|Swamiji and Gopala [Glenview, Illinois, 1975]|
"He [Swamiji] said, 'Isn't this a cremation ground?' referring to his ashram. 'You come here to be burned, and if you can't get that into your head, there's no point in your being here!'"
— Swami Veda
Job's final wisdom: "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Moses and the Golden Calf
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.
what longs to be burned to death.
Our occult exercises are supposed to bring us to imaginative knowledge. Not so long ago they had imaginations that could be understood by any pupil without further explanation. Today such imaginations must be explained in words, because very few esotericists would be able to understand them by themselves. An imagination will now be given here that's useful for any esotericist who has the feeling that he's not making any progress in spite of his efforts. The pupil should imagine that his teacher or master is standing before him in the shape of Moses, and that the latter asks him: “So you'd like to know why you're not getting ahead on the esoteric path?” “Yes.” “I'll tell you why. It's because you worship the golden calf.” Then the pupil sees the golden calf next to Moses. The latter lets fire come up from the earth that consumes the golden calf and turns it to powder. He throws this powder into some clear water and gives the mixture to the pupil to drink. A few centuries ago any esotericist would have been able to understand this image. Now it must be explained as follows.
When we go back in our memory, we get to a point where our memories stop and ego-consciousness began. What lies before that is what we made out of ourself in previous incarnations and brought into this one. That's the golden calf that we worship without realizing it — our sheath nature.
The pupil should now replace the image of the golden calf with the image of what he was as a child, before he had an ego-consciousness. He becomes fully aware that what he feels is his ego is just a Luciferic effect. For ordinary consciousness is based on memory and memory is a Luciferic force, since it's Lucifer's task to carry the past over into the present. If one strips oneself of what one has through ego-consciousness, then what remains is what we've brought with us from other earth lives.
Some people may feel that it's hard to have to think of themselves like that, but we won't be prepared to meet the Guardian of the Threshold without strict concepts like that.
Then the pupil should imagine that fire burns the child's form that he is; he's become a little bigger since then, but basically he's still the same sheath-man that the child was, except that the illusion of an ego has been added. He sees how the form turns to powder, and this becomes a strong awareness that all parts of these physical, etheric, and astral sheaths must become as indifferent to him as a pile of ashes, as indifferent as clay is for a sculptor before he's made something out of it. He must think away his physical body and its outer shape, his etheric body with its memory, his astral body with its sympathies and antipathies — or think that they are a pile of ashes.
One might not be able to put this into practice right away. It doesn't mean that one should suddenly hug someone one disliked, but when we carry out this imagination as an exercise, we must be able to get rid of all antipathies.
And the powder is thrown into the pure water of divine substance, the way it was before the Luciferic force worked on it. This is how the sheath nature is to be sacrificed and the divine substance is to be given back. But an esotericist also arrives at the insight that everything that's now only a pile of dust for him was formed out of the spirit. His body's shape was sculpted by the spirit, the spirit made him into what he now is as a form. And we should take what the spirit has made out of us back into ourselves. We should drink the water again in which the dust was dissolved. Then we have it pure, after the golden calf was burned, pulverized, and dissolved. If we do this, we'll feel that a whole place in us seems to become empty; it's the place where the ego usually is — we feel that this is getting empty. Then one can either become a Buddhist and go into a region for which a man should feel that he's too worthy — into nirvana, into an extraterrestrial sphere — or one can arrive at a new awareness of the Christ impulse and can feel it stream into the place of our ego that has become empty.
Christ would never have been able to come to earth among the Hebrew people if Moses hadn't destroyed the golden calf, thrown it into water, and given it to Israel's children to drink. This doesn't mean that one should do this imagination every day — but maybe every 3 or 4 weeks. It's basically just another clarification of our Rosicrucian verse.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
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