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to see how Ivanov, chiefly by the practice of enduring the cold, gained healing powers and entirely by himself created a system of religion in the midst of the religion-prohibiting Soviet Union. Ivanov's example dispels the notion that religion is a long-outdated accretion of no relation to the modern world, and that the opposite is true, that the religious life can be created anew at any time by a single individual, with immediate benefits to the society.
Through experimenting with ascetic practices he developed the will power to control his own body in relation to the forces of nature, and to attain a higher consciousness with thoughts of the infinite universe and the sufferings of all creatures. He learned that the power of healing would not work without a code of conduct, formulated in one instance as "do not drink alcohol, smoke, or use other drugs (narcotics); abstain from sexual excesses, swearing, violence, lies, gambling, bragging." He taught people to heal self and others, to love people and to love work, to aid the poor with their needs, and to live without fears, doubts, aversion or irritation.