Four Mystery Plays
The Guardian of the Threshold (Written 1912)
A pleasant, sunny morning landscape, in a terraced garden overlooking a town with many factories.
Benedictus, Capesius, Maria, Thomasius, and Strader are discovered walking up and down and engaged in leisurely conversation. Benedictus wears a white biretta and is in his white robe, but without the golden stole.
Here is the place, where Benedictus oft
In soft warm sunlight of a summer morn
Gave himself to his pupils that they might
In reverent mood receive his wisdom's words.
Out yonder lies what ever must divide
With pitiless intent the souls of men
From all the wondrous beauty of the earth,
That nature's God doth shower so bounteous here.
In yon waste sea of houses in the town
Doth Benedictus ever nobly strive
To heal this human woe by deeds of love.
And when with human words so wise and true
He tells his pupils of the spirit-world,
He seeks for hearts, which free creative power
That here reveals itself in wakening souls,
Hath filled with sunshine and with love for men.
I, too, may now behold the happiness
Which through his words doth reach the heart of man.
Since he in love hath underta'en the task
Of guiding me within the spirit-world:
And now when I may feel that he is near
I shall again discover mine own self.
Within the circle of my pupils here
Through free-will acts of others and thyself
A knot shall one day loosen in the threads
Which Karma spins in lives of men on earth.
Thy life itself will help to loose this knot.
In hearts of men who give themselves in truth
To follow wisdom, which I serve myself,
Thou cant by thine own power discover those
Joined unto whom thou wilt complete the work
For which in spirit thou hast been prepared.
Thee have I known, and I will follow thee.
As I held converse with mine inmost soul,
When I had been allowed to hear thy words
Within the spirit-realm in their true form,
And thou hadst brought me to myself again,
Then could I see portrayed in spirit-light
The aims which in the progress of the earth
I was to follow in my future lives.
And now I know that thou didst choose for me
The one right way for this to be revealed.
Thomasius and Strader will henceforth
United with thyself accomplish much
That best may serve to further human health.
They have prepared the soul-powers which are theirs
With such intent since first the Earth began
That they can join to form a trinity
With thine own spirit in the cosmic course.
So I must thank my fate's unbending powers
Which seemed at first incomprehensible,
That when the rightful moment came at last
My life's aim suddenly revealed itself.
(He pauses meditatively.)
How wonderfully hast thou led me on:
It seemed at first as if I strove in vain
To enter with my spirit consciously
Into those worlds which by thy words are placed
So thoughtfully before the souls of men.
For many years I could find nought but thoughts
When in thy writings I absorbed myself.
And then, quite suddenly, around me flowed
The spirit-world in its reality;
I scarce knew how to find myself aright
Within my former more accustomed world.
That would have hid the spirit-life from thee
For ever by its strong effective power
Unless the stronger forces of this life
Had first reduced it to a shadow dim.
Thou therefore, must with fullest spirit-sight
Behold thyself upon the threshold grim
Where other men only begin to see.
(During the last words Strader walks up to Capesius and the three go away together: after a short time Benedictus returns with Strader.)
It gave deep pain, within mine inmost self
And weighed with heavy pressure on my soul
When on awaking to myself I found
I was again within my body pent
From which thy words had given me release.
My deadened soul-life first tormented me
On my return, yet 'twas not only pain;
For it brought forth in me the memory
Of all I lived through ere I saw with dread
What I could learn from Ahriman himself,
That every thought must cease its progress there.
I had to ask myself why I was set
By Benedictus' word within this realm
Where souls alone are taken into count
And only those are valued which can help
Towards the objects, which that power desires
To make his own through deeds that I have done.
He, in his wisdom, wanted to select
Twelve helpers from the number of mankind.
Yet 'tis well known to thee why all these souls,
Which Ahriman showed forth, drew near to thee,
When he would force himself upon their fates.
That also bitter pain revealed to me:
It showed how in a former life on Earth
I was united to a brotherhood
Which now hath formed again its mystic league,
And how those people stood towards myself,
Who were in their true nature then revealed.
And I could feel quite sure that Ahriman
Will use the bond, which e'en in future lives
Must ever surely bind their souls to mine.
The cosmic powers do so direct their deeds
That these with cosmic progress may unite
By following in wisdom number's laws.
The sign how this direction is fulfilled
Shows itself clearly to the outer sense,
If it doth watch the Sun upon the course
He takes throughout the constellations twelve.
It is his place amongst those very signs
Which shows how on the Earth things come to pass
In strict succession in long course of time.
So Ahriman desired to mould the souls
Of those who are united thus to thee
To powers from whence thy work might shine afar.
He also wished to follow number's laws
In binding their soul-nature unto thine.
Since I have learned the sense of number's law,
So shall I too succeed in rescuing
My work from out the realm of Ahriman
And offering it to the gods of Earth.
It was through Ahriman thou hadst to learn
The sense of number in the universe;
So was it needful for thine own soul's good.
'Twas spirit-pupilship that guided thee
Into that realm, which thou didst need to know
If thy creative power should bloom aright.
(Exeunt Benedictus and Strader. Maria and Thomasius appear from the other side.)
Johannes, knowledge hath thy soul acquired
From truth's cold realms. No longer wilt thou now
Weave only in thy pictures that which souls,
Still pent within the body, live in dreams,
For far from cosmic progress are those thoughts
Which but as self-begotten show themselves.
'Tis love of self — although they may pretend
'Tis thirst for knowledge maketh them do this.
Whoe'er desires to dedicate himself
To human progress and perform such work
As shall in course of time prove living force
Must first entrust himself unto those powers
Who work in deep realities and bring,
Where order with confusion aye doth fight,
The rhythmic law of number and its power.
For knowledge only hath true active life,
That can reveal itself within the soul
When it can bring to men, still clothed in flesh,
The memory of life in spirit-realms.
My course of life is thus made clear to me.
I have to feel myself a twofold man.
Through Benedictus' help and through thine own
I am a being independent, strong,
Whose forces do not yet belong to self —
To mine own self that stirs within me still.
Ye now have given me a manhood new
Who must be willing to give other men
What he hath gained by spirit-pupilship.
He must devote himself unto the world
As best he can: naught from mine other self
Must mingle and disturb what now at last
He hath as true self-knowledge recognized.
Contained in his own world he will go on,
If his own strength and help from both his friends
Shall in the future serve to form his fate.
Whether thou walk'st in error or in truth
Thou canst keep ever clear the view ahead,
Which lets thy soul press farther on its path,
If thou dost bravely bear necessities
Imposed upon thee by the spirit-realm.