My grandfather, Konstantins Karulis, one of the most incredible people to walk the face of the planet, passed away in his sleep.
I just want to share with all of you what a great human being he was. In the world scheme, he was just a cute little old man with an overabundance of energy and joy. For Latvia, he was the repository of so much information, knowledge, and wisdom. But for humanity, he was one of those beacons of light that we all gravitate towards.
Before the second world war, he had studied to be a lawyer. During the war, he worked first as a teacher in the countryside, and then as a war correspondent. (The Latvians were allied with the Germans.) He witnessed Hitler speaking at a rally in Berlin in 1939. He had a lot of interactions with the literati of Latvia at the time, as well as the politicians.
At the end of the war, my grandmother escaped to America with the children, while he was sent to Siberia. He spent one and a half years in Siberia laying railroad tracks. He was one of those people in concentration camps who give the other prisoners reasons for staying alive and focused (like Viktor Frankl, if you've ever read "Man's Search for Meaning"). He would trade his cigarette rations with the guards for bits and pieces of newspaper. He would read and analyze these pieces, and give updates on the status of world events to the others in his barracks. He would have everyone close their eyes and would recount plots of movies scene by scene, so everyone could relive a favorite movie or see a new one when it got dark and cold. On Sundays, he would perform religious services for everyone, making it as non-denominational as possible. By a series of lucky circumstances (yeah, right!), he was released and sent back to Latvia.
In Latvia, he was now a non-person having been in Siberia. He spent the next couple of decades working back from this status. He invented a shorthand for blind people. He built a duplex from scratch by saving materials over a matter of years, once he got a plot of land from the government.
One night, he had a dream. He was standing in a field that was surrounded by a tall dark fence. He felt that this was a symbol for Latvia in the Soviet Union. Suddenly, a light appeared before him and materialized as Jesus Christ. Jesus stretched out his hands showing a light in his hands. He gave this to my grandfather and said, "I am giving you the Latvian language to save." My grandfather understood this to mean that he was to use his talents (knowing 11 languages!) to create an etymology of Latvian, as well as to do as much as he could in terms of analyzing the language, since there was probably not going to be any one else who could do it justice.
He wrote a comprehensive etymological dictionary of the language, and published it. I think he even completed a second volume in the past few years which is on the way to being published. He published countless (thousands, I would wager) articles on words, literature, Latvian writers of the time when Latvia was independent between the wars, and spoke another countless times to groups of people, on television, etc, about the same. In the last few years, he had become quite famous among learned people for all of this...
Now, for any other mortal human being, this would have been enough. But not for my grandfather.
Around the age of 21, my grandfather realized that he had a gift in his hands. He was able to feel energy moving in lamps, make doorbells ring if he walked to close, and the ability to heal others. For the next 60 years, he worked on thousands of people, waving his warm and youthful-looking (!) hands above the afflicted areas, or touching and stroking the skin above those areas. People would come from the countryside with only eggs or milk or produce to pay him for his services. He scheduled every day very carefully with a balance between the healing touch sessions and the writing at the desk. He would also perform distance healing sessions for members of our family and friends.
But that's not all! This man would always answer every letter that he received, in carefully penned hand, and go to almost every lecture where he had been invited to speak (rivetingly, with humor), to the chagrin of his wife who saw how he became weak from all the giving. But he kept on going.
His garden was a sight to behold. The strawberries every summer were huge and succulent. There are no better strawberries than my grandfather's. His dahlias were tall and beautiful. The paths between the flower beds were always neat and orderly.
Every day he rose at 6 AM, had a conversation with his two huge German Shepherds for about 15 minutes (can't sleep through that!), took them outside to throw logs for them to catch while doing deep knee bends and calisthenics with small hand weights to keep the energy flowing to his hands, started the morning coal fire that heated both the house and the water for the morning baths. Every night, he would clean out the coal stove so that the next morning it would be ready for him to light again.
A few years ago, he broke his neck in a freak accident on a slippery porch (he was sweeping leaves), went inside and called the ambulance. For a few months he wore a brace and turned from side to side to see. Broke his neck! At 70-something and lived to tell the tale!
Things like that were always happening to him.
On his 80th birthday, the President of Latvia sent his personal car to give my grandfather his birthday greetings message.
Everyone my grandfather met was fascinated by this little, energetic, funny, passionate old man! When he came to America once, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days driving him around the Midwest where he had invitations to visit old and new (!) friends... I'll never forget that time. I had total access to his stories of the past and present, by myself, just me and him.
The summer of 1989 I also had the opportunity to live with him for 3 months. We developed a more normal grandfather-granddaughter relationship. There were a few issues we didn't agree on, but when you got right down to it, he was a great, great person and I enjoyed talking to him and interacting with him every time...
Today, I feel as though he hasn't really gone any place far away. That may just be a function of his living in Latvia and being far away always, but I don't think so. I just have this feeling that he's really closer to me now that he has ever been and that he'll be there, right around the corner, any time that I desire to conjure him up. And that he's thinking of us and realizing that he can still help us from the other side. Actually, I think he's probably having a great time right now, free of pain and having access to the secrets of reality, which he already had before, but now he can use his great brain to work with those secrets.
Thanks for letting me put this down on paper! I'm not really sad as much as I am peaceful knowing that he doesn't need to feel pain anymore and that he can get on with whatever development he wants to deal with next.
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