Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The Seven Stages of Christian Initiation
Theosophy and Rosicrucianism. Lecture 12 of 14
Rudolf Steiner, June 27, 1907:
Yesterday we tried to follow the evolution of humanity in the universe and also upon the Earth. Today I shall only add a few explanations to this, in order to pass over to that which spiritual science is able to say concerning the significance of Christianity and also concerning the Christian initiation. But to begin with please turn your gaze once more to the point of issue of human development.
We have said that when the Earth separated from the present Moon it was enclosed by a kind of primordial ocean, and we explained how the human being then united himself with his soul-spiritual part. We then pursued this course of development as far as the present time, which we characterized as the time of man's deepest descent into matter through the spirit. We recognized that an ascent must once more come, a spiritualization, and we also spoke of the mission of Theosophy or Spiritual Science in regard to this course of development.
We already pointed out that the division into two sexes took place in ancient Lemuria. The lower beings upon the Moon were already divided into two sexes, but the human being who lives in each one of you was only at that time divided into two sexes upon entering his bodily form. We must think of these antediluvian times of human evolution, before the separation of mankind into two sexes, male and female, in such a way that what we designate as sex did not exist as yet, or at least it existed in quite a different form. Now, a great deal depends upon our grasping the great significance of the fact explained just now for the whole course of human evolution.
If this division into two sexes had not occurred, if humanity were not to complete its course of development through this cooperation of the male and female principle, the human being would have an entirely different form. The individual element in man comes from the influence of the male principle. Yesterday I explained to you the difference between a group soul and an individual soul. This is quite different among animals. The animal has two sexes even on the astral plane. But the human beings did not have these two sexes on the astral plane before descending like drops into the individualized human bodies, or they had not yet passed, as one might say, through “the fall into sex”. Had the sexlessness of man continued in the physical world, replacing the two sexes, man could not have become an individual being. The true meaning of human development is that man should become more and more individualized.
If we once more survey the epochs which I described to you yesterday you would see how greatly the human beings resembled one another in regard to their external form. The cooperation of the two sexes gave rise to individual differentiations; these became more and more pronounced the further man advanced into the future. Without the division into sexes the generations would always look alike. We must really say that the fact that man becomes an independent being depends upon the division into two sexes.
In that remote time, and far back in the Atlantean epoch, but even in the post-Atlantean epoch, you find that the law of “marriage among close relatives” prevails, and: that this is only gradually replaced by the law of “marriage among non-relatives.” In remote epochs people married within closely related groups, within small tribes. In every nation you will find that it was once considered unusual and wrong to marry someone who belonged to another tribe.
The further back we go, the more we find that it was looked upon as an ethical law for people to marry within their own tribe; so that blood only mixed with the blood of relatives. We can explain this process best of all by setting out from a comparison which hits the nail on the head, whereas all other comparisons are weak. Let me tell you a little story in this connection.
You know Anzengruber and Rosegger. Rosegger is a writer who described his village characters with great devotion. Also Anzengruber has a good knowledge of his subject. In his drama “Der Meineidbauer” (The Perjured Farmer) the farmer and peasants whom he portrays really live. We know how plastic these characters are in the “Meineidbauer” and in his “Parson of Kirchfeld” and in other plays. Rosegger and Anzengruber one day went for a walk together and Rosegger said: “I know you really never look at farmers; perhaps you could describe them better if you went to see them in the village.” Anzengruber replied: “If I did this, I would probably be quite at a loss. I never learned to know peasants more closely, but I can describe them because my father, my grandfather, and all my ancestors were farmers, and I still have this farmer's blood in my veins. I form my characters through the farmer's blood in me, and I do not bother about the rest!”
This is an interesting fact and it indicates what we should bear in mind. Where blood does not mix, as in the case of old tribal communities, or in the case of the Anzengruber family, we find such a marked character as the writer Anzengruber, in his last incarnation. He had inherited the plastic force and he knew how to appreciate it; this plastic force ran through the blood of the generations. This really occurs where the blood only mixes with the blood of relatives. If the blood mixed with alien blood it quenched the soul's plastic forces. Had Anzengruber married, had he married someone belonging to a different social class, his children would no longer have had this plastic force.
In the case of almost every nation still existing today we can observe this phenomenon at the beginning; marriages within small circles of blood-relatives were always connected with an extraordinary power of memory. They were connected with a dull, vague clairvoyance; people could remember what they had experienced since their birth and they looked upon these experiences as something connected with their personality. Before these marriages between close relatives were replaced by marriages with non-relatives, people could literally remember the experiences of their grandfather and even of distant ancestors; they said “I”, and passed through the experiences of their grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and forefathers. The further back we go the more we find a power of memory reaching far back into the line of the generations.
It is interesting to see that these people: did not feel that they were individual egos when they said “I”: their grandfather was included in in this, and they bore his name, a name which encompassed all. Even as you now adopt a name connecting it with an individual person, so these nations adopted a name reaching far back into the centuries, because birth did not break off the thread of memory. The individual human being had no name, for birth was no special event. All men had one name, as long as the thread of memory remained unbroken.
In the Bible you have a document relating this giving of names: all the discussions about the names of the patriarchs are merely theological discussions! Adam was Adam and became so old because the power of memory was preserved for centuries, and the individual who descended from Adam felt that his Ego was one with that of his ancestor. The blood which thus flowed through the centuries producing such a memory was named “Adam”. So long as memory lasted in the line of the generations and the experiences of the forefathers could be remembered as if they were one's own, one said: “Adam still lives." People did not at all experience themselves as individual physical personalities, but they identified themselves with that which existed spiritually and which united them.
Then the marriages between non-relatives became more and more frequent. The mixing of the blood gradually killed the power of memory which once reached beyond the individual human being. The limitation of memory is a result of these marriages between non-relatives. In the course of human evolution the individual human being gradually grew out of his tribe.The blood in common which flowed through the tribes also contained the common expression for this blood: love. Those who were blood-relatives loved each other. But this love, which we may designate as a primordial love connected with the blood and leading to the development of families, gradually died out in the course of time. The love of the past greatly differed from the love which shines towards us as the love of future times. During the Atlantean epoch, this love ruling through the blood prevailed; people who had the same blood in their veins loved one another. But this gradually disappeared; individually, the human beings gradually emancipated themselves from the closer family ties.
This primordial love, which arose when the souls began to descend into physical bodies, thus faces us in a descending course of development; this love streamed into the human beings at the moment which the Bible describes in the words: “And God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life and he became a living soul.”
But something else arose at that time. Man became a living soul, and consequently a being who breathed through his lungs. The air which he thus breathed in produced his red blood. The Ego-nature expressed itself in the red blood. As long as the blood was a common element shared by many, the Ego too was a common Ego. We see this in the Jews, where a whole nation was ruled by a group-soul. But the human beings gradually developed and emancipated themselves from the blood of their relatives. When the first breath of air entered the human being it formed the first foundation of his blood. But long epochs of time passed by before mankind reached the degree of maturity enabling it to influence the blood so that the primordial love could be replaced by a love for mankind as a whole.
Imagine the course of human development as described just now: The primordial love would gradually die out; love among relatives, the love of a mother for her child, and so forth, would have to decrease; the blood has not the power of encompassing the whole of humanity with a tie of love, so that the power of the Ego, the power of selfishness would grow ever more ... An event had therefore to occur which replaced the primordial love with another kind of love, calling into life a spiritual love, and this event is Christianity.
The appearance of Christianity prevented that which would otherwise have taken place: the disintegration of the whole of humanity into single human atoms. The human beings must indeed become more and more independent, for this lies in the development of their blood, but that which was driven apart naturally, must once more be led together spiritually, through a new power which is able to exercise its influence without the love connected with the blood: This new power is Christianity.
The Mystery of Golgotha thus acquires a fundamental significance for the whole evolution of humanity. If we understand this, we also understand the meaning of the words: the Blood of Christ. This is not something which can be experienced or investigated externally, but something which must be considered as a mystical fact. I have therefore entitled my book purposely “Christianity as Mystical Fact” and not “The Mysticism of Christianity”!
In order to understand the nature of Christ Jesus upon the Earth, in order to understand this fundamental significance of Christianity, we must study the preparatory stages which led to Christianity. For they already existed in ancient times. You may really see how an early Christian regarded this by taking a passage of St. Augustine's writings: “What we now call religion has always been the true religion, except that that which once constituted the true religion is now called the Christian religion.” St. Augustine still knew that Christianity has a foundation: that which once lived in the ancient Mysteries. These very Mysteries are now to be revealed through the theosophical movement. Let me characterize it in a few words.
There were schools which were at the same time churches and centers of art; at the head of these schools stood the leaders of humanity, those who had advanced most in human development. Into these schools were admitted people who were considered to be adapted for a training enabling them to gain an independent conception of the spiritual world which surrounded them. They were carefully prepared; first of all they had to learn the facts of the spiritual world theoretically, more or less in the same way in which we now learn these facts through spiritual science. Then they reached ever higher stages. Theory changed into practice, exoteric into esoteric truths. They received a living instruction in every subject. Strict rules governed the pupil's life, so that he might gradually ascend to the contemplation of the spiritual world. The pupil first learned to know the facts and laws of the spiritual world, and then he had to develop through exercises the organs which enabled him to look into the spiritual world.
Let me now describe to you the final act. You must bear in mind that man's sleep consists in the fact that his astral body goes out of his etheric and physical bodies, whereas death consists in the fact that the physical body remains alone, because the etheric and astral body have left it. Now the leader of the Mysteries, the hierophant, through methods which he applied, prepared the human being in such a way that his physical body lay for three and a half days as if dead, while the etheric body and the other members were outside. This was not sleep, nor death, but a third condition. Everything was prepared in such a way that during these three and a half days the human being could journey into the higher worlds: through the guidance of the hierophant who initiated him he now learned to know the things which have been described in my preceding lectures. He learned to know this in a direct way, through his own vision; after these three and a half days he was newly born. When he returned, he could remember everything which he had experienced in the spiritual worlds; now he was a living witness to the existence of these worlds. His words acquired a different sound from that which they had before; he had become “Blessed”, and the words could be applied to him: “Blessed are those who see”.
When he returned, he was given a new name; he laid aside his old name and as an initiate he continued to use his new name. A strange phenomenon arose when he descended from the spiritual worlds and again took possession of his physical body, when he again began to live in the physical worlds. In the case of every initiate — this was a law — words rose to his lips which can be translated with: “My God, my God, how Thou hast glorified me!”
This could be felt by a human being who had reached this stage. He could say of himself: “Everything which still existed in the form of primordial love, everything which is to be implanted in man through the blood, must be replaced within me by a love which knows no difference between mother, brother, sister, and other human beings”. Spiritually, he had abandoned his parents, wife, children, brother, and sister, and had become a follower of the Spirit. And people said of him that Christ had come to life within him.
All this had taken place in the concealment of the Mysteries. These men were the witnesses of the spiritual world, and they were also prophets, for they pointed towards a coming event. This event is none other than the Mystery of Golgotha. What took place with the individual human beings in the Mystery schools occurred upon the physical plane in Palestine once only, for the whole world.
If you were now able to study the instructions which were given to the old initiates, you would find that they closed with this experience lasting three and a half days; but never before had this experience been enacted upon the physical plane! A new epoch began with the Mystery of Golgotha. You may therefore say: All initiations were prophetic announcements of that which took place in the Mystery of Golgotha; this event could only take place because an individuality as encompassing as the Ruler of the Sun Spirits was incarnated in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. What took place upon Mount Golgotha could not have been fulfilled by any human Ego such as we have it. Such a deed called for an Ego which had already advanced to a high stage of development upon the Sun.
In this way we are able to grasp the divine humanity of Christ Jesus, which modern men so easily reject, because they cannot penetrate into the depths of the spiritual world. If we consider things in the true light, we may therefore perceive that upon Golgotha an event took place which has a significance greatly surpassing that of any other event.
Among modern men, Richard Wagner alone had an inkling of the significance of the blood. I have already explained to you that man's glandular processes are an expression of the etheric body, his nervous processes an expression of the astral body, and the blood an expression of the Ego. I have shown you that if Christ had not appeared, the development of the blood would have led to a greater form of egoism; the Ego would more and more have increased man's selfishness and egoism. The unnecessary blood, man's excess of blood, had to flow out, had to be sacrificed, so that humanity might not completely lose itself in selfishness. The true mystic sees in the blood which flowed out of the Savior's wounds the surplus blood which had to flow out in order that a soul-spiritual brother love might take hold of the whole of mankind.
This is how the spiritual scientist looks upon the blood which streamed down from the Cross — the blood which had to be taken away from humanity in order that man might rise above material things. The love which was linked by blood ties was therefore replaced by a love which will fully develop in the future; by a love going from one human being to the other. Only in this light is it possible to understand the words of Christ Jesus: — “He that forsaketh not father, mother, brother, sister, wife, and child cannot become my disciple.” These words can only be grasped if we bear in mind that the event upon Golgotha has overcome everything which had once to be strengthened through the kindred blood, through the love of relatives. He who replaced this love by the new, soul-spiritual love could say that the old form of love had to be relinquished. This is how things are connected.
The appearance of Christ Jesus Himself is a deep mystical fact, and can only be understood if we do not apply to it the standard of natural science. Those who apply natural-scientific standards to the appearance of Christ Jesus resemble people who see a tear and judge it according to the law of gravity, refusing to see in it an expression of the soul.
Such things can only be understood with the aid of spiritual science. The appearance of Christ Jesus upon the Earth differs from that of all other founders of religions. What the others gave was a teaching. In the case of Christ Jesus we can really say: Almost every word which He uttered had already been said in the past in one or the other connection. The essential thing in the case of Hermes or of Buddha is the words which they spoke: in Christ Jesus the essential thing is the fact that He existed, that He lived upon the Earth, and that the Mystery of Golgotha was enacted.
Those who wish to be Christians in a truly spiritual-scientific meaning become so through the fact that they believe in the Divinity of Christ-Jesus. The first disciples did not only proclaim: “We are sent out into the world in order to announce His words”, but they were to bear witness to His existence: “We have heard the words themselves and have placed our hands into His wounds!”
The essential thing is the fact that Christ-Jesus existed. In other religions you may eliminate the founders of these religions and you would not lose much. But if you were to eliminate Christ-Jesus, then Christianity would not be there! This is the difference. People like Darwin, Strauss, Drews, etc. may proclaim as much as they like that all other religions can be rediscovered in Christianity — this is not essential, for the essential point to be borne in mind is the fact that He existed and that He set forth as a fact what the Prophets had foretold. Christianity is therefore no theory, but a working power.
If you were to rise from the Earth to another planet you would not only see the Earth, but also the Earth's etheric and astral body; you would see the spiritual Earth besides the physical one; and if you could dwell on that planet for thousands of years, if you could have dwelt on it even before the appearance of Christ-Jesus, you would have seen how in the spiritual part of the Earth the color of the astral body underwent a change through the fact that Christ-Jesus was there. The Earth really underwent a change, and the men who lived after Christ-Jesus lived upon a transformed Earth. For this reason they can overcome the deepest descent of the spirit. Before that time it was necessary to be raised to the spiritual worlds if one wished to know something about it; but in Christianity the Mystery Itself has descended to the Earth. It was there, as a historical event, visible to physical eyes. The Godhead had to descend in order to lead humanity up once more, from the physical world into the spiritual.
This is the description of Christianity which you will find in the purest of Gospels, in the Gospel of St. John. It is not only a poetical work, but a book of life. Only one who has experienced it knows what the Gospel of St. John really is: and if its reality has been experienced, then everything which I have explained to you today can be proclaimed as a self-discovered truth.
Let me now show you briefly how we may attain knowledge of the truths of Christianity.
Among many books, the Gospel of St. John is the one which indicates the methods by which it is possible to fathom the depths of Christianity. Even when Christianity did not as yet exist in its present form, it was already taught in the Mystery-schools; for instance, in the school of Dionysius the Areopagite, a disciple of the Apostle Paul. In ancient times it was usual to designate throughout centuries the bearer of the Mysteries with the same name, so that this person who took over the Mysteries and wrote them down was given the same name as his predecessor.
Those who immerse themselves into the first words of the Gospel of St. John from the standpoint of esotericism experience that the words become within them a quickening force. But the Gospel of St. John must be applied as it was originally intended to be applied; and we must have the patience to take the first sentences of the Gospel of St. John again and again as a subject of meditation, and to let them pass every morning before our soul. They will in that case have the power to draw out of our soul deeply hidden forces. But we must of course have a correct translation of these words expressed in German word-characters, they must more or less express what the original text contained. In a translation which is as faithful as possible, let me now show you that the real life of the spirit is indicated in the words of the Gospel of St. John.
“Im Urbeginne war das Wort, und das Wort war bei Gott, and ein Gott war das Wort. Dieses war im Urbeginne bei Gott.
Alles ist durch dasselbe geworden, and ausser durch dieses ist nichts von dem Entstandenen geworden. In diesem war das Leben, and das Leben war das Licht der Menschen. Und das Licht schien in die Finsternis, aber die Finsternis hat es nicht begriffen.
Es ward ein Mensch gesandt von Gott, mit seinem Namen Johannes. Dieser kam zum Zeugnis, auf dass er Zeugnis ablege von dem Licht, auf dass durch ihn alle glauben sollten. Er war nicht das Licht, sondern ein Zeuge des Lichtes; denn das wahre Licht, das alle Menschen erleuchtet, sollte in die Welt kommen.
Es war in der Welt, und die Welt ist durch es geworden, aber die Welt hat es nicht elkannt.
Zu den einzelnen Menschen kam es, bis zu den Ich-Menschen kam es, aber die einzelnen Menschen — die Ich-Menschen — nahmen es nicht auf.
Die es aber aufnahmen, die konnten sich durch es als Gotteskinder offenbaren. — Die seinem Namen vertrauten, sind nicht aus Blut, nicht aus dem Willen des Fleisches, and nicht aus menschlichen Willen — sondern aus Gott geworden. Und das Wort is Fleisch geworden und hat unter uns gewohnen, and wir haben seine Lehre gehöret, — die Lehre von dem einigen Sohne des Vaters, erfüllt von Hingabe und Wahrheit!”
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was a God. This was from the very beginning with God.
All things came into being through Him, and except through Him was not anything made that was made.
In Him was the life, and the life became the light of men. And the light shone in the darkness, but the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not the Light, but a witness for the Light; for the true Light which lighteth every man had to come into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, but the world did not comprehend Him.
To each man He came, even to the Ego-men, but these individual men, these Ego-men, received Him not.
As many as received Him could manifest themselves through Him as children of God. Those who confided in His name are not born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have heard His teaching, the teaching of the only Son of the Father, filled with devotion and truth.”
I could now tell you many things of how you would have to immerse yourselves in each chapter of St. John's Gospel. Let me only give you one example — how you would have to use the chapters from the thirteenth chapter onward, if you were a true disciple of Christian Initiation. What I am telling you in words has occurred in fact. To render it more comprehensible I will clothe it in the form of a dialogue, giving you an idea of what took place between teacher and pupil.
The teacher said to his pupil: — You must develop within you a feeling, you must think the following: Transfer yourself into the plant. If it had consciousness such as you have, and if this consciousness enabled it to look down to the stones, it would say: Thou lifeless stone: thou art a lower being than I in rank among the beings of this world; I am higher than thou. But could I exist as a plant if thou were not there as stone? I draw my nourishment from thee. I could not exist without that which is lower than me.
And if the plant were endowed with feeling it would say: I am indeed higher than the stone, but I bow down humbly towards it, for the stone made it possible for me to live.
Similarly the animal would have to bow down to the plant and say: If thou, O plant, were not there, I could not exist, although I am higher than thee. To thee, a lower being, I owe my existence. Humbly I bow before thee.
Now rise up to the kingdom of man; survey the different human beings, the lowest and the highest — what would each one have to say who stands upon a higher rank of development than the others? Even as the plant bends down to the mineral and the animal to the plant; so each human being who stands upon a higher stage must bend down to those upon a lower stage and say; Thou standest upon a lower rank, yet to thee I owe the fact that I can be there!
Now imagine this carried out to the highest stages, reaching as far as Christ-Jesus, and you will have Christ's attitude towards the Apostles with whom He lived. He bent down towards them, even as the plant bends down to the mineral, and washed their feet — “I owe my life to you, and I bend down to you!”
For a long time the pupil had to pass through a scale of all these feelings. This feeling had to become more and more alive, and then he awoke to the first stage of Christian Initiation. This can be felt through an outer and inner symptom: The outer symptom consists therein that the pupil really feels for a time as if the watery element were washing around his feet, and the inner symptom consists in the fact that he himself experiences the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of St. John as an inner vision upon the astral plane.
The teacher then proceeded by telling the pupil: You must experience something else: you must now imagine that bodily and psychical pain and suffering rush towards you from every side; but you must arm yourself against everything so that you can say: However great the pain and suffering which come towards me, I remain upright, I do not allow myself to be overthrown! This is called the Scourging. Its outer symptom is that one experiences on the skin's surface pains which are an indication that the soul has reached this stage. And the inner symptom is that one sees oneself upon the astral plane undergoing scourging. But the essential thing is what the soul gains in the form of inner experience.
The third thing which the pupil heard from his teacher was the following: Now you must develop a feeling that you do not only withstand every form of pain coming towards you, but that you remain upright and steady, even when the holiest within you is cast down into the dust. You must remain so strong that although everyone may tell you "This is worth nothing" — although people may trample on you, you must know its worth, and you must be able to withstand a whole world. — If the pupil reached this stage, he was said to have reached the “Crowning with Thorns”. The outer symptom is to feel a certain pain in the head, and the inner symptom is to see oneself in the situation of the Redeemer with the crown of thorns.
The fourth thing was the following: The teacher told his pupil: You must gain a new connection with your body. You dwell in your body, but you must look upon it as something quite strange, even as the table outside is a strange object for you. You must even learn to say: I am carrying my body through the world. The body must become for you as alien as other external objects. — This was said to be the experience of the Crucifixion. Even as the Redeemer carried the Cross, so one carried one's body about as if it were a piece of wood. The outer symptom for the Crucifixion consists in the stigmata. During the meditation the pupil could produce on his hands, feet, and on the right side of his breast the signs of Christ's bleeding wounds; red spots on these places reminded him of the Crucifixion wounds. This “blood trial” is an outer symptom showing that one has learned to know the inner essence of Christianity. And the inner experience is to see oneself in astral vision hanging upon the Cross.
The fifth stage is what one calls the “Mystical Death”. This can only be described approximately, The mystical death consists for the pupil in the fact that the whole world appears to him as if it were enveloped in black darkness, as if a black wall stood before him. The whole physical world appears to him as if it were blotted out, as if it had disappeared. This can be experienced. It is a moment revealing everything bad and evil which can exist in the world — in reality, it can only be known through this experience. In order to know life one must also pass through this experience. It is called the “Descent into Hell”, and it is followed by a strange event appearing before one's eyes: that black wall is rent asunder. This is the “Rending of the Veil of the Temple”. After this one cam look into the spiritual world. This is designated as the “Mystical Death and the Rending of the Veil of the Temple”.
The sixth stage is the “Burial and the Resurrection”, where the pupil learns to experience that in addition to the other feelings, all external objects appear as if they belonged to his body, that the whole world belongs to him. Even as the finger might say: I an only a finger through the fact that I belong to the organism of the hand, so the human being only lives upon the Earth through the fact that he belongs to the Earth. People can walk about upon the Earth, and consequently they think that they are independent. But if we permeate ourselves with the feeling that everything belongs to us, we have the experience designated as the “Burial”. Soul-spiritually we rest in the Earth, and only after this experience we rise again, spiritually. Only then can we have an understanding of the deed of Christ-Jesus, who united death with his own soul. And even as He has once been the Ruler of the Sun, He has now become the Spirit of the Earth. We should take the words of St. John's Gospel literally: “Whoso eateth my bread, treadeth me underfoot.” If you look upon Christ-Jesus as the highest planetary Spirit of the Earth, and the Earth as His body, you will understand that you literally tread the body of Christ-Jesus with your feet. And you become united with Him when you experience this sixth stage, the Burial.
Then comes the seventh stage, the “Ascension”, which cannot be described, for it can only be understood by those who can think without using their brain.
Now I have described to you the process of the Christian Initiation. The pupil acquired thereby what was called the “Eye of Christ”. Everything around you would be dark if you had no eyes; even as you cannot see the Sun without eyes, so you cannot perceive Christ without the Christ-organ. The eye is born through the light for the light. Light is the source of vision. The Sun must exist outside as real Sun, and you experience this real Sun within your eye. It is the same with the spiritual eye. We use empty words when speaking only of the “Christ within”; it is the same thing as speaking of the eye without taking into account the existence of the Sun! The capacity to look upon the Christ may be acquired through the exercises indicated above; but the power enabling him to do this, again, comes from the historical Christ. Even as the Sun is related to the eye, so the Christ is related to the Christ-organ which develops in the human being.
This is not meant as a guidance, but as an explanation of facts. We must learn to know what exists in the world. These lectures aim at showing the deep sources of the truly Christian spirit, and how the Gospel of St. John itself contains the methods of a Christian Initiation, giving in man the eye which enables him to see Christ Himself. But those who wish to announce Him must in a certain way have lived with Him, not only through faith but in reality.