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Initiation and Its Results
GA 10

VII. The Second Guardian of the Threshold

[ 1 ] It has already been shown how important for the individual is the meeting with the so-called Lesser Guardian of the Threshold, because he then becomes aware of a superphysical being which he has himself created. The Body of this being is constructed out of the results—hitherto imperceptible to him—of his actions, feelings, and thoughts. It is these invisible forces that have become the cause of his destiny and his character. It is then clear to the individual that in the past he himself laid the ground-plans for the present. His nature now stands revealed, to a certain extent, before him. For instance, it comprises particular inclinations and habits. He can now understand why he has them. He has met with certain blows of fate ; he now knows whence they came. He perceives why he loves one and hates another; why he is made happy by this and unhappy by that. By means of the invisible causes the visible life is made comprehensible. The essential facts of life, too, such as illness and health, death and birth, unveil themselves before his gaze. He observes how he had woven before his birth the causes which necessitated his return to life. From thenceforth he knows that being within himself which is constructed in the visible world after an imperfect manner, and which can only be brought to perfection in the same visible world; for in no other world is there the opportunity of working at the upbuilding of that being. Further than this, he sees how death cannot sever him lastingly from this world. For he should say to himself “Once I came for the first time to this world because I was a being that needed the life here lived in order to evolve those attributes which could not be developed in any other world. Here must I remain until I have evolved in myself whatever can here be attained. I shall only become, at some far-off time, a fit worker in another world if I have developed in the phenomenal world all the qualities which pertain to it.”

Among the most important experiences of the Initiate is that which occurs when he first learns to know and to cherish the visible world at its true value; and this knowledge comes to him by his very insight into the superphysical world. He who cannot see there and who consequently imagines that the superphysical worlds are infinitely the more valuable, is likely to under-estimate the worth of the phenomenal world. He, however, who has had that insight into the superphysical worlds wen knows that without his experiences in the visible he would be totally powerless in the invisible. If he would really live in the latter he must possess the faculties and instruments for that life, and these he can only acquire in the visible world. He must attain spiritual vision if the invisible world is to become perceptible to him; but this power of vision in a “higher” world is gradually developed through the experiences of the “lower.” One can no more be born into a spiritual world with spiritual eyes, if one has not prepared them in the world of sense, than a child could be born with physical eyes if they had not already been formed in the mother's womb.

[ 2 ] From this standpoint it will also be obvious why the “threshold” to the superphysical world is watched by a “Guardian.” In no case may a true vision of that sphere be granted to a person who has not yet acquired the necessary faculties. For this reason, at each death a veil is drawn over the realities of the other world when a person enters it while still incapable of working within it. He should only behold them when he is ripe for it.

[ 3 ] When the occult student enters the superphysical world, life assumes quite a new meaning to him, for in the world of sense he discerns the seed-ground of a higher world; so that in a certain sense this “higher” will seem very defective without the “lower.” Two outlooks are opened before him: the first into the Past; the second into the Future.

He looks into a past when this visible world was not. Long ago had he outgrown the fancy that the superphysical world had developed itself out of the sense-world. He well knows that the superphysical was the first, and that out of it everything phenomenal has been evolved. He sees how he himself, before he came for the first time to this phenomenal world, belonged to a world superior to the senses. Yet this, the pristine superphysical world, needed to pass through the physical. Without such a passage its further evolution would not have been possible. Only when the beings of the phenomenal world have developed within themselves the faculties that correspond to that world can the supersensual beings again move onward. These beings are no other than men and women. They have arisen, as they now live, from an imperfect stage of spiritual existence, and must in their own inner nature bring about its completion, whereby they will then be fit for further work in the higher world. Thus begins the outlook into the future. It points to a higher stage in the supersensual world. In this will appear the fruits which have been matured in the world of sense. The latter, as such, will be superseded, but its experiences will be incorporated into a higher sphere.

[ 4 ] Thus is revealed the raison d’être of illness and death in the world of sense. Death is nothing else than a sign that the former superphysical world had arrived at a point from which it could not make any further progress by itself. It would necessarily have had to undergo a universal death if it had not received a new life-impulse, and the new life has thus come down to battle with universal death. Out of the remnants of a world decaying and chilly, blossoms the seed of a new world. That is why we have death and life in the world. Slowly things pass over into each other. The decaying portion of the old world still adheres to the seeds of the new life, which indeed arose out of it. The fullest expression of this may be found among human beings. Man bears as a covering that which he has gathered about him in the old world, and within this covering is formed the germ of that being which in the future will have life. He is therefore of a double nature, mortal and immortal. In his ending state he is mortal; in his beginning state immortal; but it is only within this twofold world, which finds its expression in the physical, that he can acquire those faculties which will conduct him to the undying world. Indeed, his task is precisely to draw out of the mortal the fruits of the immortal. If he glances at his own nature, which he himself has formed in the past, he cannot but say: “I have in me the elements of a decaying world. They are at work in me, and only little by little can I break their power by means of the newly created immortal elements.” Thus man goes on his way from death to life. He applies to life what he learns through death. If in full consciousness he could speak to himself in his death-hour, he might say: “Death is my teacher. The fact that I am dying is a result of the entire past wherein I am enmeshed. Yet the soil of death has matured in me the seed of what is deathless. This it is that I take with me into another world. If it had been a matter merely of the past, I should not then have been born. At birth the life of the past is closed. Life in the sense-world is rescued from an all-consuming death by the new life-germ within. The time between birth and death is only an expression for as much as the new life was able to rescue from the decaying past; and illness is nothing else than the effect of that portion of the past which is declining.”

[ 5 ] In all that has here been said we find an answer to the question, “Why is it that only little by little and through error and imperfection may man work his way up to the good and true?” At first his actions, feelings, and thoughts are under the dominion of the fading and the mortal. From this are shaped his physical organs, and therefore these Organs, and the forces which act on them, are consecrated to the perishable. The instincts, impulses, and passions, or the organs which belong to them, do not themselves manifest the imperishable, but rather will that which emerges from the work of these organs become imperishable. Only when man has worked out of the perishable everything that is to be worked out, will he rid himself of these principles from which he has grown and which find their expression in the physically perceptible world.

[ 6 ] Thus, then, the first Guardian of the Threshold stands as the replica of the individual in his double nature, wherein are mingled the perishable and the imperishable; and it is then made clear to him how much he lacks before he can attain the sublime form of light which may once more inhabit the pure spiritual world.

[ 7 ] The degree in which he is enmeshed in the physical sense-nature will be shown to the student by the Guardian of the Threshold. This entanglement is expressed by the existence of instincts, impulses, appetites, egotistical desires, all forms of selfishness, and so forth. It is also expressed in the connection with a race, a nation, and so on; for nations and races are only so many different evolutionary stages up to the pure humanity. A race or a nation stands so much the higher, the more completely it gives expression to its kinship with the type of pure and ideal humanity, the more it has worked through the physical and perishable to the superphysical and imperishable. The evolution of the individual by means of reincarnation in ever higher national and racial forms is therefore a process of liberation. Ultimately the individual will appear in his harmonious perfection. In a similar way the pilgrimage through ever purer moral and religious conceptions is a perfecting process. Every moral stage, for instance, still retains, beside the idealistic germ of the future, a passion for the perishable.

[ 8 ] Now in the Guardian of the Threshold, above described, only the result of time that has passed away is manifested, and in the germ of the future is only that which has been interwoven with it in this bygone time. Yet it is for the individual to bring into the superphysical world of the future everything that he can draw forth from the world of the senses. If he should only bring that which, coming from the past, is commingled with his counterpart, he would only partially have fulfilled his earthly task. Therefore, after some time the Greater Guardian of the Threshold is joined to the lesser. The meeting with the second Guardian shall again be described in narrative form.

[ 9 ] When the individual has recognized all those qualities from which he has to free himself, his way is stopped by a sublime and luminous form, whose beauty it is quite impossible to describe in human language. This meeting occurs when the organs of thinking, feeling, and willing have so far loosened themselves, even in their physical connections, that the regulation of their reciprocal relations is no longer managed by themselves, but by the higher consciousness, which has now entirely separated itself from physical conditions. The organs of thought, feeling, and will have then become instruments in the power of the human soul, who exercises his controlling power over them from superphysical regions. The soul, thus liberated from all the bondage of sense, is now met by the second Guardian of the Threshold, who addresses him as follows

[ 10 ] “You have freed yourself from the world of sense. You have won the right to settle in the superphysical world. From this you can now work. For your own part you no longer require your physical embodiment. If you should wish to acquire the faculties by which to dwell in this higher world, you no longer need to go back to the world of sense. Now gaze at me! Lo! how immeasurably sublime I stand, above all that you have at present evolved out of yourself! You have arrived at the present stage of your progress towards perfection through the faculties which you were able to develop in the sense-world while you were still confined to it. Now, however, must a period begin in which your liberated powers may act yet further upon the world of sense. Hitherto you have but freed yourself, but now can you go forth as a liberator of all your fellows. As an individual have you striven until to-day, but now shall you associate yourself with the whole, so that you may bring not yourself alone into the superphysical world, but all things else that exist in the world of phenomena. It shall be open for you to unite yourself with my form, but I cannot be blessed where yet there is any one unredeemed! As a separate freed-man you would like to enter at once into the kingdom of the superphysical, but then would you have perforce to look down an the still unliberated creatures in the world of sense, and you would have separated your destiny from theirs. Yet you and they are all linked with each other. It is necessary that all of you should descend into the world of sense in order that you may draw out of it the powers that are needed for a higher world. If you should separate yourself from your fellows, you will have misused the powers which you have only been able to develop in common with them. Had they not descended, the descent had been impossible for you; without them you had lacked the powers that make up your superphysical existence. These powers for which you have striven together with your fellows, you must now in like manner share with them. So long as you fail to apply every one of your acquired powers to the liberation of your companions, I shall obstruct your entrance into the highest regions of the superphysical world. With those powers you have already won, you can stay in the lower regions of that world; but before the gates of the higher regions I stand as one of the cherubim with fiery sword in front of Paradise, to hinder your entrance as long as you have powers that remain unapplied to the world of sense. If you refuse to apply your powers in this way, others will come who will do so; and then will a lofty superphysical world receive all the fruits of the sense-world, but to you will be denied the very soil in which you were rooted. The world ennobled will develop itself beyond you, and you will be shut out therefrom. Then would your path be the black path, while those from whom you had severed yourself go forward on the white way.”

[ 11 ] So speaks the Greater Guardian of the Threshold soon after the meeting with the first watcher has taken place. The Initiate, however, knows exactly what lies before him if he should follow the allurements of a premature abode in the superphysical world. An indescribable splendor proceeds from the second Guardian of the Threshold; union with him appears as a remote ideal to the gazing soul, yet simultaneously comes the certitude that this union will only be possible if the Initiate has applied, to the task of redeeming and liberating this world, every power which has come to him therefrom. If he resolves to fulfil the demands of that luminous form, he becomes one of those who lead humanity to freedom. He brings his gifts to the altar of mankind. But if he prefers his own premature elevation into the superphysical world, then will he be submerged in the stream of human evolution. After his liberation from the world of sense he can win no new powers. If he places his work at the disposal of the world, he must renounce the prospect of acquiring anything further for himself.

One cannot say that the individual would naturally choose the white path, when so called upon to make his decision. This depends entirely upon whether at the time of making the decision he is so exalted that no touch of selfishness would make the allurement of such beatitude appear desirable. For these allurements are the strongest possible; while, on the other side, no specific allurements exist. Nothing there evokes his egotism. That which he obtains in the higher regions of the superphysical is nothing that comes to him, but solely something which proceeds from him—that is to say, the love of his fellows. Nothing that egotism desires is denied upon the black path. On the contrary, the fruits of this way consist precisely in the complete gratification of egotism, and therefore if any one merely desires bliss for himself, he would certainly travel down that way, since it is the appropriate path for him. No one, therefore, should expect the occultist of the white path to give him instruction concerning the development of his egotistical self The occultist has not the smallest interest in the beatification of the individual. Each can attain that for himself. It is not the task of the white occultist to accelerate it. He is only concerned with the evolution and liberation of all those beings who are human or akin to the human. Therefore they give instructions only as to how one may use one's powers in co-operation with that work. Consequently, they place before all other attributes those of selfless devotion and self-sacrifice. They do not actually refuse any one, for even the most egotistical can ennoble themselves; but he who merely seeks something for himself, so long as he continues to do so will gain nothing from the occultist. Indeed, even if the latter did not refuse him help, he would deprive himself of the natural effects of that assistance. He who really follows out the instructions of the good occult teachers will understand the demands of the Greater Guardian after he has crossed the threshold; but he who does not follow these instructions cannot hope ever to reach the threshold. Their instructions lead to the good, or else they are without effect at all; for to guide us to egotistical beatitude and a mere existence in the superphysical world is outside the circle of their task. It is part of their duty to hold back the student from the celestial world until he can enter it with a will devoted entirely to selfless labor.

Leben und Tod
Der Grosse Hüter der Schwelle

[ 1 ] Es ist geschildert worden, wie bedeutsam für den Menschen die Begegnung mit dem sogenannten kleineren Hüter der «Schwelle» dadurch ist, daß er in diesem ein übersinnliches Wesen gewahr wird, das er gewissermaßen selbst hervorgebracht hat. Der Leib dieses Wesens ist zusammengesetzt aus den ihm vorher unsichtbaren Folgen seiner eigenen Handlungen, Gefühle und Gedanken. Aber diese unsichtbaren Kräfte sind die Ursachen geworden seines Schicksals und seines Charakters. Es wird nunmehr dem Menschen klar, wie er in der Vergangenheit selbst die Grundlagen für seine Gegenwart gelegt hat. Sein Wesen steht dadurch bis zu einem gewissen Grade offenbar vor ihm. Es sind zum Beispiel bestimmte Neigungen und Gewohnheiten in ihm. Jetzt kann er sich klarmachen, warum er diese hat. Gewisse Schicksalsschläge haben ihn getroffen; nun erkennt er, woher diese kommen. Er wird gewahr, weshalb er das eine liebt, das andere haßt, warum er durch dies oder jenes glücklich oder unglücklich ist. Das sichtbare Leben wird ihm durch die unsichtbaren Ursachen verständlich. Auch die wesentlichen Lebenstatsachen, Krankheit und Gesundheit, Tod und Geburt, entschleiern sich vor seinen Blicken. Er merkt, daß er vor seiner Geburt die Ursachen gewoben hat, die ihn notwendig wieder ins Leben hereinführen mußten. Er kennt nunmehr die Wesenheit in sich, welche in dieser sichtbaren Welt aufgebaut ist auf eine unvollkommene Art und die auch nur in derselben sichtbaren Welt ihrer Vollkommenheit zugeführt werden kann. Denn in keiner anderen Welt gibt es eine Gelegenheit, an dem Ausbau dieser Wesenheit zu arbeiten. Und ferner sieht er ein, daß der Tod ihn zunächst nicht f;ir immer von dieser Welt trennen kann. Denn er muß sich sagen: «Ich bin dereinst zum ersten Male in diese Welt gekommen, weil ich damals ein solches Wesen war, welches das Leben in dieser Welt brauchte, um sich Eigenschaften zu erwerben, die es sich in keiner anderen Welt hätte erwerben können. Und ich muß so lange mit dieser Welt verbunden sein, bis ich alles in mir entwickelt habe, was in ihr gewonnen werden kann. Ich werde dereinst nur dadurch ein tauglicher Mitarbeiter in einer anderen Welt werden, daß ich mir in der sinnlich sichtbaren alle die Fähigkeiten dazu erwerbe.» – Es gehört nämlich zu den wichtigsten Erlebnissen des Eingeweihten, daß er die sinnlich sichtbare Natur in ihrem wahren Werte besser kennen und schätzen lernt, als er dies vor seiner Geistesschulung konnte. Diese Erkenntnis wird ihm gerade durch seinen Einblick in die übersinnliche Welt. Wer einen solchen Einblick nicht getan hat und sich deshalb vielleicht nur der Ahnung hingibt, daß die übersinnlichen Gebiete die unendlich wertvolleren sind, der kann die sinnliche Welt unterschätzen. Wer aber diesen Einblick getan hat, der weiß, daß er ohne die Erlebnisse in der sichtbaren Wirklichkeit ganz ohnmächtig in der unsichtbaren wäre. Soll er in der letzteren leben, so muß er Fähigkeiten und Werkzeuge zu diesem Leben haben. Die kann er sich aber nur in der sichtbaren erwerben. Er wird geistig sehen müssen, wenn die unsichtbare Welt für ihn bewußt werden soll. Aber diese Sehkraft für eine «höhere» Welt wird durch die Erlebnisse in der «niederen» allmählich ausgebildet. Man kann ebensowenig in einer geistigen Welt mit geistigen Augen geboren werden, wenn man diese nicht in der sinnlichen sich gebildet hat, wie das Kind nicht mit physischen Augen geboren werden könnte, wenn diese sich nicht im Mutterleibe gebildet hätten.

[ 2 ] Von diesem Gesichtspunkte aus wird man auch einsehen, warum die «Schwelle» zur übersinnlichen Welt von einem «Hüter» bewacht wird. Es darf nämlich auf keinen Fall dem Menschen ein wirklicher Einblick in jene Gebiete gestattet werden, bevor er dazu die notwendigen Fähigkeiten erworben hat. Deshalb wird jedesmal beim Tode, wenn der Mensch, noch unfähig zur Arbeit in einer anderen Welt, diese betritt, der Schleier vorgezogen vor ihren Erlebnissen. Er soll sie erst erblicken, wenn er ganz dazu reif geworden ist.

[ 3 ]     Betritt der Geheimschüler die übersinnliche Welt, dann erhält das Leben für ihn einen ganz neuen Sinn, er sieht in der sinnlichen Welt den Keimboden für eine höhere. Und in einem gewissen Sinne wird ihm diese «höhere» ohne die «niedere» als eine mangelhafte erscheinen. Zwei Ausblicke eröffnen sich ihm. Der eine in die Vergangenheit, der andere in die Zukunft. In eine Vergangenheit schaut er, in welcher diese sinnliche Welt noch nicht war. Denn über das Vorurteil, daß die übersinnliche Welt sich aus der sinnlichen entwickelt habe, ist er längst hinweg. Er weiß, daß das Übersinnliche zuerst war und daß sich alles Sinnliche aus diesem entwickelt habe. Er sieht, daß er selbst, bevor er zum ersten Male in diese sinnliche Welt gekommen ist, einer übersinnlichen angehört hat. Aber diese einstige übersinnliche Welt brauchte den Durchgang durch die sinnliche. Ihre Weiterentwickelung wäre ohne diesen Durchgang nicht möglich gewesen. Erst wenn sich innerhalb des sinnlichen Reiches Wesen entwickelt haben werden mit entsprechenden Fähigkeiten, kann die übersinnliche wieder ihren Fortgang nehmen. Und diese Wesenheiten sind die Menschen. Diese sind somit, so wie sie jetzt leben, einer unvollkommenen Stufe des geistigen Daseins entsprungen und werden selbst innerhalb derselben zu derjenigen Vollkommenheit geführt, durch die sie dann tauglich sein werden zur Weiterarbeit an der höheren Welt. –Und hier knüpft der Ausblick in die Zukunft an. Er weist auf eine höhere Stufe der übersinnlichen Welt. In dieser werden die Früchte sein, die in der sinnlichen ausgebildet werden. Die letztere als solche wird überwunden; ihre Ergebnisse aber einer höheren einverleibt sein.

[ 4 ] Damit ist das Verständnis gegeben für Krankheit und Tod in der sinnlichen Welt. Der Tod ist nämlich nichts anderes als der Ausdruck dafür, daß die einstige übersinnliche Welt an einem Punkte angekommen war, von dem aus sie durch sich selbst nicht weitergehen konnte. Ein allgemeiner Tod wäre notwendig für sie gewesen, wenn sie nicht einen neuen Lebenseinschlag erhalten hätte. Und so ist dieses neue Leben zu einem Kampf gegen den allgemeinen Tod geworden. Aus den Resten einer absterbenden, in sich erstarrenden Welt erblühten die Keime einer neuen. Deshalb haben wir Sterben und Leben in der Welt. Und langsam gehen die Dinge ineinander über. Die absterbenden Teile der alten Welt haften noch den neuen Lebenskeimen an, die ja aus ihnen hervorgegangen sind. Den deutlichsten Ausdruck findet das eben im Menschen. Er trägt als seine Hülle an sich, was sich aus jener alten Welt erhalten hat; und innerhalb dieser Hülle bildet sich der Keim jenes Wesens aus, das zukünftig leben wird. Er ist so ein Doppelwesen, ein sterbliches und ein unsterbliches. Das Sterbliche ist in seinem End-, das Unsterbliche in seinem Anfangszustand. Aber erst innerhalb dieser Doppelwelt, die ihren Ausdruck in dem Sinnlich-Physischen findet, eignet er sich die Fähigkeiten dazu an, die Welt der Unsterblichkeit zuzuführen. Ja, seine Aufgabe ist, aus dem Sterblichen selbst die Früchte für das Unsterbliche herauszuholen. Blickt er also auf sein Wesen, wie er es selbst in der Vergangenheit aufgebaut hat, so muß er sich sagen: Ich habe in mir die Elemente einer absterbenden Welt. Sie arbeiten in mir, und nur allmählich kann ich ihre Macht durch die neuauflebenden unsterblichen brechen. So geht des Menschen Weg vom Tode zum Leben. Könnte er mit yollem Bewußtsein in der Sterbestunde zu sich sprechen, so müßte er sich sagen: «Das Sterbende war mein Lehrmeister. Daß ich sterbe, ist eine Wirkung der ganzen Vergangenheit, mit der ich verwoben bin. Aber das Feld des Sterblichen hat mir die Keime zum Unsterblichen gereift. Diese trage ich in eine andere Welt mit hinaus. Wenn es bloß auf das Vergangene ankäme, dann hätte ich überhaupt niemals geboren werden können. Das Leben des Vergangenen ist mit der Geburt abgeschlossen. Das Leben im Sinnlichen ist durch den neuen Lebenskeim dem allgemeinen Tode abgerungen. Die Zeit zwischen Geburt und Tod ist nur der Ausdruck dafür, wieviel das neue Leben der absterbenden Vergangenheit abringen konnte. Und die Krankheit ist nichts als die Fortwirkung der absterbenden Teile dieser Vergangenheit.»

[ 5 ] Aus all dem heraus findet die Frage ihre Antwort, warum der Mensch erst allmählich sich aus Verirrung und Unvollkommenheit zu der Wahrheit und dem Guten durcharbeitet. Seine Handlungen, Gefühle und Gedanken stehen zunächst unter der Herrschaft des Vergehenden und Absterbenden. Aus diesem sind seine sinnlich-physischen Organe herausgebildet. Daher sind diese Organe und alles, was sie zunächst antreibt, selbst dem Vergehen geweiht. Nicht die Instinkte, Triebe, Leidenschaften und so weiter und die zu ihnen gehörigen Organe stellen ein Unvergängliches dar, sondern erst das wird unvergänglich sein, was als das Werk dieser Organe erscheint. Erst wenn der Mensch aus dem Vergehenden alles herausgearbeitet hat, was herauszuarbeiten ist, wird er die Grundlage abstreifen können, aus welcher er herausgewachsen ist und die ihren Ausdruck in der physisch-sinnlichen Welt findet.

[ 6 ] So stellt der erste «Hüter der Schwelle» das Ebenbild des Menschen in seiner Doppelnatur dar, aus Vergänglichem und Unvergänglichem gemischt. Und klar zeigt sich an ihm, was noch fehlt bis zur Erreichung der hehren Lichtgestalt, welche wieder die reine geistige Welt bewohnen kann.

[ 7 ] Der Grad der Verstricktheit mit der physisch-sinnlichen Natur wird dem Menschen durch den «Hüter der Schwelle» anschaulich. Diese Verstricktheit drückt sich zunächst in dem Vorhandensein der Instinkte, Triebe, Begierden, egoistischen Wünsche, in allen Formen des Eigennutzes und so weiter aus. Sie kommt dann in der Angehörigkeit zu einer Rasse, einem Volke und so weiter zum Ausdruck. Denn Völker und Rassen sind nur die verschiedenen Entwickelungsstufen zur reinen Menschheit hin. Es steht eine Rasse, ein Volk um so höher, je vollkommener ihre Angehörigen den reinen, idealen Menschheitstypus zum Ausdrucke bringen, je mehr sie sich von dem physisch Vergänglichen zu dem übersinnlich Unvergänglichen durchgearbeitet haben. Die Entwickelung des Menschen durch die Wiecierver~orperungen in immer höher stehenden Volks-und Rassenformen ist daher ein Befreiungsprozeß. Zuletzt muß der Mensch in seiner harmonischen Vollkommenheit erscheinen. – In einer ähnlichen Art ist der Durchgang durch immer reinere sittliche und religiöse Anschauungsformen eine Vervollkommnung. Denn jede sittliche Stufe enthält noch die Sucht nach dem Vergänglichen neben den idealistischen Zukunftskeimen.

[ 8 ] Nun erscheint in dem geschilderten «Hüter der Schwelle» nur das Ergebnis der verflossenen Zeit. Und von den Zukunftskeimen ist nur dasjenige darinnen, was in dieser verflossenen Zeit hineingewoben worden ist. Aber der Mensch muß in die zukünftige übersinnliche Welt alles mitbringen, was er aus der Sinnenwelt herausholen kann. Wollte er nur das mitbringen, was in sein Gegenbild bloß aus der Vergangenheit hinein verwoben ist, so hätte er seine irdische Aufgabe nur teilweise erfüllt. Deshalb gesellt sich nun zu dem «kleineren Hüter der Schwelle» nach einiger Zeit der größere. Wieder soll in erzählender Form dargelegt werden, was sich als Begegnung mit diesem zweiten «Hüter der Schwelle» abspielt.

[ 9 ] Nachdem der Mensch erkannt hat, wovon er sich befreien muß, tritt ihm eine erhabene Lichtgestalt in den Weg. Deren Schönheit zu beschreiben ist schwierig in den Worten unserer Sprache. – Diese Begegnung findet statt, wenn sich die Organe des Denkens, Fühlens und Wollens auch für den physischen Leib so weit voneinander gelöst haben, daß die Regelung ihrer gegenseitigen Beziehungen nicht mehr durch sie selbst, sondern durch das höhere Bewußtsein geschieht, das sich nun ganz getrennt hat von den physischen Bedingungen. Die Organe des Denkens, Fühlens und Wollens sind dann die Werkzeuge in der Gewalt der menschlichen Seele geworden, die ihre Herrschaft über sie aus übersinnlichen Regionen ausübt. – Dieser so aus allen sinnlichen Banden befreiten Seele tritt nun der zweite «Hüter der Schwelle» entgegen und spricht etwa folgendes:

[ 10 ] «Du hast dich losgelöst aus der Sinnenwelt. Dein Heimatrecht in der übersinnlichen Welt ist erworben. Von hier aus kannst du nunmehr wirken. Du brauchst um deinetwillen deine physische Leiblichkeit in gegenwärtiger Gestalt nicht mehr. Wolltest du dir bloß die Fähigkeit erwerben, in dieser übersinnlichen Welt zu wohnen, du brauchtest nicht mehr in die sinnliche zurückzukehren. Aber nun blicke auf mich. Sieh, wie unermeßlich erhaben ich über all dem stehe, was du heute bereits aus dir gemacht hast. Du bist zu der gegenwärtigen Stufe deiner Vollendung gekommen durch die Fähigkeiten, welche du in der Sinnenwelt entwickeln konntest, solange du noch auf sie angewiesen warst. Nun aber muß für dich eine Zeit beginnen, in welcher deine befreiten Kräfte weiter an dieser Sinnenwelt arbeiten. Bisher hast du nur dich selbst erlöst, nun kannst du als ein Befreiter alle deine Genossen in der Sinnenwelt mitbefreien. Als einzelner hast du bis heute gestrebt; nun gliedere dich ein in das Ganze, damit du nicht nur dich mitbringst in die übersinnliche Welt, sondern alles andere, was in der sinnlichen vorhanden ist. Mit meiner Gestalt wirst du dich einst vereinigen können, aber ich kann kein Seliger sein, solange es noch Unselige gibt! Als einzelner Befreiter möchtest du immerhin schon heute in das Reich des Übersinnlichen eingehen. Dann aber würdest du hinabschauen müssen auf die noch unerlösten Wesen der Sinnenwelt. Und du hättest dein Schicksal von dem ihrigen getrennt. Aber ihr seid alle miteinander verbunden. Ihr mußtet alle hinabsteigen in die Sinnenwelt, um aus ihr heraufzuholen die Kräfte für eine höhere. Würdest du dich von ihnen trennen, so mißbrauchtest du die Kräfte, die du doch nur in Gemeinschaft mit ihnen hast entwickeln können. Wären sie nicht hinabgestiegen, so hättest es auch du nicht können; ohne sie fehlten dir die Kräfte zu deinem übersinnlichen Dasein. Du mußt diese Kräfte, die du mit ihnen errungen hast, auch mit ihnen teilen. Ich wehre dir daher den Einlaß in die höchsten Gebiete der übersinnlichen Welt, solange du nicht alle deine erworbenen Kräfte zur Erlösung deiner Mitwelt verwendet hast. Du magst mit dem schon Erlangten dich in den unteren Gebieten der übersinnlichen Welt aufhalten; vor der Pforte zu den höheren stehe ich aber und wehre dir den Eintritt so lange, als du noch Kräfte hast, die unangewendet geblieben sind in der sinnlichen Welt. Und willst du die deinigen nicht anwenden, so werden andere kommen, die sie anwenden; dann wird eine hohe übersinnliche Welt alle Früchte der sinnlichen aufnehmen; dir aber wird der Boden entzogen sein, mit dem du verwachsen warst. Die geläuterte Welt wird sich über dich hinausentwickeln. Du wirst von ihr ausgeschlossen sein. So ist dein Pfad der schwarze, jene aber, von welchen du dich gesondert hast, gehen den weißen Pfad.»

[ 11 ] So kündigt sich der «große Hüter» der Schwelle bald an, nachdem die Begegnung mit dem ersten Wächter erfolgt ist. Der Eingeweihte weiß aber ganz genau, was ihm bevorsteht, wenn er den Lockungen eines vorzeitigen Aufenthaltes in der übersinnlichen Welt folgt. Ein unbeschreiblicher Glanz geht von dem zweiten Hüter der Schwelle aus; die Vereinigung mit ihm steht als ein fernes Ziel vor der schauenden Seele. Doch ebenso steht da die Gewißheit, daß diese Vereinigung erst möglich wird, wenn der Eingeweihte alle Kräfte, die ihm aus dieser Welt zugeflossen sind, auch aufgewendet hat im Dienste der Befreiung und Erlösung dieser Welt. Entschließt er sich, den Forderungen der höheren Lichtgestalt zu folgen, dann wird er beitragen können zur Befreiung des Menschengeschlechts. Er bringt seine Gaben dar auf dem Opferaltar der Menschheit. Zieht er seine eigene vorzeitige Erhöhung in die übersinnliche Welt vor, dann schreitet die Menschheitsströmung über ihn hinweg. Für sich selbst kann er nach seiner Befreiung aus der Sinnenwelt keine neuen Kräfte mehr gewinnen. Stellt er ihr seine Arbeit doch zur Verfügung, so geschieht es mit dem Verzicht, aus der Stätte seines ferneren Wirkens selbst für sich noch etwas zu holen. Man kann nur nicht sagen, es sei selbstverständlich, daß der Mensch den weißen Pfad wählen werde, wenn er so vor die Entscheidung gestellt wird. Das hängt nämlich ganz davon ab, ob er bei dieser Entscheidung schon so geläutert ist, daß keinerlei Selbstsucht ihm die Lockungen der Seligkeit begehrenswert erscheinen läßt. Denn diese Lockungen sind die denkbar größten. Und auf der anderen Seite sind eigentlich gar keine besonderen Lockungen vorhanden. Hier spricht gar nichts zum Egoismus. Was der Mensch in den höheren Regionen des Übersinnlichen erhalten wird, ist nichts, was zu ihm kommt, sondern lediglich etwas, das von ihm ausgeht: die Liebe zu seiner Mitwelt. Alles, was der Egoismus verlangt, wird nämlich durchaus nicht entbehrt auf dem schwarzen Pfade. Im Gegenteil: die Früchte dieses Pfades sind gerade die vollkommenste Befriedigung des Egoismus. Und will jemand nur für sich die Seligkeit, so wird er ganz gewiß diesen schwarzen Pfad wandeln, denn er ist der für ihn angemessene. – Es darf daher niemand von den Okkultisten des weißen Pfades erwarten, daß sie ihm eine Anweisung zur Entwickelung des eigenen egoistischen Ich geben werden. Für die Seligkeit des einzelnen haben sie nicht das allergeringste Interesse. Die mag jeder für sich erreichen. Sie zu beschleunigen ist nicht die Aufgabe der weißen Okkultisten. Diesen liegt lediglich an der Entwickelung und Befreiung aller Wesen, die Menschen und Genossen des Menschen sind. Daher geben sie nur Anweisungen, wie man seine Kräfte zur Mitarbeit an diesem Werke ausbilden kann. Sie stellen daher die selbstlose Hingabe und Opferwilligkeit allen anderen Fähigkeiten voran. Sie weisen niemand geradezu ab, denn auch der Egoistischste kann sich läutern. Aber wer nur für sich etwas sucht, wird, solange er das tut, bei den Okkultisten nichts finden. Selbst wenn diese ihm nicht ihre Hilfe entziehen; er, der Suchende, entzieht sich den Früchten der Hilfeleistung. Wer daher wirklich den Anweisungen der guten Geheimlehrer folgt, wird nach dem Übertreten der Schwelle die Forderungen des großen Hüters verstehen; wer diesen Anweisungen aber nicht folgt, der darf auch gar nicht hoffen, daß er je zur Schwelle durch sie kommen werde. Ihre Anweisungen führen zum Guten oder aber zu gar nichts. Denn eine Führung zur egoistischen Seligkeit und zum bloßen Leben in der übersinnlichen Welt liegt außerhalb der Grenzen ihrer Aufgabe. Diese ist von vornherein so veranlagt, daß sie den Schüler so lange von der überirdischen Welt femhält, bis dieser sie mit dem Willen zur hingebenden Mitarbeit betritt.

Life and Death
The Great Guardian of the Threshold

[ 1 ] It has been described how significant the encounter with the so-called lesser guardian of the "Threshold" is for man in that he becomes aware of a supersensible being in it, which he has to a certain extent brought forth himself. The body of this being is composed of the previously invisible consequences of his own actions, feelings and thoughts. But these invisible forces have become the causes of his destiny and his character. It now becomes clear to man how he himself has laid the foundations for his present in the past. His nature is thus to a certain extent revealed to him. For example, there are certain inclinations and habits in him. Now he can realize why he has them. Certain blows of fate have struck him; now he recognizes where they come from. He realizes why he loves one thing and hates another, why this or that makes him happy or unhappy. The visible life becomes understandable to him through the invisible causes. The essential facts of life, illness and health, death and birth, are also veiled before his eyes. He realizes that before his birth he had woven the causes that necessarily had to lead him back into life. He now knows the entity within himself, which is built up in this visible world in an imperfect way and which can also only be brought to perfection in the same visible world. For in no other world is there an opportunity to work on the development of this entity. And furthermore, he realizes that death cannot separate him from this world forever. For he must say to himself: "I once came into this world for the first time because at that time I was such a being which needed life in this world in order to acquire qualities which it could not have acquired in any other world. And I must be connected to this world until I have developed everything in me that can be gained in it. One day I will only become a capable co-worker in another world by acquiring all the abilities to do so in the sensually visible world." - For it is one of the most important experiences of the initiate that he learns to know and appreciate the true value of sensually visible nature better than he could before his spiritual training. This knowledge comes to him precisely through his insight into the supersensible world. He who has not had such an insight and therefore perhaps only indulges in the idea that the supersensible realms are the infinitely more valuable, can underestimate the sensual world. But he who has had this insight knows that without the experiences in the visible reality he would be quite powerless in the invisible. If he is to live in the latter, he must have abilities and tools for this life. But he can only acquire these in the visible. He will have to see spiritually if the invisible world is to become conscious to him. But this power of vision for a "higher" world is gradually developed through experiences in the "lower" world. One cannot be born in a spiritual world with spiritual eyes if one has not formed them in the sensual world, just as the child could not be born with physical eyes if they had not formed in the womb.

[ 2 ] From this point of view, one will also understand why the "threshold" to the supersensible world is guarded by a "guardian". Under no circumstances should a person be allowed real insight into these realms before he has acquired the necessary abilities. Therefore, every time a person enters another world at death, still unable to work in it, a veil is drawn over their experiences. He should only see it when he has fully matured.

[ 3 ] When the secret disciple enters the supersensible world, life takes on a whole new meaning for him; he sees in the sensual world the seedbed for a higher one. And in a certain sense, this "higher" world will appear to him as inadequate without the "lower" one. Two vistas open up to him. One into the past, the other into the future. He looks into a past in which this sensual world has not yet been. For he has long since got over the prejudice that the supersensible world developed out of the sensible. He knows that the supersensible was first and that everything sensual developed from it. He sees that he himself, before he came into this sensual world for the first time, belonged to a supersensible one. But this former supersensible world needed the passage through the sensible. Its further development would not have been possible without this passage. Only when beings with corresponding abilities will have developed within the sensual realm can the supersensible take its course again. And these beings are human beings. They have thus, as they now live, sprung from an imperfect stage of spiritual existence and will themselves be led within it to that perfection through which they will then be suitable for further work on the higher world. -And this is where the outlook into the future comes in. It points to a higher level of the supersensible world. In this will be the fruits that are formed in the sensual world. The latter as such will be overcome, but its results will be incorporated into a higher one.

[ 4 ] This gives us an understanding of illness and death in the sensual world. For death is nothing other than the expression of the fact that the former supersensible world had reached a point from which it could not go on by itself. A general death would have been necessary for it if it had not received a new lease of life. And so this new life has become a struggle against general death. From the remnants of a dying world, frozen in itself, the seeds of a new one blossomed. That is why we have death and life in the world. And things are slowly merging. The dying parts of the old world still cling to the new sprouts of life that have emerged from them. This finds its clearest expression in man. He carries as his shell what has been preserved from that old world; and within this shell the germ of that being is formed which will live in the future. He is thus a double being, a mortal and an immortal. The mortal is in its final state, the immortal in its initial state. But it is only within this double world, which finds its expression in the sensual-physical, that he acquires the abilities to lead the world to immortality. Indeed, his task is to extract the fruits of the immortal from the mortal itself. So when he looks at his being as he himself has built it up in the past, he must say to himself: I have within me the elements of a dying world. They work in me, and only gradually can I break their power through the newly resurrected immortal ones. This is man's path from death to life. If he could speak to himself with full consciousness in the hour of death, he would have to say to himself: "The dying was my teacher. The fact that I am dying is an effect of the whole past with which I am interwoven. But the field of the mortal has ripened the seeds of the immortal for me. I carry these with me into another world. If it were only the past that mattered, then I could never have been born at all. The life of the past is completed with birth. Life in the sensual is wrested from general death by the new germ of life. The time between birth and death is only the expression of how much the new life was able to wrest from the dying past. And the illness is nothing but the continuing effect of the dying parts of this past."

[ 5 ] From all this, the question finds its answer as to why man only gradually works his way out of aberration and imperfection to the truth and the good. His actions, feelings and thoughts are initially under the dominion of the perishing and dying. His sensual-physical organs are formed from this. Therefore, these organs and everything that initially drives them are themselves doomed to decay. It is not the instincts, drives, passions and so on and the organs belonging to them that represent the imperishable, but only that which appears to be the work of these organs will be imperishable. Only when man has worked out of the perishable everything that needs to be worked out will he be able to strip away the foundation from which he has grown and which finds its expression in the physical-sensual world.

[ 6 ] Thus the first "Guardian of the Threshold" represents the image of man in his dual nature, a mixture of the perishable and the imperishable. And it clearly shows what is still lacking until the achievement of the noble figure of light, which can once again inhabit the pure spiritual world.

[ 7 ] The degree of entanglement with the physical-sensual nature becomes clear to man through the "Guardian of the Threshold". This entanglement is first expressed in the presence of instincts, drives, desires, egoistic wishes, in all forms of self-interest and so on. It is then expressed in belonging to a race, a people and so on. For peoples and races are only the various stages of development towards pure humanity. The more perfectly its members express the pure, ideal type of humanity, the more they have worked their way from the physically perishable to the supersensibly imperishable, the higher is a race, a people. The development of the human being through the evolution of ever higher ethnic and racial forms is therefore a process of liberation. In the end, man must appear in his harmonious perfection. - In a similar way, the passage through ever purer moral and religious forms of outlook is a process of perfection. For every moral stage still contains an addiction to the transient alongside the idealistic germs of the future.

[ 8 ] Now only the result of the time that has passed appears in the "Guardian of the Threshold" described above. And of the future germs there is only that which has been woven into this past time. But man must bring into the future supersensible world all that he can extract from the sense world. If he wanted to bring only what is woven into his counter-image from the past, he would have only partially fulfilled his earthly task. Therefore, after a while, the "lesser guardian of the threshold" is joined by the greater one. Once again, we will describe in narrative form what happens when we encounter this second "Guardian of the Threshold".

[ 9 ] After man has recognized what he must free himself from, a sublime figure of light steps into his path. Its beauty is difficult to describe in the words of our language. - This encounter takes place when the organs of thinking, feeling and volition have also become so far detached from each other for the physical body that the regulation of their mutual relationships no longer takes place through them, but through the higher consciousness, which has now completely separated itself from the physical conditions. The organs of thought, feeling and volition have then become the instruments in the power of the human soul, which exercises its dominion over them from supersensible regions. - This soul, thus liberated from all sensual bonds, is now confronted by the second "Guardian of the Threshold" and says something like the following:

[ 10 ] "You have detached yourself from the world of the senses. Your birthright in the supersensible world has been acquired. From here you can now work. For your own sake, you no longer need your physical body in its present form. If only you wanted to acquire the ability to dwell in this supersensible world, you would no longer need to return to the sensual world. But now look at me. See how immeasurably superior I am to all that you have already made of yourself today. You have come to the present stage of your perfection through the abilities which you were able to develop in the world of the senses as long as you were still dependent on it. Now, however, a time must begin for you in which your liberated powers continue to work on this world of the senses. Up to now you have only liberated yourself, now as a liberated person you can liberate all your comrades in the world of senses. As an individual you have striven until today; now integrate yourself into the whole, so that you not only bring yourself into the supersensible world, but also everything else that is present in the sensible world. One day you will be able to unite with my form, but I cannot be a blessed one as long as there are still unblessed ones! As a single liberated person, you would like to enter the realm of the supernatural today. But then you would have to look down on the still unredeemed beings of the sensual world. And you would have separated your fate from theirs. But you are all connected with each other. You all had to descend into the world of the senses in order to bring up from it the forces for a higher one. If you were to separate yourself from them, you would be misusing the powers that you could only have developed in communion with them. If they had not descended, you would not have been able to either; without them you would have lacked the powers for your supersensible existence. You must also share these powers that you have gained with them. I therefore refuse you entry into the highest realms of the supersensible world as long as you have not used all your acquired powers to redeem your fellow world. You may stay in the lower regions of the supersensible world with what you have already acquired; but I stand before the gate to the higher ones and refuse you entry as long as you still have powers that have remained unused in the sensual world. And if you do not want to use yours, others will come to use them; then a high, supersensible world will absorb all the fruits of the sensual world; but you will be deprived of the ground with which you had grown together. The purified world will develop beyond you. You will be excluded from it. Thus your path is the black, but those from whom you have separated yourself walk the white path."

[ 11 ] Thus the "great guardian" of the threshold announces himself soon after the encounter with the first guardian has taken place. However, the initiate knows exactly what awaits him if he follows the lure of a premature stay in the supernatural world. An indescribable radiance emanates from the second guardian of the threshold; union with him stands before the beholding soul as a distant goal. But there is also the certainty that this union will only be possible when the initiate has expended all the powers that have flowed to him from this world in the service of the liberation and redemption of this world. If he decides to follow the demands of the higher figure of light, then he will be able to contribute to the liberation of the human race. He offers his gifts on the sacrificial altar of humanity. If he prefers his own premature elevation into the supersensible world, then the current of humanity will pass him by. After his liberation from the world of the senses, he can no longer gain new powers for himself. If he does make his work available to it, he does so with the renunciation of gaining something for himself from the place of his more distant activity. It cannot be said, however, that it is self-evident that man will choose the white path when he is thus confronted with the decision. This depends entirely on whether he is already so purified at the time of this decision that no selfishness makes the temptations of bliss appear desirable to him. For these temptations are the greatest imaginable. And on the other hand, there are actually no special temptations at all. There is nothing here that speaks to egoism. What man will receive in the higher regions of the supersensible is not something that comes to him, but merely something that emanates from him: love for his fellow-world. Everything that egoism demands is by no means lacking on the black path. On the contrary: the fruits of this path are precisely the most complete satisfaction of egoism. And if someone only wants bliss for himself, he will certainly walk this black path, for it is the appropriate one for him. - No one should therefore expect the occultists of the white path to give him instructions for the development of his own egoistic self. They have not the slightest interest in the bliss of the individual. Everyone may achieve it for himself. It is not the task of the white occultists to accelerate it. They are only interested in the development and liberation of all beings who are human beings and comrades of man. Therefore, they only give instructions on how to train one's powers to cooperate in this work. They therefore place selfless devotion and willingness to make sacrifices above all other abilities. They do not reject anyone outright, because even the most selfish person can purify himself. But those who seek something only for themselves will find nothing with occultists as long as they do so. Even if they do not withdraw their help from him, he, the seeker, withdraws himself from the fruits of their help. Therefore, he who really follows the instructions of the good secret teachers will understand the demands of the great guardian after crossing the threshold; but he who does not follow these instructions must not hope that he will ever reach the threshold through them. Their instructions lead to good or to nothing at all. For guidance to egoistic bliss and to mere life in the supersensible world lies outside the limits of their task. It is designed from the outset to keep the pupil away from the supernatural world until he enters it with the will to devote himself to it.