Thursday, July 27, 2017

The mystery of Krishna, the future Jesus

The Bhagavad Gita and the Epistles of Paul. Lecture 3 of 5.
Rudolf Steiner, December 30, 1912:

The whole meaning of a philosophical poem such as the Bhagavad Gita can only be rightly understood by one to whom such things as are laid down therein, or in similar works of the world's literature, are not merely theories, but a destiny; for man's conceptions of the world may become destiny.

We have in the last few days made acquaintance with two different conceptions of world-philosophy (not to mention a third, the Vedantic), two different nuances of world-philosophy which, if we look at them in the right way, show us most strikingly how a world-philosophy may become a destiny for the human soul. With the concept of the Sankhya philosophy one may connect all that a man can attain to in knowledge, perception of ideas, survey of the world-phenomena; all in which the life of the soul expresses itself. If we describe that which at the present day still remains to the normal man of such knowledge, of a world-philosophy in which the concepts of the world can be expressed in a scientific form, if we describe that which stands at a lower level spiritually than Sankhya philosophy we may say that even in our own age, in so far as our destiny permits, we can still feel the effects of Sankhya philosophy. This will, however, only be felt by one who, as far as his destiny allows him, gives himself up to a one-sided study of such a branch of world-philosophy; a man of whom it might in a certain respect be said: He is a one-sided scientist, or a Sankhya philosopher.

How does such a man stand as regards the world? What does he feel in his soul? Well, that is a question which can really only be answered by experience. One must know what takes place in a soul that thus devotes itself one-sidedly to a branch of world-philosophy, using all its forces to acquire a conception of the world in the sense just characterized. Such a soul might study all the variations of form of the world-phenomena, might have, so to say, the most complete understanding of all the forces that express themselves in the world in the changing forms. If a soul in one incarnation confines itself to finding opportunity through its capacities and its karma so to experience the world-phenomena that, whether illuminated by clairvoyance or not, it chiefly acquires the science of reason, such a tendency would in all circumstances lead to a certain coldness of the whole soul life. According to the temperament of that soul, we shall find that it took on more or less the character of ironical dissatisfaction concerning the world phenomena, or lack of interest and general dissatisfaction with the knowledge that strides on from one phenomenon to another. All that so many souls of our time feel when confronted with a science consisting merely of learning — the coldness and barrenness which then depresses them — all this we see when we investigate a soul-tendency such as is presented here. The soul would feel devastated, uncertain of itself. It might say: What should I have gained if I conquered the whole world, and knew nothing of my own soul, if I could feel nothing, perceive nothing, experience nothing; if all were emptiness within! To be crammed full of all the science in the world and yet to be empty within; that, my dear friends, would be a bitter fate. It would be like being lost among the world phenomena; it would be like losing everything of value to one's own inner being.

The condition just described we find in many people who come to us with some sort of learning or of abstract philosophy. We find it in those who, themselves unsatisfied and realizing their emptiness, have lost interest in all their knowledge, and seem to be suffering; we also meet it when a man comes to us with an abstract philosophy, able to give information about the nature of the Godhead, cosmology, and the human soul in abstract words, yet we can feel that it all comes from the head, that his heart has no part in it — his soul is empty. We feel chilled when we meet such a soul. Thus Sankhya philosophy may become a destiny, a destiny which brings man near being lost to himself, a being possessing nothing of his own and from whose individuality the world can gain nothing.

Then again let us take the case of a soul seeking development in a one-sided way through Yoga, who is, so to say, lost to the world, disdaining to know anything about the external world. “What good is it to me,” says such a person, “to learn how the world came into existence? I want to find out everything in my own self; I will advance myself by developing my own powers.” Such a person may perhaps feel an inward glow, may often appear to us somewhat self-contained and self-satisfied. That may be; but in the long run he will not always be thus; on the contrary, in time, such a soul will be liable to loneliness. When one having led a hermit's life while seeking the heights of soul-life goes forth into the world, coming everywhere in contact with the world-phenomena, he may perhaps say: “What do all these things matter to me?” and if then, because of his being unreceptive to all the beauty of the manifestations and not understanding them he feels lonely, the exclusiveness leads to a fateful destiny! How can we really get to know a human being who is using all his power toward the evolution of his own being and passes his fellow human beings by, cold and indifferent, as though he wished to have nothing in common with them? Such a soul may feel itself to be lost to the world; while to others it may appear egotistical to excess.

Only when we consider these life-connections do we realize how the laws of destiny work in the conceptions of the world. In the background of such great revelations, such great world-philosophies as the Gita and the Epistles of St. Paul, we are confronted by the ruling of these laws of destiny. We might say: if we look behind the Gita and the Epistles of St. Paul, we can see the direct ruling of destiny.

How can we trace destiny in the Epistles? We often find indicated in them that the real salvation of soul-development consists in the so-called “justification by faith” as compared to the worthlessness of external works; because of that which the soul may become when it makes the final connection with the Christ-Impulse, when it takes into itself the great force that flows from the proper understanding of the Resurrection of Christ. When we meet with this in the Epistles we feel, on the other hand, that the human soul may, so to say, be thrown back upon itself, and thus be estranged from all external works and rely entirely on mercy and justification by faith. Then come the external works; they are there in the world; we do not do away with them because we turn from them; we join forces with them in the world. Again destiny rings out to us in all its gigantic greatness. Only when we look at things in this way do we see the might of such revelations to mankind.

Now these two revelations to humanity, the Bhagavad Gita and the Epistles of St. Paul, are outwardly very different from one another; and this external difference acts upon the soul in every part of these works. We not only admire the Bhagavad Gita for the reasons we have briefly given, but because it strikes us as something so poetically great and powerful; because from every verse it radiates forth to us the great nobility of the human soul; because in everything spoken from the mouths of Krishna and his pupil, Arjuna, we feel something which lifts us above everyday human experiences, above all passions, above everything emotional which may disturb the soul. We are transported into a sphere of soul-peace, of clearness, calm, dispassionateness, freedom from emotion, into an atmosphere of wisdom, if we allow even one part of the Gita to work upon us; and by reading the Gita we feel our whole humanity raised to a higher stage. We feel, all through, that we must first have freed ourselves from a good deal that is only too human if we wish to allow the sublime Gita to affect us in the right way.

In the case of the Pauline Epistles, all this is different. The sublimity of the poetical language is lacking, even the dispassionateness is lacking. We take up these Epistles and allow them to influence us, and we feel over and over again how what is wafted toward us from the mouth of St. Paul comes from a being passionately indignant at what has happened. Sometimes the tone is scolding or — one might say — condemnatory; in the Pauline Epistles this or that is often cursed; there is scolding. The things that are stated as to the great concepts of Christianity, as to Grace, the Law, the difference between the law of Moses and Christianity, the Resurrection — all this is stated in a tone that is supposed to be philosophical, that is meant to be a philosophical definition but is not, because in every sentence one hears a Pauline note. We cannot in any single sentence forget that it is spoken by a man who is either excited or expressing righteous indignation against others who have done this or that; or who so speaks about the highest concepts of Christianity that we feel he is personally interested; he gives the impression that he is the propagandist of these ideas. Where could we find in the Gita sentiments of a personal kind such as we find in the Epistles in which St. Paul writes to this or that community: “How have we ourselves fought for Christ Jesus! Remember that we have not become a burden to any, how we have labored night and day that we might not be a burden to any.” How personal all this is! A breath of the personal runs through the Pauline Epistles. In the sublime Gita we find a wonderfully pure sphere — an etheric sphere — that borders on the superhuman and at times extends into it.

Externally, therefore, there are powerful differences, and we may say that it would be blindest prejudice not to admit that through the great Song that once was given to Hinduism flows the union of mighty fateful world-philosophies, that through the Gita something of a noble purity, quite impersonal, calm, and passionless, was given to the Hindus; while the original documents of Christianity — the Epistles of St. Paul — bear, as it were, an entirely personal, often a passionate character, utterly devoid of calm. One does not attain knowledge by turning away from the truth and by refusing to admit such things, but rather by understanding them in the right way. Let us, therefore, inscribe this antithesis on a tablet of bronze, as it were, during our subsequent considerations.

We have already pointed out in yesterday's lecture that in the Gita we find the significant instruction of Arjuna by Krishna. Now who exactly is Krishna? This question must, above all, be of interest to us. One cannot understand who Krishna is if one does not make oneself acquainted with a point which I have already taken the opportunity of mentioning in various places: that is, that in earlier ages the whole system of giving names and descriptions was quite different from what it is now. As a matter of fact, it does not now in the least matter what a man is called. For we do not in reality know much about a man in our present time by learning that he bears this or that well-known name, that he is called Miller or Smith. We do not really know much about a man — as everyone will admit — by hearing that he is a Privy Councillor, or anything else of the kind. We do not necessarily know much about people because we know to what social rank they belong. Neither do we know much of a man today because he has to be addressed as “Your Honor” or “Your Excellency” or “My Lord”; in short, all these titles do not signify much; and you may easily convince yourselves that other designations that we make use of today are not very important either. In bygone ages this was different. Whether we take the description of the Sankhya philosophy or our own, we can start from either and make the following reflections.

We have heard that, according to Sankhya philosophy, man consists of the physical body, the finer elemental or etheric body, the body that contains the regular forces of the senses, the body which is called Manas, Ahankara, and so on. We need not consider the other, higher, principles, because they are not, as a rule, developed yet; but if we now consider human beings such as we see them in this or that incarnation, we may say: Men differ from each other, so that in one that which is expressed through the etheric body is strongly predominant, and in another that which is connected with the laws regulating the senses, in a third that which pertains to the inner senses, in a fourth Ahankara. Or, in our own language, we may say that we find people in whom the forces of the sentient soul are particularly prominent; others in whom the forces of the intellectual or mind-soul are more particularly active; others in whom the forces of the consciousness soul predominate, and others again in whom something inspired by Manas plays a part, and so on. These differences are to be seen in the whole manner of life which a man leads. They are indications of the real nature of the man himself.

We cannot at the present time, for reasons which are easily understood, designate a man according to the nature which thus expresses itself; for if one were, for instance, to say at the present day, men's convictions being what they are, that the highest to which a man could attain in the present cycle of humanity was a trace of Ahankara, each one would be convinced that he himself expressed Ahankara more clearly in his own being than other people did, and it would be mortifying for him if he were told that this was not the case, that in him a lower principle still ruled. In olden times it was not thus. A man was then named according to what was most essential in him; especially when it was a question of putting him over others, perhaps by giving him the part of a leader, he would be designated by dwelling especially on the essential part of his being just described.

Let us suppose that in olden times there was a man who, in the truest sense of the words, had brought Manas to expression within him, who had certainly in himself experienced Ahankara, but had allowed this as an individual element to retire more into the background and on account of his external activity had cultivated Manas; then according to the laws of the older, smaller, human cycles — and only quite exceptional men could have experienced this — such a man would have had to be a great law-giver, a leader of great masses of people. And one would not have been satisfied to designate him in the same way as other men, but would have called him after his prominent characteristic, a Manas-bearer; whereas another might only be called a senses-bearer. One would have said: That is a Manas-bearer; he is a Manu.

When we come across designations pertaining to those olden times, we must take them as descriptive of the most prominent principle of a man's human organization, that which most strongly expressed itself in him in that particular incarnation. Suppose that in a particular man what was most specially expressed was that he felt divine inspiration within him, that he had put aside all question of ruling his actions and studies by what the external world teaches through the senses and by what reason teaches through the brain, but listened instead in all things to the Divine Word which spoke to him, and made himself a messenger for the Divine Substance that spoke out of him! Such a man would have been called a Son of God. In the Gospel of St. John, such men were still called Sons of God, even at the very beginning of the first chapter.

The essential thing was that everything else was left out of consideration when this significant part was expressed. Everything else was unimportant. Suppose we were to meet two men; one of whom had been just an ordinary man, who allowed the world to act upon him through his senses and reflected upon it afterwards with the intellect attached to his brain; the other one into whom the word of divine wisdom had radiated. According to the old ideas we should have said: This first one is a man; he is born of a father and mother, was begotten according to the flesh. In the case of the other, who was a messenger of the Divine Substance, no consideration would be given to that which makes up an ordinary biography, as would be the case with the first who contemplated the world through his senses and by means of the reason belonging to his brain. To write such a biography of the second man would have been folly. For the fact of his bearing a fleshly body was only accidental, and not the essential thing; that was, so to speak, only the means through which he expressed himself to other men. Therefore we say: The Son of God is not born of flesh but of a Virgin, he is born straight from the Spirit; that is to say: What is essential in him, through which he is of value to humanity, descends from the Spirit; and in the olden times it was that alone which was honored. In certain schools of initiation it would have been considered a great sin to write an ordinary biography, which only alluded to everyday occurrences, of a person of whom it had been recognized that he was remarkable because of the higher principles of his human nature. Anyone who has preserved even a little of the sentiments of those old times cannot but consider biographies such as those written of Goethe as in the highest degree absurd. Now let us remember that in those olden times mankind lived with ideas and feelings such as these, and then we can understand how this old humanity was permeated with the conviction that such a Manu, in whom Manas was the prevailing principle, appears but seldom, that he must wait long epochs before he can appear.

Now if you think of what may live in a man of our present cycle of humanity as the deepest part of his being, which every man can dimly sense as those secret forces within him which can raise him up to soul-heights; if we think of this, which in most men exists only in rudiment, becoming in a very rare case the essential principle of a human being — a being who only appears from time to time to become a leader of other men, who is higher than all the Manus, who dwells as an essence in every man, but who as an actual external personality only appears once in a cosmic epoch; if we can form such a conception as this, we are getting nearer to the being of Krishna. He is man as a whole; he is — one might almost say — humanity as such, thought of as a single being. Yet he is no abstract being. When people today speak of mankind in general, they speak of it in the abstract, because they themselves are abstract thinkers. The abstract being is we ourselves today, ensnared as we are in the sense-world, and this has become our common destiny. When one speaks of mankind in general, one has only an indistinct perception and not a living idea of it. Those who speak of Krishna as of man in general, do not mean the abstract idea one has in one's mind today. “No,” they say, “true, this Being lives in germ in every man, but he only appears as an individual man, and speaks with the mouth of a man, once in every cosmic age.” But with this Being it is not a question of the external fleshly body, or the more refined elemental body, or the forces of the sense-organs, or Ahankara and Manas, but the chief thing is that which in Buddhi and Manas is directly connected with the great universal cosmic substance, with the divine which lives and weaves through the world.

From time to time beings appear for the guidance of mankind such as we look up to in Krishna, the Great Teacher of Arjuna. Krishna teaches the highest human wisdom, the highest humanity, and he teaches it as being his own nature, and also in such a way that it is related to every human being, for all that is contained in the words of Krishna is to be found in germ in every human soul. Thus when a man looks up to Krishna he is both looking up to his own highest self and also at another: who can appear before him as another man in whom he honors that which he himself has the predisposition to become, yet who is a separate being from himself and bears the same relationship to him as a God does to man.

In this way must we think of the relationship of Krishna to his pupil Arjuna, and then we obtain the keynote of that which sounds forth to us out of the Gita; that keynote which sounds as though it belonged to every soul and can resound in every soul, which is wholly human, so intimately human that each soul feels it would be ashamed if it did not feel within it the longing to listen to the great teachings of Krishna. On the other hand, it all seems so calm, so passionless, so dispassionate, so sublime and wise, because the highest speaks; that which is the divine in every human nature and which yet once appears in the evolution of mankind, incorporated, as a divine human being.

How sublime are these teachings! They are really so sublime that the Gita rightly bears the name of the “Sublime Song” or the “Bhagavad Gita.” Within it we find, above all, teachings of which we spoke in yesterday's lecture, sublime words arising from a sublime situation; the teaching that all that changes in the world, although it may change in such a way that arising and passing away, birth and death, victory or defeat, appear to be external events, in them all is expressed something everlasting, eternal, permanently existent; so that he who wishes to contemplate the world properly must raise himself from the transitory to this permanence. We already met with this in Sankhya, in the reasoned reflections as to the permanent in everything transitory, of how both the conquered and the victorious soul are equal before God when the door of death closes behind them.

Then Krishna further tells his pupil, Arjuna, that the soul also may be led away from the contemplation of everyday things by another path, that is, through Yoga. If a soul is capable of devotion, that is the other side of its development. One side is that of passing from one phenomenon to another and always directing the ideas, whether illuminated by clairvoyance or not, to these phenomena. The other side is that in which a man turns his whole attention away from the outer world, shuts the door of the senses, shuts out all that reason and understanding have to say about the world, closes all the doors to what he can remember having experienced in his ordinary life, and enters into his innermost being. By means of suitable exercises he then draws up that which dwells in his own soul; he directs the soul to that which he can dimly sense as the highest, and by the strength of devotion tries to raise himself.

Where this occurs he rises higher and higher by means of Yoga, finally reaching to the higher stages which can be attained by first making use of the bodily instruments; he reaches those higher stages in which we live when freed from all bodily instruments, when, so to say, we live outside the body, in the higher principles of the human organization. He thus raises himself into a completely different form of life. The phenomena of life and their activities become spiritual: he approaches ever nearer and nearer to his own divine existence, and enlarges his own being to cosmic being, enlarges the human being to God inasmuch as he loses the individual limitations of his own being and is merged in the ALL through Yoga.

The methods by which the pupil of the great Krishna may rise by one of these ways to the spiritual heights are then given. First of all, a distinction is made between what men have to do in the ordinary world. It is indeed a grand situation in which the Gita places this before us. Arjuna has to fight against his blood-relations. That is his external destiny, it is his own doing, his karma, which comprises the deeds which he must first of all accomplish in this particular situation. In these deeds he lives at first as external man; but the great Krishna teaches him that a man only becomes wise, only unites himself with the Divine Eternal, if he performs his deeds because they themselves in the external course of nature and of the evolution of humanity prove to be necessary; yet the wise man must release himself from them. He performs the deeds; but in him there is something which at the same time is a looker-on at these deeds, which has no part in them, which says: I do this work, but I might just as well say: I let it happen. One becomes wise by looking on at what one does as though it were being done by another; and by not allowing oneself to be disturbed by the desire which causes the deed or by the sorrow it may produce.

“It is all one,” says the great Krishna to his pupil Arjuna, “whether thou art in the ranks of the sons of Pandu, or over there among the sons of Kuru; whatever thou doest, thou must as a wise man make thyself free from Pandu-ism and Kuru-ism. If it does not affect thee whether thou art to act with the Pandus as though one of them, or to act with the Kurus as though thou were thyself a son of Kuru; if thou canst rise above all this and not be affected by thine own deeds, like a flame which burns quietly in a place protected from the wind, undisturbed by anything external: if thy soul, as little disturbed by its own deeds, lives quietly beside them, then does it become wise; then does it free itself from its deeds, and does not inquire what success attends them.” For the result of our deeds only concerns the narrow limitations of our soul; but if we perform them because humanity or the course of the world require them from us, then we perform these deeds regardless as to whether they lead to dreadful or to glorious results for ourselves.

This lifting oneself above one's deeds, this standing upright no matter what our hands may carry out, even — speaking of the Gita situation — what our swords may carry out or what we may speak with our mouth; this standing upright of our inner self regardless of all that we speak with our mouth and do with our hands, this it is to which the great Krishna leads his pupil Arjuna. Thus the great Krishna directs his pupil Arjuna to a human ideal, which is so presented that a man says: “I perform my deeds, but it matters not whether they are performed by me or by another — I look on at them: that which happens by my hand or is spoken by my mouth, I can look on at as objectively as though I saw a rock being loosened and rolling down the mountain into the depths. Thus do I stand as regards my deeds; and although I may be in a position to know this or that, to form concepts of the world, I myself am quite distinct from these concepts, and I may say: In me there dwells something which is, it is true, united to me and which perceives, but I look on at what another is perceiving. Thus I myself am liberated from my perceptions. I can become free from my deeds, free from my knowledge, and free from my perceptions.”

A high idea of human wisdom is thus placed before us! And finally, when it rises into the spiritual, whether I encounter demons or holy spirits, I can look on at them externally. I myself stand there, free from everything that is going on even in the spiritual worlds around me. I look on, and go my own way, and take no part in that in which I take part, because I have become a looker-on. That is the teaching of Krishna.

Now having heard that the Krishna teaching is based upon the Sankhya philosophy, it will be quite clear to us that it must be so. In many places one can see it shining through the teaching of Krishna; as when the great Krishna says to his pupil: The soul that lives in thee is connected in several different ways; it is connected with the coarse physical body, it is connected with the senses, with Manas, Ahankara, Buddhi; but thou art distinct from them all. If thou regardest all these as external, as sheaths surrounding thee, if thou art conscious that as a soul-being thou art independent of them all, then hast thou understood something of what Krishna wishes to teach thee. If thou art aware that thy connections with the outer world, with the world in general, were given thee through the Gunas, through Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva, then learn that in ordinary life man is connected with wisdom and virtue through Sattva; with the passions and affections, with the thirst for existence, through Rajas; and that through Tamas he is connected with idleness, nonchalance, and sleepiness.

Why does a man in ordinary life feel enthusiasm for wisdom and virtue? Because he is related to the basic nature characterized by Sattva. Why does a man in ordinary life feel joy and longing for the external life, feel pleasure in the external phenomena of life? Because he has a relation to life indicated through Rajas. Why do people go through ordinary life sleepy, lazy, and inactive? Why do they feel oppressed by their corporality? Why do they not find it possible continually to rouse themselves and conquer their bodily nature? Because they are connected with the world of external forms which in Sankhya philosophy is expressed through Tamas.

But the soul of the wise man must become free from Tamas, must sever its connection with the external world expressed by sleepiness, laziness ,and inactivity. When these are expunged from the soul, then it is only connected with the external world through Rajas and Sattva. When a man has extinguished his passions and affections and the thirst for existence, retaining the enthusiasm for virtue, compassion, and knowledge, his connection with the external world henceforth is what Sankhya philosophy calls Sattva. But when a man has also become liberated from that tendency to goodness and knowledge, when, although a kindly and wise man, he is independent of his outward expression even as regards kindness and knowledge; when kindness is a natural duty and wisdom is as something poured out over him, then he has also severed his connection with Sattva. When, however, he has thus stripped off the three Gunas, then he has freed himself from all connection with every external form; then he triumphs in his soul and understands something of what the great Krishna wants to make of him.

What, then, does man grasp, when he thus strives to become what the great Krishna holds before him as the ideal — what does he then understand? Does he then more clearly understand the forms of the outer world? No, he had already understood these; but he has raised himself above them. Does he more clearly grasp the relation of the soul to those external forms? No, he had already grasped that, but he has raised himself above it. It is not that which he may meet with in the external world in the multitude of forms, or his connection with these forms, which he now understands when he strips off the three Gunas; for all that belongs to earlier stages. As long as one remains in Tamas, Rajas, or Sattva, one becomes connected with the natural rudiments of existence, adapts oneself to social relationships and to knowledge, and acquires the qualities of kindness and sympathy. But if one has risen above all that, one has stripped off all these connections at the preceding stages. What does one then perceive, what springs up before one's eyes? That which one perceives and which springs up before one is what these are not. What can that be which is distinct from everything one acquires along the path of the Gunas?

This is none other than what one finally recognizes as one's own being, for all else which may belong to the external world has been stripped away at the preceding stages. In the sense of the foregoing, what is this? It is Krishna himself; for he is himself the expression of what is highest in oneself. This means that when one has worked oneself up to the highest, one is face to face with Krishna, the pupil with his great Teacher, Arjuna with Krishna himself: who lives in all things that exist and who can truly say of himself: “I am not a solitary mountain; if I am among the mountains I am the largest of them all; if I appear upon the Earth I am not a single man, but the greatest human manifestation, one that only appears once in a cosmic age as a leader of mankind, and so on; the unity in all forms, that am I, Krishna.” — Thus does the teacher himself appear to his pupil, present in his own Being.

At the same time it is made clear in the Bhagavad Gita that this is something great and mighty, the highest to which a man can attain. To appear before Krishna, as did Arjuna, might come about through gradual stages of initiation; it would then take place in the depths of a Yoga schooling; but it may also be represented as flowing forth from the evolution of humanity itself, given to man by an act of grace, as it were, and thus it is represented in the Gita. Arjuna was uplifted suddenly at a bound, as it were, so that bodily he has Krishna before him; and the Gita leads up to a definite point, the point at which Krishna stood before him. He does not now stand before him as a man of flesh and blood. A man who could be looked upon as other men would represent what is nonessential in Krishna. For that is essential which is in all men; but as the other kingdoms of the world represent, as it were, only scattered humanity, so all that is in the rest of the world is in Krishna. The rest of the world disappears and Krishna is there as ONE. As the macrocosm to the microcosm, as mankind, as a whole, compared to the small everyday man, so is Krishna to the individual man.

Human power of comprehension is not sufficient to grasp this if the consciousness of it should come to man by an act of grace; for Krishna, if one looks at the essential in him — which is only possible to the highest clairvoyant power — appears quite different from anything man is accustomed to see. As though the vision of man were uplifted above all else to perceive the vision of Krishna in his highest nature, we catch sight of him for one moment in the Gita, as the great Man, compared with whom everything else in the world must appear small; He it is before whom stands Arjuna. Then the power of comprehension forsakes Arjuna. He can only gaze and haltingly express what he beholds. That is to be understood: for by means of the methods he has used until now, he has not learned to look at such as this, or to describe it in words; and the descriptions that Arjuna gives at this moment when he stands before Krishna must be thought of thus.

For one of the greatest artistic and philosophical presentations ever given to humanity is the description of how Arjuna, with words which he speaks for the first time, which he is unaccustomed to speak, which he has never spoken before because he has never come within reach of them, expresses in words drawn from the deepest parts of his being what he feels on seeing the great Krishna: “All the Gods do I perceive in Thy body, O God, so also the multitude of all beings. Brahma the Lord, on His Lotus-seat, all the Rishis and the Heavenly Serpent. With many arms, bodies, mouths, and eyes, do I see Thee everywhere, in countless forms; neither end, middle, nor beginning do I see in Thee, O Lord of everything! Thou appearest to me in all forms, Thou appearest to me with a diadem, a club, a sword, as a flaming mountain radiating out on all sides; thus do I see Thee. My vision is dazzled, as radiant fire by the brilliance of the Sun, and immeasurably great. The Everlasting, the Highest that can be known, the Greatest Good: thus dost Thou appear to me in the wide universe. The Eternal Guardian of the Eternal Right art Thou. Thou standest before my soul as the Eternal Primeval Spirit. Thou showest me no beginning, no middle, and no end. Thou art eternally everywhere, infinite in force, infinite in the distances of space. Thine eyes are as big as the Moon, yea, as big as the Sun itself, and out of Thy mouth there radiates sacrificial fire. I contemplate Thee in Thy glow and I perceive how Thy glow warms the universe which I can dimly sense between the ground of the Earth and the breadth of heaven; all this is filled with Thy power. I am alone there with Thee, and that world in Heaven wherein the three worlds dwell is also within Thee, when Thy wondrous, awful Figure displays Itself to my sight. I see whole multitudes of Gods coming to Thee, singing praises to Thee, and I stand there afraid, with folded hands. All the hosts of seers call Thee blessed, and so do the multitude of saints. They praise Thee in all their hymns of praise. The Adityas, Rudras, Vasus, Sadkyas, Vishvas, Ashwins, Maruts, Ushmapas, Ghandarvas, Yakshas, Siddhas, Asuras, and all the saints praise Thee; they look up to Thee full of wonder: Such a gigantic form with so many mouths, arms, legs, feet; so many bodies, so many jaws filled with teeth — the whole world trembles before Thee and I too tremble. The Heaven-shattering, radiating, many-armed One, with a mouth working as though it were great flaming eyes, thus do I behold Thee. My soul quakes. I cannot find security or rest, O great Krishna, Who to me art Vishnu Himself. I gaze into Thy menacing innermost Being, I behold It like unto fire, I see how It works, how existence works, what is the end of all times. I gaze at Thee so, that I can know nothing of anything whatever. Oh! be Thou merciful unto me, Lord of Gods, Thou House in which worlds do dwell.”

He turns towards the sons of the race of Kuru and points to them: “These sons of the Kuru all assembled here together, this multitude of kingly heroes, Bhishma and Drona, together with our own best fighters, they all lie praying before Thee, marveling at Thy wondrous beauty. I am fain to know Thee, Thou Primal Beginning of existence. I cannot comprehend that which appears to me, which reveals itself to me.”

Thus speaks Arjuna, when he is alone with Him Who is his own being, when this Being appears objectively to him. We are here confronted with a great cosmic mystery, mysterious not on account of its theoretical contents, but on account of the overpowering sensations which it should call up within us if we are able to grasp it aright. Mysterious it is; so mysterious that it must speak in a different way to every human perception from how anything in the world ever spoke before.

When Krishna Himself caused to sound into the ears of Arjuna that which He then spoke, it sounded thus: “I am Time, which destroys all worlds. I have appeared to carry men away, and even if thou shalt bring death to them in battle, yet all these warriors standing there in line would die even without thee. Rise up, therefore, fearlessly. Thou shalt acquire fame and conquer the foe. Exult over the coming victory and mastery. Thou wilt not have killed them when they fall dead in the battle; by Me they are all killed already, before thou canst bring death to them. Thou art only the instrument, thou fightest only with the hand the Dronas, the Jayadanas, the Bhishmas, the Karnas, and the other warrior heroes whom I have killed, who are already dead — now kill thou them, that my actions may appear externally when they fall dead in Maya; those whom I have already killed, kill thou them. That which I have done will appear to have been done by thee. Tremble not! Thou art not able to do anything which I have not done already. Fight! Those whom I have already killed will fall by thy sword.”

We know that all there given in the way of instruction to the sons of Pandu by Krishna to Arjuna is related as though told by the charioteer to Dritarashtra. The poet does not directly relate: “Thus spake Krishna to Arjuna ”; the poet tells us that Sandshaya, the charioteer of Dritarashtra, relates it to his blind hero, the king of the Kurus.

After Sandshaya related all this, he then spoke further: “And when Arjuna had received these words from Krishna, reverently with folded hands, tremblingly, stammering with fear and bowing deeply, he answered Krishna: 'With right doth the world rejoice in Thy glory, and is filled with reverence before Thee. The Rajas [these are spirits] flee in all directions, furious. The holy Hosts all bow down before Thee.'"

Wherefore should they not bow down before the First Creator, Who is even greater than Brahma? Truly we are confronting a great cosmic mystery; for what says Arjuna when he sees his own self before him in bodily form? He addresses this own being of his as though it appeared to him higher than Brahma Himself. We are face to face with a mystery. For when a man thus addresses his own being, such words must be so understood that none of the feelings, none of the perceptions, none of the ideas, none of the thoughts used in ordinary life must be brought to bear upon the comprehension. Nothing could bring a man into greater danger than to bring feelings such as he may otherwise have in life to bear upon these words of Arjuna. If he were to bring any such feelings of everyday life to bear upon what he thus expresses, if this were not something quite unique, if he did not realize this as the greatest cosmic mystery, then would lunacy and madness be small things compared to the illness into which he would fall through bringing ordinary feelings to bear upon Krishna, that is to say, upon his own higher being.

“Thou Lord of Gods, Thou art without end, Thou art the Everlasting, Thou art the Highest, Thou art both Existence and Non-existence, Thou art the greatest of the Gods, Thou art the oldest of the Gods, Thou art the greatest treasure of the whole universe, Thou art He Who knowest and Thou art the Highest Consciousness. Thou embracest the universe; within Thee are all the forms which can possibly exist; Thou art the Wind, Thou art the Fire, Thou art Death, Thou art the eternally moving Cosmic Sea, Thou art the Moon, Thou art the highest of the Gods, the Name Itself, Thou art the Ancestor of the highest of the Gods. Worship must be Thine, a thousand, thousand times over, and ever more than all this worship is due to Thee. Worship must come to Thee from all Thy sides; Thou art everything that a man can ever become. Thou art full of strength as the totality of all strength alone can be; Thou perfectest all things and Thou art at the same time Thyself everything. When I am impatient, and taking Thee to be my friend I call Thee Krishna, call Thee Yiva, Friend — ignorant of Thy wonderful greatness, unthinking and confiding I so call Thee, and if in my weakness I do not reverence Thee aright, if I do not rightly reverence Thee in Thy wanderings or in Thy stillness, in the highest Divine or in everyday life, whether Thou art alone or united with other Beings, if in all this I do not reverence Thee aright, then do I implore pardon of Thy Immeasurableness. Thou Father of the world, Thou Who movest the world in which Thou movest, Thou Who art more than all the other teachers, to Whom none resembles, Who art above all, to Whom nothing in the three worlds can be compared — prostrating myself before Thee I seek Thy mercy, Thou Lord, Who revealest Thyself in all worlds. In Thee I gaze at That which never has been seen, I tremble before Thee in reverence. Show Thyself to me as Thou art, O God! Be merciful, Thou Lord of Gods, Thou Primal Source of all worlds!”

Truly we are confronted with a mystery when human being speaks thus to human being. And Krishna again speaks to his pupil: “I have revealed Myself to thee in mercy. My highest Being stands before thee; through My almighty power and as though by enchantment it is before thee, illuminating, immeasurable, without beginning. As thou now beholdest Me no other man has ever beheld Me. As thou beholdest Me now, through the forces which by my grace have been given to thee, have I never been revealed, even through what is written in the Vedas; thus have I never been reached by means of the sacrifices. No libation to the Gods, no study, no ceremonial whatsoever has ever attained unto Me; no terrible expiation can lead to beholding Me in My form as I now am, as thou now beholdest Me in human form, thou great hero. But fear must not come to thee, or confusion at the sight of My dreadful form. Free from fear, full of high thoughts thou shalt again behold Me, even as I am now known unto thee, in My present shape.”

Then Sandshaya further relates to the blind Dritarashtra: When Krishna had thus spoken to Arjuna, the Immeasurable One — without beginning and without end, sublime beyond all strength — vanished, and Krishna showed Himself again in his human form as though he wished by his friendly form to reassure him who had been so terrified. And Arjuna said: “Now I see Thee once more before me in Thy human shape, now knowledge and consciousness return to me and I am again myself, such as I was.”

And Krishna spoke: “The shape which was so difficult for thee to behold, in which thou hast just seen Me, that is the form for the sight of which even Gods have endlessly longed. The Vedas do not indicate My shape; it will neither be attained by repentance, nor by charity, neither by sacrifice, nor by any ritual whatsoever. By none of these can I be seen in the form in which thou hast just seen Me. Only one who knows how to go along the way in freedom, free from all the Vedas, free from all repentances, free from all charities and sacrifices, free from all ceremonials, keeping his eyes reverently fixed upon Me alone, only such a one can perceive Me in such a shape; he alone can recognize Me thus, and can also become entirely one with Me. Whosoever behaveth thus, as I put it into his mind to behave, whosoever loveth and honoreth Me, whosoever doth not care for the world, and to whom all beings are worthy of love, he comes to Me, O thou, My son of the race of Pandu.”

We are confronted with a cosmic mystery of which the Gita tells us that it was given to mankind at a most significant cosmic hour, that significant cosmic hour when the old clairvoyance, which is connected with the blood, ceases, and human souls must seek new paths to the everlasting, to the intransitory. Thus this mystery is brought to our notice so that we may at the same time realize by means of its presentation all that can become dangerous to man when he is able to see his own being brought to birth out of himself.

If we grasp this deepest of human and cosmic mysteries — which tells of our own being through true self-knowledge — then we have before us the greatest cosmic mystery in the world. But we may only put it before us if we are able to reverence it in all humility. No powers of comprehension will suffice, none will enable us to approach this cosmic mystery; for that the correct sentiment is necessary. No one should approach the cosmic mystery that speaks from out the Gita who cannot approach it reverentially. Only when we can feel thus about it do we completely grasp it.

How, starting from this point of view, one is able in the Gita to look at a certain stage of human evolution, and how, just by means of what is shown to us in the Gita, light can also be thrown upon what we meet with in a different way in the Epistles of St. Paul — that it is which is to occupy us in the course of these lectures.


Faux Pas

Dear Miss Manners:

    What do you consider a good conversation opener?

Gentle Reader:
    Almost anything except, "I've been on a wonderful journey of self-discovery lately, and I'd like to share it with you."

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Good yogis will never emerge in America

The Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the U.S.A.

Rudolf Steiner:  "Good yogis will never emerge in America. Yoga can be transplanted — but of course you can grow all kinds of plants in a greenhouse."


Anthroposophy: The Elixir of Life

"Anthroposophy is the source from which moral and religious ideals are imbued with strength."  — Rudolf Steiner

Anthroposophia : The Wisdom of Compassionate Love

The Wisdom of Compassionate Love : The Pearl of Great Price


"Anthroposophy is the source from which moral and religious ideals are imbued with strength."  — Rudolf Steiner

Via Dolorosa : Per Aspera ad Astra : Wisdom is crystallized pain

Evil is ultimately in the service of the greater good

Rudolf Steiner:
 "...a truth which should be engraved in the human soul as a lofty moral maxim: When you see something evil in the world, do not say, Here is evil — that is, imperfection; ask, rather, How can I attain to the enlightenment which will show me that on a higher plane this evil is transformed into good by the wisdom of the cosmos? How can I learn to tell myself: Here you see naught but imperfection because you are as yet unable to grasp the perfection of this imperfect thing? Whenever you see evil you should look into your own soul and ask yourself: Why am I not yet able to recognize the good in this evil that confronts me?"

"Wisdom is crystallized pain." — Rudolf Steiner
"All true, great cognition is born from pain and sorrow. When we set out on the path to higher worlds using the means of cognition described in anthroposophical spiritual science, we can reach our goal only by enduring pain. Through suffering—much suffering—we are freed from the oppressive aspects of pain. Without this step, we cannot perceive the spiritual world." — Rudolf Steiner

"Valor transposed into the spiritual, bravery transposed into the spiritual, is love." — Rudolf Steiner

"The hero is he who is immovably centered." — Emerson

"If there is something more powerful than destiny, this must be the human being who bears destiny unshaken." — Rudolf Steiner

"Our value for the world must be seen to lie wholly in acts of love, not in what is done for the sake of self-perfecting. Let us be under no illusion about this. When a person is endeavoring to follow Christ through love of wisdom and dedicates that wisdom to the service of the world, it only takes real effect to the extent it is filled with love." — Rudolf Steiner

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."  — Psalm 139:13 

Rudolf Steiner:  "As we go on living, we are continually finding things that life opens to view, yet no explanation for them is to be found in the world of sense. That is the deeper reason for why there are people in the world today who despair of life, yet at the same time have vague, unrecognized longings. Something is active in them that does not belong to the physical world, but keeps on putting forth questions about other worlds. For this reason we now have to acquire a spiritual culture. Otherwise we shall be overcome by hopelessness and despair."

"In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer : I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

Per aspera ad astra
Through tribulations to the stars

Romans 5:1-5

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.


Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sonburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery

The wildcard of love

The world's shortest man holding the tip of a finger of the world's tallest man

"It is through a love of fellow men (individually or collectively) that our fixed karma becomes less fixed. We are involved in their karma also, and according to the wildcard of love, we are open to possibilities that hitherto had not existed for us."


Love does not defer discrimination, it enhances it.

"This is not to say that we should ever go against ourselves and try to love or be loving to something which upsets us in the process. It is damaging to both the true self and that which we may ‘force’ a pretence with, should we try to go on with something our heart simply hasn’t at this time, the strength for. Love does not defer discrimination, it enhances it and sometimes may challenge us to higher reasonings, and differing determinations, from that which we have previously lived and sought for or felt obliged to."


Yoga Science and Philosophy in a Scrumptious Nutshell. You're welcome.

The Bhagavad Gita and the Epistles of Paul. Lecture 2 of 5.
Rudolf Steiner, December 29, 1912:

The Bhagavad Gita, the sublime Song of the Indians, is, as I mentioned yesterday, said by qualified persons to be the most important philosophic poem of humanity, and he who goes deeply into the sublime Gita will consider this expression fully justified. We shall take the opportunity given by these lectures to point out the high artistic merit of the Gita, but, above all, we must realize the importance of this poem by considering what underlies it, the mighty thoughts and wonderful knowledge of the world from which it grew, and for the glorification and spreading of which it was created. This glance into the fundamental knowledge contained in the Gita is especially important, because it is certain that all the essentials of this poem, especially all relating to thought and knowledge, are communicated to us from a pre-Buddhistic stage of knowledge, so that we may say: The spiritual horizon which surrounded the great Buddha, out of which he grew, is characterized in the contents of the Gita. When we allow these to influence us, we gaze into a spiritual condition of old Indian civilization in the pre-Buddhist age. We have already emphasized that the thought contained in the Gita is a combined outpouring of three spiritual streams, not only fused into one another, but moving and living within one another, so that they meet us in the Gita as one whole. What we there meet with as a united whole, as a spiritual outpouring of primeval Indian thought and perception, is a grand and beautiful aspect of knowledge, an immeasurable sum of spiritual knowledge; an amount of spiritual knowledge so vast that the modern man who has not yet studied Spiritual Science cannot help feeling doubts as to such an amount of knowledge and depth of science, having no possible standard with which to compare it. The ordinary modern methods do not assist one to penetrate the depths of knowledge communicated therein; at the most, one can but look upon that here spoken of as a beautiful dream which mankind once dreamt. From a merely modern standpoint one may perhaps admire this dream, but would not acknowledge it as having any scientific value. But those who have already studied Spiritual Science will stand amazed at the depths of the Gita and must admit that in primeval ages the human mind penetrated into knowledge which we can only re-acquire gradually by means of the spiritual organs which we must develop in the course of time. Their admiration is aroused for the primeval insight that existed in those past ages. We can admire it because we ourselves are able to rediscover it in the universe and thereby confirm the truth of it. When we rediscover it and recognize its truth, we then confess how wonderful it really is that in those primeval ages men were able to raise themselves to such spiritual heights! We know, to be sure, that in those old days mankind was specially favored, in that the remains of the old clairvoyance was still alive in human souls, and that not only through a spiritual meditation attained by using special exercises were men led into the spiritual worlds, but also that the science of those days could itself, in a certain sense, be penetrated by the knowledge and ideas which the remains of the old clairvoyance brought. We must confess that today we recognize, for quite other reasons, the correctness of what is there communicated to us, but we must understand that in those old times delicate distinctions as regards the being of man were arrived at by other means; ingenious conceptions were drawn from that which man was able to know: conceptions clearly outlined, which could be applied to the spiritual as also to external physical reality. So that in many respects, if we simply alter the expressions we use today to suit our different standpoint, we find it possible to understand the former standpoint also.

We have tried, in bringing forward our spiritual knowledge, to present things as they appear to the present-day clairvoyant perception; so that our sort of Spiritual Science represents that which the spiritually minded man can attain today with the means at his command. In the early days of the Theosophical Movement less was done by means of what was drawn straight from occult science than by such methods as were based on the designations and shadowy conceptions used in the East, especially those which, by means of old traditions, have been carried over from the Gita-time in the East into our present day. Hence the older form of theosophical development (to which we have now added our present method of occult investigation) worked more through the old traditionally received conceptions — especially those of the Sankhya philosophy. But just as this Sankhya philosophy itself was gradually changed in the East, through the alteration in Oriental thought, so, at the beginning of the Theosophical Movement the being of man and other secrets were spoken of and these things were specially described by means of expressions used by Shankaracharya, the great reformer of the Vedantic and other Indian knowledge in the eighth century of the Christian reckoning. We need not devote much attention to the expressions used at the beginning of the Theosophical Movement, but in order to get to the foundations of the knowledge and wisdom of the Gita, we shall devote ourselves today to the old primeval Indian wisdom. What we meet with first, what, so to speak, is drawn from that old wisdom itself, is especially to be found in the Sankhya philosophy.

We shall best obtain an understanding of how Sankhya philosophy looked upon the being and nature of man if, in the first place, we keep clearly before us the fact that there is a spiritual germ in all humanity; we have always expressed this fact by saying that in the human soul there are slumbering forces which, in the course of human evolution, will emerge more and more. The highest to which we can at present aspire and to which the human soul can attain will be what we call Spirit-Man. Even when man, as a being, has risen to the stage of Spirit-Man, he will still have to distinguish between the soul which dwells within him and that which is Spirit-Man itself; just as in everyday life today we have to distinguish between that which is our innermost soul and the sheaths which enclose it: the Astral Body, the Etheric or Life-Body, and the Physical Body. Just as we look upon these bodies as sheaths and distinguish them from the soul itself — which for the present cycle of humanity is divided into three parts: sentient soul, intellectual reasoning soul, and consciousness soul — just as we thus distinguish between the soul-nature and its system of sheaths, so in future stages we shall have to reckon with the actual soul — which will then have its threefold division fitted for those future stages and corresponding to our sentient soul, intellectual soul, and consciousness soul — and the sheath-nature, which will then have reached that stage of man which, in our terminology, we call Spirit-Man. That, however, which will some day become the human sheath, the Spirit-Man, and which will, so to say, enclose the spiritual soul-part of man, will, to be sure, only be of significance to man in the future; but that to which a being will eventually evolve is always there, in the great universe. The substance of Spirit-Man, in which we shall some day be ensheathed, has always been in the great universe and is there at the present time. We may say: Other beings have today already sheaths which will some day form our Spirit-Man; thus the substance of which the human Spirit-Man will some day consist exists in the universe. This, which our teaching allows us to state, was already known to the old Sankhya doctrine; and what thus existed in the universe, not yet individualized or differentiated, but flowing like spiritual water, undifferentiated, filling space and time, still exists, and will continue to exist; this, from which all other forms come forth, was known by the Sankhya philosophy as the highest form of substance; that form of substance which has been accepted by Sankhya philosophy as continuing from age to age. And as we speak about the beginning of the evolution of our Earth (recollect the course of lectures I once gave in Munich on the foundation of the Story of Creation), as we speak of how at the beginning of our Earth evolution all to which the Earth has now evolved was present in spirit as substantial spiritual being, so did the Sankhya philosophy speak of original substance, of a primordial flood, from which all forms, both physical and super-physical, have developed. To the man of today this highest form has not come into consideration, but the day will come, as we have shown, when it will have to be considered.

In the next form which will evolve out of this primeval flowing substance we have to recognize that which, counting from above, we know as the second principle of man, which we call Life-Spirit: or, if we like to use an Eastern expression, we may call Buddhi. Our teaching also tells us that man will only develop Buddhi in normal life at a future stage; but as a super-human spiritual form-principle it has always existed among other entities, and, inasmuch as it always existed, it was the first form differentiated from the primeval flowing substance. According to the Sankhya philosophy the super-psychic existence of Buddhi arose from the first form of substantial existence. Now if we consider the further evolution of the substantial principle, we meet as a third form that which the Sankhya philosophy calls Ahankara. Whereas Buddhi stands, so to speak, on the borders of the principle of differentiation and merely hints at a certain individualization, the form of Ahankara appears as completely differentiated already, so that when we speak of Ahankara we must imagine Buddhi as organized into independent, real, substantial forms, which then exist in the world individually. If we want to obtain a picture of this evolution we must imagine an equally distributed mass of water as the substantial primeval principle; then imagine it welling up so that separate forms emerge, but not breaking away as fully formed drops, forms which rise like little mounts of water from the common substance and yet have their basis in the common primeval flow. We should then have Buddhi; and inasmuch as these water-mounts detach themselves into drops, into independent globes, in these we have the form of Ahankara. Through a certain thickening of this Ahankara, of the already individualized form of each separate soul-form, there then arises what we describe as Manas.

Here we must admit that perhaps a little unevenness arises as regards our naming of things. In considering human evolution from the point of view of our teaching, we place (counting from above) Spirit-Self after Life-Spirit or Buddhi. This manner of designation is absolutely correct for the present cycle of humanity, and in the course of these lectures we shall see why. We do not insert Ahankara between Buddhi and Manas, but for the purpose of our concept we unite it with Manas and call both together Spirit-Self. In those old days it was quite justifiable to consider them as separate, for a reason which I shall only indicate today and later elaborate. It was justifiable because one could not then use that important characteristic that we must give if we are to make ourselves understood at the present day, the characteristic which comes on the one side from the influence of Lucifer and on the other from that of Ahriman. This characteristic is absolutely lacking in the Sankhya philosophy, and for a construction that had no occasion to look toward these two principles, because it could as yet find no trace of their force, it was quite justifiable to slip in this differentiated form between Buddhi and Manas. When we therefore speak of Manas in the sense of the Sankhya philosophy we are not speaking of quite the same thing as when we speak of it in the sense of Shankaracharya. In the latter we can perfectly identify Manas with Spirit-Self; but we cannot actually do so in the sense of Sankhya philosophy — though we can characterize quite fully what Manas is.

In this case we first start with man in the world of sense, living in the physical world. At first he lives his physical existence in such a way that he realizes his surroundings by means of his senses; and through his organs of touch, by means of his hands and feet, by handling, walking, speaking, he reacts on the physical world around him. Man realizes the surrounding world by means of his senses and he works upon it, in a physical sense, by means of his organs of touch. Sankhya philosophy is quite in accordance with this. But how does a man realize the surrounding world by means of his senses? Well, with our eyes we see the light and color, light and dark; we see, too, the shapes of things; with our ears we perceive sounds; with our organ of smell we sense perfumes; with our organs of taste we receive taste-impressions. Each separate sense is a means of realizing a particular part of the external world. The organs of sight perceive colors and light; those of hearing, sounds; and so on. We are, as it were, connected with the surrounding world through these doors of our being which we call senses; through them we open ourselves to the surrounding world; but through each separate sense we approach a particular province of that world.

Now, even our ordinary language shows us that within us we carry something like a principle which holds together these different provinces to which our senses incline. For instance, we talk of warm and cold colors, although we know that this is only a manner of speaking, and that in reality we realize cold and warmth through the organs of touch, and colors, light, and darkness through the organs of sight. Thus we speak of warm and cold colors — that is to say, from a certain inner relationship which we feel, we apply what is perceived by the one sense to the others. We express ourselves thus, because in our inner being there is a certain intermingling between what we perceive through our sight and that which we realize as a sense of warmth — more delicately sensitive people, on hearing certain sounds can inwardly realize certain ideas of color; they can speak of certain notes as representing red, and others blue. Within us, therefore, dwells something which holds the separate senses together, and makes out of the separate sense-fields something complete for the soul. If we are sensitive, we can go yet further. There are people, for instance, who feel, on entering one town, that it gives an impression of yellow; another town gives an impression of red, another of white, another of blue. A great deal of that which impresses us inwardly is transformed into a perception of color; we unite the separate sense-impressions inwardly into one collective sense which does not belong to the department of any one sense alone, but lives in our inner being and fills us with a sense of undividedness whenever we make use of any one sense-impression. We may call this the inner sense; and we may all the more call it so, inasmuch as all that we otherwise experience inwardly as sorrow and joy, emotions and affections, we unite again with that which this inner sense gives us. Certain emotions we may describe as dark and cold, others as warm and full of light. We can therefore say that our inner being reacts again upon what forms the inner sense. Therefore, as opposed to the several senses which we direct to the different provinces of the external world, we can speak of one which fills the soul; one, of which we know that it is not connected with any single sense-organ, but takes our whole being as its instrument. To describe this inner sense as Manas would be quite in harmony with Sankhya philosophy, for, according to this, that which forms this inner sense into substance develops, as a later production of form, out of Ahankara. We may, therefore, say: First came the primeval flood, then Buddhi, then Ahankara, then Manas, which latter we find within us as our inner sense. If we wish to observe this inner sense, we can do so by taking the separate senses and observing how we can form a concept by the way in which the perceptions of the separate senses are united in the inner sense.

This is the way we take today, because our knowledge is pursuing an inverted path. If we look at the development of our knowledge, we must admit that it starts from the differentiation of the separate senses and then tries to climb up to the conjoint sense. Evolution goes the other way round. During the evolution of the world, Manas first evolved out of Ahankara, and then the primeval substances differentiated themselves, the forces which form the separate senses that we carry within us. (By which we do not mean those material sense-organs which belong to the physical body, but forces which underlie these as formative forces and which are quite supersensible.) Therefore when we descend the stages of the ladder of the evolution of forms, we come down from Ahankara to Manas, according to the Sankhya philosophy; then Manas differentiates into separate forms and yields those supersensible forces which build up our separate senses. We have, therefore, the possibility — because when we consider the separate senses the soul takes a part in them — of bringing what we get out of Sankhya philosophy into line with that which our teaching contains. For Sankhya philosophy tells us the following: In that Manas has differentiated itself into the separate world-forces of the senses, the soul submerges itself — we know that the soul itself is distinct from these forms — the soul immerses itself into these different forms; but inasmuch as it does so, and also submerges itself into Manas, so it works through these sense-forces, is interwoven with and entwined in them. In so doing the soul reaches the point of placing itself as regards its spiritual soul-being in connection with an external world, in order to feel pleasure and sympathy therein. Out of Manas the force-substance has differentiated which constitutes the eye, for instance. At an earlier stage, when the physical body of man did not exist in its present form (thus Sankhya philosophy relates), the soul was immersed in the mere forces that constitute the eye. We know that the human eye of today was laid down germinally in the old Saturn time, yet only after the withdrawal of the warmth organ, which at the present day is to be found in a stunted form in the pineal gland, did it develop — that is to say, comparatively late. But the forces out of which it evolved were already there in supersensible form, and the soul lived within them. Thus Sankhya philosophy relates as follows: in so far as the soul lives in this differentiation principle, it is attached to the existence of the external world and develops a thirst for this existence. Through the forces of the senses the soul is connected with the external world; hence the inclination toward existence, and the longing for it. The soul sends, in a way, feelers out through the sense-organs, and through their forces attaches itself to the external world. This combination of forces, a real sum of forces, we unite in the astral body of man. The Sankhya philosopher speaks of the combined working of the separate sense-forces, at this stage differentiated from Manas. Again, out of these sense-forces arise the finer elements, of which we realize that the human etheric body is composed. This is a comparatively late production. We find this etheric body in man.

We must therefore picture to ourselves that in the course of evolution the following have formed: Primeval Flood, Buddhi, Ahankara, Manas, the substances of the senses, and the finer elements. In the outer world, in the kingdom of nature, these finer elements are also to be found, for instance, in the plants, as etheric or life-body. We have then to imagine, according to Sankhya philosophy, that at the basis of this whole evolution there is to be found, in every plant, a development starting from above and going downwards, which comes from the primeval flood. But in the case of the plant all takes place in the supersensible, and only becomes real in the physical world when it densifies into the finer elements which live in the etheric or life-body of the plant; while with man it is the case that the higher forms and principles already reveal themselves as Manas in his present development; the separate organs of sense reveal themselves externally. In the plant there is only to be found that late production which arises when the sense substance densifies into finer elements, into the etheric elements; and from the further densifying of the etheric elements arise the coarser elements from which spring all the physical things we meet in the physical world. Therefore reckoning upwards we can, according to Sankhya philosophy, count the human principles as coarse physical body, finer etheric body, astral body (this expression is not used in Sankhya philosophy; instead of that the formative-force body that builds the senses is used), then Manas in an inner sense, then in Ahankara the principle which underlies human individuality, which brings it about that man not only has an inner sense through which he can perceive the several regions of the senses, but also feels himself to be a separate being, an individuality. Ahankara brings this about. Then come the higher principles which in man only exist germinally: Buddhi and that which the rest of Eastern philosophy is accustomed to call Atman, which is cosmically thought of by the Sankhya philosophy as the spiritual primeval flood which we have described. Thus in the Sankhya philosophy we have a complete presentation of the constitution of man, of how man, as soul, envelopes himself in the past, present, and future, in the substantial external nature-principle, whereby not only the external visible is to be understood, but all stages of nature, up to the most invisible. Thus does the Sankhya philosophy divide the forms we have now mentioned.

In the forms — or in Prakriti, which includes all forms from the coarse physical body up to the primeval flood — dwells Purusha, the spirit-soul, which in single souls is represented as monadic; so the separate soul-monads should, so to say, be thought of as without beginning and without end, just as this material principle of Prakriti — which is not material in our materialistic sense — is also represented as being without beginning and without end. This philosophy thus presents a plurality of souls dipping down into the Prakriti principle and evolving from the highest undifferentiated form of the primeval flood, in which they enclose themselves, down to the embodiment in a coarse physical body, in order, then, to turn back and, after overcoming the physical body, to evolve upwards again; to return back again into the primeval flood, and to free themselves even from this, in order to be able as free souls to withdraw into pure Purusha.

If we allow this sort of knowledge to influence us we see how, underlying it, so to speak, was that old wisdom which we now endeavor to reacquire by the means which our soul-meditations can give us; and in accordance with the Sankhya philosophy we see that there is insight even into the manner in which each of these form principles may be united with the soul. The soul may, for instance, be so connected with Buddhi that it realizes its full independence, as it were, while within Buddhi; so that not Buddhi but the soul-nature makes itself felt in a predominating degree. The opposite may also be the case: the soul may enwrap its independence in a sort of sleep, envelop it in lassitude and idleness, so that the sheath-nature is most prominent. This may also be the case with the external physical nature consisting of coarse substance. Here we only need to observe human beings. There may be a man who preferably cultivates his soul and spirit, so that every movement, every gesture, every look which can be communicated by means of the coarse physical body, is of secondary importance compared to the fact that in him the spiritual and soul-nature are expressed. Before us stands a man — we see him certainly in the coarse, physical body that stands before us — but in his movements, gestures, and looks there is something that makes us say: This man is wholly spiritual and psychic; he only uses the physical principle to give expression to this. The physical principle does not overpower him; on the contrary, he is everywhere the conqueror of the physical principle. This condition, in which the soul is master of the external sheath-principle, is the Sattva condition. This Sattva condition may exist in connection with the relation of the soul to Buddhi and Manas as well as in that of the soul to the body which consists of fine and coarse elements. For if one says: The soul lives in Sattva, that means nothing but a certain relation of the soul to its envelope, of the spiritual principle of that soul to the nature-principle: the relation of the Purusha-principle to the Prakriti-principle. We may also see a man whose coarse physical body quite dominates him — we are not now speaking of moral characteristics, but of pure characteristics, such as are understood in Sankhya philosophy and which do not, seen with spiritual eyes, bear any moral characteristic whatever. We may meet a man who, so to speak, walks about under the weight of his physical body, who puts on much flesh, whose whole appearance is influenced by the weight of his physical body, to whom it is difficult to express the soul in his external physical body. When we move the muscles of our face in harmony with the speaking of the soul, the Sattva principle is master; when quantities of fat imprint a special physiognomy to our faces, the soul-principle is then overpowered by the external sheath principle, and the soul bears the relation of Tamas to the nature principle. When there is a balance between these two states, when neither the soul has the mastery as in the Sattva state, nor the external sheath-nature as in the Tamas condition, when both are equally balanced, that may be called the Rajas condition. These are the three Gunas, which are quite specially important. We must, therefore, distinguish the characteristic of the separate forms of Prakriti. From the highest principle of the undifferentiated primeval substance down to the coarse physical body is the one characteristic, the characteristic of the mere sheath principle. From this we must distinguish what belongs to the Sankhya philosophy in order to characterize the relation of the soul nature to the sheaths, regardless of what the form of the sheath may be. This characteristic is given through the three states Sattva, Rajas, Tamas.

We will now bring before our minds the penetrating depths of such a knowledge and realize how deep an insight into the secrets of existence a science must have had which was able to give such a comprehensive description of all living beings. Then that admiration fills our souls of which we spoke before, and we tell ourselves that it is one of the most wonderful things in the history of the development of man that that which appears again today in Spiritual Science out of dark spiritual depths should have already existed in those ancient times, when it was obtained by different methods. All this knowledge once existed, my dear friends. We perceive it when we direct the spiritual gaze to certain primeval times. Then let us look at the succeeding ages. We gaze upon what is generally brought to our notice in the spiritual life of the different periods, in the old Greek age, in the age following that, the Roman age, and in the Christian Middle Ages. We turn our gaze from what the older cultures give down to modern times, till we come to the age when Spiritual Science once again brings us something which grew in the primeval knowledge of mankind. When we survey all this we may say: In our time we often lack even the smallest glimmering of that primeval knowledge. Ever more and more a mere knowledge of external material existence is taking the place of the knowledge of that grand sphere of existence and of the supersensible, all-embracing old perception. It was indeed the purpose of evolution for three thousand years, that in the place of the old primeval perception the external knowledge of the material physical plane should arise. It is interesting to see how upon the material plane alone — I do not want to withhold this remark from you — there still remains, left behind, as it were, in the age of Greek philosophy, something like an echo of the old Sankhya knowledge. We can still find in Aristotle some echoes of real soul-nature; but these in all their perfect clarity can no longer be properly connected with the old Sankhya knowledge. We even find in Aristotle the distribution of the human being within the coarse physical body; he does not exactly mention this, but shapes a distribution in which he believes he gives the soul-part, whereas the Sankhya philosophy knows that this is only the sheaths; we find there the vegetative soul, which in the sense of the Sankhya philosophy would be attributed to the finer elemental body. Aristotle believes himself to be describing something pertaining to the soul; but he only describes connections between the soul and the body, the Gunas, and in what he describes he gives but the form of the sheaths. Then Aristotle ascribes to that which reaches out into the sphere of the senses, and which we call the astral body, something which he distinguishes as being a soul-principle. Thus he no longer clearly distinguishes the soul-part from the bodily, because, to him, the former has already been swamped by the bodily shape; he distinguishes the Asthetikon, and in the soul he further distinguishes the Orektikon, Kinetikon, and the Dianetikon. These, according to Aristotle, are grades of the soul — but we no longer find in him a clear discrimination between the soul-principle and its sheaths; he believes he is giving a classification of the soul, whereas the Sankhya philosophy grasps the soul in its own being as a monad and all the differentiations of the soul are, as it were, at once placed in the sheath-principle, in the Prakriti principle.

Therefore even Aristotle himself in speaking of the soul part no longer speaks of that primeval knowledge which we discover in the Sankhya philosophy. But in one domain, the domain of the material, Aristotle still has something to relate which is like a surviving echo of the principle of the three conditions; that is, when he speaks of light and darkness in colors. He says: There are some colors which have more darkness in them and others which have more light, and there are colors between these. According to Aristotle, in the colors ranging between blue and violet the darkness predominates over light. Thus a color is blue or violet because darkness predominates over light, and it is green or greenish-yellow when light and darkness counterbalance each other, while a color is reddish or orange when the light-principle overrules the dark. In Sankhya philosophy we have this principle of the three conditions for the whole compass of the world-phenomena; there we have Sattva when the spiritual predominates over the natural. Aristotle still has this same characteristic, in speaking of colors. He does not use these words: but one may say: Red and reddish-yellow represent the Sattva condition of light. This manner of expression is no longer to be found in Aristotle, but the principle of the old Sankhya philosophy is still to be found in him; green represents the Rajas condition as regards light and darkness, and blue and violet, in which darkness predominates, represent the Tamas-condition of light and darkness. Even though Aristotle does not make use of these expressions, the train of thought can still be traced which arises from that spiritual grasp of the world conditions which we meet with in the Sankhya philosophy. In the color teaching of Aristotle we have therefore an echo of the old Sankhya philosophy. But even this echo was lost, and we first experience a glimmering of these three conditions, Sattva, Rajas, Tamas, in the external domain of the world of color in the hard struggle carried on by Goethe. For after the old Aristotelian division of the color-world into a Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas condition had been entirely buried, so to say, it then reappears in Goethe. At the present time it is still abused by modern physicists, but the color-system of Goethe is produced from principles of spiritual wisdom. The physicist of today is right from his own standpoint when he does not agree with Goethe over this — but he only proves that in this respect physics has been abandoned by all the good Gods! That is the case with the physics of today, which is why it grumbles at Goethe's color teaching.

If one wished today really to combine science with occult principles one would, however, be obliged to support the color theory of Goethe. For in that we find again, in the very center of our scientific culture, the principle which once upon a time reigned as the spiritual principle of the Sankhya philosophy. You can understand, my dear friends, why many years ago I set myself the task of bringing Goethe's color theory again into notice as a physical science, resting, however, upon occult principles; for one may quite relevantly say that Goethe so divides the color phenomena that he represents them according to the three states of Sattva, Rajas, Tamas. So gradually there emerges into the new spiritual history discovered by the modern methods that which mankind attained to once upon a time by quite other means.

The Sankhya philosophy is pre-Buddhistic, as the legend of Buddha brings very clearly before our eyes; for it relates, and rightly, the Indian doctrine that Kapila was the founder of the Sankhya philosophy. Buddha was born in the dwelling place of Kapila, in Kapila Vastu, whereby it is indicated that Buddha grew up under the Sankhya teaching. Even by his very birth he was placed where once worked the one who first gathered together this great Sankhya philosophy. We have to picture to ourselves this Sankhya doctrine in its relation to the other spiritual currents of which we have spoken, not as many Orientalists of the present day represent it, nor as does the Jesuit, Joseph Dahlmann; but that in different parts of ancient India there lived men who were differentiated, for at the time when these three spiritual currents were developing, the very first primeval state of human evolution was no longer there. For instance, in the northeastern part of India human nature was such that it inclined to the conceptions given in the Sankhya philosophy; more towards the West, human nature was of that kind that it inclined to conceive of the world according to the Veda doctrine. The different spiritual “nuances” come, therefore, from, the differently gifted human nature in the different parts of India; and only because of the Vedantists later on having worked on further and made many things familiar, do we find in the Vedas at the present time much of Sankhya philosophy bound up with them. Yoga, the third spiritual current, arose, as we have often pointed out, because the old clairvoyance had gradually diminished, and one had to seek new ways to the spiritual worlds. Yoga is distinguished from Sankhya in that the latter is a real science, a science of external forms, which really only grasps these forms and the different relations of the human soul to these forms. Yoga shows how souls can develop so as to reach the spiritual worlds.

And if we ask ourselves what an Indian soul was to do who at a comparatively later time wanted to develop, though not in a one-sided way, who did not wish to advance by the mere consideration of external form but wanted to uplift the soul-nature itself, so as to evolve again that which was originally given as by a gracious illumination in the Vedas — to this we find the answer in what Krishna gave to his pupil Arjuna in the sublime Gita. Such a soul would have to go through a development which might be expressed in the following words: “Yes, it is true thou seest the world in its external forms, and if thou art permeated with the knowledge of Sankhya thou wilt see how these forms have developed out of the primeval flow: but thou canst also see how one form changes into another. Thy vision can follow the arising and the disappearing of forms; thine eyes see their birth and their death. But if thou considerest thoroughly how one form replaces another, how form after form arises and vanishes, thou art led to consider what is expressed in all these forms; a thorough inquiry will lead thee to the spiritual principle which expresses itself in all these forms; sometimes more according to the Sattva condition, at other times more after the forms of the other Gunas, but which again liberates itself from these forms. A thorough consideration such as this will direct thee to something permanent, which, as compared to form, is everlasting. The material principle is indeed also permanent, it remains; but the forms which thou seest, arise and fade away again, pass through birth and death; but the element of the soul and spirit nature remains. Direct thy glance to that! But in order that thou shouldst thyself experience this psychic-spiritual element within thee and around thee and feel it one with thyself, thou must develop the slumbering forces in thy soul, thou must yield thyself to Yoga, which begins with devotional looking upwards to the psychic-spiritual element of being, and which, by the use of certain exercises, leads to the development of these slumbering forces, so that the pupil rises from one stage to another by means of Yoga.” Devotional reverence for the psychic-spiritual is the other way which leads the soul itself forwards; it leads to that which lives as unity in the spiritual element behind the changing forms which the Veda once upon a time announced through grace and illumination, and which the soul will again find through Yoga as that which is to be looked for behind all the changing forms. “Therefore go thou,” thus might a great teacher have said to his pupil, “go thou through the knowledge of the Sankhya philosophy, of forms, of the Gunas, through the study of Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, through the forms from the highest down to the coarsest substance; go through these, making use of thy reason, and admit that there must be something permanent, something that is uniting, and then wilt thou penetrate to the Eternal. Thou canst also start in thy soul through devotion; then thou wilt push on through Yoga from stage to stage, and wilt reach the spiritual which is at the base of all forms. Thou canst approach the spiritual from two different sides: by a thoughtful contemplation of the world, or by Yoga; both will lead thee to that which the great teacher of the Vedas describes as the Unitary Atman-Brahman, that lives as well in the outer world as in the inmost part of the soul, that which as Unity is the basis of the world. Thou wilt attain to that on the one hand by dwelling on the Sankhya philosophy, and on the other by going through Yoga in a devotional frame of mind.”

Thus we look back upon those old times in which, so to speak, clairvoyant force was still united with human nature through the blood, as I have shown in my pamphlet "The Occult Significance of Blood." But mankind gradually advanced in its evolution, from that principle which was bound up in the blood to that which consisted of the psychic-spiritual. In order that the connection with the psychic-spiritual should not be lost, which was so easily attained in the old times of the blood-relationship of family stock and peoples, new methods had to be found, new ways of teaching, during the period of transition from blood-relationship to that period in which it no longer held sway. The sublime song of the Bhagavad Gita leads us to this time of transition. It relates how the descendants of the royal brothers of the lines of Kuru and Pandu fought together. On the one side we look up to a time which was already past when the story of the Gita begins, a time in which the Old-Indian perception still existed and men still went on living in accordance with that. We can perceive, so to say, the one line which arose out of the old times being carried over into the new, in the blind King Dritarashtra of the house of Kuru; and we see him in conversation with his chariot-driver. He stands by the fighters of one side; on the other side are those who are related to him by blood but who are fighting because they are in a state of transition from the old times to the new. These are the sons of Pandu; and the charioteer tells his king (who is characteristically described as blind, because it is not the spiritual that shall descend from this root but the physical), the charioteer relates to his blind king what is happening over there among the sons of Pandu, to whom is to pass all that is more of a psychic and spiritual nature for the generations yet to come. He relates how Arjuna, the representative of the fighters, is instructed by the great Krishna, the Teacher of mankind; he relates how Krishna taught his pupil, Arjuna, about all that of which we have just been speaking, of what man can attain if he uses Sankhya and Yoga, if he develops thinking and devotion in order to press on to that which the great teachers of mankind of former days have described in the Vedas. And we are told in glorious language, as philosophical as it is poetical, of the instructions given through Krishna, through the Great Teacher of the humanity of the new ages which have emerged from the blood-relationship. Thus we find something else shining from those old times across to our own. In that consideration which is the basis of the pamphlet "The Occult Significance of Blood," and many similar ones, I have indicated how the evolution of mankind after the time of blood-relationship took on other differentiations, and how the striving of the soul has thus become different too. In the sublime song of the Bhagavad Gita we are led directly to this transition; we are so led that we see by the instructions given to Arjuna by Krishna how man, to whom no longer belongs the old clairvoyance dependent upon the blood-relationship, must press on to what is eternal. In this teaching we encounter that which we have often spoken of as an important transition in the evolution of mankind, and the Sublime Song becomes to us an illustration of that which we arrived at by a separate study of the subject.

What attracts us particularly to the Bhagavad Gita is the clear and emphatic way in which the path of man is spoken of, the path man has to tread from the temporary to the permanent. There at first Arjuna stands before us, full of trouble in his soul; we can hear that in the tale of the charioteer (for all that is related comes from the mouth of the charioteer of the blind king). Arjuna stands before us with his trouble-laden soul; he sees himself fighting against the Kurus, his blood-relations, and he says now to himself: “Must I then fight against those who are linked to me by blood, those who are the sons of my father's brothers? There are many heroes among us who must turn their weapons against their own relations, and on the opposite side there are just as honorable heroes, who must direct their weapons against us.” He was sore troubled in his soul “Can I win this battle? Ought I to win, ought one brother to raise his sword against another?” Then Krishna comes to him, the Great Teacher Krishna, and says: “First of all, give thoughtful consideration to human life and consider the case in which thou thyself now art. In the bodies of those against whom thou art to fight and who belong to the Kuru-line, that is to say, in temporal forms, there live soul-beings who are eternal; they only express themselves in these forms. In those who are thy fellow-combatants dwell eternal souls, who only express themselves through the forms of the external world. You will have to fight, for thus your laws ordain; it is ordained by the working laws of the external evolution of mankind. You will have to fight; thus it is ordained by the moment which indicates the passing from one period to another. But shouldst thou mourn on that account, because one form fights against another, one changing form struggles with another changing form? Whichsoever of these forms are to lead the others into death — what is death? and what is life? The changing of the forms is death, and it is life. The souls that are to be victorious are similar to those who are now about to go to their death. What is this victory, what is this death, compared to that to which a thoughtful consideration of Sankhya leads thee, compared to the eternal souls, opposing one another yet remaining themselves undisturbed by all battles?” In magnificent manner out of the situation itself we are shown that Arjuna must not allow himself to be disturbed by soul-trouble in his innermost being, but must do his duty which now calls him to battle; he must look beyond the transitory which is entangled in the battle to the eternal which lives on, whether as conqueror or as conquered. And so in a unique way is the great note struck in the sublime song, in the Bhagavad Gita, the great note concerning an important event in the evolution of mankind, the note of the transitory and of the everlasting.

Not by abstract thought, but by allowing the perception of what is contained in this to influence us, shall we find ourselves upon the right path. For we are on the right path when we so look upon the instructions of Krishna as to see that he is trying to raise the soul of Arjuna from the stage at which it stands, in which it is entangled in the net of the transitory. Krishna tries to raise it to a higher stage, in which it will feel itself uplifted beyond all that is transitory, even when that comes directly to the soul in such distressing manner as in victory or defeat, as giving death or suffering it. We can truly see the proof of that which someone once said about this Eastern philosophy, as it presents itself to us in the sublime poem of the Bhagavad Gita: “This Eastern philosophy is so absolutely part of the religion of those old times that he who belonged to it, however great and wise he might be, was not without the deepest religious fervor, whilst the simplest man, who only lived the religion of feeling, was not without a certain amount of wisdom.” We feel this, when see we how the great teacher, Krishna, not only influences the ideas of his pupil, but works directly into his disposition, so that he appears to us as contemplating the transitory and the troubles belonging to the transitory; and in such a significant situation we see his soul rising to a height from which it soars far beyond all that is transitory, beyond all the troubles, pain, and sorrows of the transitory.