18 December 1912, Munich
Friends have expressed the wish that I should speak today on the subject of the lecture here a year ago, when it was said that the Initiation of Christian Rosenkreutz took place in very special circumstances in the thirteenth century and that since then this Individuality has worked unceasingly in the spiritual life. Today we shall hear still more of Christian Rosenkreutz as we study the great task which devolved upon him at the dawn of the age of intellect in order that provision might be made for the future of humanity.
A being like Christian Rosenkreutz, who is present in the world as a great and eminent occultist has to reckon with the conditions peculiar to his epoch. The intrinsic character of spiritual life as it is in the present age, arose for the first time when modern natural science came upon the scene with men like Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Galileo and others. Human beings today are taught about Copernicus in their early schooldays and the impressions then received remain with them their whole life long. In earlier times it was quite different. — Try to picture what a contrast there is between a man of the modern age and one who lived centuries ago. Before the days of Copernicus, everyone believed that the Earth remains at rest in cosmic space with the sun and the stars revolving around it. The very ground slipped from under men's feet when Copernicus came forward with the doctrine that the Earth is moving with tremendous speed through the universe! We should not underestimate the effects of such a revolution in thinking, accompanied as it was by a corresponding change in the life of feeling. All the thoughts and ideas of men were suddenly different from what they had been before the days of Copernicus! And now let us ask: What has occultism to say about this revolution in thinking?
One who asks from the standpoint of occultism, what kind of world-conception can be derived from the Copernican tenets, will have to admit that although these ideas can lead to great achievements in the realm of natural science and in external life, they are incapable of promoting any understanding of the spiritual foundations of the world and the things of the world — for truth to tell there has never been a worse instrument for understanding the spiritual foundations of the world than the ideas of Copernicus — never in the evolution of the human mind! The reason for this is that all these Copernican concepts are inspired by Lucifer. Copernicanism is one of the last attacks, one of the last great attacks made by Lucifer upon the evolution of man. In earlier, pre-Copernican thought, the external world was, indeed, maya: but much traditional wisdom, much truth concerning the world and the things of the world still survived. Since Copernicus, however, man has maya around him not only in his material perceptions but his concepts and ideas in themselves are maya. Today men regard it as self-evident that the sun stands firmly at the centre with the planets revolving around it in elliptics. In no far distant future, however, it will be realised that the view of the world of stars held by Copernicus is much less correct than the earlier, Ptolemaic view. The view of the world held by the school of Copernicus and Kepler is, in many respects, convenient, but as an explanation of the macrocosm it is not the truth.
And so Christian Rosenkreutz, confronted by a world conception which is itself a maya, an illusion, was obliged to take a stand with regard to it. It devolved upon him to rescue occultism in an age when all the concepts of science were themselves maya — for with its material globes in cosmic space the Copernican world system was maya, even as concept. Thus towards the end of the sixteenth century, there took place one of those Conferences of which we heard here a year ago in connection with the Initiation of Christian Rosenkreutz himself in the thirteenth century. — In this later occult Conference of leading Individualities, [footnote: See East in the Light of the West, Chapter VI, etc.] Christian Rosenkreutz was associated with certain other great Individualities concerned with the leadership of humanity. There were present not only personalities in incarnation on the physical plane but entelechies operating in the spiritual worlds; and the Individuality who in the sixth century before Christ had been incarnated as Gautama Buddha also participated.
The occultists of the East rightly believe — for they know it to be the truth — that the Buddha who in his twenty-ninth year rose from the rank of Bodhisattva to that of Buddha, had incarnated then for the last time in a physical body. It is absolutely true that when the individuality of a Bodhisattva becomes a Buddha, he no longer appears on the Earth in physical incarnation. But this does not mean that he ceases to be active in the affairs of the Earth. The Buddha continues to work for the Earth, although he is never again present in a physical body but sends down his influence from the spiritual world. The “Gloria” heard by the Shepherds in the fields proclaimed from the spiritual world that the forces of Buddha were streaming into the astral body of the Child Jesus described in St. Luke's Gospel. The words of the Gloria came from Buddha who was working in the astral body of the Child Jesus. This wonderful message of Peace and Love is an integral part of Buddha's contribution to Christianity. But later on too, the Buddha works into the deeds of men — not physically but from the spiritual world — and he has co-operated in measures that have been necessary for the sake of progress in the evolution of humanity.
In the seventh and eighth centuries, for example, there was a very important centre of Initiation in the neighbourhood of the Black Sea, in which the Buddha taught, in his spirit-body. In such Schools there are teachers who live in the physical body; but it is also possible for the more advanced pupils to receive instruction from one who teaches in an ether-body only. Among the pupils of the Buddha at that time was one who incarnated again a few centuries later. We are speaking, therefore, of a physical personality who centuries later lived again in a physical body and is known to us as St. Francis of Assisi. The quality characteristic of Francis of Assisi and of the life of his monks — which has so much similarity with that of the disciples of Buddha — is due to the fact that Francis of Assisi himself was a pupil of Buddha.
It is easy to perceive the contrast between the qualities characteristic of men who like Francis of Assisi were striving fervently for the Spirit and those engrossed in the world of industry, technical life and discoveries of modern civilisation. Many there were, including occultists, who suffered deeply at the thought that in the future two separate classes of human beings would inevitably arise. They foresaw the one class wholly given up to the affairs of practical life, convinced that security depends entirely upon the production of means of nourishment, the construction of machines, and so forth; whereas the other class would be composed of men who, like Francis of Assisi, withdraw altogether from the practical affairs of the world for the sake of the spiritual life. Left to itself, without intervention, history would inevitably have taken this course. But in the wise counsels of the spiritual worlds, steps were taken to avert the worst form of this evil on the Earth.
A Conference of the greatest and most advanced Individualities was called together by Christian Rosenkreutz. His most intimate pupil and friend, the great teacher Buddha, participated in these counsels and in the decisions reached. At that spiritual Conference it was resolved that henceforward Buddha would dwell on Mars and there unfold his influence and activity. Buddha transferred his work to Mars in the year 1604. And on Mars he performed a deed similar to that performed by Christ on the Earth in the Mystery of Golgotha. Christian Rosenkreutz had known what the work of Buddha on Mars would signify for the whole Cosmos, what his teachings of Nirvana, of liberation from the Earth would signify on Mars. The teaching of Nirvana was unsuited to a form of culture directed primarily to practical life. Buddha's pupil, Francis of Assisi, was an example of the fact that this teaching produces in its adepts complete remoteness from the world and its affairs. But the content of Buddhism which was not adapted to the practical life of man between birth and death was of high importance for the soul between death and a new birth. Christian Rosenkreutz realised that for a certain purification needed on Mars, the teachings of Buddha were pre-eminently suitable. The Christ Being, the Essence of Divine Love, had once come down to the Earth to a people in many respects alien, and in the seventeenth century, Buddha, the Prince of Peace, went to Mars — the planet of war and conflict — to execute his mission there. The souls on Mars were warlike, torn with strife. Thus Buddha performed a deed of sacrifice similar to the deed performed in the Mystery of Golgotha by the Bearer of the Essence of Divine Love. To dwell on Mars as Buddha was a deed of sacrifice offered to the Cosmos. He was as it were the lamb offered up in sacrifice on Mars and to accept this environment of strife was for him a kind of crucifixion. Buddha performed this deed on Mars in the service of Christian Rosenkreutz. Thus do the great Beings who guide the world work together, not only on the Earth but from one planet to another.
Since the Mystery of Mars was consummated by Gautama Buddha, human beings have been able to receive different forces from Mars during the corresponding period between death and a new birth. Not only does a man bring with him into a new birth quite different forces from Mars, but because of the influence exercised by the spiritual deed of Buddha, forces also stream from Mars into men who practise meditation as a means for reaching the spiritual world. When the modern pupil of Spiritual Science meditates in the sense indicated by Christian Rosenkreutz, forces sent to the Earth by Buddha as the Redeemer of Mars, stream to him.
Christian Rosenkreutz is thus revealed to us as the great Servant of Christ Jesus; but what Buddha, as the emissary of Christian Rosenkreutz, was destined to contribute to the work of Christ Jesus — this had also to come to the help of the work performed by Christian Rosenkreutz in the service of Christ Jesus. The soul of Gautama Buddha has not again been in physical incarnation on the Earth but is utterly dedicated to the work of the Christ Impulse. What was the word of Peace sent forth from the Buddha to the Child Jesus described in the Gospel of St. Luke? “Glory in the Heights and on the Earth — Peace!” And this word of Peace, issuing mysteriously from Buddha, resounds from the planet of war and conflict to the soul of men on the Earth.
Because all these things had transpired, it was possible to avert the division of human beings into the two distinct classes — consisting on the one hand of men of the type of Francis of Assisi and on the other, men who live wholly in materialism. If Buddha had remained in direct and immediate connection with the Earth he would not have been able to concern himself with the “men of practical affairs”; and his influence would have made the others into monks like Francis of Assisi. Through the deed of Redemption performed by Gautama Buddha on Mars, it is possible for us, when we are passing through the Mars-period of existence between death and a new birth, to become followers of Francis of Assisi without causing subsequent deprivation to the Earth. Grotesque as it may seem, it is true nevertheless, that since the seventeenth century, every human being in the Mars-existence is, for a time, a Buddhist, a Franciscan, an immediate follower of Francis of Assisi. Francis of Assisi has since made only one brief incarnation on Earth as a child; he died in childhood and has not again incarnated. He is intimately linked with the work of Buddha on Mars and is one of his most eminent followers.
We have thus placed before our souls a picture of what came to pass through that great Conference at the end of the sixteenth century, resembling what had happened on Earth in the thirteenth century, when Christian Rosenkreutz gathered his faithful around him. Nothing less was accomplished than this. — It was possible to avert from humanity the threatened separation into two classes, so that men might remain inwardly united. And those who are intent upon esoteric development, in spite of their absorption in practical life, can achieve their goal because the Buddha is working from the sphere of Mars and not from the sphere of the Earth. Those forces which help to promote a healthy esoteric life are also attributable to the work and influence of Buddha.
In my book, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment, I have dealt with the methods that are appropriate for meditation today. The essential point is that in Rosicrucian training, development is such that the human being is not torn away from the earthly activities demanded of him by karma. Rosicrucian esoteric development can proceed without causing the slightest disturbance in any situation or occupation. Because Christian Rosenkreutz was able to transfer the work of Buddha from the Earth to Mars, it has become possible for the influences of Buddha, from outside the Earth, to pour down to men.
Again, then, we have heard of one of the spiritual deeds of Christian Rosenkreutz but to understand these deeds of the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries we must find our way to their esoteric meaning and significance. It would be good if people were to realise how entirely consistent the progress of Theosophy in the West has been since the founding of the Middle European Section of the Theosophical Society. Here in Switzerland, lecture-courses have been given on the four Gospels. The substance of all these lectures is contained in germ in my book Christianity as Mystical Fact, written twelve years ago. The book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment describes the Western path of development that is compatible with practical activities of every kind. Today I have indicated that a basic factor in these matters is the mission assigned to Gautama Buddha by Christian Rosenkreutz, for I have spoken of the significant influence which the transference of Buddha to Mars made possible in our solar system. And so stone after stone fits into its proper place in our Western Theosophy, for it has been built up consistently and in obedience to principle and everything that comes later harmonises with what went before. Inner consistency is essential in any conception of the world, if it is to stand upon the ground of truth. And those who are able to draw near to Christian Rosenkreutz see with wondering veneration by what consistent paths he has carried through the great mission entrusted to him. In our time this is the Rosicrucian-Christian path of development. That the great teacher of Nirvana is now fulfilling a mission outside the Earth, on Mars — this too is one of the wise and consistent deeds of Christian Rosenkreutz.