|10th of August, 1941.
ADEPT-SCHOOL OF THE PAST.
THE MYSTERIES OF THE SPIRIT, THE SON AND THE FATHER.
by Dr. RUDOLF STEINER,
delivered on the 7th of March, 1907.
stenographic notes unrevised by the lecturer.
movement has arisen in our time not because of the arbitrary act of
this or of that individual, of this or of that society, but because it
is connected with the whole evolution of humanity and, as such, it should
be considered as one of the most important of cultural impulses. If we
would penetrate into the mission of the spiritual-scientific movement,
we must transfer ourselves into the past and future of mankind.
Just as the individual human
beings have evolved, from the moment when they first descended as individual
souls from the bosom of the Godhead, so mankind as a whole has also
evolved. Consider the differences, the changes and the development
which may be observed upon the surface of the earth in the course of
thousands of years! Consider how entirely things have changed during
that time! Generally speaking, this is difficult to realise and
to grasp quite clearly.
We should first explain that
what we are accustomed to name “mankind” is only the product
of the so-called fifth root-race. This was preceded by another human race,
the fourth root-race, which lived on a continent that should be
thought of as lying between present-day Europe and America. This
continent was Atlantis. Here our ancestors had quite a different form
and an entirely different civilisation. The ancient Atlantean did not
possess a developed intellect and mind, but he was equipped with fine
somnambulistic-clairvoyant forces. Logical power, a combining
intellect, science and art, such as they exist now, did not exist in
ancient Atlantis, for man's faculties of thought and feeling were
quite different. At that time, he could not have combined thoughts,
nor could he have reckoned, counted, or read; as men do now; yet
certain somnambulistic-clairvoyant spiritual forces lived in him. He
could understand the language of Nature and could hear God speak to
him in the murmuring waves; he could understand the rolling
thunder, the rustling forest, the delicate aromas of the flowers; he
could understand this language of Nature and was in the whole of
Nature. At that time, no law or jurisprudence were needed to come to
an understanding with one's neighbour; the Atlantean just went out
and listened to the sounds of the trees and of the wind and these
told him what he had to do.
Folk-lore, which never
contains anything haphazard or thought-out, has preserved the memory
of ancient Atlantis in a beautiful way, when it speaks of
“Nibelheim”, for instance, in the Nibelung Poem. In a
delightful way it speaks of the Rhine and all these rivers as waters
which have remained behind from the mists of ancient Atlantis. And
the wisdom of Atlantis is referred to in the treasure which lies
buried below their waves, On this continent, which was situated
between America and Europe, we must seek the seminary of the ancient
adepts, Those who were suited to be the pupils of the great
individualities whom we call the Masters of Wisdom and of the
Harmony-Feelings, were trained in these schools.
The seminary which flourished
during the fourth Atlantean sub-race, this first school of adepts, would
now be in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. There, the pupils were taught
in quite a different way from now. At that time, a powerful, influence
could pass from man to man, through the force which still lay in the
Simple folks of to-day still
possess a fine feeling for the inner, spiritual and occult power of words.
But it is impossible to compare the present power of words with that of
the past. For in the past, this was something tremendous, and the word
alone awakened forces in the soul of the pupil. A mantram of to-day
has no longer the force of earlier times, when words were not so
permeated by thoughts, as is the case to-day. The influence which
went out from these words awakened the soul-forces of the pupil; one
might call this a human initiation through the powerful effect of the
language of Nature. ... A clear language was also spoken there by the
smoke from substances such as incense, etc.
There was then a far more direct
connection between the souls of teacher and pupil. The written signs in
the Adept-School of ancient Atlantis were imitations of the phenomena of
Nature, written by the hand in the air, these signs had their effect
and also influenced the spirit of the population, arousing forces in
Thus every race has its task
in the evolution of humanity. The task of our race, the fifth root-race,
consists in adding Manas to the four members of the human being. That
is to say, the understanding must be awakened through concepts
and ideas. Every race has its own task: the Atlantean race had the
task of developing the Ego. Our race, the fifth root-race, or the
post-Atlantean era, must develop Manas, the Spirit-Self.
But the achievements of Atlantis
did not die, when Atlantis was submerged, for the essence of everything
that existed in the Atlantean School of Adepts was rescued by a small
group of men. Under the guidance of the Manu, this small group
journeyed into a region now known as the Desert of Gobi. And this
small number of men then prepared copies of the former culture and
teachings, but in a more intellectual form; the earlier spiritual
forces were transformed into thoughts and signs. The various streams
of culture then journeyed out from this centre like rays, or
beams. First came the pre-Vedic Indian culture, which transformed for
the first time the in-streaming wisdom into thoughts.
The second culture which went
out from this ancient School of Adepts was the old Persian culture; the
third one, the Chaldean-Babylonian culture with its wonderful
star-wisdom, its lofty sacerdotal wisdom. The fourth culture to
flourish was the Graeco-Latin one, with its personal colouring, and finally
the fifth culture, which is our present one. The sixth and seventh lie in
I have now characterised our
task in the evolution of humanity: What once existed in the form
of cosmic wisdom, must be transformed into thoughts and brought
down to the physical plane.
When the old Atlantean listened,
between the tones sounding round him, he could hear the NAME of what he
recognised as divine: “TAO”, In the Egyptian Mysteries
this sound was transformed into thoughts, script and signs —
the Tao-sign, the Tao-books. Everything in the form of knowledge,
writing and thought first came into the world during the
post-Atlantean age. Before that time, nothing could have been written
down, for the understanding for it would not have been there.
Now we are living in the middle
of the Manas-development. It is the task of our race to develop intellectual
culture, and at the same time to develop egoism in its extremest
form. Though it sounds grotesque, we may say that never before was
there so much intellectual power in the world, and yet so
little capacity of inner vision as at the present time. Thought is at
the greatest distance from the inner essence of things; it is far
away from inner spiritual vision.
When the Atlantean priest
wrote a sign in the air, its chief effect was on the pupil's inner
The personal element came more
to the fore during the fourth, the Graeco-Latin epoch. In Greece, the
personal element developed in art, and in Rome we find it in the structure
of the government, etc. In our time, we experience egoism, the dry
personal, intellectual element. But our task to-day is to grasp the
occult truths in Manas, in the purest element of thought. The
comprehension of the spiritual in this finest distillation of the
brain is the true mission of our age. To render thought so forceful
that it acquires something of an occult power is the task which has
been given us. This task must be fulfilled, so that we may be able to
take our place in the future.
Mighty flames of fire destroyed
ancient Lemuria, and mighty floods ancient Atlantis. Our civilisation will
also perish, through the war of all against all. This is what we must
face. Our fifth root-race will perish, because egoism will reach its
highest pitch. But at the same time, a small group of men will
develop the power of Budhi, of the Life-Spirit, through the force of
thought, in order to carry over Budhi into the new civilisation.
Everything that is productive in the striving human being will grow
stronger and stronger, until his personality reaches the summit of
freedom. At present, every individual must discover in himself a kind
of guiding spirit in the soul's inner depths: — This is Budhi,
the power of the Life spirit. Were we to approach the future by
taking up the cultural impulses as in earlier epochs, we should face
the disintegration of humanity.
What do we see now at the
Everyone wants to be his own
master: Egoism, selfishness have been pushed to the extreme. A time will
come when no other authority will be recognised except one which men
recognise freely, whose power is based upon free confidence. The Mysteries
which were founded upon the power of the spirit, are called the
MYSTERIES OF THE SPIRIT; the Mysteries of the future, which will have
trust as their foundation, are called the MYSTERIES OF THE FATHER.
These will mark the end of our civilisation. The new impulse of the
power of confidence must come, otherwise we approach human
disintegration, a universal cult of the Ego and of egoism.
In the times of the Mysteries of
the Spirit, which were founded upon the rightful power, authority and might
of the Spirit, there were certain wise men who possessed wisdom, and
only the soul who passed through difficult probations could be
initiated by them. In future, we approach the Mysteries of the
Father, and we must strive more and more that each single human being
should attain wisdom.
Will this counter-act egoism
and the threatening disintegration? Yes! For only when we reach the
highest wisdom, in which there are no differences, no personal
opinion and no personal standpoint, but ONE VIEW only, will men
agree. If they were to remain as they are at present, following their
different standpoints, they would become more and more disunited. The
highest wisdom always produces a unanimous view among all men.
Real wisdom is ONE, and it unites men again, whilst leaving them as
free as possible, without any coercive authority. Just as the members
of the great WHITE Brotherhood are always in harmony with one another
and with humanity, so all men will one day be one, through this
wisdom. Only this wisdom can establish the true idea of
brotherhood. Spiritual science therefore has only one task: to bring
this idea to men, by developing now the Spirit-Self and later on the
Life-Spirit. The great goal of the spiritual-scientific movement is
to make it possible for man to attain freedom and true wisdom; its
mission is to let this truth and wisdom flow into men.
The modern movement of spiritual
science began with the most elementary teachings. Many important things
have been revealed in the years which have passed since the founding of
this movement, and much that is even more important will be revealed.
The work of the spiritual-scientific movement, is therefore to allow
a gradual flowing out of wisdom of the great white brotherhood
that had its origin in Atlantis. Such work has always been prepared
for through long periods of time. The whole activity of the great
founders of religions was a preparation for the ONE great event, for
the appearance of Christ-Jesus.
Spiritual science seeks to be
the testamentary executor of Christianity. And so it will be. When the
Mysteries of the Father have been fulfilled, that is, when the
development of Budhi is accomplished in every individual human being,
then each one will discover within himself his own deepest being
— ATMAN, the Spirit-Man.
The coming of Christ-Jesus was
prepared for by the sequence of the founders of religions, by Zarathustra,
Hermes, Moses, Orpheus, Pythagoras. All their teachings pursue the same
aim: To let wisdom flow into humanity, but in every case, in the
form most suited to each people respectively. The essentially new
element is not found in what Christ said; the new element in the
appearance and teaching of Christ-Jesus is the force that lay in Him
to awaken into LIFE all that, formerly was only teaching.
Christianity has brought men the
power to be united in free-willed recognition of the authority of
Christ-Jesus, whilst maintaining the greatest possible individualisation,
so that they are able to join together in brotherly union through faith
in Him, in His manifestation and in His divinity.
Between the Mysteries of the
SPIRIT and those of the FATHER, stand the MYSTERIES OF THE SON. Their
seminary was the School of St. Paul, who had appointed Dionysios as its
leader. This school flourished under him, for Dionysios taught these
Mysteries in a very special way, whereas St. Paul propagated the
Let us now seek an explanation
from another side, so as to understand the meaning of the words: The
MYSTERIES OF THE FATHER will come. In the old Atlantean schools for adepts
the teachers were not men, but beings higher than man, They had completed
their development upon earlier planets, and these beings, who had
come down to the earth from other planetary developments, instructed
a group of chosen men in the MYSTERIES OF THE SPIRIT. In the
MYSTERIES OF THE SON, Christ Himself appeared as a teacher in the
most solemn celebrations and was therefore also a teacher who was not
a man, but God. But in the MYSTERIES OF THE FATHER, those who will
become teachers will be men, These men, who develop more quickly than
the others, will be the true Masters of Wisdom and of Harmony; they
are called “The Fathers”, in the Mysteries of the Father,
the guidance of mankind passes from beings who have descended
from other worlds into the hands of men themselves. This is
It is the task of spiritual
science to prepare men to form a centre for this end, to prepare them
for a universal wisdom, for an authority built only on trust and
confidence, and to develop an understanding for this, to begin with,
in a small nucleus of humanity.
The development of the
materialistic civilisation reached its climax in the nineteenth century,
and that is why the impulse of spiritual science entered the world at
that time. Through spiritual science, something was called into life
— and now exists — which counter-acts materialism: It is
the counter-movement in the direction of spirituality. Spiritual
science is nothing new, and even the spiritual-scientific movement is
not new; it is only the continuation of what has already existed.
Materialism and egoism bring
disintegration to humanity, for the individual human being only regards
his own interests. Wisdom must therefore reunite the human beings who have
thus become separated. Wisdom brings them together in fullest freedom
and exercises no coercion whatever. This is the task of the
spiritual-scientific movement in our time.
We must realise that wisdom must
be acquired quite concretely. We all know the example of the stove which
was given the task of heating a room. If we explain this to the stove
in words as moving as possible, and entreat it to warm the
room, it will not obey us unless we heat it; only then will it be
able to fulfil its task. Similarly, all talk of brotherhood and of
brotherly love is useless; only through KNOWLEDGE we draw nigh to the
goal. Individual human beings, and mankind as a whole, can only reach
the path of wisdom and of brotherhood through knowledge.
We have now followed this path
by considering three kinds of Mysteries. Spiritual science must be able
to awaken an understanding for such things in a small nucleus
of humanity, so that when the sixth race appears this understanding
can be awakened in all men. This is the task which spiritual science
A small part of the fifth
root-race will forestall the course of evolution, it will spiritualise
Manas and unfold the Spirit-Self. The majority, however, will reach the
summit of selfishness. Only this nucleus of humanity, that develops
the Spirit-Self, will become the seed of the sixth root-race, and the
most advanced of these, the Masters, as we call them, who have
grown out of mankind, will then be the leaders of humanity. The
movement for spiritual knowledge strives towards this goal.