The Last Man Against Time
He knew it himself, from the early days of the struggle. And nothing shows more clearly how aware he was of his own place and significance in history than the words he addressed Hans Grimm in 1928, in the course of a conversation that lasted an hour and a quarter: "I know that some man capable of giving our problems a final solution must appear. And that is why I have set myself to do the preparatory work (die Vorarbeit); only the most urgent preparatory work, for I know that I am myself not the one. And I know also what is missing in me (to be the one). But the other one still remains aloof, and nobody comes forward, and there is no more time to be lost."
The last incarnation of He Who Comes Back -- the last man against time -- has many names. Every great faith, every great culture, every true (living or obsolete) form of a tradition as old as the fall of man has given him one. Through the eyes of the visionary of Patmos, the Christians behold in him Christ, present for the second time: no longer a meek preacher of love and forgiveness, but the irresistible leader of the celestial white horsemen destined to put an end to this sinful world and to establish a new heaven and a new earth. The Mohammedan world is awaiting him under the features of the Mahdi, whom Allah shall send "at the end of times," to crush all evil through the power of his sword -- "after the Jews will once more have become the masters of Jerusalem" and "after the Devil will have taught men to set even the air they breathe on fire." And the millions of Hindustan have called him from time immemorial and still call him Kalki, the last incarnation of the world-sustaining power: Vishnu; the one who will, in the interest of life, put an end to this age of gloom and open a new succession of ages. I have called him here by his Hindu name, not in order to show off an erudition which I am far from possessing, but simply because I happen to know of no other tradition in which the three types of manifested existence -- above time, against time, and in time -- which I tried in these pages to evoke and to define, have so obviously their counterpart as in the Hindu trinitarian conception of divinity.
A few words will make this point clear.
The well-known Hindu Trinity -- Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, so masterfully evoked in Indian art -- is anything but the blending of three inseparable gods into one; anything but the triple aspect of one transcendent and personal god. It symbolizes something by far more fundamental, namely, existence in its entirety: manifested and unmanifested; conceivable, visible and tangible, and beyond conception. For existence -- being -- is the one thing divine. And there is no divinity outside it; and nothing outside divinity. [Image: Bust of Trimurti ("having three forms") in the caves at Elephanta.]
Now Brahma is existence in und fuer sich -- in and for itself; being unmanifested, and thereby outside and above time; being, beyond the conception of the time-bound mind, and thereby unknowable. It is significant that Brahma has no temples in India -- or elsewhere. One cannot render a cult to that which no time-bound consciousness can conceive. One can, at the most, through the right attitude (and also through the right ascetic practices) merge one's self into it; transcend individual consciousness; live above time -- in the absolute present which admits no "before" and no "after," and which is eternity.
Vishnu -- the world sustainer -- is the tendency of every being to remain the same and to create (and procreate) in its own likeness; the universal life force as opposed to change and thereby to disaggregation and death; the power that binds this time-bound universe to its timeless essence -- every manifested being to the idea of that being, in the sense Plato was one day to give the word idea.
All men against time (all centers of action against time, in the cosmic sense of the word) are embodiments of Vishnu. They are all -- more or less -- saviors of the world: forces of life, directed against the downward current of irresistible change that is the very current of time; forces of life tending to bring the world back to original, timeless perfection.
Shiva -- the destroyer -- is the tendency of every being to change, to die to its present and to all its past aspects. He is Mahakala -- time itself; time that drags the universe to its unavoidable doom and -- beyond that -- to no less irresistible regeneration; to the spring of a new Golden Age and again, slowly and steadily, to degeneracy and death, in an endless succession.
The truly great men in time -- men such as Genghis Khan -- reflect something of his terrible majesty. The greatest men against time also -- inasmuch as they all must possess (more or less) the qualities of character that are specially those of the men in time; the qualities in which is rooted the efficiency of organized violence. For Shiva is not only the destroyer; he is the creator -- the good one; the positive one -- also to the extent all further creation is conditioned by change and ultimately by the destruction of that which was there before. He is -- as essence of destructive change, as time -- turned toward the future. And, on the other hand, Lord Shiva himself -- time personified -- is also (strange as this may seem to the purely analytical mind) above time. He is the great Yogi, whose face remains as serene as the blue sky while his feet beat the furious rhythm of the Tandava dance, amid the flames and smoke of a crumbling world.
In other words, Vishnu and Shiva, the world sustainer and the world destroyer, the force against time and time itself -- Mahakala -- are one and the same. And they are Brahma, timeless existence, the essence of all that is. They are Brahma manifested in time (and automatically also against time) and yet timeless. Hindu art has symbolized this metaphysical truth in the figure of Hari-Hara (Vishnu and Shiva in one body) and in the famous Trimurti: three-faced Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva.
In the manifested universe as we experience it at our scale, no living being embodies that triple and complete idea of existence -- the everlasting, universal law of constant change away from, and of untiring aspiration toward and ceaseless effort back to, original perfection and the ineffable inner peace of timelessness, inseparable from it -- better than the everlasting and ever-returning man against time; He Who Comes Back, age after age "to destroy evildoers and to establish upon earth the reign of righteousness."
The man in time has hardly any of the Vishnu or, as I have called them, sun qualities.
The man above time has hardly any of the lightning qualities of Shiva, the destroyer.
The man against time -- who lives in eternity while acting in time, according to the Aryan doctrine of detached violence -- has Vishnu's faithfulness to the original pattern of creation, Shiva's holy fury of destruction (in view of further creation), and Brahma's fathomless serenity which is, I repeat, the serenity of all three: timeless peace beyond the roar of all wars in time.
Yet no hero against time has ever expressed that triple aspect of immanent divinity with absolute adequacy, and none will, save the last one.
That last, great individual -- an absolutely harmonious blending of the sharpest of all opposites; equally sun and lightning -- is the one whom the faithful of all religions and the bearers of practically all cultures await; the one of whom Adolf Hitler (knowingly or unknowingly) said, in 1928: "I am not he; but while nobody comes forward to prepare the way for him, I do so"; the one whom I have called by his Hindu name, Kalki, on account of the cosmic truth that this name evokes.
Contrarily to Adolf Hitler, he will spare not a single one of the enemies of the divine cause: not a single one of its outspoken opponents but also not a single one of the lukewarm, of the opportunists, of the ideologically heretical, of the racially bastardized, of the unhealthy, of the hesitating, of the all-too-human; not a single one of those who, in body or character or mind, bear the stamp of the fallen ages.
His companions at arms will be the last National Socialists; the men of iron who will have victoriously stood the test of persecution and, what is more, the test of complete isolation in the midst of a dreary, indifferent world in which they have no place; who are facing that world and defying it through every gesture, every hint -- every silence -- of theirs and, more and more (in the case of the younger ones) without even the personal memory of Adolf Hitler's great days to sustain them. They are the ones who will, one day, make good for all that which men against time have suffered in the course of history, like they themselves, for the sake of eternal truth: the avenging comrades whom the five thousand of Verden called in vain within their hearts at the moment of death, upon the bank of the Aller River, red with blood; those whom the millions of 1945 -- the dying, the tortured, and the desperate survivors -- called in vain; those whom all the vanquished fighters against time called in vain, in every phase of the great cosmic struggle without beginning, against the forces of disintegration, co-eternal with the forces of life.
They are the bridge to supermanhood, of which Nietzsche has spoken; the last battalion, in which Adolf Hitler has put his confidence.
Kalki will lead them, through the flames of the great end, into the sunshine of the new Golden Age.
We like to hope that the memory of the one-before-the-last and most heroic of all our men against time -- Adolf Hitler -- will survive, at least in songs and symbols. We like to hope that the lords of the age, men of his own blood and faith, will render him divine honors, through rites full of meaning and full of potency, in the cool shade of the endless regrown forests, on the beaches, or upon inviolate mountain peaks, facing the rising sun.
Excerpted from Devi's Lightning and the Sun, 3rd abridged edition (Wellington, NZ: Renaissance Press, 1994), 74, 82-83. First published in Calcutta in 1958. The title above is editorial.