THE MISSION OF MANICHEISM
The purpose of this lecture is to expand and deepen what was said in
the preceding lecture.
The difference between Occult Brotherhoods before and after
Christianity is that before the advent of Christianity their
chief mission was to guard the sacred tradition; afterwards, it
was to form and mould the future. Occult science is not abstract and
dead but active and living.
Christian occultism is derived from the Manicheans whose founder,
Manes, lived on the Earth three hundred years after Jesus the Christ.
The essence of Manichean teaching relates to the doctrine of Good and
Evil. In ordinary thought, the Good and the Evil are two irreducible
qualities, one of which — the Good — must destroy the other
— the Evil. To the Manicheans, however, Evil is an integral part
of the cosmos, collaborating in its evolution, finally to be absorbed
and transfigured by the Good. The great feature of Manicheism is that
it studies the function of Evil and of suffering in the world.
To understand the development of humanity, it must be viewed in its
whole range. Only so can we see its high ideal. To believe that an
ideal is not necessary for action is a great error. A man without
ideals is a man without power. The function of an ideal in life is
like that of steam in an engine. Steam comprises in a small area a
vast expanse of ‘condensed space’ — hence its
tremendous power of expansion. The magic power of thought is of the
same nature. Let us then rise to the thought of the ideal of humanity
as a whole, guided by the thread of its evolution through the epochs
Systems like that of
are also seeking for this guiding thread.
The grandeur of Darwinian thought is not disputed, but it does not
explain the integral evolution of man. It only sees the lower,
inferior elements. So it is with all purely physical explanations
which do not recognise the spiritual essence of man's being. Theories
of evolution based entirely on physical facts, attribute to man an
animal origin because science has established that in fossilised man
the brow is lacking. Occultism, knowing that physical man is but an
expression of etheric man, sees something very different. At the
present point of time, the etheric body of man has practically the
same form as his physical body, although extending a little beyond it.
But the farther back we go in history, the greater is the difference
in size between the etheric head and the physical head. The etheric
head is found to be much larger. Especially was this so in the period
of earthly development which precedes our own. The men living at that
time were Atlanteans. Geologians, indeed, are beginning to discover
traces of ancient Atlantis, of the minerals and flora of this ancient
continent now submerged under the ocean that bears its name. Traces of
man himself have not yet been discovered but that is only a matter of
time. Occult prophecies have always preceded authentic history.
The frontal part of the human head began to develop in the European
races which followed those of Atlantis. The focus-point of consciousness
in the Atlanteans lay outside the brow, in the etheric head. Today it
lies within the physical head, a little higher than the nose.
Nifelheim or Nebelheim (the land of mists) in Germanic mythology
is the country of the Atlanteans. In that age the Earth was hotter and
still enveloped by vaporous clouds. The continent of Atlantis was
destroyed by a series of deluges, as a consequence of which the
terrestrial atmosphere cleared, — Then and only then came the
blue sky, the storm, rain, the rainbow. That is why the Bible says
that when Noah's Ark had come to rest, the rainbow, the “bow in
the cloud” was a new token of alliance between God and man.
The ‘I’ of the Aryan race could only be consciously realised
when the etheric body was centralised in the physical brain. Not until
then could man begin to say: ‘I.’ The Atlanteans spoke of
themselves in the third person.
Darwinism has made many errors in regard to the differentiation
expressed by the races actually existing on the Earth. The higher
races have not descended from the lower races; on the contrary, the
latter represent the degeneration of the higher races which have
preceded them. Suppose there are two brothers — one of whom is
handsome and intelligent, the other ugly and dull-witted. Both proceed
from the same father. What should we think of a man who believed that
the intelligent brother descends from the idiot? That is the kind of
error made by Darwinism in regard to the races. Man and animal have a
common origin; the animals represent a degeneration of the one common
ancestor, whose higher development comes to expression in man.
This should not give rise to pride, for it is only thanks to the lower
kingdoms that the higher races have been able to develop.
Christ washes the feet of the Apostles. That is a symbol of the
humility of the Initiate in face of his inferiors. The Initiate owes
his existence to those who are not initiated. Hence the deep humility
of those who truly know in face of those who do not. The tragic
aspect of cosmic evolution is that one class of beings must abase
themselves in order that the other may rise. In this sense we can
appreciate the beauty of Paracelsus' words: “I have observed all
beings — stones, plants, animals — and they seem to me
nothing but scattered letters, man being the word, living and
The animals are crystallised passions.
In the course of human and animal evolution the inferior descends from
The contradictions in man, the way in which the elements mingle in
him, constitute his karma, his destiny.
Just as man has wrested himself from the animal so will he wrest
himself from evil. But never yet has he passed through a crisis as
severe as that of the present age.
The evil and the good are still within man just as in days of yore the
animals were within him.
The aim of Manicheism is to sublimate men to be redeemers.
The Master must be the servant of all.
True morality flows from an understanding of the mighty laws of the