Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Iron Necessity

Rudolf Steiner: Fall of the Spirits of Darkness, Lecture 4: The Elemental Spirits of Birth and Death, October 6, 1917:

“Anyone with more or less normal feelings, even today, will be shaken to learn the truth that in order to bring about birth and death in the physical world, the divine spirits who guide world destinies have to use elemental spirits who actually are the enemies of everything human beings seek and desire for their welfare and well-being here in the physical world. If everything was done just to suit the wishes of human beings -- to be comfortable in this physical world, be fit and well as we go to sleep and wake up again and go about our work -- if all spirits were of a kind to see to it that we have such a comfortable life, birth and death could not be. To bring about birth and death the gods need entities whose minds and whole way of looking at the world give them the urge to destroy and lay waste to everything which provides for the welfare of human beings here in the physical world.
We have to get used to the idea that the world is not made as people would really like it to be and that there exists the element which in the Egyptian Mysteries was known as ‘iron necessity.’ As part of this iron necessity, entities hostile to the physical world are used by the gods to bring about birth and death for human beings.
So we are looking at a world that is immediately next to our own, a world that day by day, hour by hour, has to do with our own world, for the processes of birth and death happen every day and every hour here on earth. The moment human beings cross the threshold to the other world they enter into a sphere where entities live and are active whose whole conduct, views and desires are destructive for ordinary physical human life. If this had been made known to people outside the Mysteries before now, if people had been given an idea of these entities, the following would inevitably have happened. If people who are quite unable to deal with their instincts and drives, with their passions, had known that destructive entities were present around them all the time, they would have used the powers of those destructive entities. They would not have used them the way the gods do in birth and death, however, but within the realm of physical life. If people had felt the desire to be destructive in some sphere or other, they would have had ample opportunity to make these entities serve them, for it is easy to make them serve us. This truth was kept hidden to protect ordinary life from the destructive elemental spirits of birth and death.
The question is, should we not continue to keep them hidden? This is not possible, and for quite specific reasons, one of which is connected with a great, important cosmic law. I could give you a general formula, but it will be better to use the actual form it is taking now and in the immediate future to demonstrate this law to you. As you know, not long ago growing numbers of impulses came into human evolution which did not exist before and which are quite characteristic of our present civilization. Try and go back in your mind to times not very long ago. You will find times when there were no steam locomotives, when people did not yet use electricity as we do now; times perhaps when only thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci were able to have the idea, theoretically and on the basis of experiments, that humans could create apparatus which would enable them to fly. All this has come to realization in a relatively short time. Just consider how much depends on the use of steam, of electricity, of the changes in atmospheric density which has made airships possible, or the knowledge of statics which has led to the airplane. Consider everything which has come into human evolution in recent times. Think of the destructive powers of dynamite, etc., and you can easily imagine, seeing how swiftly this has gone, that new and different fabulous things of this kind will be the goal of future human endeavor. I think you can easily see that the ideal for the near future will be to have not more and more Goethes, but more and more Edisons. This really is the ideal of modern humanity.
Modern people do, of course, believe that all this -- the telegraph, telephones, the use of steam power, etc. -- happens without the participation of spiritual entities. This is not the case, however. The development of human civilization involves the participation of elemental spirits, even if people do not know about it. Modern materialists imagine that the telephone and telegraph, and the steam engines driven long distances and also used by farmers, have been constructed merely on the basis of what people produce by the sweat of their brow. Everything people do in this respect is under the influence of elemental spirits. They are always involved and helping us in this. People are not taking the initiative on their own in this field -- they are guided. In laboratories, workshops, really everywhere where the spirit of invention is active, elemental spirits are providing the inspiration.
The elemental spirits who have given impulses to our civilization from the eighteenth century onwards are of the same kind as those used by the gods to bring about birth and death. This is one of the mysteries which human beings have to discover today. And the law of world history of which I have spoken is that as evolution proceeds, the gods always rule for a time within a particular sphere of elemental spirits and then human beings enter into this same sphere and use the elemental spirits. In earlier times, the elemental spirits of birth and death essentially served the divine spirits who guided the world; since our day -- and this has been going on for some time now -- the elemental spirits of birth and death are serving technology, industry and human commerce. It is important to let this disturbing truth enter into our souls with all its power and intensity.
Something is happening in this fifth post-Atlantean period of civilization which is similar to something that happened in Atlantean times, during the fourth Atlantean period. I have spoken of this before. Up to the fourth Atlantean period the divine spirits who guide human evolution used certain elemental spirits. They had to use them because not only birth and death had to be brought about at that time, but also something else, which may be said to be closer to the earth. You will remember some of the descriptions I have given of the Atlantean age, when human beings were still flexible in their physical nature and their souls could make their bodies grow large or remain dwarf-like, with their outer appearance depending on their inner nature. Please call this to mind again. Today the service certain elemental spirits give to the divine spirits on occasions of birth and death is clearly apparent in physical terms. In those times, when outer appearance was in accord with inner nature, certain elemental spirits were serving the gods for the whole of human life. When the Atlantean age had reached its fourth period, people again began to rule the elemental spirits, which had previously been used by the gods, to govern the growth and general physiognomy of human beings. Human beings gained control of certain divine powers and made use of them.
The consequence was that from about the middle of the Atlantean age it was possible for individuals who desired to harm their fellow human beings to use all kinds of creative powers on them -- keeping them dwarf-sized in growth or making them into giants, or letting the physical organism develop in such a way that the individual concerned would be an intelligent person or a cretin. A terrible power was in human hands in the middle of the Atlantean age. You know, for I have drawn attention to this, that this was not kept secret, though not from any kind of evil intent. According to one of the laws of world history, something which initially was the work of the gods had to become the work of human beings. This led to serious mischief in the Atlantean age, so that over the last four or three periods of civilization the whole of Atlantean civilization had to be guided towards its own destruction. Our own civilization was saved and brought across from Atlantis, as I have described elsewhere, and you will recall my descriptions of what happened in the Atlantean age.
In the last three, or two, periods of post-Atlantean civilization in the fifth stage of earth evolution, work now done by the gods will again become work to be done by humanity. We are only in the early stages of the technological, industrial and commercial activities which proceed under the influence of the elemental spirits of birth and death. This influence and its effects will be increasingly more radical. Until now, the elemental spirits of birth and death have been guided by the gods and their influence has been limited to the coming into being and passing away of humans at the physical level. But the civilization of our own and future ages has to be such that these spirits can be active in technology, industry, commerce, and so on.
There is also another, quite specific, aspect to this. As I have said, these elemental spirits are the enemies of human welfare and want to destroy it. We have to see things straight and not have any illusions concerning the radical nature of this. Civilization must progress in the fields of technology, industry and commerce. But by its very nature such a civilization cannot serve the well-being of humanity in the physical world; it can only prove destructive to the human weal.
This will be an unpalatable truth for people who never tire of making great speeches on the tremendous advances made in modern civilization, for they see things in abstract terms and know nothing of the rise and fall which is part of human evolution. I have made Brief reference to the causes of destruction in Atlantis. The commercial, industrial and technological civilization which is now in its beginnings harbours elements which will lead to the decline and fall of the fifth earth period. And we only see things straight and face reality if we admit that we are here beginning to work on something which must lead to catastrophe.
This is what it means to enter into iron necessity. Looking for an easy way out people might say: All right, I won't take the tram. It might even go so far -- though even members of the Anthroposophical Society are unlikely to take things this far -- that people will not go on trains, and so on. This would be complete nonsense, of course. It is not a matter of avoiding things but of getting a clear picture, real insight into the iron necessities of human evolution. Civilization cannot continue in an unbroken upward trend; it has to go through a succession of rising and falling waves.
There is, however, something else which can happen, something people generally do not want to know about today but which is exactly what modern humanity will have to discover. Insight -- a clear picture of the necessity which exists - is what will have to come to all human minds. It will necessarily mean that much will have to change in the frame of mind in which we consider the world. Human beings will need to live with inner impulses which they still prefer to ignore today, for these go against the good life they want. There are many such impulses. Let me give you just one example.
People today, especially if they want to be good people, wanting nothing for themselves but only to be selfless and desire the good of others, will of course seek to develop certain virtues. These, too, are iron necessities. Now, of course, there is nothing to be said against a desire for virtue, but the problem is that people are not merely desiring to be virtuous. It is quite a good thing to want to be virtuous, but these people want more. If one looks to the unconscious depths of the human soul one finds that in the present time people are not really much concerned to develop the actual virtues. It is much more important to them to be able to feel themselves to be virtuous, to give themselves up entirely to a state of mind where they can say: ‘I am truly selfless, look at all the things I do to improve myself! I am perfect, I am kind, I am someone who does not believe in authority.’ They will then, of course, eagerly follow all kinds of authorities. To feel really good in the consciousness of having one particular virtue or another is endlessly more important to people today than actually having that virtue. They want to feel they have the virtue rather than practice it.
As a result, certain secrets connected with the virtues remain hidden to them. They are secrets which people instinctively feel they do not want to know, especially if they are modern idealists who like to feel good in the way I have described. All kinds of ideals are represented by societies today. Programs are made, and a society states its principles, which are to achieve one thing or another. The things people want to achieve in this way may indeed be very nice, but to find something nice in an abstract way is not enough. People must learn to think in terms of reality. Let us look at the aspect of reality when it comes to people having virtues. Perfection, benevolence, beautiful virtues, rights - it is nice to have them all in the outer social sphere. However, when people say 'It is our program to achieve perfection in some particular way, benevolence in some particular direction, we aim to establish a specific right' they usually consider this to be something absolute which can be brought to realization as such. ‘Surely,’ people will say, ‘it must be a good thing to be more and more perfect?’ And ‘What better ideal can there be but to have a program that will make us more and more perfect?’ But this is not in accord with the law of reality. It is right, and good, to be more and more perfect, or at least aim to be so, but when people are actually seeking to be perfect in a particular direction, this search for perfection will after a time change into what in reality is imperfection. A change occurs through which the desire for perfection becomes a weakness. Benevolence will after a time become prejudicial behaviour. And however good the right may be that you want to bring to realization -- it will turn into a wrong in the course of time. The reality is that there are no absolutes in this world. You work towards something that is good, and the way of the world will turn it into something bad. We therefore must seek ever new ways, look for new forms over and over again. This is what really matters.
The swing of the pendulum governs all such human efforts. Nothing is more harmful than belief in absolute ideals, for they are at odds with the true course of world evolution.”

The human being: a chalice glowing with inner light

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

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

"The stars are an expression of the love with which the astral Cosmos works upon the etheric Cosmos"

"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth:
for thy love is better than wine." --The Song of Solomon 1:2

Rudolf Steiner: The Whitsun Festival, Its place in the study of Karma, June 4, 1924:

"Every star that we see glittering in the heavens is in reality a gate of entry for the Astral. Wherever the stars are twinkling and glittering in towards us, there glitters and shines the Astral. Look at the starry heavens in their manifold variety; in one part the stars are gathered into heaps and clusters, or in another they are scattered far apart. In all this wonderful configuration of radiant light, the invisible and super-sensible astral body of the Cosmos makes itself visible to us.
For this reason we must not consider the world of stars unspiritually. To look up to the world of stars and speak of worlds of burning gases is just as though -- forgive the apparent absurdity of the comparison, but it is precisely true -- it is just as though someone who loves you were gently stroking you, holding the fingers a little apart, and you were then to say that it feels like so many little ribbons being drawn across your cheek. It is no more untrue that little ribbons are laid across your cheek when someone strokes you, than that there exist up there in the heavens those material entities of which modern physics tells. It is the astral body of the Universe which is perpetually wielding its influences -- like the gently stroking fingers -- on the etheric organism of the Cosmos. The etheric Cosmos is organised for very long duration; it is for this reason that a star has its quality of fixity, representing a perpetual influence on the cosmic Ether by the astral Universe. It lasts far longer than the stroking of your cheek. But in the Cosmos things do last longer, for there we are dealing with gigantic measures. Thus in the starry heavens that we perceive, we actually behold an expression of the soul-life of the cosmic astral world.
In this way, an immense, unfathomable life, yet, at the same time, a soul-life, a real and actual life of the soul, is brought into the Cosmos. Think how dead the Cosmos appears to us when we look into the far spaces and see nothing but burning gaseous bodies. Think how living it all becomes when we know that the stars are an expression of the love with which the astral Cosmos works upon the etheric Cosmos -- for this is to express it with perfect truth. Think then of those mysterious processes when certain stars suddenly light up at certain times, -- processes which have only been explained to us by means of physical hypotheses that do not lead to any real understanding. Stars that were not there before, light up for a time, and disappear again. Thus in the Cosmos too there is a “stroking” of shorter duration. For it is true indeed that in epochs when divine Beings desire to work in an especial way from the astral world into the etheric, we behold new stars light up and fade away again.
We ourselves in our own astral body have feelings of delight and comfort in the most varied ways. In like manner in the Cosmos, through the cosmic astral body, we have the varied configuration of the starry heavens. No wonder that an ancient science, instinctively clairvoyant, describes this third member of our human organism as the “astral” or “starry” body, seeing that it is of like nature with that which reveals itself to us in the stars."

God is love

Rudolf Steiner: Love and Its Meaning in the World, Zurich, December 17, 1912:

"Besides love there are two other powers in the world. How do they compare with love? The one is strength, might; the second is wisdom. In regard to strength or might we can speak of degrees: weaker, stronger, or absolute might -- omnipotence. The same applies to wisdom, for there are stages on the path to omniscience. It will not do to speak in the same way of degrees of love. What is universal love, love for all beings? In the case of love we cannot speak of enhancement as we can speak of enhancement of knowledge into omniscience or of might into omnipotence, by virtue of which we attain greater perfection of our own being. Love for a few or for many beings has nothing to do with our own perfecting. Love for everything that lives cannot be compared with omnipotence; the concept of magnitude, or of enhancement, cannot rightly be applied to love. Can the attribute of omnipotence be ascribed to the Divine Being who lives and weaves through the world? Contentions born of feeling must here be silent: were God omnipotent, he would be responsible for everything that happens and there could be no human freedom. If man can be free, then certainly there can be no Divine omnipotence.
Is the Godhead omniscient? As man's highest goal is likeness to God, our striving must be in the direction of omniscience. Is omniscience, then, the supreme treasure? If it is, a vast chasm must forever yawn between man and God. At every moment man would have to be aware of this chasm if God possessed the supreme treasure of omniscience for himself and withheld it from man. The all-encompassing attribute of the Godhead is not omnipotence, neither is it omniscience, but it is love -- the attribute in respect of which no enhancement is possible. God is uttermost love, unalloyed love, is born as it were out of love, is the very substance and essence of love. God is pure love, not supreme wisdom, not supreme might. God has retained love for himself but has shared wisdom and might with Lucifer and Ahriman. He has shared wisdom with Lucifer and might with Ahriman, in order that man may become free, in order that under the influence of wisdom he may make progress."

"The eternal feminine draws us ever onward and upward"--Goethe

Rudolf Steiner: The Gospel of St. Mark, Lecture 10, Basel 24th September, 1912:

“I should like to remind you of something I have often pointed out with regard to the difference between male and female, pointing out the fact that to some extent the female element — not the single individual woman but rather “womanhood” — has not entirely descended to the physical plane, whereas the man — again not a single individuality, not man in a particular incarnation but “manhood” — has crossed the line and descended lower. As a result true humanity lies between man and woman; and it is for this reason that a human being also changes sex in different incarnations. But it is already the case that the woman, as such, because of the different formation of her brain and the different way in which she can use it, is able to grasp spiritual ideas with greater facility. By contrast the man because of his external physical corporeality is much better adapted to think himself into materialism, because, if we wish to express the matter crudely, his brain is harder. The female brain is softer, not so stubborn, that is to say in general — I am not referring to individual personalities. In the case of individual personalities there is no need to flatter oneself, for many truly obstinate heads sit on many a female body — to say nothing of the reverse! But on the whole it is true that it is easier to make use of a female brain if one is to understand something exceptional, as long as the will to do so is also present. It is for this reason that the evangelist [Mark] after the Mystery of Golgotha allows women to appear first.”

Sunday, October 25, 2009

13 ways of looking at my guru: The thirteenth among the twelve

Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture given September 21, 1909:

"We must acknowledge the role of the great lodge of the twelve bodhisattvas in governing the entire evolution of the Earth. On a higher plane, the bodhisattvas manifest the concept of 'teacher' as we apply it on lower levels of existence. As teachers, they inspire faculties that human beings must acquire.
What is the source of the content the bodhisattvas proclaim from epoch to epoch? If you could behold the circle of the twelve bodhisattvas in the great spirit lodge, you would discover a thirteenth being sitting in their midst. This being, who cannot be called a teacher in the same sense as the twelve, radiates the substance of wisdom itself. The twelve bodhisattvas in the great spirit lodge sit around a central point, immersed in contemplation of the great being who exudes the wisdom that they are to incorporate into earthly evolution. The thirteenth being exudes what the other twelve will teach. The twelve are the teachers and inspirers who proclaim the presence of the thirteenth from epoch to epoch; the thirteenth is the very substance of their teaching. He is the ancient rishis' Vishva Karman, Zarathustra's Ahura Mazda, and our Christ, the leader and guide of the great bodhisattva lodge. Thus the entire choir of the bodhisattvas proclaims the doctrine of the Christ, or Vishva Karman....
The task of the thirteenth is not to present teachings but to be the teachings, to be spiritual substance itself.
What is Vishva Karman, Ahura Mazda, the Christ, in his true form, but the divine Word of creation? Strange as it may seem, Zoroastrianism tells us that Zarathustra was initiated so that he could perceive, standing behind the light, not only Ahura Mazda but also Honover, the divine Word of creation--the Veda--that was to descend to Earth. During the baptism in the Jordan, this Word descended into an individual human ether body for the first time. The spirit Word--the Veda--that had been preserved since Lemurian times streamed down from the heights into the ether body of the Nathanic Jesus. When the baptism was completed, the Word--the Veda--had become flesh....
The element that had been denied human beings for so long because of their involvement with Lucifer first became flesh, descending to Earth and living on Earth, in a single personality. This being is the great ideal to be emulated by all those who slowly learn to understand his nature. This is why our earthly wisdom must follow the example of the bodhisattvas, whose task is always to proclaim the thirteenth in their midst. We must apply all our spiritual science--our wisdom, our knowledge, and the results of spiritual research--to comprehending the being and nature of Vishva Karman, Ahura Mazda, the Christ."

Friday, October 23, 2009

13 ways of looking at my guru: The thirteenth among the twelve

The conclusion of a lecture given by Rudolf Steiner December 18, 1912 on the mission of Gautama Buddha and Saint Francis on Mars, in the service of Christian Rosenkreutz:

"It is possible to put a kind of question to one's own destiny: 'Can I make myself worthy to become a pupil of Christian Rosenkreutz?' It can come about in the following way: Try to place before your soul a picture of Christian Rosenkreutz, the great teacher of the modern age, in the midst of the twelve, sending forth Gautama Buddha into the cosmos as his emissary at the beginning of the seventeenth century, thus bringing about a consummation of what came to pass in the sixth century before Christ in the sermon of Banaras.
If this picture, with its whole import, stands vividly before the soul, if a man feels that something streaming from this great and impressive picture wrings from his soul the words: O man, thou art not merely an earthly being; thou art in truth a cosmic being!--then he may believe with quiet confidence: 'I can aspire to become a pupil of Christian Rosenkreutz.' This picture of the relationship of Christian Rosenkreutz to Gautama Buddha is a potent and effective meditation.
And I wanted to awaken this aspiration in you as a result of these considerations. For our ideal should always be to take an interest in world happenings and then to find the way, by means of these studies, to carry out our own development into higher worlds."

"The eternal feminine draws us ever onward and upward"--Goethe

Sunday, October 18, 2009

13 ways of looking at my guru: #1. When the student is ready, the guru appears

"The Lord dwells in the hearts of all creatures
and whirls them round upon the wheel of maya.
Run to him for refuge with all your strength,
and peace profound will be yours through his grace."
--Bhagavad Gita 18:61-62

"The significance of a philosophical poem such as the Bhagavad Gita, or similar works of world literature, can only be rightly valued by one to whom they are not just theory, but destiny."--Rudolf Steiner

Guru Gita 76

Dhyana mulam guror murtih
Puja mulam guroh padam
Mantra mulam guror vakyam
Moksha mulam guroh krpa

The root of meditation is the guru's form
The root of worship is the guru's feet
The root of mantra is the guru's word
The root of liberation is the guru's grace

Matthew 11:28-30

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Jesus: Krishna, Redeemed by Christ

According to Rudolf Steiner, Jesus was the reincarnation of Krishna, the unfallen twin soul of Adam.
"Christ took sin upon himself. He gave to humanity what reconciles the two one-sided tendencies [of Krishna and Lucifer]. He took upon himself the sin of Krishna, the sin of self-consciousness, which would close its eyes to the world outside. He took upon himself the sin of Krishna and of all who would commit his sin. On the other hand he also  took upon himself the sin of Lucifer and of all who would commit the sin of fixing their attention on externalities. By taking both extremes upon himself he makes it possible for humanity by degrees to find a harmony between the inner and the outer world, because in that harmony alone is the salvation of humanity to be found....
So many people today have little understanding left of our environment. Therefore it is just in our time that an understanding of the Christ impulse must break in upon us.The Christ path must be added to the Krishna path. The path of one-sided striving for perfection has become too strong....Many souls now feel how little they can escape from this enhanced self-consciousness, and this creates an impulse to know the divinity of the outer world. It is such souls as these who in our time will seek the understanding of the Christ impulse that is opened up by true Anthroposophy, the force that does not merely strive for the one-sided perfection of the individual soul but belongs to the whole progress of humanity. To understand the Christ means not merely to strive toward perfection, but to receive in oneself something expressed by Saint Paul: "Not I, but Christ in me." "I" is the Krishna word; "Not I, but Christ in me" is the Christian word."

Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture in Helsinki June 5, 1913

"The eternal feminine draws us ever onward and upward"--Goethe

A new da Vinci swims into our ken

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Redemption of Human Longing: "Ejeh Asher Ejeh"

John 17

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Redemption of Human Longing

Rudolf Steiner, lecture of November 21, 1911:

"The longing human soul in its yearning, tormented emptiness satisfies and keeps this longing in harmony through the constant succession of pictures arising one after the other. And, after the images arise and remain a while, then the old longing dawns again in the recesses of the soul, and the Spirits of Movement call up new pictures. Then fresh images are present again for a while, until the longing for new pictures is once again renewed. The important statement we must make about this aspect of the life of the soul is that, if the longing is satisfied only through images that in turn constantly seek out new images, then there is no end to this infinite flow. The only way to intervene in this process is if something enters the unending flow of images that can redeem the longing with something other than pictures, that is, with realities. In other words, the phase of the planetary embodiment of our Earth in which images guided by the activity of the Spirits of Movement satisfy the longing must be replaced by the planetary phase of the Earth embodiment that we must call the phase of redemption. Indeed, as we shall see, the Earth may be called "the Planet of Redemption," just as the earlier embodiment of the Earth, Moon existence, may be called "the Planet of Longing," a longing that could be appeased, but only through a never-ending process stretching to infinity. Throughout this life, while we live in earthly consciousness--which, as we have seen, brings before us the act of redemption through the Mystery of Golgotha--there arises out of the recesses of our soul that which continuously creates a longing for redemption. It is as if we had waves of ordinary consciousness at the surface of consciousness; and, beneath this, in the depths of the ocean of our soul life, the bedrock of our soul lived in the form of a longing; and this longing aspired ceaselessly to carry out the sacrifice to the universal being who can satisfy it--not just appease it with an infinite sequence of pictures, but fulfill it once and for all.
As earthly human beings, we can actually feel these moods. They are the best a person can experience. Indeed, those earthly human beings who today--in our time, above all--feel this longing are those who are coming toward our spiritual-scientific movement. In external life we learn to recognize everything that satisfies our ordinary, surface consciousness. Out of our unconsciousness, however, there pulses something that can never be satisfied by external particulars and longs for the central foundation of life....
Spiritual science, in this sense, is a response to the longings that live in the recesses of the soul....
And so we may point to spiritual science as a bearer of the redemption of human longing."