Man, Ideal of the Gods

When we observe these things a stupendous fact is revealed, viz, that man is the ideal and aim of Gods. But this vision cannot be for man the source of vanity and pride …The Divine Spiritual Beings confront one another in the Cosmos.  The visible expression of this fact is the form of the starry heavens.  They wished to create in a unity as Man all that they themselves are as a choir.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts – What is Revealed When One Looks Back into Former Lives Between Death and a New Birth – I

On above:

“Rudolf Steiner … said: ‘People on Earth have all kinds of religions, but all these religions have one thing in common: that man looks up to higher beings, the gods, and worships them. But these higher beings, the gods, also have a religion: they too look up to something in awe and reverence. What is this religion of the gods? What is it that the gods revere? It is man. Man is the religion of the gods.’

What did Rudolf Steiner mean with this strange statement which almost sounds like blasphemy? It does not mean that the higher beings, who are far superior to us in wisdom and power, look up in reverence to you or to me — or to any individual human soul. What the gods look up to is the ideal human being …

It is for the sake of this ultimate end, for the sake of this perfect man, that the whole universe and all there is in it has come into existence, it is for the sake of that perfect man at the end of time that the whole world has been created. In the Bhagavad Gita, the holy book of the Hindus, the hero Arjuna is given a vision of this ideal and is overwhelmed by it.

Every human soul is on a pilgrimage to this distant goal, to this ideal of human perfection. But there was a time in the evolution of mankind when there was the danger that souls would be turned away from the path to perfect man and lose all connection with the true aim of evolution. That is when Christ came into the physical world and lived in a human body, so as to keep mankind on the right path towards the ideal that is the religion of the gods. And so Christ has united himself with this great ideal of mankind, with the perfect human being. He has become one with the ideal to which all human souls strive.”

Source: Charles Kovacs – The Spiritual Background to Christian Festivals – “Christmas,” pp. 72-74

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Practical life is the best spiritual preparation (2- End)

The awakening to spiritual perception can only follow from a healthy life during the day, just as the awakening to a healthy life during the day can only come about from a healthy sleep not disturbed by illness. Everything whereby man is in some way alienated from the realities of life, all that people search for out of folly, prejudice, false asceticism, aversion to life, living in mystical twilight or mystical darkness – all that the spiritual scientist needs to ban from his life.  To stand properly in everyday life, face to face with practical reality, that is the best preparation for entering the spiritual world.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 72 – Freiheit, Unsterblichkeit, Soziales Leben – Basel, 19th October 1917 (page 78-79)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on January 5, 2015

Practical life is the best spiritual preparation (1)

In my book “Vom Menschenrätsel” I have pointed out that one can say: as a man awakes from sleep in which has only a very dull consciousness, to the ordinary waking consciousness, so he can wake up from this ordinary consciousness, in which he usually lives his life, to perceive the spiritual. It is an awakening into a supersensible world that one acquires through spiritual exercises. But in the same way that everyday life can never be healthy if one does not also regularly have a healthy sleep life, so can the entrance into the world of spirit not be healthy, if one does not first develop a healthy waking life grounded in reality and practical insight; If one does not first discipline oneself, so that one can handle the realities of external life.

To be continued

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 72 – Freiheit, Unsterblichkeit, Soziales Leben – Basel, 19th October 1917 (page 78-79)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on January 4, 2015

It will not be so comfortable

During my life I received innumerable letters from church people stating that Anthroposophy is a fine thing, but that it contradicts the “simple”, “plain Christian faith” of the soul’s salvation through Christ, of eternal life attained through Christ, without having to do anything for it. “Faith in the salvation through Christ” is something which they cannot abandon. When people write or say such things, they think that they are especially pious. But they are simply selfish, thoroughly selfish and egoistic, for they do not wish to make any effort in their soul, they wish to leave everything to God, who will carry their soul safely through the portal of death and pension it off.

Matters will not be so comfortable in the world conception which will in future create the religious substance. We will have to grasp that the divine essence within us must be developed within the soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 296 – The Inexpressible Name, Spirits of Space and Time.Conquering Egotism – Dornach, 17th August 1919

Previously posted on January 6, 2015

The first essential is to avoid one-sidedness

It is essential, if one wants to form a correct idea of what thinking is, to understand clearly that the truth of a thought in the realm to which it belongs is no evidence for its general validity. Someone can offer me a perfectly correct proof of this or that and yet it will not hold good in a sphere to which it does not belong. Anyone, therefore, who intends to occupy himself seriously with the paths that lead to a conception of the world must recognise that the first essential is to avoid one-sidedness. That is what I specially want to bring out to-day.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 151 – Human and Cosmic Thought: Lecture II – Berlin, 21st January 1914 

Translated by Charles Davy

Previously posted on December 31, 2014