Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jesus: Krishna, redeemed by Christ. Bonus lecture for the December 26 meeting of the Rudolf Steiner Study Circle

The Occult Significance of the Bhagavad Gita. Lecture 9 of  9.
Rudolf Steiner, June 5, 1913:

The latter part of the Bhagavad Gita is permeated by feelings and shades of meaning saturated with ideas of sattva, rajas, and tamas. In these last chapters our whole mode of thinking and feeling must be attuned so as to understand what is said in the sense of those three conditions. In the last lecture I sought to give an idea of those important concepts by making use of present-day experiences. Certainly anyone who enters deeply into this poem must perceive that since the time when it arose those concepts have shifted to some extent. Nevertheless, it would not have been correct to describe them simply by verbal quotations from the poem because our mode of feeling is different from what is contained there and we are unable to make those very different feelings our own. If we tried to we would only be describing the unknown by the unknown.

So in the Bhagavad Gita you will find with regard to food that the concepts we developed last time have shifted a little. What is true for man today about plant food was true for the ancient Indian of that food Krishna calls mild, gentle food, whereas rajas food, which we described correctly for man today as mineral food (salt, for instance), would have been designated at that time as sour or sharp. For our constitution meat is essentially a tamas food, but the Indian meant by this something that could hardly be considered food at present, which gives us an idea of how different men were then. They called tamas food what had become rotten, had stood too long, and had a foul smell. For our present incarnation we could not properly call that tamas food because man's organism has changed, even as far as his physical body.

Thus, in order to understand these feelings of sattva, rajas, and tamas, so fundamental in the Gita, it is well for us to apply them to our own conditions. Now, if we would consider what sattva really is, it is best to begin by taking the most striking conception of it. In our time the man who can give himself up to knowledge as penetrating as our present knowledge of the mineral kingdom is a sattva man. For the Indian he was not one who had such knowledge, but was one who went through the world with intelligent understanding as we would say, with heart and head in the right place — a man who takes without prejudice and bias the phenomena the world offers; who always perceives the world with sympathy and conceives it with intelligence; who receives the light of ideas, of feelings, and sentiments streaming out from all the beauty and loveliness of the world; who avoids all that is ugly, developing himself rightly. He who does all this in the physical world is a sattva man. In the inorganic world a sattva impression is that of a surface not too brilliant, illuminated in such a way that its details of color can be seen in their right luster yet bright also.

A rajas impression is one where a man is in a certain way prevented by his own emotions, his impulses and reactions, or by the thing itself from fully penetrating what lies around him, so that he does not give himself up to it but meets it with what he himself is. For example, he becomes acquainted with the plant kingdom. He can admire it, but he brings his own emotions to bear on it and therefore cannot penetrate it to its depths.

Tamas is where a man is altogether given up to his bodily life, so that he is blunt and apathetic toward his environment, as we are toward a consciousness different from our own. While we dwell on the physical plane we know nothing of the consciousness of a dog or a horse, not even of another human being. In this respect man, as a rule, is blunt and dull. He withdraws into his own bodily life. He lives in impressions of tamas. But man must gradually become apathetic to the physical world in order to have access to the spiritual worlds in clairvoyance. In this way we can best read the ideas of sattva, rajas, and tamas. In external nature a rajas impression would be that of a moderately bright surface, say of green, a uniform green shade; a dark-colored surface would represent a tamas impression. Where man looks out into the darkness of universal space, when the beautiful spectacle of the free heavens appears to him, the impression he gains is none other than that blue color that is almost a tamas color.

If we saturate ourselves with the feeling these ideas give we can apply them to everything that surrounds us. These ideas are really comprehensive. For the ancient Indian, to know well about this threefold nature of his surroundings meant not only a certain understanding of the outer world, it also meant bringing to life his own inner being. He felt it somewhat as follows. Imagine a primitive country man who sees the glory of nature around him — the early morning sky, the sun and stars, everything he can see. He does not think about it, however. He does not build up concepts and ideas about the world but just lives on in utmost harmony with it. If he begins to feel himself an individual person, distinguishing his soul from his environment, he has to do so by learning to understand his surroundings through ideas about them.

To set up one's environment objectively before one is always a certain way of grasping the reality of one's own being. The Indian of the time of the Bhagavad Gita said: “So long as one does not penetrate and perceive the sattva, rajas, and tamas conditions in one's environment, one continues merely to live in it. A person is not yet there, independently in his own being, but is bound up with his surroundings. However, when the world about him becomes so objective that one can pursue it everywhere with the awareness that this is a sattva condition, this a rajas, that a tamas, then one becomes more and more free of the world, more independent in himself.” This therefore is one way of bringing about consciousness of self. At bottom this is Krishna's concern — to free Arjuna's soul from all those things that surround him and are characteristic of the time in which he lives. So Krishna explains: “Behold all the life there on the bloody field of battle where brothers confront brothers, with all that thou feelest thyself bound to, dissolved in, a part of. Learn to know that all that is there outside you runs its course in conditions of sattva, rajas, and tamas. Then wilt thou contrast thyself with it; know that in thine own highest self thou dost not belong to it, and wilt experience thy separate being within thyself, the spirit in thee.”

Here we have another of the beautiful elements in the dramatic composition of the Bhagavad Gita. At first we are gradually made acquainted with its ideas as abstract concepts, but afterward these become more and more vivid. The concepts of sattva, rajas, and tamas take on living shape and form in the most varied spheres of life. Then at length the separation of Arjuna's soul from it all is accomplished, so to say, before our spiritual gaze. Krishna explains to him how we must free ourselves from all that is bound up with these three conditions, from that in which men are ordinarily interwoven.

There are sattva men who are so bound up with existence as to be attached to all the happiness and joy they can draw from their environment. They speed through the world, drinking in their blissfulness from all that can give it to them. Rajas men are diligent, men of action; but they act because actions have such and such consequences to which they are attached. They depend on the joy of action, on the impression action makes upon them. Tamas men are attached to laziness, they want to be comfortable. They really do not want to act at all. Thus are men to be distinguished. Those whose souls and spirits are bound into external conditions belong to one or other of these three groups.

“But thine eyes shall see the daybreak of the age of self-consciousness. Thou shalt learn to hold thy soul apart. Thou shalt be neither sattva, rajas, nor tamas man.” Thus is Krishna the great educator of the human ego. He shows its separation from its environment. He explains soul activities according to how they partake of sattva, rajas, or tamas. If a man raises his belief to the divine creators of the world he is a sattva man. Just in that time of the Gita, however, there were men who in a certain sense knew nothing of the divine beings guiding the universe. They were completely attached to the so-called nature spirits, those behind the immediate beings of nature. Such men are rajas men. The tamas men are those who in viewing the world get only so far as what we may call the ghost-like, which in its spiritual nature is nearest to the material. So, in regard to religious feeling also these three groups may be distinguished.

If we wished to apply these concepts to religious feeling in our time we should say (but without flattery) that those who strive after anthroposophy are sattva men; those attached to external faith are rajas men; those who, in a material or spiritual sense, will only believe in what has bodily shape and form — the materialists and spiritualists — are the tamas men. The spiritualist does not ask for spiritual beings in whom he may believe; he is quite prepared to believe in them, but he does not want to lift himself up to them. He wants them to come down to him. They must rap, because he can hear rapping with physical ears. They must appear in clouds of light because such are visible to his eyes. Such are tamas men in a certain conscious sense, and quite in the sense too of the tamas men of Krishna's time.

There are also unconscious tamas men; the materialistic thinkers of our time who deny all that is spiritual. When materialists meet in conference today they persuade themselves that they adhere to materialism on logical grounds, but this is an illusion. Materialists are people who remain so not on the basis of logic but for fear of the spiritual. They deny the spirit because they are afraid of it. They are in effect compelled to deny it by the logic of their own unconscious soul, which does indeed penetrate to the door of the spiritual but cannot pass through. One who can see reality can see in a materialistic congress how each person in the depths of his soul is afraid of the spirit. Materialism is not logic, it is cowardice before the spiritual. All its arguments are nothing but an opiate to damp down this fear. Actually, Ahriman — the giver of fear — has every materialist by the neck. This is a grotesque but an austere and fundamental truth that one may recognize if one goes into any materialistic meeting. Why is such a meeting called? The illusion is that people there discuss views of the universe, but in reality it is a meeting to conjure up the devil Ahriman, to beckon him into their chambers.

Krishna, then, indicates to Arjuna how the different religious beliefs may be classified, and he also speaks to him of the different ways men may approach the gods in actual prayer. In all cases the temper of man's soul can be described in terms of these three conditions. Sattva, rajas, and tamas men are different in the way they relate to their Gods. Tamas men are such as priests, but whose priesthood depends on a kind of habit. They have their office but no living connection with the spiritual world. So they repeat Aum, Aum, Aum, which proceeds from the dullness, the tamas condition of their spirit. They pour forth their subjective nature in the Aum.

Rajas men look out on the surrounding world and begin to feel that it has something in it akin to themselves, that it is related to them and therefore worthy to be worshipped. They are the men of “Tat” who worship the “That,” the cosmos, as being akin to themselves. Sattva men perceive that what lives within us is one with all that surrounds us in the universe outside. In their prayer they have a sense for “Sat,” the All-being, the unity without and within, unity of the objective and the subjective. Krishna says that he who would truly become free in his soul, who does not wish to be merely a sattva, rajas, or tamas man in any one respect or another, must attain to a transformation of these conditions in himself so that he wears them like a garment, while in his real self he grows out beyond them.

This is the impulse that Krishna as the creator of self-consciousness must give. Thus he stands before Arjuna and teaches him: “Look upon all the conditions of the world, with all that is to man highest and deepest, but free thyself from the highest and deepest of the three conditions and in thine own self become as one who lays hold of himself. Learn and know that thou canst live without feeling thyself bound up with rajas, or tamas, or sattva.” One had to learn this at that time because it was the beginning of the dawn of self-liberation, but here again, what then required the greatest effort can today be found right at hand. This is the tragedy of present life. There are too many today who stand in the world and burrow down into their own soul, finding no connection with the outer world; who in their feelings and all their inner experiences are lonely souls. They neither feel themselves bound up with the conditions of sattva, rajas, or tamas, nor are they free from them, but are cast out into the world like an endlessly, aimlessly revolving wheel. Such men who live only in themselves and cannot understand the world, who are unhappy because in their soul-life they are separated from all external existence — these represent the shadow side of the fruit that it was Krishna's task to develop in Arjuna and in all his contemporaries and successors. What had to be Arjuna's highest endeavor has become the greatest suffering for many men today.

Thus do successive ages change. Today we must say that we are at the end of the age that began with the time of the Bhagavad Gita. This may penetrate our feelings with deep significance. It may also tell us that just as in that ancient time those seeking self-consciousness had to hear what Krishna told Arjuna, those seeking their soul's salvation today, in whom self-consciousness is developed to a morbid degree, these too should listen. They should listen to what can lead them once more to an understanding of the three external conditions. What can do this?

Let us put forward some more preliminary ideas before we set out to answer this question. Let us ask again: What is it that Krishna really wants for Arjuna, whose relation to external conditions was a right one for his time? What is it that he says with divine simplicity and naïveté? He reveals what he wishes to be even to our present time. We have described how a kind of picture-consciousness, a living imagery, lighted up man's soul; how there was hovering above it, so to say, what today is self-consciousness, which men at that time had to strive for with all their might but which today is right at hand. Try to live into the soul condition of that time before Krishna introduced the new age. The world around men did not call forth clear concepts and ideas, but pictures like those of our dreams today. Thus the lowest region of soul-life was a picture-like consciousness, and this was illumined from the higher region — of sleep consciousness — through inspiration. In this way they could rise to still higher conditions. This ascent was called “entering into Brahman.” To ask a soul today, living in Western lands, to enter into Brahman would be a senseless anachronism. It would be like requiring a man who is halfway up a mountain to reach the top by the same way as one still down in the valley. With equal right could one ask a Western soul today to do Eastern exercises and “enter into Brahman” because this presupposes that a man is at the stage of picture consciousness — which as a matter of fact certain Easterners still are. What the men of the Gita age found in rising into Brahman the Western man already has in his concepts and ideas. This is really true: that Shankaracharya would today introduce the ideas of Solovieff, Hegel, and Fichte to his revering disciples as the first stage of rising into Brahman. It is not the content, however, it is the pains of the way, that are important.

Krishna indicates a main characteristic of this rising into Brahman, by which we have a beautiful characterization of Krishna himself. At that time the constitution of the soul was all passive. The world of pictures came to you, you gave yourself up to these flowing pictures. Compare this with the altogether different nature of our everyday world. Devotion, giving ourselves up to things, does not help us to understand them, even though there are many who do not wish to advance to what must necessarily take place in our time. Nevertheless, for our age we have to exert ourselves, to be alive and active, in order to get ideas and concepts of our surrounding world. Herein lies all the trouble in our education. We have to educate children so that their minds are awake when their concepts of the surrounding world are being formed. Today the soul must be more active than it was in the age before the origin of the Bhagavad Gita. We can put it so:

Bhagavad Gita Age — rising to Brahman with passive souls.

Intellectual Age (our present age) — actively working our way up into the higher worlds.

What then must Krishna say when he wishes to introduce that new age in which the active way of gaining an understanding of the universe is gradually to begin? He must say: “I have to come; I have to give thee the ego-man, a gift that shall impel thee to activity.” If it had all remained passive as before — a being interwoven with the world, devoted to the world — the new age would never have begun. Everything connected with the entry of the soul into the spiritual world before the time of the Gita Krishna calls devotion: “All is devotion to Brahman.” This he compares to the feminine in man; while what is the self in man, the active working element that is to create self-consciousness, that pushes up from within as the generator of the self-consciousness that is to come, Krishna calls the masculine in man. What man can attain in Brahman must be fertilized by Krishna. So his teaching to Arjuna is: “All men until now were Brahman-men. Brahman is all that is spread out as the mother-womb of the whole world. But I am the father, who came into the world to fertilize the maternal womb.”

Thus the consciousness of self is created, which is to work on all men. This is indicated as clearly as possible. Krishna and Brahman are related to each other as father and mother in the world. Together they produce the self-consciousness man must have in the further course of his evolution — the self-consciousness that makes it possible for him to become ever more perfect as an individual being. The Krishna faith has altogether to do with the single man, the individual person. To follow his teaching exclusively means to strive for the perfection of oneself as an individual. This can be achieved only by liberating the self, loosening it from all that adheres to external conditions. Fix your attention on this backbone of Krishna's teaching, how it directs man to put aside all externals, to become free from the life that takes its course in continually changing conditions of every kind; to comprehend oneself in the self alone, that it may be borne ever onward to higher perfection. See how this perfection depends on man's leaving behind him all the external configuration of things, casting off the whole of outer life like a shell, becoming free and ever more inwardly alive in himself. Man tearing himself away from his environment, no longer asking what goes on in external processes of perfection but asking how shall he perfect himself: this is the teaching of Krishna.

Krishna — that is, the spirit who worked through Krishna — appeared again in the Jesus child of the Nathan line of the House of David, described in St. Luke's Gospel. Thus, fundamentally, this child embodied the impulse, all the forces, that tend to make man independent and loosen him from external reality. What was the intention of this soul that did not enter human evolution but worked in Krishna and again in this Jesus child? At a far distant time this soul had had to go through the experience of remaining outside human evolution because the antagonist Lucifer had come, he who said: “Your eyes will be opened and you will distinguish good and evil, and be as God.” In the ancient Indian sense Lucifer said to man: “You will be as the gods, and will have power to find the sattva, rajas, and tamas conditions in the world.”

Lucifer directed man's attention to the outer world. By his instigation man had to learn to know the external, and therefore had to go through the long course of evolution down to the time of Christ. Then he came who was once withdrawn from Lucifer: he came in Krishna and later in the Luke Jesus child. In two stages he gave that teaching that from another side was to be the antithesis of the teaching of Lucifer in Paradise. “He wanted to open your eyes to the conditions of sattva, rajas, and tamas. Shut your eyes to these conditions and you will find yourselves as men, as self-conscious human beings.” Thus does the Imagination appear before us. On the one side the Imagination of Paradise, where Lucifer opens man's eyes to the three conditions in the external world, when for a while the opponent of Lucifer withdraws. Then men go through their evolution and reach the point where in two stages another teaching is given them, of self-consciousness, which bids them close their eyes to the three external conditions. Both teachings are one-sided. If the Krishna-Jesus influence alone had continued, one one-sidedness would have been added to another. Man would have taken leave of all that surrounds him, would have lost all interest in external evolution. Each person would only have sought his own perfection. Striving for perfection is right; but such striving bought at the price of a lack of interest in the whole of humanity is one-sided, even as the Luciferic influence was one-sided. Hence the all-embracing Christ Impulse entered as the higher synthesis of the two one-sided tendencies.

In the personality of the St. Luke Jesus child the Christ Impulse lived for three years — the Christ who came to mankind to bring together these two extremes. Through each of them mankind would have fallen into weakness and sin. Through Lucifer humanity would have been condemned to live one-sidedly in the external conditions of sattva, rajas, and tamas. Through Krishna they were to be educated for the other extreme, to close their eyes and seek only their own perfection. Christ took the sin upon Himself. He gave to men what reconciles the two one-sided tendencies. He took upon Himself the sin of self-consciousness that would close its eyes to the world outside: He took upon Himself the sin of Krishna, and of all who would commit his sin. And He took upon Himself the sin of Lucifer and of all who would commit the sin of fixing their attention on externalities. By taking both extremes upon Himself he makes it possible for humanity by degrees to find a harmony between the inner and the outer world because in that harmony alone man's salvation is to be found.

An evolution that has once begun, however, cannot end suddenly. The urge to self-consciousness that began with Krishna went on and on, increasing and intensifying self-consciousness more and more, bringing about estrangement from the outer world. In our time too this course is tending to continue. At the time when the Krishna impulse was received by the Luke Jesus child mankind was in the midst of this development, this increase of self-consciousness and estrangement from the outer world. It was this that was brought home to the men who received the baptism of John in the Jordan, so that they understood the Baptist when he said to them: “Change your disposition; walk no longer in the path of Krishna” — though he did not use this word. The path on which mankind had then entered we may call the Jesus-path if we would speak in an occult sense. In effect, the pursuit of this Jesus-path alone went on and on through the following centuries. In many respects human civilization in the centuries following the foundation of Christianity was only related to Jesus, not to the Christ Who lived in Jesus for the three years from the baptism by John until the Mystery of Golgotha.

Every line of evolution, however, works its way onward up to a certain tension. In the course of time this longing for individual perfection was driven to such a pitch that men were in a certain sense brought more and more into the tragedy of estrangement from the divine in nature, from the outer world. Today we are experiencing this in many ways. Many people are going about among us who have little understanding left of our environment. Therefore, it is just in our time that an understanding of the Christ Impulse must break in upon us. The Christ-path must be added to the Jesus-path. The path of one-sided striving for perfection has become too strong. It has gone so far that in many respects men are so remote from their surroundings that certain movements, when they arise, over-reach themselves immediately, and the longing for the opposite is awakened. Many human souls now feel how little they can escape from this enhanced self-consciousness, and this creates an impulse to know the divinity of the outer world. It is such souls as these who in our time will seek the understanding of the Christ Impulse that is opened up by true anthroposophy, the force that does not merely strive for the one-sided perfection of the individual soul but belongs to the whole progress of humanity. To understand the Christ means not merely to strive toward perfection, but to receive in oneself something expressed by St. Paul: “Not I, but Christ in me.” “I” is the Krishna word. “Not I, but Christ in me” is the Christian word.

So we see how every spiritual movement in history has in a certain sphere its justification. No one must imagine that the Krishna impulse could have been dispensed with. No one should ever think either that one human spiritual movement is fully justified in its one-sidedness. The two extremes — the Luciferic and the Krishna impulses — had to find their higher unity in the mission of the Christ.

He who would understand in the true anthroposophic sense the impulse necessary for the further evolution of mankind must realize how anthroposophy has to become a means of shedding light on all religions. He must learn to see how the different streams in evolution all flow into the one main current of development. It would be a dilettante way of beginning to do this if one tried to find again in the Krishna stream what can be found in the stream of Christianity. Only when we regard the matter in this way do we understand what it means to seek a unity in all religions. There is, however, another way of doing so. One may repeat over and over: “In all religions the same fundamental essence is contained.” In effect, the same essence is contained in the root of a plant, in the stem, leaves, flowers, the pollen, and the fruit. That is true, but it is an abstract truth. It is no more profound than if one were to say: “Why make any distinctions? Salt, pepper, vinegar, and milk all have their place on the table; all are one, for all are substance.” Here you can tell how futile such a way of thought can be. But you do not notice it so easily when it comes to comparing religions. It will not do to compare the Chinese, Brahmin, Krishnan, Buddhist, Persian, Muslim, and Christian faiths in this abstract way, saying: “Look: everywhere we find the same principles. In each case there is a Savior.”

Abstractions can indeed be found in countless places and in countless ways, but this is a dilettante method because it leads to nothing. One may form societies to pursue the study of all religions, and do so in the same sense as saying pepper, salt, etc. are one because they are all substance. That has no importance. What is important is to regard things as they really are. To the way of looking at things that goes so far in occult dilettantism as to keep on declaiming the equality of all religions, it is one and the same whether what lived in the Christ is the pivot of the whole of evolution or whether it can be found in the first man you meet in the street. For one who wishes to guide his life by truth it is an atrocity to associate the impulse in the world's history that is bound up with the Mystery of Golgotha and for which the name Christ has been preserved — to associate that impulse with any other impulse in history, because in truth it is the central point of the whole of earthly evolution.

In these lectures I have tried by means of a particular instance to indicate how present-day occultism must try to throw light on the different spiritual movements that have appeared in the course of human history. Though each has its right and proper point of contact, one must distinguish between them as between the stem of a plant and the green leaf, and the green leaf from the colored petal, though all together form a unity. If one tries with this truly modern occultism to penetrate with one's soul into what has flowed into humanity in diverse currents, one recognizes how the different religious faiths lose nothing of their greatness and majesty. How sublime was the greatness that appeared to us in the figure of Krishna even when we simply tried to get a definite view of his place in evolution. All such lines of thought as we can give only in outline are indeed imperfect enough, and you may be assured that no one is more aware of their imperfection than the present speaker. But the endeavor has been to show in what spirit a true consideration of the spiritual movement toward individuality in mankind must be carried out. I purposely tried to derive our thoughts from a spiritual creation remote from us, the Bhagavad Gita, to show how Western minds can perceive and feel what they owe to Krishna; what he, through the continued working of his impulse, still signifies for their own upward striving.

However, the spiritual movement we here represent necessarily demands that we enter concretely, and with real love, into the special nature of every current in man's spiritual history. This is a bit inconvenient because it brings us all too near to the humble thought of how little after all we really penetrate into their depths. Another idea follows upon this: that we must go on striving further and ever further. Both of these ideas are inconvenient. It is the sad fate of that movement we call anthroposophy that it produces inconvenient results for many souls. It requires that we actively lay hold of the definite, separate facts of the world's development. At the same time it requires each of us to say earnestly to himself: “I can indeed reach something higher, and I will. Always it is only a certain stage and standpoint that I have attained. I must forever go on striving — on — and on — without end.”

Thus, all along it has been not quite comfortable to belong to that spiritual movement that by our efforts is endeavoring to take its place in what is called the Theosophical Movement. [Dr. Steiner is referring here, and in the following passages, to his break with the Theosophical Society and to the formation of the Anthroposophical Society. A full account of these events can be found in G. Wachsmuth, The Life and Work of Rudolf Steiner, pp. 186–189.] It has not been easy, because we demand that people shall learn to strive ever more deeply to penetrate the sacred mysteries. We could not supply you with anything so easy as introducing some person's son or even daughter, saying: “You need only wait; the Savior of mankind will appear physically embodied in this boy or girl.” We could not do this because we must be true. Yet, one who perceives what is happening cannot but regard these latest proceedings as the final grotesque outcome of the dilettante comparison of religions that can also be put forward so easily, and that continually repeats what should be taken as a matter of course, the tritest of all sayings: “All religions contain the same essence.”

The last weeks and months have shown — and my speaking here on this significant subject has shown it again — that a circle of people can be found at the present time who are ready to seek spiritual truths. We have no other concern than to put these truths forward, though many, or even everyone, may leave us. If so, it will make no difference in the way the spiritual truths are here proclaimed. The sacred obligation to truth will guide that movement that underlies this cycle of lectures. Whoever would go with us must do so under the conditions that have now become necessary. It is certainly more convenient to proceed otherwise, not entering into another side of the matter as we do by pointing out the reality in all things. But that also is part of our obligation to truth. It is simpler to inform people of the equality and unity of religions, or tell them they are to wait for the incarnation of a Savior who is predestined, whom they are to recognize not by themselves but on someone's authority.

Human souls today will themselves have to decide how far a spiritual movement can be carried on and upheld by pure devotion to the ideal of truthfulness. In our time it had to come to that sharp cleavage, whose climax was reached when those who had no other desire than to set forth what is true and genuine in evolution were described as Jesuits. This was a convenient way of separating, but the external evidence was the work of objective falsehood. This cycle of lectures may once more have shown you that we have been working out of no one-sided tendency, since it comprises the present, the past, and the primal past in order to reveal the unique, fundamental impulse of human evolution. So I too may say that it fills me with the deepest satisfaction to have been able to give these lectures here before you. This shows me there is hope because there are souls here who have the impulse, the urge, toward that which works also in the supersensible with nothing but simple honest truthfulness.

I was forced to add this final word to these lectures, for it is necessary in view of all that has happened to us in the course of time down to the point of being excluded from the Theosophical Society. Considering all we have suffered, and all that is now being falsely asserted in numerous pamphlets, it was necessary to say something, although a discussion of these matters is always painful to me.

Those who desire to work with us must know that we have taken for our banner the humble, yet unconditional, honest striving for truth — striving ever upward into the higher worlds.


Image: from The Isenheim Altar by Gottfried Richter

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