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The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy

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The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy

Schmidt Number: S-1268

On-line since: 15th August, 2016

Germanic and Indian Secret Doctrines

Berlin, 8th March 1906

Many a time I have already pointed here to the fact that it is a prejudice if one declares the present theosophical movement in the strict sense of the word as a Buddhist or neo-Buddhist one. Theosophy or spiritual science does not want to implant a foreign worldview from without, but to show how also within our European culture deeper teachings of wisdom form the basis of the striving of humanity that express themselves most distinctly. Next time I venture to show how in a newer epoch of the German spiritual life theosophical feeling and thinking were expressed in a quite extraordinary measure, I would like to say, in its intellectual purity around the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, however, I would like to show — as far as I can press it in a single talk — how within the Germanic-German folk culture an impact exists which goes back to views that we meet in theosophy.

A careful comparison between the basis of the European religious and worldview with that which has been expressed over there in the East in such a peculiar, spiritual way will show us how little the misunderstanding is justified that the theosophical spiritual current wanted to force something completely strange on the European life. We have to characterise — if we want to carry out this comparison really — the basic view of the so-called theosophical worldview with a few words at least. If only just, let us once visualise the often-discussed basic view of the theosophical or spiritual-scientific worldview.

The human being is, according to this theosophical worldview, at first a being who has a double nature as basis, namely a transient so-called cover part, an external member of his nature, and an imperishable everlasting essence. The external cover is as it were the sheath or the tool of the human being with which his immortal essence works and is active in this world. This cover is clearly divided into four members. The first member is the so-called physical body, the body that one can see with the eyes and perceive with the other senses. The second member is the so-called etheric body. Life lives in this body. It has the same figure approximately as the physical body, but it forms the basis of the physical body as the bearer of the life principle. The third member is the bearer of the feelings, of joy and sorrow, of the instincts and passions. We call it the astral body, because the forces, which are effective in it, prove to be to someone who can deeper look into the world the forces that live outdoors in the starry heaven, in the astral, and are essential. We call the fourth member the real human ego. We call it in such a way because the human being has the three other members, physical body, etheric body, and astral body in common with the remaining beings, which are round him.

Every mineral has a physical body. The plant has a physical body and etheric body, the animal has a physical body, etheric body, and astral body. The human being besides has a fourth member to live within this world that enables him to say to himself “I.” This ego is the final member, the final point of the development of the three above-mentioned bodies that they have striven for since primeval times. It lives in the three covers, which surround it not like onionskins, but they interact regularly, penetrate each other powerfully, and take shape. At the same time, the ego is the bearer of a higher tripartite nature we call spirit self, life spirit, and spirit man best of all. These members are today included only as gifts in the majority of the human beings. The Eastern mysticism calls the spirit self “manas,” the life spirit “buddhi,” and the highest, innermost member “atman.” It is the real spirit of the human being, the innermost core, the immortal within the human nature. With it, we have seven members of the human nature as we have seven tones of the musical scale or seven colours in the rainbow.

The lower members are a confluence, an essence of the three realms, which surround us: the mineral, plant and animal realms. The higher members, manas, buddhi, and atman are not to be perceived by the senses, they are of divine nature. The human being has these members also in common with higher realms of existence, as he has his lower members, the physical body, the etheric body, and the astral body in common with the realms of nature surrounding us on earth. As he extends with these three lower bodies into the earthly existence, he strives with the higher spiritual members of his nature up into the realms of the divine that is tripartite like the external nature. Thus, the human being is rooted in the earthly and he extends with his branches into the spiritual-divine world. As he developed out of the earthly world from lower beginnings, he develops spiritually upwards, becoming more and more similar to the higher spiritual beings. Therefore, we can also say, the human being is divided in three parts.

While we connect the lower members and the upper ones, we have the ego in the middle. It has a share of both, of the earthly and the divine. It penetrates the etheric body and the astral body. We call this ego soul. We call the real immortal inside of the human being, atman, buddhi, and manas, mind or spirit. By these three members of his nature, the human being is a citizen of three worlds at the same time. He is a citizen of the usual physical world here. When he has left the physical world here, when he has left his physical body, also the etheric body, he enters another world, a kind of intermediate world, an astral world, as we say, the soul world. At first immediately after death, he has to purify himself for a number of years from that, which still adheres to him from the connection with the earthly-physical world. We call this state kamaloka or stay in the astral world. This is no place, but a state. The disembodied human being, as long as he still has certain effects of his physical nature in himself, stays in the soul world and ascends then to a still higher world that we call devachan or the world of spirit.

You know now that the spiritual-scientific worldview assumes not only a one-time stay of the human being in this physical world, but that it knows that the human being has to go through repeated earth-lives. His immortal essence can deify itself more and more only thereby, can ascend to spiritual regions going through experiences, through lessons in the earth-life repeatedly. Thus, the human being returns to the physical world when he has gone through the worlds of soul and spirit, then he returns again to the spiritual world and so on. These repeated incarnations are held together according to the so-called principle of karma, according to the law of cause and effect. If a human being, after he has gone through repeated earth-lives, appears again, he is born with dispositions and abilities, which he has appropriated in the former lives by experience, and with the guilt, which he has burdened himself in former lives. Thus, the one appears happy, the other unhappy and miserable because he himself has prepared this. What we have compiled here appears in the future earth-life again. The human being thereby ascends and descends, goes to and returns from the three worlds: physical world, astral world and devachan world.

The human being is not only a being, which belongs to these three worlds, but he also has companions in these three worlds. Someone, who searches spiritual-scientifically in the other worlds, not only in the physical world, which the human being perceives with his senses and can seize with hands, knows that there are not only such beings which have the three members of the human nature: body, soul and mind. However, there are also beings, which are lower than the human being is, and beings, outranking the human being. How we have to imagine the beings, which are lower than the human being is? We have to imagine them in such a way that they have not a spiritual core as the highest like the human being, but they have a mental one only. As well as the human being has mind, soul and body, the lower beings only have soul, body and something that is lower than the body. If you like, we call this unknown third world the underworld and we can say, such beings have a tripartite nature, too, whose lowest member is the underworld whose middle member is the physical world and whose uppermost member is the soul world.

However, there are also beings who have two members in the spiritual and a third member beyond the sphere of devachan, beyond the sphere of the spiritual. Thus, you see that you can construct a whole number of beings to yourselves. Such beings really exist as experience shows. The human being belongs to the three worlds. Such beings also belong to the three worlds and as well as the human being is developing from a level on which his soul was his uppermost being in which the spiritual core was implanted, these other beings are also developing perpetually. You see that those who have experience of such things must say to themselves that the human being — after he has left this physical body and ascends to the worlds of soul and spirit — is just the companion of other beings, of beings whose lowest member is the mental nature.

This is the outline of the worldview that is not only spread about any part of the world civilisation, but forms the basis of all deeper religions and should be only renewed by the theosophical or spiritual-scientific worldview. However, at the same time this also is a worldview which is in perpetual development, not a worldview which one has to consider as something that was once determined in the abstract, but a worldview, which develops through the various states of human development most differently.

The human being becomes more and more mature in the course of development, which is also arranged variously. Now, however, the human being takes not only share in this development, but the basic teaching of all world cultures shows that certain single human individuals can go through a faster development that they can ascend quicker to higher levels of perfection that they are able to rush ahead of their fellow men, so to speak. Then they have already attained, while they are still in the sensuous body, an insight into those worlds, which the human being enters when he has passed, otherwise, the gate of death. All religious cultures preserve this as a secret that the human being is capable to behold into the worlds, which are closed to him while he lives in the sensuous body. However, the human being can already cross the gate of death in this life and get a sight of those worlds which he has later to enter developing upwards. As well as the human being rushes ahead of the animal, such persons rush ahead of the remaining humanity. All deeper teachings of the world culture call these persons initiates. You see, there we get really the sequence about which I was speaking already last time in the talk on Lucifer. We get a whole sequence of beings, which puts the human being wonderfully, however, comprehensibly in the quite natural spiritual world. Thus, the principle forms the basis of every religion and every bigger worldview that there are divine natures beside and above the human beings that, however, these divine natures have gone through the stages in bygone times, which the human beings go through today. They have gone through them under other conditions and in another way; for nothing recurs in the universe.

So we can say, those who today are gods were once human beings, and the human being develops up to divine nature in future. He is becoming a god, and the gods are nothing else than perfected human beings. This is the basis of any secret doctrine as one calls it. Understanding this sentence in its entirety means just to be an “initiate.” However, one must not understand this only in the abstract with the intellect, but in the experience. The ray of spirit accessible to the human being now is necessary to it. Then only one knows which big, infinite significance this sentence of any secret doctrine has, this sentence, which, so to speak, penetrates all worldviews as a leitmotif.

Allow me now to look at the different images of the Germanic and German prehistoric time, partly until the present time. Perhaps, I am allowed to go back to the fact that science has only taken a little into consideration, unfortunately, how these things are. At the end of the eighties, a book by my dear friend Ludwig Laistner (1845-1896, novelist and literary historian) appeared — its title is The Riddle of the Sphinx (1889) —, a nice, two-volume work. It does not deal with some exceptionally high teachings, but starts from the very simple. It starts from a quite simple fact that takes place within our present folklore still in numerous forms. There still exists, for example, the folk legend of the Lady Midday with the Wends (Slavic people in Germany). It runs as follows: if certain people who work in the field outdoors do not break off for lunch, but remain on the field between twelve and two o'clock, the Lady Midday comes and puts questions to them. She asks, for example, the flax farmer about the linen weaving or something else. The people must answer these questions. If they stall with a question, it is all up with them. Until two o'clock, they must come through with the answer. If they cannot properly give an answer, the Lady Midday strangles them or cuts off their heads with her sickle. The farmers use different means against her. The person concerned must be able to pray the Lord's Prayer inversely. If he is able to do this, the Lady leaves him; otherwise, she offends or kills him.

You see a legend researcher, Ludwig Laistner, starting from simple legends. Then he investigates similar legends. Still today, they are to be found in our folklore. He visits them in the manifold regions and thinks at the same time that this is a simple example of the so-called interrogative torment, of the dilemma in which the human being is placed by the fact that spiritual beings ask questions he has to answer. He shows how in another legend forms the same thing becomes more and more complex, until one ascends to the riddle which the sphinx puts to the human beings, and which Oedipus solved. Laistner explains this nicely where he shows how the legend of the Lady Midday relates to the complex question of the human riddle, put by the sphinx.

Laistner then shows something else. I must tell this because you learn from it how exceptionally important it is for theosophy. He started, like most legend researchers, from the different concepts of god, and he got around to seeing symbols in them. You know that some gods are understood as symbolic representations of the clouds, the sun, the moon et cetera. This is a widely ramified view you can find everywhere. But it is put up by such people — Laistner has exactly got to know in his own personality — who do not know in reality, how the imagination of the people works, who do not know that it is far from the imagination of the people to make up gods from wind and weather, from flash, thunder, sunshine, and rain. Laistner also already realised this when he was still dependent on the academic life that there can be no talk of it. Now in the book of the sphinx he asked, what is there, actually, if the Lady Midday comes and torments everybody with questions? — There is — and Ludwig Laistner proved it almost exactly — that these things have arisen from another state of consciousness, the dream state. He proved that the Lady Midday is nothing else than the product of a dream experience which those have had who slept during noon on the field. Not the day consciousness fantasised, but the dream has become symbolic. Laistner distinguishes sleeping in a room and sleeping on free field. As well as the human being can dream with the blanket in the hand of a frog which he holds in the hand, the outside world symbolises itself in the Lady Midday. This has arisen from a dream experience. Laistner tried to develop this thought. He did not yet know spiritual science. Hence, he had to point to the fact that important components of our legend poetry have arisen from real dream experiences.

However, dream experiences are only rudiments of another state of consciousness. Someone can attain this other state of consciousness that goes through a certain inner development about which we still speak in the talk of 19 April. Who has visited these talks knows that if he goes through certain exercises, trains himself spiritually, he can transform the usual chaotic dream world into a quite regular world which does not show him only parts of the usual reality as memories, but introduces him also in the higher spiritual world which he can then take along in reality. This is the higher state of consciousness; this is the astral or imaginative consciousness. It begins with the fact that the dream experience becomes regular and that the person concerned realises one day that he experiences a new reality. Then he can rise to a still higher spiritual reality.

That the human being rushes ahead of his fellow men, that he can already reach what the future gives all human beings that he can look into the worlds of soul and spirit, this was there in a certain way in past times. Because the human development consists of the fact that he develops from one level of consciousness to the next higher one. The present human consciousness where he perceives with external senses and works on the sensory impressions with his reason only originated from a consciousness, which was not the same, but was similar to the dream consciousness. This dreamlike consciousness was somewhat darker. However, the human being did not perceive immediate impressions but symbols. What took place in life expressed itself as pictures in the human being. He lost this consciousness and bought the clear day consciousness for it. At that time, he did not have the present clear consciousness. He could not perceive with the senses, could also not see the daylight. He had to see this consciousness sinking in darkness to attain the present consciousness of the bright day. In future, he attains a consciousness where he has both, the imaginative consciousness, which leads him into the astral world, and furthermore the bright, clear day consciousness. These are the contents of all secret doctrines, which form the basis of any culture.

Thus, the human being can look at a time in which he can say to himself, at that time I saw the world around myself as a soul world. It caused a pictorial consciousness in me. This was internally bright and clear. No external sun appeared to the external eye, but an internal light illumined the mental all around. This inner light descended into the darkness, and the external light ascended which the human being perceives with the external senses. As rests, as rudiments of all things remain, rests exist with those classes of the population, which have lagged behind, which have not sharpened their intellect so much, which have forced back not so much what the picture consciousness answered to them, which deduced less, which are less prudent. Thus, their dream consciousness is much brighter. There they experience not only chaotic dreams, but they also experience higher truth for which perhaps they cannot account to themselves properly. They experience just like the clairvoyant, and they experience another astral world if the inner consciousness has awoken. They get to know beings that do not exist here and have a certain relationship to the human inner nature. It is more or less clear to the usual people, and they only experience the picture of the Lady Midday.

However, others have a more developed imaginative consciousness. They experience still more. In present primitive legends, rests of an ancient astral consciousness are preserved. We look back at a human past, in particular here in Central Europe and in Western Europe, at a past, in which — the further we go back — more and more of that consciousness exists which was substituted by the present bright day consciousness. Only that remained to the people as recollection of bigger or lower clearness, the disappearance of the astral consciousness in a dark past, in darkness. Of course, I do not say, the thoughts of the people, but I say, something that lives in the people and that I want to grasp in thoughts only. — That is which the human being of the people says to himself without realising that: I have to move the consciousness away from the day view; I must sleep, then I get entrance in that world again which my forefathers experienced, in a world which disappeared to the human beings. I do not experience it as a clear image, but as an obscurely assembled recollection.

Such a thing lives in the people, and, hence, people know that the astral experiences were richer and richer; the further one goes back in the past. What did the people experience whose scanty rests they have today like the questions of the Lady Midday? This is the recollection of beings that inhabit the astral world; this is the recollection of the old gods. The images of the gods are taken from them. Now you remember that I have emphasised as especially noteworthy that one should pray the Lord's Prayer inversely. Those who have heard me occasionally here know that one must read everything inversely in the astral. One must read the number 341 in the imaginative world as 143. This applies to our passions, too. The passions that go out from us appear — if the astral world has opened to us — as beings which hurry towards us. This is very painful for those who did not prepare themselves before. Everything that flows from us flows apparently to us. Hence, they see animals and all possible beings rushing towards themselves. With pathological conditions, for example, with insanity, you notice that there suddenly beings appear in the form of animals. These are beings living in the person concerned flow out of him and appear reflected in the form of animals.

Something that moves in the sensuous world from behind forwards moves in the astral world inversely. One has to pray the Lord's Prayer from behind forwards to satisfy the Lady Midday in the world in which she is. You can see how the legend adheres this. Now we could go through the entire Germanic world of gods and we would find that that is reflected in it, which I have shown at the beginning of the talk as the secret doctrine of all cultures. What I have shown in great thoughts and outlines as the worlds which apparently pile on top of each other — in truth, they are in each other — all that is reflected popularly in the Germanic world of gods. When the human being lived once in a world in which he still had a picture consciousness in which he had not yet advanced to the present deducing intellect, his ego was not yet as powerful as today. Indeed, he did not think and act as an animal, but the lower members: physical body, etheric body, and astral body prevailed in him. The ego did not yet have senses. It still lived an inner life; thereby he still controlled the external. It was another form of human beings, they could not yet think with that consciousness we have today.

The human beings were much more imperfect than the present ones, but they were more perfect concerning the lower members. They had developed them more powerful and more varied. Hence, they did not yet belong to the spiritual world. They were soul beings in certain respect whose highest member belonged to the astral world whose middle member was also mental, and the third member was still lower. The imaginative consciousness meets such beings on the astral plane; there it discovers their highest essence. These beings, in certain respect ancestors of the human beings, are reflected in the Germanic folk consciousness as the giants. They are nothing else than predecessors of the human beings. Then the world developed. The human beings developed up to higher spheres. They received their thinking and became companions of spiritual beings that are finer organised in certain respect than the giants are because they took part in the higher spiritual worlds. These beings are reflected in the Germanic folk consciousness as the Æsir. The original Germanic mythology did not see anything miraculous in all that, but it saw in it an expression of the sentence, which I have stated: the human being is a becoming god, and the gods are those whom one can call perfect human beings, deified human beings. Gods are beings who have gone through their human level in bygone times. Thus, you see that the sequence of the beings of the Germanic mythology also expresses itself in the difference between the giants and the Æsir.

Still more expresses itself in it. It expresses itself in the fact that the development of such beings definitely takes place in the same sense as the human development. The present human beings — the Germanic mythology understands it that way — learnt from Wotan what they learnt. Who was Wotan originally? We hear that our ancestors learnt the runes, the art of poetry, and still other things from Wotan. However, one always attributed this to the great initiates. Thus, an individuality expressed itself in Wotan whom we had to call a great initiate just now in the sense of the secret doctrine, a being who rushed ahead of humanity and who had already gone through the stages which humanity has to go through only now.

How did Wotan become the great teacher of the prehistoric times? Like other initiates in the other secret doctrines. There are initiates in all secret doctrines. Today these experience the same as at that time, while they outgrow their lower ego, develop the spiritual essence in themselves, and become citizens of a higher world already in this life. At the same time, however, it is made clear to us that at a certain hour the lower nature faces them. In every human being is a sum of passions, desires and wishes, which cling to his lower nature. From all that the human being has to come out first. Then it appears like a being before him. If the human being rises up to his higher nature, his lower nature is like something that is outside of him, while he is, otherwise, embedded in the desires and passions. Just as little anybody can lay his brain on a plate and look at it, just as little you can see your inner life, your inner lower nature. One calls this detached being the guardian of the threshold.

His lower nature stands as a being beside the human being, and he must say to himself once, that are you! You must detach this! — In all initiations, one calls this the descent into hell. One has to become a companion of the infernal powers, to descend into the depths of the world because the human being is simply embedded in them and his higher nature lives only halfway in him. One calls this being the guardian of the threshold because the human beings who do not appropriate courage and presence of mind do not overcome that. Those are called initiates who have crossed this threshold. Gradually the human being goes through development. He overcomes a stage at first where the human being becomes aware of his lower nature. Whereas he identifies himself with it, is embedded in it, it faces him like something else, as well as the table stands before me now. In all initiations, one calls this stage crucifixion. The human being is crucified to his own body because it is to him as irrelevant as an external cross to which he is nailed. If he has overcome this stage, he ascends higher. Then he became wise. One calls him with a symbolic expression “serpent” for the same reason, because generally the serpent is the symbol of wisdom. There he drinks from the springs of wisdom in the world. Then he still goes through a third stage.

One has to go through this stage in the different religions most variously. Look at Wotan. What is shown to us by him? These three stages of initiation are shown to us. One tells us first that Wotan would have had to hang once on the holy wood. During nine days, he suffered there and shouldered the sufferings of the world. There the giant Mimir came to him and gave him a drink from the cup of wisdom. He was released from the holy wood. This was the first initiation of Wotan. After he had gone through this, he was longing for the cup from which the potion can flow, which his uncle Mimir had given him at the gallows. Then, however, one further says that this cup of wisdom is protected in the abysses of the mountains and that Wotan crept in the figure of a serpent through the abysses to Gunnlod in order to seize the cup of wisdom. This was the second initiation.

The third stage is that where one tells us — and this is something very significant — that Wotan himself went to the spring of that wisdom which is the wisdom of the present and is to be found with that spring which is in the root of the world ash Yggdrasil. There lived the giant Mimir. Wotan here attained the initiation that enabled him to be the teacher of the prehistoric time, namely the present wisdom. Once he had attained wisdom from the abysses of the mountains, from the higher worlds. However, he should become a teacher of our wisdom, of that wisdom which is obtained by the senses and by the mind. He obtains the strength to this here. This was expressed in a nice symbol. One says that he lost an eye. What is the eye that he must leave behind to find the present wisdom? This is the astral eye. Now, because he should take up the wisdom of the runes, the wisdom of the present, he loses the astral eye, so that he can be a leader on the sensuous plane to which humanity has developed. These things show in no uncertain manner how in these three successive pictures the secret doctrine, which forms the basis of all religions, is also expressed in the Germanic mythology.

In another way, deep truth is expressed if we look, for example, at the legend of Baldr who is killed by the blind Hodur with the mistletoe at Loki's instigation. Loki is the adversary of Baldr. If we consider this legend, we realise that many people say that Baldr symbolises the sun, the setting sun. They say this without having an idea of the fact that no people write that way. The people experienced in the primeval times on the astral plan in pictures what we have got to know as the basis of the secret doctrine at the beginning of this talk. What did the folk experience in this respect? I have already pointed to the images that appear like obscure recollections, but not in the clear consciousness, I have pointed to the astral light disappearing in darkness, so that the present sensory life originated. The former astral consciousness, Baldr, is killed by the present darkness, mental darkness, by the present sensuous looking which Hodur symbolises, namely at the instigation of Loki. Who is Loki?

Loki's name is already connected with the fire. What, however, is the fire in the secret doctrine? It is not the physical fire. The physical fire is only the external expression of an internal one, of that which the secret doctrine knows as the soul of the fire. This also lives in the human being in certain ways as his desires and passions. Only that separated itself during the further development that lives in the human being as desires and passions. It is no longer connected with the external fire, but the secret doctrine points to that. You get to know this more and more if you get involved with the occult side of theosophy or spiritual science. It shows how passions and desires are connected similarly with the fire as the positive and the negative poles of a magnet: the passions are one pole and the physical fire the other, however, they belong together. With the iron, you have both poles unseparated. This seems absurd to the materialistic worldview, I know this well. However, everything seems to be absurd to that who does not want to get involved with the depths of occult science. The look goes back to those times when one speaks of figures, as Loki is one. This being had an original existence and an immense strength when passion and fire were not yet separated when the passion still flowed through the seething fire. Such a fire being was Loki. Then the world developed further in such a way that from Loki, the fire, the lower nature formed and from the Æsir the higher nature. Both have arisen from Loki's nature.

This forms the basis of the Germanic legend. This is the secret of the Germanic mythology, that the world of the gods originated, while the beings developed further in the passionate primordial bases as well as in the spiritual. One tells us of three children of Loki. The first child is the Fenriswolf, the second is the Midgard Serpent, and the third is the goddess of the dead, Hel, who is bright on one side and has a black body on the other side. What does she show? She shows the lower human nature, which causes birth and death. Hence, Hel appears black and white. The Midgard Serpent that entwines the continents of the present world represents the etheric body that is tied to the present lower human nature. The third member represents what has arisen from the lower passions. Loki has remained from a former development. He had to deliver his children, so that the present world could originate which is thereby provoked to opposition and falls a victim to that which was the view of the former world.

Baldr has to descend to Hel, into the depth. The depth symbolises the usual physical human nature. What is Baldr? Baldr exists as sub-consciousness if, for example, in trance the usual surface consciousness is extinguished and the old consciousness is roused again. Baldr is killed for us now. However, with Hel he still exists as the strength, as the strength of passion connected with the nature of fire.

Thus, we could call every member of the Germanic world of gods an external expression of this secret doctrine. You would see if we had fifty talks instead of one that all that is wonderfully right in the minute details, that we are concerned with a secret doctrine, which forms the basis of the pictorial ideas of the Germanic mythology. We also here find initiates, sages, who knew what I have told at the beginning of the talk. However, the people got to know beings of other worlds by means of various rests of their consciousness. They ranked these folk spirits in the world of the old gods. That is why the Germanic mythology appears as born out of the folk consciousness. How Siegfried, who is overcome, finds his higher self, this presents itself to us as an expression of deep secret teachings. This is not contrived, but it becomes completely certain that it is so to someone who is able to go back in such way in the spiritual depths of the prehistoric time. If we go through the Germanic mythology, we get a pictorial impression.

If we look at the East, we see the same secret doctrine as I have explained it at the beginning of the talk. However, we see it differently formed. With few sentences, we can characterise it. Not with Buddhism and not with Hinduism we want to get involved. We only need to know that they revere the brahma as a spiritual original being that forms the basis of all. The main ability of brahma is the creative knowledge, called vidya. Imagine a person standing beside a machine and studying it. He has a receptive knowledge. Imagine, however, the inventor who made the machine originally, he composed it from single parts. He had creative knowledge first. Such a creative knowledge, spread about the world surrounding us, is vidya, and the receptive knowledge is avidya. Thus, there are different gradations of vidya and avidya. However, brahma is the owner of all that is subsumed in vidya and avidya. Everything is born out of the thought and the human being himself is born out of it. But he has to develop again back to vidya, to the creative knowledge. This is the sense of human development.

The human being is led again through three places that the Indian doctrine calls loka. When the human being has died, he must stay in Bhurloka for a while, it is the same as kamaloka. The highest world is the spiritual world, Svargaloka. It is the devachan. From there he goes back again to the Bhurloka and back to the physical world. Thus, one sees how he takes up the most various forces and materials in the physical world. These came into being from Vidya of the enclosing Brahman. There we have the finest material world on top, the world of the Akasha. Akasha is only a material expression of Indra, which is the soul of this world. Then we come to the world of fire, to Agni. This is the material expression of the god Agni and the same as the god Loki in the Germanic mythology, only in another shade. Then we come down to the air, Vayu, then to the water and, finally, to the solid. Thus, the Indian doctrine imagines the construction of the external world. The Indian cult is the external symbolic expression of this secret truth.

If we ask ourselves which characteristic the Indian secret doctrine has that it developed other pictures, we can say that it bears a less symbolic character, but a more conceptual one. This is generally the difference between the Indian and the Germanic secret doctrines. Internally they are the same, an external difference exists, however, because the external religions in Europe have taken on a pictorial character that corresponds more to the beings of the astral plan, while the Indian people advanced a further step and gave them characters reminding of external impressions. We must indicate this as a difference of the Germanic and Indian doctrines that the Germanic doctrine is closer to the astral, the Indian one, however, to the thinking. Hence, it is also clear that the Indian doctrine is closer to that which the human being regards today as his innermost possession that one understands it easier than the world of the Germanic gods that has faded away into the unknown.

These doctrines were differently developed. As we see two configurations in Europe and India, we see one more, in the middle, so to speak, in Greece. We can see that two quite different forces in nature cause the Indian and the Germanic characteristics. The Indian characteristic approaches more the present ego. Hence, the Indian looked for his higher consciousness in the contemplation in his inside. He attempted to advance from Avidya to Vidya, from the receptive knowledge to the creative knowledge. A science of knowledge, a higher doctrine than a doctrine based on astral pictures is the Indian doctrine, and a doctrine based on astral pictures is expressed in the Germanic mythology. Why is this the case? The Germanic mythology gives us a great and fine answer. The higher consciousness that the human being should attain is represented in all secret doctrines as the female principle, as the soul. What is taken up from the outside what fertilises the soul is shown as the male principle. We have there the female soul that is fertilised by wisdom, by the spirit of the outside world. Thus, the human being moves up if he develops spiritually, figuratively spoken, to the higher female principle in his nature. Goethe means that saying: “The eternally-female pulls us upwards.” You must not understand this pedantically, because you read it in the “Chorus Mysticus” (Faust II). If we understand this that way, we understand what the Teuton means if he says, if the warrior is killed on the battlefield, the Valkyrie meets him, there he reaches the higher mental. — The mentality of a warlike people, the passage through the gate of death and the attainment of a higher consciousness is symbolised by the approaching Valkyrie, taking up the soul in Valhalla, the connection with the higher consciousness, with the Valkyrie. The highest god is in the original Germanic the god Ziu (Týr) from whom Tuesday has its name. This is the same god as Mars in the Roman and as Ares in the Greek mythologies. Mardi (French) is the day, which is consecrated to the god of war, Mars. It was a warrior religion and it differs from the internal religion of the Indian.

Who lives in the inner world develops the passions less that live in the astral world and are expressed in it. Thus, the consciousness, the warlike nature of the Teutons is reflected in the world of their gods. The Valkyrie is the higher consciousness naturally. Because the passion of war was here the creator of the mythology, the world of the gods was expressed in astral pictures; because over there in Asia, in India the creator was the introversive sense, therefore, a more spiritual religion was expressed. Both worldviews found their higher unity, their harmony when the Germanic one got the inside from Christianity.

Thus, you see that a deep internal sense forms the basis of the human development, and that one must look for this deep internal sense. Then one comes to the profundities of the world development, and then one does not stop at abstractions, as if one single figure of humanity formed the basis, but one understands that it is a variform wisdom. The secret doctrine had to be different in India, different in Europe, different with a warlike people, and different in Greece, with the people endowed with art. Humanity develops through the most various forms of cultural existence — the course of this world development always forward and always upward at the same time.




Last Modified: 07-Oct-2019
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