With the 'quartet' finished he now began a systematic proliferation of his works, amplifying, extending and clarifying their intent and purpose. He carefully elaborated the major themes contained in the foundation works. He was driven to make certain that all that could be said concerning the process he was describing would be said as clearly and descriptively as possible.

"I chose to leave no stone unturned," he said, "lest it become a stumbling block to those who will come after me."

In so doing he would eventually, with books and essays, complete thirty additional works.11

He wrote with a spontaneous outpouring, mostly in longhand. But on occasion the prolific stream required two secretaries working simultaneously. The power source from which he functioned engendered a capacity for work that was stupefying to behold.

During the week he rose at dawn for meditation and then worked throughout the day at his writing table, breaking only long enough for meals and continuing long after sunset. On Saturday he secluded himself and spent the entire day in meditation. Sunday's he lectured in the small schoolhouse built on the grounds. Sunday afternoon he made himself available for personal instruction and conferences.

Attendance usually varied on Sundays between forty and eighty persons. Many drove hundreds of miles to hear him speak and bask in the radiance of his presence. Notables, including Ananda Coomaraswamy, Gustav Stromberg and Dr. Evans-Wentz, came to listen and to spend the afternoon in discussion and exchange.

It was as though the light that had so long permeated his being now shone at its greatest intensity, transforming its essence into the instructions he wrote, the words he spoke and the force he emanated.

He often had difficulty shielding the force of that power from those around him.

"From time to time," he said, "I would get carried away by what I was experiencing while talking to the group, and the forces would transmit to those listening in higher frequency than was desired. Occasionally the effect was most amusing.

"On one particular Sunday morning I was trying to describe how objects and things appear to one after he has experienced the rising of the Kundalini to the conarial center. I tried to picture for them the auric effect of Light's emanation. It is not an illusion but rather an extension of normal sight as experienced in that elevated state of consciousness.

"One is able to see a beatific glow radiating above and around all objects and things. It appears like a shimmering, silvery aura and turns the mundane world into a fairyland. I stood in this perception, even as I was describing it. Unfortunately, I let my guard down and gathered all present up to that level of perception with me.

"Well, I set them down as soon as I realized from the looks on their faces that they were experiencing something far beyond their present state. But afterwards the experience lingered with them and some were reluctant to leave the Field and they extended their stay with us. I chuckled, knowing how sweet the nectar of Light is and how the bees buzz once they have found it."

The pace and the activities continued as weeks extended into months and months extended into years. There was no let-up in Vitvan's vitality or in his productivity. There were his finest years of achievement. And then, almost ten years from the day he had begun, he pronounced the work finished.

"The Old Farmer," he said joyously, "has threshed the wheat. The seeds are ready for the planting.

It was a time of rejoicing for Vitvan. The high directive under which he had labored for a decade was finished. The work was complete. But as though on cue, Nature's forces moved to set the stage for the final chapter. Once again a great fire was to change the course of Vitvan's life.

A United States Navy plane, based in San Diego, crashed on night in the high mountains 20 miles north of Eschatologia. By morning the resultant fire was racing in the direction of the Retreat, destroying everything in its path. Fire fighters moved in to combat the conflagration but nothing could contain it. By the second day it had reached Eschatologia. The tiny Ashram was surrounded on three sides by flame.

Garden hoses had been out since early morning. Crews of students alternately sprayed the buildings and soaked the rooftops. There had been no time to evacuate. The flames now were only yards from the main house and encroaching on the school and library. The Ashram seemed doomed.

At that moment Vitvan signaled those around him to cease their activities and stand in silence. He walked calmly down the path that led to the flower garden in front of the school. He stopped there and stood quietly with arms at his side. Seconds passed and then, with howling intensity, the wind shifted. The flames hesitated, then swept away from the Ashram, burning their way down the mountain. Eschatologia stood intact.

Some of the buildings were scorched and all were blackened with ash, but not one had burned.

Some wept; others stared in numbed despair at the devastation around them. The forest was destroyed. The water shed that had held the lush vegetation was ruined. The land was scarred and barren.

Vitvan watched as the fire roared up the canyon. They waited. Finally he strode out. He walked with casual unconcern, strolling as he had so many times before, around the perimeter of the Ashram. From time to time he knelt and brushed away the silt and ash from some young plant or greening sprig. He seemed undismayed by the desolation. It was several minutes before he returned to where they were gathered.

"I have said goodbye to Eschatologia," he said. Then, indicating where the fire had swept, he continued:

"The Great Mother has told us it is time now to sack the grain that is the fruit of our labor and find another place to do our planting. We will go where only the strong and stalwart can seek us out. And we will wait and watch for the crop to grow."

He turned, and without looking back, left the mountain and the Ashram behind him.

next Chapter 15