Sunday, March 16, 2014
"Die and Become" — The Mystery of Rosicrucianism
Rudolf Steiner, September 28, 1911:
What the medieval Rosicrucian experienced when he beheld the processes of nature is a holy natural science. The mood of spiritual sacrifice, the tremendous joys, the great natural events, including pain and sadness, as well as the events that uplifted him and made him happy, all these experiences that he had during the experiment he performed, worked on him in a liberating and redeeming way. All that was planted into him then, however, is now hidden in the innermost depths of man.
How shall we rediscover these hidden forces that used to lead to clairvoyance? We shall find them by studying Spiritual Science and by devoting ourselves deeply to the inner life of the soul in serious meditation and concentration. By means of inner development of this kind, work with nature will gradually become a sacrificial rite again. For this to come about, human beings must go through what we now call Spiritual Science. Human beings in their thousands must devote themselves to Spiritual Science; they must cultivate an inner life, so that in the future the spiritual reality behind nature will be perceptible again, and we learn to understand again the spirit behind maya.
Then, in the future, although it will only happen to a small number of people to begin with, they will be able to experience Paul's vision on the road to Damascus and to perceive the etheric Christ, Who will come among men in supersensible form. But before this happens man will have to return to a spiritual view of nature.
If we did not know the whole significance of Rosicrucianism we could believe that humanity was still at the same stage as it was two thousand years ago. Until man has gone through this process, which is only possible by means of Spiritual Science, he will not come to spiritual vision. There are many good and pious people who are theosophists at heart, although they are not followers of Spiritual Science.
Through the event of the baptism in the Jordan, when the Christ descended into the body of Jesus of Nazareth, and through the Mystery of Golgotha, mankind has become capable of beholding and recognizing the Christ later in the etheric body — from 1930 onward. Christ has only walked the Earth once in a physical body, and we should be able to understand this. ‘The second coming of Christ’ means seeing Christ supersensibly in the etheric. Therefore everyone who wants to tread the right path of development must work to acquire the capacity to see with spiritual eyes. It would not signify human progress for Christ to appear again in a physical body. His next appearance will be a revelation in the etheric body.
What was given in the different religious creeds has been gathered into one whole by Christian Rosenkreutz and the council of the twelve. This means that everything that the separate religions had to give and all that their followers strove for and longed for will be found in the Christ Impulse. Development during the next three thousand years will consist in this: the establishing and furthering of an understanding of the Christ Impulse. From the twentieth century onwards all the religions will be reconciled in the mystery of Rosicrucianism. And in the course of the next three thousand years this will become possible because it will no longer be necessary to teach from documents, for through the beholding of Christ human beings will themselves learn to understand the experience Paul had on the way to Damascus. Mankind itself will pass through the experience of Paul.
The Maitreya Buddha will appear five thousand years after Buddha was enlightened under the bodhi tree — that is, about three thousand years from now. He will be the successor of Gautama Buddha. Among true occultists this is no longer in doubt. Occultists of both the West and the East are in agreement about it. So two things are beyond question: Firstly, that the Christ could appear only once in a physical body; secondly that He will appear in the twentieth century in etheric form. Great individualities will certainly appear in the twentieth century, like the Bodhisattva, the successor of Gautama Buddha, who will become the Maitreya Buddha in about three thousand years. But no true occultist will give to any human being physically incarnated in the twentieth century the name of Christ, and no real occultist will expect the Christ in the physical body in the twentieth century. Every genuine occultist would find such a statement erroneous. The Bodhisattva, however, will especially point to the Christ.
Secondly, it will be three thousand years before the Bodhisattva who appeared in Jeshu ben Pandira appears as the Maitreya Buddha. The real occultists of India, in particular, would be horrified if we were to maintain that the Maitreya Buddha could appear before then. There could well be the kind of occultists in India, of course, who are not real occultists and who, for reasons of their own, speak of a Maitreya Buddha already in incarnation. Proper devotion to Rosicrucian theosophy and to Christian Rosenkreutz can protect anyone from falling into these errors.
All these things are stated in Rosicrucianism in such a way that they can be tested by reason. Healthy human understanding can test all these things. Do not believe anything on my authority, but just take what I say as an indication and then test it for yourselves. I am not perturbed, for the more you examine theosophy or Spiritual Science the more sensible you will find it. The less you take on authority, the more understanding you will have for Christian Rosenkreutz. We know Christian Rosenkreutz best when we enter properly into his individuality and become conscious that the spirit of Christian Rosenkreutz lives on and on. And the nearer we approach his great spirit the stronger we shall become. We can hope for a great deal of strength and help from the etheric body of this great leader, who will always be there, if we ask him to help us.
We will also be able to understand the strange event of Christian Rosenkreutz falling ill if we absorb ourselves properly in the work of Spiritual Science. In the thirteenth century this individuality lived in a physical body that grew weak to the point of transparency, so that for several days he lay as though dead, and during this time he received from the twelve their wisdom and he also experienced the event of Damascus.
May the spirit of true Rosicrucianism be with you and inspire you in this group: then the mighty etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz will be all the more active here.