rate of births, a condition with which many governments are already battling? Do not certain nations return to the worship of the forces of nature? Precisely at this period are not unheard of droughts appearing, combined with all possible devastations? We have seen in magazines pictures of terrible, destructive storms, drifting sands, and devastating tornadoes. Not without reason, the more far-sighted governments sound the alarm, attempting to prevent terrible future calamities! Forests are disappearing, rivers are dying. Grasses are engulfed by sands. A terrible picture of a dead desert begins to threaten. In a self-deceiving madness many as yet do not pay attention to this unfortunate evidence. But the more far-sighted already think urgently about preventive measures, or at least of reducing the calamities. Could you say after all this evidence, that what was foreseen some time ago was incorrect?"
The third companion reminded them about biblical prophecies: "When the terrifying voices of Amos, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and other prophets thundered, probably their contemporaries laughed and derided them. One can imagine with what abominable, jeering revilement were insulted those whose words were eventually historically confirmed. Even now we know of not a few previsions which in their sensing of knowledge foresee the future.
"True, madmen and ignoramuses even today do not pay attention to all that is beyond their understanding, to all that threatens their mercenary advantage. But the broader thinking, true scientists have already attained the knowledge of thought transmission over a distance; they have already brought benefits to mankind through many wonderful discoveries. Yet how the ignoramuses derided these inventions which are commonly accepted at present! Edison was called a charlatan, the possibility and usefulness of the work of steam was rejected, railroads were scoffed at. One cannot enumerate all that was derided by the ignoramuses. One could trace in history to what an extent these derisions became not only a positive crown of thorns but also, as it were, an attestation to true progress."
The companions recalled various quite exact elucidations of the prophecies of Amos; they quoted significant statements from the Puranas, and also from historical chronicles.
A fourth companion, who had been sitting silently all this time, spoke up: "You all are croaking with your decrepit prophecies. My prophecy is far more correct. I said yesterday that stocks will go up and so they did. When and how your predictions will be fulfilled is still unknown, but mine is already in my pocket. Of what importance is it that some Quetta is destroyed! Maybe it will help my cement shares to rise. And the drought which you so bewail is it not useful? The more deserts the better. Humanity will rush to the cities, we shall feed them with patent remedies. My shares of a moving picture enterprise will go up. Look at these benefactors! Perhaps you will even think of reviving the deserts! You will drive away our city dwellers. Look at you now! You are satisfied with mineral water, no whiskey and soda, no smoking! Such miserable people, it is a bore to be with you! Such a simple thing as the more deserts, the more profit you do not understand and wave your hands! The more the people become maddened in the cities the more profitable it will be. Don't you understand this? Even if all your prophecies are fulfilled, when will it happen? I am not so old that "old lady Earth" will not still be here during my time!
"And it was not just anyone, but royalty who said, "After us, the deluge!" And about whom are you so concerned? About some future people? Perhaps they will be nothing but scoundrels! And why do you worry about someone, bowing somewhere to a stump? We will manufacture these slumps — ten thousand out of bronze! And if humanity shall drink or smoke itself to death, what upliftment will take place! I do not talk about your upliftments, but about mine, the real one! You, miserable people! Here you have a victrola, and yet it cannot be enjoyed. You have stored up such boredom that no human ear could stand it. You consider yourselves modern, and yet you have not provided yourselves either with jazz, or with the tango, foxtrot, or carioca, in short, with nothing real. To be with you is an evening lost."
Was there a fifth companion joining this conversation? Did he tell why droughts or narcotics could be useful? I do not know. But the fourth one soon left, apparently fearing that he might lose time in making decisions for tomorrow. In departing he even became angry, noticing that his other companions not only were not aroused by his words but even made some signs to each other as if saying, "There is living proof!" That is, not in a practical sense, but referring to current humanity.
Is it not striking that the problem of droughts during recent years has become quite urgent? Even all kinds of historic data about formerly existing irrigation systems is being recalled. Quite sensibly the natural science expeditions begin to include archaeologists who, because of their study of ancient data, help with the discoveries. Among the discoveries there are many that in all justice should be called re-discoveries, because while all this was known long ago, it was forgotten because of negligence. A recent newspaper report about the Golden Fleece of Colchis or about King Solomon's Mines speaks about the very same thing.
Vast is the drought of the soil. But still more vast is the spiritual drought. Let us hope that in the "irrigative" worries not only the irrigation of the soil but also the inspirations of the human spirit will be taken into consideration. Without these spiritual irrigations neither forest planting nor grass seeding, nor discovery of real sources will take place. All these most essential conditions will only come about when people shall actually realize them and, above all, love them. In love the quality of labor will be transformed. In love the deserts will bloom again.
July 10, 1935