Lecture 9 of 10
Rudolf Steiner, Christiania, Norway, June 11, 1912:
Lecture 9 of 10
Rudolf Steiner, Christiania, Norway, June 11, 1912:
Rudolf Steiner, Christiania, Norway, June 11, 1912:
My Dear Friends,
I spoke yesterday of how the pupil in occultism meets with Lucifer and with death, and we pointed out that if the situation is to be rightly experienced, the pupil must still have left to him from ordinary life on Earth the memory of the I or of the thought of the I. We saw also that the man of the present day finds help at this point if within the Earth world he has been able to receive the Christ Impulse. And we went on to show how the Being we call the Christ Being is to be distinguished from other founders of religion in that we cannot speak of Him as of a person who underwent initiation on Earth, but that the Christ Being brought with Him all the forces with which He worked during the three years of His sojourn on Earth. This means that when the Christ Being became man He was already in a position to make that great sacrifice — for it was for the Christ Being a great sacrifice — whereby He made use in a human body of specifically human forces alone. He manifested and expressed His connection with the divine entirely through human forces.
It is this feature of the life of Christ that marks it as absolutely without parallel. If you want to understand with the ordinary powers of the human soul — I do not say, to believe in, but to understand — the founder of any other religion, you will find it necessary first of all to learn about the stages of his initiation, for you will want to raise yourself to an understanding of the particular enlightenment that streamed forth from a higher world into this human personality. This is what you will have to do, for example, in the case of Buddha. You must study his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, and learn to have some understanding of how such a thing can come about that in a man's 29th year an inspiration enters into his life — as it did into Buddha under the Bodhi tree. When you have made the effort to achieve this understanding, then, if you think it over, you will be able also to recognize something else that follows from it — strange though it may at first appear. You will come to see that not only the great founders of religion are to be understood by becoming acquainted with the methods and stages of initiation, but also even the Evangelists and St. Paul.
If you want to understand the Evangelists, who wrote their Gospels out of inspiration, then you must first come to see how the great individualities hidden behind the names of Matthew, Mark, or John were able to arrive at the things that stand written in the Gospels. With this end in view we have undertaken, as you know, a thoroughgoing study of the Gospels, and it has enabled us to perceive what had in reality long been lost — namely, that the Evangelists spoke truth.
If, however, we want to understand the Christ, we do not need all this. The Christ can be understood by every single human being; He can be understood with the most ordinary human powers of understanding. It can never be that a man has too little culture or too little education to understand the Christ. And this is because the Christ brought into forces that are purely human, and into all their working, what He was; whereas the communications of other founders of religions rest on what they have seen in the higher worlds. It can, therefore, be truly said, provided only the statement be not taken in a trivial spirit, that the Christ founded a religion for the simplest of human beings, a religion that is accessible to every intellect and every understanding.
The relationship of Christ to the higher worlds — that can of course only be learned through initiation. And there is no need to learn it until one enters upon initiation. I endeavored yesterday to make clear to you the immense service done by the Christ to the pupil in occultism. Christ gives him the means whereby he can remember his I when he is in the higher worlds. Without the Christ Impulse this cannot be done. Christ thus becomes a helper in the initiations of modern time and will be increasingly so for pupils in occultism. As man advances in wisdom, he will realize how deep is his need of the Christ. Christ is there for the simplest of men; on the other hand He is also there for those who need wisdom and again more wisdom, and yet again still more wisdom. That is the nature of the Christ, and it is connected with all those things of which we were speaking yesterday.
It follows from this that the further man's evolution goes, the more understanding will there be for the Christ. The understanding will grow and spread. There will be an increasing number of people who recognize that while there is complete justification for saying that Christ is there for everyone, even the simplest and humblest, and that everyone can find Him, He is at the same time also there for those who are under the necessity to seek wisdom, those who feel a deep inward obligation to follow after wisdom.
We will now leave this thought for a little and return to the meeting of which we spoke yesterday. First, man meets Lucifer. Lucifer, as we saw, shows us what we have become as we have gone from incarnation to incarnation, and we found yesterday that the form or figure that Lucifer shows us is positively ugly. We learn from Lucifer what we have become through him during Earth evolution. It is important that the pupil learns this in the right way and does not remain at the point where Lucifer shows him what he has acquired through the Gods, saying to him: “There is your destructible form! What you have acquired through me is immortality! ”— and then this immortal form shows itself as unsightly! The pupil must not stop there. As one contemplates the path of initiation we have here in mind, the feeling comes over one that Christ can not only help in the way we described yesterday but can also help man to change the form. This requires, however, that man shall resolve to remain true to the Christ Impulse, never to lose it but strive always to understand it more and more. Hence it is that nothing can dissuade the followers of the modern Mysteries from their adherence to the Christ Impulse.
Let us now return to our study of threefold man and remind ourselves how we had to connect the upper man with the heaven of the stars. We went on to show that the figure known to the Old Testament under the name of Jahve or Jehovah gives something to the upper man as a kind of compensation for what man has lost on the Earth, and this gift of Jahve's can be reckoned as belonging to the Moon. Summing up our study of these connections, we may therefore say: The upper man is in a certain sense coordinated to the Moon, while the middle man, the breast man, that carries the heart in him, is in a sense coordinated, as we saw, to the Sun. We can accordingly form some idea of what occult Schools and Mysteries have always understood by the coordination of the middle man, the man that bears the heart in him, to the Sun, and of the man that carries the head, either to the whole starry heavens or to the Moon.
But now Lucifer has also had his influence on man. Even as we carry in our middle man the influence of the Sun, and in our head man the influence of the Moon — as I described it for ancient clairvoyance — so do we carry in us the influence of another star, and we have to think in a corresponding way of the forces that ray out from this other star.
You will readily imagine that the influence must needs be of a different kind from the influence of Sun or Moon. The Moon influences still worked in olden times with such effect that human clairvoyance took its course in a 28-day period. In the course of 28 days man felt himself now in a more, and now again in a less, clairvoyant condition. This was an influence that could be directly perceived. The Sun influences are of course obvious. We shall not need to waste many words over the fact that the whole of the middle man depends on the Sun; what was said in the last lecture should suffice. The influence of the third — which is to be found in the region that appears to us in initiation as the region of Lucifer — works on the other hand in a spiritual manner. Here we can no longer speak of an influence that is easily evident. Many an influence even of the Moon can be disbelieved on this account; nevertheless there are still people who speak of an influence of the Moon on the nature of man. As for the Sun's influence, no one will deny that. It goes without saying, however, that influences of other stars are not admitted by the materialist. He must of necessity repudiate them, for they are spiritual and he cannot admit the influence of spiritual forces. None the less it is a fact that just as there is in the upper man the connection with the Moon, and in the middle man the connection with the Sun, so are the influences of Venus connected with the form of man that meets us when we cross the threshold of initiation. Note that we are speaking now of the star which the astronomers of today call “Venus.”
Venus is thus the kingdom of Lucifer. At first we learn through initiation that the lower man, the man we called the third seven-membered man, is that part of the whole nature of man which has been apportioned by the higher Gods to the kingdom of Lucifer. But Lucifer has, by a method of which we shall speak further, acquired mastery over the whole human being — even as Jahve or Jehovah also took possession of the whole human being.
If you want to have a complete picture of the working of Jahve or Jehovah, then you will have to see it in the following way. Take first the head man, as you have learned to know it from the earlier lectures. Into the head man works the power of Jehovah which corresponds to New Moon, the Moon that is bereft of light, the Moon that does not ray back sunlight onto the Earth. The physical sunlight that is reflected from the Moon — that, on the other hand, is to be thought of as the influence of the Jehovah forces which proceeds from the Moon onto the lower man, the third man. So that, leaving out the breast man in the middle, we find, working upon the lower man, the Jehovah forces that correspond to Full Moon. The middle or breast man receives, as we know, the Sun forces; as we shall see, however, Moon forces work there, too. Jehovah forces have in this way obtained a kind of mastery of the entire human being. They work in alternating periods upon the head man and the lower man, the influence on the head man corresponding to New Moon, and the influence on the lower man to Full Moon.
I do not think anyone will doubt what I have just said, if he sets himself to consider the significance attached in the ancient Hebrew faith, in the ancient Hebrew ritual, to the festival of New Moon. Study the festivals of New Moon and investigate the feelings men had about them in Old Testament times and you will be ready to meet what has been said with intelligence and understanding. The corresponding influences of the intermediate phases of the Moon — the waxing and the waning Moon — work upon the breast man. And now you must consider in addition that just as the Moon — that is to say, the Spirit of the Moon, Jahve or Jehovah — works upon the entire man in all his three members, so too does the Sun, but especially on the middle man; thence the Sun's influences ray out into the whole human being. We have accordingly two cosmic forces both working actively in the human being in an orderly and regular manner.
Of Lucifer we learn that his kingdom is Venus. The forces which find their physical symbol in the light of Venus shining down upon us as Morning or Evening Star, the physical rays of Venus that are sent out into cosmic space, are the symbol of the influence of Lucifer upon man. Lucifer has not confined himself to working upon the lower man. If he had, he would only have influence when Venus is shining with her full orb of light, as in Full Moon. For you know that Venus has phases like the Moon — waxing Venus, full Venus, and waning Venus. The “quarters” work on the breast man like the “quarters” of the Moon. The Venus that works spiritually works on the head man. We can, therefore, behold in the working together in the heavens of Sun, Moon, and Venus an expression for what in respect of man are spiritual workings. Please note, an expression for what is in the spirit of man.
As the great Sun Spirit works in relation to the Moon Spirit, in relation, that is, to Jahve or Jehovah, so also Lucifer, who is always active in human nature, works in relation to these two. If we wanted to describe by means of a drawing the law of their cooperation we could not do better than look up at the constellations in the heavens of Sun, Moon, and Venus. As is the relationship of these three to one another — whether they are in opposition, or whether they strengthen or weaken one another, as when one stands in front of another and eclipses it — so is the relation between these three spiritual powers in man. The influence of the Sun can be more particularly developed in man when it is not impaired either by the Moon or by the Venus forces. It may, however, also happen that the Sun forces — the forces that are in the middle man, in the heart — are eclipsed by the Moon, the head forces, and eclipses can occur also by the action of Lucifer, that is, of Venus. As you know, there are times when Venus passes in front of the Sun in cosmic space. Thus the connection of the inner trinity in man — the Sun Spirit, the Moon Spirit, and the Venus Spirit or Lucifer — is symbolized in cosmic space and expressed in the constellation of Sun, Moon, and Venus.
Seeing that we were able to divide up the whole human form and connect its parts and members with certain fixed stars, certain Signs of the Zodiac, it will not now be difficult for you to understand that a relationship can exist between these three Stars in man — that is, the three great spiritual Powers in man — and the several members of the human form. We have to recognize, for instance, a particularly significant phase of this relationship when the heart in the middle man, or rather when the powers of the heart, the powers of the Sun Spirit in the middle man, exert their utmost influence. In the middle man, you will remember, we saw inscribed the Sign of Leo. We can, therefore, say that when the Sun exerts his forces especially on that member of the human form to which we give symbolically the Sign of Leo, then a remarkable constellation is present in man. Another remarkable constellation is present when the Jehovah forces are especially strongly developed in their spiritual character — let us say, in the Sign of Aries, which signifies the upright posture, or in the Sign of Taurus, which denotes, as you know, the forward direction of the organs for the purpose of producing speech. For these are the parts of the human form which necessarily have an original and peculiarly deep relationship to the Moon forces. When these members of man's form are very highly developed, then it denotes a particularly favorable constellation for the human being.
You will be able now to discern wherein the fundamental principle, the real essence, of astrology consists. I have certainly not the intention of going fully into the subject of astrology in these lectures — there would not be time — but I want at this point to call your attention to its true nature. We can put it in a very few words. You see, man, as he stands before us with his threefold seven-membered form, is in connection and harmony with the spiritual Powers corresponding to the cosmic realms. For as the forces of the Sun Spirit that work in man correspond to the Spirit of the Sun, as the forces of the Moon correspond to the head man, and as we have corresponding to the third man the forces that are distributed over the whole human being, similarly is there a correspondence between the several members of the human form and the fixed stars, so that their Signs can be ascribed severally to these various members of man's form. And we have before us: man, complete in his physical form. But now the influence proceeding from the Powers that work from these directions was not active only when the human form first came into being, it has continued so right through time and is active still. And we see the working of this influence in the fact that man's external destiny can be brought into connection with the constellations of the Stars, just as we had to connect with the constellations of the Stars what man has already become. If it was auspicious for man's organization that his Sun forces cooperated with those members of his form to which we ascribed the Sign of Leo, then it will also be auspicious today for certain qualities and characteristics in him if some important moment of his life, notably the moment of birth, falls when the Sun is in the Sign of Leo — that is to say, when the Sun covers Leo, so that these two forces mutually strengthen one another or in some way influence one another. For as what man is today stands written in the heavenly spaces in the writing of the constellations of the Stars, so stands written there too what is yet to happen with him. This is the ground of true astrology. You will see at once from what we have been considering that you really only need to know occultism and you have at the same time the root principle of astrology. This will show itself all the more clearly as we now go on to describe the second stage of initiation.
We have seen that in order to attain to the first stage of initiation it is important for the pupil to take his start from the human form, from man as he presents himself to physical sight. For the next stage he has to choose something else as his starting point — namely, the inner movement of man. Note carefully the distinction:
First stage: Starting from the human form.
Second stage: Starting best from the inner movement of the human being.
Let us now consider for a little, as before we considered the form or figure of man, the movements that take place within him. We have first of all a movement which, although in later life man scarcely performs it any more, has once been carried out by him with all his might, otherwise he would remain a fourfooted creature, obliged to crawl on the ground for the rest of his life. Man has to perform the movement which changes him from a crawling to an upright child. For man is not merely an upright being in his form, he is a being who during his life lifts himself upright. So that the first inner movement man performs — for it is an inner movement — is the movement of lifting himself into the upright position.
The second movement of an inner kind is again one that man must acquire for himself as a child, although this movement he continues to use throughout life. It is the movement of speaking, the movement of the inner life that has to be performed for the “word” to arise. You must realize that a whole sum of inner movements is necessary in order that the word may be brought to expression. There is, however, still another movement, a more hidden one, that has also to be learned in early childhood. We may say, man learns both movements together. As a matter of fact, he learns the “speaking” movement earlier than the other. (You will find a more exact and detailed account of all this in my little book The Education of the Child from the Standpoint of Spiritual Science.) We have, then, these two inner movements that man learns and has to perform all his life long. Of the speech movement we are quite conscious. Everyone knows that he makes it. But not everyone knows that when he thinks, a delicate movement is taking place all the time in his brain. To discover this requires a rather fine and subtle power of observation. Do not infer that I am talking materialism when I talk about a “movement.” Movement there is, without a doubt; only, it is effect, not cause. We have therefore here two inner movements, the movements of thinking and of speaking.
If now we go further, we discover as the next important movement the movement of the blood. This is one of the movements which must necessarily take place for man to be man. (The sequence is apparently rather arbitrary, but that need not disturb you.) The fifth movement, which must already be there in order for the blood movement to take place, is the movement of the breath. This is a specific movement with an independent existence of its own, distinct from the blood movement. As I said, the sequence is somewhat arbitrary. We could, for instance, as was hinted, interchange the second and the third — but that is beside the point; here again we could put the breath before the blood movement, and if we were considering more especially the lungs we would certainly have to do so. If, however, we are looking rather to the origin of the movements, then we must take them in the sequence I have given, because, especially in the case of the male human being, the real center and origin of the breath movement is in the diaphragm, and that is underneath the heart. When, therefore, our object is to build up a sequence from the point of view of origin, we have no choice but to take the movements in the sequence I have given.
The sixth movement — we are still speaking of movements inside the body that are necessary to life — is one that certain inner organs have to perform; we may summarize it in a general term and call it glandular movement or movement of ducts or canals. The ducts in man's body must be in perpetual activity, perpetual inner movement, for man to be maintained in life. For certain reasons which it would take too long to explain, I prefer to call it simply movement of the glands.
For the seventh movement to come about, it is no longer a question merely of particular ducts or glands moving in order to secrete something the human being requires within himself. The seventh is a movement performed by the whole body as such, and it is carried out when Nature has set all in train for a new human being to be born. What we have here is really a sum-total of all the movements of the body. While in other duct or gland movements we have the movement of a part only of the body, in the case of the movement of reproduction we have a kind of act of secretion performed by the whole human being. And the same is true whether we are speaking of the male or the female body. It is always a secretion performed by the whole human being. This movement then we call the movement of reproduction.
If the seven movements we have described are correctly understood, then with them are exhausted the inner movements of man. The others are outer movements. When man moves his feet or his hands, that is an external movement. The inner movements man brought with him when he came to Earth, though Earth has, it is true, changed them very much. And just as we had to refer the whole complete form of man to the fixed stars of the Zodiac, and connect the Signs of the Zodiac with the several members of the human form, so now we find that these several movements have their source in the entire planetary system. From our planetary system we have to derive these seven members of what we may call the man of inner movement. And since the relationship of these movements to one another corresponds to the relationship of the planets of our planetary system, we can also designate these several movements with the Signs that belong to the planets, thus:
Movement into upright posture: Saturn Movement of thinking: Jupiter Movement of speaking: Mars Movement of the blood: Sun Movement of the breath: Mercury Movement of the glands: Venus Movement of reproduction: Moon
A word must be said about the movement of the blood. This movement comes into contact with what we have earlier learned to recognize as the center of the organs belonging to the middle man, the “plane of operations,” as it were, for the Sun Spirit. Thus the movement of the blood, which has its center in the middle man, is to be brought into relation with the most important force in the middle man, and we have to designate this movement of the blood with the Sign of the Sun. In doing so we are thinking of the power and force of the Sun Spirit in so far as it is a force in movement. It is, we could say, as a fixed star that the Sun works upon the middle man as a whole; on the other hand, it exerts its influences on the movements that depend on the middle man, on the movements of the blood, as one of the planets.
If I make use of the Sign which is also used by the astronomers of today — employing therefore in this case not the old terminology which was altered by Kepler, but the names that are customary in the astronomy of today — then the movement of the breathing can be denoted by Mercury, the movement of the glands by Venus, and the movement of reproduction by Moon. For this last movement, localized as it is in the lower man, is again a movement that comes into contact with the influence of the Spirit of the Moon. This influence here meets and combines with the inner moving of the human being.
We have, therefore, in the human being, as well as a threefold seven-membered man, another seven-membered man in the connections of the movements that take place within him. The pupil must take pains to distinguish the various movements within him before he is able to take the next step on the path. He will not find it easy.
The human form we have as it were standing before our eyes — not so the inner movements. A special effort has to be made to feel them. We must learn to discern each one for itself. We must be able to feel inwardly, first the movement of raising oneself upright, then the movement of thought, the movement of speech — this is easiest of all — then again the movement of the blood, and — which is also not difficult — the movement of the breath. We have to come to the point of sensing the various movements which as a rule we only sense in their result, as, for instance, when we experience ourselves first as lying down and then as standing up. We must learn to sense also in this way the movements of secretion.
The faculty of discrimination for the several movements that take place within him is an absolute necessity for the pupil if he would progress further on his path. And if he is to do with these movements what I said he had to do with the human form, then instead of looking at the human form from without, fixing it before him and awaiting the after-image, he must endeavor to feel himself inwardly, feel the movement and activity that goes on within him, and then, after he has, as it were, fixed himself inwardly in the bodily sense, hold fast this impression — even as yesterday we tried to hold fast, purely in memory, the impression of the human form. The pupil will then actually come to the point of recognizing seven forms, where yesterday we met with two. We encountered, as you will remember, the form of death and the form of Lucifer, and we learned that when we call to remembrance the thought of Christ, we have then something we can carry across into the other — the supersensible — world. And now, when the pupil, as it were, steps forth out of his man of inner movement, he meets with seven forms. He makes the acquaintance of seven spiritual beings, and he knows that these seven spiritual beings correspond to his own inner movements in the very same way that Sun, Moon, and Venus correspond to what we spoke of yesterday. He comes to understand that he himself has grown out of our planetary system, and that since the physical stars of the planets are directed by the Spirits of the planets, man is only able, for example, to lift himself upright through the fact that the Spirit of Saturn prevails in him, the Spirit who has his scene of action on Saturn as Lucifer has his on Venus. He knows too that his movement of thought has connection with the Regent or directing Spirit of Jupiter, the movement of speech with the directing Spirit of Mars, the movement of the blood with the directing Spirit of the Sun, the whole movement of the breath with the directing Spirit of Mercury, all the glandular movements with the directing Spirit of Venus, and finally the whole movement of reproduction with the directing Spirit of the Moon. He knows furthermore that all these Spirits work with and through one another. They have their seat, their base of operations, in man, and one kind of movement works upon another. The Spirit of Saturn, for instance, while it works chiefly through the movement made by man in lifting himself upright, takes part indirectly in all other movements. A significant situation occurs when the guiding Spirit of Saturn manifests his forces with peculiar strength in the Sign of Aries or in the Sign of Taurus. This creates a very important situation.
Having thus come to the recognition of how the guiding Spirits of the planets are connected with the several members of the man of inner movement, you will be able to follow me when I say that in the allocation of the Signs to the several members we are already touching the fundamental principle of all genuine astrology. Recall the connections we have been considering, and you will recognize that there lies inherent within them the principle of true and genuine astrology, which has its source in nothing else than in the great and significant fact that man is born out of the World-All, that man is in very truth an epitome, an extract, of the whole World-All.
In order to understand the form of man we had, you will remember, to ascend to the fixed stars; and we found also how the form of man is influenced by the forces proceeding from Sun, Moon, and Venus. Now we have seen how the inner mobility in man is due to the working of the seven Spirits of the Planets. Seven spiritual beings are thus brought to our knowledge. And here we discover something that is of peculiar importance. Among these seven Spirits is the Spirit of Venus, whom we have already come to know as Lucifer. And the pupil is now confronted with a strange and remarkable experience. When he takes the first step into initiation he encounters Lucifer; for it is Lucifer who shows man the “form” of which we spoke yesterday, the form or figure that man himself wears. The pupil encounters Lucifer as the being who has made him look his ugliest; and now, when he meets the Spirit of Venus, he meets Lucifer again. But this time Lucifer looks entirely different. It is not the same figure as the pupil met before. He knows it is the same being, but Lucifer shows himself in two distinct forms. Thus the pupil acquires the knowledge that Lucifer can manifest in two forms. The first time he manifests is at the crossing of the Threshold (we spoke of it yesterday), when he calls man's attention to the fact that he owes to Lucifer his immortality, saying to him: “The Gods gave you a destructible body, but I have given you immortality.” And when the pupil turns to look — lo, it is the dragon, of which we spoke yesterday. Therefore is this form also called the first form of the Guardian of the Threshold. But now at the second stage of initiation a new revelation comes to us. We are shown how Lucifer can unfold quite different forces from those we recognized in him before. If we were not able to develop in us the forces of secretion and excretion, the forces that proceed from the various canals and ducts in the body, we could not be human beings at all; it would be out of the question. The blood and breath movements alone could never maintain us as human beings. The movements of the juices in the body, the movements, that is, of the ducts and glands, must also be present. This can make plain to us the difference between all exoteric traditions — wheresoever they be found — and the understanding that is given here. The exoteric traditions do indeed speak of Lucifer and of the several Spirits of the Planets, but they can give no actual and genuine knowledge of the facts. The real knowledge is in very truth a knowledge that has to be received under a serious sense of responsibility. It reveals Lucifer to us in the first place as the one who distorts and makes unsightly the form of man, and on the other hand is the Spirit who is essential to man's being, who alone makes him man.
As we proceed further on the path of initiation we come to another striking and significant experience. If we succeeded in holding fast to the Christ, in linking ourselves inwardly with Him, so that He enabled us to carry over the thought of the I — the idea of the I, the self-consciousness of Earth — into the supersensible world that we are entering, then a feeling took possession of us that this Christ Power has to do with the power of the Sun. We had as it were a presentiment of the connection. Now at the second stage something more is added. The Christ Power reveals itself to us as a form, — I may even say, as a form or figure that we can grasp and perceive, that we can gradually learn to know more intimately, that grows clearer and clearer to us in the supersensible world. At this second stage of initiation we are brought into a nearer knowledge of the supersensible Christ. And then this Christ shows us that He calls the directing Spirit of Venus — who, as we have learned, is Lucifer — His brother, calls him His brother, accounting him a Planetary Spirit like the other Planetary Spirits. So that when Lucifer shows himself in the second stage of initiation, he at once reveals himself as a planetary Spirit taking his place among the seven Regents of the planets among his brothers. We enter thus into a world where we find what we might call a highly exalted college of seven planetary Spirits, who are in completely brotherly relation one with another. But here lurks a danger, and the pupil must needs possess himself of a great deal more knowledge if he is not to go under at this point. For he must on no account simply receive easily what here shows itself to him; he must earnestly endeavor to acquire an exact knowledge of what lies behind it.
When we come to enter into occult knowledge in detail, we can look in many directions for help to find our way. Although we have learned to recognize the seven brothers who are the seven Planetary Spirits, we are still a long way from any full knowledge of them. Seven brothers may be quite different one from another, and the difference does not perhaps show itself at first sight. We have to look a little nearer, we have to study them in detail, if we would gain a more intimate knowledge. At this point I want to bring forward something which, if you examine it carefully and test it by the side of what you know from exoteric myth, you will find to be well founded and reasonable even though it appear strange at first. It will prove to be authentic, for it is a direct outcome of occult research. Compare it with the religious and historical records from olden times, and the demands of your intelligence will be completely satisfied. The farther you look into it with your ordinary understanding the more will you find yourself able to say “Yes” to what I am now going to tell you; for it is a result of occult investigation that is comparatively easy of approach to the man of the present day.
We must first of all find something to take as our starting point; we must begin from some known fact. For the moment, let it be the fact that we have come to a knowledge of these seven cosmic Spirits and their kingdoms. We have, however, only learned to know the ruling Spirits with their kingdoms, the corresponding Planets. We must go further. We must investigate these kingdoms more closely, as far as occult research will allow. And the following is one among many ways that offer themselves to the pupil of our times who sets to work conscientiously with the means afforded in modern practical occultism. He can take his start, always under the guidance and counsel of an experienced occultist, from the study of the life of Gautama Buddha.
I have frequently emphasized and must here emphasize again that the life of Buddha is to be understood as the Buddhists understand it and not as it is interpreted by materialistic historians. We must first come ourselves to the recognition that Buddha became Buddha by passing through a great many incarnations; that he became first a Bodhisattva. And then, having been born as the son of King Suddhodana, ascended in the 29th year of his life to the dignity of a Buddha. We must know that the ascension of the Bodhisattva to the stage of Buddha means in actual fact that such an individual has his very last incarnation on Earth in the life he lives as Buddha. When he has become a Buddha, he never returns again into an earthly body, but works in other than earthly worlds. This must be quite clear to us from the beginning. We must know for an absolute fact that the Buddha by his exaltation from Bodhisattva to Buddha rose to a cosmic dignity and does not require in the course of his further evolution ever to descend again into a physical earthly human being. Those of you who have followed my lectures will remember that I have alluded to one single occasion when the Buddha, so to speak, allows us to have a glimpse of his further evolution. When I was explaining how two Jesus children were born, the Matthew Jesus Child and the Luke Jesus Child, I said that at the birth of the Luke Jesus Child the Buddha sent down from the spiritual world astral forces that were incorporated into the astral body of Jesus. Mention was thus made of the Buddha sending down forces to Earth. In Norrköping [Note 1] I told further how the initiates were able to meet with the Buddha in still another way. Nevertheless it is still true to say that since his life as Buddha he has lived no more on Earth. An occultist, however, who goes far on the occult path can follow also further the path of Buddha. It is, of course, now no Earth life that he follows. In the field of practical occultism the question arises: What has become of the Buddha, since he incarnates no longer in a physical human body? We can, as it were, go in search of the Buddha, we can look for him in the wide world. It may seem strange to you, but the initiated find the Buddha engaged on a great and mighty task, a task of deep significance. When the eye of the occultist has been opened and he looks out into the vast spaces of the world, he beholds a remarkable sight. He discovers that the Buddha has now for his scene of action that planet which in physical astronomy we call Mars; and he can do no other than relate in all seriousness how, since the time when the Buddha acquired the faculty which made it no longer necessary for him to appear again in Earth life, he has been given a new mission. This new mission of the Buddha we can discover by making occult observation of Mars.
As we enter upon this study, the true and original mission of the Buddha becomes clear to us. We find by occult investigation that the beings on Mars who correspond to men on Earth — they are of course of quite a different nature, but for the moment let us call them “Mars men” — at a certain time in their evolution were in a similar condition of need as were the Earth men in the Fourth post-Atlantean period when the Christ had to come to them. And as Christ became a Savior and an Awakener to Life, as that was a mission for the Christ in regard to Earth humanity, so is it a further mission for that Bodhisattva after he became the Buddha to be a Savior and Redeemer of Mars men. He has to accomplish on Mars an event similar to the event that the Christ had to bring to fulfillment on Earth.
When therefore we study the life of the Buddha we find it falls into two parts. There is first the time when Buddha worked for the Earth men and brought them all that they were due to receive from him, including what he had already brought them during the time when he was a Bodhisattva. Then there is the later part of Buddha's life, when he worked outside and beyond the Earth, when he rose to a higher power and strength for which his course on Earth was but a necessary preparation. For Buddha grew upwards into the power of one who is a Savior and Redeemer. If it were possible for us to compare the influence of Buddha on Mars with the — not same, but similar — influence of Christ Jesus on Earth and with the Mystery of Golgotha, then we would be bound to find a difference, because of the difference between Earth men and Mars men. If possible, I will tell you more another time about the feelings and response called forth in the Mars men by the working of Buddha.
As you see, tasks are set for the beings who evolve in the cosmos. The moment a being rises from one state or rank to another, a new task is placed before him. And man, who has to fulfill his life's course on Earth, comes into touch during his time on Earth with beings who, like the Christ, have from the beginning a cosmic task, and also with beings who in their evolution upward leave the Earth and rise then to a cosmic task, as was the case with Buddha.
- Note 1:
- See Anthroposophical Ethics.