The Possessor

And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain : and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them.And he suffered them. Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

LUKE 8:32 -5 

Possessed can mean that someone is possessed by an idea.Also an idea can possess someone.The Novel Besy in Russian was earlier translated as The Possessed in English.But the later translations have preferred to use the Title Devils or the Demons.So it is not about the Possessed, but about the Possesser.The Possesser is the Devil or the Demon.The story of the novel is more or less what is mentioned in the epigraph above.

Stephan Trofimovich Verkhovensky a Professor and an intellectual in various subjects is the herdsman whom the devils initially possess.Later it leaves him and enters the swine.The herd possessed by the Devils get into the lake and are choked.The Swine are Stavrogin (Trofimovich's Student), Peter (Trofimovich's Son), Kirillov (Stavrogin's disciple),Shatov (Again Stavrogin's disciple).

Peter heads the inner circle in the small provincial town in Russia.The agenda of the inner circle is to create social unrest through which the foundations of the Nation would be questioned by the People.Later as a result of unrest, this inner circle along with the other inner circles spread across the nation supported by groups from outside would capture the power and rule the country.

The inner circle consists of Liputin, Lyamshin, Virginsky, Shigalov, Erkel, Tolkachenko.Shatov and Kirillov are somehow related to the inner circle.Peter wants Stavrogin to be the Prophet of the new rule, the new order.

At last the Herd possessed by Devils runs violently and steeps into the lake and gets choked down.Stavorgin commits suicide because of guilt.Kirillov commits suicide for his idea.His idea is that by Killing himself he becames God (Man-God).By killing himself he proves he is completely free.He can execute anything of his self-will.Shatov is murdered by the inner circle as they are afraid that he might inform about them.Liputin, Lyamshin, Virginsky , Erkel , Shigalov ,Tolkachenko are later arrested for the murder.Peter flees to Switzerland.

Trofimovich , the Herdsman , the non-believer while on death bed confesses and takes the sacrament  and dies.The Herdsman finally sits at the feet of Jesus, clothed and he is in his right mind.So the Novel is not about the People possessed by the Idea.But about the Idea itself.i.e. The Demons or the Devils.Devils or Demons are the ideas of Atheism, Materialism, Empiricism, Socialism, Communism, Positivism,Science and the Progressive ideas.

Normally all progressive thinkers , writers are the ones who are in someway alienated from their roots.Shatov explains this to Stavrogin once.A Man who loses his people and his national roots also loses the faith of his Fathers and his God.And through them the devils enter into the Swine.And Stephan Trofimovich is the man who loses his people and his National roots and his God.

"When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country" - As the Herd ran violently when it got Possessed of the Devils , it Kills Marya (Stavrogin's legal wife),Lebyadkin(Marya's Brother) and their Servant, it Kills Lizaveta (Stavrogin's love), burns the houses of the local people across the river, kills Shatova( Shatov's wife and Stavrogin's Mistress), kills the new born baby of Shatova as it is left unattented and catches cold, kills a 14 year old little girl raped by Stavrogin.

Dostoevsky is not worried by the persons who are possessed by the Idea.But as such about the Idea itself.And the only way he sees through the problem is to make the Herdsman sit at the feet of Jesus, ask his Russian men to sit at the feet of Jesus in their Russian Orthodox Church and not in the Roman Catholic Church.

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