Donate books to help fund our work. Learn more→

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Awareness - Life - Form
GA 89

Part II: 4. The First, Second and Third Logos

Private instruction, Berlin-Schlachtensee, summer 1903

[The first part of the text is missing.]

When the selfless stream in two cyclic outpourings returns to its starting point and matter dissolves again, nothing has happened except that it has been enriched as it returns to its origin. It is only by taking in and overcoming the selfish stream that the selfless stream will develop such powerfully vibrant strength that it will have to go beyond itself, that is, beyond the cosmic circle which is the first encounter of the two streams. Something new will be born as selflessness disintegrates, a new region, called forth from it: para nirvana, which is negative matter, for, in contrast to matter, which is held within the cosmic circle due to attraction, it spreads outside it. It helps to understand the process if you think of a pendulum swing. The pendulum, swinging forward, will immediately swing back again, and unless there are obstacles in its way it will swing so hard that it goes beyond its starting point, just as a cart rolling forward cannot stop suddenly but must continue to roll on for some distance.

Following this preparation and the evolution of matter in stages, the material constituents for the creation of planets would be produced, but planetary life could not yet arise. Thus the Logos could not remain in para nirvana; it had to go back, and on the way back created the mahapara nirvana region. From here, the Logos had to make a sacrifice and begin the cycle through matter again, so that other life might arise—apart from itself but out of itself.

All life in manifold forms has arisen from oneness, the one Logos. The manifoldness lies hidden within it, as yet unseparated, undifferentiated. As the Logos becomes recognizable, perceiving itself as self, it emerges from the absolute, from the state of no differentiation, and creates the non-self, its mirror image, the second Logos. It ensouls this mirror reflection and gives it life; it is its third aspect, the third Logos.

The first Logos, the undifferentiated, with life and form in oneness within it, would thus have to be seen as the Father. Time began with its existence; it separated off its mirror reflection, the form, the feminine, which it filled with its life—the second Logos; and this ensoulment gave rise to the third Logos as Son, enlivened form. Thus all religions thought of their god in threefold form—as father, mother and son. Thus Uranos and Gaia, maternal earth; Chronos, time, came from her womb as son; Osiris, Isis and Horus, and so on.

The sacrifice of the Logos is: The spirit descends into matter, ensouls its mirror reflection, and with this the world of living forms is given its existence, with all of them living separate existences and going through the cycle of evolution, to be at one with the Logos again as individual entities that have reached the highest level of development, with the Logos receiving the riches of experience through them. If it had not poured itself out to give life to all these forms, there would be no independent growth and development. All movement, all genesis, would have no life of its own; it would merely move and stir according to the god’s directions.

Just as a human being is interested only in what is unknown to him, in the individual aspect of the human being, whilst anything he is able to calculate and understand leaves him indifferent, so the Logos, too, can take delight only in life that develops independently, life that comes forth from it, for which it sacrifices and gives itself.

There began the process of the evolution of matter, in which the qualities of the essence are reflected and effective, until these mirror reflections begin their own activity as separate forms, gradually making matter more and more spiritual and ensouled, until it will again be one with the entity atman, budhi, manas ... [gap]

First of all the cosmic foundation was created when the two qualities—selfishness and selflessness of the first Logos—came together. Through the second stream in this, guided by harmony, atomistic essence was created. This enveloped itself in mother substance, which was already extant, and the creation of atoms ensued.84See ref. 68. These atoms, with their outer shells of varying density, step by step created the matter which could then serve the second Logos, the mirror reflection of the first, as a medium to give its mirror reflection over to it. The second Logos then flowed into this matter, which on its first, nirvana level was so subtle in consistency that it could flow through it without hindrance and without being changed. It then entered into the budhi region; here it was stopped, and even though selflessness is so strong in this region that it does not seek to hold the Logos fast in its realm, it does lay claim to it for its whole cosmos. Here the Logos’ sacrifice began; the voice, the sound came forth from it: it wanted to enliven matter with its spirit, that its thoughts should exist as independent forms. This realm, where divine thought became sound and voice,85See also the two esoteric lessons given in Berlin on 18 December 1906 and Hamburg on 11 February 1907 in Aus den Inhalten der esoterischen Stunden GA 266/1. These concepts were also used in early Christian Gnosis, see G. R. S. Mead, note 81. in the budhi sphere, was the divine realm of the Middle Ages. Enveloped in budhi, the Logos then flowed into the mental region, which consisted of the arupa and rupa levels; the world of divine thought poured in, with exemplary ideas surging and mingling. Here the exemplary idea was created of what later would be separate entity, still resting in the Logos in the budhi sphere. This arupa level of the mental sphere was Plato’s world of ideas, the world of medieval rationality. At the arupa level these ideas assumed their first configurations. As divine genii they began their separate existence, floating and interpenetrating still, being entities of a like kind. It was the medieval realm of heaven.

These spiritual entities then entered into the astral sphere; here, enveloped in denser matter, sensation awoke from touch; only now did they feel themselves to be separate entities, sensing the separation. It was the elemental world. Following descent to the ether sphere this sensation was pushed from the inside to the outside, it swelled up, expanded and grew because of the etheric vegetative power, and was then enclosed by physical matter and crystallized, for here the selfish principle was still seeking with all its power to be set limits. Sentience is thus shut up in the mineral world, with the divine ideas sleeping in sublime peace in the virginal rock. Stone—a frozen divine thought: ‘The stones are dumb. I have put the eternal creator word into them that it may lie hidden; virginal and bashfully they hold it enclosed within them.’86The formula may be found in Rudolf Steiner’s Rosicrucian and Moorish ritual. See Zur Geschichte und aus den Inhalten der erkenntniskultischen Abteilung der Esoterischen Schule 1904–1914, GA 265. This is an ancient druid saying, a prayer. In medieval times, ether and physical world or mineral world were called microcosm or small world.

Streaming in, the Logos surrounded itself with progressively denser vestments until it learned to define its limits firmly in rock. Stones are dumb, however, unable to reveal the eternal creator word. The rigid physical shell had to be cast off again; it remained behind in its world, whilst the crystalline forms in their soft ether vestment were able to expand, growing from the inside, that is, able to live. For life was growth; stone became plant. Ascending further the Logos also shed this ether vestment and came to the sphere of astral sensation. Here, activity developed through interaction between touch and sensory perception; sentient animal existence configured itself in a living way out of sentience and active will. It then gradually developed its organs of perception, with the impetus from outside acting inwards as sensation. The types evolved. On transition into the mental realm this sentience perceived itself, and the human level was reached with self-awareness.

From the cosmic point of view the Logos would descend most deeply into matter on streaming into the mineral world and begin its ascent on casting off the first outer vestment. From the human, anthroposophocentric point of view, which the ancient druids held, among others, the spirit resting in the chaste rock would be a sublime level of existence. Untainted by selfish intent, the stone obeys only the law of causality. For human beings on the lower mental level of development, which is where we are now, the rock would be a symbol for higher development. Going through lower kamic passions and errors we would develop to an etheric plant existence, living and growing from inside in a selflessly self-evident way, later to live in our causal body, untouched by anything external, resting in ourselves, pure spirit, just as the crystallized spirit rests enclosed in the rock.

The second Logos as mover and quickener of matter, in which it is enclosed, has only come as far as the lower mental sphere. The sentient animal has in self-awareness reached the human level of existence. It is able to relate the outside world to its individual nature, perceiving itself. Thus far, nature led and guided the human being; here it leaves him alone and in freedom. The further development of the human being now depends solely on his will. He must make himself the vessel, shedding the outer vestment of the lower mental sphere, so that he may now receive the inflow of the first Logos, just as a seed opens and waits for the impregnation without which it will not be able to grow and bear fruit.

The first Logos is the eternal principle in the universe, the unalterable law according to which the heavenly bodies move in their orbits; it is the basis of all things. Individual forms are subject to annihilation and change. We perceive colours through our ability to see that may look different to a different ability to see. The solid external object, held together in its specific form by its parts, may vanish at a particular degree of heat. Its parts may dissolve, but the law according to which it came into existence will remain; it is eternal. Thus the whole universe moves according to eternal laws. The first Logos flows in it, spread abroad. The human being must rise to it with his will. He must develop the selfless lower inner sense organ (antahkarana) in himself. In pure contemplation he must perceive this eternal, unalterable law in all that is transitory, must learn to distinguish between anything that is transitory, having assumed a particular form, and the core of his being, must take what is seen into himself as thought and guard it. He thus gradually comes to know the unreal nature of the world of phenomena. Thought becoming real to him, he gradually ascends to the arupa level, living in the world of pure thought. Multiplicity dissolves for him, merging into oneness, he feels at one with the universe. He will then have risen so high that he is able to receive the inflowing first Logos directly, as intuition. It was not a single soul, however, which thus came to the single individual. No, it was the All Soul, the soul of Plato and others in which he had a part, coming to be at one with them in his thoughts. Step by step the higher human being evolved from the kamic one.

At the turning point where the human being was thus meant to ascend in freedom, using his will, he needed guidance. In the third race of the fourth round, in the Lemurian age, the sons of manas therefore descended, letting themselves be incarnated to serve as guides. The simple process of counting, of understanding number, initiated mental development, thus separating the thinking human being from the animal which was merely sentient.