Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Man's Life on Earth and in the Spiritual Worlds
Rudolf Steiner, London, April 24, 1922:
My Dear Friends,
It is of the first importance that there should be in this present time a certain number of people who know where man stands in his spiritual evolution, and know also what must be his next step if civilization is not to go completely under. For what is happening today? In speaking to you, my dear friends, I can use anthroposophical terminology and say at once that the Ahrimanic forces, which are at work wherever man thinks or acts on a materialistic basis, are in our day trying to chain man to the Earth by gaining possession of his intellect. They are at this moment very powerful, these Ahrimanic forces, and they are searching out all kinds of ways to get access to the souls of men, with the object of enticing them to the adoption of a purely materialistic outlook, a purely intellectual understanding of the world. It is on this account important that there should be, as I said, a certain number of persons who know how the evolution of man has to proceed in order for him to reach his goal.
Let us look back a little into the past. We could go back very much farther, but for the moment we need go no more than three or four thousand years before the Mystery of Golgotha. And then let us follow, from one point of view, the course of man's evolution since that epoch.
In the age of which I want first to speak, a civilization flourished in the East that in my book Occult Science I have called the Ancient Persian civilization. The teacher of mankind during the height of this civilization was Zarathustra, Zoroaster. Not the Zarathustra of whom history tells; he lived later. The Zarathustra I mean is a much more ancient teacher of mankind. In those olden times it was, you know, quite a common custom for the pupils of a great and lofty teacher to continue for a long time to bear his name; and the Zarathustra we read of in history is in reality the last of a succession of pupils of the great Zarathustra. Now, this great teacher of mankind was initiated in a most wonderful and remarkable manner into the secrets of existence, and he could stand before the men of his time and teach them as an eminent and sublime initiate. Zarathustra knew — and it was his initiation that enabled him to have the knowledge — that in that place in the heavens whither our eyes are turned when we look at the Sun, lives a great and all-embracing Spirit. He did not at first see the physical Sun at all; in the place in the heavens where we today with our ordinary consciousness see the physical Sun, Zarathustra beheld a great and omnipresent cosmic Spirit. And this cosmic Spirit influenced him in a spiritual way, whereby he was able to know that with the sunshine, with the rays that fall from the Sun upon the Earth, come also spiritual rays, rays of divine-spiritual grace and bounty, which enkindle in the soul and spirit of man that ‘higher man’ to which the ordinary man in us must continually aspire.
In those olden times initiates were not given names on any external grounds, their names came to them on account of what they knew. And so this sublime initiate of whom we speak was called by his pupils — and he also called himself — Zarathustra, Zoroaster, the Radiant Star; he was named from the radiant Godhead Who sends to Earth the rays of wisdom. The initiation of. Zarathustra was, in relation to all initiations that came after him, more lofty and more sublime. When he looked upon the spiritual cosmic Sun, he was looking into the source of all the forces that make the stones on the Earth to be hard and solid, that make the plants to come forth from their seeds and grow, that make the animals; to spread abroad over the face of the Earth in their different kinds, and that make man to flourish and thrive upon the Earth. The oldest of the Zarathustras, the Radiant Star, had knowledge of everything that took place on the Earth; and he had this knowledge because he was able to experience the Spiritual Being of the Sun.
Then came a time when man was no longer able to penetrate so deeply into the Mysteries of the worlds — the time that I have named, in my Occult Science, after the civilizations of Chaldea and Egypt. Man still looked up to the Sun, but he no longer saw it as radiant, as sending forth rays; he saw it only as shining, as illuminating the Earth with its light. Men spoke in those times of Ra, whose representative on Earth was Osiris; Ra signified for them the Sun that moved around the Earth, giving light. Some of the secrets had been lost; the initiate was no longer able to see with full inner clarity the radiant cosmic God, as had the initiates of an older time. He could only see how the primal astral forces come from the Sun. Zarathustra saw in the Sun a Being; he was still able to see in the Sun a Being. The initiates of Egypt and o£ Chaldea saw in the Sun the forces that come to the Earth — forces of light, forces of movement. What they saw was deeds — something inferior of Being; spiritual deeds, it is true, but not a spiritual Being. And the Egyptian initiates spoke of One who represents on Earth the forces of the Sun that man carries within him; and they called him Osiris.
When we come to the age of Greece we find that by the eighth, seventh, fifth century before the Mystery of Golgotha man had lost all power of looking into the Mysteries of the Sun; he could see only the effect of the Sun's influence in the environment of the Earth. Man beheld the working of the Sun in the ether that fills all the space around the Earth. And this ether, that spreads out around the Earth and permeates also man himself, the Greek initiates — not the people generally, but the initiates — called Zeus.
There have been then these three stages in the cultural evolution of mankind. First there was the stage when the initiates beheld in the Sun a Divine-Spiritual Being; then came a second stage, when the initiates beheld the Sun's forces that are working there; and finally a third stage, when the initiates beheld only the influence of the Sun Being in the Earth's ether.
Now, there was in a later time a man who came as near to the teachings of initiation as it was possible to come in the time in which he lived, and who was acquainted with the teaching of these three aspects of the Sun — the aspect of the Sun according to Zarathustra, the aspect of the Sun that is associated with Osiris, and the aspect of the Sun as seen and understood by Pythagoras and Anaxagoras. I refer to Julian the Apostate. Julian the Apostate was not able himself to behold the Sun in all three aspects, but he knew of the teaching; he knew it as a tradition that had come down in the Mystery Schools. And so impressed was Julian the Apostate by this teaching of the three aspects of the Sun that to him that which Christianity brought seemed small in comparison. For he still knew of the inexpressible glory and splendor into which Zarathustra had gazed; he had learned to know also of the activities of fire and of light, of the cosmic chemical forces, and of the cosmic life-forces, as man had been able to behold them in the ancient Mysteries. Of all this he, Julian, could in his time still learn — although only by tradition. And the whole teaching seemed to him so sublime, so mighty, that he found himself unable to accept Christianity. The thoughts and purposes of his mind were, in fact, turned in quite another direction, He was seized with the desire to impart to mankind the ancient Mysteries into which he had himself been initiated up to a certain degree. And this, my dear friends, was what led at last to the unsheathing of the dagger that brought his life to a violent end. The hand that lifted the dagger belonged to one of those who counted it a sin to communicate the lofty teachings of initiation to the general run of mankind, and who wanted that people should hear the Sun spoken of in an external manner only — that is, of course, in such external terms as were customary in that age.
Julian the Apostate declared that the Sun has three aspects: first, the aspect of the Earthly ether; secondly, the aspect of the light of heaven that is behind the Earthly ether — which is the aspect also of the chemical, the warmth of fire, and the life forces; and lastly, the aspect of pure spiritual Being. For this he was put out of the way. And indeed it must be admitted that the moment had not yet come when mankind in general was ripe to receive such weighty and solemn truths.
A study of history can, however, bring to light something else in this connection, that is of very great significance, A good deal of this threefold teaching of Zarathustra, Osiris, and Anaxagoras — the teaching of the spiritual Sun; of the elemental Sun; and of Zeus, the Sun-flooded ether environment of the Earth — found its way into the external exoteric culture of Greece, And the world would never have had such a sublime Greek art, nor such a wonderful Greek philosophy, would never have had a Plato and an Aristotle, were it not that into the art and philosophy of Greece, streams from this ancient wisdom were able to flow.
A time came, however, when the initiation truths that were handed down from past epochs were no longer sufficiently protected from profanation. Many teachings that had their source in initiation wisdom passed into the hands of distinguished Romans, more especially the Romans, more especially the Roman emperors. Among them all, perhaps of Augustus alone can it be said that he still knew how to value the initiation wisdom that was imparted to him. In the Roman world there was, generally speaking, no understanding for the esoteric factor in Greek art and Greek wisdom, no recognition that these contained elements which could be traced back to the very most ancient wisdom teaching, Consequently, the hopelessly prosaic, the semi-barbarous civilization of Rome took over what we may call the surface brightness, the sheen, of Greek culture, but was quite incapable of handing on, in its true form, to later generations what lived at the heart of this culture, And so when Roman influences began to permeate the Christianity that had, ever since the Mystery of Golgotha, been making its way into the world, there was no possibility for Christianity to receive, along with all that came from Rome, the true essence of the ancient culture.
When I describe historical events in the way I have just been doing, you must not take it as an expression of blame or of criticism. It was necessary for the evolution of mankind that things should happen as they did. It is, however, also necessary that we should not be blind to the fact that because Rome did not know how to value and guard initiation, the genuine initiation truths of earlier times have been prevented from finding their way over to the West. We must realize that we, as human beings possessing the ordinary consciousness of modern times, have been debarred from the sacred truths of olden times because Rome was unable to understand these truths. As we know, it was a man who hailed from Rome that drove out of Europe the last remaining Greek philosophers and obliged them to seek refuge in the East.
I have to call these things to mind; the consideration of the subject we have in hand made it necessary to begin by referring to them — taking our thoughts back, even if only for a brief while, to the far-off time when the spiritual teachers of man could still turn their gaze to the starry heavens and behold up there the threefold Sun. The only remnant of this knowledge that has been left for later generations is the symbol of it in the triple crown worn by the Popes of Rome. The outer symbol remains; the inner reality is lost. But through the new initiation of modern times a way has opened once again for man to look back into those earlier epochs of his evolution. This new initiation of which our anthroposophical teaching has to tell enables us to look back and behold how it was for man when he looked up from Earth to the Sun and listened to hear what the Sun should teach him of the mysteries of human evolution.
My dear friends, when the pupils of the old initiates looked out into the wide universe and spoke of what they saw living out there beyond the Earth in the workings of the Sun, yes, in the Sun itself — when they spoke of the sublime Spirit-Being of the Sun as proclaimed by Zarathustra, they were speaking of the very same Being Whom, in these later times, we designate as Christ. So that we are adhering strictly to truth when we say that the initiates of olden times beheld the Christ outside the Earth in the Cosmos, in the Cosmos that has its center and representative in the Sun. The real essence of the Mystery of Golgotha does not lie in the fact that it teaches of the Christ. The initiates of olden times also knew and taught of Him. Only, they spoke of Him not as living on the Earth, in the forces of the Earth, but as living within the forces of the Sun. It is a mistake to think that the old initiates did not speak of the Christ Being. Christ was spoken of continually before the Mystery of Golgotha — as a Being who is outside and beyond the Earth. Men have lost sight of this truth and are apt to regard the statement of it as unchristian. But why should such a statement be regarded as unchristian, seeing that the Early Church Fathers undoubtedly held this view? They said: “The wise men of olden times who are often described as heathen are, in a deeper sense, Christian.” The Early Church Fathers did not hesitate to speak of the heathen as Christians before the Mystery of Golgotha.
What took place at the Mystery of Golgotha was really nothing less than that the Being Who, previously, was not to be found on Earth, Whom one could find only outside the Earth when one had been initiated into the Mysteries of the heavens — this Being incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth, lived on Earth in Jesus of Nazareth, was crucified and laid in the Earth, and appeared to his initiated pupils as Resurrected — as One who has risen in the spiritual body. The great and sublime Sun Being descended from cosmic heights, descended to Earth — that is the event that came to pass in the Mystery of Golgotha. And when He had descended from spiritual worlds and passed through death, and His body had been laid in the Earth, then this same Christ — after His death, after His resurrection — had initiate pupils. And it is important that many should know today what Christ taught at that time to His initiate pupils; it is important that many should know of this teaching of the risen Christ, in order that they may be able to participate in the forces that are now at work for the further evolution of mankind.
Let us look back once more to the initiate of olden times. How did he receive his teaching? All initiates of olden times were instructed by Beings who were outside and beyond the Earth, And the instruction was carried out in the following manner. The pupils of the Mysteries were trained and prepared to be able to see when outside their body, and then through this kind of seeing they came to know Beings. We have spoken of how Zarathustra came to a knowledge of Christ as a sublime Sun Being. The initiates of old came to know also other Beings of the Hierarchies. And the language, the spiritual language that was used by a Being who descended in this way to teach the initiates, was a language by means of which it was in those times still possible to impart teachings to men.
There were thus in olden times divine teachers. And the Christ — He was also such a divine teacher. For those to whom He gave instruction after His resurrection He was the divine teacher. And what He was able to teach them was new; it was more than what the earlier divine teachers taught.
The divine teachers of earlier ages spoke to men of the secrets of birth, but they did not speak of the secrets of death; for in the divine world whence the earlier divine teachers descended to teach the initiates of olden times there were no beings who had undergone death; death was something that could only be undergone on Earth by man. The Gods looked down and saw man who dies; their knowledge of death was an external knowledge merely. But Christ learned to know death on the Earth. For He did not merely become incorporated, shining forth in some human being at certain times, as was the case with the divine being teachers of long ago. Christ learned to know death inasmuch as He, a God, lived on Earth as a human soul in a physical human body. Thus, He learned to know death in actual reality. He went through death. And He learned also something more.
My dear friends, if the Christ had undergone only what took place from the time of the Baptism in the Jordan until the time of the Crucifixion and the Death on the Cross, then, having undergone all this, He would still not have been able to speak of the Mysteries of which He did speak to His initiate disciples after His resurrection. I must explain to you that, to the divine teachers who were able to descend to Earth, and to the initiated teachers in olden times, all Mysteries were open in the whole wide world save only the Mysteries of the interior of the Earth. The initiates knew that down there within the Earth spiritual Beings hold command, of quite another kind than the Gods Who before the Mystery of Golgotha used ever and again to descend to human beings. The Greeks, for instance, were not unaware of the Spiritual Beings in the interior of the Earth; they called them in their mythology the Titans. But Christ was the first of the Upper Gods to learn to know the interior of the Earth. That is an important fact. The Christ, because He was buried in the Earth, brought knowledge to the Upper Gods of a region of which before They had no knowledge. And this secret, that the Gods too undergo evolution — this secret Christ communicated to His initiate pupils after His Resurrection. This secret Paul also learned through the natural initiation that he experienced outside Damascus. What stunned and shook Paul to the depths of his being was the knowledge that the Power that had formerly been sought in the Sun had now become united with the powers of Earth.
For what was the reason why Paul, when he was still Saul, persecuted the followers of Christ? The reason was, he had learned in the old Chaldean initiation that the Christ lives outside the Earth in the Cosmos, and that those who declare that Christ lives in the Earth are in error. But when Paul received enlightenment on his way to Damascus, at that moment he knew that it was he himself who had been mistaken, in that he was ready to believe only what had hitherto been true. For now he saw that what had been true, had become changed; the Being Who dwelt formerly only in the Sun had now descended to Earth and continued to live in the forces of the Earth.
Thus was the Mystery of Golgotha, for the understanding of those who first made it known to men, not an event for Earth alone, but a cosmic event, an event for all the worlds. This was how it was understood in early Christian times. And the true initiates described the event in the following way.
They were deeply initiated, the earliest Christian initiates; and they knew that the Christ, Whom we think of today as the Being Who passed through the Mystery of Golgotha at the beginning of our era — they knew that the Christ, Who came hither from the Sun, had also descended to the Sun from yet more distant heights. It was in the Sun that Zarathustra beheld Him. Then His power went over into the rays of the Sun. The initiates of Egypt beheld Him in the rays of the Sun. And then His power lived in the environment of the Earth. It was there that the initiates of Greece beheld Him. And now in this present time — so said the earliest Christian initiates — it is given to man to behold Christ as One Who walked on Earth in an earthly body, and Who is seen by us in His true form when we behold Him as the Risen One — the Christ Who is in the Earth, and has seen the Mystery of the Earth and can now bring it about that this Mystery shall gradually flow into the evolution of mankind.
There was a wonderful warmth and glow about the whole way in which this esoteric teaching was communicated, in scattered and lonely schools of initiation, during the first centuries after Christ — coming over from the East and spreading continually westward by secret channels. Yes, make no doubt of it, there was verily such an esoteric teaching of Christianity. The Early Church Fathers knew more than is known today. But they saw also at the same time the attack that was threatening from the side of Rome. Modern historians have very little idea of the magnitude of that collision between the early Christian impulse and the anti-spiritual world of Rome. What the Roman world did was to throw a cloak of externality over the deepest Christian Mysteries.
The men of old had a living relationship to the powers of the Universe, such as is scarcely possible for us to imagine today with our ordinary consciousness. Men who lived three, four, five thousand years before Christ knew quite well that when they ate this or that substance, it went on working in their body and brought the powers of the Cosmos to manifestation within them. Look, for example, at the kind of instruction Zarathustra gave to his pupils. He used to teach them in the following manner. “You eat the fruits of the field. These fruits have been shone upon by the Sun, and in the Sun lives the high and lofty Spirit Being, The power of the high Spirit Being, coming from the distant Cosmos, enters with the Rays of the Sun into the fruits of the field. You eat the fruits of the field; what the substance brings forth in you fills you with the spiritual forces of the Sun; when you enjoy the fruits of the field, the Sun ‘rises’ in you. I will tell you what you should do at solemn festival times. Take something that has been prepared from the fruits of the field. Meditate upon it. Remember that the Sun is within it. Meditate upon it until the piece of bread becomes radiant to you. Then eat it, and be conscious of how the Spirit of the Sun has come from the vast Universe, has entered into you and become alive within you.”
What is left of all this? Merely the outer expression of it — the eating of the bread in the Mass and in the Communion Service. And those who continue to celebrate this rite in the spirit and understanding which Rome has introduced into Christianity are the very ones who oppose most fiercely any suggestion that man needs cosmic wisdom in order to understand the teachings of Paul; for Paul beheld the Radiance, raying inwards from the clouds, of that force which is the Power of the Sun, the super-corporeal Being, the Christ, Who in the Mystery of Golgotha descended to Earth — the Cosmic Godhead united with the forces of the Sun. In the first three or four centuries of Christian evolution a good deal was still known of this Mystery. Afterwards the external knowledge of the world gained such a hold upon man that it is hardly possible for us today, when we read the accounts that have come down to us of the first Christian centuries, to recognize from these how deeply spiritual was the early Christian conception of the Event of Golgotha. But now the time has come when it is of the highest importance for man to look back and call up once again in memory the spiritual understanding of Christianity that he had in the first centuries after Christ. Since that time man has gone through a development that has enabled him to attain a wonderful earthly wisdom. Through this he has become a free being. In olden times even the initiates were not free. When they wanted to work out of really deep impulses, they suffered themselves to be guided by the Gods, By the attainment of earthly wisdom, and by that alone, is man able to become free. In the near future this will, however, have the result that the anti-divine, the anti-Christian forces, will be able to seize hold of the souls of men. These anti-Christian forces — I call them the Ahrimanic forces.
We have in our day a highly developed science, but it is not yet Christianized. We talk a great deal about our civilization and culture, but no one sees any occasion to Christianize the natural science upon which they are founded. It must, however, be Christianized; otherwise we shall be deprived of all that we stand in need of from the Cosmos. We shall lose it utterly. Long ago, when men were more sensitive, they were able to receive understanding along with the nourishment that they enjoyed. But as time went on, they became more and more estranged from the cosmic life. In the later part of the Egypto-Chaldean epoch of culture, the initiates were still able to speak of the forces of the Gods — the forces that enter into plant and stone. And so there could arise in this time a science of healing and medicine. And as a matter of fact, our most effective remedies today come from that ancient epoch, little as people suspect it. Yes, in the realm of healing too, we shall have to turn again to the true sources of knowledge, and develop an art of medicine that is based on insight into the deeper forces of the things that are around us. It rests with modern initiation science to find the way. The anthroposophical movement is really there for nothing else than to impart to man that which is attainable for him today. For since 1899, the Dark Age — as the prophets of old called it — is past and over. All around us is the spiritual world, the living spiritual world that can reveal itself to us; we can perceive it and take cognizance of it. And it is for us to listen and hear what the spiritual world is revealing to us. That is the aim and purpose we have in view in this anthroposophical movement of ours; we want to make men attentive to the revelations of the spiritual world. Verily, that is a task and mission that is no affair of mankind alone: it concerns the cosmic worlds.
My dear friends, when we begin to communicate single, concrete facts from initiation knowledge, we must not be surprized if one or another truth is met with ridicule and even scorn. Remember what I said at the beginning of my lecture — that there is need today for persons who have clear and detailed knowledge concerning the evolution of mankind, there is need in the world today for persons who have acquired such knowledge from initiation science. And you will, I think, have seen from the descriptions that have been given, how important it is that we should not rest content with the recognition of broad and general truths, but should bring these truths right into the everyday world of humanity, and let them come to life there. This we shall indeed be able to do, for the truths of initiation science have in them the vigor of life and can speak with strength and precision of the life of man on Earth. Let me give you an example.
During the time of one of the later Crusades there was living in a monastery in Italy a young monk, who was remarkably gifted and who devoted himself to a special study of the knowledge that came — not in writings, but handed on by word of mouth — from early Christian times. For such knowledge continued to live on for a long time as tradition, notably in some of the monasteries. An older monk would, for instance, impart it to a younger when they were alone together; and the young monk of whom I am speaking learned a great deal of early Christian knowledge in this very way. He then left Italy and joined the Crusade. He fell ill in Asia Minor, and while he was being tended, met a still older monk who had been initiated into the Mysteries of Christianity. As a result of this meeting, an intense longing was awakened in the young man to come to a real knowledge and understanding of the deeper Christian Mysteries, Then he died, out there in the East. And he was born again in our age, born again as a person in whom the forces that came from his earlier incarnation worked strongly and showed themselves in the following remarkable way. As I said just now, when one begins to speak on the ground of initiation knowledge about practical matters of life, it is really no more than can be expected if people turn it to ridicule. Nevertheless, it is absolutely necessary that this should be done in our day; and the time will come when we shall have the perception to see that things which are discerned spiritually can be spoken of as historical fact with the same directness and assurance with which we speak of the facts of external science. The personality of whom I speak is none other than Cardinal Newman. Follow the course of his life from youth upwards; look at the knowledge he possessed, read his own words. You cannot, I think, fail to see that in Cardinal Newman we have a strong personality imbued with a Christianity that is different from the Christianity of his environment. You will understand why he wanted to get away from the intellectual type of Christianity that he found around him, and dreamed of another kind of consciousness such as had been possessed by the first disciples of the Risen Christ, Follow his life further, note the significant words that he uttered at the time of his investiture, when he declared that there can be no salvation for religion, unless man receives a new revelation. Ponder it all, and it will grow clear to you that this earnest seeking is born of a deep and powerful longing that had come over from former lives on Earth. The man sensed the presence and impulse of those spiritual forces of which I spoke in the second part of my lecture. He felt — if but dimly — that it might be possible in our day, by undergoing special development, to attain a new initiation knowledge, to receive a new revelation, And yet he himself ultimately accepted for his understanding of Christianity — a tradition! I need not tell you whither his search led him; you can read the story for yourselves. He strives to reach through the “gloom” to a “light” that is beyond, but remains all the time within the cloud. A deeper knowledge of his being reveals to us that Newman was not really to blame for this, rather was he in this respect a sacrifice, a victim of his age, a victim of the Ahrimanic forces — as I named them just now. These Ahrimanic forces had an extraordinarily strong influence on Cardinal Newman; they fell upon him and took captive his power of thought, which was consequently unable to develop freely and find its way into spirituality.
For he who would today unfold his life in freedom must first of all be free in his thinking, must liberate his power of thought from the bondage of the brain.
Ahriman achieves his greatest successes by shortening the second half of man’s life after death. You know how a certain time elapses between death and a new birth. I have described in my Mystery Plays how this time consists of two halves, the second half taking its course after what I have called the Cosmic Midnight. It is this later half — the period from the Cosmic Midnight to the moment of new birth — that Ahriman tries to shorten. And by so doing he gets hold of the human brain and its thinking. With impetuous and savage energy, he fastens on the brain, and tries to hold men spellbound to the Earth, That is how the Ahrimanic forces are working today — and in ever increasing measure; they try to bring man’s power of thought evermore deeply into the earthly realm, away from the spiritual world. Human beings are thus incarnated one or two centuries too early. This method of attack on the part of the Ahrimanic forces must be overcome with spiritual energy and determination. At the time when Cardinal Newman was still holding the rudder of his life, he was even then incapable, for all his spiritual energy, of freeing his thought sufficiently — or he would not have spoken as he did of the need for a new revelation, he would instead have found the way to it himself. We cannot omit from our considerations a person like Cardinal Newman when we are calling attention to the spirituality that can bring man in our age to a new life. For this spirituality will help men, as I have already indicated, to understand the Mystery of Golgotha. It will enable them to summon their fullest human powers to its comprehension; and the Mystery of Golgotha shall then live within them, within their very inmost being. Speaking here in England, I have purposely cited Cardinal Newman as an example. The study of tragic figures such as his can bring home to us very forcibly the need of our time; and you will find many similar instances here in England. That is why it is so urgent that there should be understanding in this country of the need for that spiritual knowledge and spiritual life from which Cardinal Newman was snatched away by the Ahrimanic forces. Spiritual knowledge and spiritual life must again be made accessible to mankind, if civilization is to be saved from ruin.
Insight into such connections as we have been considering can stimulate in us the resolve to do all in our power for the furtherance of the spiritual life of mankind. There is really no other possible course for us today. Let us, however, not be blind to the fact that the Ahrimanic powers are very strong. The truth to which we would bear witness has fierce and stubborn enemies, who are inspired by these Ahrimanic powers. Stronger, and ever stronger, grow these powers! I want to say this to you today, that you may not be taken aback when you find that as soon as the anthroposophical movement begins to stand forth in the world, it will have to fight continually and increasingly with terrific enemy forces. May my words rouse you on the one hand to have insight into the will and intention that lies behind all our anthroposophical efforts, and on the other hand to be on your guard against attacks — which will often be grossly slanderous — from enemies who want to stifle this movement in the moment of its birth. Strong as these enemies may be, not a whit less strong must we be — each one of us in the positive power of his own energy and initiative. The anthroposophical world-conception must be put before the world clearly and truthfully, even if in the way it is put forward it should often meet with misunderstanding, and with an inclination to distrust the aims and purposes of our movement.
It is therefore my earnest desire that there may be many among you who will be stirred and quickened to work unremittingly for the time when this spirituality, in spite of all that is being done to misrepresent and obscure it, shall prevail in the world. That you feel an urge to do so will mean that you are awake to the fact of how urgently necessary this spirituality is for the further evolution of mankind.
If, my dear friends, we have come a little nearer to one another in a common understanding of the inmost nature of the Being Anthroposophia, and of its importance for our age, then will this meeting, for which we have had to wait for some years, have borne fruit, borne indeed what I for my part shall be ready to recognize as good and beautiful fruit. Carrying this hope in our hearts, let us then resolve to remain together in soul, even when in terms of space we are far apart.