Background to the Gospel of St. Mark
IX. The Moon-Religion of Jahve and its Reflection in Arabism
13 March 1911, Berlin
Today we shall be bringing to a close for the time being this winter's rather disconnected studies of St. Mark's Gospel. The passages quoted in the last lecture, to the effect that we are living in a period of transition are the key to the ideas with which we have been particularly concerned. On even a superficial consideration of spiritual life we must admit that thoughts and ideas of a new kind are emerging, although individuals living in the very midst of this new order hardly realise it themselves. It will be a good thing if we can take away material for thought which will help us to carry our ideas further, so this evening I want to give certain suggestions which will enable you to elaborate the spiritual-scientific knowledge already communicated to you.
When we refer to a period of transition it is well to remind ourselves of the greater epochs of transition in the evolution of humanity and particularly of the crucial point reached in the events in Palestine. From much that has been said we know the significance of that time. When we try to form some conception of how the supremely important idea, the Christ-idea, arose out of thoughts and feelings of the immediately preceding period, we must remember that the Jahve- or Jehovah-idea meant as much to the ancient Hebrews as the Christ-idea meant to those who became His followers. From other lectures we also know that for those who penetrate deeply into the essence of Christianity, the Being Jahve or Jehovah is not to be distinguished from Christ Himself. We must clearly understand that there is an intimate relationship between the Jahve-idea and the Christ-idea. It is difficult to summarise in a few words the vast aspects of the relationship. The subject has been elaborated in many lectures and lecture-courses in recent years, but I can illustrate it by a picture. I need only remind you again of the picture of the sunlight which can come to us either direct from the Sun or by reflection at night from the Moon, especially at Full Moon. After all, it is sunlight that comes from the Full Moon, even if it is reflected sunlight and this does indeed differ from sunlight directly received. If we think of Christ as symbolised by the direct sunlight, we may liken Jahve to sunlight reflected by the Moon and that would represent the exact sense in which the two ideas should be understood. Those who are to some extent conversant with this subject regard the transition from a temporary reflection of Christ in Jahve into Christ Himself just as they think of the difference between sunlight and moonlight: Jahve is an indirect and Christ a direct revelation of the same Being. Thinking in terms of evolution, however, we must picture what is side by side in space as successive in time. Those who speak of these things from the point of view of occultism will say: If we call the religion of Christ a Sun-religion — and there are good grounds for this expression if we recall what was said about Zarathustra — we may call the Jahve-religion a Moon-religion — the transitory reflection of the Christ-religion. Thus in the period preceding the birth of Christianity the Sun-religion was prepared for by a Moon-religion. You will only be able to understand what I am now going to say if you realise that symbols are not chosen arbitrarily but have deep foundations. When a world-conception or world-religion is associated with a symbol, those who use the symbol with adequate knowledge are aware that it is intimately and essentially connected with what it represents. People to-day have in many ways lost sight of the symbol of moonlight for the old Jahve-religion and to some extent also of the symbol of the Sun for Christianity.
You will remember how I have described the course of the evolution of humanity. First it is a descent, beginning when man was driven out of the spiritual world and sank more and more deeply into matter. And if we picture the general path of evolution, we can think of the lowest point as having been reached at the time of the Christ Impulse, after which the descent was transformed gradually into an ascent. The Christ Impulse began to have its effect at the lowest point and will continue to work until the Earth has achieved its mission.
Now evolution is a very complicated process and certain aspects of it are continuations of impulses given in earlier times. The Christ Impulse given at the beginning of our era will go straight forward, becoming more and more powerful in the souls of men until the goal of human evolution is reached — when from the souls of men it will influence the whole of life on the Earth. All later history will be evidence of the development and influence of this Impulse at a higher and more perfect stage. Many such impulses work in the world in the same way.
But there are also other impulses and factors in evolution which cannot be said to advance in a straight line. Some of them have already been mentioned. In post-Atlantean evolution we have distinguished seven epochs: the Old Indian, then in sequence, the Old Persian, the Egypto-Chaldean, the Graeco-Latin — during which the Christ event took place — and our own fifth epoch which will be followed by two others. In the fifth epoch, certain happenings characteristic of the Egypto-Chaldean epoch are repeated in a different form. The Christ Impulse was given in the middle epoch (the fourth) and the third epoch is in a certain sense repeated in the fifth. There is a similar relationship between the sixth and second epochs and between the seventh and first. Here we are concerned with overlapping factors of evolution which will reveal themselves in such a way that we can apply to them the Biblical saying: The first shall be last. The Old Indian epoch will reappear in the seventh in a different but nevertheless recognisable form.
There is, however, still another way in which an earlier epoch may have an effect in a later one. Shorter periods may also occur in the course of evolution. Thus conditions present in pre-Christian times during the period of ancient Hebrew culture reappeared later in post-Christian times: something that was prepared within the Jahve-or Jehovah-religion, overlapping the Christ Impulse as it were, appeared again and played into the other factors which had by then developed.
If, then, we try to describe by means of a symbol what pressure of time prevents our discussing adequately to-day, we may say: Taking the Moon, contrasted with the Sun, as the symbol representing the Jahve-religion; we may expect that a similar form of belief, by-passing as it were the Christ Impulse, would emerge later on as a kind of Moon-religion. And this is what actually happened. The old Jahve-religion emerged again after the Christ Event, in the religion of the Crescent, carrying earlier impulses into post-Christian times. If you do not take things superficially, the use of the Moon and Crescent as symbols for these two faiths will not be something to smile at, for it is an actual fact that a religion or creed and its symbol are intimately connected. So in a later time we have the repetition of an earlier phase which has skipped the intervening years. This takes place in the last third of the Graeco-Latin epoch which in the occult sense we reckon as lasting up to the twelfth and into the thirteenth century. Leaving out a period of six hundred years, this means that beginning in the sixth century A.D. and exercising a very vigorous influence upon all aspects of development, we have the religion brought by the Arabians from Africa over into Spain: this represents a re-emergence, in a different form, of the Jahve-Moon-religion. The intervening Christ Impulse has been ignored. It is not possible to enumerate all the characteristics brought over with the religion of Mohammed; but it is important to realise that the Christ Impulse is disregarded in the religion of Islam which was actually a kind of revival of Mosaic monotheism. This idea of the One God, however, included a good deal derived from other sources, for instance from Egypto-Chaldean religion, which had yielded very exact knowledge of the connection of happenings in the starry heavens with earthly events. Thus the thoughts and ideas current among the Egyptians, Chaldeans, Babylonians and Assyrians appear again in the religion of Mohammed but pervaded by the One God, Jahve. Speaking scientifically, what we have in Arabism is a kind of gathering-together, a synthesis, of the wisdom-teachings of the priests of Egypt and Chaldea and the Jahve-religion of the ancient Hebrews.
In such a process there is not only compression but also rejection and elimination. In this case everything connected with clairvoyant perception had to be discarded and men were to depend entirely upon reason and intellectual thinking. Hence the concepts belonging to the Egyptian art of healing and to Chaldean astronomy — which in both these peoples were the outcome of clairvoyance — are to be found in the Arabism of Mohammed in an intellectualised and individualised form. Something that had passed as it were through a filter was thus brought into Europe by the Arabians. Old concepts that had been current among the Egyptians and Chaldeans were denuded of their visionary, pictorial content and re-cast into abstract forms. They reappear in the wonderful scientific knowledge possessed by the Arabians who made their way into Europe via Africa and Spain. Whereas Christianity brought an impulse connected essentially with man's life of soul, the greatest impulse given to the human intellect was brought by the Arabians. Without thorough knowledge of the course taken by the evolution of humanity it is impossible to form any idea of how much the world-conception which arose in a new form under the symbol of the Moon, has given to mankind. There could have been no Kepler, no Galileo, without the impulses brought by Arabism into Europe. For the old mode of thinking appears again, but now denuded of its ancient clairvoyance, when the third culture-epoch celebrated its resurrection in our own fifth epoch, in our modern astronomy, in our modern science.
Thus the course of evolution is such that on the one hand the Christ Impulse penetrates into the European peoples directly, through Greece and Italy, and on the other hand a more southerly stream by-passes Greece and Italy and unites with the influences brought indirectly by the Arabians.
Only through the union of Christianity and Mohammedanism during the important period with which we are dealing, was it possible for our modern culture to come into being. For reasons which I cannot go into to-day we have to reckon with periods of six to six-and-a-half centuries for such impulses as I have been describing. Thus actually six centuries after the Christ Event the renewed Moon-cult of the Arabians appears, expanding and spreading into Europe, and until the thirteenth century enriching the Christian culture which had received its direct impulses by other paths. There was an unbroken interchange of thought. If you are conversant merely with the outer course of events, if you know how in the monasteries of Western Europe — in spite of apparent opposition to Arabism — the Arabian concepts made their way into science, you will also be aware that until the middle of the thirteenth century — again a particularly significant point of time — the Arabian impulse and the direct Christ Impulse were interwoven.
From this you will gather that the direct Christ Impulse actually moved along paths different from those taken by the impulses which streamed in like tributaries to unite with it. Six centuries after the Christ Event, as a result of happenings that are not easy to characterise although they are well known to every occultist, a new wave of culture arose in the East, made its way via Africa and Spain into the spiritual life of Europe and united with the Christ Impulse which had taken different paths. We can therefore say that the Sun-and-Moon-symbols merged into each other from the sixth/seventh century up to the twelfth/thirteenth century — again a period of some six hundred years.
After this process of cross-fertilisation had in a certain respect achieved its goal, something new arose which had been in preparation since about the twelfth or thirteenth century. It is interesting that to-day even orthodox science recognises that something inexplicable passed through the souls of Europeans at that time. Science considers it inexplicable but occultism knows that in this period, as though it were following the Christ Impulse, something yielded by the fourth post-Atlantean epoch poured, spiritually, into the souls of men: the fruits of Greek culture constituted a following wave. We call this period the Renaissance — it was the culture which during the next centuries enriched everything already in existence. Here again there was an overlapping after a period of six hundred years since the influx of Arabism. At this point in evolution the age of Greece — which was a kind of centre among the seven post-Atlantean epochs — underwent a certain renewal in the Renaissance. Then again there is a period of six hundred years, during which the Greek wave reaches its culmination; this brings us to the period in which we ourselves are living. We are living to-day at the beginning of a period of transition before the onset of the next six-hundred-year wave of culture, when something entirely new is pressing in upon us, when the Christ Impulse is to be enriched by something new. After the Moon-culture underwent its revival in the religion symbolised by the Crescent and had reached its conclusion during the period of the Renaissance, the time has now come when the Christ Impulse must receive into itself another tributary stream. With this tributary stream our own age has a particular affinity. But we must clearly understand what the influx of this new stream means to our own culture. All these happenings are entirely in accordance with an occult plan — we could also say, an occult purpose.
If we think of Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, in the old not the new sequence, we should expect, after the renewal of the Moon-influence had reached its culmination during the Renaissance, the influx of another stream, to which we could legitimately assign the symbol of Mercury. If our symbolism is correct, just as we called the wave of Arabism a Moon-culture, so we might say theoretically that we now face the prospect of an influx of a form of Mercury-culture.
If we understand the way in which culture and civilisation have developed we may justifiably name Goethe as the last great individual to combine in his soul the full fruits of science, (that is to say, intellectualism enriched by Arabism) of Christianity and of Renaissance culture. We should therefore expect him to represent a glorious union of the three domains and having studied Goethe as we have been doing for years we can easily recognise that these elements do indeed flow together in his soul. But after what has been said about the cycles of six hundred years we should not expect to find in Goethe any trace of the Mercury-influence; we should expect it to appear as something new only after his time. And here it is interesting to note that Goethe's pupil, Schopenhauer, already reveals signs of this new influence. I have said that Schopenhauer's philosophy contains elements of Eastern wisdom, particularly in the form of Buddhism. Mercury has always been regarded as the symbol of Buddhism. So after the age of Goethe there was a revival of the Buddha-influence — Buddha standing for Mercury and Mercury for Buddha — in the same way as the Moon-influence reappeared in Arabism. This side-stream, which flowed into the direct Christ Impulse at the beginning of a new six-hundred-year period can therefore be described — within the limits indicated in my public lecture on the subject — as a revival of Buddhism.
We can now ask: Which is the stream of culture that flows straight forward into the future? It is the Christ-stream. And what side-streams are there? Firstly there is the Arabian stream which flows into the main current, then has a pause and finally passes into the culture of the Renaissance. At the present time a renewed influx of the Buddha-stream is taking place. If we are able to see these things in the right light it will become evident that we have to absorb those elements of the Buddha-stream which were not hitherto present in Western culture. And we can see how certain elements of the Buddha-stream are actually making their way into the spiritual development of the West, for instance, the teaching of Reincarnation and Karma. But there is something else that we must impress firmly upon our minds and it is this: none of these side-streams will ever be able to throw light on the central fact of our world-conception, of our Spiritual Science. To expect from Buddhism or any other pre-Christian oriental religion undergoing revival in our time any illumination on the nature of Christ would be no more intelligent than for European Christians to have expected this of the Arabians who had spread into Spain. The people of Europe at that time knew very well that the Christ-idea was foreign to the Arabians, that the Arabians could say nothing essential about the Christ. And when they did say anything the ideas put forward were incompatible with the true Christ-idea. The various prophets down to Sabbatai Zewi [Sabbatai Zewi (1626-76), proclaimed himself publicly in the year 1666 as the Messiah but subsequently became an adherent of Islam.] who appeared as false Messiahs without any understanding whatever of the Christ Impulse, all sprang from Arabism. Obviously, therefore, the contribution of this Arabian side-stream consisted of quite different elements; it could shed no light on the central mystery of the Christ.
Our attitude to the stream that is approaching to-day as a side-current must be the same. It is a revival of an older stream and will promote understanding of Reincarnation and Karma but cannot possibly bring any elucidation of the Christ Impulse. That would be as absurd as if the Arabians, although they were able to bring to Europeans many ideas through false Messiahs up to the time of Sabbatai Zewi, had set about giving Europe a true idea of Christ. Such occurrences will be repeated, for the evolution of mankind can go forward only if men are strong enough to see through these things with greater and greater clarity.
What we shall find is that the Spiritual Science founded by European Rosicrucianism, with Christ as its central idea, will establish itself despite external obstacles and penetrate into the hearts of men in defiance of all temptations from outside. From my book, Occult Science, you can gather how the central Christ-idea must penetrate into human souls, how the Christ is interwoven with the evolution not only of humanity but of the whole world, and you will be able to recognise along which path progress will be made. The possibility of following this onward march of Spiritual Science will be within reach of everyone who understands the words from the Gospel of St. Mark quoted at the end of the last lecture: ‘False Christs and false prophets will appear ... when men say to you: ‘Lo, here is the Christ, lo, there! — believe them not!’ — But beside this stream there is another, claiming to be better informed than Western Rosicrucian Spiritual Science about the nature of Christ. This other stream will introduce all kinds of ideas and dogmas which will develop quite naturally out of the side-stream of oriental Buddhism. But Western souls would be showing the worst kind of feebleness if they failed to understand that the Buddha- or Mercury-stream has as little light to throw on the direct development of the Christ-idea as Arabism had in its time. What I am saying now is not the outcome of any special belief, dogma or fantasy; it emerges from the objective course of world-evolution. If you wanted to follow this up I could prove by figures or by the trends of culture that things will inevitably be as occult science teaches.
But in connection with all this a distinction must be made. On the one hand there is orthodox oriental Buddhism in its original form. The attempt might be made to transplant this as a fixed and unalterable system into Europe and to produce out of it an idea, a conception, of Christ. On the other hand there is Buddhism that has progressed to further stages of development. There will be people who will tell you to think of the Buddha just as he was some five or six hundred years before our era and of the doctrines he then promulgated. But compare this with what Rosicrucian Spiritual Science has to say. It will say: The fault lies with you, not with the Buddha, that you talk as if Buddha had come to a standstill at the point he had attained all those centuries ago. Do you imagine that Buddha has not progressed? When you speak as you do, you are speaking of teaching that was right for his epoch. But we look to the Buddha who has moved onwards and from spiritual realms exercises an enduring influence upon human culture. We contemplate the Buddha as described in our studies of St. Luke's Gospel, whose influence streamed down upon the Jesus of the Nathan line of the House of David; we contemplate the Buddha at the further stage of his development in the realm of the spirit, who proclaims from there the truths of basic importance for our time.
Something strange has happened in dogmatic Christianity in the West. By a curious concatenation of circumstances a Buddha-like figure has appeared among the Christian Saints. You will remember that I once spoke of a legend current all over Europe in the Middle Ages, namely, the legend of Barlaam and Josaphat. Its content was more or less as follows. — There was once an Indian King who had a son. In his early years, far removed from all human misery and life in the outer world, the son was brought up in the royal palace, where he saw only conditions making for human happiness and well-being. Josaphat was his name, though it has been frequently changed and has assumed several different forms — Josaphat, Judasaph, Budasaph. Until a certain age Josaphat lived in his father's palace, knowing nothing about the world outside. Then one day he was led out of the palace and came to know something of the world. First of all he saw a leper, then a blind man, then an old man. Thereafter he met a Christian hermit by the name of Barlaam, who converted him to Christianity.
You will not fail to recognise in this legend clear echoes of the legend of Buddha. He too was an Indian king's son who lived isolated from the world, was later led out of the palace and saw a leper, a blind man and an old man. But you will notice that in the Middle Ages something was added that cannot be attributed to Buddha, namely that Josaphat allowed himself to be converted to Christianity. This could not have been said of Buddha. The legend evoked a certain response among individual Christians, particularly among those who were responsible for drawing up the calendar of the Saints.
It was known that the name Josaphat, Judasaph, Budasaph, is directly connected with Bodhisattva. So here we have evidence of a remarkable connection of a Christian legend with the figure of Buddha. We know that according to the Eastern legend Buddha passed into Nirvana, having handed on the Bodhisattva's crown to his successor, who is now a Bodhisattva and will subsequently become the Maitreya Buddha of the future. Buddha is presented to us in the legend in the figure of Josaphat; and the union of Buddhism with Christianity is wonderfully indicated by the fact that Josaphat is included among the Saints. Buddha was held to be so holy that in the legend he was converted to Christianity and from being the son of an Indian king could rightly be included among the Saints — although from another side this has been disputed.
From this you will see that it was known where the later form of Buddhism, or rather of the Buddha, was to be sought. In hidden worlds the union has meanwhile taken place between Buddhism and Christianity. Barlaam is the mysterious figure who brings Christianity to the knowledge of the Bodhisattva. Consequently if we trace the course of Buddhism as an enduring stream in the sense indicated in the legend, we can accept it only in the changed form in which it now appears. If through clairvoyant insight we understand the inspirations of the Buddha, we must speak of him as he actually exists to-day. Just as Arabism was not Judaism and the Jahve-Moon-religion did not reappear in Arabism in its original form, neither will Buddhism — to the extent to which it can enrich Western culture — appear in its old form. It will appear in an altered form, because what comes later never appears as a mere replica of the earlier.
These are brief, disconnected remarks intended to stimulate thought about the evolution of humanity, and you can elaborate them for yourselves. If you will take everything you can discover in the way of historical knowledge and follow the development of Europe from the spiritual-scientific point of view you will see clearly that we have now reached the point where a fusion of Christianity and Buddhism will take place, just as in the case of the Jahve-religion and Christianity. Test this by whatever European historians can tell you: but test it by taking all the facts into consideration. You will then find confirmation of everything I have said, although it would be necessary to talk for weeks if we were to speak of all that the Rosicrucian Movement in Europe can contribute.
Nor is it only in history that you can find proof of these things. If you set about it rightly you will find proof in modern natural science and allied fields. If you seek in the right way you will find that everywhere the new ideas are thrusting their way into the present; old ideas are becoming useless and are disappearing. In a certain respect our thinkers and investigators are working with outworn concepts because the great majority of them are incapable of assimilating ideas and concepts contributed by the new cultural side-stream, particularly on the subject of Reincarnation and Karma, as well as all the other contributions which Spiritual Science can make. Our scientists are working with concepts that have become useless. If you look through the literature of any field of science you will realise how heart-breaking it often is for scholars that current concepts are quite unable to elucidate the innumerable facts that are constantly coming to light.
There is one concept — I can only touch on these things to-day — which still plays an important part in the whole range of science: it is the concept of heredity. The concept of heredity as it figures in the different sciences and in common usage is simply useless. Facts themselves will force people to recognise the need for concepts other than the useless one of heredity as currently accepted in many fields of science. It will become evident that certain facts already known to-day in regard to the heredity of man and related creatures, can be understood only when quite different concepts are available. When speaking to-day of heredity in successive generations we seem to believe that all a man's faculties can be traced back in a direct line through his immediate ancestors. But it is the concept of Reincarnation and Karma alone that will make it possible for clarity to replace the present confusion in this field of thought. Again I cannot go into detail, but it will become evident that a great deal in human nature as we know it to-day is entirely unconnected with the influence of the sexes; nevertheless a confused science still teaches that everything in the human being originates at the time of conception, through the union of male and female. But it is simply not true that everything in the human being is in some way connected with what takes place in direct physical manifestation in the union of the sexes. You will have to think this out more closely for yourselves; I only want what I have said to be a suggestion.
Man's physical body, as you know, has a long history. It has passed through a Saturn period, a Sun period, a Moon period, and is now passing through the Earth period. The influence of the astral body began only during the Moon period but naturally produced a change in the physical body. Hence the physical body does not appear to us to-day in the form imparted to it by the forces of the Saturn epoch and the Sun epoch, but in the form resulting from those forces combined with the forces of the astral body and the ‘I’. It is only those components of the physical body which are connected with the influence of the astral body on the physical body which can be inherited as the result of the union of the sexes whereas whatever in the physical body is subject to laws going back to the Saturn and Sun periods has nothing to do with the sexes. One part of man's nature is received directly from the Macrocosm and not from the union of the sexes. This means that what we bear within us does not all spring from the union of the sexes; only that which depends upon the astral body springs from that union. A large part therefore of our human nature is received — for example by way of the mother — directly from the Macrocosm and not by the roundabout way of union with the other sex.
We must therefore distinguish in man's nature one part that originates from the union of the sexes and another part that is received by way of the mother directly from the Macrocosm. There can be no clarity in these matters until a definite and precise distinction is made between the individual members of man's nature, whereas to-day everything is mingled together in confusion. The physical body is not a self-contained, isolated entity; it is formed through the combined workings of the etheric body, the astral body and the `I’; and again we must distinguish between the forces that are due to the direct influence of the Macrocosm and others that are to be ascribed to the union of the sexes.
But from the paternal organism too, something is received that again has nothing whatever to do with the union of the sexes. Certain laws and organs in no way based upon heredity are implanted direct from the Macrocosm through the maternal organism; others come from the Macrocosm by spiritual channels through the paternal organism. Of what is received by way of the maternal organism we may say that this organism is the focus through which it is transmitted; but this combines with something that again is not derived from sexual union but from the father. A macrocosmic process thus takes place and comes to expression in the bodily members and forms. Consequently when speaking of the development of the human embryo it is completely misleading to base everything upon heredity, when in actual fact certain elements are received direct from the Macrocosm.
Here, then, we have a case in our own times where the facts themselves far outstrip the concepts at the disposal of science, for these concepts originated in an earlier epoch. You may ask: Is there any evidence to confirm this? Popular literature has little to say, but occultism is absolutely clear about it. And here I should like to draw your attention to something, of which, however, I can give no more than a hint. — A remarkable contrast between two naturalists of the modern age has attracted widespread attention and has influenced other thinkers to a very considerable extent. The characters of the two naturalists are very relevant here. On the one side there is Haeckel. Because Haeckel applies ancient concepts to his really wonderful collection of facts and data, he traces everything to heredity and bases the whole development of the embryo upon it. On the other side there is His, [Wilhelm His (1831–1904).] the zoologist and scientist, who keeps very closely to the facts as such and because of this might possibly be accused, with a certain justification, of doing too little thinking. Because of the particular way in which he investigated his facts he was bound to oppose the concept of heredity as propounded by Haeckel and he pointed out that certain organs and organic structures in the human being can be explained only if the view that they originate from the union of the sexes, is discarded. To this Haeckel mockingly retorted that His was attributing the origin of the human being to a virginal influence independent of any sexual union! But as a matter of fact this is quite correct. Scientific facts more or less compel us to-day to admit that what can be attributed to the union of the sexes must be distinguished from what comes direct from the Macrocosm — which wide circles of people nowadays naturally regard as absurd. So you can see that even in the field of natural science we are being driven towards new concepts. The present phase of evolution makes it evident that to have a genuine grasp of the facts presented by science we must acquire many new concepts and that those inherited from past ages no longer suffice.
From what I have said you will realise that a tributary stream must flow into our present culture. This is the Mercury-stream, the existence of which proclaims itself in the fact that those undergoing occult development as described in many of our lectures, grow into the spiritual world and in so doing experience new facts and realities. This penetration into another world may be compared with the way in which a fish is transferred from water into the air but must first have prepared itself by turning its gills into lungs. Similarly, a man whose faculty of sense-perception is developing into spiritual perception will have made his soul capable of using certain forces in a different element. The very atmosphere nowadays is saturated with thoughts which make it necessary for us to have a genuine grasp of the new facts of science becoming evident on the physical plane. The spiritual investigator can penetrate into the real nature of the facts that press in upon him from all sides. This is due to the appearance of the new stream of which I have been speaking. Thus wherever we look, we find that we are living in an extraordinarily important epoch, in times when it will be impossible for life to progress unless revolutionary changes take place in men's thinking and perception.
I said that man must learn to live in a new element in the same way that a fish, accustomed to living in water, would have to find its way into the new element of air. But men must be able, in their thinking too, to penetrate to the real nature of the facts produced on the physical plane. If they stand out against this new thinking they will be in the same position as fish taken out of the water; later on they will literally be gasping for spiritual concepts. Those who want to retain the monism of to-day are like fish who might prefer to exchange their watery for an airy habitation, but at the same time want to keep their gills. Only those human souls who so transform their faculties that a new conception of present facts is within their reach will grasp what the future has in store.
So we find ourselves living, but now with full understanding, at a point where two streams converge. The first stream should give us a deeper understanding of the Christ-problem and the Mystery of Golgotha; the other should inaugurate new ideas and concepts of reality. The two streams must converge in our time. But this will not happen without great hindrances being encountered; for in periods when two such streams of thought and outlook converge, all kinds of obstructions arise. And in a certain sense it is the adherents of Spiritual Science who will find it particularly necessary to understand these facts.
Some of our members might counter the exposition I have been giving here, by saying: What you have told us is very difficult to understand and we shall have to work at it for a long time. Why do you not give us something more readily digested, which convinces us of the spirituality of the world and makes a greater appeal? Why do you expect so much of our understanding of the world? How much pleasanter it would be if we could believe what a Buddhism transmitted exactly as it was at the beginning, can tell us: that we need not think of the Christ Event as the single point on which the scales of world-evolution hinge and that there can be no repetition of it. It would be so much easier to think that a Being such as the Christ incarnates again and again like other men. Why do you not say that here or there this Being will come again in the flesh — instead of saying that men must make themselves capable of experiencing a renewal of what happened to St. Paul at the gate of Damascus? For if you told us that there will be an incarnation of the Christ Being in the flesh, we could say: ‘Behold, he is here! We can see him with physical eyes!’ — That would be so very much easier to understand.
Plenty of people will see to it that this kind of thing is said. But it is the mission of Western Spiritual Science to make known the truth — the truth which takes full account of all the factors responsible for the progress of evolution to this day. Those who look for comfort and ease in the spiritual world will have to seek for spirituality along other paths. The truth needed for our times is that to which we must apply all the intellectual capacity acquired since the fading of the old clairvoyance; this must carry us on until the dawn of the new clairvoyance. And I am sure that those who understand the nature of this intellectual capacity in the form necessary for to-day will follow the path indicated in the words I have spoken here now, and so often before. It is not a matter of saying in what form we wish to have the truth but of knowing from the whole course of human evolution in a given epoch, how, at a particular point of time, the truth must be proclaimed. You may be sure that plenty of other things will be said, and you must not be unprepared for them. Consequently in Rosicrucian Spiritual Science we shall not fail to draw attention again and again to the highest spiritual knowledge attainable in our time. You need never accept blindly on trust anything said here or elsewhere, for in our Movement we never appeal to blind credulity. In your own intelligence and the use of your own reason you have adequate means of testing what you hear. And remember, as you have been told so often, that you must bring the whole of life, the whole of science and the whole of your experience, to bear upon what you hear in Rosicrucian Spiritual Science. Do not fail to put everything to the test. It is precisely where you come across incongruities or perhaps where the truth seems to be the very opposite of what is stated, that on the ground of true spirituality blind faith cannot be allowed. Everything based on blind faith is bound to be sterile and stillborn. It would be easy enough to build on credulity: but those who belong to the stream of Western spiritual life refuse to do this. They build instead upon what can be tested by human reason, understanding and intellect. Those in touch with the source of our Rosicrucian Spiritual Science know that whatever is said has been carefully tested. The edifice of Spiritual Science is built upon the ground of truth, not upon that of easy faith; it is upon the foundation of a thoroughly tested, though perhaps difficult truth, that we establish our Spiritual Science; and prophets of a blind and comfortable faith will not shake that foundation.