Thursday, January 31, 2013

The human being: a chalice glowing with inner light

Rudolf Steiner: Egyptian Myths and Mysteries, Lecture 5, The Genesis of the Trinity of Sun, Moon, and Earth. Osiris and Typhon. September 7, 1908

"In the fullness of the light lived still higher beings also: the Powers, or Exusiai, or Spirits of Form; the Virtues, or Dynameis, or Spirits of Motion; the Dominions, or Kyriotetes, or Spirits of Wisdom; those spirits who are called the Thrones, or Spirits of Will; finally, in looser connection with the fullness of the light, more and more detaching themselves therefrom, the Cherubim and Seraphim. The Earth was a world inhabited by a whole hierarchy of lower and higher beings, all sublime. What radiated out into space as light, the light with which the Earth-body was permeated, was not light only but also what was later the mission of the Earth: It was the force of love. This contained the light as its most important component. We must imagine that not only light was rayed forth, not physical light alone, but that this light was ensouled, inspirited, by the force of love. This is difficult for the modern mind to grasp. There are people today who describe the Sun as though it were a gaseous ball that simply radiates light. Such a purely material conception of the Sun prevails exclusively today. The occultists are the only exception. One who reads a description of the Sun today as it is represented in popular books, in the books that are the spiritual nourishment of countless people, does not learn to know the true being of the Sun. What these books say about the Sun is worth about as much as if one described a corpse as the true being of man. The corpse is no more man than what astrophysics says of the Sun is really the Sun.
     Just as one who describes a corpse leaves out the most important thing about man, so the physicist who describes the Sun today leaves out the most important thing. He does not reach its essence, although he may believe that with the help of spectroanalysis he has found its inner elements. What is described is only the outer body of the Sun. In every sunbeam there streams down on all the inhabitants of the Earth the force of those higher beings who live on the Sun, and in the light of the Sun there descends the force of love, which here on Earth streams from man to man, from heart to heart. The Sun can never send mere physical light to Earth; the warmest, most ardent, feeling of love is invisibly present in the sunlight. With the sunlight there stream to Earth the forces of the Thrones, the Cherubim, the Seraphim, and the whole hierarchy of higher beings who inhabit the Sun and have no need of any body other than the light. But since all this that is present in the Sun today was at that time still united with the Earth, those higher beings themselves were also united with the Earth. Even today they are connected with Earth evolution.
     We must reflect that man, the lowest of the higher beings, was at that time already present in the germ as the new child of the Earth, borne and nourished in the womb by these divine beings. The man who lived in the period of Earth evolution that we are now considering had to have a much more refined body, since he was still in the womb of these beings. The clairvoyant consciousness perceives that the body of the man of that time consisted only of a fine mist-form or vapor-form; it was a body of air or gas, a gas-body rayed through and entirely permeated by light. If we imagine a cloud formed with some regularity, a chalice-like formation expanding in an upward direction, the chalice glowing with inner light, we have the men of that time who, for the first time in this Earth-evolution, began to have a dim consciousness, such a consciousness as the plant-world has today. These men were not like plants in the modern sense. They were cloud-masses in chalice-like form, illuminated and warmed by the light, with no firm boundaries dividing them from the collective Earth-mass."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Healthy Social Life

Not I, but Christ in me

                                           "The healthy social life is found

                                            When in the mirror of each human soul

                                            The whole community finds its reflection

                                            And when in the community

                                            The virtue of each one is living."

                                                                     - Rudolf Steiner

The Foundation Stone: Christ: The Being of Love

Rudolf Steiner [June 10, 1912]:
"If I am to give a name to the help that the pupil in occultism needs today in order that he may not forget the thought of the I when he ascends into the supersensible world, there is but one expression I can use, and that is being together with the Christ Impulse on Earth. That is what helps! In present-day conditions of Earth evolution everything depends at this point on what sort of a relation a person has had with the Christ Impulse during his life on Earth, and in what measure he has let It become alive in him. On this depends whether the thought of the I is lost in forgetfulness when a person ascends into the supersensible world, or whether it remains with him as the one and only sure support that he can take over with him from Earth into the supersensible world."

"When we enter into that divine condition which is in a state of balance, a state of ever-repeated balance between the luciferic and the ahrimanic, and when we grasp this in its deepest essence, we then realize--if we look correctly--that wherever the influence of Lucifer is not and wherever the influence of Ahriman is not, that is where there exists what comes from the progressive divine spirituality which is linked to the evolution of humanity. If, in the realms into which the luciferic constantly streams and into which the ahrimanic constantly streams, we look toward the divine that holds the balance, we find there pure love as the fundamental force of everything that streams continuously, forming the human being outwardly, and giving him soul and spirit inwardly. This fundamental force is pure love. In its substance and in its being, and insofar as it is the cosmos of the human being, the universe consists of pure love, it is nothing other than pure love. In the part of the divine that is associated with the human being we find nothing except pure love. This love is something inward; souls can experience it inwardly. It would never achieve an outward appearance if it did not first build itself a body out of the etheric element of light. When we observe the world in a genuinely occult manner we cannot help but say to ourselves: The ground of the world is the being of inward love appearing outwardly as light."

--Rudolf Steiner, lecture of 19 September 1924, in The Book of Revelation and the Work of the Priest, p. 210. Blackboard drawing by Rudolf Steiner.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jesus: Krishna, Redeemed by Christ. Focus lecture for tomorrow's meeting of the Rudolf Steiner Study Circle

"The return of the prodigal son" by Rembrandt

The Bhagavad Gita and the Epistles of Paul. Lecture 5 of 5.
A lecture given by Rudolf Steiner on New Year's Day, 1913
100 years ago today:

During this course of lectures we have brought before our souls two remarkable documents of humanity, although necessarily described very briefly on account of the limited number of lectures; and we have seen what impulses had to flow into the evolution of mankind in order that these two significant documents, the sublime Gita and the Epistles of St. Paul, might come into existence. What is important for us to grasp is the essential difference between the whole spirit of the Gita and that of the Epistles of St. Paul. As we have already said: in the Gita we have the teachings that Krishna was able to give to his pupil Arjuna. Such teachings can only be given and should only be given to one person individually, for they are in reality exactly what they appear in the Gita: teachings of an intimate nature. On the other hand, it may be said that they are now within the reach of anyone, because they appear in the Gita. This naturally was not the case at the time the Gita was composed. They did not then reach all ears; they were then only communicated by word of mouth. In those old days teachers were careful to ascertain the maturity of the pupil to whom they were about to communicate such teachings; they always made sure of his being ready for them. In our time this is no longer possible as regards all the teachings and instructions which have in some way come openly to light. We are living in an age in which the spiritual life is in a certain sense public. Not that there is no longer any occult science in our day, but it cannot be considered occult simply because it is not printed or spread abroad. There is plenty of occult science even in our day. The scientific teaching of Fichte, for instance, although everyone can procure it in printed form, is really a secret teaching; and finally Hegel's philosophy is also a secret doctrine, for it is very little known and has indeed many reasons in it for remaining a secret teaching; and this is the case with many things in our day. The scientific teaching of Fichte and the philosophy of Hegel have a very simple method of remaining secret doctrine, in that they are written in such a way that most people do not understand them, and fall asleep if they read the first pages. In that way the subject itself remains a secret doctrine, and this is the case in our own age with a great deal which many people think they know. They do not know it; thus these things remain secret doctrine; and, in reality, such things as are to be found in the Gita also remain secret doctrine, although they may be made known in the widest circles by means of printing. For while one person who takes up the Gita today sees in it great and mighty revelations about the evolution of man's own inner being, another will only see in it an interesting poem; to him all the perceptions and feelings expressed in the Gita are mere trivialities. For let no one think that he has really made what is in the Gita his own, although he may be able to express in the words of the Gita itself what is contained in it, but which may itself be far removed from his comprehension. Thus the greatness of the subject itself is in many respects a protection against its becoming common. What is certain is that the teachings which are poetically worked out in the Gita are such that each one must follow, must experience, them for himself, if through them he wishes to rise in his soul and finally experience the meeting with the Lord of Yoga, with Krishna. It is therefore an individual matter; something which the great Teacher addresses to one individual alone.

It is a different thing when we consider the contents of the Epistles of St. Paul from this point of view. There we see that all is for the community, all is matter appealing to the many. For if we fix our attention upon the innermost core of the essence of the Krishna-teaching we must say: What one experiences through this teaching, one experiences for oneself alone, in the strictest seclusion of one's own soul, and one can only have the meeting with Krishna as a lonely soul-wanderer, after one has found the way back to the original revelations and experiences of mankind. That which Krishna can give must be given to each individual.

This is not the case with the revelation given to the world through the Christ Impulse. From the beginning the Christ Impulse was intended for all humanity, and the Mystery of Golgotha was not consummated as an act for the individual soul alone; but we must think of the whole of mankind from the very beginning to the very end of the Earth's evolution, and realize that what happened at Golgotha was for all humans. It is to the greatest possible extent a matter for the community in general. Therefore the style of the Epistles of St. Paul, apart from all that has already been characterized, must be quite different from the style of the sublime Gita.

Let us once more picture clearly the relationship between Krishna and Arjuna. He gives his pupil unequivocal directions as Lord of Yoga as to how he can rise in his soul in order to attain the vision of Krishna. Let us compare with this an especially pregnant passage in the Pauline Epistles, in which a community turns to St. Paul and asks him whether this or that was true, whether this could be considered as giving the right views about what he had taught. In the instructions which St. Paul gives we find a passage which may certainly be compared in greatness, even in artistic style, with what we find in the sublime Gita; but at the same time we find quite a different tone, we find everything spoken from quite a different soul-feeling. It is where St. Paul writes to the Corinthians of how the different human gifts to be found in a group of people must work in cooperation. To Arjuna, Krishna says “Thou must be so and so, thou must do this or that, then wilt thou rise stage by stage in thy soul-life.” To his Corinthians St. Paul says: “One of you has this gift, another that, a third another; and if these work harmoniously together, as do the members of the human body, the result is spiritually a whole which can be permeated with the Christ.” Thus through the subject itself St. Paul addresses himself to men who work together, that is to say, to a multitude; and he uses an important opportunity to do this: namely, when the gift of the so-called speaking with tongues comes under consideration.

What is this speaking with tongues that we find spoken of in St. Paul's Epistles? It is neither more nor less than a survival of old spiritual gifts, which, in a renewed way, but with full human consciousness, confront us again at the present time. For when, among our initiation methods, we speak of Inspiration, it is understood that a man who attains to Inspiration in our age does so with a clear consciousness; just as he brings a clear consciousness to bear upon his powers of understanding and his sensory realizations. But in olden times this was different; then such a man spoke as an instrument of high spiritual beings who made use of his organs to express higher things through his speech. He might sometimes say things which he himself could not understand at all. Thus revelations from the spiritual worlds were given which were not necessarily understood by him who was used as an instrument — and just that was the case in Corinth. The situation had there arisen of a number of persons having this gift of tongues. They were then able to make this or that prediction from the spiritual worlds. Now, when a man possesses such gifts everything he is able to reveal by their means is under all circumstances a revelation from the spiritual world, yet it may nevertheless be the case that one man may say this and another that, for spiritual sources are manifold, One may be inspired from one source and another from another, and thus it may happen that the revelations do not correspond. Complete harmony can be found only when these worlds are entered in full consciousness. Therefore St. Paul gives the following admonition: “Some there are who can speak with tongues, others who can interpret the words spoken. They should work together as do the right and left hands, and we should not only listen to those who speak with tongues but also to those who have not that gift but who can expound and understand what someone is able to bring down from the spiritual sphere.” Here again St. Paul was urging the question of a community which might be founded through the united working of men. In connection with this very speaking with tongues St. Paul gave that address which, as I have said, is in certain respects so wonderful that in its might it may well compare, though in a different way, with the revelations of the Gita. He says (1 Cor. 12:3-31): “As regards the spiritually gifted brethren, I will not leave you without instructions. You know that in the time of your heathendom it was to dumb idols that you were blindly led by desire. Wherefore I make clear to you: that just as little as one speaking in the Spirit of God says: Accursed be Jesus; so little can a man call Him Lord but through the Holy Spirit. Now there are diversities of gracious gifts, but there is one Spirit. There are diversities in the guidance of mankind, but there is one Lord. There are differences in the force which individual men possess; but there is one God Who works in all these forces. But to every man is given the manifestation of the Spirit, as much as he can profit by it. So to one is given the word of prophecy, to another the word of knowledge; others are spirits who live in faith; again others have the gift of healing, others the gift of prophecy, others have the gift of seeing into men's characters, others that of speaking different tongues, and to others again is given the interpretation of tongues; but in all these worketh one and the same Spirit, apportioning to each one what is due to him. For as the body is one and hath many members, yet all the members together form one body, so also is it with Christ. For through the Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jew or Greek, bond or free, and have all been imbued with one spirit; so also the body is not made of one but of many members. If the foot were to say: Because I am not the hand therefore I do not belong to the body, it would nonetheless belong to it. And if the ear were to say: Because I am not the eye I do not belong to the body, nonetheless does it belong to the body. If the whole body were only an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were a sense of hearing, where would be the power of smell? But now hath God set each one of the members in the body where it seemed good to Him. If there were only one member, where would the body be? But now there are truly many members, but there is only one body. The eye may not say to the hand: I do not require thee! nor the head to the feet: I have no need of you; rather those which appear to be the feeble members of the body are necessary, and those which we consider mean prove themselves to be especially important. God has put the body together and has recognized the importance of the unimportant members that there should be no division in the body, but that all the members should work harmoniously together and should care for one another. And if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, and if one member prosper, all the members rejoice with it. But ye,” said St. Paul to his Corinthians, “are the Body of Christ, and are severally the members thereof. And some God hath set in the community as apostles, others as prophets, a third part as teachers, a fourth as miraculous healers, a fifth for other activities in helping, a sixth for the administration of the community, and a seventh He set aside to speak with tongues. Shall all men be prophets, shall all men be apostles, shall all be teachers, all healers, shall all speak with tongues, or shall all interpret? Therefore it is right for all the gifts to work together, but the more numerous they are the better.”

Then Paul speaks of the force that can prevail in the individual but also in the community, and that holds all the separate members together, as the strength of the body holds the separate members of the body together. Krishna says nothing more beautiful to one man than St. Paul spoke to humanity in its different members. Then he speaks of the Christ Power, which holds the different members together just as the body holds its different members together; and the force that can live in one individual as the life-force in every one of his limbs, and yet lives also in a whole community; that is described by St. Paul in powerful words: “Nevertheless I will show you,” says he, “the way that is higher than all else. If I could speak with tongues of men of or angels and have not love, my speech is but as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal; and if I could prophesy and reveal all secrets and communicate all the knowledge in the world, and if I had all the faith that could remove mountains themselves and had not love, it would all be nothing. And if I distributed every spiritual gift, yea, if I gave my body itself to be burnt, but were lacking in love, it would all be in vain. Love endures ever. Love is kind. Love knows not envy. Love knows not boasting, knows not pride. Love injures not what is decorous, seeks not her own advantage, does not let herself be provoked, bears no one any malice, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices only in truth. Love envelops all, streams through all beliefs, hopes all things, practices toleration everywhere. Love, if it exists, can never be lost. Prophesies vanish when they are fulfilled; what is spoken with tongues ceases when it can no longer speak to human hearts; what is known ceases when the subject of knowledge is exhausted; for we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away with. When I was a child I spoke as a child, I felt as a child; when I became a man, the world of childhood was past. Now we only see dark outlines in a mirror, but then we shall see the spirit face to face; now is my knowledge in part, but then I shall know completely, even as I myself am known. Now abides Faith, the certainty of Hope, and Love; but Love is the greatest of these, hence Love is above all. For if you could have all spiritual gifts, whoever himself understands prophecy must also strive after love; for whoever speaks with tongues speaks not among men, he speaks among Gods. No one understands him, because in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” We see how St. Paul understands the nature of speaking with tongues. His meaning is: The speaker with tongues is transported into the spiritual worlds; he speaks among Gods. Whoever prophesies speaks to men to build up, to warn, to comfort; he who speaks with tongues, to a certain extent satisfies himself; he who prophesies builds up the community. If you all attain to speaking with tongues, it is yet more important that you should prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, for he who speaks with tongues must first understand his own speaking, in order that the community should do so. Supposing that I came to you as a speaker with tongues; of what use should I be to you if I did not tell you what my speaking signifies as prophecy, teaching, and revelation? My speaking would be like a flute or a zither of which one could not clearly distinguish the sounds. How could one distinguish the playing of either the zither or of the flute if they did not give forth distinct sounds? And if the trumpet gave forth an indistinct sound, who would arm himself to battle? So it is with you; if you cannot connect a distinct language with the tongue-speaking, it is all merely spoken into the air.

All this shows us that the different spiritual gifts must be divided among the community, and that the members as individuals must work together. With this we come to the point at which the revelation of Paul, through the moment in human evolution in which it appears, must differ absolutely from that of Krishna. The Krishna revelation is directed to one individual, but in reality applies to every man if he is ripe to tread the upward path prescribed to him by the Lord of Yoga; we are more and more reminded of the primeval ages of mankind, to which we always, according to the Krishna teaching, return in spirit. At that time men were less individualized; one could assume that for each man the same teaching and directions would be suitable. St. Paul confronted mankind when individuals were becoming differentiated, when they really had to become differentiated, each one with his special capacity, his own special gift. One could then no longer reckon on being able to pour the same thing into each different soul; one had then to point to that which is invisible and rules over all. This, which lives in no man as a separate individual, although it may be within each one, is the Christ Impulse. The Christ Impulse, again, is something like a new group soul of humanity, but one that must be consciously sought for by men.

To make this clearer, let us picture to ourselves how, for instance, a number of Krishna students are to be distinguished in the spiritual worlds from a number of those who have been moved in the deepest part of their being by the Christ Impulse. The Krishna pupils have every one of them been stirred by one and the same impulse, which has been given them by the Lord of Yoga. In spiritual life each one of these is like the other. The same instructions have been given to them all. But those who have been moved by the Christ Impulse are each, when disembodied and in the spiritual world, possessed of their own particular individuality, their own distinct spiritual forces. Therefore even in the spiritual world one man may go in one direction and one in another; and the leader of both, the One Who pours Himself into the soul of each one, no matter how individualized he may be, is the Christ, Who is in the soul of each one and at the same time soars above them all. So we still have a differentiated community even when the souls are discarnate; while the souls of the Krishna pupils, when they have received instructions from the Lord of Yoga, are as one unit. The object of human evolution, however, is that souls should become more and more differentiated.

Therefore it was necessary that Krishna should speak in a different way. He really speaks to his pupils just as he does in the Gita. But St. Paul must speak differently. He really speaks to each individual, and it is a question of individual development whether, according to the degree of his maturity, a man remains at a certain stage of his incarnation at a standstill in exoteric life, or whether he is able to enter the esoteric life and raise himself into esoteric Christianity. We can go further and further in the Christian life and attain the utmost esoteric heights; but we must start from something different from what we start from in the Krishna teaching. In the Krishna teaching you start from the point you have reached as man, and raise the soul individually, as a separate being; in Christianity, before you attempt to go further along the path you must have gained a connection with the Christ Impulse, feeling in the first place that this transcends all else. The spiritual path to Krishna can only be trodden by one who receives instructions from Krishna; the spiritual path to Christ can be trodden by anyone, for Christ brought the mystery for all men who feel drawn toward it. That, however, is something external, accomplished on the physical plane; the first step is, therefore, taken on the physical plane. That is the essential thing.

Truly one need not, if one looks into the world-historical importance of the Christ Impulse, begin by belonging to this or that Christian denomination; on the contrary one can, just in our time, even start from an anti-Christian standpoint, or from one of indifference toward Christ. Yet if one goes deeply into the spiritual life of our own age, examining the contradictions and follies of materialism, perhaps one may genuinely be led to Christ even though to begin with one may not have belonged to any particular creed. Therefore when it is said outside our circle that we are starting from a peculiar Christian denomination, this must be regarded as a special calumny; for it is not a matter of starting from any denomination, but that in response to the demands of the spiritual life itself, everyone, be he Muslim or Buddhist, Jew or Hindu, or Christian, shall be able to understand the Christ Impulse in its whole significance for the evolution of mankind. This desire we can see deeply penetrating the whole view and presentation of St. Paul, and in this respect he is absolutely the one who sets the tone for the first proclamation of the Christ Impulse to the world.

As we have described how Sankhya philosophy concerns itself with the changing forms, with that which appertains to Prakriti, we may also say that St. Paul, in all that underlies his profound Epistles, deals with Purusha, that which pertains to the soul. What the soul is to become, the destiny of the soul, how throughout the whole evolution of mankind it evolves in manifold ways, concerning all this St. Paul gives us quite definite and profound conclusions.

There is a fundamental difference between what Eastern thought was still able to give us and what we find at once with such wonderful clearness in St. Paul. We pointed out yesterday that, according to Krishna, everything depended on man's finding his way out of the changing forms. But Prakriti remains outside, as something foreign to the soul. All the striving in this Eastern method of development and even in the Eastern initiation tends to free one from material existence, from that which is spread outside in nature; for that, according to the Veda philosophy, is merely maya. Everything external is maya, and to be free from maya is Yoga. We have pointed out how in the Gita it is expected of man that he shall become free from all he does and accomplishes, from what he wills and thinks, from what he likes and enjoys, and in his soul shall triumph over everything external. The work that man accomplishes should equally fall away from him, and thus resting within himself, he shall find satisfaction. Thus he who wishes to develop according to the Krishna teaching aspires to become something like a Paramahansa, that is to say, a high initiate who leaves all material existence behind him, who triumphs over all he has himself accomplished by his actions in this world of sense, and lives a purely spiritual existence, having so overcome what belongs to the senses that he no longer thirsts for reincarnation, that he has nothing more to do with what filled his life and at which he worked in this sense-world. Thus it is the issuing forth from this maya, the triumphing over it, which meets us everywhere in the Gita.

With St. Paul it is not so. If he had met with these Eastern teachings, something in the depth of his soul would have caused the following words to come forth: “Yes, thou wishest to rise above all that surrounds thee outside, from that also which thou formerly accomplished there! Dost thou wish to leave all that behind thee? Is not then all that the work of God, is not everything above which thou wishest to lift thyself created by the Divine Spirit? In despising that, art thou not despising the work of God? Does not the revelation of God's Spirit dwell everywhere within it? Didst thou not at first seek to represent God in thine own work, in love and faith and devotion, and now desirest thou to triumph over what is the work of God?”

It would be well, my dear friends, if we were to inscribe these words of St. Paul — which though unspoken were felt in the depths of his soul — deeply into our own souls; for they express an important part of what we know as Western revelation. In the Pauline sense, we too speak of the maya which surrounds us. We certainly say: We are surrounded by maya. But we also say: Is there not spiritual revelation in this maya, is it not all divine spiritual work? Is it not blasphemy to fail to understand that there is divine spiritual work in all things?

Now arises the other question: Why is that maya there? Why do we see maya around us? The West does not stop at the question as to whether all is maya: it inquires as to the wherefore of maya. Then follows an answer that leads us into the center of the soul — into Purusha. Because the soul once came under the power of Lucifer it sees everything through the veil of maya and spreads the veil of maya over everything. Is it the fault of objectivity that we see maya? No. To us as souls objectivity would appear in all its truth if we had not come under the power of Lucifer. It only appears to us as maya because we are not capable of seeing down into the foundations of what is spread out there. That comes from the soul's having come under the power of Lucifer; it is not the fault of the Gods, it is the fault of our own soul. Thou, O soul, hast made the world a maya to thyself, because thou hast fallen into the power of Lucifer.

From the highest spiritual grasp of this formula, down to the words of Goethe: “The senses do not deceive, but the judgment deceives,” is one straight line. The Philistines and zealots may fight against Goethe and his Christianity as much as they like; he might nevertheless say that he is one of the most Christian of men, for in the depths of his being he thought as a Christian, even in that very formula: “The senses do not deceive, but the judgment deceives.” It is the soul's own fault that what it sees appears as maya and not as truth. So that which in Orientalism appears simply as an act of the Gods themselves is diverted into the depths of the human soul, where the great struggle with Lucifer takes place.

Thus Orientalism, if we consider it aright, is in a certain sense materialism, in that it does not recognize the spirituality of maya, and wishes to rise above matter. That which pulses through the Epistles of St. Paul is a doctrine of the soul, although only existing in germ and therefore capable of being so mistaken and misunderstood as in our Tamas-time, but it will in the future be visibly spread out over the whole Earth. This, concerning the peculiar nature of maya, will have to be understood; for only then can one understand the full depth of that which is the object of the progress of human evolution. Then only does one understand what St. Paul means when he speaks of the first Adam, who succumbed to Lucifer in his soul, and who was therefore more and more entangled in matter — which means nothing else than this: ensnared in a false experiencing of matter. As God's creation, external matter is good: what takes place there is good. But what the soul experiences in the course of human evolution became more and more evil, because in the beginning the soul fell into the power of Lucifer.

Therefore St. Paul called Christ the Second Adam, for He came into the world untempted by Lucifer, and therefore He can be a guide and friend to men's souls, who can lead them away from Lucifer, that is, into the right relationship to Him. St. Paul could not tell mankind at that time all that he as an initiate knew; but if we allow his Epistles to work on us we shall see that there is more in their depths than they express externally. That is because St. Paul spoke to a community, and had to reckon with the understanding of that community. That is why in certain of his Epistles there seem to be absolute contradictions. But one who can plunge down into the depths finds everywhere the impulse of the Christ Being.

Let us here remember, my dear friends, how we ourselves have represented the coming into existence of the Mystery of Golgotha. As time went on we recognized that there were two different stories of the youth, of Christ Jesus, in the Gospel of St. Matthew and that of St. Luke, because in reality there are two Jesus boys in question. We have seen that externally — after the flesh, according to St. Paul, which means through physical descent — both Jesus boys descended from the stock of David; that one came from the line of Nathan and the other from that of Solomon; that thus there were two Jesus boys born at about the same time. In the one Jesus child, that of St. Matthew's Gospel, we find Zarathustra reincarnated: and we have emphatically stated that in the other Jesus child, the one described by St. Luke, there was no such human ego as is usually to be found, and certainly not as the one existing in the other Jesus child, in whom lived such a highly evolved ego as that of Zarathustra. In the Luke Jesus there actually lives that part of man that has not entered into human evolution on the Earth. [See also Steiner's The Spiritual Guidance of Mankind; The Gospel of St. Luke; The Gospel of St. Matthew.]

It is rather difficult to form a right conception of this, but we must just try to think how, so to speak, the soul that was incarnated in Adam, he who may be described as Adam in the sense of my book Occult Science, succumbed to Lucifer's temptation, symbolically described in the Bible as the Fall of Man in Paradise. We must picture this. Then we must picture further that side by side with that human soul nature which incarnated in Adam's body there was a human part, a human being, that remained behind and did not then incarnate, that did not enter a physical body, but remained “pure soul.” You need only now picture how, before a physical man arose in the evolution of humanity, there was one soul, which then divided itself into two parts. The one part, the one descendant of the common soul, incarnated in Adam and thus entered into the line of incarnations, succumbed to Lucifer, and so on. As to the other soul, the sister-soul, as it were, the wise rulers of the world saw beforehand that it would not be good that this too should be embodied; it was kept back in the soul world; it did not therefore take part in the incarnations of humanity, but was kept back. With this soul none but the initiates of the Mysteries had intercourse.

During the evolution preceding the Mystery of Golgotha this soul did not, therefore, take into itself the experience of an ego, for this can only be obtained by incarnating in a human body. Nonetheless, it had all the wisdom that could have been attained through the Saturn, Sun, and Moon periods, it possessed all the love of which a human soul is capable. This soul remained blameless, as it were, of all the guilt that a man can acquire in the course of his incarnations in human evolution. It could not be met with as a human being externally; but it could be perceived by the old clairvoyants, and was recognized by them; they encountered it, so to say, in the Mysteries. Thus, here we have a soul, one might say, that was within, but yet above, the evolution of mankind, that could at first only be perceived in the spirit; a pre-man, a true super-man.

It was this soul which, instead of an ego, was incarnated in the Jesus child of St. Luke's Gospel. You will remember the lectures at Basle; this fact was already given out there. We have therefore to do with a soul that is only ego-like, one that naturally acts as an ego when it permeates the body of Jesus, but which in all it displays is yet quite different from an ordinary ego. I have already mentioned the fact that the boy of St. Luke's Gospel spoke a language understood by his mother as soon as he came into the world, and other facts of similar nature were to he observed in him.

Then we know that the Matthew Jesus, in whom lived the Zarathustra ego, grew up until his twelfth year, and the Luke child also grew up, possessing no particular human knowledge or science, but bearing the divine wisdom and the divine power of sacrifice within him. Thus the Luke Jesus grew up not being particularly gifted for what can be learnt externally. We know further that the body of the Matthew Jesus was forsaken by the Zarathustra ego, and that in the twelfth year of the Luke Jesus his body was taken possession of by that same Zarathustra ego. That is the moment referred to when it is related of the twelve-year-old Jesus of Luke's Gospel that when his parents lost him he stood teaching before the wise men of the Temple.

We know further that this Luke Jesus bore the Zarathustra ego within him up to his thirtieth year; that the Zarathustra ego then left the body of the Luke Jesus, and all its sheaths were taken possession of by Christ, a superhuman being of the higher Hierarchies, Who only could live in a human body at all inasmuch as a body was offered Him which had first been permeated up to its twelfth year with the pre-human Wisdom-forces, and the pre-human divine Love-forces, and was then permeated through and through by all that the Zarathustra ego had acquired through many incarnations by means of initiation. In no other way, perhaps, could one so well obtain the right respect, the right reverence — in short, the right feeling altogether — for the Christ Being as by trying to understand what sort of a body was needed for this Christ Ego to be able to enter humanity at all.

Many people consider that in this presentation, given out of the holy Mysteries of the newer age about the Christ Being, He is thus made to appear less intimate and human than the Christ Jesus so many have honored in the way in which He is generally represented — familiar, near to man, incarnate in an ordinary human body in which nothing like a Zarathustra ego lived. It is brought as a reproach against our teaching that Christ Jesus is here represented as composed of forces drawn from all regions of the cosmos.

Such reproaches proceed only from the indolence of human perception and human feeling which is unwilling to raise itself to the true heights of perception and feeling. The greatest of all must be so grasped by us that our souls have to make the supremest possible efforts to attain the inner intensity of perception and feeling necessary to bring the Greatest, the Highest, at all near to our soul. Our first feelings will thus be raised higher still, if we do but consider them in this light.

We know one other thing besides. We know how we have to understand the words of the Gospel: “Divine forces are being revealed in the Heights, and peace will spread among men of goodwill.” We know that this message of peace and love resounded when the Luke Jesus appeared, because Buddha intermingled with the astral body of the Luke Jesus; Buddha, who had already lived in a being who went through his last incarnation as Gautama Buddha and had risen to complete spirituality. So that in the astral body of the Luke Jesus, Buddha revealed himself, as he had progressed up to the occurrence of the Mystery of Golgotha on Earth.

Thus we have the Being of Christ Jesus presented before us in a way only now possible to mankind from the basis of occult science. St. Paul, although an initiate, was compelled to speak in concepts more easily understood at that time; he could not then have assumed a humanity able to understand such concepts as we have brought before your hearts today. His inspiration, however, was derived from his initiation, which came about as an act of grace. Because he did not attain this through regular schooling in the old Mysteries, but by grace on the road to Damascus when the risen Christ appeared to him, therefore I call this initiation one brought about by grace. But he experienced this Damascus Vision in such a way that by means of it he knew that He Who arose in the Mystery of Golgotha lives in the sphere of this Earth and has been attached to it since that Event. He recognized the risen Christ. From that time on he proclaimed Him.

Why was he able to see Him in the particular way he did? At this point we must enter somewhat into the nature of such a vision, such a manifestation, as that of Damascus: for it was a vision, a manifestation, of a quite peculiar kind. Only those people who never wish to learn anything of occult facts consider all visions as being of one kind. They will not distinguish such an occurrence as the vision of St. Paul from many other visions such as appeared to the saints later. What really was the reason that St. Paul could recognize Christ as he did when He appeared to him on the way to Damascus? Why did the certain conviction come to him that this was the risen Christ? This question leads us back to another one: What was necessary in order that the whole Christ Being should be able completely to enter into Jesus of Nazareth, at the baptism by John in the Jordan? Now, we have just said what was necessary to prepare the body into which the Christ Being could descend. But what was necessary in order that the Arisen One could appear in such a densified soul form as he appeared in to St. Paul? What, then, so to speak, was that halo of light in which Christ appeared to St. Paul before Damascus? What was it? Whence was it taken?

If we wish to answer these questions, my dear friends, we must add a few finishing touches to what I have already said. I have told you that there was, as it were, a sister-soul to the Adam-soul, to that soul which entered into the sequence of human generations. This sister-soul remained in the soul world. It was this sister-soul that was incarnated in the Luke Jesus.

But it was not then incarnated for the first time in a human body in the strictest sense of the words: it had already been once incarnated prophetically. This soul had already been made use of formerly as a messenger of the holy Mysteries; it was, so to say, cherished and cultivated in the Mysteries, and was sent whenever anything specially important to man was taking place; but it could only appear as a vision in the etheric body, and could only be perceived, strictly speaking, as long as the old clairvoyance remained. In earlier ages that still existed. Therefore this old sister-soul of Adam had no need at that time to descend as far as the physical body in order to be seen. So it actually appeared on Earth repeatedly in human evolution: sent forth by the impulses of the Mysteries at all times when important things were to take place in the evolution of the Earth; but it did not require to incarnate in ancient times, because clairvoyance was there.

The first time it needed to incarnate was when the old clairvoyance was to be overcome through the transition of human evolution from the third to the fourth post-Atlantean age, of which we spoke yesterday. Then, by way of compensation, it took on an incarnation, in order to be able to express itself at the time when clairvoyance no longer existed. The only time this sister-soul of Adam was compelled to appear and to become physically visible, it was incorporated, so to speak, in Krishna; and then it was incorporated again in the Luke Jesus.

So now we can understand how it was that Krishna spoke in such a superhuman manner, why he is the best teacher for the human ego, why he represents, so to speak, a victory over the ego, why he appears so psychically sublime. It is because he appears as human being at that sublime moment which we brought before our souls in the lecture before last, as Man not yet descended into human incarnations. He then appears again, to be embodied in the Luke Jesus.

Hence that perfection that came about when the most significant world-conceptions of Asia, the ego of Zarathustra and the spirit of Krishna, were united in the twelve-year-old Jesus described by St. Luke. He who spoke to the learned men in the Temple was therefore not only Zarathustra speaking as an ego, but one who spoke from those sources from which Krishna at one time drew Yoga; he spoke of Yoga raised a stage higher; he united himself with the Krishna force, with Krishna himself, in order to continue to grow until his thirtieth year. Then only have we that complete, perfected body which could be taken possession of by the Christ. Thus do the spiritual currents of humanity flow together. So that in what happened at the Mystery of Golgotha we really have a cooperation of the most important leaders of mankind, a synthesis of spirit-life.

When St. Paul had his vision before Damascus, He Who appeared to him then was the Christ. The halo of light in which Christ was enveloped was Krishna. And because Christ has taken Krishna for His own soul-covering through which He then works on further, therefore in the light which shone there, in Christ Himself, there is all that was once upon a time contained in the sublime Gita. We find much of that old Krishna-teaching, although scattered about, in the New Testament revelations.

This old Krishna-teaching has on that account become a personal matter to the whole of mankind, because Christ is not as such a human ego belonging to mankind, but to the Higher Hierarchies. Thus Christ belongs also to those times when man was not yet separated from that which now surrounds him as material existence, and which is veiled to him in maya through his own Luciferic temptation. If we glance back over the whole of evolution we shall find that in those olden times there was not yet that strict division between the spiritual and the material; material was then still spiritual, and the spiritual — if we may say so — still manifested itself externally. Thus because in the Christ Impulse something entered into mankind which completely prevented such a strict separation as we find in Sankhya philosophy between Purusha and Prakriti, Christ becomes the Leader of men out of themselves and toward the divine creation.

Must we then say that we must unconditionally give up maya now that we recognize that it seems to be given us through our own fault? No, for that would be blaspheming the spirit in the world; that would be assigning to matter properties which we ourselves have imposed upon it with the veil of maya. Let us rather hope that when we have overcome in ourselves that which caused matter to become maya, we may again be reconciled with the world.

For do we not hear resounding out of the world around us that it is a creation of the Elohim, and that on the last day of creation they considered: And behold, all was very good? That would be the karma to be fulfilled if there were nothing but Krishna-teaching (for there is nothing in the world that does not fulfil its karma). If in all eternity there had been only the teaching of Krishna, then the material existence which surrounds us, the manifestation of God of which the Elohim at the starting-point of evolution said: “Behold all was very good,” would encounter the judgment of men: “It is not good, I must abandon it!” The judgment of man would be placed above the judgment of God. We must learn to understand the words which stand as a mystery at the outset of evolution; we must not set the judgment of man above the judgment of God. If all and everything that could cling to us in the way of guilt were to fall away from us, and yet that one fault remained, that we slandered the work of the Elohim, the Earth-karma would have to be fulfilled; in the future everything would have to fall upon us and karma would have to fulfil itself thus.

In order that this should not happen, Christ appeared in the world, so to reconcile us with the world that we may learn to overcome Lucifer's tempting forces, and learn to penetrate the veil; that we may see the divine revelation in its true form; that we may find the Christ as the Reconciler, Who will lead us to the true form of the divine revelation, so that through Him we may learn to understand the primeval words: “And behold, it is very good.” In order that we may learn to ascribe to ourselves that which we may never again dare to ascribe to the world, we need Christ; for if all our other sins could be taken away from us, yet this sin could be removed only by Him. This, transformed into a moral feeling, is a newer side of the Christ Impulse. It shows us at the same time why the necessity arose for the Christ Impulse as the higher soul to envelop itself in the Krishna Impulse.

An exposition such as I have given you in this course, my dear friends, should not be taken as mere theory, merely as a number of thoughts and ideas to be absorbed; it should be taken as a sort of New Year's gift, a gift which should influence our New Year, and from now on it should work as that which we can perceive through the understanding of the Christ Impulse, in so far as this helps us to understand the words of the Elohim, which resound down to us from the starting point, from the very primeval beginning, of the creation of our Earth.

And look upon the intention of this course at the same time as the starting point of our Anthroposophical spiritual stream. This must be Anthroposophical because by means of it it will be more and more recognized how man can in himself attain to self-knowledge. He cannot yet attain to complete self-knowledge, not yet can Anthropos attain to knowledge of Anthropos, man to the knowledge of man, so long as this man can consider what he has to carry out in his own soul as an affair to be played out between him and external nature. That the world should appear to us to be immersed in matter is a thing the Gods have prepared for us, it is an affair of our own souls, a question of higher self-knowledge; it is something that man must himself recognize in his own manhood, it is a question of Anthroposophy, by means of which we can come to the perception of what theosophy may become to mankind.

It should be a feeling of the greatest modesty which impels a man to belong to the Anthroposophical movement; a modesty which says: If I want to spring over that which is an affair of the human soul and to take at once the highest step into the divine, humility may very easily vanish from me, and pride step in, in its place; vanity may easily install itself. May the Anthroposophical Society also be a starting point in this higher moral sphere; above all, may it avoid all that has so easily crept into the theosophical movement in the way of pride, vanity, ambition, and want of earnestness in receiving that which is the highest Wisdom. May the Anthroposophical Society avoid all this because from its very starting point it has already considered that the settlement with maya is an affair for the human soul itself.

One should feel that the Anthroposophical Society ought to be the result of the profoundest human modesty. For out of this modesty should well up deep earnestness as regards the sacred truths into which it will penetrate if we betake ourselves into this sphere of the supersensible, of the spiritual. Let us therefore understand the adoption of the name “Anthroposophical Society” in true modesty, in true humility, saying to ourselves: Let all that remains of that pride and lack of modesty, vanity, ambition, and untruthfulness that played a part under the name of Theosophy be eradicated, if now, under the sign and device of modesty, we begin humbly to look up to the Gods and divine wisdom, and on the other hand dutifully to study man and human wisdom, if we reverently approach Spiritual Science and dutifully devote ourselves to Anthroposophy.

This Anthroposophy will lead to the divine and to the Gods if by its help we learn in the highest sense to look humbly and truthfully into our own selves and see how we must struggle against all maya and error through self-training and the severest self-discipline. Then, as written on a bronze tablet, may there stand above us the word: Anthroposophy! Let that be an exhortation to us, that above all we should seek through it to acquire self-knowledge, modesty, and in this way endeavor to erect a building founded upon truth, for truth can only blossom if self-knowledge lays hold of the human soul in deep earnestness.

What is the origin of all vanity, of all untruth? The want of self-knowledge. From what alone can truth spring, from what can true reverence for divine worlds and divine wisdom alone come? From true self-knowledge, self-training, self-discipline. Therefore may that which shall stream and pulsate through the Anthroposophical movement serve that purpose.

For these reasons this particular course of lectures has been given at the starting point of the Anthroposophical movement, and it should prove that there is no question of narrowness, but that precisely through our movement we can extend our horizon over those distances which comprise Eastern thought also.

But let us take this humbly in self-educative anthroposophical fashion, by creating the will within us to discipline and train ourselves. If Anthroposophy, my dear friends, be taken up among you in this way, it will then lead to a beneficial end and will attain a goal that can extend to each individual and every human society for their welfare.

So let these words be spoken which shall be the last of this course of lectures, but something of which perhaps many in the coming days will take away with them in their souls, so that it may bear fruit within our Anthroposophical movement, within which you, my dear friends, have, so to speak, met together for the first time. May we ever so meet together in the sign of Anthroposophy that we have the right to call upon words with which we shall now conclude, words of humility and of self-knowledge, which we should now at this moment place as an ideal before our souls.


"He must increase; I must decrease." — John 3:30

Ex Deo Nascimur In Christo Morimur Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

Monday, January 28, 2013

Eminently Emerson

“Character is that which can do without success.” — Emerson

Related post:

The Being of Christ; Zarathustra; the differering viewpoints of the four Gospels

The Gospel of Matthew. Lecture 12 of 12.
Rudolf Steiner, September 12, 1910:

Studying the evolution of mankind in accordance with spiritual science, and watching its progress step by step, we are bound to acknowledge that the most important fact of this evolution is that man, because he incarnates again and again in different epochs, advances to ever higher degrees of perfection, and thus gradually reaches the goal where he has developed, in his inner being, certain active powers corresponding to the different stages of planetary development. We see, on one hand, the man who progresses upward, who keeps his divine goal before him, but who would never be able to evolve to the heights he should attain if beings whose whole path of evolution is different did not come to his assistance. From time to time beings from other spheres enter our earthly evolution and unite with it, so as to raise men to their own exalted realms. Even as regards earlier planetary conditions we may express this in a wide sense by saying: Already during the Saturn stage of evolution, exalted beings — the Thrones — offered up their will-substance so that from it the earliest beginnings of man's physical body might be formed. This is but a general example; but beings whose evolution is far in advance of that of men have ever bent down to them and united with their evolution, by dwelling for a time within a human soul. Such beings have ‘assumed a human form’ as is often said, or to put it more trivially, have entered a human soul as an inspiring power, so that a human being who has been ensouled in this way by a god might accomplish more in human evolution than he could otherwise have done.

Our age, permeated as it is with materialistic conceptions, leveling everything, does not accept such facts willingly; indeed I might say that it retains only the crudest notion of accepting the descent of beings from higher regions, beings who enter into man and speak to him. Modern people regard such beliefs as the wildest superstition. Rudiments of such beliefs have, however, remained to our day, though people are for the most part unaware that they hold them; they have retained, for instance, a belief in the occasional appearance of persons of ‘genius.’ Men of genius rise high above the great mass of mankind even in the opinion of ordinary individuals, who say of such persons: Other qualities have come to fruition in their souls than are to be found in average humanity. Such ‘geniuses’ are at least still credited. But there are also circles where there is no longer such belief; the materialistic thought of today discredits them, it has no belief in facts concerning the life of the spirit: Belief in genius does, however, continue in wide circles, and if this is not to be an empty belief we must acknowledge that in a genius through whom human evolution has been advanced, a power other than the ordinary power of men works through a human agency. Looking to the teaching that knows the true facts concerning men of genius, one realizes that when such men appear who seem as if suddenly possessed by something extraordinarily good, or great, or powerful, that a spiritual power has descended and taken possession of the place from which this being of power must now work, namely, the inner nature of the man himself.

To people who think in accordance with Anthroposophy it should be clear from the beginning that there are two possibilities: the upward evolution of men to spiritual heights; and the descent from above of divine, spiritual beings into human bodies or human souls.

In one part of my Rosicrucian Mystery Play it is pointed out that whenever something important is to take place in human evolution a divine being must unite with a human soul and permeate it. This is a necessity of human evolution.

To understand this in connection with our spiritual evolution on Earth, we must recall how in the time of its early beginnings the Earth was united with the Sun, from which it is now separated. Anthroposophists know, of course, that this does not refer merely to a separation of the substance of the Earth from the substance of the Sun, but with the going forth of divine beings who were associated with the Sun or with the other planets. After this separation of the Sun, certain spiritual beings remained connected with the Earth, while others remained with the Sun, because they had evolved beyond earthly connections and could not complete their further cosmic evolution on the Earth. Thus we have the fact that one kind of spiritual being remained connected with the Earth, while other spiritual beings sent their active forces down to Earth from the Sun. After the departure of the Sun from the Earth we have, as it were, two spheres of activity: that of the Earth with its beings, and that of the Sun with its beings. The spiritual beings who served mankind from a higher sphere are those who chose the Sun as their dwelling-place, and from this realm come the beings who have united themselves from time to time with earthly humanity so that they might aid the further evolution — both of Earth and of man.

In the myths of various peoples we constantly find reference to such ‘Sun-heroes’ who have descended from spiritual realms to participate in human evolution; and a man who is filled by such a Sun-being is something far more than from outward seeming he would appear to be. The outward appearance of such a man is deceptive — it is maya; but behind the maya is the real being who can only be guessed at by those who can penetrate to the profoundest depths of such a nature. In the Mysteries people knew, and still know, of this twofold fact concerning the path of human evolution. People distinguish now, as they distinguished in the past, divine beings who descend to Earth from spiritual spheres, and men who strive upward from the Earth toward initiation into spiritual mysteries.
With what kind of being then are we concerned in the Christ?

In the last lecture we learnt that in the designation ‘Christ, the Son of the living God’ we are concerned with a descending being. If we wish to describe Him by a word drawn from Oriental philosophy He would be called ‘an avatar,’ a God who had descended. But we have only to do with such a descending being from a certain moment; and we must accept what is described by all four evangelists, by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as such an appearance. At the moment of the Baptism of John, a being descended to our Earth from the realms of Sun-existence and united with a human being. Now, we have to realize clearly that according to the meaning of the four evangelists this Sun-being was greater than any other avatar, than any other Sun-being who up to that time had ever come to Earth. They, therefore, take trouble to explain that a specially prepared being had to advance from the side of humanity to meet this great descending being.

All four Gospels, therefore, tell of the Sun-being — the ‘Son of the living God’ — who came toward men to aid their further progress; but only the Gospels of Matthew and Luke speak of the man who evolved toward this Sun-being so that he might receive Him into himself. They narrate how the human being for thirty years prepares for the moment when he can receive the Sun-being into himself. Because the being we call the Christ is so universal, so all-comprising, it did not suffice that the bodily sheaths that were to receive Him should be prepared in any simple way. A quite specially prepared physical and etheric sheath had to evolve, meet for the reception of this descending being. Whence these came we have seen in the course of our study of the Matthew Gospel. But out of this same being whose physical and etheric sheath had been prepared in accordance with the teaching of Matthew, out of the forty-two generations of the Hebrew people, there could not spring an astral garment or a bearer of the ego suited to that Sun-being. For this, special arrangements were necessary, and these were carried out by means of another human being. This being we read of in the Gospel of Luke, where the writer of that Gospel describes the early years of the so-called Nathan Jesus. There we read of how the two became one.

This mystery occurred when the ego-entity, forsaking the body of the twelve-year-old Jesus of whom the writer of the Gospel of Matthew tells, namely, the Zarathustra individuality, passed into the Nathan Jesus of the Gospel of Luke. In this body he continued to dwell, carrying on in it the further development of those qualities acquired through his having assumed the physical and etheric sheaths of the Jesus of the Gospel of Matthew. In this body his higher principles ripened, until in his thirtieth year they were ready for the reception of the mighty being who descended into them from higher worlds.

When seeking to describe the whole course of these events as related in the Gospel of Matthew we should have to say that the writer first directs his attention to answering the question: What kind of physical and etheric body could serve such a being as the Christ for His life on Earth? And because of what the writer had experienced he could answer: In order that a suitable physical and etheric body could be prepared it was necessary that they should pass through forty-two generations of the Hebrew people so that the attributes laid down in Abraham might be fully developed. He could then continue to answer the question further by telling us: Such a physical and etheric body could only provide a fitting instrument if the greatest individuality humanity had so far produced for the comprehension of the Christ—that is the Zarathustra individuality — made use of them up to his twelfth year, at which time he had to leave this body and enter another. This was the body of the Jesus of whom the writer of the Gospel of Luke tells. From this point, the writer of the Gospel of Matthew, turning from that to which he had given his attention at first, deals exclusively with the Jesus of whom we read in the Gospel of Luke, and follows the life of Zarathustra until his thirtieth year. The moment had then come when the astral body and ego-bearer had been so far evolved by Zarathustra that he could sacrifice them to the mighty being — the great Sun-spirit — who descended from spiritual spheres and took possession of them. This was the moment of the baptism by John in the Jordan.

If we recall once more the time when the Earth was separated from the Sun, and the beings whose supreme leader is the Christ withdrew from the Earth, we must say: There were beings who let their influences spread gradually over the Earth, just as the Christ, in the course of time, has allowed His influence to be felt on Earth. But we must not forget something else, which is that the nature of ancient Saturn as regards substantiality was relatively much simpler than that of the planetary bodies that arose later. It consisted of fire or warmth; there was neither air nor water there, neither was there light-ether. This light-ether came with the Sun-evolution. Then, when later this passed over into the Moon-evolution, the watery element appeared as a further densification, on one hand, and sound or tone-ether as a further refinement on the other. Solid substance was added to these during the evolution of the Earth; this condition arose as a further densification; life-ether being added at the same time as a further refinement. We have therefore on the Earth: warmth, air or gaseous substance, water or fluid substance, and solids or earthly substance. Opposed to these as finer conditions we have light-ether, tone-ether, and life-ether, this last being the finest etheric condition known to us.

Now with the departure of the Sun from the Earth, not only the material part of the Sun left but the spiritual part left also. It was only later, and by degrees, that this returned to the Earth, and it did not return entirely. I spoke of this at Munich when lecturing on the Six Days of Creation, so I will only touch on it here.

Of the higher etheric substances, man is only aware of warmth and light-ether. What he perceives as ‘sound’ is but a reflection, a materialization, of the real tone that is in tone-ether. When tone-ether is spoken of we refer to the bearer of what is known as ‘the harmony of the spheres,’ and is only to be heard clairaudiently. The Sun certainly sends its light to the Earth, in so far as this is physical, but a higher condition also lives in the Sun. People who know of these things do not speak in empty phrases when with Goethe they say:—

‘The sun-orb sings, in emulation,
Mid brother-spheres, his ancient round:
His path predestined through Creation,
He ends with step of thunder-sound.’
FAUST — Prologue in Heaven.

This refers to sphere-harmony, to that which lives in the sound-ether, and can only be heard by man when he has attained initiation, or when a Sun-being descends in order to hold intercourse with one who has been chosen to become an instrument for the further evolution of others. For such a one the Sun begins to resound, and the sphere-harmonies to be heard.

Above the tone-ether lies the life-ether. Just as the ‘word’ lies within mere tone, as something possessing an inward soul-like content, so associated with the meaning of the life-ether is that which in later Persian times was called ‘Honover.’ The writer of the Gospel of John calls this the ‘Logos,’ which as meaning-filled tone belongs to the being of the Sun.

Among those blessed ones whose nature did not remain entirely deaf to this ‘resounding Sun’ we have to reckon Zarathustra, who lived in the early part of our post-Atlantean civilization. It is no myth, but a fact that can be proved documentarily, that Zarathustra received instruction through the ‘Sun-word.’ He had become capable of hearing this. For what was the overwhelmingly majestic teaching given by the original Zarathustra to his pupils?

We might describe it thus: Zarathustra was an instrument through whom the sound, the meaning, of the Sun-Word itself spoke. A Persian legend tells how the ‘Sun-Word’ spoke by the mouth of Zarathustra, how the secret or hidden word behind the Sun spoke through him. This legend, in referring to the astral body of the Sun, speaks of ‘Ahura Mazdao,’ but also of the ‘Sun-word,’ translated later into Greek as the ‘Logos.’

When thinking of this ancient Zarathustra, we realize that even so exalted a person could not in those early times have been initiated so as consciously to receive what he could afterwards pass on to others, but that he must have been ensouled by a higher being.

Zarathustra could teach of Ahura Mazdao, because the Aura of the Sun enfolded him, because the Spiritual-Being, Ahura Mazdao, resounded in him, because the World-Light — the great Aura — spoke through him. He was, as it were, the external bodily garment of the Sun-god, who thus sent His influence in advance down to man, though not as yet on Earth Himself. At that time the Sun-word was more inward.

It might be said — speaking altogether in the sense of Zarathustra — that he taught his disciples: ‘You must understand that behind the physical sunlight there is a spiritual light; just as behind physical man there is something astral — his aura — so behind the Sun there is the “Great Aura”. You must regard the physical Sun as the light-body of a being who will one day come to Earth; it is the external bodily form of something known to clairvoyant perception, and has an inner soul-nature within it. Just as the soul expresses itself in sound, so the Sun-word — the Logos — makes itself known by means of the Sun-Aura!’

Zarathustra gave to mankind the promise that one day the Light-being would come down from the spheres of the Great Aura, and that the soul of this being would be the Sun-word. This is something we find for the first time in Zarathustra; it is the source from which his teaching springs. In it we have to see a prophetic wisdom, which tells of the coming of the Sun-aura and the Sun-word.

This teaching continued to live from epoch to epoch in the Mysteries. It was the great consolation and hope of those who within human evolution longed for higher things. And the less exalted Sun-spirits, those associated with the Earth, were able ever and again to give more precise teaching concerning the Spirit of the Sun-light, or Sun-aura, for they were really messengers of the Sun-word.

This was one side of the Mystery tradition that passed down through the ages. The other side was that men should learn to know, and by practice should be able to evolve upward to meet, that which was to descend to Earth. In pre-Christian times it was not yet possible for men to believe that without something further a feeble individual could evolve to meet the Sun-being, the Leader of the Hosts of the Sun, the Christ. It was not possible for anyone to attain this by any form of initiation. Hence the Gospel of Matthew describes how all the life-giving forces of the Hebrew people were called upon to produce such a man. On the other hand the Gospel of Luke explains how through seventy-seven successive stages the best that human nature could attain to was, as one might say, filtered, in order that a fitting body might evolve to meet the greatest being Who was to come down to the Earth.

In the Mysteries, as was natural, the men who had to be instructed, who had to be worked on, were ordinary feeble men, and were quite unable to grasp what it was that now faced humanity or that might be attained by single individuals. Therefore those who were to be initiated were graded into different classes, and they approached the secrets of the Mysteries in different ways. Some, for instance, were taught more how men should live in the external world, what they ought to do there in order to fit themselves to become a temple for the descending Sun-being.

There were other pupils of the Mysteries who were instructed more in what was to evolve in the stillness of the soul if it wished to gain an understanding, a feeling for and perception of the Sun-spirit. Is it not natural that there should have been certain pupils whose task it was so to direct their outer lives, so to be trained from childhood, that their bodies became temples for the descending Spirit? This was the case in olden times; it is also the case to a certain extent today, but the ordinary materialistic consciousness passes it by.

Suppose the time drew nigh when some great being was to descend from spiritual realms to give humanity a forward impulse in evolution.

Those who serve the Mysteries have to await such a moment; they have to interpret the signs of the times. In quiet and retirement, and without making any disturbance, they awaited the moment when a God was to come down to Earth to give an upward impulse to humanity. It was their duty also to watch humanity carefully, to see if among men there were any who could be trained and guided to fit them to receive such a being into themselves. When the descending being is of exceptional greatness such a man would have to be trained and prepared from earliest childhood that he might be a temple fit to receive Him. This also happens, and is also unnoticed. If the life of these men is described, it is found that they follow certain fundamental rules; even in outer concerns there is a certain resemblance in their lives. When we glance back over the course of human evolution we have to allow that here and there we find individuals whose lives take a similar course—even as regards external biographical facts. This cannot be denied, and has even been remarked on by those carrying out more recent research. Popular but not very profound works have been produced lately showing similarities in the lives of such persons. In the writings of Prof. Jensen (Marburg) you find, for instance, comparisons between the lives of the ancient Babylonian Gilgamesch, Moses, Jesus, and Paul. The tables are beautifully drawn up; he takes certain incidents from the lives of these individuals and compares them, with the result that quite wonderful resemblances are revealed, puzzling to the materialistic mind. The conclusions drawn are natural: it is stated that in these biographies one myth is copied from the others, that the writers of the life of Jesus copied the biography of Gilgamesch, that the story of the life of Moses is but an old epic, served up in a new form, and the final conclusion arrived at is: none of them has existed as a physical personality, not Moses, nor Jesus, nor Paul. People have no idea how far these so-called ‘researches’ lead them in respect of materialistic explanations.

Similarity of this kind in the biographies of great individuals rests on nothing more than the fact that in childhood they were already trained to become the bearers of a divine being; this causes no astonishment when we understand the deeper-lying paths of human and universal evolution. Not only comparisons with mythology, but all those searchings after similarities in regard to mythical sources is, in fact, fantasy. It leads nowhere. What does it benefit us to prove resemblances in the life of Siegfried to some Greek hero? They do certainly contain similarities. But the appearance of a house is not what matters, but who lives in it! It matters not that such and such things occurred in the life of Siegfried, but who the individuality was that dwelt in him.

Such things can, however, only be established with the help of occult research. What we have to bear in mind is that the lives of men who were to become fitting temples for higher beings coming to the aid of humanity were guided in a special way, and that their lives show therefore a similar course as regards certain fundamental features.

In the temples of the Mysteries there have always been precepts regarding what had to come about with such men. Similar precepts were preserved by the association of the Essenes concerning Christ Jesus, telling what the nature of those human beings had to be who as the Solomon Jesus and the Nathan Jesus evolved upward toward the great Sun-being, the Christ.

But those seeking initiation were not initiated into everything. There were different classes and degrees of initiates. Thus to some it was shown with special clearness what a man had to undergo who was evolving toward the God, so that he might be worthy to receive the God into himself. To others it was given to know how a God acted when He revealed Himself in a man; or to put it trivially, when he revealed Himself as a ‘genius.’ It is not generally remarked today that genius is apt to reveal itself in similar ways when appearing in different people. Nowadays people do not write biographies from out the spirit. If the genius of Goethe were to be described from the aspect of the spirit, a wonderful similarity would be found for instance between his genius and that of Dante, Homer, and Aeschylus. People do not now write biographies, but stick placards and tickets on a person and repeat all kinds of trivialities concerning the person's external life, which interests most people much more. So we are presented with a vast accumulation of ticketed rubbish concerning the life of Goethe, but not a real account of what Goethe actually was. Mankind today declares itself to be in some respects, and actually with pride, incapable of describing the evolution of genius in a human personality. There is a desire today to bring to light the earliest efforts of our great poets, stressing the fact that in the freshness and originality of their early works something elemental lived which is lost to the man in later life. But the real fact underlying this is that in their arrogance men only wish to understand the young poet, and not to take part in all he goes through in later life. Men pride themselves on the fact that they understand ‘youth’; they trouble little about the ‘old,’ and have no idea that it is not the old who have become ‘old,’ but that they themselves have remained mere children.

This evil is widely spread. Seeing it is so deeply rooted, we need not wonder at the little understanding there is of the fact that a divine being can enter into a human personality, and that the life-course of such divine beings in any person and in any age must be fundamentally the same.

As there was necessarily much to be learnt as regards these profound relationships, this domain of knowledge was divided into classes. In a certain division of the Mysteries, teaching was given concerning the preparation of a man so that he might rise towards a divine being, whereas in others teaching was given concerning the descent of the inner Light-being, the Logos, the Sun-word, contained in the Aura of the Sun-being. In Christ we see this gradual descent in its most complex form. We need not wonder if more than four men had been needed for the understanding of these mighty facts; four, however, took it as their task. Two of these, the writers of the Gospels of Matthew and of Luke, undertook to relate the nature of the personality who grew toward the descending Sun-being — Matthew telling of this in respect of the physical and etheric bodies, Luke in respect of the astral-body and the bearer of the ego.

Mark on the other hand does not concern himself with that which advanced toward the Sun-being, but tells us of the Sun-Aura, the great body of light, the Spiritual Light whose power and activity streamed through space and was active within the form of Christ Jesus. He therefore begins his Gospel with the Baptism of John, when the Light of the World came down to Earth. In the Gospel of John we are told of the soul of this Sun-spirit — of the Logos or Sun-word — its most inward essence. This is why the Gospel of John is the most inward of all the Gospels. The facts are distributed, and the complicated nature of Christ Jesus described from four different sides. All the four evangelists tell of the Christ in Jesus of Nazareth, but each of them feels constrained to keep to the point from which he makes his start, the point concerning which he first attained clairvoyance so that he might be able to describe this very complicated being.

It is well that we should review this once more, so that it may really penetrate the soul. Matthew's attention is directed to the birth of the Jesus of the Solomon line; he describes the development of the forces of the physical and etheric bodies, and tells how these sheaths were later discarded by Zarathustra, and how he passed on to the Jesus of the Nathan line all he had acquired while in the physical and etheric body of the Solomon Jesus. Matthew has then to trace further what he does not describe at the beginning, the fate of all that which as qualities and consequences had passed over from the Solomon Jesus to the Nathan Jesus. His attention is not so much directed to what was elemental in the nature of the astral body and ego-bearer of the Nathan Jesus, but to that which had been passed on to him from his own, the Solomon Jesus. And as he describes the Sun-being Who came from above, he is mainly concerned with telling of the qualities that could only be possessed by Jesus because he had an etheric and astral body that had been built up by the Solomon Jesus. These qualities could naturally be remarked in the Christ, for they were there, but that part of Christ Jesus which had attracted his attention from the first, he continues to describe most exactly, for this was for him the most important.

The writer of the Gospel of Mark tells from the first of the great descending Sun-spirit; he describes no earthly being; that which walked the Earth in human form provided for him only the means by which the nature of the Spirit that worked within it might be revealed. He draws our attention to the facts that appeal most to him, namely, the way in which the forces of the Sun-spirit worked. Hence many of the things related in the Gospels of Matthew and of Mark are the same, but they are told from different points of view. The first describes more the character of the sheaths, showing especially how qualities which were apparent in later years had already been present in early youth, and describing these so that we see how they worked. The writer of the Gospel of Mark, on the other hand, only makes use of the physical Jesus in order to reveal to us the earthly activities of the Sun-spirit. This he does to the smallest detail. If you wish really to understand the Gospels in these details you must bear in mind that the evangelists fixed their attention on that which had attracted them from the beginning

Hence the writer of the Gospel of Luke keeps his eyes fixed on what is important to him, namely, the astral body and the bearer of the ego. What Christ Jesus experienced as a physical person does not interest him so much, but rather the feelings and perceptions of the astral body and the ego-bearer. All tenderness and compassion come from the astral body, and Christ Jesus could only be the being of compassion He was, because He possessed the astral body of the Nathan Jesus. So this writer draws attention from the first to the compassion of Christ Jesus, and all the things He could accomplish because He bore within Him this special astral body.

The writer of the Gospel of John turns his attention to the most exalted Power working on Earth — the inner force of the Sun-Spirit, brought down through the instrumentality of Jesus. Neither does the physical life interest him particularly, but he looks to the Highest, to the pure Sun-Logos; the physical Jesus is for him only the means by which he can trace the relationship of the Sun-Logos to man. That which attracts his attention in the beginning, holds it to the end.

When we look on sleeping humanity we see our external sheaths, our physical and etheric bodies. In these two members live all the forces that have come to us from divine beings who, through mi1lions and millions of years, have worked at erecting this temple of the physical body. In this temple we have lived since Lemurian times, and have defiled it ever more and more. It was constructed for us originally during the Saturn, Sun, and Moon ages of evolution. In it divine beings have lived and worked constructively. Looking at our physical body we can say: This is a temple provided for us by the gods — gods who have constructed this temple for us out of solid substance. And in the ether body we have that which contains the finer substances of our being; we are only unable to see these because through the influences of Lucifer and Ahriman we have become incapable of doing so. In this ether body lives also that which appertains to the Sun; in it resound the actively formative Sphere-harmonies which the gods perceive behind all purely physical nature. So of the ether body we can say: Exalted beings live in it, Gods that are closely related to the Sun-Spirits.

In this way we must regard our physical and etheric bodies as the most perfect members of our being. When we have forsaken them in sleep, when they slip from us, they are at once filled with the life and activity of divine beings.

The writer of the Gospel of Matthew keeps the physical body of Christ Jesus before him as his main object through all the Gospel, as it was his main object from the first. The materially physical body, however, no longer existed — this had been given up in its twelfth year — but the divine part — its forces — passed over into the other physical body, that of the Nathan Jesus. The reason why the physical body of Jesus of Nazareth was so perfect was that he had filled it with the forces he derived from the body of the Solomon Jesus.

Let us now try to picture in what way the writer of this Gospel regarded the Jesus dying on the cross. He had always kept his attention fixed on that which it was his special mission to describe, that of which he tells in the beginning; but now the spiritual part forsakes the physical body, and what is godlike departs with it. So the attention of the writer of the Gospel is directed to the separation of the inner being of Christ Jesus from this Divinity in His physical nature. And the ancient cry which was always heard in the Mysteries when the spiritual nature of a man forsook his physical body to gaze into spiritual worlds — ‘My God, my God, how hast thou glorified me!’ — is altered by Matthew; so that with his attention fixed on the physical body he says, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!’ ‘Thou has gone from me! This is what he exclaims. It is on this ‘forsaking’ that the writer of the Gospel of Matthew fixes his attention at this moment.

The author of the Gospel of Mark, on the other hand, describes the approach of the external forces of the Sun-Aura, and tells how the Sun-Aura, the body of the Sun-Being, unites with the etheric body. This etheric body is in the same situation as ours when we sleep. As our external powers go forth from us when we sleep, so they went forth from Jesus at His physical death. Hence we find the same cry in the Gospel of Mark.

The writer of the Gospel of Luke also directs his attention at the death of Christ Jesus to that which claimed it in the beginning: to the astral body and ego-bearer. Therefore he does not make use of the same words. His attention is directed mainly to other facts, to facts connected with the astral body, which at this moment attained its climax of compassion and love. Hence he renders the cry as ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!’

This is an expression of tenderness that could only come from such an astral body as the writer of the Gospel of Luke directs our attention to from the first; and the highest development of humility and devotion resulting from this is what claims his attention at the last. Therefore he gives the last words of Christ Jesus as ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit!’

John tells us of what, though certainly derived from the Earth, was to be realized by man in the ordering of the Earth, the meaning of earthly organization as it is contained in the Sun-Word. His attention is, therefore, directed mainly to what, as organization, was accomplished from the Cross on Golgotha. He describes to us how at this moment the Christ establishes a higher brotherhood than that of blood-relationship. The former brotherhood arose through the blood. Mary was the mother of the child according to the blood. But that which was to unite soul with soul in love was inaugurated by Christ Jesus.

He gave to the disciple whom He loved not his mother according to the blood, but He gave to him his true mother in Spirit. Thus, renewing old bonds which had been lost to humanity, the words heard from the Cross come down to us in a new sense: ‘Behold thy Son!’ and ‘Behold thy Mother!’

That which as organizing quality lay here at the foundation of a new kind of fellowship is contained in the Life-ether, which organizes life, and which streamed into the Earth in the Deed of Christ. Thus, behind all that the evangelists tell us, we have a single act — the Deed of Christ; but each tells of it from the point of view which he took up from the beginning. The reason is that each of the evangelists was absorbed in what his clairvoyant vision revealed to him and which he was fitted to receive; the rest passed him by. We now realize that this all-comprehensive event, which is described to us from four sides, is not full of contradictions. Once we are able to gather these different points of view into one we learn to understand it just because it is so described. It then also seems quite natural that the confession of Peter, with which we dealt in the last lecture, is only found in the Gospel of Matthew, and not in the others.

Mark describes the Christ as the Sun-Force, as a universal cosmic force at work in the world, which is now to work in a new way. It is the majestic power of the Sun-Aura in its elemental activity of which he tells. Luke, in speaking of the inner nature of Christ Jesus, describes preferably the astral body, the single human individual, man as he lives in himself; for it is in the astral-body that man lives in himself, here in his deepest individuality: here he develops within his inner self. Man does not form fellowships primarily by means of his astral body; the community-building capacity by which he enters into relationship with other men appears in the etheric body. Luke has, therefore, no inclination to tell us of the founding of any fellowship. Neither has the writer of the Gospel of John, who describes to us the ego-being. But Matthew, who describes Christ Jesus as man, has special inducement to speak of those human relationships established by the God Who once and only once dwelt within a human form. He is constrained to lay special stress on the relationships, the fellowships that God, as man, was able to establish among men, a relationship which could be regarded as a ‘Community,’ as an association in which many dwell together. The human aspect of Christ Jesus is what he describes, because this was the aspect to which he turned his attention in the beginning, and he shows how Christ worked as man through the physical and etheric body he had assumed.

When we have gained an inner understanding of this, we find it natural that the expression which has stirred up so much controversy‘— Thou art Peter, and on this rock will I establish my community’ — could only be found in the Gospel of Matthew. When we look at all the discussions of modern theologians of most varied schools concerning these words, we really only find particular and unique reasons for accepting them or rejecting them; nowhere, however, do we find an understanding for their deeper meaning. Those who reject them do so because the external community of the Catholic Church upholds them; for the external organization of this church is founded on them. That they are misused in this sense is no proof that they were originally introduced to support the Catholic Church. Those who reject them do not really know what to bring forward against them, for they do not see the misinterpretations. These gentlemen are in a strange position. Some state that the Gospel of Mark is the original Gospel, that to it was then added those of Matthew and Luke, which, they say, are to some extent copied and enlarged from it, and that it had occurred to the writers of the Gospel of Matthew, and of Luke, to insert these words. They specially state this with regard to the Gospel of Matthew, because they say he wished to support the idea of the community by inserting the words: ‘Thou art Peter, on this rock I will found my community.’

In any case parts of the text are of little help in the rendering of certain passages, because it is impossible to say regarding some ancient texts that this or that is the word actually used; but as regards these words in the Gospel of Matthew it is a fact that they belong to what is most certain in it, for here we have no possible philological reason for doubt. Many sayings may be open to doubt in such complicated communications, but from the standpoint of philology no objections can be brought against these two statements ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,’ and the other, ‘Thou art Peter, on this rock will I build my community, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ No text exists to which objections can be made in respect of these sayings. Perhaps it was hoped that from texts more recently discovered some contradiction of these words might be found, but the passages to which I refer are not found in these texts, portions of which are very much perished.

This at least is the outcome of philological research. Naturally you must rely on what is reported by those who have seen these documents. Of this passage we can state that no other rendering of it is possible, and from the whole nature of the Gospel of Matthew we can well see that this must be so. Christ Jesus is here described as a man. Once we have this key we can understand the Gospel of Matthew and we can also understand the parables told by Christ Jesus to His disciples and to those who were outside his immediate circle.

In the last lecture we showed how man evolves upward from below until he unfolds the spiritual-soul like a blossom, until he has developed so far that the Christ-impulse comes to meet him.

The five principles of human nature which developed in man during the five epochs of civilization — the ether body, astral body, sentient-soul, rational-soul, and spiritual-soul — evolve upward from below. These can be so used, trained, and developed that they acquire what makes it possible for them — when the time is ripe — to be permeated by the Christ-impulse. In future ages all humanity will be able to develop so that they can participate in the Christ, but they must first develop fittingly these five principles of their being from below. If this is not done, if through succeeding incarnations they do not concern themselves with the development of these principles, then the Christ can come to them, but they cannot unite themselves with Him. They have no oil in their lamps These five principles may be left without oil. Those who have poured no oil into their lamps are represented very beautifully in the parable of ‘the five foolish virgins.’ Those who had not attended to their lamps in time could not unite themselves with Christ — but the other five who had put oil in their lamps could in the right hour do so.

All the parables founded on numbers are profoundly illuminating as regards the impulse brought by Christ to men.

Further, He makes it clear to those who regard His teaching outwardly, that many external thing must not be considered merely in a material sense, or in the most obvious way, but rather as symbols for something else. He wishes to point out to them the nature of their own thoughts. He asks for a coin, and showing them the likeness of Caesar imprinted on it, points out that something more is expressed by the coin than is merely contained in the metal, namely, its connection with a certain ruler, with a certain empire. ‘What in this belongs to Caesar, render to him; it is his, and is contained in his likeness on the coin, not in the metal itself.’ ‘But learn,’ He also wished to teach them, ‘to regard men, and what is in them, in a like manner, for they are the temples of the living God. Look on men as you would look on a coin: learn that in them you see the image of God; you will then know that they belong to God.’

All these parables have a much deeper meaning than the trivial one generally accepted. We learn this when we know that Christ did not make use of parables as is customary in the literature of the day. In making use of them He directs them to the whole nature of man, obliging people when they think them out to apply them to their whole nature, not to its separate parts. In this way He shows how, if they are to be shown that something is irrational, they must learn to pass with their thoughts from one realm to another.

For example, people have thought out all kinds of Sun myths in connection with Buddha, Christ, and others. It became at last too much for one person. He said therefore: ‘With these methods of applying myths and constellations to any great event, it is possible to do anything. If someone comes and points out that in the life of Christ we have a Sun myth, in order to show that Christ Jesus never lived, one can also assert by such methods that Napoleon never lived, and can easily prove it. We might say: In the name of Napoleon we have a rendering of “Apollo”, the initial “N” does not represent a negative in Greek but an intensification; hence Napoleon is N'Apollo — a kind of “Super-Apollo”. The resemblance can be carried still further by the individual who sets out to prove the non-existence of Jesus. A resemblance is found by the German Prof. Drews between the names Jesus, Joses, Jason, etc., etc. Marvelous connections can also be discovered between the name of Napoleon's mother, Letitia, and Leto, the mother of Apollo; further, that Apollo — the Sun — had twelve constellations around him; Napoleon had twelve Marshals, who are nothing more than symbolic expressions for the Zodiacal signs surrounding the Sun. It is not unimportant that the hero of the Napoleon myth had six brothers and sisters, he making the seventh, just as the planets are seven in number. Behold, therefore, Napoleon did not live!

This is a very clever satire on the symbolic explanations so frequently employed. Men never really learn, otherwise they would have known that according to these methods — which they even employ today — it would have been proved long since that Napoleon, for example, never lived. But humanity never learns, for according to the same methods it is proved again today that Jesus never lived.

Such things show how necessary it is that we should not approach what the Gospels have to tell concerning the greatest event in all the world, without preparation. We must realize also that it is exactly here that Anthroposophy may so easily go wrong. For even our movement is by no means free from playing with all kinds of symbolism drawn from the world of the stars.

I wished, therefore, especially in this cycle of lectures, where I have spoken of the greatest event in human evolution as having been revealed in the language of the stars, to point out the true way in which this language is employed when what is referred to is really understood.

With this preparation, let us approach the scene in which the Gospels culminate. I have already referred to the baptism and the history of the life and death of Christ Jesus as two stages of initiation. To this I have only to add that after He had led His disciples to.the point where they could perceive the going forth of the innermost being of a man into the macrocosm, where they could see beyond death, He accomplished a resurrection before them, but not in the trivial sense in which it is often understood. This took place absolutely as told in the Gospel of Matthew. Let us take the words just as they stand — and as clearly stated also in the Gospel of John — and understand that what Paul says is true when he tells us: Through what he had experienced on the way to Damascus, he had seen the Christ, as the Risen One!

Paul lays special stress on the fact that what was revealed to him was the same as was revealed to the other brethren, to the twelve, and to the five hundred also, at one time. The Christ was seen by him, as others saw him after the resurrection. This is amply indicated in the Gospels, where we read that Mary of Magdala, who had seen the Christ a few days before, seeing Him after the resurrection takes Him to be the gardener, for she finds no resemblance to Him she had known before. If He had really looked as He had a few days before, it would have been impossible for in this case it would have been an abnormal fact.

No one would believe you if you said that you could not recognize someone you had seen a few days before, if he reappeared in the same form a few days later. We have, therefore, to realize clearly that a change had in fact taken place. Reading the Gospels closely we arrive at the necessary conclusion that through all that had taken place in Palestine, through the Mystery of Golgotha, the eyes of the disciples had been opened, and that they were able to recognize the Christ as He was, as the Spirit penetrating, and working, through the whole world. They recognized Him for what He was, after He had given over His physical body to the Earth, and saw that He remained just as powerfully active for the Earth as He had been before.

All this is made amply clear to us in the Gospel of Matthew, in words perhaps the most remarkable to be found in any document. We are clearly shown that the writer of this Gospel desires to inform us: Christ appeared once upon a time in a human physical body, but this event is not merely an event, it is an Impulse — an Original Cause. It has results, it has an effect.

The Sun-Word or Sun-aura, of which Zarathustra once spoke as being outside the Earth, has through the life of Christ Jesus become united with the Earth, and has remained so. Before this, what was later united with the Earth was not so united with it.

It is fitting that we Anthroposophists should understand this fact. We then also understand that it was the risen Christ Who revealed Himself to the eyes of the disciples, now become clairvoyant, and showed them how as Spirit He was now interwoven with the Earth and could say to them: ‘Go forth and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all things whichsoever I commanded you! and lo! I am with you alway even unto the end of the Earth-age!’

It is the mission of spiritual science to help us to understand what was then beginning: that the aura of the Earth has been united with the Sun-Aura, and that it can be seen by those whose spiritual eyes are opened that this Sun-Aura, in the Earth-Aura, which was visible to Paul, can also be heard when our inward ears are opened to hear the Sun-word as it was heard by Lazarus, he who had been initiated by Christ Jesus Himself.

The purpose of spiritual science is to interpret these facts to us. It has also to interpret for us what has taken place with regard to the spiritual evolution of the world. In doing this, spiritual science actually establishes that which Christ Jesus desired to establish, and does so in the sense of the Gospel of Matthew.

There is one very beautiful saying in the Gospel of Matthew that is generally wrongly translated. The saying ‘I am not come down to remove peace from Earth, but to remove the sword.’ This most beautiful message of peace has unfortunately in the course of time been changed into its very opposite. In order gradually to deliver the Earth from that which brings strife and disharmony among men, the Christ-Being had impressed Himself — His own nature — on the spiritual life of the Earth. Spiritual science will establish peace when, in this sense, she has become so truly Christ-like that she unites all religions. She can then unite not only what is in our immediate neighborhood, but when the act of the greatest of all peacemakers is understood, she can establish peace over the whole Earth.

It is certainly not in accordance with the greatest peacemaker that fanatical people should go from one part of the Earth to another and impose a narrow Christian teaching on a people whose conditions make such a teaching unsuitable in the form it has taken among another people.

Great mistakes were made when teaching concerning Christ was carried over to the East in our time, and imposed on people here and there.

It has often been pointed out to you as Anthroposophists that the Christ does not belong only to Christians, that in reality the same being was referred to by Zarathustra when he spoke of Ahura Mazdao, and by the seven Indian Rishis when they spoke of Vishva Karman. We live in the West, and we know that it is Christ who is spoken of when in the East other words are used. We strive to understand the Christ so that this understanding is in accordance with human evolution — with the further progress of humanity. And we clearly realize that neither discernment nor revelation can give us information concerning Christ which turns men from Him, that only those things vouchsafe information to us concerning Him which consciously bear within them the living content of Christ Himself. And we know when we speak in the right way of Vishva Karman and Ahura Mazdao to those who deny Christ — when we do not force names on them — that they can attain of themselves to an understanding of the Christ. We do not wish to force the Christ on them in name; we realize clearly when we are not only Anthroposophists but Occultists that names mean little, that it is the being that matters. Were we convinced but for a moment that we could express the being who is in the Christ by any other name we would do so. What we are concerned with is the truth, not with our prejudices because of living in one corner of the Earth and belonging to one people. It must not be said of us that we understand the Christ through means not fitted to an understanding of Him, because outside His influence, this would be impossible for anyone. Christ can be found also by other nations, but He must be sought by means derived from Himself. People should not reproach Anthroposophists for wishing to study Christianity in forms not derived from Christianity itself. Christ can not be comprehended by Oriental names. He is not understood through them at all; such people look close past Him, thinking perhaps that they have seen Him.

What does it mean when people put forward the objection that we view Christ from a theosophical or Oriental standpoint? Have we to deny that the Christ came to us from the East? We have no such wish, but people seek in this way to force us to take the West to the East, and to form a conception of Christ in accordance with the East. This must not and cannot be, not from any aversion, but because Eastern ideas, which have a very ancient origin, cannot reach out to grasp the idea of Christ, and because the Christ can only be absolutely and entirely understood through that line of evolution into which first Abraham and then Moses entered. But the being of Zarathustra passed on into Moses, and we have to seek him there, to where his influence has extended.

Further, we must not seek Zarathustra in the ancient Zarathustrian literature, but where he reincorporated in Jesus of Nazareth! We must consider evolution!

In the same way we must not look for the Buddha as he was six hundred years before our era, but where the writer of the Gospel of Luke tells us he is to be found, where his light streamed from on high, after he had evolved from Bodhisattva to Buddha, and shone down into the astral body of the Jesus of the Gospel of Luke. Here the Buddha is to be found, and here we learn to know him in his further progress.

It can be seen from this how religions absolutely agree, and work together to bring about the advance of humanity. It is not a matter of preaching the tenets of Anthroposophy, but that we place them in a setting of living feeling — that we do not merely talk of tolerance and remain intolerant because we have a prejudice in favor of one religious system or another. We are only tolerant when we measure each with its own standards and understand each for itself.

It is certainly not our fault nor the fault of our special prejudices that many religious systems have apparently cooperated to bring Christianity about. In spiritual realms, where the great spiritual beings have worked, things have progressed in a different way from on Earth, where those who confess these various religions are active. Some of these earthly confessors, for example, summoned a conference in Tibet to establish an orthodox teaching in the name of Buddha at the very time when the actual Buddha had come down to inspire the astral body of the Jesus spoken of in the Gospel of Luke. So it always is. The confessors of a faith hold fast to that which has continued working on Earth; meanwhile divine beings have carried the work on further so that mankind may advance. Humanity makes most progress when men try to understand their Gods, when they try to advance with them. Such a thought ought to give us a living feeling, a living understanding, of what we glimpse in the different Gospels.

You have seen that in studying the three Gospels so far dealt with we have to recognize something different in each of them. When to these we shall have added the study of the Gospel of Mark we shall find that it reveals a very intimate knowledge of cosmology. Ahura Mazdao, who is active in all space, can be described in a right connection in this Gospel, just as the secret concerning the blood, concerning the connection of the individual with the race from which he has sprung, is described in the Gospel of Matthew.

Accept what I have ventured to describe in these lectures as one side of the great Christ event, and realize that far from everything has been said concerning it. The time is perhaps not yet come when all that might be said concerning this Great Mystery can be said, even in small circles such as ours. The best result that can come from the presentations of these facts is that we accept them not only with our understanding and intellect, but that we associate them with the innermost phases of our soul life—with the deepest feelings of our hearts — and there let them live on.

The words of the Gospels are words that, when we receive them into our hearts and really understand them, become powers — powers that fill us and develop a marvelous life-force within us. Today, when I have to say the final words in connection with this course of lectures on the Gospel of Matthew, I should like to say something I have frequently said before, and which I should like especially to associate with this humanly beautiful document of our Christian records — the Gospel of Matthew.

What strikes us most when reading the Gospel of Matthew, which from the very first brings before us the manhood of Christ Jesus?

Though recognizing the great difference between any other earthly man and that man who could receive the Christ, yet in all humility we would say that what strikes us most forcibly is the value of man, what he is worthy of. Then, although our nature is far far removed from that of the nature of Jesus of Nazareth, we may yet venture to say: We bear our human nature within us, and this human nature shows itself to be such that it can receive into it the Son of God, the Son of the living God, so that from this acceptance the promise can spring that the Son of God will from this time forward remain connected with the Earth, and that when the Earth will have reached its goal all men will be permeated with the substance and nature of Christ, in so far as they have desired to receive this into themselves. We have need of humility if we are to cherish such an ideal. If not so cherished it develops pride and conceit in us; we then think only of what we may become as men, and do not sufficiently keep in mind how little we have so far to show. This ideal must be experienced with humility. When understood in this way it rises before us with such majesty and power and is so overwhelming in its splendor that we are forced to be humble. Our humility need not overwhelm us, however, for we have the Reality of this ideal before us, and when we understand the Reality, however small our power may be, yet it will bear us ever higher and higher toward our Divine Goal.

The Rosicrucian Mystery Play strikes the entire scale in tones as we need them in ascending progress—firstly in the second scene where Johannes Thomasius stands shattered under the overwhelming impression from the words ‘O man, know thou thyself;’ secondly, where in the ninth scene, under the impression of the words ‘O man, feel and experience thou thyself;’ he feels exultingly raised to the wide spaces of Heaven. Keeping this before us, and with help from it, we can understand the majesty and grandeur which meets us in the Jesus of the Gospel of Matthew, revealing as it does our own littleness and demanding our humility, but at the same time pointing to the inner truth and inner reality which lift us out of all that seems like an abyss of our own littleness, compared with what we should be and can become.

If frequently we are conscious of feeling crushed when comparing what we are with the human divine greatness that can be in man, yet if we have but the goodwill we can experience something of the divine Impulse coming from the ‘Son of the living God,’ we can call to mind Christ Jesus, who Himself exhorts us, here where as men we experience the ego of which He is the most exalted Representative, crying to us in clear-cut tones for all the ages to come: ‘O man, experience thyself.’

When we understand the humanity of the Gospel of Matthew in this way — and hence it is the Gospel which lies most near to us — there streams to us from it the courage to live, the power and hope to stand fast, whatever our life-work may be. If we do so, we shall have best understood what it was intended that these words should convey to us.