Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The evolution of Christ and Lucifer; Buddha the redeemer and savior of Mars; Shiva is Lucifer

Man in the Light of Occultism, Theosophy and Philosophy.
Lecture 10 of 10

Rudolf Steiner, Christiania, Norway, June 12, 1912:

My Dear Friends,

It was by no mere chance that after I had given you a description of the meeting with death and with Lucifer that takes place for man when he crosses the Threshold to the supersensible worlds, I passed on to deal with another matter that you may perhaps have found hard to understand. I began by endeavoring to explain to you the true significance of the Christ Being; and in the course of the explanation — which had found its way quite naturally into the subject we were considering — I had to speak of how Christ vanquished Lucifer, as you can find it related in the Gospels in the story of the temptation in the wilderness. And then, after we had carried our study a little further, we passed on to a communication concerning the Buddha.

Let us briefly call to mind once more this meeting with death and Lucifer. Lucifer appears to the pupil of occultism as in very fact the archetype of human greatness — yes, and even of superhuman, divine greatness — when, at this point, separated as it were from his deeds and actions, he draws near to man. He appears as a being who tempts man. And it is only when the pupil looks back at what he himself has become through the influence of Lucifer, only when he beholds the frightful animal-like picture of what man has become in the course of his incarnations through the enticements and temptations of Lucifer, that he is as it were healed a little from the seductive power of the figure before him. I then told you of the help that can come to the pupil of the present day from Christ. Christ brings a kind of deep consolation and hope, to counteract the terrible impression made upon the pupil by the meeting with death and Lucifer, and moreover the meeting with the picture of himself — which is in a certain sense the Guardian of the Threshold. In place of death, in place of the destroyed human body, something else appears.

That of which I am now speaking can be actually experienced, and when it is experienced, it is exactly as I describe it. In the place of death appears Christ Himself, giving us to understand that this I of ours can after all be retained. In other words, we have in our consciousness an inner picture that is entirely independent of the memory that remains with us from our life in the senses. To suggest that we have here to do with an illusion or hallucination would be nonsense; for one could be blind, deaf, without sense of smell or any other sense, and yet have the experience when one came to this point on the path of initiation: the experience of Christ appearing in the place of death. What is it man then has before him? Try to picture it! You have before you Christ, Who appears in the place of death, and Lucifer. That is to say, you have the very picture described by the evangelists in the scene of the temptation in the wilderness. There would be no need to remember the accounts of the temptation given in the Gospels; you would have it there before you, through having received into your soul the impulse of the whole Christ Event — that He walked the Earth, was crucified, and overcame death. It would suffice for you that you had the Christianity of St. Paul; you would not need to have come under the influence of the Christianity of the Gospels. It is quite possible to experience, independently of the Gospels, independently of any external impression, something that is described in the Gospels. Such a thing is perfectly possible. Think of what happens in ordinary life. In ordinary life you have conscious experience when impressions are made on your consciousness from without and concepts and ideas are called forth in your consciousness by these impressions. Now, however, you have before you a picture that no impression from without can possibly evoke. For you cannot find Lucifer anywhere in the world of the senses; it is utterly impossible for Lucifer to be an external impression in the physical world of the senses. Neither is the picture of death to be found in the world of the senses. And when finally death changes into the Christ, you have before you a picture which you could certainly in the last resort discover as a remembered fact in the external world, but which nevertheless shows itself to you now, at your entry into the supersensible world, as a picture that is attainable without any help from the external world. For no external impression is needed to call forth the picture of the Temptation of Christ and the conquest of death, the overcoming of all that Lucifer began to make of man. To what kind of a consciousness then have we come? To a consciousness without external object. I have endeavored to lead you to the Unmanifest Light and to the Unspoken Word. And now you have acquired a conception of a Consciousness without external object, a consciousness that receives its content from its own being.

Our considerations then led us to an astonishing, yet none the less true, communication concerning the Buddha. This again was no mere chance. I had to begin the lecture yesterday by telling you about the man of inner movement, in order to explain to you how man can take a still further step in initiation into the higher worlds; and in that connection I gave expression to a truth which was perhaps at first hearing difficult to grasp (we shall return to it again presently) — the truth, namely, that Lucifer shows himself in a completely changed form when we advance to this second stage of initiation, appearing before us as the ruler in the realm of Venus. I told you also how the Sun, which hitherto we have thought of as being supreme in power and might, now appears as a planet among the seven planets, and Christ as the Spirit of the planet of the Sun. Christ himself manifests in this connection as a planetary Spirit, brother to the Spirit of Venus. In other words, Christ appears as a brother of Lucifer. This opened the way for a consideration of the post-Earthly destiny of the Buddha. For the later destiny of the Buddha cannot be livingly experienced in its pure and original truth without attaining to this second stage of initiation; it is impossible to arrive at the truth which we expounded yesterday concerning the Buddha unless one goes beyond the first meeting with death and with Lucifer where one beholds the scene of the Temptation, and passes on to the next stage of initiation where the seven Spirits of the planets become manifest. This had, therefore, first to be described. Should you still ask whether the truth concerning the life of the Buddha after he left the Earth is not in some way attainable by external consciousness — the consciousness, that is, which is directed to impressions from without — then the reply must be that it is not possible for the consciousness of Earth to make such research into the conditions of life and culture on Mars as could reveal what the Buddha accomplishes there. The moment, however, initiation penetrates as far as to the stage we described yesterday, it becomes possible for the consciousness without external object to have this experience by virtue of its own nature. Therefore in relation also to this truth about Buddha it is a question of acquiring the consciousness without external object. The conditions and circumstances of the facts here revealed to us are of course external. For the Buddha lives — quite really — on Mars. Nevertheless the consciousness does not go out of itself; in the recognition of such a truth it is not yielding to the influence of an external impression, it is still a consciousness without external object. I have thus led you to the third of the three things we placed before us at the beginning of these lectures: the consciousness without external object.

Looking back over our study, we see that we have found three stages or conditions of human consciousness. We have first the ordinary physical consciousness. Then we have the consciousness that is attained at the first stage of initiation — and I gave you as an example of what is experienced in this consciousness the picture “Death and Lucifer” or “Christ and Lucifer, in the Story of the Temptation.” Finally, the third stage of consciousness is the one where the seven planetary Spirits manifest themselves to man. And we illustrated this third stage by reference to Buddha. At the third stage you experience the destiny of Buddha after he has become Buddha and returns no more to physical existence on Earth. We have thus considered three conditions of human consciousness: physical consciousness; consciousness of higher worlds at the first stage as we described it yesterday, illustrating it by the story of the Temptation; finally a still higher consciousness, the second consciousness of a supersensible nature. Many of you would perhaps like it very much if we could go further and describe still higher stages of consciousness, but time does not allow. I will, however, just hint at one other stage.

What is it we are able to experience by means of physical consciousness? Everything in our surroundings that is present to our senses, all the objects of Earth existence. What can we experience by means of the second consciousness? Leaving on one side for the moment the example we brought forward, the story of the Temptation, we find that by means of the first stage of a higher kind of consciousness, something further than the objects of the senses can be discovered. You will find it described in outline in my Occult Science in the part where the Moon is spoken of, that condition of Earth which preceded our present Earth. This old Moon condition is no longer in existence, it has to be described by means of a consciousness that can function without an object present to hand. The Moon condition of our Earth is in the higher worlds. It is present in the higher worlds, preserved, as you have often heard me tell, in the Akashic Record. So that for the first consciousness of a higher kind we have, besides the Story of the Temptation, all the processes that can be said to have relation to the old Moon. Everything connected with the old Moon is capable of being described by this consciousness. And now I want to draw your attention to something else. There is deep significance in the fact that from among the many kinds of experience man acquires through the first higher consciousness, I chose the story of the Temptation. For when we direct the same consciousness to the ancient Moon, we find there a repetition of the story of the Temptation. (I say a repetition, but naturally it took place long before!) It is really so. We learn how Christ already on the old Moon overcame Lucifer, and in the scene that is given us in the Gospels we have to see, as it were, a recurrence of the fact that Christ attained to victory over Lucifer. On Earth Christ repels Lucifer from the outset. This is because on the Moon, when He was Himself less highly evolved — for Christ also undergoes evolution — He had repelled, through the uttermost devotion of His Being to Highest Powers, all the attacks of Lucifer which at that time still meant something to Him. Already on old Moon Lucifer approached Christ. On Earth he was no longer dangerous to Him: on Earth Christ repels Lucifer at once. On the Moon, however, Christ had to exert all the forces at His disposal in order to repel Lucifer. This is then the added experience that comes to us when we cast back the gaze of higher consciousness into the remote time of Moon. If we go still further and attain to the second consciousness of a higher kind, then as well as learning about facts that have meaning for Earth, such as the history of Buddha, we learn also what has again been described in outline in my Occult Science, we learn of the still earlier incarnation of our Earth: the Sun. In that far-off time the conditions were quite essentially different, and the difficulty you have in understanding this particular section in Occult Science can itself be an indication of how difficult it was to describe the state of old Sun. I took pains to describe more especially scenes that are less remote from man and can even remind us of the scenery of Nature. One would have found little understanding, in the time when Occult Science was written, for the things of a more moral nature which are experienced in a study of the Sun incarnation.

When we go back to the time of the old Sun, we do not find there any story of the Temptation. We find the Sun still as a planet among the seven planets, we find Venus with Lucifer as her ruler; and these two, the Sun Spirit and the Venus Spirit — in other words, Christ and Lucifer — appear at first sight like brothers. Only by straining to the utmost our powers of perception are we able to remark the difference between them. For the difference between Lucifer and Christ in the time of old Sun is not apparent to an observation of their external being, it requires a more inward observation and study. It is indeed extraordinarily difficult to find outward means of demonstrating wherein the difference lies. Please, therefore, take what I am now going to say as no more than an attempt to characterize, as well as may be, the difference that clairvoyant consciousness can perceive between Christ and Lucifer in the time of the ancient Sun.

When we direct our gaze now to Christ, now again to Lucifer, a new perception begins to dawn upon us. Lucifer, the ruler of Venus, appears in a form that is extraordinarily full of light — I mean, of course, spiritual light. We have the feeling that all the glow and brilliance we can ever experience on Earth in looking upon a manifestation of light is weak and dim in comparison with the majesty of Lucifer in the old Sun time. But then we notice, when we begin to perceive his intentions — and we are able to see through these — that Lucifer is a Spirit endowed in his very nature with infinite pride, so great a pride that it can prove a temptation to man. For, as is well-known, there are things which up to a point are not temptations for man but become so when they grow majestic in their proportions, and pride is one of them. When pride is majestically great it tempts man. Lucifer's proud greatness, Lucifer's pride in his majestic figure of light — these contain a seductive element. “Unmanifest light,” light that does not shine outwardly but has immense, strong power in itself — that Lucifer has in full measure. And how does the Christ figure look beside Lucifer? The Christ figure in the time of old Sun — the Lord and Ruler of the Sun planet — is a picture of utmost devotion, entire devotion to all that is around Him in the world. Whereas Lucifer looks like one who thinks only of himself — we are obliged to clothe it all in human words, notwithstanding the fact that these are quite inadequate — Christ appears as wholly given up, in devotion, to all that is around Him in the great wide world.

The great wide world was not then as it is now. If we were to transport ourselves in these days to the present Sun, then, looking outwards in all directions as from the center of a circle, we should perceive in the first place the twelve Signs of the Zodiac. These were not then externally visible; but instead, twelve great Forms, twelve Beings, were present who let their words ring forth from the depths of the darkness, — outer space being of course not then filled with light. What kind of words were these? They were words — the word “word” is again only a makeshift, to indicate what is here meant — they were words that told of primeval times, of times that even then were in a remote and ancient past. The twelve were twelve World-Initiators. Today we behold standing in the directions of these twelve World-Initiators the twelve Signs of the Zodiac, but from them resounds, for the soul that is open to the whole world, the original Being of the Unspoken Word of Worlds, that could take form in the twelve Voices. And while Lucifer alone — I must now begin to speak more in pictures; human words do not in the least suffice — while Lucifer had the impulse to let stream out upon all things the light that was present in him and therewith come to a knowledge of all things, the Christ, on the other hand, gave Himself up to the impression of this Word of the Worlds, received It in its fullness and entirety into Himself, so that this Christ Soul was now the Being that united in Himself all the great Secrets of the World that sounded into Him through the inexpressible Word. Such is the contrast that presents itself: the Christ Who receives the Word of the Worlds, and the proud Lucifer, the Spirit of Venus, who rejects the Word of the Worlds and wants to found and establish everything with his own light.

All subsequent evolution is a direct outcome of what Lucifer and Christ were at that time. The Christ Being, as we saw, received into Himself the great and all-embracing secrets of the Worlds. The Lucifer Being, having what I can only describe as a “proud figure of Light,” lost thereby his kingdom, lost his Venus kingdom. On other grounds, to enter into which would take us too far afield, the other Spirits of the Planets lost also their kingdoms, or rather changed their natures. But they need not concern us here. What is important for us here is the contrast between Christ and Lucifer. It came about that Lucifer lost more and more of his rulership; the kingdom of Venus gradually fell away from him. Lucifer with his light became a dethroned ruler, and the planet Venus had thenceforward to do without a proper ruler and was consequently obliged to undergo a backward evolution. The Christ, however, had during the old Sun time received the Word of the Worlds, and this Word of the Worlds has the quality of kindling itself to new light in the soul by which It is received; so that from that time forward the Word of the Worlds became in the Christ Light, and the planet of which the Christ was ruler, the Sun, became the center of the whole planetary system, the other planets being brought into subjection to It. The same is true also of their spiritual Rulers.

We must let these scenes live before us, we must learn to see the divergence that came about during the old Sun time between the path of Lucifer and the path of Christ. Lucifer went downward, he had to remain behind in his evolution, and he remained behind also during the Moon time. Christ went forward. The Christ Spirit, the Sun Spirit, became a Spirit evolving ever forward until at length He was able to appear on Earth in the form we have often described. Through His devotion to the World All, through His having received and identified Himself with the Divinely Creative, Inexpressible Word, through His having rejected every sort of pride and put always in its place devotion to the Word of the Worlds — Christ, from being Ruler of a single planet, as He was in the ancient Sun time, became Ruler from the Sun over all the planets, the other planets being reckoned as part of the realm of the Sun. When you know this — I am speaking here more particularly to those who heard my lectures in Helsingfors — knowing this, you will not feel it as a contradiction that Christ is spoken of in those lectures as a Sun Spirit of a higher kind than the Spirits of the planets. For there of course we were speaking of the present day. Christ is far above the other planetary Spirits. He is the Spirit of the Sun. Here, however, where we are not merely describing how the individual planetary bodies are quickened to life by their Spirits, but where our task is above all to describe the several states of consciousness, we have to show how Christ through His own special character and nature has, during the course of the evolution that has taken place between old Sun and the present time, passed through an upward evolution, and from having been a Spirit who was of like nature with the planetary Spirits has become the Ruler or Regent of the whole solar system.

As I have said, time will not allow us to enter on a description of the third consciousness of a higher kind. I will only mention that the condition of ancient Saturn, the first that can ordinarily be described of the successive incarnations of our Earth, can be experienced with this third higher consciousness. As you see, it is therefore possible to speak of a higher, a third, consciousness of a supersensible character. If we really wanted to follow initiation in its completeness we would have to lead on to giddy heights of consciousness. To do so would from the outset seem a kind of presumption, and as a matter of fact we should be taken into regions where it becomes well-nigh impossible to employ human words. Therefore in my Occult Science I have forborne to describe anything that belongs to still higher states of consciousness, for it is really out of the question to describe the higher things in human words. In the Mysteries it was done by forming special symbolic signs and then speaking in a language of symbol. By this means it was possible to lead man up to higher states of consciousness. Such higher states do indeed exist; we can speak of a fourth and a fifth consciousness of supersensible nature. It goes on, indeed, without limit. All that we can do is to say that for supersensible consciousness evolution takes its course in a certain direction.

Bearing all this in mind, you will at any rate be able to conceive the possibility that by means of the various supersensible consciousnesses man beholds other worlds than the physical; and when you remember that the first rudiments of physical man began, as is shown in Occult Science, during the condition of ancient Saturn, you will also see that there is in man himself a certain connection with the world of the third supersensible consciousness. But besides this, man is, as you know, guided and led by beings higher than himself. He can come to a knowledge of these higher beings; they have their influence upon him. It will therefore not be difficult to see that not only has man, as he stands before us, been created out of worlds that go as far as the third supersensible consciousness, but he has connection also with yet higher worlds. The knowledge and experience that we have described as attainable by means of the various states of consciousness can be described to the ordinary human being. He can comprehend that such states of consciousness exist. He does not have direct experience as man on Earth of these further states of consciousness, but he does experience their external manifestations. The physical consciousness — that, of course, he experiences directly. The first supersensible consciousness — of this he experiences an indication in the heightened dream consciousness that does not merely afford arbitrary dream pictures but leads on to a perception of realities belonging to a higher world. A systematic higher development of the dream consciousness is all that is required for man to come to the first consciousness of a supersensible nature. This first supersensible consciousness can give information concerning the conditions that prevailed on the old Moon, the past incarnation of our Earth. Hence you will find that in occult communications most of the descriptions, apart from those concerned with the Earth itself, refer to the old Moon; very often they stop there and do not go back to the old Sun. This will be the case whenever such communications are based on the first supersensible consciousness, which is the one that occurs most frequently and is the easiest to attain. It is in this consciousness that by far the greater part of what H. P. Blavatsky gave in the Secret Doctrine has its source. Occultists who have real knowledge are quite aware of this fact. Consequently if you read through the whole of the Secret Doctrine, then in all the great and comprehensive communications given there in reference to primeval times you will find but scanty reference to a past farther back than old Moon.

The condition of dream consciousness may thus be regarded as a first beginning — so to say, a substitute man has on Earth — for the first supersensible consciousness. When man is in deep sleep, his consciousness is darkened; but we cannot say that no consciousness exists. If the deep sleep consciousness awakens, that is to say, if it is awake outside the body, then it is the second supersensible consciousness. It goes higher than the first, and leads one who can experience it to the old Sun condition.

A little reflection will make plain to you the following. In your day consciousness you go about making external movements. Such movements are connected with your day consciousness, your Earth consciousness. The movements that take place inside you, on the other hand — the movements, I mean, of the middle man that continue even when you are asleep — are regulated by the consciousness we may call the consciousness of deep sleep. The movements of the heart and of the breathing are movements connected with this second consciousness and can only be understood in their whole connection with the higher worlds when man awakens outside his body, that is, in the deep sleep condition of the body.

You see, therefore, it is quite possible to perceive with ordinary intelligence that there are these three styles of consciousness. It would take us too far now to investigate the indications that undoubtedly exist in man of still higher consciousnesses. We have, however, shown that whenever man sets out to reflect on his life as Earth man, he discovers manifestations of higher consciousnesses. It is, therefore, possible to speak to Earth man of these higher states of consciousness. One can point out first how man experiences the ordinary processes of life on Earth by means of his everyday consciousness. One can then go on to show how, if his dream consciousness were to undergo a tremendous enhancement, he would experience all that belongs to the laws that have been brought over to Earth, so to speak, as a legacy from old Moon; and finally how, were he to become awake in deep sleep, independently of the body, he would experience the old Sun conditions in that form in which they too extend over into the conditions of Earth. It is therefore possible to communicate these things to man at the present time, and to describe to him how they manifest; we are justified in doing so, since an understanding can be awakened for what the occultist investigates. The occultist speaks of different states of consciousness. In reality they are different worlds: and it has become customary, as you know, to call these different states of consciousness different planes. That which can be surveyed with the physical consciousness is called the physical plane; that which is perceptible to the first consciousness of a supersensible nature, the astral plane; to the second, the lower Devachan or mental plane; and to the third, the higher mental, or higher Devachan plane. Still farther on, we have the Buddhi plane and the Nirvana plane. All we are doing here is simply to give other names to the results reached on the occult path. Both roads lead to a picture of man. For it is always man who in his varying conditions or states is active as member of the different planes or worlds. What we have done is to lead over the knowledge of man from the standpoint of occultism, where we speak of different conditions of consciousness and different conditions of evolution, to the knowledge of man from the standpoint of theosophy. For where the occultist speaks of conditions of consciousness, the theosophist speaks of successive planes. Occultism can in this manner be communicated openly as theosophy.

We must now go back a little. In the course of our considerations some new points of view have emerged, and it behooves us to go into these a little more fully. Take for example the perception we arrived at that man is, in his external form, a three times seven-membered human being. We have not time in these lectures to explain the matter in detail, but I will ask you to call to mind what stands written in Occult Science, namely, that before this Earth condition of existence man passed through three other conditions, Moon, Sun, Saturn, and that the very first foundation for the external physical human form was already present during ancient Saturn and subsequently underwent continual development and change. So that the marvelous and wonderful body of man we have before us today is the result of a long evolution. Its evolution has continued throughout three great phases of existence: Saturn, Sun, Moon. Each one of these can be divided into seven, and each single subdivision of these great phases of existence has left its mark on the human form. Three times seven formative forces have worked upon the form and figure of man. What man has added during Earth time — that alone is not to be found! It is, as we have seen, just the part of man that is subject to destruction. It is the completion of the human form, the gathering up of all the parts into a complete whole; and this has been destroyed by Lucifer. So that when we divide the human being into three times seven members, we have the expression of physical man on the Earth as he comes before us with all the changes wrought upon him by each successive previous condition of existence. It is the physical human being with which we are here concerned. The occultist must consider him in the way we have done in this lecture, in such measure as time has allowed. The theosophist, on the other hand, can only have his attention directed to what is present there before him. We can say to him: In man, there is the physical body. When we set out to study the human being, we come first of all to his physical body, that highly complicated form which has passed through so many conditions of existence and is today perpetually unfolding and manifesting the traces left behind from these earlier conditions. Then, as you will remember, we went on to consider something else. We made a study of man in his inner movements; and let me remind you of the conclusion to which we were led yesterday. The form of man we can see, but the movements as such we do not see, and I pointed out yesterday how difficult it is to discriminate between the movements and arrive at a conclusion as to which are the essential movements in man. One fact, however, emerged quite naturally from our study, namely, that this faculty of movement takes us back to the old Sun. It will accordingly not surprise you when I go on to say that all the inner movements in man are connected with the experiences he underwent during the time of old Sun. Whereas man as physical man bears in him the impress of Saturn, Sun, and Moon, man as the man of inner movement has carried in him the forces for this inner movement since the time of Sun. The man of inner movement has passed through Sun and Moon, and also Earth as far as it has gone today. Thus we distinguished in the human being something that is not form but is the inner ground of movement, and this we must designate as the first invisible man. We do not see this man; we can, however, see the external results of his activity — the movements; and we call him the etheric body, the ether body. The ether body can only be perceived by means of a higher consciousness. The workings of the ether body in the physical world are the inner movements that the human being performs. In so far, therefore, as man has had to undergo all three conditions of existence that preceded our own, he has become physical man; in so far as he has had to undergo Sun and Moon time only, he has become etheric man. And we can ascend a stage further and say that in so far as man has undergone Moon time alone, he has become astral man — that is to say, there has flowed into his movements all that leads to thinking, feeling, and willing. When we pass beyond the external and bodily, beyond also that which is within man (in inner movement), we come then to astral man, which is also not to be seen as such, but manifests and comes to expression in thinking, feeling, and willing. Finally, we come to that element in man which Earth has begun to prepare in him and which it will be her task in the future to complete. For Earth is called upon to bring to perfect development and form the I of man, which has already shown itself in the course of the evolution of the Earth and will in the future develop to higher stages, — Spirit Self, Life Spirit, Spirit Man (Manas, Buddhi, Atman). And now we have before us: Man in his several members.

It transpires therefore that in seeking to understand man in his relation to the whole world, not only do we come upon different conditions of consciousness that we then identify with different worlds, but we are also led to a division of the human being into his several members: physical body, ether body, and so on. Moreover by means of an intelligent external observation of man we can come to perceive that, while the ether body is not visible to us, we can yet discern manifestations of it here in the physical world. The manifestations of the ether body are the movements within man. The manifestations of the astral body are thinking, feeling, and willing. The “ I ” manifests itself — is its own manifestation. When once man is intelligent enough to comprehend that the movements he makes within him do not proceed from his form, cannot indeed proceed from anything physical, when once he can rise to the only intelligent way of regarding them, namely, as having their source in the supersensible, then the possibility is opened for him not simply of believing in, but of grasping with his understanding, the existence of an ether body. To clothe occult knowledge in forms that appeal to ordinary consciousness — this is to bring occultism into theosophy, to clothe it, as it were, in the garment of theosophy. Just as we found that in theosophy we speak of planes, so again are we clothing the truth in the garb of theosophy when we speak of the various members of man's nature. Everything that can be said concerning man has first to be found on an occult path. We must traverse the whole wide world, we must attain, as students in occultism, to the various conditions of consciousness; and we shall discover that these various conditions of consciousness can afford us an explanation of man, can indeed show us what he really is. Through occultism alone can man be understood in his true nature and being. Theosophy is no more than an attempt to clothe the occult knowledge in intelligently stated truths, so that men may have insight into occult knowledge. The facts of which I have been telling you — if you will test them intelligently, you will find them to harmonize one with another in countless ways, harmonize too with the whole world. Intelligent testing is the one and only way to find confirmation of the results obtained in occultism.

A second point emerged that also requires to be explained a little further — for we must make it clear that although theosophy and occultism seem at first to lead to contradictions (we heard in the first lecture of this course what is to be our attitude to such contradictions), further study will always lead to the solution of these. You will have seen this happen already in many instances in these lectures. Perhaps, however, new contradictions will now present themselves when what we have just been saying is taken in connection with what was said in earlier lectures of the course. It is out of the question to deal today with all the possible contradictions, but there is one that I would like to endeavor to solve with the aid of the occult knowledge attainable in the second consciousness of a supersensible kind. Many of you will remember that I — and others too — have repeatedly pointed to the cosmic character of the Christ, and have shown how He surpasses in His very nature all other founders of religions. It is only to be expected that this unique character of the Christ Being should more readily meet with recognition in the West, since it is in the West that the historical sense is specially developed. In order for the evolution of the Earth to take place in such a manner as to allow of men going through many different incarnations, the West will naturally look for a “center of gravity” for this evolution. It can, therefore, only astonish one that Westerners are still to be found who are not prepared to admit this center of gravity of evolution — which is, in effect, the Christ Impulse. To speak of reincarnation of the Christ would be to make the same mistake as to imagine that a pair of scales could be held in balance at more than one point. Seen from this aspect, the matter is really exceedingly simple.

There is, however, another ground, a moral ground, of which we must take account in its effect on the relationship of the human being to the Christ, who is to be regarded as being Himself the Impulse of Earth evolution. It is as follows. Christ entered the evolution of the Earth at a particular moment. The men who are living at the present day were incarnated before the coming of Christ and are now incarnated again. Thus they have lived not only during the time of Earth evolution when Christ was not yet present, but they live also now when Christ has been present; and the objection frequently made from a materialistic standpoint, that if Christ were so important, then a one and only appearance on Earth would signify an injustice to mankind, falls to the ground. Nevertheless one still hears people ask “How could such an injustice be allowed to happen, that all the men who lived before Christ have not had the benefit of His deed, while those who live after Him have this benefit?” But they are the very same human beings! Such an objection should most assuredly not be raised in theosophical quarters! And yet, this objection opens up a matter of very great significance. For there are a few instances where the objection is in a certain sense justified; and one of these instances, as you will see if you stop to reflect, is the case of the Buddha.

While human beings all over the Earth are born again and again and can thus always come to an experience of the Christ Impulse in their incarnations after the time of Christ, the Buddha attained in pre-Christian times the stage of evolution which removed from him the necessity of returning anymore into an Earthly body. This means that the Buddha belongs therefore to the very small number of human beings who lived on the Earth and then left it before Christ came. And you may want to know, what is the relation of the Christ to Buddha? Apart from what I mentioned yesterday, that Buddha shone down from higher worlds into the astral body of the Luke Jesus Child, how do the Christ and Buddha stand to one another? Is it actually so, that Buddha left the Earth before Christ was on the Earth? that he took his way to Mars, so that the Buddha and Christ so to speak passed one another? Only with the help of deep occult knowledge can we hope to solve this problem. Recall in thought all that I have been telling you. I explained to you how the Christ was united with the Sun. In point of fact it was only through the baptism by John, or rather through the Mystery of Golgotha itself, that the Christ came into union with the Earth. The Christ is therefore a Sun Spirit and we have to look for Him, before the Mystery of Golgotha took place on Earth, in close connection with His Kingdom, the Sun. Zarathustra sought Him there. And it is during the time when Christ is working as Ruler in the kingdom of the Sun, when He has not yet extended His rulership to the Earth — at all events, not yet by means of His Impulse — that the life of Buddha takes its course on Earth. And now we must turn back to the earlier incarnations of Buddha if we would arrive at the truth in this matter. We know that Buddha was earlier a Bodhisattva; he worked on Earth through long periods of time as Bodhisattva. These Bodhisattvas had in them no ordinary human soul. Their case was quite a special one. You must here call to mind the description in Occult Science of the beginning of Earth evolution — how, after the interval between Moon and Earth, the Sun was reunited with Earth and the other planets, and how they all then separated again, being shed, as it were, like a husk or shell one after the other. (See also my lecture cycle on the Spiritual Hierarchies.) There was, therefore, at one time the condition in which the Earth was united with the Sun. Then Earth and Sun separated, and you know that after that came the separation also of the Moon, and the strengthening of the Earth through souls coming from other planets. Let us now fix our attention on the point of time when the Sun has just separated from the Earth. When this separation took place, the two planets Venus and Mercury — I am giving them their astronomical names — were still within the Sun. The Earth alone separated off, Venus and Mercury remaining within the Sun. We have therefore now Sun and Earth. On Earth, evolution continues. Only a small number of human beings remain behind; others go up to the planets, to return again later on. With the Sun went also beings; for the world does not consist just of external matter, but of beings. Beings went with the Sun when it separated from the Earth. And their Leader is the Christ. For at the time in Earth evolution when the Sun separated from the Earth, what one may call the taking precedence by the Christ over Lucifer and the other planetary Spirits had already come to fulfillment. Then later on, Venus separated, and Mercury. Let us consider for a moment the exit of Venus from the Sun. Together with Venus are beings who had also at first gone with the Sun but were not able to remain there. These break away and inhabit Venus. Among them is the being who stands behind the later Buddha. He went as a messenger from the Christ to the dwellers on Venus. The Christ sent him to Venus, and here on Venus Buddha passed through all manner of stages of evolution. Later on, souls came back from Venus to Earth. The ordinary human souls were of course but little developed. Buddha, however, who also descended to Earth with the Venus souls, was a highly evolved being — so highly evolved that he could at once become a Bodhisattva and afterwards early a Buddha. Thus we have in Buddha one who had long ago been sent out by Christ and had the task of preparing the work of Christ on Earth. For his mission to the Venus men had this meaning — that he should go to Earth beforehand, as a forerunner of the Sun. And now you will be able to understand that Buddha, having been with Christ for a longer time than the other Earth men — for the Earth separated off earlier — needed only that portion of the Christ Impulse which he still had in him from the Sun, to enable him to follow the Christ Event from the spiritual world. For Buddha that sufficed. Other human beings had to await the Christ Event on Earth. But because Buddha had this special relationship to the Christ, because he had been sent out by the Christ as a forerunner, he did not need to await on Earth the Christ Event. He took with him from Earth the capacity of remembering — even without the help of the Christ, which other men need — what the I means on Earth. Hence he was able also to look down and behold the Christ Event from higher worlds. Thus was preparation made long beforehand in the World All for the remarkable mission that Buddha had undertaken at the behest of Christ. For he was first sent to the Venus men — and compare what I am now telling you with the lectures I gave at Helsingfors [Note 1] — and afterwards to the Earth; then he made his way back to the Mars men, and there has to continue working, carrying out on Mars the mission for which he had so long been preparing. On Mars it is so, that the men who have remained there stand in great peril, even as the Earth men were in peril, from which Christ set them free. The danger for the Mars men is that their astral body — they have, as you know, not an I to develop as we — their astral body, and thereby indirectly also their ether body, may suffer a very serious diminution of force and become dried up. The whole nature of the Mars men has proved to be of a kind that leads to terrible wars. The men of Mars tend to settle permanently on a certain spot. Men on the Earth are cosmopolitanly inclined; Mars men are wedded to the soil, there are very few cosmopolitans among them. And there is, or rather was, on Mars constant war and strife, due to the astral bodies that are very strong and not tempered and made gentle by an I. If you will think it over you will understand that among men who develop in this way there must inevitably be a terrible amount of strife and conflict. Mars is nothing else than a kind of reincarnated Moon; what the astral body holds is not tempered with the softening influence of the I, with the result that the men of Mars have quite an exceptional lust for war. The Greeks acted on a true knowledge when they made Mars the God of War. One is indeed filled with wonder and amazement when one finds in the world of legend these echoes of the truth. Unforgettable is the impression one receives when, having discovered that terrible wars took place there, one finds that this occult knowledge is present in the names that were given out of the knowledge contained in the ancient Mysteries.

Think of the continuation of the life of Buddha, this Master of Compassion and Love, this Master in the overcoming of caste distinctions, and you will understand the mission that Buddha had on Mars — to introduce something to which the Mars men could never come unaided, something which would seem to them like an exaggerated piety, a kind of monastic attitude to life. For it was the mission of Buddha by means of a conspicuous example of exceeding humility and poverty to quicken the Mars men to life in this direction. I can only just begin to draw for you the picture of Buddha's influence upon Mars. The meaning of his work there for the Mars men, who live without the I, is in point of fact entirely similar to the influence of a redeemer and a savior, one who liberates men to a higher world-conception. And while upon Earth universal brotherhood and love of one's neighbor are connected in their deepest impulse with the Christ, cosmopolitanism in its essential character is connected with the Deed of Salvation which Buddha has to fulfill on Mars.

There is yet another point in our study that might present a difficulty, and I would like to dispose of it before we separate. It is the fact that the various religions on Earth, which as every theosophist knows have a common single source, are differently related to occult communications. Every religion has to be referred back to a founder who through this religion made known to a group of people, in a manner suited to their capacity, some experience belonging to a particular stage of initiation. You have for instance the religion which is not able to rise to the Christ, the Spirit of the Sun, but is peculiarly adapted to rise to the great and far-reaching soul that lived in the being who was many times incarnated as a Bodhisattva — a religion that looks up in worship to him who is the great Initiator, the great Inspirer, of the Buddha. This religion is not able to ascend to a vision of how the Christ is the Sun Spirit and has descended to Earth. It sees only as far as to the one who is sent as a messenger; it gathers together, as it were, for its content that which goes forth from the Sun and becomes a planetary spirit. And we can well understand that Buddha is regarded as a planetary spirit.

Such a religion, that lifts men's thoughts to the Spirit who guides the evolution of the Buddha, could only grasp a figure like the figure of Vishnu in the Indian Trimurti. Moreover, since a religion of this kind has not yet come through to the knowledge of the universal victory of Christ over Lucifer, neither is it able to place the figure of Lucifer in such relation to the Christ as we can today. To the followers of such a religion Lucifer seems to be standing beside the Christ as an independent figure — His equal, unsubdued. We have seen how Lucifer is given the place of a kind of brother. This is what you have when Shiva confronts Vishnu. Look into the religion of Shiva, study it carefully; and you will follow me when I say that the Shiva religion of India can be understood when one has knowledge of the Lucifer Being. For Shiva is in reality Lucifer in the form in which he is not yet overcome. All its cult and ritual, the whole of the religion of Shiva with its 60 million adherents — viewed from this standpoint, it shows itself to be an eminently Luciferic kind of religion. From these examples, you will readily understand how all forms of occult knowledge have been able to impress their influence on different religions at different stages, according to the character and disposition of the peoples concerned.

And now I want to ask you to follow me in a further consideration. We have spoken of the Unmanifest Light, and of the Inexpressible Word; and we have succeeded also in arriving by many detours at the Consciousness Without Object. Let us now pause a moment at this trinity, and ask: Do these three things come to expression at all in our world, do they reveal themselves there?

The answer is, that by taking together all that has been given in the course of these lectures, we can without difficulty arrive at a knowledge of how these three things express themselves in our world. Take Light: when we gave a description of the proud Lucifer, it was all Light! Light is essentially an attribute of the spiritual; and when he is on the physical plane, man only has light — and then in its very weakest expression — in his thoughts. And where has man the Inexpressible Word, when he is here on the physical plane? That which in the great world is Inexpressible Word is expressible word here on the physical plane, and you will not take long to discover what must be the origin and source of the word. It is what we call the soul in man. While therefore the Light gradually becomes what is spiritual in man, the Word becomes gradually revealed in man in his soul nature. And Consciousness — how does it manifest in physical man? Through the fact that external matter impinges upon him. For physical consciousness needs an external object, it must, as it were, have something to bite! Up above, we found: Consciousness Without Object, Inexpressible Word, Unmanifest Light. Down below, we find as their last manifestation on the physical plane: human consciousness that chews at matter; the soul that reveals, although in obscured form, the word; and finally the light that is present in exceedingly feeble manner in man's thinking. In the human aura alone can the clairvoyant see thinking as light. All that comes from light he can see only as aura. Nevertheless in thinking — in that which on the physical plane is already spiritual — we may recognize the last reflection of the Unmanifest Light. So, you see, man can after all bring to expression these three highest things that we found. We discover them when we regard man as spirit, soul, and matter. And in spirit and soul together man finds the picture of his I as a unity. Yes, even this triad which we find on the physical plane — matter, soul, spirit — is a revelation of the highest trinity. Men lost these primal revelations of the occultism of olden times, and occultism gradually took on a new form that met with but little outward understanding. In our time occultism must again find understanding, in our time it must become theosophy. There has been an intervening time when men did not look up to the occult truths that had been communicated to them earlier, when they did not understand what we today clothe in the words of theosophy. And in this intervening time they held by the last manifestation, the latest product as it were of the working of the higher trinity — they held to matter, soul, and spirit. This stage gave birth to what we may call philosophy, which in reality first made its appearance about six centuries before Christ and has continued on into our own time. You will always find that philosophy starts from the last external manifestation of the great trinity which remains ever deeply hidden. Philosophy sees spread out before her the material life, and the material life alone — the food as it were for human consciousness. Philosophy does not comprehend the Inexpressible Word, but it can nevertheless still have a feeling for the soul element in the world when it reveals itself in the soul of man as the expressed word. Philosophy does not find the Unmanifest Light, but can sense it from afar, inasmuch as it appears, in its last activity, in human thinking — that is to say, in that portion of the human spirit which is turned, to begin with, to the external world. Body, soul, and spirit — the mind of the Greek sees them as threefold man, and they play their part right through the age of philosophy. Mankind has been passing through an epoch in his evolution when the occultisms were hidden. Hidden too, were the theosophies. All that was left for man to hold onto was the most external of all revelations, was what we call body, soul, and spirit. And this epoch has lasted until now. But the time of philosophy is fulfilled. The philosophers have had their day. The one thing that remains for philosophy to do is to save for man that which the clairvoyant must remember at the first stage of his evolution — the I, the self-consciousness. And it is important that philosophy should not fail of this task. Try to understand my Philosophy of Spiritual Activity from this point of view. The book is written in such a way as to lead over the philosophical consciousness into the new age that is coming, when that which can give a more exact and accurate picture of the higher trinity must enter once again into the evolution of mankind — when theosophy must find its way into human evolution.

The age of philosophy has come to an end. Older than philosophy is theosophy, and theosophy will take the place of philosophy, notwithstanding all opposition. It has, so to speak, the longer life, it exceeds in duration the age of philosophy. Only for a certain limited time can the human being be studied from the philosophical standpoint. Further into the past, and further too into the future, extends the age when man can be considered from the standpoint of theosophy. Transcending both, and probing man's being to the uttermost, is occultism. For behind all human knowledge whatsoever stands occultism. Occultism is the oldest of all; it has the longest age of time. Before theosophy was, was occultism; after theosophy, occultism will still be. Before philosophy was, was theosophy; after philosophy, theosophy will still be.

And now, my dear friends, try among other ideals to apprehend this one — that you are called upon to understand how in our time the philosophical ideal (which has necessarily only been held by a few) has to flow into a new ideal, the theosophical ideal, which will be comprehensible to many, because theosophy is able to speak to man from far greater depths than philosophy, which can never be anything but abstract, since it is only a last feeble copy of the original being of man in his threefoldedness. If we study the matter in the way we have done, then we are seeing it all on the background of world-history as historic necessity; we feel what theosophy must be for modern man, and we recognize how the three points of view — philosophy, theosophy, occultism — are in very truth ways of understanding man that must unfold one after the other. Let this thought not remain just a thought in the head, but let it sink deep into your hearts, and you will learn to appreciate how important, as well as how holy, theosophy must be for us.

Emily Dickinson's Haunted House

"Nature is a Haunted House—but Art—a House that tries to be haunted."

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Goal of Yoga: Union with the Spirit of Jesus Christ Through the Etherization of the Blood

Diagram 2

Rudolf Steiner, October 1, 1911:

Wherever we, as human beings, have striven for knowledge, whether as mystics or realists or in any way at all, the acquisition of self-knowledge has been demanded of us. But as has been repeatedly emphasized on other occasions, self-knowledge is by no means as easy to achieve as many people believe — anthroposophists sometimes among them. The anthroposophist should be constantly aware of the hindrances he will encounter in his efforts. But the acquisition of self-knowledge is absolutely essential if we are to reach a worthy goal in world-existence and if our actions are to be worthy of us as members of humanity.

Let us ask ourselves the question: Why is the achievement of self-knowledge so difficult? Man is very a complicated being. If we mean to speak truly of his inner life, his life of soul, we shall not begin by regarding it as something simple and elementary. We shall rather have the patience and perseverance, the will, to penetrate more deeply into the marvellous creation of the Divine-Spiritual Powers known to us as Man.

Before we investigate the nature of self-knowledge, two aspects of the life of the human soul may present themselves to us. Just as the magnet has North and South poles, just as light and darkness are present in the world, so there are two poles in man's life of soul. These two poles become evident when we observe a person placed in two contrasting situations. Suppose we are watching someone who is entirely absorbed in the contemplation of some strikingly beautiful and impressive natural phenomenon. We see how still he is standing, moving neither hand nor foot, never turning his eyes away from the spectacle presented to him, and we are aware that inwardly he is picturing his environment. That is one situation. Another is the following: a man is walking along the street and feels that someone has insulted him. Without thinking, he is roused to anger and gives vent to it by striking the person who insulted him. We are there witnessing a manifestation of forces springing from anger, a manifestation of impulses of will, and it is easy to imagine that if the action had been preceded by thought no blow need have been struck.
We have now pictured two contrasting situations: in the one there is only ideation, a process in the life of thought from which all conscious will is absent; in the other there is no thought, no ideation, and immediate expression is given to an impulse of will. Here we have examples of the two extremes of human behavior. The first pole is complete surrender to contemplation, to thought, in which the will has no part; the second pole is the impelling force of will without thought. These facts are revealed simply by observation of external life.
We can go into these things more deeply and we come then into spheres in which we can find our bearings only by summoning the findings of occult investigation to our aid. Here another polarity confronts us — that of sleeping and waking. From the elementary concepts of Anthroposophy we know that in waking life the four members of a man's being — physical body, etheric body, astral body, and ego — are organically and actively interwoven, but that in sleep the physical and etheric bodies remain in bed, while the astral body and ego are outpoured into the great world bordering on physical existence. These facts could also be approached from a different point of view. We might ask: what is there to be said about ideation, contemplation, thinking — and about the will and its impulses on the one hand during waking life and during sleep on the other?
When we penetrate more deeply into this question it becomes evident that in his present physical existence man is, in a certain sense, always asleep, Only there is a difference between sleep during the night and sleep during the day. Of this we can be convinced in a purely external way, for we know that we can wake in the occult sense during the day, that is to say, one can become clairvoyant and see into the spiritual world. The physical body in its ordinary state is asleep to what is then and there happening and we can rightly speak of an awakening of our spiritual senses. In the night, of course, we are asleep in the normal way. It can therefore be said: ordinary sleep is sleep as regards the outer physical world; daytime consciousness at the present time is sleep as regards the spiritual world.
These facts can be considered in yet another light. On deeper scrutiny we realize that in the ordinary waking condition of physical life, man has, as a rule, very little power or control over his will and its impulses. The will is very detached from daily life. Only consider how little of all you do from morning to evening is really the outcome of your own thinking, of your personal resolutions. When someone knocks at the door and you say “Come in!”, that cannot be called a decision of your own thinking and will. If you are hungry and seat yourself at a table, that cannot be called a decision made by the will, because it is occasioned by your circumstances, by the needs of your organism. Try to picture your daily life and you will find how little the will is directly influenced from the center of your being. Why is this the case? Occultism shows us that in respect of his will man actually sleeps by day, that is to say he is not in the real sense present in his will-impulses at all. We may evolve better and better concepts and ideas; or we may become more highly moral, more cultured individuals, but we can do nothing as regards the will. By cultivating better thoughts we can work indirectly upon the will but as far as life is concerned we can do nothing directly to it, for in the waking life of day, our will is influenced only in an indirect way, namely through sleep. When we are asleep we do not think; ideation passes over into a state of sleep. The will, however, awakes, permeates our organism from outside, and invigorates it. We feel strengthened in the morning because what has penetrated into our organism is of the nature of will. That we are not aware of this activity of the will becomes comprehensible when we remember that all conceptual activity ceases when we ourselves are asleep. To begin with, therefore, this stimulus shall be given for further contemplation, further meditation. The more progress you make in self-knowledge, the more you will find confirmation of the truth of the words that man sleeps in respect of his will when he is awake and sleeps in respect of his conceptual life when he is asleep. The life of will sleeps by day; the life of thought sleeps by night.
Man is unaware that the will does not sleep during the night because he only knows how to be awake in his life of thought. The will does not sleep during the night but it then works as it were in a fiery element, works upon his body in order to restore what has been used up by day.
Thus there are two poles in man: the life of observation and ideation, and the impulses of will; and man is related in entirely opposite ways to these two poles. The whole life of soul moves in various nuances between these two poles, and we shall come nearer to understanding it by bringing this microcosmic life of soul into relation with the higher worlds.
From what has been said we have learnt that the life of thought and ideation is one of the poles of man's life of soul. This life of thought is something which seems unreal to materialistically minded people. Do we not often hear it said: “Oh, ideas and thoughts are only ideas and thoughts!” This is intended to imply that if someone has a piece of bread or meat in his hand it is a reality because it can be eaten, but a thought is only a thought, it is not a reality. Why is this said? It is because what man calls his thoughts are related to what thoughts really are as a shadow-image is to the actual thing. The shadow-image of a flower points you to the flower itself, to the reality. So it is with thoughts. Human thinking is the shadowing forth of ideas and beings belonging to a higher world, the world we call the Astral plane. And you represent thinking rightly to yourself when you picture the human head thus — it is not absolutely correct but simply diagrammatic. In the head are thoughts but these thoughts must be pictured as living beings on the Astral plane. Beings of the most varied kinds are at work there in the form of teeming concepts and activities which cast their shadow-images into men, and these processes are reflected in the human head as thinking.

Diagram 1

As well as the life of thought in the human soul, there is also the life of feeling. Feelings fall into two categories: those of pleasure and sympathy, and those of displeasure and antipathy. The former are aroused by good deeds, benevolent deeds; antipathy is aroused by evil, malevolent deeds. Here there is something more than and different from the mere forming of concepts. We form concepts of things irrespectively of any other factor. But our soul experiences sympathy or antipathy only in respect of what is beautiful and good, or what is ugly and evil. Just as everything that takes place in man in the form of thoughts points to the Astral plane, so everything connected with sympathy or antipathy points to the realm we call Lower Devachan. Processes in the Heavenly World, or Devachan, are projected, mainly into our breast, as feelings of sympathy or antipathy for what is beautiful or ugly, for what is good or evil. So that in our feelings for the moral-aesthetic element, we bear within our souls shadow-reflections of the Heavenly World or Lower Devachan.
There is still a third province in the life of the human soul, which must be strictly distinguished from the mere preference for good deeds. There is a difference between standing by and taking pleasure in witnessing some kindly deed and setting the will in action and actually performing some such deed. I will call pleasure in good deeds or displeasure in evil deeds the aesthetic element as against the moral element that impels a man to perform some good deed. The moral element is at a higher level than the purely aesthetic; mere pleasure or displeasure is at a lower level than the will to do something good or bad. In so far as our soul feels constrained to give expression to moral impulses, these impulses are the shadow-images of Higher Devachan, of the Higher Heavenly World.
It is easy to picture these three stages of activity of the human soul — the purely intellectual (thoughts, concepts), the aesthetic (pleasure or displeasure), and the moral (revealed in impulses to good or bad deeds) — as microcosmic images of the three realms which in the Macrocosm, the great Universe, lie one above the other. The Astral world is reflected in the world of thought; the Devachanic world is reflected in the aesthetic sphere of pleasure and displeasure; and the Higher Devachanic world is reflected as morality.

Thoughts: Shadow-images of Beings of the Astral Plane (Waking)
Sympathy and Antipathy: Shadow-images of Beings of Lower Devachan (Dreaming)
Moral Impulses: Shadow-images of Beings of Higher Devachan (Sleeping)

If we connect this with what was said previously concerning the two poles of the soul-life, we shall take the pole of intellect to be that which dominates the waking life, the life in which man is mentally awake. During the day he is awake in respect of his intellect; during sleep he is awake in respect of his will. It is because at night he is asleep in respect of intellect that he is unaware of what he is happening with his will. The truth is that what we call moral principles, moral impulses, are working indirectly into the will. And in point of fact man needs the life of sleep in order that the moral impulses he takes into himself through the life of thought can become active and effective. In his ordinary life today man is capable of accomplishing what is right only on the plane of intellect; he is less able to accomplish anything on the moral plane, for there he is dependent upon help coming from the Macrocosm.
What is already within us can bring about the further development of intellectuality, but the Gods must come to our aid if we are to acquire greater moral strength. We go to sleep in order that we may plunge into the Divine Will where the intellect does not intervene and where Divine Forces transform into the power of will the moral principles we accept, where they instill into our will that which we could otherwise receive only into our thoughts.
Between these two poles, that of the will which wakes by night and of the intellect which is awake by day, lies the sphere of aesthetic appreciation which is continuously present in man. During the day man is not fully awake — at least only the most prosaic, pedantic individuals are always fully awake in waking life. We must always be able to dream a little even by day when we are awake; we must be able to give ourselves up to the enjoyment art, of poetry, or of some other activity that is not concerned wholly with crass reality. Those who can give themselves up in this way form a connection with something that can enliven and invigorate the whole of existence. To give oneself up to such imaginings is like a dream making its way into waking life. Into the life of sleep you know well that dreams enter; these dreams in the usual sense, dreams which permeate sleep-consciousness. Human beings need also to dream by day if they do not wish to lead an arid, empty, unhealthy waking life. Dreaming takes place during sleep at night in any case and no proof of this is required. Midway between the two poles of night dreaming and day dreaming is the condition that can come to expression in fantasy.
So here again there is a threefold life of soul. The intellectual element in which we are really awake brings us shadow-images of the Astral Plane when by day we give ourselves up to a thought — wherein the most fruitful ideas for daily life and great inventions originate. Then during sleep, when we dream, these dreams play into our life of sleep and shadow-images from Lower Devachan are reflected into us. And when we work actively during sleep, impressing morality into our will — we cannot be aware of this actual process but certainly we can of its effects — when we are able to imbue our life of thoughts during the night with the influence of Divine Spiritual Powers, then the impulses we receive are reflections from Higher Devachan, the Higher Heavenly World. These reflections are the moral impulses and feelings which are active within us and lead to the recognition that human life is vindicated only when we place our thoughts at the service of the good and the beautiful, when we allow the very heart's blood of Divine Spiritual life to stream through our intellectual activities, permeating them with moral impulses.
The life of the human soul as presented here, first from external, exoteric observation and then from observation of a more mystical character, is revealed by deeper (occult) investigation. The processes that have been described in their more external aspect can also be perceived in man through clairvoyance. When a man stands in front of us today in his waking state and we observe him with the eye of clairvoyance, certain rays of light are seen streaming continually from the heart towards the head. Within the head these rays play around the organ known in anatomy as the pineal gland. These streamings arise because human blood, which is a physical substance, is perpetually resolving itself into etheric substance. In the region of the heart there is a continual transformation of the blood into this delicate etheric substance which streams upwards towards the head and glimmers around the pineal gland. This process — the etherization of the blood — can be perceived in the human being all the time during his waking life.

Diagram 2

The occult observer is able to see a continual streaming from outside into the brain, and also in the reverse direction, from the brain to the heart. Now these streams, which in sleeping man come from outside, from cosmic space, from the Macrocosm, and flow into the inner constitution of the physical body and etheric bodies lying in the bed, reveal something remarkable when they are investigated. These rays vary greatly in different individuals. Sleeping human beings differ very drastically from one another, and if those who are a little vain only knew how badly they betray themselves to occult observation when they go to sleep during public gatherings, they would try their level best not to let this happen!
Moral qualities are revealed distinctly in the particular coloring of the streams which flow into human beings during sleep; in an individual of lower moral principles, the streams are quite different from what is observable in an individual of noble principles. Endeavors to dissemble are useless. In the face of the higher Cosmic Powers, no dissembling is possible. In the case of a man who has only a slight inclination towards moral principles the rays streaming into him are a brownish red in colour — various shades tending toward brownish red. In a man of high moral ideals the rays are lilac-violet in colour. At the moment of waking or of going off to sleep a kind of struggle takes place in the region of the pineal gland between what streams down from above and what streams upward from below. When a man is awake the intellectual element streams upwards from below in the form of currents of light, and what is of moral-aesthetic nature streams downwards from above. At the moment of waking or of going off to sleep, these two currents meet, and in the man of low morality a violent struggle between the two streams takes place in the region of the pineal gland. In the man of high morality there is around the pineal gland as it were a little sea of light. Moral nobility is revealed when a calm glow surrounds the pineal gland at these moments. In this way a man's moral disposition is reflected in him, and this calm glow of light often extends as far as the heart. Two streams can therefore be perceived in man — the one Macrocosmic, the other, Microcosmic.
To estimate the significance of how these two streams meet in man is possible only by considering on the one hand what was said previously in a more external way about the life of the soul and how this life reveals the threefold polarity of the intellectual, the aesthetic, and the moral elements that stream downwards from above, from the brain toward the heart; and if, on the other hand, we grasp the significance of what was said about turning our attention to the corresponding phenomenon in the Macrocosm. This corresponding phenomenon can be described today as the result of the most scrupulously careful occult investigation of recent years, undertaken by individuals among genuine Rosicrucians. These investigations have shown that something similar to what has been described in connection with the Microcosm also takes place in the Macrocosm. You will understand this more fully as time goes on.
Just as in the region of the human heart the blood is continually being transformed into etheric substance, a similar process takes place in the Macrocosm. We understand this when we turn our minds to the Mystery of Golgotha — to the moment when the blood flowed from the wounds of Jesus  Christ.
This blood must not be regarded simply as chemical substance, but by reason of all that has been said concerning the nature of Jesus of Nazareth it must be recognized as something altogether unique. When it flowed from His wounds, a substance was imparted to our Earth, which in uniting with it, constituted an Event of the greatest possible significance for all future ages of the Earth's evolution — and it could take place only once. What came of this blood in the ages that followed? Nothing different from what otherwise takes place in the heart of man. In the course of Earth evolution this blood passes through a process of “etherization.” And just as our human blood streams upwards from the heart as ether, so since the Mystery of Golgotha the etherized blood of Christ Jesus has been present in the ether of the Earth. The etheric body of the Earth is permeated by the blood — now transformed — which flowed on Golgotha. This is supremely important. If what has thus come to pass through Christ Jesus had not taken place, man's condition on the Earth could only have been as previously described. But since the Mystery of Golgotha it has always been possibe for the etheric blood of Christ to flow together with the streamings from below upward, from heart to head.
Because the etherized blood of Jesus of Nazareth is present in the etheric body of the Earth, it accompanies the etherized human blood streaming upwards from the heart to the brain, so that not only those streams of which I spoke earlier meet in man, but the human bloodstream unites with the bloodstream of Christ Jesus. A union of these two streams can, however, come about only if a person is able to unfold true understanding of what is contained in the Christ Impulse. Otherwise there can be no union; the two streams then mutually repel each other, thrust each other away.
In every epoch of Earth evolution understanding must be acquired in the form suitable for that epoch. At the time when Christ Jesus lived on Earth, preceding events were rightly understood by those who came to His forerunner, John, and were baptized by him according to the rite described in the Gospels. They received baptism in order that their sin, that is to say, the karma of their previous lives — karma which had come to an end — might be changed; and in order that they might realize that the most powerful Impulse in Earth evolution was about to descend into a physical body. But the evolution of humanity progresses and in our present age what matters is that people should recognize the need for the knowledge contained in Spiritual Science and be able so to fire the streams flowing from heart to brain that this knowledge can be understood.
If this comes to pass, individuals will be able to receive and comprehend the event that has its beginning in the Twentieth Century: this event is the appearance of the Christ as an Etheric Being, in contradistinction to the Physical Christ of Palestine. For we have now reached the point of time when the Etheric Christ enters into the life of the Earth and will become visible — at first to a small number of individuals through a form of natural clairvoyance. Then in the course of the next three thousand years, He will become visible to greater and greater numbers of people. This will inevitably come to pass in the natural course of development. That it will come to pass is as true as were the achievements of electricity in the nineteenth century. A number of individuals will see the Etheric Christ and will themselves experience the event that took place at Damascus. But this will depend upon such men learning to be alert to the moment when Christ draws near to them.

In only a few decades from now it will happen, particularly to those who are young — already preparation is being made for this — that some individual here or there has certain experiences. If he has sharpened his vision through having assimilated Anthroposophy, he may become aware that suddenly someone has come near to help him, to make him alert to this or that. The truth is that Christ has come to him, although he believes that what he saw is a physical man. He will come to realize that what he saw was a supersensible being, because it immediately vanishes.

Many a human being will have this experience when sitting silent in his room, heavy-hearted and oppressed, not knowing which way to turn. The door will open, and the etheric Christ will appear and speak words of consolation to him. The Christ will become a living Comforter to men.

However strange it may as yet seem, it is true nevertheless that many a time when people — even in considerable numbers — are sitting together, not knowing what to do, and waiting, they will see the Etheric Christ. He will Himself be there, will confer with them, will make His voice heard in such gatherings. These times are approaching, and the positive, constructive element now described will take real effect in the evolution of mankind.
No word shall be said here against the great advances made by culture in our day; these achievements are essential for the welfare and the freedom of men. But whatever can be gained in the way of outer progress in mastering the forces of nature is something small and insignificant compared with the blessing bestowed upon the individual who experiences the awakening soul through Christ, the Christ who will now be operative in human culture and its concerns. Men will thereby acquire forces that make for unification. In very truth Christ brings constructive forces into human culture and civilization.
If we look into early post-Atlantean times, we would find that men built their dwelling places by methods very different from those used in modern life. In those days they made use of all kinds of growing things. Even when building palaces they summoned nature to their aid by utilizing plants interlaced with branches of trees and so on, whereas today men must build with broken fragments. All the culture of the external world is contrived with the aid of products of fragmentation. And in the course of the coming years you will realize even more clearly how much in our civilized life is the outcome of destruction.
Light itself is being destroyed in this post-Atlantean age of the Earth's existence, which until the time of Atlantis was a progressive process. Since then it has been a process of decay. What is light? Light decays, and the decaying light is electricity. What we know as electricity is light that is being destroyed in matter.

And the chemical force that undergoes a transformation in the process of Earth evolution is magnetism.

Yet a third force will become active; and if electricity seems to work wonders today, this third force will affect civilization in a still more miraculous way. The more of this force we employ, the faster the Earth will tend to become a corpse and its spiritual part prepare for the Jupiter embodiment. Forces have to be applied for the purpose of destruction, in order that man may become free of the Earth and that the Earth's body may fall away.

As long as the Earth was involved in progressive evolution, no such destruction took place, for the great achievements of electricity can only serve a decaying Earth. Strange as this sounds, it must gradually become known. By understanding the process of evolution we shall learn to assess our culture at its true value. We shall also learn that it is necessary for the Earth to be destroyed, for otherwise the spiritual could not become free. We shall also learn to value what is positive, namely the penetration of spiritual forces into our existence on Earth.

Thus we realize what a tremendous advance was signified by the fact that Christ lived for three years on the Earth in a human body specially prepared in order that He might be visible to physical eyes. Through what came to pass during those three years men have been made ready to behold the Christ who will move among them in an etheric body, who will participate in earthly life as truly and effectively as did the Physical Christ in Palestine.

If men observe such happenings with undimmed senses they will know that there is an etheric body that will move about in the physical world, but is the only etheric body able to work in the physical world as a human physical body works. It will differ from a physical body in this respect only, that it can be in two, three, nay even in a hundred, a thousand places at the same time. This is possible only for an etheric, not for a physical form.

What will be accomplished in humanity through this further advance is that the two poles of which I have spoken, the intellectual and the moral, will more and more become one; they will merge into unity. This will come about because in the course of the next millennia men will become aware of the presence of the Etheric Christ in the world; more and more they will be influenced in waking life too by the direct working of the Good from the spiritual world. Whereas at the present time the will is asleep by day, and man is only able to influence it indirectly through thought, in the course of the next millennia, through the power which from our time onwards is working in us under the aegis of Christ, it will come about that the deeds of men in waking consciousness too can be directly productive of Good.
The dream of Socrates, that virtue can be taught, will come true; more and more it will be possible on Earth not only for the intellect to be stimulated and energized by this teaching but for moral impulses to be spread abroad. Schopenhauer said “To preach morality is easy; to establish it is very difficult.” Why is this? Because no morality has yet been spread by preaching. It is quite possible to recognize moral principles and yet not abide by them. For most people the Pauline saying holds good, that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. This will change, because the moral fire streaming from the figure of Christ will intensify recognition of the need for moral impulses. Man will transform the Earth by feeling with ever-increasing strength that morality is an essential part of it. In the future, to be immoral will be possible only for individuals who are goaded in this direction, who are possessed by evil demons, by Ahrimanic, Asuric Powers — and moreover aspire to be so.
In time to come there will be on Earth a sufficient number of individuals who teach morality and at the same time sustain its principles; but there will also be those who by their own free decision surrender themselves to the evil Powers and thus enable an excess of evil to be pitted against a good humanity. Nobody will be forced to do this; it will lie in the free will of each individual.
Then will come the epoch when the Earth passes into conditions of which, as in so much else, Oriental Occultism and Mysticism alone give some idea. The moral atmosphere will by then have gathered strength. For many thousands of years Oriental Mysticism has spoken of this epoch, and since the coming of Gautama Buddha it has spoken with special emphasis about that future condition when the Earth will be bathed in a “moral-ether-atmosphere.” Ever since the time of the ancient Rishis it was the great hope of Oriental Mysticism that this moral impulse would come to the Earth from Vishva-Karman or, as Zarathustra proclaimed, from Ahura Mazdao. Thus Oriental Mysticism foresaw that this moral impulse, this moral atmosphere, would come to the Earth from the Being we call the Christ. And it was upon Him, upon Christ, that the hopes of Oriental Mysticism were set.
Oriental Mysticism was able to picture the consequences of that event but not the actual form it would take. The mind could picture that within a period of 5,000 years after the great Buddha achieved Enlightenment, pure Akashic forms, bathed in fire, lit by the Sun, would appear in the wake of One beyond the ken of Oriental Mysticism. A wonderful picture in very truth: that something would happen to make it possible for the Sons of Fire and of Light to move about the Earth, not in physical embodiment but as pure Akashic forms within the Earth's moral atmosphere. But then, so it was said, in 5,000 years after Gautama Buddha's Enlightenment, the Teacher will also be there to make known to men what is the nature of these wonderful forms of pure Fire and Light. This teacher — the Maitreya Buddha — will appear 3,000 years after our present era and will speak of the Christ Impulse.
Thus Oriental Mysticism unites with the Christian knowledge of the West to form a wonderfully beautiful unity. It is also disclosed that he who will appear three thousand years after our era as the Maitreya Buddha will have incarnated again and again on the Earth as a Bodhisattva, as the successor of Gautama Buddha. One of his incarnations was that of Jeshu ben Pandira, who lived a hundred years before the Christian era. The being who incarnated in Jeshu ben Pandira is he who will one day become the Maitreya Buddha, and who from century to century returns ever and again in a body of flesh, not yet as Buddha, but as Bodhisattva. Even now there proceeds from him who later on will be the Maitreya Buddha the most significant teachings concerning the Christ Being and the Sons of Fire — the Agnishvattas — of Indian Mysticism.
The indications by which the Being who is to become the Maitreya Buddha can be recognized are common to all genuine Eastern mysticism and to Christian gnosis. The Maitreya Buddha, who in contrast to the Sons of Fire will appear in a physical body as Bodhisattva, can be recognized by the fact that in the first instance his early development gives no intimation of the nature of the individuality within him. Only those possessed of understanding will recognize the presence of a Bodhisattva in such a human being between the ages of thirty and thirty-three, and not before. Something akin to a change of personality then takes place. The Maitreya Buddha will reveal his identity to humanity in the thirty-third year of his life. As Christ Jesus began His mission in His thirtieth year, so do the Bodhisattvas, who will continue to proclaim the Christ Impulse, reveal themselves — in the thirty-third year of their lives.

And the Maitreya Buddha himself, as transformed Bodhisattva, speaking in powerful words of which no adequate idea can be given at the present time, will proclaim the great secrets of existence. He will speak in a language that has first be created, for no human being today could formulate words such as those in which the Maitreya Buddha will address humanity. The reason why men cannot be addressed in this way at the present time is that the physical instrument for this form of speech does not yet exist. The teachings of the Enlightened One will not stream into men as teachings only, but will pour moral impulses into their souls. Words such as will then be spoken cannot yet be uttered by a physical larynx; in our time they can be present only in the spiritual worlds.
Anthroposophy is the preparation for everything that the future holds in store. Those who take the process of man's evolution seriously resolve not to allow the soul's development to come to a standstill but to ensure that this development will eventually enable the spiritual part of the Earth to become free, leaving the grosser part to fall away like a corpse — for men could frustrate the whole process. Those who desire evolution to succeed must acquire understanding of the life of the spirit through what we today call Anthroposophy. The cultivation of Anthroposophy thus becomes a duty; knowledge becomes something that we actually feel, something towards which we have responsibility. When we are inwardly aware of this responsibility and have this resolve, when the mysteries of the world arouse in us the wish to become Anthroposophists, then our feeling is true and right. But Anthroposophy must not be something that merely satisfies our curiosity; it must rather be something without which we cannot live. Only then are our feelings what they ought to be, only then do we live as building stones in that great work of construction which must be carried out in human souls and can embrace all mankind.
Anthroposophy is a revelation of world-happenings which will confront the men of the future, will confront our own souls whether still in the physical body or in the life between death and a new birth. The coming changes will affect us, no matter whether we are still living in the physical body or whether it has been laid aside. Understanding of these events must however be acquired during life in the physical body if they are to take effect after death. To those who acquire some understanding of the Christ while they are still living in the physical body, it will make no difference, when the moment comes for vision of the Christ, whether or not they have already passed through the gate of death. But if those who now reject any understanding of the Christ have already passed through the gate of death when this moment arrives, they must wait until their next incarnation, for such understanding cannot be acquired between death and rebirth. Once the foundation has been acquired, however, it endures, and then Christ becomes visible also during the period between death and the new birth.
And so Anthroposophy is not only something we learn for our physical life but is of essential value when we have laid aside the physical body at death.
This is what I wished to impart to you today as a help in answering many questions. Self-knowledge is difficult because man is such a complex being. The reason for this complexity is that he is connected with all the higher Worlds and Beings. We have within us shadow-images of the great Universe and all the members of our constitution — the physical, etheric, and astral bodies, and the ego — are worlds for Divine Beings. Our physical body, etheric body, astral body, and ego form one world; the other is the higher World, the Heaven world. Divine-spiritual Worlds are the bodily members of the Beings of the higher spheres of cosmic existence.
Man is the complex being he is because he is a mirror-image of the spiritual world. Realization of this should make him conscious of his intrinsic worth. But from the knowledge that although we are reflected images of the spiritual world we nevertheless fall far short of what we ought to be — from this knowledge we also acquire, as well as consciousness of our worth as human beings, the right attitude of modesty and humility towards the Macrocosm and its Gods.

Rudolf Steiner's Answers to Questions at the End of the Lecture
Question: How are the words used by St. Paul, “to speak in tongues” (1 Cor. 12), to be understood?
Answer: In exceptional human beings it can happen that not only is the phenomenon of speaking present in the waking state, but that something otherwise present only in sleep-consciousness flows into this speaking. This is the phenomenon to which St. Paul refers. Goethe refers to it in the same sense; he has written two very interesting treatises on the subject.

Question: How are Christ's words of consolation received and experienced?
Answer: Men will feel these words of consolation as though arising in their own hearts. The experience may also seem like physical hearing.

Question: What is the relation of chemical forces and substances to the spiritual world?
Answer: There are in the world a number of substances which can combine with or separate from each other. What we call chemical action is projected into the physical world from the world of Devachan — the realm of the Harmony of the Spheres. In the combination of two substances according to their atomic weights, we have a reflection of two tones of the Harmony of the Spheres. The chemical affinity between two substances in the physical world is like a reflection from the realm of the Harmony of the Spheres. The numerical ratios in chemistry are an expression of the numerical ratios of the Harmony of the Spheres, which has become dumb and silent owing to the densification of matter. If one were able to etherealize material substance and to perceive in the atomic numbers the inner formative principle thereof, he would be hearing the Harmony of the Spheres.
We have the physical world, the astral world, the Lower Devachan, and the Higher Devachan. If the body is thrust down lower even than the physical world, it comes into the sub-physical world, the lower astral world, the lower or evil Lower Devachan, and the lower or evil Higher Devachan.

The evil astral world is the province of Lucifer, the evil Lower Devachan the province of Ahriman, and the evil Higher Devachan the province of the Asuras.

When chemical action is driven down beneath the physical plane — into the evil Devachanic world — magnetism arises.

When light is thrust down into the sub-material — that is to say, a stage deeper than the material world — electricity arises.

If what lives in the Harmony of the Spheres is thrust down farther still, into the province of the Asuras, an even more terrible force — which it will not be possible to keep hidden very much longer — is generated. It can only be hoped that when this force comes to be known — a force we must conceive as being far, far stronger than the most violent electrical discharge — it can only be hoped that before some discoverer gives this force into the hands of humankind, men will no longer have anything unmoral left in them.

Question: What is electricity?
Answer: Electricity is light in the sub-material state. Light is there compressed to the utmost degree. An inward quality too must be ascribed to light; light is itself at every point in space. Warmth will expand in the three dimensions of space. In light there is a fourth; it is of fourfold extension — it has the quality of inwardness as a fourth dimension.

Question: What happens to the Earth's corpse?

Answer: As the residue of the Moon-evolution we have our present moon which circles around the Earth. Similarly there will be a residue of the Earth which will circle around Jupiter. Then these residues will gradually dissolve into the universal ether. On Venus there will no longer be any residue. Venus will manifest, to begin with, as pure Warmth, then it will become Light, and then pass over into the spiritual world. The residue left behind by the Earth will be like a corpse. This is a path along which man must not accompany the Earth, for he would thereby be exposed to dreadful torments. But there are Beings who accompany this corpse, since they themselves will by that means develop to a higher stage.
Reflected as sub-physical world:
Astral World         the province of Lucifer
Lower Devachan       the province of Ahriman
Higher Devachan      the province of the Asuras

Diagram 3