Levin strode along the highroad, absorbed not so much in his
thoughts (he could not yet disentangle them) as in his spiritual
condition, unlike anything he had experienced before.
The words uttered by the peasant had acted on his soul like an
electric shock, suddenly transforming and combining into a single
whole the whole swarm of disjointed, impotent, separate thoughts
that incessantly occupied his mind. These thoughts had
unconsciously been in his mind even when he was talking about the
He was aware of something new in his soul, and joyfully tested
this new thing, not yet knowing what it was.
"Not living for his own wants, but for God? For what God? And
could one say anything more senseless than what he said? He said
that one must not live for one's own wants, that is, that one
must not live for what we understand, what we are attracted by,
what we desire, but must live for something incomprehensible, for
God, whom no one can understand nor even define. What of it?
Didn't I understand those senseless words of Fyodor's? And
understanding them, did I doubt of their truth? Did I think them
stupid, obscure, inexact? No, I understood him, and exactly as
he understands the words. I understood them more fully and
clearly than I understand anything in life, and never in my life
have I doubted nor can I doubt about it. And not only I, but
everyone, the whole world understands nothing fully but this, and
about this only they have no doubt and are always agreed.
"And I looked out for miracles, complained that I did not see a
miracle which would convince me. A material miracle would have
persuaded me. And here is a miracle, the sole miracle possible,
continually existing, surrounding me on all sides, and I never
"Fyodor says that Kirillov lives for his belly. That's
comprehensible and rational. All of us as rational beings can't
do anything else but live for our belly. And all of a sudden the
same Fyodor says that one mustn't live for one's belly, but must
live for truth, for God, and at a hint I understand him! And I
and millions of men, men who lived ages ago and men living now--
peasants, the poor in spirit and the learned, who have thought
and written about it, in their obscure words saying the same
thing--we are all agreed about this one thing: what we must live
for and what is good. I and all men have only one firm,
incontestable, clear knowledge, and that knowledge cannot be
explained by the reason--it is outside it, and has no causes and
can have no effects.