Just reading is not enough

This book (Theosophy) cannot be read in the customary manner of the present day. In certain respects every page, and even many sentences, will have to be worked out by the reader. This has been aimed at intentionally because only in this way can the book become to the reader what it ought to be. The one who merely reads it through will not have read it at all. Its truths must be experienced, lived. Only in this sense has spiritual science any value.

The book cannot be judged from the standpoint of science if the point of view adopted in forming such a judgment is not gained from the book itself. If the critic will adopt this point of view, he will certainly see that the presentation of the facts given in this book will in no way conflict with truly scientific methods. The author is satisfied that he has taken care not to come into conflict with his own scientific scrupulousness even by a single word.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy – An Introduction to the Supersensible Knowledge of the World and the Destination of Man: From the prefaces to the first, second and third editions

Translated by Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D

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Kamaloka – How long does that last approximately?

Whereas here in life we can recollect all that we have experienced in our day-life, after death — after the time of the life-tableau is past — we obtain a memory of all our nights. This is an important secret which is revealed to us. We remember all our night-life. This review so presents itself that we really live backwards starting from the last night passed here in life, passing to the preceding one, and so on. In this way we experience the whole life again backwards, but as seen from the night-aspect. 

One experiences again in this retrospective recollection, what one has unconsciously thought and investigated. One really goes back through one’s life, but not from the day-aspect. How long does that last approximately? Now remember that we sleep away about one-third of our life. As you know, there are people who naturally sleep much more. But on an average we sleep away a third of our life. Therefore this retrospect also lasts about one-third of our earth-life, because we experience the nights. 

Rudolf Steiner – The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death: LECTURE 1: SPIRITUAL LIFE IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD AND LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH – Berlin, 16th November 1915

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Blind after death (2 of 2)

And anyone who declares that ordinary knowledge acquired through healthy human reason does not give him eyes for supersensible existence but that for this he needs clairvoyance — anyone who speaks like this might just as well declare that man cannot think unless his eyes do the thinking. As little as in physical life the eyes need think, as little does knowledge of the supersensible worlds need clairvoyance for the purposes I have indicated today.

Naturally, there would be no supersensible knowledge on Earth if there were no clairvoyance; but even the seer must make intelligible in the ordinary way what he sees in the supersensible. However powerful a man’s clairvoyant faculty might be in earthly life, however clear his vision of the spiritual world, if he were too easy-going to bring into the form of logical, intelligible ideas what he sees in the spiritual world, he would still be blinded in the spiritual world after death.

What constitutes the great suffering for one who has insight into modern Initiation-Science is that he must admit: materialism makes men blind when they pass through the gate of death. And here again is something showing that it is of significance for the whole of cosmic existence whether man today inclines to supersensible knowledge or not. The time when it is essential for him to do so has arrived; the very progress of humanity depends upon man acquiring supersensible knowledge.

Source: Rudolf Steiner- GA 219 – Man/World of Stars: IV: Rhythms of Earthly and Spiritual Life. Love, Memory, the Moral Life. – Dornach, December 15, 1922

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Blind after death (1 of 2)

If between birth and death no knowledge of the supersensible world is developed, this will mean blindness in the life in the supersensible world between death and a new birth, just as the absence of eyes means blindness in the spatial organism. Man passes through death even if on Earth he acquires no knowledge of the supersensible world; but he enters then into a world where he sees nothing, where he can only grope his way about.

This is the agonizing experience that is the natural corollary of the materialistic age for one who has true insight into Initiation-Science today. He sees how men on Earth lapse into materialism; but he also knows what this lapse means for the spiritual life. He knows that it means eradication of the eyes, that in the existence awaiting them after death, men will only be able to grope their way about. In olden times, when there was instinctive knowledge of the supersensible world, men passed through the gate of death able to see. That old, instinctive supersensible knowledge is now extinct. 

Today, spiritual knowledge must be consciously acquired — spiritual knowledge, I say, not clairvoyance. As I have always emphasized, clairvoyance too can be attained, but that is not the essential here. The essential thing is that what is discovered through clairvoyant research shall be understood — as it can be understood — by ordinary human reason, healthy human reason. Clairvoyance is needed to investigate these things, but it is not needed for acquiring the faculty of sight in the supersensible world after death. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner- GA 219 – Man/World of Stars: IV: Rhythms of Earthly and Spiritual Life. Love, Memory, the Moral Life. – Dornach, December 15, 1922

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Life gains in worth and significance

The purpose of this book (Theosophy) is to give a description of some of the regions of the supersensible world. The reader who is only willing to admit the existence of the sensible world will look upon this description as merely an unreal production of the imagination. Whoever looks for paths that lead beyond this world of the senses, however, will soon learn to understand that human life only gains in worth and significance through insight into another world. He will not, as many fear, be estranged from the “real” world through this new power of vision because only through it does he learn to stand securely and firmly in this life and learns to know the causes of life. Without this power of vision he gropes like a blind man through their effects. Only through the understanding of the supersensible does the sensible “real” acquire meaning. A man therefore becomes more and not less fit for life through this understanding. Only he who understands life can become a truly practical man.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy – An Introduction to the Supersensible Knowledge of the World and the Destination of Man: From the prefaces to the first, second and third editions

Translated by Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D

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