Kazantzakis 6 - The March

Curriculum Focus

How do I Serve
The Mission
Transpersonal Service
The Last Battle


Kazantzakis, Nikos, The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1960. p 63.


1) But suddenly a convulsive cry tears through me: Help me! Who calls

2) Gather your strength and listen; the whole heart of humanity is a single outcry. Lean against your breast to hear it; someone is struggling and shouting within you.

3) It is your duty every moment, day and night, in joy or in sorrow, amid all daily necessities, to discern this Cry with vehemence or restraint, according to your nature, with laughter or with weeping, in action or in thought, striving to find out who is imperiled and cries out.

4) And how we may all be mobilized together to free this one

5) Amidst our greatest happiness someone within us cries out: I am in pain! I want to escape your happiness! I am stifling!

6) Amidst our deepest despair someone within us cries out: I do not despair! I fight on! I grasp at your head, I unsheathe myself from your body, I detach myself from the earth, I cannot be contained in brains, in names, in deeds!

7) Out of our most ample virtue someone rises up in despair and cries out: Virtue is narrow, I cannot breathe! Paradise is small and cannot contain me! Your God resembles a man, I do not want him!

8) I hear the savage Cry, and I shudder. The agony that ascends within me composes itself, for the first time, into an integral human voice; it turns full face toward me and calls me clearly, with my own name, with the name of my father and my race.

9) This is the moment of greatest crisis. This is the signal for the March to begin. If you do not hear this Cry tearing at your entrails, do not set out.

10) Continue, with patience and submission, your sacred military service in the first, second, and third rank of preparation.

11) And listen: In sleep, in an act of love or of creation, in a proud and disinterested act of yours, or in a profound despairing silence, you may suddenly hear the Cry and set forth.

12) Until that moment my heart streams on, it rises and falls with the Universe. But when I hear the Cry, my emotions and the Universe are divided into two camps.

13) Someone within me is in danger, s/he raises her/his hands and shouts: Save me! Someone within me climbs, stumbles, and shouts: Help me!

14) Which of the two eternal roads shall I choose Suddenly I know that my whole life hangs on this decisionthe life of the entire Universe.

15) Of the two, I choose the ascending path. Why For no intelligible reason, without any certainty; I know how ineffectual the mind and all the small certainties of humanity can be in this moment of crisis.

16) I choose the ascending path because my heart drives me toward it. Upward! Upward! Upward! my heart shouts, and I follow it trustingly.

17) I feel this is what the dread primordial cry asks of me. I leap to its side. I cast in my lot with its own.

18) Someone within me is struggling to lift a great weight, to cast off the mind and flesh by overcoming habit, laziness, necessity.

19) I do not know from where s/he comes or where s/he goes. I clutch at his/her onward march in my ephemeral breast, I listen to her/his panting struggle, I shudder when I touch him/her.

20) Who is s/he I prick up my ears. I set up various signs, I sniff the air. I ascend, groping upwards, panting and struggling. The dread and mystical March begins.

Reflection Questions

Read 1 4 How many of us have heard this Voicethis Cry
What are examples of how you have encountered this Voice in your life

Read 5. When and how has anyone experienced this experience

Read 6. When and how has anyone experienced this experience

Read 7. When and how has anyone experienced this experience Where has human reality not been big enough to contain the Reality you have encountered in your own depth

Read 8 11. How do I know when it is time for me to begin The March How have you experienced this in your own life

Alternating member readings 12 20. What is the dread and mystical March

How might I experience my life differently or what would I practice differently if I were to cast my lot in with that of the Cry

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