Contents | Books in English


Yesterday, the scientific organizations in Peking feted Sven Hedin on his seventieth birthday. Such recognition from China and other participating countries is beautiful. Precisely in this way of mutual understanding and recognition is broadly welded the cooperation of whole countries. In the entire life of Sven Hedin, in his whole striving and indefatigability rings out the wonderful calling word: "Forward!"

Let us take Sven Hedin as a collective concept. The great explorer reached his seventieth birthday. It was recently announced that he was invited to make a large aerial survey of Brazil. Of course, Hedin does not reject such a possibility. Now he is departing for his own Stockholm. But no one thinks that he departs only, as it is customary to say, to settle down. This trip will be for him only a halting place.

Is it not because of such a wonderful adjuration, "Forward!" that the explorer looks so hale and hearty? Does he not conquer difficulties and dangers by this command? No one will deny that Sven Hedin is at present the most unusual, evocative example for the young generation. Think how many serious and captivating books he has written! What unforgettable discoveries were given by him to humanity! The majestic Trans-Himalayas will be linked forever with Sven Hedin's name.

Like a true Viking lie was constantly striving toward valiant, peaceful conquests. Indeed, in these evident richest results rings out the blessed command, "Forward!"

Everyone who will trace the discoveries of Sven Hedin from their inception will be truly amazed by the invincible quality of tills unique spirit. Where an average mind suspects some sort of finality, the epic saga of a Viking proclaims but the beginning of the next brilliant chapter. In this incessantly ascending path one does not wish even to speak of details, or mention numerous individual discoveries, or enumerate dangers and difficulties which were overcome. This entire unusual scientific conquest is given to humanity with untiring generosity. Into every travel of Sven Hedin is put some great idea.

Untiringly a great mind indicates new possibilities, new paths, a possible future flowering. A great scientist can only be a great humanitarian. The broader the mind the more fully flows the river of life before him. It is a cause for rejoicing that the beautiful explorations of Sven Hedin are valued. But one can equally rejoice at the very fact that such a vast strength is working now, in our time. When so much confusion and doubt cloud mankind, the Viking of light untiringly points to alluring, wondrous vistas and speaks about fabulously broad ways.

True creativeness is always full of optimism. A creator cannot exist in depression. A builder is full of knowledge in choosing the best materials. A living heart understands how necessary it now is to give to people the possibility for construction. In this inspired help there is a great humanitarian task. He who can with his incalculable labors inspire young hearts can also create vigorously himself. He will have no symptoms of fatigue. He will suffer no doubt or despair. He will say at all times the thrilling, bright word "Forward!"

This key cannot be given to those who have not attested it by their labors. This command will remain unconvincing when timidity and wavering are expressed. Therefore so valuable are all those manifestations which in their conclusive reality can unfurl the banner of the enlightened command, "Forward!" To this banner people can bring the best flowers. To this call they will send their best smile. Even amidst grey daily routine people will rejoice and strive to some kind of new and useful labors. If the explorer after completing Ills journey of seventy years is vigilant, joyous, and looks brightly toward the future, it means that the luminous "Forward" was his guiding sign.

Legends and fairy tales tell us about heroes, miraculous builders, creators of good and glory. Sagas also disclose white-winged swans, swift gyrfalcons, and bold eagles. Scientists clarify the myth as a reflection of reality. Myths tell about true life heroes who have performed their deeds here on Earth.

If we could convince ourselves that the achievement is not anything abstract, but beautiful earthly deeds, then every reminder about the beautiful path of earthly achievements would bring to us the joy of the heart and would inspire and instill new strength. It is right to be grateful to all those who on their earthly journey clearly said the great word Forward. He who does not fear or humble himself, but renews himself, becomes ever stronger from his new contacts with Earth like Antaeus of mythology!

And so let us rejoice, when we see here, among us, a living example of resplendent invincible labor.

Striving lives in the sacred call, "FORWARD!"


March 19, 1935

<< Back    Next >>