||This article explores certain aspects of masonic worldview, which have to do with the problem of pow¬er and the image of the perfect ruler, in epic poems “Rossiyada”, “Vladimir Reborn” and “Tsar, or Novgorod Saved” by M. M. Kheraskov. The last of these works is analyzed in this key for the first time. The poems are interpreted in the context of philosophic and religious texts, important to Russian masons in the second half of the 18th century: “On delusions and the truth” by L. K. de Sen-Martin, and “Some musings on the Inner Church” by I. V. Lopukhin. The author of the article focuses on the fact that in masonic philosophy spiritual self-improvement leads one to becoming closer to the state of being before the fall of man, and in Sen-Martin’s work, this state is linked to the nature of political power. Therefore, the article states. That when the poems by Kheraskov describe the path of self-improvement, walked by a ruler, ways in which the ruler is morally superior to his subjects, he not only presents the masonic ideal of a perfect person and monarch but also legitimizes the power that the ruler in the poem holds. The allusions to masonic concepts of “inner” and “outer” self, “spiritual” and material body, of spiritual blindness and clear vision can be interpreted as markers of ruler’s realization of his need of spiritual and moral self-improvement, and of subjects’ need of guidance. In light of all this, the author of the article interprets the conflict in the epic poem “Tsar…” as one between the duty of a ruler to restore order and stop the moral degradation of his subjects, and the humanistic nature of the ideal ruler, that recoils from using force and shedding blood. The analysis performed in this article allows one to better understand Kheraskov’s thoughts on power through explaining some parts of masonic philosophy that influenced them.
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