There was a time, even as late as Greece, when Religion, Art and Science were taught unitedly in the Mystery temples. But it was necessary for the better development of each that they should separate for a time.
Religion held sole sway in the so-called "dark ages." During that time it bound both Science and Art hand and foot. Then came the period of the Renaissance, and Art came to the fore in all its branches. Religion was strong as yet, however, and Art was only too often prostituted in the Service of Religion. Last came the wave of modern Science, and with iron hand it has subjugated Religion.
It was a detriment to the world when Religion shackled Science. Ignorance and Supersitition caused untold woe. Nevertheless man cherished a lofty spiritual ideal then; he hoped for a higher and better life. It is indefinitely more disastrous that Science is killing Religion, for now even hope, the only gift of the gods left in Pandora's box, may vanish before Materialism and Agnosticism.
Such a state cannot continue. Reaction must set in. If it does not, anarchy will rend the cosmos. To avert such a calamity religion, science, and art must reunite in a higher expression of the good, the true, and the beautiful than obtained before the separation.
Coming events cast their shadows before and when the Great Leaders of humanity saw the tendency toward ultra-materialism which is now rampant in the Western World, they took certain steps to counteract and transmute it at the auspicious time. They did not wish to kill the budding Science as the latter had strangled Religion, for they saw the ultimate good which will result when an advanced Science has again become a co-worker with Religion.
A spiritual Religion, however, cannot blend with materialistic Science any more than oil can mix with water. Therefore steps were taken to spiritualize Science and make Religion scientific.
In the thirteenth century a high spiritual teacher, having the symbolical name Christian Rosenkruez--Christian Rose-Cross-- appeared in Europe to commence this work. He founded the mysterious Order of Rosicrucians with the object of throwing occult light upon the misunderstood Christian Religion and to explain the mystery of Life and Being from the scientific standpoint in harmony with Religion.
In the past centuries the Rosicrucians have worked in secret, but now the time has come for giving out a definite, logical, and sequential teaching concerning the origin, showing both the spiritual and the scientific aspects: a teaching which makes no statements that are not supported by reason and logic.
Stenographic Report of a Lecture Delivered Before The Los Angeles Study Center, Rx., F., May 18th, 1913, by Max Heindel
There is a picture in my mind; it has rested there for years; off and on when I have time from the busy work of the day to turn inwards and look into that storehouse, this picture appears. Let me paint it for you.
Follow me backwards in time about two thousand years. The scene is in Palestine, the hills are bare; a little group of men, and every face in that group is sad. They are mourning for One who, they thought, had come to do great things, but One who has been taken from them by ruthless hands. One whose life has seemingly been destroyed, and they as themselves: Is this to be the end? This was a subject that was very close to their hearts. He had called them friends. He had said, "Ye are my friends," and they mourned Him as a friend. He had also said to then, "If I go away, I will come again." and they were anxiously discussing when that advent would take place.
That was the beginning, but ever since that time it has been a subject of interest among those who call themselves, by His grace, friends of Christ. It has been a theme of keen and vital interest among them: When will He come again, and how shall we know Him at His coming?
He had told His followers in Palestine that many would come to deceive; that if they were told to go into the desert or into this place or that place to look for Him, they should not go. He had told them that the angels in heaven did not know the day when He would return; that even the Son did not know but only the Father. As said, they were anxiously discussing the approximate time of the advent and particularly how they might positively know Him at His appearance.
Pretenders--there have been many since that day--have claimed to be Christ; some deceive themselves and others into believing that they are that high and exalted Teacher. There are others who deliberately and maliciously seek to usurp His place. Therefore the subject, How shall we know Him? has perennial interest.
A year ago there appeared in an English magazine an article entitled, "Occult Heralds." In it synopses of the Western Mystery Teaching, as given in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, and of Eastern Occultism, represented by a society promulgating that doctrine, were given. The leaders of the two societies and their works were compared. Similarities were found but the writer also noted with remarkable penetration what superficial students of the Western Wisdom Teaching have failed to perceive, namely, the vital and irreconcilable difference in the two teachings regarding Christ and His coming. It was shown that according to the Eastern teaching both Christ and Buddha were man in ordinary life, while in the Western mystery teaching it is said just as emphatically that the Christ is a Divine Hierarch not of our evolution, "who for us men came down." and that having once shed the dense body. He will never appear in a physical vehicle again.
As this is one of the cardinal differences between the Wisdom of the West and the Eastern Teaching regarding one of the greatest problems of the day, it seems vital that all students of the Western Wisdom Teaching should thoroughly understand the matter.
To systematize our discourse, we will divide it into four parts, each devoted to consideration of a question which has a definite bearing upon our subject:
This will make it easier for those who have not studies the Western Wisdom Teaching to grasp the idea.
The first point which we must settle is the identity of Christ as taught in the Western Mystery School. According to the chart, "The Seven Days of Creation," man has gone through a period of involution comprising the Saturn, Sun, and Moon Periods; also one-half of the Earth Period. In this pilgramage through matter he has gathered the vehicles he today possesses.
During the Saturn Period, when we were mineral-like, some beings were human as we are today, but they were of a different wave of evolution. they have since advanced and have become the Lords of Mind. The highest Initiate of that evolution--of the life wave that was then in the human stage--is called in esotericism, the Father.
The highest Initiate of the Sun Period, when those beings who are now Archangels were human, is called the Son, otherwise the Christ.
The present day angels were human in the Moon Period, and the highest Initiate whom we now call Jehovah is also called the Holy Spirit.
Here we have the status of the three great beings most active as leaders of evolution.
The humanity of the Sun Period could not descend any further into the sea of matter than the Desire World (see the chart), therefore their lowest vehicle was the desire body, and as it is a cosmic law that no being can create a vehicle which it has not learned to build during its evolution, it was impossible for the Christ Spirit to be Born into a physical body. He could not form such a vehicle. Neither could He form the vital body, made of ether. He also lacked the ability to function in the latter substance, because He had ever acquired it in His evolution. To supply the needed vehicles for Christ, Jesus, a man of our evolution--a man born of a father and a mother, both high Initiates who made the creative act a sacrifice and achieved the immaculate conception without passion--gave up his dense and vital bodies at the Baptism to the Sun Spirit, Christ, who then entered the material world and became mediator, having all the vehicles necessary to function between God and man. Christ Jesus is therefore absolutely unique, and the Bible tells us that there is no other name whereby we must be saved, but by the name of Christ Jesus; this is the only authoritative Christian Creed.
Having explained the identity of Christ and Jesus as stated in the Western Wisdom Teachings, our next problem is:
On Golgotha, the physical body of Jesus was destroyed amid certain phenomena recorded in the Bible, and the Christ Spirit drew into the earth. Up to that time the earth had been worked upon from without. As the group spirits guide animals from without, so the earth had been guided in its orbit and mankind had been led on the path of evolution almost entirely by Jehovah, but from that time the Christ became our indwelling Earth Spirit. He now guides our planet in its orbit, and is endeavoring to replace the regime of war inaugurated by Jehovah, on the one hand, and the Martial Lucifer spirits, on the other, by a regime of altruism, a reign of Universal Friendship. We hear much about Universal Brotherhood, but it is not necessary to form societies to proclaim that we are brothers; everyone knows this; there is not need of calling attention to this fact. Brothers and sisters are not always harmonious, but they must be harmonious if they are to be friends, and therefore Christ instituted a much higher ideal when He called His disciples friends:"Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I have commanded you."
While we have the emphatic promise of Christ's return, there are many Christians who do not believe in the Second Advent, so it may be well to see if there is any reason compelling His return.
To elucidate this point, let us take an illuminative incident from "Faust." Though written by Goethe, this drama was not a figment of his fancy, for the legend of Faust is older than history; it is one of the myths which express in fanciful, pictorial terms the story of the soul's search for light. These tables were given to infant humanity that they might subconsciously imbibe the ideals which in later epochs they were to live. As a matter of fact, we use the same method of instruction when we give our children picture books to inculcate ideas which they are too young to grasp intellectually.
Faust has studied books all his life and gradually realizes that we know only what we live--that apart from practical application in daily life, book learning is of no value. When the soul awakes to this fact, it stands at the portal of true knowledge, looking towards the Light. But the road forks: one path is smooth and easy; all along the way are guides, servile and smiling, ready to encourage the traveler and assist him in any way he desires, while at the end stands Lucifer, the light-bringer, ready to give worldly honors to those who worship at this shrine. The other path is rough, rugged, and dangerous; sometimes it is very dark; many a weak heart is upon it, and often one may hear the cry of aquish: "How long, O Lord! how long?" But though the soul struggles seemingly alone, it hears always a voice within, still, small, and soundless, yet unmistakably clear: "Come ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest," and occasionally the "True Light," Christ, the goal of the soul's search, is seen through a rift in the storm clouds which must be passed to reach the summit of attainment, and from the beatific vision the seeking soul gathers new strength.
On the black path Lucifer panders to every appetite without restraint or reservation. While the soul drifts with the current, all seems easy, and pleasure seems to wait at every turn, but when at length it has come to the end of the river of life, instead of soaring aloft to its proper goal, it is drawn down by the base appetites which cling to it as the flesh of unripe fruit clings to the kernel, and it experiences with a thousandfold intensity the pain incidental to tearing itself away from the fetters welded by sin.
Thomas A. Kempis remarks upon the desire of the majority to live a long life, and how few are concerned to live a good life. I might paraphrase this by exclaiming, "Oh, how many are desirous of attaining spiritual powers, but how few strive to cultivate spirituality!" The story of Faust gives us an insight into what might happen should we exclaim with all the intensity of our whole being, as did he:
By this impatience and desire to get something for nothing, to reap where he has not sown, he attracts to himself a spirit of an undesirable nature, for the inhabitants of the invisible worlds are in nowise different from people here. A philanthropist is not found at every turn in this world, neither do we meet angels on every hand the moment we step across the border, and the only safeguard is to strive to be worthy of consciously entering those realms. When we have attained the requisite character, we shall not have to wait.
We need not here concern ourselves with what bargain was proposed to Faust by Lucifer, who had followed his prospective victim into the former's study but when he turns toward the door and is about to leave, he sees with dismay a five-pointed star with two points turned towards the door and one point facing him. This he asks Faust to remove, but upon being closely questioned and invited to leave by the window or chimney, he at last confesses:
This is a most important point, for as Lucifer entered the study of Faust by the door and is forced to leave by the same way, so, as Christ entered the earth by way of the vital body of Jesus, He must leave by that same way upon His return from the redeemed earth to the sun, His heavenly home; no other vehicle will do.
But there is much more in that situation between Faust and Lucifer of interest in this connection. The door is open, so why should the five-pointed star bar the exit of Lucifer, especially as he had passed over it on entering the study?
The five-pointed star is the emblem of man with limbs apart and arms outstretched; one point is then at the top, representing the head, which is the natural gate of the spirit. There it enters its future body about eighteen days after the conception, thence it leaves when the body sleeps, and it re-enters by that same gate in the morning. For the Invisible Helpers this is also the exit and entrance. Finally, when death comes, the spirit withdraws by way of the head.
For this reason the five-pointed star with one point up as represented in the emblem of the Rosicrucian Fellowship is the symbol of white magic, which works by natural means in harmony with the law of evolution.
The pupil of a Mystery School learns to draw the creative force upward to the brain and transmute it to soul power by a life of chastity and self-sacrifice. This soul power he uses to project himself into the higher spheres by way of the head. The black magician, incapable of self-sacrifice, obtains the needed power by perverted use of the life force of his victims, which projects him downward by way of the feet, and he must re-enter the same way. The silver cord then protrudes through the lower organ. Therefore the five-pointed star with two horns pointing up and one down is the symbol of black magic. It was easy for Lucifer to enter the study of Faust as the two horns of the star were pointed towards the entrance, but when he wished to leave and was confronted by the one point of the symbol, his black soul was repelled by the emblem of purity and love.
We have, of course, no legal proof that Christ entered the earth and is there partially confined as we are confined in our dense bodies, but there is plenty of mystic evidence, and by the law of analogy it is also plainly indicated that Christ spends His year-days partly within and partly without the earth.
Cancer, ruled by the Moon, is the sign ruling conception. The Egyptians pictured it as a beetle, and the scarab was their symbol of the soul. When the Light of the World, the Sun, enters Cancer in June, the creative power of the last cycle which gave life to the earth has been spent, and in order to renew this life, which would otherwise wane, the Sun must again descend. At the fall equinox in Libra scales tip and the germinative force enters our earth, reaching the center at Christmas when the sun is at its lowest point of declination, the winter solstice. Thence the germinative force, the Christ ray, radiates to fructify matter anew and reaches the periphery of the earth at the time the sun crosses the celestial equator at the vernal equinox in Aries. Then the Savior, the Lamb of God, dies to the world, but becomes alive to the higher spheres.
Thus we are confined in our dense bodies from morning till night through the activity of the day, so the Christ is confined in the earth from the fall to the vernal equinox, which is the period when physical activities are largely in abeyance but spiritual efforts bring best results. And as we are released from our bodies at night and enter the invisible worlds to recuperate from the (to the spirit) cramping conditions of physical existence, so also the Christ is temporarily released from the earth at the cross (ifixion) when we see the sun "passover" the celestial equator and soar into the high heavens. This therefore is the time when we feel the spiritual impulse waning and devote our energy to physical activities of tilling the soil and making two blades of grass grow where there grew but one.
According to the common view of the matter, Christ completed the Sacrifice of Golgotha, but as a matter of fact that was only the beginning. He is still "groaning and travailing, waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God," which means ourselves. When a sufficient number have experienced the birth of the Christ within so that they can bear their brother's burden and give their life as Christ is now giving His, then will the hour of liberation strike and Christ may permanently return to the sun. But as He entered at the periphery of the earth when ether came, so under the law just explained must He again return to the surface of the earth, and this in itself constitutes the Second Coming.
There is no warning in the Bible more emphatic than that given by Christ against claimants to Christhood. He declared that some would work signs and wonders which might deceive the very elect, and we cannot do better than bring His words to mind as we start consideration of our last question.
Christ said: Take heed lest any man deceive you; for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And if any man shall say to you, lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not. for false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders to seduce, if it were possible, the very elect . . . . then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory . . . . He shall send His angels and gather together His elect from the four winds . . . . But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
From these passages we see how careful we must be not to be lured away by deceivers, but there is plenty of light also to guide us right, and certain signs are indicated whereby we may surely know Christ from imitators. The most conclusive sign of impostors is that no matter how clever their plea, they come clothed in a physical body. There are good reason why--
No such vehicle could endure the tremendous vibration of so great a spirit. You will remember from the scriptures that Christ frequently absented Himself from His disciples. On these occasions He was wont to take Jesus' body to the Essenes, who were men of our evolution and expert esoteric physicians, skilled in the care of the body. They restored the tone, and thus held the body together for three years. From Golgotha the body was taken to the grave, and as the cohesive influence was withdrawn, the atoms simply scattered to the four winds, and when the tomb was opened, only the clothing was found.
To obtain another physical vehicle for the Second Coming in the same manner as the first was provided would be difficult, but could, of course, be accomplished. Under the law that a spirit must leave where it enters, only that one body of Jesus would avail, and as that has been destroyed it is impossible that Christ should appear in a physical vehicle. Therefore, as said, possession of such a body marks the pretender and imposter.
But supposing that this "law" is only a figment of the writer's fancy and that the law of analogy quoted in support is only coincidence, our contention is still supported by the Bible regardless of all other evidence. Christ said: "If they shall say unto you: Behold, He is in the desert: go not forth. Behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not." Thus Christ is not to be found in any physical place. Paul also declares emphatically that "flesh and blood" cannot inherit the kingdom. If we are to be "clothed with a house from heaven," why should the leader of the New Dispensation have a physical vehicle?
But the Bible does not leave the matter by telling us where not to look for Christ. He said emphatically: "The Son of Man shall come in the clouds." When He finally left His disciples, "He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked up steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, two men stood by them in white apparel which also said: He shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." (Acts 1, 10-11). Paul says: "The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven . . . . then we . . . . shall be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." (I. Thes. IV. 16-17) John saw the first heaven and earth pass away--the sea dried up, and a holy city descend from Heaven, of which Christ was regent. These things are manifestly physical impossibilities. A body of flesh and blood cannot ascend into the air, and Paul emphatically asserts that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." If we cannot enter in that garment, howin a universe of law can Christ, the leader, use a physical body?
If we can now find out what kind of a vehicle He used, we shall know how we may recognize Him, and also how we shall be constituted, for, "we shall be like Him" according to John: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him." (I. John, III. 2.) Paul says: "Our commonwealth (not conversation, as translated; the Greek word is 'politeuma'--polity or commonwealth, and is used by the apostle in reference to the 'new heaven and earth') is in heaven, whence also we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, `who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body." (Phil, III, 20-21)
The body Christ used after the event of Golgotha was also capable of entering a room with closed doors, for He thus appeared to His disciples and allowed Thomas to touch Him. Can pseudo Christs in a physical body do that? I believe not.
That feat requires a vehicle more subtle than the physical, and no amount of sophistry can evade this argument that Christ will use a vehicle more subtle than the physical. The Bible teaches that Christ used such a subtle body after the resurrection, that He ascended to Heaven therein, that He is to return in that same body, and that we shall be changed to a state where we are like Him in that respect.
The final question now arises: Does the Bible then teach us definitely what that vehicle is, and is there any information whereby we may obtain full and definite knowledge concerning this new vehicle? For our answer we shall go the inimitable 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians where Paul teaches the doctrine of rebirth by means of the seed atoms as clearly as the Western Wisdom Teaching of today.
In the English version, the 44th verse reads: "There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body"; but the New Testament was not written in English, and as the translators knew nothing of inner teachings, they had no idea how to translate the Greek word in this case; to them it seemed senseless, so they translated it as they understood it. I will leave you, however, to translate it for yourselves, though you may not be Greek scholars. The word that is used there and translated "natural body," is soma psuchicon. Soma is a Greek word that everyone agrees is body--there is no question about that. But Psuchicon--psuche--(psyche)--the soul--a soul body, they had never heard of that; it probably seemed foolish to them, so they translated the word, "natural body." It is true that Paul states in 1st Thessalonians, 5:23, that Man's whole being is Spirit, Soul, and Body, but probably they regarded soul and spirit as synonymous. There is a vast difference however, as explained in The Rosicrucian Mysteries:
This soul body is the vehicle Paul refers to as the one in which we shall meet Christ. It is composed of ether and therefore capable of levitation and passing through walls as all dense matter is permeated with ether. Invisible Helpers use it today as Christ did.
At first thought it seems very strange that we shall meet the Lord "in the air," that this earth is to be left behind. But it is not strange when we consider that the path of evolution has ever been from within outward; that there was a time in the Lemurian Epoch when this earth was in a fiery state and when man lived on the crust that was forming close to the fiery core, in a body that was just beginning to encrust: that he lived in the Atlantean Epoch, in the basins of the earth down in the dense mist which arose from the cooling earth as said in Genesis 2. Then mankind were called, as said in the German folk story "Niebelungen,"--Niebel meaning mist, and Ungen children: Children of the Mist. We have the Bible story of how they were guided by their teachers, how gradually this foggy atmosphere of the earth condense when the planet cooled, and finally how the waters came down from Heaven in that which is termed "the flood."
We know that man then left the lowlands, which were submerged by the condensed mist, the sea, and entered upon a new era of development under the present conditions; that he then saw the rainbow for the first time, when the sun shone upon the clouds, and that it was told him that so long as that sign remained, the succession of changes which we know as the seasons would continue. So long as we have present atmospheric conditions, this era of alternations will naturally continue. Slowly but surely we are climbing towards the hilltops of the earth; we seek higher and higher levels.
The higher the evolution of the races goes, the more they want to rise into the air, and gradually they are leaving the lowlands behind. As it was in the days of Noah, the day will come when there will be a great cosmic change; Christ refers to it in speaking of His coming where He says: "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man." People went about as they had always done. They married, and they gave in marriage; they ate and drank and lived their worldly lives. But suddenly the flood descended upon ancient Atlantis, and the vehicles they had could no longer be of service to them; they needed vehicles in which they could accommodate themselves to the new atmospheric conditions, just as the baby when born must instantly accommodate itself from breathing under water to breathing the watery, misty atmosphere. Those who were not physiologically adjustable drowned.
Christ said that a similar condition will be found at His coming. Those who lived in Atlantis might not have noticed the physiological development which took place in some, which made them fit to change from breathing water to breathing air directly into the lungs. Similarly there is a change going on in humanity that is not observable by those who have not cultivated spiritual sight. It is a fact that an auric atmosphere surrounds every human being. We know that often we feel the presence of a person whom we do not see, and we feel it because there is this atmosphere outside of our dense bodies. This is gradually changing; gradually it is becoming more and more golden in the West. The further we go with the sun, the more this golden color increases--the color of the Christ and of the Christlike, the saints whom painters have depicted with a halo. Gradually we are becoming more like Him, and this Soma Psuchicon or soul body is taking shape, is being made ready as our "wedding garment."
An increasing number of people are becoming capable of functioning in this vehicle, and more and more are thus getting ready for the day of Christ. This change is not wrought by any physical process but by service, by love, by what we know in the Western World as altruism, which is permeating society more and more. We are becoming more and more humane; we are becoming more and more Christlike, though far from perfect. Though the day of Christ's coming will perhaps not be in this century or the next nor the next millenium, we nevertheless can see a spiritual change going on in mankind, and it depends upon us to hasten the day of Christ, for as He Himself has said, "That day no man knoweth." No man can tell when a sufficient number will have evolved the Soma Psuchicon to such a condition that we shall be able to do the work which He is now doing for us.
We have come down into the vale of matter, and for our sake it has been necessary for the Christ to enter the earth to help us from within. For our sake He is now groaning and travailing there, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, and it depends upon us whether we will hasten or retard that day. Every act of ours has some effect in this respect--every single one of us has his work to do in this world, and the sooner we learn to do it, the better it is for us. We should not go abroad to seek the Christ--He is not found there. He Himself said, "Go not out in the desert." Do not seek in such places; the Christ is formed from within.. That soul body which is gradually becoming capable of lifting itself above the hills is struggling for recognition within each aspirant to the higher life. As Faust says:
Friends, in every one of us there is that struggle going on between the higher and the lower nature. Paul fought the battle, and every seeking soul must fight it. But do not think of going into the wide-world to fight and to find. Sir Launful went away from his home as a young man; he spent a whole life seeking Grail. When he came back to his own castle, he found the same beggar that he had scornfully left at his departure, and when he did the right thing, when the spirit of service entered him, then the Christ manifested.
The Savior, standing before him, said: "This is my body and this is my blood."
It is not what we give but what we share that counts. Those who give only of abundance, of the things that they have no need of--the things that are really a burden to them, the things that they do not miss at all--do not know what giving is. "The gift without the giver is bare." That is the point: unless we give ourselves, our gifts are barren. "Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friend." This is not a single act of laying down the life for a friend, but it is constant daily self-sacrifice. "I was hungry and ye gave me to ear' I was thirsty and ye gave me to drink . . . I was sick and ye visited me." That is the only requisite. May we learn it, friends. Neither need we seek far: it is right here.
We know that little poem about letting our light shine just where we are. Everyone of us cannot be a star, everyone of us cannot shine, everyone cannot be a leader, but everyone can do just a little bit, just light his own little candle and let that dispel some of the darkness in his or her immediate vicinity. That is all we have to do, and if we do just that much, then we shall find that that candle will be as a blazing star to guide us to the Christ at His coming; and then we shall be sure to know Him, for we shall find the response from within. It is said we shall know Him because we shall be like Him, and as He has no physical body in which to come, we must evolve that vehicle of soul, the Soma Psuchicon, so that when He appears we may meet Him and be clothed in that golden "wedding garment."