|Simplified Scientific Christianity
Looking over the last month's lesson, the most important points are the great antiquity and cosmic origin of the two great movements known now as Freemasonry and Catholicism — movements instituted respectively by the Sons of Fire and the Sons of Water. It is true, as stated in the Cosmo-Conception, that Initiation of human beings did not commence until about the middle of the Earth Period, when the fires of Lemuria were battling with the waters of Atlantis, but is is also true that the education of humanity depends upon the training their instructors have had in previous evolution. The attitude assumed by the two groups of angels has resulted in the above mentioned antagonistic movements. The fallen angels and fallen man are intimately connected with the work of the world under its temporal rulers. From Lucifer, the Spirit of Mars, comes the fiery red blood which is the vehicle of all material energy, ambition, and progress; but also, it is the vehicle of passion, which taints it and has caused it to flow until the earth is red. From Jehovah come the restraining Law and punishment for sin.
Let the diagram below represent the epochs through which the spirit descends and ascends, also the worlds and their corresponding bodies — then the relative connection of the various factors will be plain.
In Lemuria, the land of the Third Epoch, mankind was separated into sexes — male and female. At that time they were spiritual beings reaching downwards into materiality, and the pioneers listened eagerly to the "gospel of the body" which they sensed dimly, but learned to know as time went on and the spiritual world faded from sight. Then the Lucifer Spirits were the teachers of the woman (Eve), and Jehovah addressed himself to man (Adam). Women was then more advanced than man along material lines for we were then upon the descending are of the evolutionary path.
When the turning point was passed in the middle of the Atlantean Epoch, woman gradually become more spiritually inclined. She commenced to listen to the voice of Jehovah, and to fill the churches in an effort to satisfy spiritual aspirations; while man now expends the Martian energy along material lines originally advocated by the "Light-bringer," Lucifer.
As the white light changes color according to the angle of refraction, so also the viewpoint of the spirit changes with the sex of its vesture; but as the spirit alternates between male and female embodiments, we may readily balance the scales and take the path that most appeals to us, or combine the best path in both. Our later lessons will point the path, but we may say now that He who said, "I am the true Light," is at the end of the path — Lucifer and Jehovah alike are but stepping-stones on the way to Truth and Life.
On the 28th of last month it was a year since we broke ground for the first building on Mt. Ecclesia. It was a typical California day of glorious sunshine with a cloudless sky whose deep blue vied with the azure of the Pacific Ocean visible for more than a hundred miles from where we stood on the Headquarters grounds. We were a little flock of nine, mostly visiting members. As we looked over the lovely green San Luis Rey valley towards the great snowclad mountains in the east and behold the white walls, the red tiled roof, and the gilded dome of the San Luis Rey Catholic Mission, where the Franciscan Fathers wrought and taught for centuries among Mexicans and Indians, it seemed to us an augur.
Here we were, a few enthusiasts, upon a bare piece of land, where we aimed to establish a Spiritual Center. Those ancient Fathers had stood in a similar position, better in some respects and worse in others. Modern methods and transportation facilities enable us to reach the whole world today, while their field was limited to their immediate vicinity. They were obliged to till the soil of the field as well as the soul of their flock to obtain a livelihood. They called upon their charges to perform the physical labor while they planned, and by their joint efforts a temple was erected where all might worship. In that respect they were much better off then we; their full membership was present at the seat of operations and ready to give physical help in the upbuilding of the Mission which was to them what our Headquarters are to the Rosicrucian Fellowship. But we have no wards; we claim no authority, and repudiate interference with individual freedom as much interference is diametrically opposed to the Rosicrucian teachings, which are the highest in the world. "If thou art Christ, help thyself," is flung at the candidate undergoing Initiation when he groans under the trial. No one who is a "leaner" can at the same time be a helper; each must learn to stand alone.
Our associate membership is four times as large as a year ago, and of course the work is vastly heavier — though system and machinery enable three of us who work in the office to do the work of a large staff, and paid help does the housework and gardening. But the routine work of preparing lessons and letters for the various classes, correcting examination papers, the sending each month of about 1500 individual letters to aid our students in difficulties, in addition to class letters, sometimes just swamps us. It seems as if we could not entertain another application for want of help to do the mechanical part of the work. But, miraculously, it seems, the sky suddenly clears, we invent a new method of accomplishing a certain part of the work with greater speed or less labor; and are ready for another increase; as said, we do four times more work than a year ago, with less help and less labor.
But while the Fellowship at large is thus cared for, Headquarters itself has suffered neglect. The proposed School of Healing, the Sanitarium, and, most important of all, the Ecclesia — where the Panacea is to be prepared and powerful healing services are to spread moral and physical health all over the world — all these are but germinal ideas as yet. As the cry of suffering humanity reaches us through many thousands of letters, our longing for the realization of the Brother's plans becomes more intense, so keen in fact that it seems to embody the concentrated yearning of all who have appealed to us in sorrow and suffering.
Our membership is scattered all over the world. We cannot follow the example of the Spanish padres and ask our students to make physical brick and lay it, brick upon brick, as a labor of love. I have never asked any one for a cent — the Rosicrucian Fellowship's work has been supported entirely by free-will offerings and the modest revenue accruing from the sale of my books — nor can I now make an appeal for a building fund; that must come from the hearts of friends, if at all; but feeling as we do here at Headquarters, the intense throb of pain in the world impels me to cast about for means of realizing the pain to make the Rosicrucian Fellowship Headquarters a most efficient spiritual center.
A year ago I wrote the students stating the exact moment when we would break ground on Mt. Ecclesia and asked each to enter his closet and be with us in prayer if he could not be with us in person. It is wonderful what an uplift we felt from that united spiritual effort; the initial impulse has furthered the work to an inestimable degree during the past year, and I again feel impelled to invoke your help along similar lines.
The Christian Scientist "demonstrates" when he wishes to build edifices, and money pours into his coffers; the New Thoughter sends out a "demand"; and Christians of all denominations "pray" for funds. They all use one fundamental method, but employ different names. All wish magnificent piles of stone and glass, and they get them. I know that a place and building commensurate with the dignity of our work are necessary, but much as we need them, I cannot pray for sticks and stones nor can I ask you to do so; but I can, will, and do ask you to join me in the prayer that the Rosicrucian Fellowship Headquarters may become a most efficient and powerful spiritual center. Pray with your whole soul that the workers at Headquarters be given grace to push the work; make them a focus for your loving thoughts so we may radiate that grace back on a world hungry for just such love. In ourselves we are frail, but through your prayers and God's grace we shall be a mighty force in the world; and if we seek first the Kingdom of God, such trifles as building necessary for the work will follow as a matter of course without degrading prayer by making it a means of acquiring physical possessions.
Christmas bells! Have you ever felt their magic in childhood days before doubt crept into your heart and shattered the ideals inculcated by the church? The same bell rang for church on Sundays and for prayer meeting at mid-week, but there was a different ring at Christmas, something unusually festive, something which we now attribute to childish imagination. We miss this something, however much we may congratulate ourselves upon emancipation from what we are pleased to term "the mummeries of the church." Wordsworth, in his "Ode to Immortality," voiced the keen feeling of regret due to loss of childish ideals; nothing the world has to give can take their place, and however we may be blessed with material wealth we are truly poor when the "glamour" of youth has gone and intellectual conceptions stifle much so-called "superstitions."
Paul exhorted us to be always ready with a reason for our faith, and there is a mystic reason for many practices of the church which have been handed down from hoary antiquity. The sounding of the bell when the candle is lit upon the altar was inaugurated by spiritually illumined seers to teach the cosmic units of light and sound. The metal tongue of the bell bring Christ; mystic message to mankind as clearly today as when He first enunciated the graceful invitation: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Thus the bell is a symbol of Christ, "The Word," when it calls us from work to worship before the illuminated altar where He meets us as "The Light of the World."
Also the particularly festive feeling awakened by the Christmas bells is produced by cosmic causes active at this time of the year, and the present season is holy in very truth as we shall presently see. Those who study the stars know the signs of the zodiac as a cosmic sounding board, each sign vibrant with a particular quality; and as the marching orbs travel in kaleidoscopic procession from sign to sign in ever varying combination, the chords of cosmic harmony known to mystics as the "song of the spheres" sound a never ending anthem of prayer and praise to the Creator. This is not a fanciful idea but an actual fact patent to the seer, and capable of demonstration to thinkers by its effects. And the harmony of the spheres is not a monotone; it varies from day to day and from month to month as sun and planets pass from sign to sign in their orbits. There are also yearly epochal variations due to precession of the equinoxes. Thus there is infinite variety in the song of the spheres, as indeed there must be, for this constant change of spiritual vibration is the basis of spiritual and physical evolution. Were it to cease even an instant, Cosmos would be resolved to Chaos.
For demonstration, observe the nature and quality of the love life poured through the Christ-star, the sun, when it transits the belligerent sign of Aries, the Ram, in spring, Sex love is the keynote of nature; all its energies are applied in generation; then the passional propensities run riot. Compare this with the effect of the sun during December when it is focused through the benevolent Sagittarius, ruled by the planet Jupiter. Its ray is then conducive to religion and philanthropy; the air is vibrant with generosity, and the love life of the Christ-star find its highest expression through this congenial sign. Outwardly reigns the gloom of winter, for the visible symbol of "The Light of the World" has been obscured; but on the darkest night of the year Christmas chimes evoke a ready response to the Christmas feeling which makes the whole world akin, children of our Father in Heaven.
May the mystic music of the Christmas chimes awaken the tenderest chord in your heart, and may the keynote of joy be uppermost in your being during the coming year — this is the Christmas wish of the workers on Mt. Ecclesia.
It is cold in the Northern Hemisphere — old Boreas holds land and sea in his icy grip — but at no other time of the year are the hearts of men so warm. "A merry Christmas" and "A happy New Year" are salutations and expressions of good will which greet us everywhere. To most people they are only a breath flung to the breeze, but nevertheless they leave an atmosphere of kindness which is more important than is usually realized. The world would be richer if such cordial greetings were common all the year instead of being confined to this season. But, "if wishes were horse, beggars would ride" says the proverb; and unless our acts are directed towards the realization of our wishes, the benefit is nil. A certain sulphuric region is said to be paved with good intentions such as "well-meaning men" cherish, but the world needs works more than wishes.
Last month I asked you to join me in prayer for the efficiency of the Rosicrucian Fellowship in uplifting the world, and many letters have been received assuring me that the workers at Headquarters have the constant prayers of students. We know the power of prayer; without that grateful support we could never have endured the physical and mental strain incident to our phenomenal growth. But a few thousands are only as drops in a bucket compared to the millions who are seeking the light.
Christ said; 'Let him who would be the greatest among you be the servant of all." The worth of a man is measured by his services to the community. The same is true of an association; but, being a composite body, its efficiency as a whole depends upon the interest and enthusiasm of individual members. We are all under obligation to the Elder Brothers for the light we have received. It is our sacred duty to let that light shine so that others may share our great privilege (not disregarding others duties), and I therefore solicit your personal aid in making a systematic campaign to promulgate the Rosicrucian teachings more widely during the coming year.
This campaign should be carried on with discretion however. Let us beware of disturbing those of contented mind, but if you know of any one seeking for a solution to the Mystery of Life, please send us his or her name and we will send literature. Your name will not be mentioned unless you give permission.
We shall also be pleased to furnish you slips with information about the Rosicrucian Fellowship, as printed on the back of our postcards, if you will write for them. In this way you may interest your friends and open the way for further inquiry, and thus between us we may succeed in bringing the seeker light to his everlasting benefit. In helping your brother in his growth you are also helping yourself.
May spiritual prosperity and abundance of soul growth mark every day of your New Year.
As we give our children picture books to convey moral lessons which they could not grasp intellectually, so the Divine Leaders of infant humanity used myths to convey great spiritual truths which have germinated for ages unconsciously to us, but have nevertheless been potent factors in shaping the line of human progress. You would scarcely thing that the Faust myth embodies the great problem of Freemasonry and Catholicism, and shows its ultimate solution, but we shall see in future lessons that this is true. At the present time I take just a point from the great northern epic, The Ring of the Niebelung, to show how the great truth that the truth seeker must "leave father and mother," as Jesus and Hiram Abiff did, was conveyed to the Children of the Mist (niebel is mist and ungen is children in German), who lived in the foggy atmosphere of Atlantis. Later I may take that legend up for consideration.
Wotan is the chief of the gods, who are always at war with the giants. They build a fortress called Valhalla where the Valkyries, daughters of Wotan, bring the faithful who have fallen in battle defending the faith. Truth lost its universal aspect when its warders walled it in and limited it. But Wotan has other children who love truth so dearly that they flee from Valhalla to be free. They are armed with a sword called "child of distress" (representing the courage of despair), wherewith the rebel against creed and dogma ever arms himself, casts conventionality to the wind, and seeks truth. Wotan sends his minions after the fugitives, and bids Brunhild the Valkyrie, who represents the Spirit of Truth, to help slay them. She refuses; and Wotan, who has made himself invisible, parries the sword thrusts of his valiant son, Siegmund, who is killed in the unequal fight.
The dominant church does not view the complacence the secession of its children. It would even prostitute the Spirit of Truth to do its bidding, and when that fails, it uses subtle means to accomplish its ends. Its intentions were good, but it has degenerated. As Wotan puts Brunhilde from him in tears to sleep on a fire-girt rock, he tells her that she shall not wake till one appears more free than he himself. Truth cannot be found in creed-bound religion; who seeks it must be untrammeled by allegiance to any one.
Such is Siegfried (translated, he who through victory gains peace), the son of the slain Siegmund and his sister-wife Sieglinda. The latter died after giving birth to him. He is thus free from father, mother, and all earthly ties; his only heirloom is a broken sword, the "Child of Distress." Fostered among the Niebelungen (ordinary mankind), he feels his divinity, and chafes at the limitations of his sphere. His foster father, Mimir, is a cunning smith; but every sword forged by him is shattered by the young giant at the first blow. Oft had Mimir tried to forge the "Child of Distress, and failed; for no coward can do that. So long as we fear the church, public opinion, or anything else, we cannot free ourselves.
The courage of despair overcomes fear, and Siegfried finally forges the sword himself. With it he slays Fafner, the dragon of desire which broods over the treasures of the earth, and Mimir, his foster father, the lower nature. He is then absolutely free. A bird, the voice of intuition, tells him of Brunhilde, the beautiful Spirit of Truth, who may be awakened by one who is fearless and free. Siegfried follows the bird of intuition on his quest; but Wotan, his ancestor, seeks to bar him with his spear, representing the power of creed upon which the sword in Siegfried's hand was once broken. That sword is stronger since Siegfried forged it, and Wotan's spear is weaker since the first blow, for creed always weakens when assailed. Siegfried, the free and fearless one, shatters Wotan's spear; and pursuing his way through the fire to the rock of the Valkyrie, he enfolds the beautiful Spirit of Truth in a loving embrace and wakens her with a kiss.
Thus the ancient myth told the truth seeker what was required to find truth. We must leave father and mother, creed, dogma, conventionalities, preconceived opinions, and worldly desires behind; we must never fear conflict with established authorities, but we must follow the inner voice through fire if need be; then, and then only, can we find truth.
Therefore the Rosicrucians insist that all who come to them for deeper teachings must be free from allegiance to any school, and the candidate is not bound by oaths at any stage. Whatever promises he makes are made to himself, for liberty is the most precious possession of the soul, and there is no greater crime than to fetter a fellow-being in any manner. May we all remain true to the great heritage, and valiantly resists any infringement of this sacred right.
This month I have several important announcements to make and will use the monthly letter for that purpose. You remember that last year, in the series of lessons entitled "Our Work in the World," I spoke of incorporating the Rosicrucian Fellowship and placing the direction of its affairs in charge of trustees, so that that which belongs to the work may be preserved for its altruistic purposes during the centuries to come. Such an incorporation has now been perfected under the laws of California and the Fellowship has legal standing in the world. The Headquarter's site with the buildings now upon it, and the appliances necessary to carry on the work, are now the property of the Fellowship as a whole, safe from individual greed.
This has lifted a great load off the shoulders of Mrs. Heindel and myself. We have accumulated the contributions to the Fellowship, varying from a postage stamp to modest sums of money (for there have been no large amounts given as yet). With these small means carefully expended there exists now the foundation of something so immeasurably great that it is beyond my power of description. You, with your freewill offerings, have helped to create Mt. Ecclesia from the material point of view; yours it is and yours it shall remain, for neither Mrs. Heindel not I care for money or property, but glory only in the inestimable privilege of being of service. Much more is needed of course, so that the work may fully flower, but we rest our faith in the assurance of the Elder Brothers that when we are ready the things which make for greater growth and greater usefulness of the Rosicrucian Fellowship will come to us. Meanwhile we shall keep on laboring from day to day with the means already at our command; for thus, and thus only, can we fit ourselves for greater service.
It is also a great pleasure to announce that whereas we were before unable to obtain help, we have now several loyal co-workers at Headquarters; but though our office force has doubled within the last few months, so also has the work increased at a most phenomenal rate, and the rush in the office is as great as ever.
As you will remember, our earliest literature took notice of the fact that Science, Art, and Religion had been divorced in modern times, as separation was necessary to the thorough development of each. It was also stated that as Science, Art, and Religion were taught unitedly in the ancient Mystery Temples, so also must a union take place in the future for that is necessary to our spiritual growth. In June we shall start a School on Mt. Ecclesia to give out this composite teaching, with particular emphasis upon the art of healing. Prospectus and further particulars will be mailed to interested students upon application to Headquarters. The expenses will be met by offerings from those who attend.
At the end of last month's lesson a few words were said about men and women practicing Mystic Masonry, and it might appear to some as if we endorse Co-Masonry, but this is emphatically not the case. While we do not upon principle seek disparagingly of any legitimate movement, we have always warned our students against the Eastern religion as dangerous to the Wester world, though perfectly suited to the East. Co-Masonry is the outgrowth of a society promulgating Hinduism. In the winter of 1899-1900, the present leader of that society was in Rome, and one of her lieutenants accidentally found the Masonic rites in the Vatican library. These she copied without permission, and gave them to her superior, who took upon herself to write an extra degree. These are now the rites of Co-Masonry.
The foregoing statements are facts which we can prove; and we leave our students to form their own conclusions as the ethical efficiency and powers of soul-building possessed by a movement based upon rites obtained in such a manner. Besides, though we know positively that the rites came from Rome, we doubt that the abstractor eluded the vigilant watchers there. We believe that she unconsciously played into the hands of the Vatican. Thus Co-Masonry is both Hindu and Catholic in its origin. It is not recognized by the regular Masonic bodies, no matter what its founders claim.
In the closing lesson on Freemasonry and Catholicism we summed up the points concerning their cosmic relation in order to draw out the essence of the teaching; now for the closing word — the quintessence of our argument:
The word "Freemason" is derived from the Egyptian Phree Messen, "Children of Light." These words were originally used to designate builders of the Temple of God — the human soul.
Catholic means "universal," and was originally applied to differentiate the all-embracing World Religion — Christianity — from race religions like Hinduism.
The blood is the vehicle of the spirit; under the regime of Jehovah and the Lucifer spirits it became contaminated with egoism. Both Freemasonry and Catholicism aim to cleanse the blood and foster altruism.
Freemasonry teaches the candidate to work out his own salvation; Catholicism leaves him dependent on the blood of Jesus. Those who use the positive method naturally become the strongest souls; therefore Free-masonry should be fostered rather than Catholicism.
In last month's lesson we saw the value of discord in music; also the corresponding role of evil in the world, namely, to enhance by contrast the beauty and harmony of good. Thus it might seem at a superficial glance as if the apparent evil had been designed by God, the Author and Architect of our system — as if He were responsible for all the pain and sorrow under which the world is groaning. Such is not the case however. The Bible says truly that the Elohim, who were His agents, "saw that it was good" when their labor was done. Our Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception and Lectures 13 and 14 explain in detail the Bible story of how the apparent evil came in through the Lucifer spirits; and that when it had entered, the forces which work for good used it to serve a beneficent purpose and to achieve a higher good than possible without this factor.
In the latter part of the Lemurian Epoch and in the early Atlantean times, man was pure and innocent — the docile ward of guardian angels who guided his every step upon the path of unfoldment. He had no reason; that would have been unnecessary when there was only one path to follow, for in that state there was no choice. The Lords of Venus were sent to foster goodness, love, and devotion. Had no disturbing factor entered, this earth would have remained in a paradise, and man would have been as beautiful flower therein. Pain, sorrow, and sickness would have been unknown. Under the regime of the lunar angels and the Lords of Venus, man would have grown wise and good automatically because there would have been no alternative. When the Lucifer spirits opened his eyes to the other course, and the Lords of Mercury fostered reason to guide him, he became potentially greater than either as required of those who follow the spiral path of evolution.
Thus equipped with choice and reason, it is man's glorious prerogative to elevate himself to the pinnacle of the greatest perfection possible in this scheme of evolution. Therefore Christ said: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall be do."
Let us learn from the Faust myth to follow in the footsteps of our preceptors by using the seeming evil to accomplish a greater good; let us learn not to be overcome by evil but to overcome it and transmute it into good. There is a saying that "whatever is, is best." If that were true there would be no incentive to strive for anything higher, better or greater. The words of the Savior urge us onward and legends like the Faust myth teach us how to use the seemingly destructive and subversive forces.
To whom much is given, of him much will be required. Students of the Rosicrucian Fellowship who receive the advanced Western Wisdom Teachings are particularly obligated to make great efforts. May we strive with all our strength to live up to our grand privilege.
P.S. Many new students have been added to our list since we asked your daily prayers for the workers at Headquarters. We therefore feel that it will serve a good purpose to reiterate the request to please include us in your devotions and ask that the Rosicrucian Fellowship Headquarters may become a most efficient Spiritual Center. We are, as you know from the prospectus, now about to open the School of Healing, and in this important step we feel the need of the grace of God as never before. Please help us so that we may succeed.
One of the cardinal points in this month's lesson, and one concerning which widespread misunderstanding exists, had to do with the coming of Christ, and the vehicle he will use. The Bible gives the teaching very clearly, and the Western Wisdom Teachings of the Rosicrucians is in full accord therewith; hence it differs radically from the current conception of this matter, both among the majority of Christians and those who unwittingly or otherwise put forth false Christs to deceive the unwary. It is therefore of vital importance that scholars of the Western School should understand this matter thoroughly, so we will reiterate briefly the cardinal points of the Rosicrucian teachings given in the Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception and elsewhere.
Christ is the highest Initiate of the Sun Period; the earth was them made of desire stuff, and His densest body was formed of that material.
No one can form a vehicle of material which he has not learned to mold; hence the Christ Spirit worked with our humanity from without the earth, as group spirits guide animals, until Jesus relinquished his dense and vital bodies at the Baptism. The Christ Spirit then descended into these vehicles, and ministered physically to man until the dense body was destroyed on Golgotha, when he became the indwelling Earth Spirit. The vital body of Jesus was them laid aside to await Christ's second advent.
Christ warned against imitators, and the question arises, How may we know the false form the real? Paul gives us such definite information that if we only heed it we are absolutely safe from deception.
Paul says (1st Cor. 15:50) that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom." He insists that this body will be changed to the likeliness of Christ's own vehicle (Phil, 3:21), and in 1st John, 3:2 we find the same testimony.
Thus it is plain that any one who comes in a physical body proclaiming himself Christ is either demented and an object of pity, or else he is an impostor meriting scorn and reprobation. Nor are we left uncertain regarding the nature of the vehicle in which we shall meet Christ and be like Him. In 1st Thes., 4:17 we are informed that we shall meet the Lord in the air. Therefore we must necessarily have a vehicle of finer texture than our present dense body. The transformation will require ages so far as the majority are concerned.
In 1st Thes. 5:23 Paul states than man's whole being consists of spirit, soul, and body. When we shed the dense body finally as Christ did, we shall function in a body called soma psuchicon (soul body) in 1st Cor. 15:44. This is the "vital body" in our literature, a vehicle made of ether, capable of levitation, and of the same nature as the body which Christ used after the Crucifixion. This vehicle is not subject to death in the same sense as our physical body, and it is eventually transmuted to spirit as taught in our literature and as required by 1st Cor. 15th chapter.
Thus the Western Wisdom Teaching is in perfect agreement with the Bible when it teaches most emphatically that Christ will never come again in the flesh (that would be retrogression for Him). As a larva bursts its imprisoning cocoon and is transformed into a butterfly which wings it way among the flowers, a gorgeous bit of animated beauty — so shall we some day shed this mortal coil which weights us down to earth, and cleave the sky as living souls radiant with glory, hastening to meet out Savior in the land of souls, the New Haven and the New Earth. This is one of the main doctrinal points of the Rosicrucian School, and we trust that our students will endeavor to thoroughly master the subject so that they may be able to "give a reason" for their faith.
Last month's lesson brought out a number of points not heretofore taught in public. But other mysteries bearing upon the scope and limitation of spiritual powers, and on the preservation of the vital body of Jesus against attack of the black forces, are also involved in the conversation between Faust and Lucifer. When the latter begs that the five-pointed star be removed so that me may leave, Faust asks "Why through the window not withdraw?"
People who study mysticism often have a highly exaggerated idea of the power vested in one who has evolved spiritual sight. As a matter of fact, esoteric investigators are limited by laws of nature appertaining to the invisible world, as men of science are forced to conform to laws of physics.
In order that balance may be maintained, the laws in one realm of nature sometimes act directly opposite to the laws in another. Here in the dense physical world forms gravitate toward the center of the earth. Did not the solidity of the dense body prevent, we could reach the Christ without effort. It requires power to lift a body even an inch above the surface of the earth; spirit forms, on the other hand, have a natural tendency to levitate. It is therefore comparatively easy for a master of the black art to go to Mars propelled by the sex power stolen from his victims. He is naturally attracted to the planet of passion, and as the aura of Mars intermingles with that of the earth the feat is far from difficult. But he cannot penetrate even the first of the nine layers of the earth which lead to the Lord of Love, who is the Spirit of our sphere. Such penetration is the Path of Initiation; it takes soul power, purity, and self-abnegation to reach Christ and that is the reason why so few have anything to say about the earth's inner constitution.
We do not see physical objects outside the eye; they are reflected on the retina, and we see only their "image" inside the eye. As light is the agent of reflection, objects which resist the passage of light appear "opaque"; other substances, like glass, seem clear because they admit light rays readily. When the spiritual sight is used, light of superlative intensity is generated inside the body between the pituitary body and the pineal gland. It is focused "through" the so-called "blind" spot in the eye directly upon the object to be investigated. The scope of the direct ray is entirely different from the range of the reflected physical ray. It penetrates a wall without difficulty, but no spirit in the desire world can see through glass. Neither Lucifer nor any evil spirit ever dares to go through anything made of that material, even the thinnest windowpane.
Knowing these facts, our Elder Brothers have placed the vital body of Jesus in a sarcophagus of glass to protect it from the gaze of the curious or profane. They keep this receptacle in a cavern deep in the earth, where no uninitiated can penetrate. To make assurance doubly sure, however, vigilant watchers keep constant guard over their precious charge; for were that vehicle destroyed, Christ's only avenue of egress would be cut off, and He would have to remain a prisoner in the earth until the Cosmic Night dissolves its chemical elements into chaos. Thus the mission of Christ as Savior would have failed; His suffering would be greatly prolonged, and our evolution would be enormously retarded.
Let us work, watch, and pray for the glad day of His liberation.
One of the most important points brought out last month is the fact that we have power to lengthen our life materially by earnest application to the purpose of existence — acquisition of experience. Whether we know it or not, every act of our lives hastens the end, or defers it, in a measure dependent upon whether the act is in harmony with the law or not. If we do not apply ourselves to the labor of life, or if we persistently follow a path that is subversive of soul growth, our discordant life destroys the archetype. Rebirth is an altered environment then gives us a chance to retrieve the neglected opportunities. On the other hand, when we live in harmony with the plan of life inscribed in the archetype of our dense body, there is a constructive consonance in their vibrations which lengthens the life of the archetype and, consequently, also the life of the physical body.
When we realize that our life on earth is the seed time, and that the value of our post-mortem existence is in direct ration to the increment we have earned on our talents, it will be at once apparent how supremely important it is that our faculties should be used in the right direction. While this law applies to all mankind, it is superlatively vital to aspiring souls; for when we work for Good with all our might and main, each added year of life increases our heavenly treasure enormously. Advancing years give greater skill in soul culture, and the fruit of the last few years may easily outweigh that acquired in the first part of the life.
If we feel that this is true, and if we are anxious to reach the highest degree of attainment, the question naturally presents itself, How many we know the right way? And the answer is not difficult; the stars tell the tale. They show our abilities and the time most propitious to sow the seeds of the soul, to help, and to heal. Therefore the Rosicrucian Fellowship places must stress upon the study of the stars. In the horoscope these matters are accurately foreshown. Knowledge of what it says is power, and this knowledge, the power that goes with it, and the resultant soul growth, are within reach of every one who will study the simplified system contained in our corresponding course in astrology. If you have not already started, and are anxious to progress, I would suggest that you send for application blank, begin at once so that you may learn how to use your life to the ultimate of progress.
While I am suggesting immediate steps towards attainment, it may be in season to call attention of students to the fact that when they have been six months (*) on the correspondence list as students, they become eligible to apply for admission to the Inner School; and though the esoteric lessons in healing issued to probationers contain only a faint outline of the teachings given at Headquarters, they are a very material aid to the aspiring soul.
On August 6th at 2:00 P.M., we are going to lay the foundation for the nucleus of our Sanitarium, so that we may commence forthwith to care for the sick and give our students practical experience. Please join us in prayer for the success of the work. More details will be given in the Echoes which we shall publish on the 10th of each month in the future.
* The time is now two years.
The most important point in last month's lesson is the power of passion to degenerate those who indulge in it. This we illustrated in the case of apes, which have been held back and have degenerated into animal-like forms because of their action in abusing the creative force. The responsibility of the Lucifer spirits for that condition has been brought out in the Cosmo-Conception, and also the fact that the apes may overtake us if they advance sufficiently before the middle of the next revolution.
But there is an added responsibility in knowledge, as Christ said: "For unto whom much is given of him shall be required." And while the transgression in those early days may be overlooked and entail only a retardation during millions of years, the condition of one who has the light of the greater knowledge given to humanity today, and who transgresses the law by abusing the creative force, may become far more serious than that of the class now embodied in the anthropoid forms.
Black Magic is practiced much more commonly than one would suppose, sometimes almost unconsciously, for the dividing line may often lie in the motive. If, however, we abuse our superior knowledge, though we may be more refined in the indulgence of our passions, the result is certain to be disastrous. At this present stage, the vital force (save the insignificant quantity required to propagate the race) should be transmuted into soul power. Let us, therefore, continue steadfastly upon the path of purity so that worse may not befall us than the fate which has met those degenerate humans found as wards of Lucifer in the witches' kitchen — as represented in the Faust myth.
If we are tempted at any time by unclean thoughts, let us at once turn our minds to another subject far removed from sensuality. Above all, let us respect the laws of our country which require the ceremonial of marriage prior to union; for though the words of the marriage ceremony do not mate people, it is, nevertheless, meet that we who profess high spiritual ideals should not offend the common decencies by living together without wedlock. Those above the law render perfect obedience as Christ did, for when we comply with all laws without rebellion because it is right to do so, then we have risen above the law and are no longer in bondage.
Last month's lesson finished our consideration of the Faust Myth; and, taking a review of it as a whole, we note that it brings out the same idea as the Masonic legend. On the one had we have Rosicrucian and Lucifer; on the other, Marguerite and the priests. Marguerite shows faith in the church even in the darkest hour. This faith is her comfort and stay, and eventually she attains to the goal of the spirit. She reaches her heavenly home by faith. Her sins of omission and commission are due to ignorance; but when she sees the evil power embodied in the character of Lucifer and is offered freedom from prison and death, she declines to flee in such company; thereby she has redeemed herself sufficiently to merit a place in the Kingdom. Likewise, the wards of the church, the Sons of Seth, are today depending upon the atonement rather than upon their own deeds. They are looking for salvation through faith as their power of works is but small.
In Lucifer and Faust we find replicas of the Sons of Cain, who are positive, strong, and active in the world's work. The same spirit which imbued Cain with a desire to make "two blades of grass grow where formerly there was but one" — the independent, divine creative instinct which has caused the Sons of Cain in all ages to carry on the world's work — is also strong in Faust; and the glorious use to which he puts the powers of evil, namely, making them build a new land, a free one, where a happy and free people may dwell in peace and contentment, gives us a view of what the future has in store for us.
By our own works, by putting the evil powers to good use, we shall eventually free ourselves from the limitations of both church and state which now hold us in bondage. Through the conventions of society and the laws of the land are now necessary to restrain us from infringing on the rights of others, there will come a day when the spirit will ensoul us and purify us as the love of Faust for Helen purified him and gave him the incentive to use the Lucifer forces in the manner indicated. When we have conquered the desire to work for self, when we become enamored of our work for others as Faust was when with his dying vision he gazed upon the land that was rising from the sea, then we shall never require the restraining feature of the laws and conventions for we shall have risen above them by compliance with the every requirement. Only in that manner can we become really free. It but very difficult to enforce obedience on ourselves even though we may intellectually assent to the mandates of conventionality. As Goethe says:
The Faust myth tells us there is such a utopian state in store for us when we have worked out our salvation by using the titanic forces within to make us really free. May we all strive by our daily actions to hasten that day.
We receive frequent requests for help from people who unfortunately have belonged to societies where they came under the domination of spirit controls who now haunt and hound them until life becomes a burden. We also receive requests for help from people who have frequented societies teaching the Hindu breathing exercises. The impatience to enter the invisible worlds prompts many such people to take up exercises, the dangerous nature of which they do not realize until it is too late and they are broken down in health and spirit. They they come to us asking for a relief which we have unfortunately been able to give to all who have so far applied, even though some were on the verge of insanity.
Therefore the Rosicrucian literature has been replete with warnings to shun all Eastern breathing exercises, as they are unfit for Western people. It is with considerable sorrow that we have heard of a student who is now ill as a consequence of breathing exercises. We therefore feel that it may be well to once more state the reason for the difference between the Eastern and Western methods so that it may be made clear why it is wise to refrain from such exercises.
In the first place, it is necessary to realize that the evolution of spirit and the evolution of matter go hand in hand. The spirit evolves by dwelling in vehicles of dense matter and by working with the material found in the world. Thus, the spirit progresses, and matter is also being refined because the spirit works with it. The more advanced spirits naturally draw to themselves finer matter than those behind them upon the path of evolution, and the atoms in the bodies of highly evolved humans are more sensitive than those of their less progressive brothers and sisters.
Breathing exercises are used to awaken the sleeping atoms of the Easter aspirant, and a vigorous course of this treatment is necessary to raise his vibratory pitch. But it is an entirely different matter when a person with a highly sensitized Western body attempts such treatment. The atoms of his or her body have already been sensitized by the ordinary evolution; and when the person receives the added impetus of breathing exercises, the atoms simply run riot, and it is extremely difficult to bring them into proper repose again.
As it may do some good it may not be amiss to mention that the writer had had personal experience in the matter. Years ago, when he started on the Path and was imbued with the characteristic impatience common to ardent seekers after knowledge, he read of the breathing exercises published by Swami Vivekananda and commenced to follow directions with the result that after two days the vital body had been pulled out of the physical. This produced a sensation of walking on air, of being unable to get the feet down on solid ground; the whole body seemed to be vibrating at an enormous pitch. Common sense then came to the rescue. The exercises were stopped, but it was fully two weeks before the normal condition of walking on the ground with a firm step was experienced, and before the abnormal vibrations ceased.
In the parable, it is said that some were thrown out who had no wedding garment. Unless we first evolve the soul body, any attempt to enter the invisible worlds spells certain disaster; and any teacher who professes ability to railroad people into the invisible realms is not to be depended upon. There is only one way — patient persistence in well-doing.
The central through in last month's lesson, and one that we should ponder well is the reason why there are so many different cults. each with its own creed and with the idea that it alone has the truth. The reason for this condition, as shown in the lesson, lies in the fact that the ego has limited itself by entering into a vehicle which separates it from every one else. Because of this limitation, it is incapable of appreciating absolute and universal truth; and, consequently, religions teaching only partial truth had to be given.
The warfare and strife engendered in the world by the segregating influences of creed are not without their benefit either, for were all of the same opinion regarding the great question, "What is truth?" there would be no deep search for light or knowledge; and truth would not leave the strong impression upon us which we gain by the fight for that which we believe. On the other hand, the militancy of the churches shows to those who, as pioneers, are now taking a broader view — who recognize that none have more than a ray of the whole truth at present and who look to the future for enlargement of the cup of their capacity — that sometime they shall no longer see through a glass darkly, but shall know even as they are known.
Knowing that there is a cosmic reason for creed, we should neither seek or force advanced ideas upon those who are as yet limited by the spirit of convention, nor imitate the militant missionary spirit of the churches, but, as the Bible says, give our pearls of knowledge only to those who are tired of feeding on the husks and who long for the true bread of life.
Discourse upon subjects related to this higher knowledge may help those who are aroused from the spiritual lethargy unfortunately so common in our day and age. But argument will never do any good, for those who are in an augmentative mood are not convinced by anything we may say. The realization of truth, which is alone potent to break down the barriers of limitation that engender creed, must come from within and not from without.
Therefore, though we should always be ready to answer the questions of those who wish to know, and be ready to give the reason for our faith, we should also be on our guard so that we may not force our opinion upon others; that, having escaped one fetter, we may not be bound by another, for liberty is the most precious heritage of the soul. Hence the Elder Brothers in the Western World will not accept a pupil who is not free from all other bonds, and they take care that he does not obligate himself to them or any one else. Thus alone can the ring of the Niebelung and the ring of the gods be dissolved. May we all strive to live up to this ideal of absolute liberty, at the same time, of course, taking care not to infringe upon the rights of others.
Christ said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." Suppose that weeds were endowed with speech, Would we believe their claims if they professed to be grape vines? Indeed not, we would look for the fruit. And unless they were able to produce, their protestations — no matter how vociferously made — would make no impression. We are thus sufficiently wise in material matters to guard against deception; then why not apply the same principle to other departments of life? Why not use ordinary common sense? If we did, no one could impose on us in spiritual matters, for every realm in nature is governed by natural law, and analogy is the master key to all mysteries and a protection against deception.
The Bible teaches us very, very clearly that we should try the spirits and judge them accordingly. If we do this, we shall never be deceived by self-styled teachers; and we shall save ourselves, our relatives, and the Fellowship we love much sorrow and anxiety.
Let us, therefore, analyze the matter and see what we have the right to expect from one who lays claim to being a teacher. To do this we may first ask our selves, What is the purpose of existence in the material universe? And we may answer that question by saying that it is evolution of consciousness. During the Saturn Period, when we were mineral-like in our constitution, our consciousness was like that of the medium expelled from her body by spirit controls at materializing séance, where a large part of the ethers composing the vital body has been removed. The physical body is then in a very deep trance. In the Sun Period, when our constitution was plant- like, our consciousness was like that of dreamless sleep, where the desire body, mind, and spirit are outside, leaving the physical and vital bodies upon the bed. In the Moon Period, we had a picture consciousness like that which we have in dreams, where the desire body is only partially removed from the dense vehicle and the vital body. Here in the Earth Period our consciousness has been enlarged to cover objects outside ourselves by placing all our vehicles in a concentric position, as is the case when we are awake.
During the Jupiter Period, the globes upon which we shall evolve will be located similarly to what they were in the Moon Period. And the internal picture consciousness which we then possessed will be externalized, as the Jupiter Period is on the ascending arc. Thus, instead of seeing the pictures inside ourselves, we shall be able, when speaking, to project them upon the consciousness of those we are addressing.
Now, therefore, when any one professes to be a Teacher, he must be able to substantiate his claim in that manner; for the true Teachers, the Elder Brothers, who are now preparing the conditions of evolution which are to obtain during the Jupiter Period, all have the consciousness pertaining to that period. Thus, it will be seen that they naturally and without effort use this external picture speech, and thereby at once given evidence of their identity. Only they are able to guide others with safety. Those who have not evolved to that point, even though they may be self-deceived, and through their intentions may be good, are unreliable and should not be trusted. This is an absolutely infallible gauge; and the claims of any one who cannot show this fruit are of no more value than the claims of the weed mentioned in our initial paragraph.
All of the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order possess this attribute; and I trust no one among our students will in the future allow himself or herself to be deceived into following exercises or going through ceremonies devised by any person who is not able to produce the fruit, and call up living pictures in the consciousness of those with whom he speaks.
At the close of last month's lesson we saw that Siegfried, the truth seeker, had arrived at the end of his quest. He had found the truth. Meditating upon the subject it occurred to me as profitable to devote this letter to a straightforward answer to the question: "Where shall we seek truth, and how shall we know without doubt when we have found it"
To be absolutely certain about this matter is of very great importance. For many who accidentally find their was into the Desire World, such as mediums for instance, are enmeshed in illusion and hallucination because of inability to know truth. Moreover, the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order give probationers a definite scientific teaching on this point; and in order to guard against the danger spoken of above, they make an actual test before admitting any one to discipleship. All must come up to a certain standard in this matter. It may, of course, surprise you that this discussion is not reserved for probationers or disciples, but the Rosicrucian Fellowship does not believe in secrecy or mystery. All who wish may qualify for any degree; and this qualification is not a matter of form but of living the life.
In regard to the first part of the question then, "Where shall we seek truth?" There is only one answer — within. It is absolutely a matter of moral development; and the promise of Christ that if we live the Life we shall know the doctrine is true in the most literal sense. You will never find truth by studying my own or any other books. So long as you run after outside teachers, myself or any one else, you are simply wasting energy. Books and teachers may arouse your interest, and urge you to live the life, but only in so far as you make their precepts a part of your inner self are you really seeking in the right direction. The Elder Brother — whom I, perhaps mistakenly, speak of as Teacher — has never taught me directly since the first short period when that which is embodied in the Cosmo was given. And in the last year I have learned not to ask question for I have noticed that whenever I did so he simply gave me a hint as to how I, myself, might obtain the desired information. Now, instead of asking questions, I ask for directions as to how I may solve a problem. So you see that it is by using our own faculties, which may be compared to he talents spoken of by Christ, that we get the information of most value to ourselves.
The second part of the question, "How may we know the truth?" is best answered by referring the student to the evening exercise given in the Lecture No. 11, Spiritual Sight and Insight. It may be performed by any one regardless of whether he or she is a probationer of the Rosicrucian Fellowship or not. The teacher said at the time of giving it that if it were possible to prevail upon the most depraved person in the world to perform this exercise faithfully for six months, he would be permanently reformed; and those who are faithful have found that it sharpens all mental faculties, particularly the memory. Besides, by this impartial judgment of oneself night after night, one learns to discern truth from error in a degree not attainable in any other way. Not all our students may feel inclined to take up probationership, and we never urge any one to do anything in the Western Wisdom School. But if you really want to know the truth I can honestly recommend this method. It develops an inner faculty and no matter what statement is made to you, once you have developed this, you will know at once whether it rings true or the reverse.
After the transfiguration scene, when the Christ and His disciples were making ready to descend from the Mount, the latter would fain have stayed and suggested making dwelling places so that they might remain. This was not permitted, however, for there was work to do in the world which would have remained undone had their plan been carried out.
The Mount of Transfiguration is the "Rock of Truth," where the freed spirit may behold the eternal realities. There is the Great Now (the past symbolized by Moses and Elijah) the prophets of the ancient dispensation met Christ, the ruler of the Kingdom which was to come. Every spirit who is permitted to behold the supernal splendors of this celestial realm, to hear the sublime strains of the harmony of the spheres, and to view the wonderful color-play which accompanies the music, is likewise loath to leave. Were it not that we seem to lose our form and personality, and encompass this whole realm within ourselves, we should probably not have the strength to return to earth, but this feeling that we retain "heaven within" fortifies us when it is time to again turn our gaze outwards and attend to the work in the world.
Objects in the physical world always hide their inward nature or construction; we see only the surface. In the Desire World we see objects outside ourselves, inside and out, but they tell nothing of themselves or the life that ensouls them. In the Archetypal Region there seems to be no circumference, but wherever we direct our attention, there is the center of all, and our consciousness is at once filled with knowledge concerning the being or thing at which we are looking. It is easier to catch in a phonograph the tone which comes to us from heaven than to set down the experiences we encounter in that realm, for there are no words adequate to express them; all wee can do is to try to live them.
But to live them, however imperfectly, we must be in the world; we have no right to remain secluded with the truth we have found. That is the great lesson taught when Siegfried leaves his beloved. He must not remain. Life is a constant flux; stagnation is the cardinal sin, for new experiences are the very life breath of progress. If we have found truth, it is our bounden duty to seek also a field where it may be of use. And according to our judgment in that matter, and the diligence wherewith we plant and water, will be our harvest.
This is a matter we should each carefully consider: "What sue am I making of the teachings I receive?" We may be off in the mountain in dreamland, though we live in a city, and as deaf to the cry for light which sounds in our very ears as if the seeker were thousands of miles away. Unless we give out by our lives — which speak louder than words — the truth we have found, we incur a heavy responsibility, "for unto whom much is given, of him shall much be required."
Let us remember that "Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth," and that service is the standard of true greatness.
In the February letter we discussed the question: "Where shall we find truth, and how shall we know when we have found it." But there is no use in seeking truth, or in knowing truth when we have found it, unless we put it to practical use in our life — and it does not follow that we will do that merely because we find it. There are people, comparatively many, who scour the civilized world to find rare treasure of ancient art — pictures or coins. There are many who manufacture imitations of the genuine articles, so the seeker after these things runs the risk of being duped by clever rogues unless he has means of knowing the genuine from the spurious.
In this respect he is beset by the same danger as the truth seeker, for there are many pseudo-cults and clever inventions that may baffle us. The collector often shuts his find up in a musty room and gloats over it in solitude; and not infrequently after years, or maybe when he has died, it is found that some of the things he guarded most jealously and treasured most highly were spurious and imitations of no value. Similarly, one who finds what he believes to be truth may "bury his treasure" in his own breast, or "put his light under a bushel," to find, maybe after many years, that he had been swindled by an imitation. Thus, there is need of an infallible final test, one which eliminates all possibility of deception, and the question is how to discover and apply it.
The answer is as simple as the method is efficient. When we ask how collectors discover that a certain article they prize is an imitation, we shall find that it is usually by showing it to some one who has seen the original. We may deceive all of the people part of the time and a part of the people all of the time, but it is impossible to deceive all the people all of the time; and had the collector shown his find publicly instead of hoarding it in secret, he would have quickly learned by the collective knowledge of all the world whether his find was genuine or not.
Now mark this, for it is very important: Just as surely as the general secretiveness of collectors aids, abets, and fosters fraud on the part of the curio dealers, so also the desire to have and to hold for oneself great secrets not known to the "rabble" fosters the business of those who trade in "esoteric initiations" with elaborate ceremonial to beguile victims into parting with their cash.
How can we test the worth of an axe but by using it and thus finding out whether it will keep its edge in actual wearing work? Would we buy it if the salesman required us to put it in a dark corner where no one could see it, and forbade us to use it? Certainly not! We would want to use it in our work, and there it would show whether it had "temper." If it were found "true steel," we would prize it; if not, we would tell the salesman to take back his worthless stuff.
On the same principle, what is the sense in "buying" the wares of secrecy mongers? If their wares were "true steel," there would be no need of secrecy, and unless we can use them in our daily lives, they are of no value. Neither is a good ax of value to us unless we use it; it rusts and loses its edge. So it is obligatory on every one who finds truth to use it in the world's work, both as a safeguard to himself to make sure that it will stand the grant test, and to give others a chance to share the treasure which he himself finds helpful. Therefore it is very vital that we follow the command of Christ: "Let your light shine."
In regard to last month's letter one of the students writes: "in your letter it would seem to be implied that there is no secrecy or discretion on the part of the individual who knows esoteric things, to be exercised in giving them out, and no personal responsibility incurred; at least your meaning does not seem to be made plain."
It is, of course, impossible to cover a subject of this magnitude in a letter or several letters. But the question about the responsibility of giving out truth does really concern us in so far as the danger of misuse goes. My correspondent also says that "there are certain sects in this country which have certain powers that they use for selfish and avaricious purposes," and asks whether it would be wrong to withhold esoteric powers from them. Certainly not. But the Elder Brothers take care of that, and they are the real custodians of anything that is highly dangerous. Hypnotism, of course, is dangerous, but not to such an extent as the esoteric powers about which our correspondent asks.
During the ancient Israelitic dispensation darkness reigned in the Holy of Holies, and it was only permitted a few priests and Levites to enter the Temple. The High Priest alone was admitted into the Holy of Holies once a year. But at the Crucifixion the veil was rent, the Temple was flooded with light, and since then no secrecy has prevailed in Initiation. Yet it is in a certain sense as secret as ever, for as I said in last month's letter, it does not consist in ceremony at all. It is an inward experience, and we must have the power within ourselves to live that experience before it can come to us. It is secret in the same sense that the mysteries of square root are a secret to the child. No initiation fee could convey an understanding to the childish mind of the subject; he must live through a number of years and gradually mature to a point where it will be possible to enlighten him. When that point is reached, there is no difficulty about enlightenment. He will understand and see truth very readily.
It is exactly this truth of which I was speaking in last month's letter. The disciple must go through a period of training and by that training become mature and mellow to such an extent that he can live the truth within. Then when the time comes, it is very easy for the Teacher or Initiator to show him for the first time how to apply the trust which he has found, to use the power which he has stored up, and then he is initiated. But this experience cannot be told to anyone else. It is absolutely useless to try to convey it. It is not through ceremony or any other outward show that it comes to a man but as an actual result of his own past doing. Therefore he can apply its truth in his daily life, though others may be as absolutely unable to get at it as the child is incapable of appreciating what is happening when an example in square root is being done before its eyes. Thus are the real, vital truths guarded from all till the key of merit unlocks the treasure box.
From last month's lesson it will be evident, strange as it may seem, that the opera Tannhauser is the legendary plea for the much discussed woman's suffrage, which we hear so much of in modern times. It is evident also, as said last month, that like produces like; and a woman who is timid and afraid, who has been forced into marriage in a brutal manner, who feels herself owned, a chattel, not free to voice her ideas and ideals, cannot produce a noble, strong, and fearless offspring, one with the courage to adhere to its ideals. Therefore, so long as we hold woman in bondage, deny her rightful place in the world as the helpmate and companion of man, so long do we retard the race and our development. This is the esoteric reason why full equality must come about.
If men did but thoroughly realize and understand the idea that we are born in alternate embodiments, they would very soon accede to woman's just requests — if for no other reason than the selfish one that in their succeeding life they who are now men will take on the womanly garb, and have to live under the conditions which they are now making. Thus any man who is now holding back the just privileges from womankind will some day have to labor under these same conditions, while those who at present for which they are now contending without having to ask for them; but as the writer sees this matter, it is not exactly the privilege of voting so much as the moral equality which the woman feels she ought to have, and certainly she has a God-given right to that as well as man.
One point brought out in Tannhauser should particularly appeal to those who want to live the higher life, and that is that Tannhauser is held as strictly accountable before those of his friends who know of his crime as he is by the church. There is no double standard of morality in nature. Sin is sin by whomsoever it is committed, and more than that, to whom much is given of him much shall be required.
Therefore people who reach an enlightened stage must above all learn to live the clean and pure life in harmony with their professions. If, by enlightenment, we rise above the law, let us, as Paul says, not use our liberty as an occasion to gratify the flesh. The doctrine of "soul mates" and "affinities" has wrecked many a life which but for that would have been crowned with great soul growth.
What the shadow is to light, what "the devil" is to God — that is lust to love. Love is divine, a companionship of free souls. Lust is diabolical, and the transgressor a slave of sin, it matters not whether the outrage has been legalized by the state or blessed by the church.
Let us therefore strive to love each other after the spirit rather than after the flesh.
In the last lesson we saw that the Lord of Wartburg asked the minstrel to describe love. As we all aspire to evolve within ourselves that quality, it is perhaps of very great importance that we should look the matter squarely in the face and see what is our greatest hindrance, for surely there can be no question but that we are all lacking woefully in respect to love. No matter what we may seem to others, when we look into our own hearts we stand ashamed, knowing the motives which prompted acts that others consider dictated by love of our fellow men. When we analyze these motives we shall find that they are all dictated by the one trait of selfishness; moreover, this is the one fault we never confess. I have heard men and women stand up publicly or in private and confess to every sin on the calendar save this single one of selfishness. Yes, we even deceive ourselves by imagining that we ourselves are not selfish. We see this trait of character very plainly in others if we are at all observant, but fail to perceive the beam in our own eye; and so long as we do not admit this great fault to ourselves and strive seriously to overcome it, we cannot progress upon the pathway of love.
Thomas a Kempis says: "I would rather feel compunction than know how to define it"; and we may well substitute the word love for compunction. If we could only feel love rather than be able to define it! But love cannot be known now by us except in the measure that we cleanse ourselves from the great sin of selfishness. Life is our most precious possession, and Christ therefore said, "Greater love (or unselfishness) hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
In the measure, therefore, that we cultivate this virtue of unselfishness, we shall attain to love, for they are synonymous, as was shown by Paul in that inimitable thirteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians. When a poor brother knocks at our does, do we give him as little as we can? If so, we are selfish. Or do we help him only because our conscience will not allow us to let him go? Then also this is selfishness, for we do not want to feel the pangs of conscience. Even though we give our lives for a cause, is there not the thought that it is our work? Often I hide my face from myself in shame at that thought in connection with the Fellowship, and yet we must go on. But let us not deceive ourselves; let us fight the demon of selfishness and be ever watchful against its subtle onslaughts. If we find it whispering that we need rest and cannot afford to give our strength for others, or if we feel that we cannot afford to give our substance, let us force the virtue of generosity. As a matter of actual fact, we only keep what we give; our bodies decay and our possessions are left behind, but our good deeds remain ours for all eternity.
It is with considerable reluctance that I again take up the question of breathing exercises and their effects upon the body, but stern necessity compels me to sound anew the warning against the false and dangerous teachings which are promulgated by people who are either ignorant or unscrupulous in their desire for profit. Breathing exercises are absolutely contrary to the teachings of the Rosicrucian Fellowship, for under our teachings spiritual results may only be attained by spiritual methods and not by physical exercises. Unfortunately the great desire of students to attain quickly makes many an easy prey to such people. One of our very promising students is now in an insane asylum because he listened to the promises of a charlatan who offered to initiate him for the sum of twenty-five dollars.
I have just learned that in one of the Fellowship centers a man who has not been affiliated with Headquarters is charging various sums for horoscopes, contrary to our teachings. We annually return from Headquarters many dollars to people who send to us asking for delineations and character reading as well as predictions, because we uphold the principle that a spiritual science may not be prostituted for gold however much we need money; and it grieves us very much to find out that such people, who admit that they know these practices to be contrary to the principles of the Rosicrucian Fellowship, are placed upon the platform of study centers, and stand before the people as teachers an exponents, of the Rosicrucian teachings. This same person has also copied from Hindu books costing but a few cents, breathing exercises which he sells to unsuspecting victims for a dollar.
Now I ask you, dear friends, will you not take this from me, one who has gone the way and knows by experience that there is no express train to the Temple of Initiation. The road is slow and steep and rugged; it must be walked step by step, though th feet bleed, and the heart also with sorrow and suffering. The soul body — the golden wedding garment — which alone is the password by which we can enter, is made by the good deeds done day by day with patient perseverance in well-doing, and by no other method. Breathing exercises cannot take the place of good deeds. Can you not understand that? I know what I am talking about, because in the very earliest stage of my endeavor in spiritual directions, I also found these Hindu breathing exercises. I tried them for two days, and my vital body was partly lifted out of the physical; it then occurred to me that I was in a dangerous condition, and I stopped. But it took me two weeks to recover, during which I felt as if I could not get my feet on the ground, as if I were walking on air; and during those two weeks I suffered greatly. Others may not have the persistence to recover that I did, and may go to the insane asylum. Therefore it is a very dangerous thing to try. There may of course be others on whom they have no effect. But it is very, very dangerous to meddle with fire, and you should not try it. on the other hand, if you will day by day try to serve in the vineyard of Christ, and endeavor to do deeds of mercy, then the golden wedding garment, the soul body, will surely be woven, which one day will admit you to the Temple.
Up to the present time I have especially refrained from commenting upon current topics, but feel that the present cosmic crisis demands something from Headquarters which may guide students in their attitude towards this calamity. The effect of this unprecedented slaughter of human beings is much more far-reaching than is apparent from the physical viewpoint.
In the first place, of course, that viewpoint is the one which appeals to us. We feel and can sympathize with the grief felt in many thousands of homes, where father, son, or husband has been ruthlessly torn away. But the sorrow and suffering that are met with in the physical world fade into insignificance when compared with what takes place in the invisible realms of nature. The thousands and thousands of victims of this cruel war are awakening from the death stupor caused by the sudden transition from the physical life to that of the desire world. They carry with them the scenes of the battlefield; many are stunned and wander about in the most aimless fashion. They cannot realize what has happened. Others again are beginning to sense the fact that they have passed from one phase of existence to another. Then comes to them also the grief for those they have left behind. thus there is in the world at this time an indescribable, unimaginable amount of sorrow and suffering, mental as well as physical.
In fact, never since the world was has there been such universal sorrow as there is at the present time. But besides this, we must not forget we are now laying up for ourselves a great deal of future suffering; for, as has been explained in the Rosicrucian lecture literature, it is impossible for these people who are now so ruthlessly and suddenly torn away from their bodies to review their past life, and thus the etching of the life panorama does not take place as it should. Therefore these egos will not reap the fruit of their present existence as they should in purgatory and the first heaven. They will come back minus this experience at some future time; and it will be necessary, in order that they may regain what they have lost, to let them die in childhood so that they may have the new desire body and vital body imprinted with the essence of their present life.
Therefore in some far-off future day we shall find that an epidemic, or something of that nature, will take away many thousands of children, and we, now their contemporaries, will be left to mourn their loss. Oh! that this law of infant mortality were understood. Then we should not have to pray for peace as we are now doing. Let everyone in the Rosicrucian Fellowship pray morning, noon, and night for the restoration of peace at the earliest possible moment. Let us realize the responsibility of knowledge and live up to it, endeavoring daily to discharge it. This knowledge which we have received must be given out wherever it is practicable without intruding upon other people. If the world knew and believed in the law of rebirth and of consequence, if it understood the law of infant mortality, such a thing as this war could never have happened; and the more we try to inculcate these teachings, the better we shall promote peace and good will, and the better serve humanity.
Please be particularly earnest and concentrate every vestige of your power upon the healing work at Headquarters when we have healing meetings. We need all the help we can get.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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