20 June 1912, Berlin
In the preceding lecture we studied the principles and powers in the being of man belonging specifically to Earth-existence. Certain forces operating in human nature are, in reality, “heritages” from the earlier embodiments of the Earth: from the Old Saturn period, the Old Sun period and the Old Moon period. These heritages from primeval epochs of evolution are contained in the physical body, the ether-body and the astral body of the earthly human being; but it is the Earth, the forces deriving actually from the Earth, that have made the physical body into the instrument of man's present form of consciousness. The ether-body has received, specifically from the Earth, the qualities whereby it becomes the bearer of the memory, the instrument of remembrance. The astral body itself developed during the Old Moon period of evolution — the planetary predecessor of the Earth — and the Earth adds the forces which provide for the operation of human karma. But something else exists as an activity, an expression of the human personality, something specifically connected with the “ I ” in man which has been acquired only during Earth-evolution. Waking consciousness, memory and remembrance, the operation of karma — these were the active principles added to the physical-, ether- and astral-bodies in that man was endowed with the “ I.” We said that the forces of the “ I ” are sent outwards, towards the outer spiritual world, and that these forces, unlike those inhering in karma, or in memory, do not remain inexorably bound up with the human being. A man's memories and remembrances remain part of him; his consciousness, obviously, has significance only for him, for other beings have quite different forms of consciousness; and karma is bound up with the human being in so far as it has to operate during the earthly incarnations to adjust and make compensation for his deeds. But “forms” or “forces” begotten of thoughts or feelings — these detach themselves from the real “ I ” of man, and in a certain respect acquire independent existence, independent reality. Unlike the other forces, they do not remain connected with him.
Now in respect of the forms or forces deriving from the “ I ” of man, a sharp distinction must be made. The human “ I ” or Ego can unfold either selfishness or selflessness in the inner life. According to whether selfishness, or selfless love and compassion are unfolded, these “forces” or “forms” operate quite differently. The forces of selfish thoughts become forces of disturbance, even of destruction; they pass into the spiritual world actually as destructive forces. On the other hand, all forces of selfless thoughts enter into the spiritual life of Earth-evolution, not as destructive but as upbuilding, constructive forces. In that these forces of selfless thought detach themselves as it were from the “ I ” of man, they leave behind certain traces in him. Especially is it true of forces begotten of selfless thoughts and feelings, that as they go forth from the “ I,” they leave traces behind in the human being — traces which are quite perceptible. The more the “ I ” sends out forces born of selfless thoughts and feelings, the more does a man develop individuality of form, of gesture, facial expression, and so on — in short, the power inherent in his own being. The forces of selfish, self-seeking thoughts and feelings, however, operate in him in such a way that he has little power to give expression to his own individuality. We must therefore ask: What is the principle underlying the distinction to be made among the individual forms of men in the course of the evolution of humanity?
Everything that is “form” on the Earth derives from the Spirits of Form. The name “Spirits of Form” is actually given to these Beings of the Higher Hierarchies because everything that has form, shape, life — everything that takes on shape inwardly and evolves an outer form, has received the essential impetus for this form from the “Spirits of Form.” Now all these Beings of the Higher Hierarchies are involved in a constant process of evolution. Not only man, but in a certain sense all the Beings of the different Hierarchies are involved in a constant process of evolution. In our present age, the Spirits of Form are moving to the higher rank of “Spirits of Movement”; the “Spirits of Personality” to that of “Spirits of Form; the “Archangeloi” to that of “Spirits of Personality” or “Archai.” As the Spirits of Form move upwards in rank they no longer function, in the primary sense, as “Spirits of Form,” but the succeeding Spirits of Personality do not, at once, assume the functions of Spirits of Form. This will help you to understand that something quite definite will come about during the second half of the period of Earth-evolution into which we have now passed. At the beginning of Earth-evolution, the Spirits of Form stamped the principle of form into man; this comes to expression in the different human forms. Just as the various races have developed their characteristic qualities, and individual human beings take on the traits of the several races, so have the various groups of humanity as a whole all over the Earth received their stamp from the Spirits of Form. What the Spirits of Form stamped into human beings has long since passed into the processes of heredity; it has long since become a heritage, handed down from generation to generation. In a sense, the Spirits of Form leave man greater freedom as they themselves move into a higher category and withdraw from the form-creating function devolving upon them at the beginning of Earth-evolution. So far as the Beings of the Hierarchies are concerned, man is drawing nearer and nearer to his “coming of age.” But of this we must be clear — The Spiritual Beings, moving up as they do to higher ranks, have themselves to evolve, and prepare for the next planetary condition of the Earth, in order that during the Jupiter-existence they may endow the beings who once belonged to the Earth with forms which will then be appropriate. Towards the end of a planetary age it is always the case that the being of central importance — and on the Earth this is man — is left free, so that the qualities with which he was originally endowed may pass more freely into his own hands. In the course of Earth-evolution in the future, therefore, the forces of form, the forms begotten by thoughts and feelings, will assume greater and greater importance. And in so far as they are selfless, in so far as they are the offspring of selfless wisdom, selfless love, these forces will work formatively upon man. For the design or pattern of the evolutionary process may be indicated in the following way. The further we go back into the past, the more do we find that the outer form of the child resembles that of its forefathers; but the further we go into the future, the more will the human being, in his outward appearance, become an expression of the individuality who passes on from one incarnation to another. This means that in one and the same family (even now it is very frequently the case and nobody with an eye for such things will deny it) there will be less and less likeness between the faces of the children and between the faces of the children and between the other parts of the human figure, for the reason that the forms will no longer be the expression of family or race, but more and more the expression of the individuality. Anyone with a knowledge of Spiritual Science, if he really observes human beings living all over the Earth, can perceive, even today, side by side with the inherited characteristics of race or family, more and more strongly individual lineaments of face, head, and other bodily forms; he can perceive the striking differences in form and figure among members of one and the same family. In this respect, of course, we are in a period of transition; but the Sixth Post-Atlantean epoch is in preparation, together with its paramount characteristic, namely, that unlike the conditions obtaining in earlier periods of culture, outer marks of race will be much less of a criterion. In the Sixth epoch the criterion all over the Earth will be the extent to which the individuality has impressed upon his countenance and upon the whole of his being, the forces left behind by the forms begotten of selfless thoughts and feelings — especially those deriving from wisdom.
It is contrary to every principle of true Spiritual Science to say that just as there was one leading race in each of the culture-epochs in the past, so in the future, too, there will be another such race, distinguished by physical attributes. The ancient Indian culture was borne and sustained by a leading race; so, too, was the culture of ancient Persia, of the Egypto-Chaldean and Graeco-Latin epochs. But already today it is apparent that culture, instead of being borne by one specific leading race, spreads over all races. And it is by Spiritual Science that culture — a spiritual culture — must be carried over the whole Earth, without distinction of race or blood. It is already apparent that our epoch will be succeeded by another of quite a different character, an epoch when, all over the Earth, the extent to which a man expresses his innermost being in his outer form, will be made manifest. It would be sheer contradiction of every principle of Spiritual Science to speak today of continental limits, or the limits of any particular territory, in connection with human beings belonging to the Sixth epoch of culture — for they, in the future, will be spread over the whole Earth. Only one whose vantage-point is not that of Spiritual Science, who has some queer bee in his bonnet that a kind of wheel revolving in spiritual evolution causes everything to repeat itself just as spring, summer, autumn and winter repeat themselves when a year has run its course — only such a one could make the statement that what was necessary for the creation of races in earlier times will simply be repeated for the Sixth epoch. Such a statement would be entirely at variance with true Spiritual Science, and would cut across all knowledge of the actual and real progress of humanity. The inner power of the soul becomes more and more manifest as evolution goes forward. The old is not repeated merely in slightly different form, but actual progress takes place in the evolution of humanity. If Theosophy is to keep faith with its good old principles — the first of which is to promote culture without distinction of race, colour, and so forth, it will not cherish groundless hopes of a future culture emanating from one particular race. The deeper connection of Theosophy with the actual course of evolution consists precisely in this: — that the processes operating in world-evolution are understood, that thinking and feeling are brought into harmony with theosophical knowledge, and the necessary impulses of will made effective in the world. In order to understand how the power of the soul will more and more be made manifest in humanity, it is only necessary to bring out one point clearly, and then we shall realise how the human being evolves as an individual. (The point that has been developed today has been dealt with repeatedly, for many years. 1The reference here is to certain prejudiced and faulty views contained in the teachings emanating from the Theosophical Society.).
At the beginning of Earth-evolution, the human being was part of a group-soul — as expressed in race, blood, family and so on — to a far greater extent than was the case later on. As evolution continues he becomes more and more of an individual, develops his individuality. We have heard what an important part certain forces play in the development of the individuality during Earth-evolution: consciousness that is dependent on the physical body; memory and remembrance which are dependent upon the ether-body; and karma, whereby a man can make real progress, in that his imperfections and faults do not remain but can be overcome by him as he passes through one incarnation after another. But the “forms” or “forces” created by thoughts and feelings, although they detach themselves from the human being and lead an independent existence, are nevertheless closely united with him, in that they leave vestiges behind; these vestiges, as they are sent out by the “ I ”, contribute to the definition of the individuality and man gradually divests himself of the qualities belonging to the group-soul. The trend which will become more and more general over the globe and will form the essential, fundamental character of the Sixth epoch of culture, is no kind of approach to a new group-soul, but far rather the laying aside of the attributes of the group-soul. Intimately connected with this is the fact that the spiritual guidance of human beings will become more and more a matter individual to each one; they will have greater inner freedom in this respect.
Anyone who has understood the trend of the little book The Spiritual Guidance of Man and of Mankind will realise that a movement in this direction is in very truth taking place in the human race. It is a fact that in ancient times men lived under external leaders and teachers, but even in those days, leadership was gradually becoming an inner concern. Just as the outer form becomes an expression of the Individuality, so does the path to the spiritual worlds taken by human beings become more and more their individual concern. It is the duty of those who have insight into the signs of the times to insist that human beings have not remained stationary at an earlier stage of development, that the forces once employed, cannot be repeated in the same form, simply because men have gone forward in their evolution. In the age that is coming, the souls of men will become more and more mature, able to discern and perceive those things of which Spiritual Science teaches today.
The “Mystery of Golgotha,” as the essential Christ Event, was an outer happening, striking into the physical world; a future Christ Event will be an inner concern, inasmuch as the soul of man has been so quickened by the first Christ Event that in days to come, the way to Christ will be found in the Spirit, out of the life of soul.
Wherever you look in Spiritual Science as it is presented here, you will always find — even in the case of very specialised details — that it is consistent with your own powers of reason and free judgment, provided only that you make a real effort to apply this free power of judgment. In that the individual human being is all the time becoming more accessible to influences from the spiritual world, the authority of external leadership will gradually lose its weight. It is very important to realise that the ancient wisdom exists and must be understood, that understanding of it can constantly increase if men's souls are open to the spiritual worlds and if they strive to grasp this wisdom with their powers of reason. This is the very essence of progressive evolution. However specialised the subjects may be, appeal to individual reason and judgment must never be excluded. It is a very different thing to bring forward some young man and announce that he has this and that incarnation behind him! If I were to tell you such things I should beg you at the outset not to believe them simply on my word — but I should never dream of making such assertions authoritatively, for the simple reason that you could not possibly convince yourselves objectively of their truth. When, however, it is said that the same Individuality was present in Elijah, John the Baptist, Raphael and Novalis — all long since dead — you can yourselves discover by studying their lives, whether there are reasonable and sound grounds for such a statement. And no other kind of appeal must ever be made: the respect due to each individual soul demands that such a test should be within the realm of possibility. There are, of course, lazy-minded people who say: “We have to “believe” you when you speak of the same Individuality having lived in Elijah, John the Baptist, Raphael and Novalis.” ... No! they are not obliged to believe it ... but they can try, at least, to find evidence in the different lives of what, admittedly, can only be actually discovered by occult research. This evidence can be found, and it is pure laziness when people say that if someone speaks of the incarnations of human beings long since dead, this must be taken on authority just as is the case when the incarnations of some young person living today are announced. That is a very different matter! In this respect a deep appeal must be made to Theosophists to put everything to the test of reason and not to rest content with the cheap excuse that things cannot be proved. They can be proved, if there is willingness to do so. This must be constantly emphasised.
A kind of counterbalancing process operates in the world and while, on the one hand, the development of the individuality is progressing, on the other, something else will become more and more universal, namely, the objective knowledge which must be acquired by man. Objectivity of knowledge, uniformity of knowledge does not gainsay the principle of individuality. Mathematics in itself is an illustration of this fact. And so it is the task of occultism — if one may speak of occultism having such a task at the present time — to provide objective wisdom and knowledge of the universe. Even although, in the nature of things, the ideal is not immediately in sight because not every individual has sufficient time and opportunity to put specific details to the test, it is true, nevertheless, that although things can actually be discovered only through occult research, they can be examined and endorsed by every individual; it is not necessary to take them on faith. All that is required is to reflect about things, with reason and sound judgment. Let us take a definite case, remembering that what will be said about it is applicable everywhere.
Suppose someone says: “Mankind has evolved. Progress is a reality in evolution. This progress reveals itself in the fact that man is becoming more strongly individual in his nature and being. It follows that whereas in olden times, leadership was vested more in persons, in times to come this kind of leadership will be superseded by objective wisdom, objective knowledge; personal leadership will recede and become merely an instrument and means for bringing objective wisdom to the human being. The ideal vantage-point is that the occult teacher is no different from a teacher of mathematics, who quite obviously has his function. But mathematics are not accepted merely on the authority of the teacher of mathematics; every individual accepts mathematics because he gradually acquires knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals. Hence the element of wisdom and of knowledge will more and more supersede the element of personality” ... Suppose that such a statement were confronted by another, to the effect that “the world rolls onwards like a wheel; in olden days there were great Teachers of humanity, and new ones are about to come ...” When faced with a statement like that, it is not possible to adopt the easy-going principle that either the one or the other may be believed; it is a matter, then, for deciding: which of the two is acceptable to reason? There is the choice between deciding whether no progress is to be ascribed to humanity and everything thought of as eternal repetition, or whether humanity does really progress and that evolution has meaning and purpose. Those who refuse to recognise any meaning in evolution can speak, if they like, of the eternal repetition of epochs of time; but those who see meaning and purpose in Earth-existence as brought to light by occult research, will not speak of eternal repetition of the same things — which does not, in fact, take place.
It is all-important to realise that the faculties of man have developed and that in this development — to take one example — the following is involved. In the ancient Mysteries each human being was obliged to submit to certain enactments and procedures directed to his own person; thereby he became an “Initiate.” He passed through the “different grades of Initiation.” In and through the Mystery of Golgotha these grades of Initiation became a world-historical Event, made manifest for all humanity. What had in olden times been an affair of one or another particular centre of Initiation, became a world-historical event, passed into the common estate of humanity, and was thereafter accessible to every advancing individuality. In my book Christianity as Mystical Fact, therefore, the Mystery of Golgotha is described as the culmination and, in a sense, the close of the ancient Mysteries, because it brought all the ancient religions into one great unity. Occultism reveals still more clearly how the several streams of culture are gradually converging into one; but as they converge, they must be recognised and identified. The very operations of occult research reveal how the fruits of this research harmonise with what everyone can accept for himself, from his own observation of happenings on the physical plane.
Let us take a very far-reaching example, of which you may well say, to begin with: “There he is telling us something that really cannot be put to the test of reason, nor even approached by reason.” You may well say this, when it is first put before you.
My book An Outline of Occult Science describes how, at one time, Sun, Moon and Earth were united in a single planetary existence; the Sun then separated off and, at a later stage, Mercury and Venus; still later, Mars separated off from the Sun. The further we go back in time, the more does such a process become a spiritual process and the question it is essential to understand is really this: — Who were the Beings who thus separated? Of primary importance as regards the Earth, was the Christ Being, the great Sun Being Who through the Mystery of Golgotha subsequently united again with the Earth. Thereby all the antecedents of Christianity were brought to a kind of climax and culmination in Christianity itself. With the Mystery of Golgotha, a mighty Cosmic Power streamed into Earth-evolution. It might conceivably be argued that if the Christ came once and once only, this would imply injustice to the souls who lived before His coming. If a materialist were to bring forward such an argument, it might be understandable, but it would certainly not be understandable if it came from a Theosophist. For he knows that the souls living today also lived in earlier times, before the Mystery of Golgotha; the coming of Christ, therefore, is of equal significance for the souls of the pre-Christian ages, because they all incarnate again in the times following the Mystery of Golgotha. There is, however, this point to be made and it must be understood by Theosophists, namely, that in a certain sense the Buddha forms an exception. We must reach the vantage-point of the true Buddhist who says that the Individuality in the Buddha was that of a “Bodhisattva” who was born as the son of King Suddhodana, rose in his twenty-ninth year to the rank of Buddha, thereby attaining a height whence he need no longer return to a body of flesh. That, therefore, was the final incarnation of the Bodhisattva Individuality who does not reincarnate in the era following the founding of Christianity. The lectures in Christiania 2Man in the Light of Occultism, Theosophy and Philosophy drew attention to the fact that a very special mission in the universe devolves upon an Individuality as sublime as the Buddha. The Individuality who became the Buddha had been sent from the hosts of Christ on the Sun to the “Venus men” before they came to the Earth (see also the description in Occult Science); the Individuality of the Buddha, therefore, had been sent forth by Christ from the Sun to Venus, as His emissary. This Individuality came to the Earth with the “Venus men” and had thus reached such an advanced stage of development that through the Atlantean, on into the Post-Atlantean era, he was able to attain to the rank of Buddhahood before the coming of Christ. He was in very truth a “Christian” before the time of Christ. We know, too, that later on he revealed himself in the astral body of the Jesus-Child of St. Luke's Gospel — since he need no longer return in a body of flesh. United as he is with the Christ Stream, a different task devolves upon him for the times to come. (This task was described in greater detail in the Christiania lectures.) The Buddha need not incarnate again in a body of flesh. It fell to him to fulfil a certain Deed on Mars — a Deed not identical with the Mystery of Golgotha but to be thought of as a parallel — namely, the Redemption of the people of Mars. There is, of course, no question here of a Crucifixion as in the Mystery of Golgotha, for as may be read in Occult Science, the people of Mars are quite differently constituted from human beings on Earth. These things, of course, are the results of occult observation and can only be discovered through clairvoyant investigation.
Now let us think of this fact — that the Buddha was an emissary of the Christ and had lived on Venus. Then think of the uniqueness of the Buddha-life, of its fundamental character, and proceed as I did myself. First, there came to me the occult knowledge: Buddha goes from Venus to Mars in order there to accomplish a Deed of Redemption for the beings of Mars. And now take the life of Buddha, and observe how strikingly it differs from the lives of all the other founders of religion in that period. The teachings of all the others tend in the direction of concealing the doctrine of reincarnation; Buddha teaches reincarnation and founds a community based essentially upon piety, upon a kind of remoteness from the world. Ask yourselves whether there are beings for whom this quality would be of fundamental significance — beings whose redemption could be wrought by all that the Buddha had lived through and made his own? If it were possible, now, to say more about the constitution of the Mars beings, you would see that the Buddha-life was a kind of preparation for a higher mission; that it occurred in Earth-existence as a kind of culmination and can have no direct continuation. You may compare much in the Buddha-life with the indications given by occultism and then you will be able to form some real judgment of matters with such far-reaching cosmic connections. To discover them — that will still be beyond you; but you will be able to examine and study them with the help of all the material at your disposal, and you will find agreement and conformity among the indications given. That Buddha is connected with Venus was known, also, to H. P. Blavatsky. In her Secret Doctrine, she writes: “Buddha=Mercury” — “Mercury,” because in earlier times the names for Venus and Mercury were confused and reversed. “Buddha = Venus” would be the proper form. A knowledge possessed by occultists today is already hinted at in H. P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine — but it must be understood correctly.
These things are connected with the whole process of advancing evolution. The evolution of man must be studied in connection with the whole universe; man must be thought of as a microcosm within the macrocosm. The fact that Beings do actually mediate between the several planets is entirely in line with these concatenations of cosmic existence, so that a being like the Buddha can actually be regarded as a mediator between planets. A good principle on which judgment of all these things may be based, is recognition of human progress as a reality, recognition of “evolution,” not as a catchword, but as a truth.
How can we fail to realise that evolution is a reality? Goethe has shown with such beauty that in each plant, green leaf, petal, calyx, stamen and pistil are a unity and yet progress is clearly to be observed — from the green leaf to the petal and the fruit. Progress in the spiritual life is still more clearly perceptible. It would be pure abstraction to say that the path of the Mystic has everywhere been the same, among all peoples and in all ages. If one were content with cheap persuasion it would be quite easy to tell people that the mystical experience of a Yogi has never differed from that of a Christian Saint. But such a statement would not be based upon knowledge of the facts — not even of the external facts. The experiences of a Yogi and those of a Christian Mystic like St. Theresa, for example, differ fundamentally and essentially! Is it not casting all sense of truth to the winds to compare the experience of an Indian Yogi with experiences that are permeated through and through with the Christ Principle — or with the Jesus Principle in the case of St. Theresa? As true as there is a difference between the red petal of the rose and the green leaf on its stalk, so is it true that there is a difference between experiences arising in the practice of Yoga and those of a later age. There is a fundamental difference and a progression as well. Even if many lapses occur, it can be perceived, nevertheless, and the progress outruns and overcomes the lapses.
It is possible for everyone to put these principles to the test of reason — and that is essential. For Theosophy must be given under the assumption that it speaks to the innermost soul, the innermost heart, but is also grasped and assimilated. It would imply that human beings could never come of age, if in the future they were obliged to wait, in the same way as was necessary in olden times, for the coming of World-Teachers — and this quite apart from the fact that no true occultism will ever speak of such an abstract principle of repetition, because it is a direct contradiction of what actually happens. As world-evolution progresses, the factor of independent judgment and examination will assume greater and greater importance. That is one of the reasons why it is so difficult in the present age to speak truly of an Individuality who is so misunderstood, even among occultists — I mean the Individuality known as Christian Rosenkreutz. Those who have a real link with him will never disobey the principle here described. But recognition of the principle of evolution — which reveals itself most clearly in the intrinsic worth of a human being — is difficult and gradual. Christian Rosenkreutz whom we recognise as the one by whom the true occult movement will be led on into the future and who will assuredly never add weight to his authority by means of any outer cult, will be misunderstood — he more than all. Those who have any knowledge of this Individuality know, too, that Christian Rosenkreutz will be the greatest of martyrs among men — apart from the Christ Who suffered as a God. The martyrdom of Christian Rosenkreutz will be caused by the fact that so few make the resolve to look into their own souls, in order there to seek for the evolving individuality, or to submit to the uncomfortable fact that truth will not be presented ready-made but has to be acquired by intense struggle and effort; requirements of a different character will never be brought forward in the name of the Individuality known as Christian Rosenkreutz. These requirements are in line with the character of the present age and with what is felt by men of the present age, even if in many respects they misinterpret it. The present age feels quite distinctly that the principle of individuality will assume greater and greater prominence. Even if here and there this truth is expressed grotesquely and sometimes far too radically, the very fact that it is expressed is indication of a sound instinct in humanity. Many a time one is amazed that in spite of the materialism and the many absurdities current in modern civilisation, an absolutely true instinct, although it is often pushed to extremes and caricatured, prevails in regard to many things. An example occurs in a book recently published: Zur Kritik der Zeit, by Walter Rathenau. It contains a passage to the effect that the time for the founding of sects, for belief in authority, has gone forever as a possible ideal for mankind ... As, however it is a fact that every sound development in our time calls forth its opposite, belief in authority and mania for dogma are rampant in certain circles. And yet: anyone who knows the world today will realise that nothing can so deeply undermine peace and harmony among men as non-recognition of the principle here outlined. The ideal of man must be to fathom and recognise objective truth, to be led through objective truth itself into the spiritual worlds. Hindrances would be laid in his path by attempts to base some truth upon narrow, personal authority — a mode of procedure that is, furthermore, quite impermissible so far as the future is concerned. This must be clearly understood. Many years of work in the field of Spiritual Science have shown how very difficult things are. Not only here, but wherever theosophical work is possible, it is always difficult to make this principle of theosophical striving the root-nerve of theosophical activity. The reason of the difficulty is that there are always people who will not bestir themselves to grasp what must be the fundamental impulse of our age. Objections that may crop up here and there would die a natural death if people would only give a little thought to the fundamental requirements of the times and realise that humanity is ever and everywhere going forward. To lay hold of the whole essence and spirit of Theosophy — that is what matters! But it would run counter to the very essence of Theosophy if a certain teaching that is being broadcast today were to find any widespread acceptance, namely, that culture which should be the common property of all mankind without distinction of race and colour, is conditioned by some particular continental factor. Is it really possible to take back with one sentence what has been proclaimed in another? Is it difficult to see the contradiction when it is said on the one hand that universal wisdom must be spread as a possession of all men without distinction of race and other differences, while on the other it is said that the civilisation of the future rests with a race localised within geographical boundaries? It is high time to reflect on these things and get to the root of them. Is it possible to speak of the progress of humanity when it is constantly reiterated that the same need — in this case, the authority of a personal teacher — exists in the world as of yore? Is it possible to say that man's own spiritual forces must grow stronger, that he must by his own efforts find the way to the spiritual world, if this is made dependent upon the authority of a single individual on the physical Earth? It is extremely easy to say that all opinions have equal weight in the Theosophical Movement. This remains a catchword when it is not taken really in earnest. Above all it remains a catchword when the opinions of others are misrepresented. Once before I have been obliged to say that “equal right of opinion” is no more than a phrase if our work here — which has nothing whatever to do with any specific territory or race on the Earth — is presented by the other side as though it were suitable only for the German mind. It is an affair of humanity, like mathematics — not the affair of any particular nation. To speak of our work here as being an affair of one particular nation, of a strictly limited territory, is an untruth. To quote a catchword does not justify the spreading of untruths in the world. In such circumstances, moreover, the other side may well become the victim of injustice. A semblance of intolerance may easily be created, simply because a stand has to be taken for the truth. The hour shows signs of becoming very serious in this connection. What I am saying here will be understood only by those who take Theosophy in real earnest and will not countenance things that run counter to the fundamental principles of theosophical work. Suppose one were obliged to ward off certain untruths from those who cannot put everything to the test for themselves, can the other person say: “That is intolerance”? He can, of course, say so if, under the guise of truth, he is merely seeking domination and authority! In the future, spiritual truth will work by reason of its own inherent strength, its own power, independently of physical circumstances. And it will be a great and splendid achievement if Theosophy can promote unity of culture over the whole Earth. Not for personal reasons, not for national reasons, nor for any “human” reasons whatever, but for purely theosophical reasons it makes one's heart bleed that in England today the President of the Theosophical Society should be making speeches which really cannot be described as “theosophical” but are eminently political. Thinking of the good old traditions of Theosophy, the heart bleeds to hear it said in a theosophical address that the day will come for proclaiming: “England together with India, at the centre; America and Germany, right and left. One World Policy under the banner of Theosophy!” ... And then we are accused of “intolerance” when it is necessary to protest against the introduction of the personal element into the leadership — where it should never be. It makes an occultist's heart ache that the label “theosophical” should be tacked on to this kind of statement. Once again I repeat: the heartache is not caused by personal or human considerations but for purely theosophical and occult reasons. It is grievous that the root-principle of theosophical teaching should be tainted — either consciously or unconsciously — with national and imperialistic aspirations! It is grievous to me not because I have anything whatever against any country or any aspirations on the Earth, but because the placing of such aspirations in the foreground shows at the very outset that the most intensely personal element is insinuating itself into the true ideal of Theosophy.
Many times I have spoken earnest words of the tasks and aims of Theosophy. The occultist does not speak without reflection. He knows very well when he must use such words! What I have said to you is entirely remote from any emotion, any desire, any sympathy or antipathy; it is demanded by something you may perhaps yourselves realise, namely, the seriousness of the hour — I mean, for Theosophy, for Occultism. As I have so often said, Theosophy must draw from the well-springs of human wisdom the message that is needful for mankind in the present age. If Theosophy is to move towards this ideal, it must stand on its own feet, set up its own rules of conduct — not only for what it has to say, but for how it has to confront the world — in order that standards prevailing in the outside world shall not play into our theosophical Movement. For there they become an evil, a great evil. As often as certain usages current in the outside world are introduced into the theosophical Movement, just so often is the Movement handed over to the forces of destruction. To outside eyes, these usages, when introduced into Theosophy, sometimes assume so grotesque a form that the world will certainly take good care not to copy things that may grow from the rich and fertile soil of occultism. Every kind of league exists in the world today — for the promotion of Peace, Vegetarianism, Anti-Alcoholism and what not — all of which are perfectly justifiable goals. But when the basic principles of a society are stretched in order to include the foundation of Unions or even Orders connected with the coming of figure-heads, founders of religion, future World-Saviours 3For those who have only lately become acquainted with the Anthroposophical conception of the world, let it here be mentioned that these words were spoken at the time when Mrs. Besant had founded the “Order of the Star in the East,” with objects similar to those indicated here, and rejected by me. Mrs. Besant's subsequent malicious agitation against Germany is, moreover, a direct result of the errors into which she was falling at that time. ... then the outside world will certainly not follow suit! I cannot imagine that a Statesman would found a league to await the coming of a new Statesman, or a General to await the coming of a great General in the future!
These things are so simple that only a little reflection is necessary. For to found an Order to await the coming of a World-Saviour is just as grotesque as it would be to found a league to await the coming of a new Statesman or a great General. A certain person who is striving today to found a branch of such an Order, used the following argument to me: “Yes, but after all, in the year 1848 a league was founded for the purpose of uniting the German States — and then there was Bismarck too ... he certainly helped to bring the German Reich to birth.” I could only reply: “Really I am not aware that a league was ever founded to await the coming of a “Bismarck”!
Do you think I am saying this jokingly? I say it because occultism has also this side to it, that if it is not cultivated in the right way, it can actually undermine instead of developing the powers of judgment, and I say it because I am in deep earnest about these things. Many occult teachings have been gathered together here; in fifty years, possibly, one point or another may have been investigated still more closely, may have to be differently expressed.
But even if no fragment remains of the knowledge that has brought forward — I do desire that one thing shall have survived, namely, this: that here there was inaugurated and sustained a theosophical-occult movement taking its stand solely and entirely upon integrity and truth. Even if in fifty years it is already said; Everything must be corrected; but at least they were out to be true, to let nothing happen except what is true ... even then my ideal would have been attained. That integrity and truth can prevail in an occult movement, whatever storms may rise up against us in the world — I am not so arrogant as to say that this has been “achieved,” but rather that this is the goal towards which we have striven.