My dear Friends:
When we discuss, in connection with spiritual-science, other spiritual worlds besides our physical world, and declare that the human being sustains a relationship, not only to this physical world, but also to super-sensible realms, the question may arise as to what is to be found within the human soul — before one achieves any sort of clairvoyant capacity — which is super-sensible, which gives an indication that the human being is connected with super-sensible worlds. In other words, can even the ordinary person, possessed of no clairvoyant capacity, observe something in the soul, experience something, which bears a relationship to the higher realms? In essence, both today’s lecture and that of tomorrow will be devoted to the answering of this question.
When we observe the life of the human soul, it manifests three parts in a certain way independent of one another and yet, on the other hand, closely bound together.
The first thing that confronts us when we direct attention to ourselves as souls is our conceptual life, which includes also in a certain way our thinking, our memory. Memory and thought are not something physical. They belong to the invisible, super-sensible world: in man’s thought-life he has something which points to the higher worlds. What this conceptual world is may be grasped by each person in the following way. We bring before him an object, which he observes. Then he turns away. He has not immediately forgotten the object, but preserves within himself a living picture of it. Thus do we have concepts of the world surrounding us, and we may speak of the conceptual life as a part of our soul life.
A second part of our soul life we can observe if we inquire whether we do not possess within us something else related to objects and beings besides our concepts. We do, indeed, have something else. It is what we call feelings of love and hate, what we designate in our thinking by the terms sympathy, antipathy. We consider one thing beautiful, another ugly; perhaps, we love one thing and hate another; one we feel to be good, the other evil. If we wish to summarize what thus appears in our inner life, we may call it emotions of the heart. The life of the heart is something quite different from the conceptual life. In the life of the heart we have a far more intimate indication of the invisible than in the life of concepts. It is a second component of our soul-organism, this life of emotions. Thus we have already two soul-components, our life of thought and of emotion.
Of a third we become aware when we say to ourselves, not only that we consider a thing beautiful or ugly, good or evil, but that we feel impelled to do this or that, when we have the impulse to act. When we undertake anything, perform a relatively important act or even merely take hold of an object, there must always be an impulse within us which induces us to do this. These impulses, moreover, are gradually transformed into habits, and we do not always need to bring our impulses to bear in connection with everything that we do. When we go out, for instance, intending to go to the railway station, we do not then purpose to take the first, second, and third steps; we simply go to the station. Back of all this lies the third member of our soul life, our will impulses, as something ranging wholly beyond the visible.
If we now connect with these three impulses characteristic of the human being our initial question, whether the ordinary man possesses any clue to the existence of higher worlds, we must take cognizance of dream life, how this is related to the three soul elements: the thought impulse, the emotions, the impulse of will.
These three components of our soul life we can clearly differentiate: our thought life, our emotions, and our will impulses. If we reflect somewhat about our soul life, we can differentiate among these three single components of the life of the soul in our external existence. Let us first take the life of concepts. The thought life follows its course throughout the day — if we are not actually void of thought. Throughout the day we have concepts; and, when we grow tired in the evening, these concepts first become hazy. It is as if they became transmuted into a sort of fog. This life becomes feebler and feebler, finally vanishing altogether, and we can then go to sleep. Thus this conceptual life, as we possess it on the physical plane, persists from our waking till our falling asleep, and disappears the moment we fall asleep. No one will suppose that, when he is really sleeping — that is, if he is not clairvoyant during sleep — his thought life can nevertheless continue just as while he is awake. The life of thought — or the conceptual life — which occupies us fully from our waking till our falling asleep, must be extinguished, and only then can we go to sleep.
But the human being must recognize that the concepts he has, which have so overwhelmingly taken possession of him during the day, and which he always has unless he merely drowses along, are no hindrance to his falling to sleep. That this is so is best seen when we surrender ourselves to particularly vigorous concepts before falling asleep — for instance, by reading in a very difficult book. When we have been thinking really intensely, we most easily fall asleep; and so if we cannot go to sleep, it is good to take up a book, or occupy ourselves with something which requires concentrated thinking — study a mathematical book, for instance. This will help us to fall asleep; but not something, on the other hand, in which we are deeply interested, such as a novel containing much that captivates our interest. Here our emotions become aroused, and the life of the emotions is something that hinders us from falling asleep. When we go to bed with our feelings vividly stirred, when we know that we have burdened our soul with something or when there is a special joy in our heart which has not yet subsided, it frequently happens that we turn and toss in bed and are unable to fall asleep. In other words, whereas concepts unaccompanied by emotions weary us, so that we easily fall asleep, precisely that which strongly affects our feelings prevents us from falling asleep. It is impossible then to bring about the separation within ourselves which is necessary if we are to enter into the state of sleep. We can thus see that the life of emotions in us has a different relationship to our whole existence from that of our life of thought.
If we wish, however, to make the distinction quite correctly, we must take cognizance of something else: that is, our dreams. It might be supposed at first that, when the variegated life of dreams works upon us, this consists of concepts continuing their existence into the state of sleep. But, if we test the matter quite accurately, we shall observe that our conceptual life is not continued in our dreams. That which by its very nature wearies us does not continue during our dreams. This occurs only when our concepts. are associated with intense emotions.
It is the emotions that appear in dream pictures. But to realize this it is necessary, of course, to test these things adequately. Take an example: — Someone dreams that he is young again and has one experience or another. Immediately thereafter the dream is transformed and something occurs which he may not have experienced at all. Some sort of occurrence becomes manifest to him which is alien to his memory, because he has not experienced this on the physical plane. But persons known to him appear. How often it occurs that one finds oneself during dreams involved in actions in connection with which one is in the company of friends or acquaintances whom one has not seen for a long time. But, if we examine the thing adequately, we shall be forced to the conclusion that emotions are back of what emerges in dreams. Perhaps, we still cling to the friend of that time, are not yet quite severed from him; there must still be some sort of emotion in us which is connected with him. Nothing occurs in dreams that is not connected with emotions. Accordingly, we must draw a certain conclusion here — that is, that when the concepts which our waking life of day impart to us do not appear in dreams, this proves that they do not accompany us into sleep. When emotions keep us from sleeping, this proves that they do not release us, that they must be present in order to be able to appear in dream pictures. It is the emotions which bring us the dream concepts. This is due to the fact that the emotions are far more intimately connected with man’s real being than is the life of thought. The emotions we carry over even into sleep. In other words, they are a soul element that remains united with us even during sleep. In contrast with ordinary concepts, the emotions are something that accompanies us into sleep, something far more closely, more intensely, connected with the human individuality than is ordinary thinking not pervaded by emotion.
How is it with the third soul component, with the impulses of will? There also we can present a sort of example. Of course, this can be observed only by persons who pay attention to the moment of falling asleep in a rather subtle way. If a person has acquired through training a certain capacity to observe this moment, this observation is extremely interesting. At first, our concepts appear to us to be enveloped in mist; the external world vanishes, and we feel as if our soul being were extended beyond our bodily nature, as if we were no longer compressed within the limits of our skin but were flowing out into the elements of the cosmos. A profound feeling of satisfaction may be associated with falling asleep. Then comes a moment when a certain memory arises. Most likely, extremely few persons have this experience, but we can perceive this moment if we are sufficiently attentive. There appear before our vision the good and also the evil impulses of will that we have experienced; and the strange thing is that, in the presence of the good impulses, One has the feeling: “This is something connected with all wholesome will forces, something that invigorates you.” If the good will impulses present themselves to the soul before the person falls asleep, he feels so much the fresher and more filled with life-forces, and the feeling often arises: “If only this moment could last forever! If only this moment could endure for eternity!” Then one feels, in addition, how the bodily nature is deserted by the soul element. Finally there comes a jerk, and he falls asleep. One does not need to be a clairvoyant in order to experience this, but only to observe the life of the soul.
We must infer from this something extremely important. Our will impulses work before we fall asleep, and we feel that they fructify us. We sense an extraordinary invigoration. As regards the mere emotions, we had to say that these are more closely connected with our individuality than is our ordinary thinking, our ordinary act of conceiving. So we must now say of that which constitutes our will impulses: “This is not merely something that remains with us during sleep, but something which becomes a strengthening, an empowering, of the life within us.” Still more intimately by far are the will impulses in us connected with our life than are our emotions; and whoever frequently observes the moment of falling asleep feels in this moment that, if he cannot look back upon any good will impulses during the day, the effect of this is as if there had been killed within him something of that which enters into the state of sleep. In other words, the will impulses are connected with health and disease, with the life force in us.
Thoughts cannot be seen. We see the rose bush at first by means used in ordinary physical perception; but, when the beholder turns aside or goes away, the image of the object remains in him. He does not see the object but he can form a mental image of it. That is, our thought life is something super-sensible. Completely super-sensible are our emotions; and our will impulses, although they are transmuted into actions, are none the less something super-sensible. But we know at once likewise, when we take into consideration everything which has now been said, that our thought life not permeated by will impulses is least closely connected with us.
Now, it might be supposed that what has just been said is refuted by the fact that, on the following day our concepts of the preceding day confront us again; that we can recollect them. Indeed, we are obliged to recollect. We must, in a super-sensible way, call our concepts back into memory.
With our emotions, the situation is different; they are most intimately united with us. If we have gone to bed in a mood of remorse, we shall sense upon awaking the next morning that we have waked with a feeling of dullness — or something of the sort. If we experienced remorse, we sense this the next day in our body as weakness, lethargy, numbness; joy we sense as strength and elevation of spirits. In this case we do not need first to remember the remorse or the joy, to reflect about them; we feel them in our body. We do not need to recollect what has been there: it is there, it has passed into sleep with us and has lived with us. Our emotions are more intensely, more closely, bound up with the eternal part of us than are our thoughts.
But any one who is able to observe his will impulses feels that they are simply present again; they are always present. It may be that, at the moment of waking, we note that we experience again in its immediacy, in a certain sense, what we experienced as joy in life on the preceding day through our good moral impulses. In reality nothing so refreshes us as that which we cause to flow through our souls on the preceding day in the form of good moral impulses. We may say, therefore, that what we call our will impulses is most intimately of all bound up with our existence.
Thus the three soul components are different from one another, and we shall understand, if we clearly grasp these distinctions, that occult knowledge justifies the assertion that our thoughts, which are super-sensible, bring us into relationship with the super-sensible world, our emotions with another super-sensible world, and our will impulses with still another, even more intimately bound up with our own real being. For this reason we make the following assertion. When we perceive with the external senses, we can thereby perceive everything that is in the physical world. When we conceive, our life of concepts, our thought life, is in relationship with the astral world. Our emotions bring us into connection with what we call the Heavenly World or Lower Devachan. And our moral impulses brings us into connection with the Higher Devachan, or the World of Reason. Man thus stands in relationship with three worlds through the impulses of thought, emotion, and will. To the extent that he belongs to the astral world, he can carry his thoughts into the astral world; he can carry his emotions into the world of Devachan; he can carry into the higher Heavenly World all that he possesses in his soul of the nature of will impulses. [See also — Rudolf Steiner: Macrocosm and Microcosm.]
When we consider the matter in this way, we shall see how justified occult science is in speaking of the three worlds. And, when we take this into consideration, we shall view the realm of the moral in an entirely different way; for the realm of good will impulses gives us a relationship to the highest of the three worlds into which the being of man extends.
Our ordinary thought life reaches only up to the astral world. No matter how brilliant our thoughts may be, thoughts that are not sustained by feelings go no further than into the astral world; they have no significance for other worlds. You will certainly understand in this connection what is said in regard to external science, dry, matter-of-fact external science. No man can by means of thoughts not permeated by emotion affirm anything regarding other worlds than the astral realm. Under ordinary circumstances, the thinking of the scientist, of the chemist, the mathematician, runs its course without any sort of feeling. This goes no further than just under the surface. Indeed, scientific research even demands that it shall proceed in this way, and for this reason it penetrates only into the astral world.
Only when delight or repugnance are associated with the thoughts of the research scientist is there added to these thoughts the element needed in order to penetrate the world of Devachan. Only when emotions enter into thoughts, into concepts, when we feel one thing to be good and another evil, do we combine with thoughts that which carries them into the Heavenly World. Only then can we get a glimpse into deeper foundations of existence. If we wish to grasp something belonging to the world of Devachan, no theories help us in the least. The only thing that helps us is to unite feelings with our thoughts. Thinking carries us only into the astral world.
When the geometrician, for example, grasps the relationships pertaining to the triangle, this helps him only into the astral element. But, when he grasps the triangle as a symbol, and derives from it what lies therein as to the participation of the human being in the three worlds, something regarding his threefoldness, this helps him to a higher level. One who feels in symbols the expression for the soul force, one who inscribes this in his heart, one who feels in connection with everything that people generally merely know, brings his thoughts into connection with Devachan. For this reason, in meditating we must feel our way through what is given us, for only thus do we bring ourselves into connection with the world of Devachan. Ordinary science, therefore, void of any feeling of the heart, can never bring the human being, no matter how keen it may be, into connection with anything except the astral world.
Art, music, painting and the like, on the other hand, lead man into the lower Devachan world. To this statement the objection might be raised that, if it is true that the emotions really lead one into the lower Devachan world, passions, appetites, instincts, would also do this. Indeed, they do. But this is only an evidence of the fact that we are more intimately bound up with our feelings than with our thoughts. Our sympathies may be associated with our lower nature also; an emotional life is brought about by appetites and instincts also, and this leads into lower Devachan. Whereas we absolve in Kamaloka whatever false thoughts we have, we carry with us into the world of Devachan all that we have developed up to the stage of emotions; and this imprints itself upon us even into the next incarnation, so that it comes to expression in our Karma. Through our life of feeling, so far as this can have these two aspects, we either raise ourselves into the world of Devachan, or we outrage it.
Through our will impulses, on the contrary, which are either moral or immoral, we either have a good relationship with the higher world or we injure it, and have to compensate for this in our Karma. If a person is so evil and degenerate that he establishes such a connection with the higher world through his evil impulses as actually to injure this, he is cast out. But the impulse must, nevertheless, have originated in the higher world. The significance of the moral life becomes clear to us in all its greatness when we view the matter in this way.
Out of the worlds with which the human being is in such a close relationship through his threefold soul nature and also through his physical nature — out of these realms proceed those forces which can lead man through the world. That is, when we observe an object belonging to the physical world, this can occur only through the fact that we have eyes to see it with: it is thus that the human being is in relationship with the physical world. Through the fact that he develops his life of thought, he is in relationship with the astral world; through the development of his life of feeling, he is connected with the world of Devachan; and through his moral life with the world of upper Devachan.
Participation of the Human Being
Will: moral impulses
Feelings: aesthetic ideals
Thought: etheric nature
Corporeality: physical-material nature
The human being has four relationships with four worlds. But this signifies nothing else than that he has a relationship with the Beings of these worlds. From this point of view it is interesting to reflect upon man’s evolution, to look into the past, the present, and the immediate future.
From the worlds we have mentioned there proceed those forces which penetrate into our lives. Here we have to point out that, in the epoch which lies behind us, human beings were primarily dependent upon influences from the physical world, primarily capacitated to receive impulses out of the physical world. This lies behind us as the Graeco-Latin epoch. During this epoch Christ worked on earth in a physical body. Since the human being was then capacitated primarily to receive the influences of the forces existing in the physical world, Christ had to appear on the physical plane.
At present we live in an epoch in which thinking is primarily developed, in which man receives his impulses out of the world of thought, the astral world. Even external history demonstrates this. We can scarcely refer to philosophers of the pre-Christian era; at most, to a preparatory stage of thinking. Hence the history of philosophy begins with Thales. Only after the Graeco-Latin epoch does scientific thinking appear. Intellectual thinking comes for the first time about the sixteenth century. This explains the great progress in the sciences, which exclude all emotion from the activity of thought. And science is so specially beloved in our day because in it thought is not permeated with emotions. Our science is void of feeling, and seeks its well-being in the utter absence of sentiments. Alas for one who should experience any feeling in connection with a laboratory experiment! This is characteristic of our epoch, which brings the human being into contact primarily with the astral plane.
The next age, following our own, will already be more spiritual. There the sentiments will play a role even in connection with science. If any one shall then wish to stand an examination for admission to some scientific study, it will be necessary for him to be able to sense the light that exists behind everything, the spiritual world which brings everything into existence. The value of scientific work in any test will then consist in the fact that one shall observe whether a person can develop in the test sufficient emotion; otherwise he will fail in the examination. Even though the candidate may have any amount of knowledge, he will not be able to pass the examination if he does not have the right sentiments. This certainly sounds very queer but it will be true, none the less, that the laboratory table will be raised to the level of an altar, at which the test of a person will consist in the fact that, in the electrolysis of water into oxygen and hydrogen, feelings will be developed in him corresponding with what the Gods feel when this occurs. The human being will then receive his impulses from an intimate connection with the lower Devachan.
And then will come the age that is to be the last before the next great earth catastrophe. This will be the age when man shall be related with the higher world in his will impulses, when that which is moral will be dominant on the earth. Then neither external ability nor the intellect nor the feelings will hold the first rank, but the impulses of will. Not man’s skill but his moral quality will be determinative. Thus will humanity, upon arriving at this point of time, have reached the epoch of morality, during which man will be in a special relationship with the world of higher Devachan.
It is a truth that, in the course of evolution, there awaken in the human being ever greater powers of love, out of which he may draw his knowledge, his impulses, and his activities.
Whereas at an earlier period, when Christ came down to the earth in a physical body, human beings could not have perceived Him otherwise than in a physical body, there are actually awaking in our age the forces through which they shall see the Christ, not in His physical body, but in a form which will exist on the astral plane as an etheric form. Even in our century, from the 1930’s on, and ever increasingly to the middle of the century, a great number of human beings will behold the Christ as an etheric form. This will constitute the great advance beyond the earlier epoch, when human beings were not yet ripe for beholding Him thus. This is what is meant by the saying that Christ will appear in the clouds; for this means that He will appear as an etheric form on the astral plane.
But it must be emphasized that He can be seen in this epoch only in the etheric body. Any one who should believe that Christ will appear again in a physical body loses sight of the progress made by human powers. It is a blunder to suppose that such an event as the appearance of Christ can recur in the same manner as that in which it has already taken place.
The next event, then, is that human beings will see Christ on the astral plane in etheric form, and those who are then living on the physical plane, and who have taken in the teachings of spiritual-science, will see Him. Those, however, who are then no longer living, but who have prepared themselves through spiritual-scientific work will see Him, none the less, in etheric raiment between their death and rebirth. But there will be human beings also who will not be able to see Him in the etheric body. Those who shall have scorned spiritual-science will not be able to see Him, but will have to wait till the next incarnation, during which they may then devote themselves to the knowledge of the spirit and be able to prepare themselves in order that they may be able to understand what then occurs. It will not depend then upon whether a person has actually studied spiritual-science or not while living on the physical plane, except that the appearance of the Christ will be a rebuke and a torment to these, whereas those who strove to attain a knowledge of the spirit in the preceding incarnation will know what they behold.
Then will come an epoch when still higher powers will awake in human beings. This will be the epoch when the Christ will manifest Himself in still loftier manner; in an astral form in the lower world of Devachan. And the final epoch, that of the moral impulse will be that in which the human beings who shall have passed through the other stages will behold the Christ in His glory, as the form of the greatest “Ego,” as the spiritualized Ego-Self, as the great Teacher of human evolution in the higher Devachan.
Thus the succession is as follows: In the Graeco-Latin epoch Christ appeared on the physical plane; in our epoch He will appear as an etheric form on the astral plane; in the next epoch as an astral form on the plane of lower Devachan; and in the epoch of morality as the very essence and embodiment of the Ego.
We may now ask ourselves for what purpose spiritual-science exists. It is in order that there may be a sufficient number of human beings who shall be prepared when these events take place. And even now spiritual-science is working to the end that human beings may enter in the right way into connection with the higher worlds, to the end that they may enter rightly into the etheric-astral, into the aesthetic-Devachanic, into the moral-Devachanic. In our epoch it is the spiritual-scientific movement that aims, in a special way at the goal of having the human being capable in his moral impulses of entering into a right relationship with the Christ.
The next three millennia will be devoted to making the appearance of the Christ in the etheric visible. Only to those whose feelings are wholly materialistic will this be unattainable. A person may think materialistically when he admits the validity of matter alone and denies the existence of everything spiritual, or through the fact that he draws the spiritual down into the material. A person is materialistic also in admitting the existence of the spiritual only in material embodiment. There are also Theosophists who are materialists. These are those who believe that humanity is doomed to the necessity of beholding Christ again in a physical body. One does not escape from being a materialist through being a Theosophist, but through comprehending that the higher worlds exist even when we cannot se them in a sensible manifestation but must evolve up to them in order to behold them.
If we cause all this to pass before our minds, we may say that Christ is the true moral impulse which permeates humanity with moral power. The Christ impulse is power and life, the moral power which permeates the human being. But this moral power must be understood. Precisely as regards our own epoch it is necessary that Christ shall be proclaimed. For this reason Anthroposophy has the mission also of proclaiming the Christ in etheric form.
Before Christ appeared on earth through the Mystery of Golgotha, the teaching about Him was prepared in advance. At that time, likewise, the physical Christ was proclaimed. It was primarily Jeshu ben Pandira who was the forerunner and herald, a hundred years before Christ. He also had the name Jesus, and, in contrast to Christ Jesus, he was called Jesus ben Pandira, son of Pandira. This man lived about a hundred years before our era. One does not need to be a clairvoyant in order to know this, for it is to be found in Rabbinical writings, and this fact has often been the occasion for confusing him with Christ Jesus. Jeshu ben Pandira was at first stoned and then hanged upon the beam of the cross. Jesus of Nazareth was actually crucified.
Who was this Jeshu ben Pandira? He is a great individuality who, since the time of Buddha — that is, about 600 B.C. — has been incarnated once in nearly every century in order to bring humanity forward. To understand him, we must go back to the nature of the Buddha.
We know, of course, that Buddha lived as a prince in the Sakya family five centuries and a half before the beginning of our era. The individuality who became the Buddha at that time had not already been a Buddha. Buddha, that prince who gave to humanity the doctrine of compassion, had not been born in that age as Buddha. For Buddha does not signify an individuality; Buddha is a rank of honor, This Buddha was born as a Bodhisattva and was elevated to the Buddha in the twenty-ninth year of his life, while he sat absorbed in meditation under the Bodhi tree and brought down from the spiritual heights into the physical world the doctrine of compassion. A Bodhisattva he had previously been — that is, in his previous incarnations also — and then he became a Buddha. But the situation is such that the position of a Bodhisattva — that is of a teacher of humanity in physical form — became thereby vacant for a certain period of time, and had to be filled again. As the Bodhisattva who had incarnated at that time ascended in the twenty-ninth year of his life to the Buddha, the rank of the Bodhisattva was at once transferred to another individuality. Thus we must speak of a successor of the Bodhisattva who had now risen to the rank of Buddha. The successor to the Gautama-Buddha-Bodhisattva was that individuality who incarnated a hundred years before Christ as Jeshu ben Pandira, as a herald of the. Christ in the physical body.
He is now to be the Bodhisattva of humanity until he shall in his turn advance to the rank of Buddha after 3,000 years, reckoned from the present time. In other words, he will require exactly 5,000 years to rise from a Bodhisattva to a Buddha. He who has been incarnated nearly every century since that time, is now also already incarnated, and will be the real herald of the Christ in etheric raiment, just as he proclaimed the Christ at that time in advance as the physical Christ. And even many of us will ourselves experience the fact that, during the 1930’s, there will be persons — and more and more later in the century — who will behold the Christ in etheric raiment.
It is in order to prepare for this that spiritual-science exists, and every one who’ works at the task of spiritual-science shares in making this preparation.
The manner in which humanity is taught by its Leaders, but especially by a Bodhisattva who is to become the Maitreya Buddha, changes greatly from epoch to epoch.
Spiritual-science could not have been taught in the Graeco-Latin epoch in the manner in which it is taught today; this would not have been understood by any one at that time. In that period, the Christ Being had to make manifest in physically visible form the goal of evolution, and only thus could He then work. Spiritual research spreads this teaching ever increasingly among human beings, and they will come to understand more and more the Christ Impulse until the Christ Himself shall have entered into them.
Today it is possible by means of the physically uttered word, in concepts and ‘ideas, by means of thinking, to make the goal understandable and to influence men’s souls in a good way, in order to fire them with enthusiasm for aesthetic and moral ideals. But the speech of today will be replaced in later periods of time by forces capable of a mightier stimulation than that which is possible at present by means of speech alone. Then will speech, the word, bring it about that there shall dwell in the word itself powers which shall convey feelings of the heart from soul to soul, from master to pupil, from the Bodhisattva to all those who do not turn away from him. It will then be possible for speech to be the bearer of aesthetic feelings of the heart. But the dawn of a new epoch is needed for this. In our time it would not be possible even for the Bodhisattva himself to exert such influences through the larynx as will then be possible.
And during the final period of time, before the great war of all against all, the situation will be such that, as speech is at present the bearer of thoughts and conceptions and as it will later be the bearer of the feelings of the heart, so will it then carry the moral element, the moral impulses, transmitting these from soul to soul. At present the word cannot have a moral influence. Such words can by no means be produced by our larynx as it is today. But such a power of spirit will one day exist. Words will be spoken through which the human being will receive moral power. Three thousand years after our present time will the Bodhisattva we have mentioned become the Buddha, and his teaching will then cause impulses to stream directly into humanity. He will be the One whom the ancients foresaw: the Buddha Maitreya, a Bringer of Good.
He has the mission of preparing humanity in advance so that it may understand the true Christ Impulse: He has the mission of directing men’s eyes more and more to that which men can love, to bring it about that what men can spread abroad as a theory shall flow into a moral channel so that at length all that men can possess in the form of thoughts shall stream into the moral life. And, whereas it is still entirely possible today that a person may be very keen intellectually but immoral, we are approaching a time when it will be impossible for any one to be at the same time intellectually shrewd and immoral. It will be impossible for mental shrewdness and immorality to go hand in hand.
This is to be understood in the following way. Those who have kept themselves apart, and have opposed the course of evolution, will be the ones who will then battle together, all against all. Even those who develop today the highest intelligence, if they do not develop further during the succeeding epochs in the heart and in the moral life, will gain nothing from their shrewdness. The highest intelligence is, indeed, developed in our epoch. We have reached a climax in this. But one who has developed intelligence today and who shall neglect the succeeding possibilities of evolution, will destroy himself by his own intelligence. This will then be like an inner fire consuming him, devouring him, making him so small and feeble that he will become stupid and be able to achieve nothing — a fire that will annihilate him in the epoch wherein the moral impulses will have reached their climax. Whereas a person can be very dangerous today by means of his immoral shrewdness, he will then be without power to harm. In place of this power, however, the soul will then possess in ever increasing measure moral powers — indeed, moral powers such as a person of the present cannot in the least conceive. The highest power and morality are needed to receive the Christ Impulse into ourselves so that it becomes power and life in us.
Thus we see that spiritual-science has the mission of planting in the present stage of the evolution of humanity the seeds for its future evolution. Of course, we must consider in connection with spiritual-science also that which must be considered in connection with the account of the whole creation of the world: that is, that errors may occur. But even one who cannot as yet enter into the higher worlds can make adequate tests and see whether here and there the truth is proclaimed: here the details must be mutually consistent. Test what is proclaimed, all the individual data which are brought together regarding the evolution of the human being, the single phases in the appearing of the Christ, and the like, and you will see that things mutually confirm one another. This is the evidence of truth which is available even to the person who does not yet see into the higher worlds. One can be quite assured: for those who are willing to test things, the doctrine of the Christ reappearing in the spirit will alone prove to be true.
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