Thursday, December 3, 2015

The two great streams of civilization: the inner path of Buddha and the outer path of Zarathustra; the Guardians of the Threshold

Background to the Gospel of Mark. Lecture 5.
Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, December 19, 1910:

In the last lecture I began by giving some idea of the nature and character of the Gospel according to Mark. I showed that when this Gospel is studied, something more can be gathered from it than from the other Gospels concerning the great laws both of human and cosmic development. One has to acknowledge that in what is indicated concerning the profundities of the Christian Mystery, an opportunity is here given us to enter perhaps most deeply into these mighty secrets.
I originally thought that it might be possible, in the course of this winter, to give intimate and important instructions concerning matters we have not heard as yet within our spiritual-scientific movement; or perhaps I should say concerning things that lie on the border of spiritual matters not as yet dealt with by us. But it has been necessary to abandon this scheme, for the simple reason that our Berlin Group has grown so enormously during recent weeks that it would not have been possible at present to bring to the understanding of its members all that I had intended to say.
It is necessary in the case of mathematics, for instance, or any other science, that preparation should he made for any special stage, and this is necessary to a still higher degree when we advance to the consideration of certain high spiritual matters. Therefore we shall leave to a later date the consideration of those parts of the Gospel of Mark which cannot be explained to so large a circle.
It is most necessary when a document like this Gospel is under consideration that we should clearly understand through what important factors the evolution of mankind has passed. I have always impressed on you — as a quite abstract and general truth — that in every age there have always been certain guides or leaders of men who, because they stood in a certain relationship to the Mysteries, to the spiritual supersensible world, were in a position to implant impulses in human evolution which contributed to its further progress. Now, there are two principal and essential methods by which men can come into relationship with supersensible worlds. The one is that to which I have referred when indicating certain features of the teaching of that great leader Zarathustra; and the other is one that comes before our souls when we study the special methods of the great Buddha. These two great teachers, Buddha and Zarathustra, differ very much as regards their whole method and manner of working.
We must realize that the entrance into that state which Buddha and Buddhism describe as being “under the Bodhi tree” is a symbolic expression for a certain mystic enhancement of consciousness, and opens a path by which the human ego can enter into its own being, its own deeper nature. This path, blazed by Buddha in such an outstanding way, is a descent of the ego into the abyss of its own human nature.
You will gain a more exact idea of what is meant by this if you recall that we have followed man through four stages of development, three of which are already concluded, and the fourth is that we are in at present. We have traced human development through the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions; now it is passing through the Earth evolution.
We know these three stages correspond with the upbuilding of the physical, the etheric, and the astral natures of man; that now during earthly evolution we are at the stage corresponding to the development of the human ego, in so far as this can be developed as a member of man's being. We have described the human being from various points of view as an ego enclosed within three sheaths: an astral sheath corresponding to the Moon evolution, an etheric sheath corresponding to the Sun evolution, and a physical sheath corresponding to the Saturn evolution.
As normally developed today, man has no consciousness of his astral, etheric, and physical bodies; he really knows nothing of them. You will naturally say: But man is aware today of his physical body. This, however, is not the case. What ordinarily confronts him as the human physical body today is only illusion, maya. What he regards as the physical body is in reality the interblending  activity of the four members of his being: physical body, etheric body, astral body, and ego; and the result of this interplay, of these interblended activities, is what our eyes see and our hands grasp as man. If we really wish to see the physical body we must separate off three parts and retain one, as when analyzing a chemical compound formed of four substances; we must separate the ego, astral body, and etheric body, then the physical body remains. But this is not possible under present conditions of earthly existence. You might perhaps say this happens whenever a man dies. But this is not correct, for what a man leaves behind at death is not the human physical body but a corpse. The physical body cannot live when the laws present at death are active in it. These laws did not originally belong to the body, but are laws belonging to the external world. If you carry out these thoughts you must acknowledge that what is usually called man's body is a maya, an illusion, and what spiritual science calls the “physical body” is the combination, the result, within our mineral world of organic laws, which produces the physical body of man in the same way as the laws of crystallization produce quartz, or those of emerald crystallization produce emeralds. This physical body of man as it works in the physical mineral world is the true human body. What man knows of the world today is but the outcome of observation made by the senses. But observation as it is made by the senses can only be made by an organism in which an ego dwells. The present-day superficial method of observation states that animals perceive the external world, for example, in the same way as men do: through their senses. This is a most confused conception; people would be much astonished if they were shown, as must be done some day, the picture of the world formed by a horse, a dog, or any other animal. If a picture were made of what a horse or a dog sees around it, this would be very different from the picture of the world as seen by man. That the human senses perceive the world as they do is connected with the fact that the ego reaches out over the whole surrounding world and fills the sense organs — eyes, ears and so on — with the pictures it perceives. So that only an organism in which an ego dwells can have such a picture of the world as man has; and the human organism belongs to this picture and is part of it. We must therefore say: What is usually called the “physical body” of man is only the result of sense-observation, and not reality. When we speak of physical man and of the physical objects around him it is the ego, aided by the senses and the understanding connected with the brain, that regards the world. Hence man only knows those things over which his ego extends, to which his ego belongs. So soon as the ego is not present, the pictures the world presents to it are no longer there; this means the man is asleep. Then no pictures of the world surround him — he is unconscious.
Whenever you regard anything, at every moment, the ego is bound up with what you see. It is spread out over what you see so that you really know only the content of your ego. As normal human beings you know the content of your ego, but of that which belongs to your own nature, into which you enter each morning when you wake — of your astral body, etheric body, and physical body — you know nothing. The moment he awakes, the normal man of today sees nothing of his astral body. He would indeed be horrified if he did — that is, if he perceived the sum of the instincts, desires, and passions that have accumulated in him in the course of his repeated earthly lives. Man does not see these. He would not be able to endure the sight. When he does dip down into his own nature, into his physical, etheric, and astral bodies, his attention is at once deflected from this to the external world; he there beholds what beneficent Divine Beings spread over the surface of his sphere of vision, so that it is in no way possible for him to sink into his own inner nature.
We are correct therefore when in speaking of this in spiritual science we say: The moment a man awakes in the morning he enters through the door of his own being. But at this door stands a watcher, the “little guardian of the threshold.” He does not permit man to enter his own being, but directs him at once to the outer world. Each morning we meet this little guardian of the threshold, and anyone who on awakening enters his own nature consciously, learns to know him. In fact the mystic life consists in whether this little guardian of the threshold acts beneficently toward us, making us unaware of our own being, turning our ego aside so that we do not descend into it, or permitting us to pass through the door and enter into our own being. The mystic life enters through the door I have described, and this in Buddhism is called “sitting under the Bodhi tree.” This is nothing else than the descent of a man into his own being through the door that is ordinarily closed to him. What Buddha experienced in this descent is set before us in Buddhistic writings. Such things are no mere legends, but the reflections of profound truths experienced inwardly — truths concerning the soul. These experiences, in the language of Buddhism, are called “The Temptation of Buddha.”
Speaking of this, Buddha himself tells us how the beings he loved approached him at the moment when he entered mystically into his own inner being. He tells how they seemed to approach him bidding him to do this or that — for instance, to carry out false exercises so as to enter in a wrong way into his own being. We are even told that the form of his mother appeared to him — he beheld her in her spiritual substance — and she ordered him to begin a false askesis. Naturally this was not the real mother of Buddha. But his temptation consisted in this very fact, that in his first evolved vision he was confronted not by his real mother but by a mask or illusion. Buddha withstood this temptation. Then a host of demoniac forms appeared to him; these he describes as desires, telling how they corresponded to the sensation of hunger and thirst, or the instinct of pride, conceit, and arrogance. All these approached him — how? They approached him in so far as they were still within his own astral body, in so far as he had not overcome them at that great moment of his life when he sat under the Bodhi tree. Buddha shows us in a most wonderful way, in this temptation, how we feel all the forces and powers of our astral body, which are within us because we have made them ever worse and worse in the course of our development through succeeding incarnations. In spite of having risen so high, Buddha still sees them, and now at the final stage of his progress he has to overcome the last of these misleading forces of his astral body, which appear to him as demons.
What does a human personality find when through temptation it passes down through the realms of its astral body and etheric body into its physical body? That is, when it really gets to know these two members of human nature?
If we are to know this, we must realize that in the course of his descending incarnations on Earth, man has been in a position to injure his astral body very much, but has not been able to injure his etheric and physical bodies to the same extent. The astral body is deteriorated through the “egoism of human nature” — through greed, hate, selfishness, arrogance, and pride. Through all these, and through his lower desires, man injures his astral body. The greater part of the etheric body is so strong that however much a man may try to injure it he is unable to do so, for the etheric body resists injury. A man cannot descend so deeply into his own nature with his individual powers as to injure the etheric body or the physical body. It is only in the course of repeated incarnations that the faults he develops directly affect the physical and etheric bodies injuriously, and appear later as weaknesses and as dispositions to illness in the physical body. But a man cannot affect his physical body directly. If he cuts his finger, this is not brought about through the soul; neither is infection. In the course of his incarnations he has only become capable of affecting his astral body and a part of his etheric body; on his physical body he can only work indirectly, not directly. We can therefore say if a man descends into his etheric body on which he can still work directly, he sees in this region all the things connected with his former incarnations, so that the moment he dips clown into his own being he also dips into his earlier, more remote incarnations. Man can therefore find the way to his former incarnation by sinking down into his own being. If this plunging down into his own being is very intensive, very thorough and forceful, as was the case with Buddha, the insight into other incarnations goes further and further back.
Originally man was a spiritual being; the sheaths that envelop his spiritual nature only gathered around him at a later day. Man came forth from Spirit, and everything external has condensed, as it were, out of Spirit. So that in sinking down into his own being man enters into the Spirit of the world. This sinking down, this breaking through the sheaths of the physical body, is one path into the spiritual framework of the world.
In the information handed down to us concerning Buddha — and these are no mere legends — we learn of the different stages he attained in the passage through his own being, of which he says: “When I had got as far as to the attainment of illumination” — that is, when he felt himself to be a part of the spiritual world — “I beheld the spiritual world as a cloud spread out before me; but as yet I could not distinguish anything; I felt I was not as yet ready for this. Then I advanced a step further. There I no longer merely saw the spiritual world as a widespread cloud, but could distinguish separate forms, although I could not yet see what these forms were, for I was not yet sufficiently advanced. Again I rose a step higher: there I perceived not only separate beings, but I knew what kind  of beings they were.”
This continued so far that Buddha even beheld his own archetype, that which had passed down from generation to generation, and he saw it in its true connection with the spiritual world. This is one path, the mystic path, the path leading through a man's own being to the point where the boundaries are broken down beyond which lies the spiritual world. By following this path certain leaders of humanity attained what such individuals had to have in order that they could give the necessary impulse to the further development of mankind.
It is by quite another path that personalities such as the first Zarathustra for instance, attained what enabled them to become leaders of humanity. If you recall what I said about Buddha you will realize that in his former incarnations when he was a Bodhisattva he must have already risen through many stages. Through illumination — that which is known as “sitting under the Bodhi tree”— I described in the only way it can be described how an individual can gradually rise through his personal merit to heights whence he can behold the spiritual world.
If humanity had only had such leaders to look to, it could not possibly have advanced as it has. But it had also other leaders. Of these Zarathustra was one. (I am not speaking now of the “individuality” of Zarathustra, but of the personality of the original Zarathustra who taught concerning Ahura Mazdao.) In studying this personality in the parts of the world in which we find him, we must realize that at first no individuality was in him as had risen so high through his own merit as Buddha had done; but he had been set apart to be the bearer — the sheath, one might say — of a higher being, of a spiritual entity, who could not himself incarnate in the world but could only illuminate and work within a human form.
I have shown in my Rosicrucian Mystery Play, “The Portal of Initiation,” how when it is necessary for the further evolution of the world, a human being is inspired at certain times by some higher being. This is not intended as a mere poetic image, but is an occult truth presented poetically. The personality of the original Zarathustra was no such highly evolved being as the Buddha, but was chosen as one into whom a high individuality could enter, could dwell, and inspire him. Such persons were mainly found in olden times — that is, in pre-Christian times — in the civilizations that evolved in Northwestern Europe and Mid-Western Asia, but not among the peoples that in pre-Christian times evolved in Africa, Arabia, and the districts of Asia Minor extending eastward into Asia. In these countries that kind of initiation was found which I have just described in its highest development as that of Buddha; while the other I am now about to describe as that of Zarathustra was more suited to northern peoples. The possibility of anyone being initiated in this way has only existed, even in our part of the world, for the last three or four thousand years. The personality of Zarathustra was selected somewhat in the following way to be the bearer of a higher being who could not himself incarnate. It was ordained from the spiritual worlds that a spiritual being should enter into some child, and when the child had grown up, should work within this human being, making use of the instruments of his brain, his will, etc. In order that this might take place, something quite different had to happen than would otherwise happen in the individual evolution of this human being. Now, the events I am about to describe did not happen in any such physical way throughout the life of this highly evolved human being as they otherwise should; though, naturally, people who follow the life of such a child with ordinary perceptions do not observe this. But those who have higher perception see that there is conflict from the beginning between the soul-forces of this child and the outer world, that it is possessed of a will, of an impulsiveness, that is in apparent contradiction to all that goes on around it. The fate of this divine, spirit-filled personality is that it grows up as a stranger, that those about it have no idea, no feeling, by which they can rightly understand such a child. As a rule there are few — perhaps only one person — who is able to divine what is developing within this human being. Conflict with its surroundings is apt to develop, and then occurs (but not till later years) what I described as happening when dealing with the story of the temptation of Buddha, when a man descends into his own being.
In normal life a man's individuality is born in him by means of the “sheath-nature” he receives from his parents or his nation. This individuality is not always in entire harmony with its sheaths, and on this account such a man feels more or less dissatisfied with the way fate has treated him. But so heavy, so mighty a conflict as occurred in Zarathustra's case is not possible if a man's individuality develops as it does in ordinary life. When a child like Zarathustra is observed clairvoyantly it is seen that he has feelings, thoughts, and powers of will very different from the feelings, thoughts, and will-impulses developed by the people about him. We are shown (and indeed it is always to be seen, only nowadays people do not notice spiritual facts, but only physical facts) that the people around such a child know nothing of his nature. They feel, on the contrary, an instinctive hatred for him, no matter what may be developing within him. To clairvoyant vision the sharp contrast is revealed that such a child who is really born for the salvation of mankind is surrounded by storms of hatred.
This has to be. It is because of this contrast that great impulses are born into humanity. Similar things are then told concerning such personalities as are told of Zarathustra.
One thing we are told: that Zarathustra could do at birth that which otherwise only occurs weeks later. We are told he looked on the harmony of the world in such a way that he evolved his “Zarathustra smile.” This smile is described as the first thing which showed him to be quite different from the rest of mankind. The second thing is that there was an enemy, a kind of King Herod, in the neighborhood where Zarathustra was born. His name was Duranasarum, and after he had been informed of the birth of Zarathustra, which had been divulged to him by the Magi, the Chaldeans, he tried single-handed to murder the child. The legend goes on to tell how, at the moment he raised his sword to kill the child, his hand was paralyzed, and he was forced to let it go. These are pictures perceived by spiritual consciousness, pictures of spiritual realities. Further, we are told how this enemy of the child Zarathustra, unable himself to slay him, had him carried away by his servant to the wild beasts of the wilderness so that he might be devoured by them — but when people went to look for him, no wild beast had harmed him: the child was found sleeping peacefully. As this attempt failed, his enemy had the child placed where a whole herd of cows and oxen would pass over him and trample him to death. But the first beast, so we are told, took the child between its legs and bore it away, so that the rest of the herd might pass by; it then set him down uninjured. The same thing was repeated with a drove of horses. And the final attempt of this enemy was that he was given to some wild animals after their young had been taken from them. Now, it happened when his parents sent people to look for him, they found that none of these animals had harmed him, but as the legend relates: “the child Zarathustra was nourished for a considerable time by a heavenly cow.”
We need see no more in all this mass of evidence than that through the presence of the spiritual individuality that had been introduced into such a soul, very exceptional powers had been aroused in the child which brought it into disharmony with its surroundings, and that this was necessary in order that an upward impulse could be given to human evolution. For disharmonies are always necessary if true progress towards perfection is to be made. The nature of these forces is thus revealed: in spite of so great a being making use of such a child, they were required to bring it in touch with the spiritual world into which it was to enter. But how did the child experience this conflict? Picture to yourselves the entering of the soul into its own being at a moment of awaking. When the soul is able to experience the physical body and the etheric body, it then passes through the evolution I described in respect of Buddha. Now think of falling asleep as a conscious process. As things are today, man loses  consciousness when he falls asleep: instead of the ordinary pictures of the world, a blank surrounds him. But suppose that a man could retain his consciousness when falling asleep: he would in that case be surrounded by a spiritual world — the world into which he pours his being when sleep overtakes him. But here also there are hindrances. When we fall asleep, a guardian of the threshold stands before the door through which we would have to pass. This is the Great Guardian, who prevents our entrance into the spiritual world so long as we are unripe. He prevents our entrance because if we have not made ourselves inwardly strong enough, we are exposed to certain dangers when we allow our ego to pour forth over the spiritual world into which we enter when we fall asleep. The danger consists in this, that instead of seeing what is in the spiritual world objectively, we only see what we take there through our own fanciful imaginations, through our thoughts, perceptions, and feelings. In this case we take what is worst in us, what is not in accordance with truth. Hence an unripe entry into the spiritual world indicates that a man does not see reality but imaginary forms, fantastic images which are described technically in spiritual science as “non-human visions.” If a man would see objectively in the spiritual world he must rise to a higher stage where “human” things are seen. It is always a sign of a fantastic vision when animal forms are seen on rising to the spiritual world. Such animal forms represent the man's own fantasy, and are owing to his not being strongly enough established in himself. What is unconscious in us at night must be strengthened so that the surrounding spiritual world becomes objective; otherwise it is subjective, and we take our fantasies with us into the spiritual world. They are within us in any case; but the Guardian preserves us from seeing them. This rising into the spiritual world and being surrounded by animal forms which attack us and desire to lead us astray is a purely inward experience. We have only to encompass ourselves with greater inward strength: we can then enter the spiritual world.
When a child is filled by a higher being, as was the young Zarathustra, his bodily nature is naturally unripe, and has first to become ripe. The human organism — that is, the understanding and sense-organisms — is disturbed. Such a child is in a world which is rightly described as “being among wild animals.”
We have often shown that descriptions like this, which are both historical and pictorial, only represent different sides of the same matter. Events then happen so that spiritual powers, when represented as hostile forces, make their influence felt, as did King Duranasarum in the case of the child Zarathustra. The whole thing exists in its archetypal form in the spiritual world, and external happenings only correspond with what takes place there. Present-day methods of thought do not grasp such ideas easily. When people are told that the events connected with Zarathustra are of importance in the spiritual world, they think: “Then they are not real.” But when they are shown to be historical, the man of today is then inclined to regard everyone as only evolved so far as he is himself.
The endeavor of present-day liberal theologians, for instance, is to present the figure of Jesus of Nazareth as being similar to, or at least as not far surpassing, what they can picture to themselves as their own ideal. It disturbs the materialistic peace of their souls when they have to picture great individualities. There should not be anyone in the world, they think, so very much exalted above the modern Professor of Theology.
But when dealing with great events we are concerned with something that is at the same time both  historical and symbolic, so that the one does not exclude the other. Those who do not understand that external things indicate more than appears on the surface will not attain to the understanding of what is true and essential.
The soul of the young Zarathustra really passed through great dangers in his early years, but at the same time, as the legend tells, the heavenly cows stood at his side, helping and strengthening him.
We find similar things happening to all great founders of religions through all the regions of the Caspian Sea and even into Western Europe. We find people — without their having raised themselves through their own development — who are ensouled by a spiritual being so that they can become leaders of mankind. Numerous legends and sagas exist among Celtic peoples. They tell of a founder of religion, one Habich, he was exposed as a child and was nourished by heavenly cows; hostile forces appeared later on and drove away the animals — in short, the accounts of the dangers to the Celtic leader Habich are such that one can almost say they were extracts from certain of the miracles of Zarathustra. While we recognize Zarathustra as the greatest of these personalities, certain features of his miracles are found everywhere, all through Greece and as far as the Celtic countries of the West. As a well-known example we have only to think of the story of Romulus and Remus.
This is the other way in which the leaders of mankind arose. In speaking of it we have described, in a deeper sense, what we have often considered before: the two great streams of civilization of post-Atlantean times. After the great catastrophe of Atlantis, one of these streams continued to spread and develop throughout Africa, Arabia, and southern Asia; the other, which took a more northerly course, passed through Europe and northern and central Asia. Here these two streams eventually met. All that has come to pass as a result of this is comprised in our post-Atlantean culture. The northern stream had leaders such as I have just described in Zarathustra; the southern, on the other hand, those such as we see in their highest representative in the great Buddha.
If you recall what you already know in connection with the Christ Event, you might ask: How does the Baptism by John in the Jordan now strike us? The Christ came down and entered into a human being — as Divine Beings had entered into all the leaders and founders of religions — and into Zarathustra as the greatest of these. The process is the same, only here it is carried out in its sublimest form: Christ entered into a human being. But He did not enter this human being in childhood. He entered it in its thirtieth year, and the personality of Jesus of Nazareth had been very specially prepared for this event. The secrets of both sides of human leadership are given us in synthesis in the Gospels. Here we see them united and harmonized. While the evangelists Matthew and Luke, primarily, tell us how the human personality was organized into which the Christ entered, the Gospel according to Mark describes the nature of the Christ, tells of the kind of being he himself is. The element that filled this great individual is what is especially described by Mark. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke give us in a wonderfully clear manner a different account of the temptation from that given in the Gospel of Mark, because Mark describes the Christ who had entered into Jesus of Nazareth. Hence the story of the temptation has here to be presented as it occurred formerly in the childhood of such great persons: the presence of animals is mentioned, and the help received from spiritual powers. So that we have a repetition of the miracles of Zarathustra when the Gospel of Mark states in simple but imposing words:
“And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness (loneliness). And he was there in the wilderness with the wild beasts; and the angels (that is, spiritual beings) ministered unto him.” Mark I, 12-13.
The Gospel of Matthew describes this quite differently: it describes what we perceive to be somewhat like a repetition of the temptation of Buddha; this means, the form temptation assumes at the descent of a man into his own being, when all those temptations and seductions approach to which the human soul is liable.
We can therefore say the Gospels of Matthew and Luke describe the path the Christ traveled when He descended into the sheaths that had been given over to him by Jesus of Nazareth; and the Gospel according to Mark describes the kind of temptation Christ had to pass through when He experienced the shock of coming up against His surroundings, as happens to all founders of religions who are inspired and intuited by spiritual beings from above.
Christ Jesus experienced both these forms of temptation, whereas earlier leaders of mankind only experienced one of them. He united in Himself the two methods of entering the spiritual world; this is of the greatest importance: what formerly had occurred within two great streams of culture (into which smaller contributory streams also entered) was now united into one.
It is when regarded from this standpoint that we first understand the apparent or real contradictions in the Gospels. Mark had been initiated into such mysteries as enabled him to describe the temptation as we find it in his Gospel: the “being with wild beasts,” and the ministration of spiritual beings. Luke was initiated in another way. Each evangelist describes what he knows and is familiar with. Thus what we are told in the Gospels are the events of Palestine and the Mystery of Golgotha, but told from different sides.
In stating this I wish once more to put before you, from a point of view we have as yet not been able to discuss, how human evolution has to be understood; and also how we must understand the intervention into it of such individuals as are passing on from the evolution of a Bodhisattva to that of a Buddha. We have to understand that the main thing in the evolution of these men is not so much what they are as men, but what has come down into them from above. Only in the form of Christ are these two united, and it is only when we realize this that we can rightly understand this form. We can also understand through this the many inequalities that must appear in mythical personalities.
When we are told that certain spiritual beings have done this or that, in respect of what is right or wrong, and have done, for instance, what Siegfried did, one often hears people exclaim: “And yet he was an initiate!” But Siegfried's individual evolution does not come under consideration as regards a personality through whom a spiritual being is working. Siegfried may have faults. But what matters is that through him something had to be given to human evolution. For this a suitable personality had to be found. Everyone cannot be treated alike; Siegfried cannot be judged in the same way as a leader who belonged to the southern stream of culture, for the whole nature and type of those who sunk down within their own being was different. Thus one can say: A spiritual being entered the forms belonging to the northern culture, compelling them to transcend their own nature and rise into the Macrocosm. While in the southern stream of culture a man sank down into the Microcosm, in the northern stream of culture he poured himself forth into the Macrocosm, and by doing so he learnt to know all the spiritual hierarchies, as Zarathustra learnt to know the spiritual nature of the Sun.
The law contained herein can be summed up as follows: The path of the mystic, the path of Buddha, leads a man so far within his own inner being that, breaking through this inner being, he enters the spiritual world. The path of Zarathustra draws a man out of the Microcosm, sending his being forth over the Macrocosm so that its secrets become transparent to him. The world has as yet little understanding of the mighty spirits whose mission it is to reveal the secrets of the great universe. For this reason very little real understanding of the nature of Zarathustra has spread abroad, and we shall see how greatly what we have to say concerning him differs from what is usually said of him.
This lecture has again been an excursus concerning those things which should gradually reveal to you the nature of the Gospel according to St. Mark.