The gods of hindrance

Imagine that you have a car to push. You develop your strength by pushing it. If heavy ballast is put into the car it will be heavier to push, but you would develop greater strength. Suppose the Godhead had let the world’s evolution remain as it was, up to the time just after the Jupiter evolution, men could have certainly developed very well; but humanity could have become still stronger if hindrance had been in its way. For the good of humanity, certain Mights or Spirits of Motion had to receive adverse commands. These were not evil at first, one need not consider them as evil Powers, one might even say they sacrificed themselves by putting obstacles into the way of development. Therefore, these Mights may be called the gods of hindrance, of impediment, in the widest sense of the word.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 110 – The Spiritual Hierarchies: Lecture 10 – Dusseldorf, 18th April 1909

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on May 25, 2016

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Fabricated Nonsense

The only way to reach wider circles and thereby create a better understanding of Spiritual Science is to speak entirely openly to an unprepared public from a spiritual point of view. And so there will be a great proportion of people in the audience that say: ‘What foolish, irrational fabricated nonsense.’

Nevertheless, there will invariably be a few who acknowledge in their mind that there might just be some accuracy in what is brought forward, and they will want to learn more and will delve deeper into the subject. Such a persevering way of coming to know more about spiritual matters is what it is about, and it is what we can accomplish. Therefore, it is quite natural that a large proportion of those who simply attend a lecture on spiritual science out of curiosity will make their judgement known widely: it is a sect that spreads a special kind of rubbish!

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – Geisteswissenschaftliche Menschenkunde – Berlin, 21 October 1908 (page 27)  

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on January 22, 2016

The significance  and justification of obstacles and hindrances

Any action of man that hurts another being or creature or the world in general, hinders the doer in his development. This is what the pilgrimage of life means, that the primary force of the soul, as it goes from incarnation to incarnation, is set for further development. And this development progresses in such a fashion that man as it were is always putting obstacles in his own path. If this primary force were the only thing that were active — it is this very force that is to bring the soul back to the spiritual — man would need only a very short time on earth. But in that case the whole of earth evolution would have taken an entirely different course; it would also have failed to achieve its purpose.

You must not think that man would be better off if he put no obstacles in his own way. It is only by setting himself these handicaps that he grows strong and acquires experience, for it is the very eradicating and overcoming of these hindrances that will make him the strong being he must become by the end of earth evolution. It is thoroughly in keeping with earth evolution that he puts stones in his own path. If he did not have to muster the strength to remove these obstacles he would not acquire this strength at all. Then the world would be the poorer.

We must altogether disregard the good and evil connected with these hindrances and look solely at the wisdom of the world that intended, right from the beginning, that man should have the possibility of setting himself hindrances in earthly evolution so that in removing them he could acquire strength for later. We could even say that the wise guidance of the world allowed man to become evil and gave him the possibility of doing harm, so that in repairing the harm and overcoming the evil he can become stronger in the course of karmic development than he would have become had he reached his goal without effort. This is how we should understand the significance and justification of obstacles and hindrances.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – The Being of Man and His Future Evolution – Illness and karma – Berlin, 26th January 1909

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Previously posted on March 20, 2016

Nationality

When we look at what we call the higher self of man, the expression nationality loses its meaning. For what is meant by nationality is laid aside, when we go through the gate of death.  And if we want to be spiritually aspiring people in earnest, it is fitting to remember that man, in successive incarnations, does not belong to one but to many different nationalities and that which connects him to a specific nationality, must be laid aside the moment we go through the gate of death.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 157 – Menschenschicksale und Völkerschicksale – Berlin, October 31, 1914 (page 28)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Kamaloka/Devachan

Man passes through the Kamaloka period which lasts roughly a third of the length of his earthly life — in reverse sequence. Assuming that a man dies in his fortieth year, he will pass through all the experiences he has gone through in life in the reverse order, beginning with his thirty-ninth year, then the thirty-eighth, the thirty-seventh, the thirty-sixth, and so on. He really does go through his whole life backwards, right to the moment of birth.

This is what is behind the beautiful words of Christ, when He was speaking of man’s entry into the spiritual world or the kingdom of Heaven: ‘Except ye … become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven!’ In other words, man lives backwards as far as his first moments and being absolved of everything, he can then enter Devachan or the kingdom of Heaven, and be in the spiritual world from then onwards. This is difficult to imagine, as we are so very accustomed to time being absolute, like it is on the physical plane. It requires considerable effort to get used to this, but it will come.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – The Being of Man and His Future Evolution: Lecture 6: Illness and Karma – Berlin, 26th January 1909

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Previously posted on March 18, 2016