FROM ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
2nd September, 1906
Question about the work of the Ego
Work can be done on the
astral body, on the etheric body, on the physical body. Every human
being works on his astral body; all moral education is work on the astral
body. Even when a person enters on the process of Initiation, on occult
training, he has still much work to do on his astral body. Initiation
leads to stronger work on the etheric body through the cultivation of
aesthetic pleasure and of religion. The Initiate works consciously on
his etheric body.
Astral consciousness is
four-dimensional in certain connections. In order to form an approximate
idea of this, the following may be said. Anything that is dead has the
tendency to remain in its three dimensions. Anything living extends all
the time beyond the third dimension. Anything that grows has, through its
movement, the fourth dimension within its three dimensions. If something
moves in a circle, and if the circle it traces goes on increasing in
size, we come at last to a straight line. But the straight line will
not return to its starting point, because our world is three-dimensional.
In astral space, a line does return, because astral space is closed
on all sides. It is quite impossible, there, to go straight on for ever.
Physical space is open to the fourth dimension. Height and breadth are
two dimensions; the third dimension leads out into the fourth. In astral
space a different geometry prevails.
Why are Theosophists
still so inadequate?
One should not allow a
personal element to enter into one's judgments. An objective assessment
of things should be the aim.
About conditions in
Pain and grief are external
in Devachan. You do not experience your own pains there. Pain is something
you look at. You see it as thunder, as lightning, as colour. That is
blessedness. You are looking at pictures of happenings caused by others
here below. A peaceful condition in Devachan depends on the lives of
people between birth and death. Harmony here on Earth brings about peace
in Devachan. A man lives continuously in the three worlds. “Rest
in peace!” is not quite right.
Is there any value in
reading Masses for the dead?
Good thoughts are balm
for the dead. It is not selfish love that we should send them, not mourning
because we no longer have them here; this harms a dead person and weighs
on him like lead. But love that endures, which does not lay claim to
the dead person by wanting him back again — this nourishes him and
augments his happiness.
Remorse has no value. But
one must make good for harm done; this shortens the Kamaloka period.
On communion with loved
ones in Kamaloka
It is clearer, more definite,
in Devachan, for in Kamaloka consciousness is clouded by the paying
off of debts incurred through personal guilt.
The lotus-flowers are
inner movements, within the human being.
If one is out of harmony
with one's parents, what is the reason for it?
To be out of harmony with
one's parents is generally something determined by karma.
What does the astral
body look like?
When the astral body is
together with the physical body, it is somewhat egg-like in shape. After
death it is a wonderfully radiant, mobile formation. In accordance with
individual characteristics it has various colours, radiant colours.
Its three gleaming points are at first widely separated, joined together
but open below. They are centres of force; they draw progressively together
and then they look like a small triangle. 1. Heart; 2. Liver; 3. Brain.
These three points work together at the time of a new incarnation. In
Devachan they are radiant centres of force, which stream out from the
three points. In the astral world these three points form a triangle; in
Devachan they form a six-pointed figure — two interlaced triangles.
They are bells.
Click image for large view
A question was asked about
the “permanent atom” often spoken of in theosophical
circles at that time.
Atoms are a speculation.
Hence we avoid speaking about them, for they are only an assumption.
One should not think about things which are not facts; human beings
should only look and observe.
Can one look into the
This is possible, but
the occultist refrains from doing so, because, almost always, it behoves
only a high Initiate to know the future. The Initiate's prevision
does not determine what another person does; the latter will act in
the future entirely out of his free will.
Families with a strong
family tradition are subject to a quite definite law, whereby the family
karma is worked out. The ancestor upholds the family until he can build
a new body for his own next incarnation. The continuity and cohesion
of the family depends on the blood.
Art is the revelation of
hidden laws of nature. Goethe says: “The beautiful is a
manifestation of hidden laws of nature which would otherwise remain
forever concealed.” Nature can realise her intentions only up
to a certain stage; man can bring them to expression, but the artist
has to leave out the blood and life.
At a later, much later,
time the Group-Souls will embark on the same experiences that humanity
undergoes today. They will eventually build individual bodies for
themselves. They will become single individuals, each with an individual
soul. Animals will never give rise to men, but human beings — of a
kind quite different, certainly, from ourselves will develop out of the
Group-Souls. The human stages — the Saturn stage, the Sun stage,
the Moon stage, the Earth stage, and so on — can be gone through
in the most varied ways.
What is your attitude
to the Lord's Prayer?
The primal Christian prayer
is: Lord, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine,
be done. One should not pray egotistically. Prayer should be a raising up
of oneself into the spiritual world, a source of strength and
Marriage is a duality.
In the world today there is a prevailing tendency to lead everything
back, quite wrongly, to the sexual. A great antithesis plays into the
realm of marriage: the husband has a female etheric body and the wife
a male etheric body. The spirit and soul in the man is more feminine,
and vice-versa. The human soul strives towards the highest. Hence the
man will equate the highest with the womanly, because his soul is feminine.
The external part, the body, is only an outer symbol, only a parable.
“All things transient are but a parable.” “The
eternal-womanly draws us to the heights.”
On the Ego-body
The Ego-body appears to
the clairvoyant as a blue hollow between the eyes, behind the forehead.
When a person begins to work on it, rays stream out from this point.
On the nature of
A comet is an assemblage
of Kama, desire-substance, without the corresponding spiritual substance.
The comet gets as far only as the astral body. The visibility of comets
arises from the powerful friction caused by the astral body passing
through etheric substance.
How does gold arise?
We have first the four
No life can arise without
Life ether, which fills out the bodies. Each ether can be cooled so
that it becomes solid. In earlier times gold flowed in clefts; earlier
still it was gaseous; it was Fire ether, Light ether. The rays which
come to us from the Sun were formerly etheric substance. All the gold
was once Sun ether, Light ether. Gold is densified Sun ether, densified
sunlight; silver is densified moonlight.
Which beings inhabit
The Moon is inhabited
by those physical beings who have remained behind at an earlier stage
of evolution: Luciferic beings. On the Old Moon there were beings who
had fallen so far into evil that they could not take part in further
evolution. They established themselves on the Moon. These malevolent
beings are evident especially in the waning Moon; when the Moon is waxing
they are less harmful. Some dreadful beings inhabit the Moon, but there
are also favourable beings, actively concerned with growth and birth.
On the Book of
The Book with Seven Seals
in the Revelation of John is written by man himself. His evolution and
involution are inscribed there. The first writing in it applies to the
seven sub-races. Each sub-race writes and seals a page of it. When the
next sub-race emerges, the page is unsealed.
On the difference
between cremation and burial
The difference exists
chiefly for the etheric body. Cremation provides correctly for the
dissolution of the physical body into cosmic space.
“Decaying” (Verwesen) means a return to one's being
On the life of Jesus
The life of Jesus is at
the same time a fact and a symbol. Proof of his life can be given only
by Spiritual Science. You will not find any historical proofs, for the
Christ was not known as a high Initiate to the writers of those days.
On the inner Word
The inner Word reveals
itself after a man has already attained astral sight. Then he enters
into the Devachan condition; then he hears the world-secrets sounding
in himself; and then he hears the name that belongs to each thing. Later,
his own name will be spoken to the Initiate, and to meditate on it is
especially effective. That, then, is the inner Word. The Initiate is
thereby awakened, and this inner Word is a sure guide for his later