61463114 theosophy-rudolph-steiner-1910-247pgs-spt

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61463114 theosophy-rudolph-steiner-1910-247pgs-spt

  1. 1. THEOSOPHY
  2. 2. THEOSOPHYAN INTRODUCTION TO THE SUPERSENSIBLE KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD AND THE DESTINATION OF MAN BY RUDOLF STEINER TRANSLATED WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR FROM THE THIRD GERMAN EDITION BY E . D . S.RAND McNALLY & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS CHICAGO I 9 I0 NEW YORK
  3. 3. Copyright, rgro,By RAND, MCNALLY & COMPANY .
  4. 4. CONTENTS PAGETranslators Foreword ixPreface to the First Edition xiPreface to the Third Edition xvIntroduction ICHAPTER I. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING . . . 9 I. THE CORPOREAL BEING OF MAN 15 2. THE SOUL BEING OF MAN 18 3. THE SPIRITUAL BEING OF MAN 20 4. BODY, SOUL, AND SPIRIT . . . 22 II . RE-EMBODIMENT OF THE SPIRIT AND DESTINY . . 59 RE-INCARNATION AND KARMA 59 [II . THE THREE WORLDS . . . 87 I. THE SOUL WORLD . . . . 87 2. THE SOUL IN THE SOUL WORLD AFTER DEATH 1o9 3. THE SPIRIT-LAND . . . 129 4. THE SPIRIT IN THE SPIRIT-LAND AFTER DEATH . . . . 141 5. THE PHYSICAL WORLD AND ITS CON- NECTION WITH THE SOUL AND SPIRIT-LANDS 161 6. THOUGHT-FORMS AND THE HUMAN AURA . . . . 178 IV. THE PATH OF KNOWLEDGE 195Notes and Amplifications . 225 V11
  5. 5. TRANSLATORS FOREWORD IT is significant of the movement of thoughtin our time that, although the previous worksof Rudolf Steiner, Ph .D . Vienna, such ashis penetrating and suggestive "ErkenntnissTheorie" (Theory of Knowledge), his worksin the field of philosophy such as "Wahrheitand Wissenschaft" (Truth and Science), andhis volumes on the natural science of Goethe,are well known in Germany, it is another classof books by him, "Die Mystik" (Mysticism),"Das Christentum als Mystische Tatsache"(Christianity as a Fact in Mysticism), andhis distinctively theosophic writings, whichare the first to be called for by foreign readersin their own language. This work, though now appearing for thefirst time in English dress, has not only passedinto three editions in Germany, but has beentranslated into Russian, Swedish, Dutch,Czechish, and Italian, while a French trans-lation is being prepared . It were perhaps well to mention that in ix
  6. 6. x TRANSLATORS FOREWORDthis work the words "know" and "knowledge,"when used in reference to the supersensibleworlds, involve actual experience of themgained by man through his higher organs ofperception . The names chosen by the author to describethe higher bodies of man, and other theosophicfacts, have been, as far as possible, retainedhere. Readers will find that they revert withprimitive strength to the ancient power ofnames, and are word pictures and alsomnemonics of what they represent . They thusconstitute distinct forces too valuable to bewithheld from the English reading public . Grateful acknowledgment must be expressedhere to I. M . M. for her chivalrous help-which indeed made this translation possible-and to others who have rendered invaluableand willing assistance. E. D. S.
  7. 7. PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION THIS book will give a description of some ofthe regions of the supersensible world . Thereader who is willing to admit the existenceof the sensible world only will regard thisdelineation as a mere unreal production of theimagination. He, however, who looks forpaths that lead beyond this world of the senseswill soon learn to understand that human lifeonly gains in worth and significance throughsight into another world . Such a man will not,as many fear, be estranged from the "real"world through this new power of vision . Foronly through it does he learn to stand fast andfirm in this life . He learns to know the CAUSESof life, while without it he gropes like a blindman through their EFFECTS. Only through theunderstanding of the supersensible does thesensible "real" acquire meaning . One there-fore becomes more, and not less, fit for lifethrough this understanding. Only he who xi
  8. 8. xii PREFACEunderstands life can become a truly practicalman . The author of this book describes nothingto which he cannot bear witness from experi-ence, that kind of experience which one has inthese regions . Only that which in this sensehas been personally experienced will be dealtwith . One cannot read this book as one is accus-tomed ordinarily to read books at the presentday. In certain respects every page, and evenmany a sentence, will have to be WORKED OUTby the reader. This has been intentionallyaimed at . For only in this way can the bookbecome to the reader what it ought to become .He who merely reads it through will not haveread it at all . Its truths must be experienced,lived . Only in this sense has theosophy anyvalue . The book cannot be judged from the stand-point of science if the point of view adoptedin forming such a judgment is not gained fromthe book itself . If the critic will adopt thispoint of view, he will certainly see that thepresentation of the facts given in this book willin no way conflict with the truly scientific
  9. 9. PREFACEmethods. The author is satisfied that he hasbeen on the alert not to come into conflict withhis own scientific scrupulousness, even by asingle word . Those who feel more drawn to anothermethod of searching after the truths here setforth will find one in my "Philosophie derFreiheit" (Philosophy of Freedom), Berlin,1892. The lines of thought taken in these twobooks, though different, lead to the same goal .For the understanding of the one the other isby no means necessary, although undoubtedlyhelpful for some persons. He who looks for "ultimate" truths in thisbook will, perhaps, lay it aside unsatisfied .The primary intention of the author has beento give the FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS underlyingthe whole domain of theosophy . It lies in thevery nature of man to ask at once about thebeginning and the end of the world, the pur-pose of existence, and the nature and being ofGod. Anyone, however, who looks, not formere phrases and concepts for the INTELLECT,but for a real understanding of life, knows thatin a work which deals with the elements ofwisdom, things MAY not be said which belong
  10. 10. xiv PREFACEto the higher stages of wisdom . It is, indeed,only through a comprehension of these ele-ments that it becomes clear how higher ques-tions should be asked . In another work form-ing a continuation of this one, namely, in theauthors "Die Geheimwissenscha f t im Umriss"(An Outline of Occult Science), further par-ticulars on the subject here dealt with will befound.
  11. 11. PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION ON the appearance of the second edition ofthis book occasion was taken to preface a fewremarks which may also be said with regardto this third edition . "Amplifications andextensions," which seem to me important forthe more exact description of what is beingpresented, have again been inserted ; but in nocase have essential alterations of what was con-tained in the first and second editions seemednecessary . What was said on the first appear-ance of the book regarding its aim, and whatwas added to this in the second edition, alsorequire, at present, no alteration . In the pref-ace to the second edition the following sup-plementary remarks were inserted . Anyone who at the present time gives adescription of supersensible facts ought to bequite clear on two points . The first is that ourage REQUIRES the cultivation of the differentbranches of supersensible knowledge . The xv
  12. 12. xvi PREFACEother is that the intellectual and spiritual lifeof the day is full of ideas and feelings whichmake such a description appear to many anabsolute chaos of fantastic notions and dreams .The present age requires knowledge of thesupersensible because all that a man can cometo know by current methods about the worldand life arouses in him numerous questionswhich can only be answered by means of super-sensible truths . For one ought not to deceiveoneself in regard to the fact that the informa-tion concerning the fundamental truths ofexistence given within the intellectual andspiritual currents of to-day is, for the souls thatfeel deeply, a source not of answers but ofQUESTIONS regarding the great problems ofthe universe and of life . Some people may,for a time, hold firmly to the opinion that theycan find a solution of the problems of existencewithin the "results of strictly scientific facts,"and within the conclusions of this or thatthinker of the day . But when the soul goesinto those depths into which it must go if it isto understand itself, what at first seemed tobe a solution becomes evident as being only theincentive to the true question . And an answer
  13. 13. PREFACE xviito THIS question is not intended to be broughtforward merely as a response to human curios-ity ; on it, rather, depend the inner calm andcompleteness of the soul life . The attainmentof such an answer does not satisfy merely thethirst for knowledge ; it makes a man capableof practical work and fitted for the duties oflife, while the lack of a solution of these ques-tions lames his soul, and finally his body also .In fact, the knowledge of the supersensible isnot merely something that meets a theoreticalrequirement ; it supplies a method for leadinga truly practical life . Exactly on account ofthe nature of the intellectual and spiritual lifeof the present time, therefore, theosophy is adomain of knowledge indispensable for ourage. On the other hand, it is an evident fact thatmany to-day reject most strongly what theymost sorely need . The dominating influenceexercised by many theories built up on thebasis of "exact scientific experience" is so greaton some people that they cannot do otherwisethan regard the contents of a book like this asa boundless absurdity. The exponent of super-sensible truths can view such facts entirely
  14. 14. xvm PREFACEfree from any illusions . People will certainlybe prone to demand from him that he shouldgive "irrefutable proofs" for what he states .But they do not realize that in doing this theyare the victims of a misconception, for theydemand, although unconsciously, not theproofs lying within the things themselves, butthose which they personally are willing to rec-ognize or are in a condition to recognize . Theauthor of this work knows that it contains noth-ing that any person taking his stand on thebasis of the natural science of the present daywill be unable to accept. He knows that allthe requirements of natural science can be com-plied with, and FOR THIS VERY REASON themethod adopted here of presenting the factsof the supersensible world supplies its ownjustification . In fact, the manner in which atrue natural science approaches and deals witha subject is the very one in full harmony withthis presentation . And anyone accustomed tothink in that manner will be moved by many adiscussion to feel in the way characterized inGoethes deep and true saying, "A false teach-ing does not offer any opening to refutation,for it is, in fact, based on the conviction that
  15. 15. PREFACE xixthe false is true." Discussions are fruitlesswith those who allow only such proofs to weighwith them as fit in with their own manner ofthinking . He who knows the true essence ofwhat is called "proving" a matter sees clearlythat the human soul finds truth by other waysthan discussion. It is with these thoughts inmind that the author hands over this book forpublication in its second edition . Unfortunately, too long a time has elapsedbetween the date at which the second editionwas exhausted and the appearance of this thirdedition . Pressing work of other kinds, in thedomain to which this book is devoted, delayedthe author in the examination he wished to giveto the book, and prevented its appearing assoon as he had hoped . RUDOLF STEINER . 2
  16. 16. THEOSOPHY INTRODUCTION WHEN JOHANN GOTTLIEB FICHTE, in theautumn of 1813, gave to the world his "Intro-duction to the Science of Knowledge" as theripe fruit of a life wholly devoted to the serv-ice of truth, he said, at the very beginning :"This science presupposes an entirely newinner sense organ or instrument, by means ofwhich there is revealed a new world whichdoes not exist for the ordinary man ." And heproceeded to give the following comparisonto show how incomprehensible this doctrine ofhis must be when judged by means of concep-tions founded on the ordinary senses : "Thinkof a world of people born blind, who thereforeknow only those objects and relations whichexist through the sense of touch . Go amongthem and speak to them of colors and the other I
  17. 17. a THEOSOPHYrelations which exist only through light andfor the sense of sight . Either you convey noth-ing to their minds, and this is the more fortu-nate if they tell you so, for you will in that wayquickly notice the mistake and, if unable toopen their eyes, will cease the useless speak-ing. . . ." Now those who speak to peopleabout such things as Fichte deals with in thisinstance find themselves only too often in aposition like that of a man who can see amongthe born blind . But these are things that referto mans true being and highest goal, and tobelieve it necessary "to cease the useless speak-ing" would amount to despairing of humanity .On the contrary, one should not for onemoment doubt the possibility of opening theeyes of everyone to these things, provided thathe is in earnest in the matter . On this suppo-sition have all those written and spoken whofelt that within themselves the "inner sense-instrument" had grown by which they wereable to know the true nature and being of man,which is hidden from the outer senses . Thisis why from the most ancient times such a"Hidden Wisdom" has been again and againspoken of . Those who have grasped some-
  18. 18. INTRODUCTION 3thing of it feel just as sure of their possessionas people with normal eyes feel sure that theypossess the conception of color . For them this"Hidden Wisdom" requires no "proof ."They know also that it requires no proof forany other person who, like themselves, hasunfolded the "higher sense ." Such a one canspeak as a traveler can about America to peo-ple who have not themselves seen that country,but who can form a conception of it becausethey would see all that he has seen if the oppor-tunity presented itself to them . But not only to such has the investigator ofthe higher truth to speak . He must addresshis words to all mankind . For he has to makeknown things that concern all humanity .Indeed he knows that without a knowledge ofthese things no one can, in the true sense of theword, be a "human being ." And he speaks toall mankind because he knows that there aredifferent grades of understanding for what hehas to say. He knows that even those who arestill far from the moment in which they willthemselves be capable of spiritual investiga-tion can bring a certain measure of under-standing to meet him . For the FEELING for
  19. 19. 4 THEOSOPHYtruth and the power of UNDERSTANDING it isinherent in EVERY human being . And to thisUNDERSTANDING, which can flash forth inevery healthy soul, he in the first placeaddresses himself . He also knows that in thisUNDERSTANDING there is a force which, littleby little, must lead to the higher grades ofKNOWLEDGE . This feeling, which perhaps atfirst sees NOTHING AT ALL of that which is toldit, is itself the magician which opens the "eyeof the spirit." In darkness this feeling stirs ;the soul does not SEE, but through this feelingit is seized by the POWER of THE TRUTH ; andthen the truth will gradually draw nearer tothe soul and open in it the "higher sense ."For one person it may take a longer, foranother a shorter time, but everyone who haspatience and endurance reaches this goal . Foralthough not every physical eye can be oper-ated on, EVERY SPIRITUAL EYE can be opened,and when it will be opened is only a questionof time . Erudition and scientific training are notessential to the unfolding of this "highersense ." It can be developed in the simple-minded person just as in the scientist of high
  20. 20. INTRODUCTION 5standing . Indeed, what is often called at thepresent time "the only true science" can, forthe attainment of this goal, be a hindrancerather than a help . For this science too oftenpermits to be considered "real" only what isperceptible to the ordinary senses . And how-ever great its merit is in regard to the knowl-edge of THAT reality, it creates at the sametime a mass of prejudices which close theapproach to higher realities . In objection to what is said here it is oftenbrought forward that "insurmountable limits"have been once and forever set to humanknowledge, and that, since one cannot passbeyond these limits, all branches of investiga-tion and knowledge which do not take theminto account must be rejected . And a personwho wishes to make assertions about thingswhich many regard as proved to lie beyondthe limits that have been set to human capac-ities of knowledge, is looked upon as highlypresumptuous . Those who make such objec-tions entirely disregard the fact that a DEVEL-OPMENT of the human powers of knowledgehas to precede the higher knowledge . Whatlies beyond the limits of knowledge BEFORE
  21. 21. 6 THEOSOPHYsuch a development is, after the awakening offaculties slumbering in each human being,entirely WITHIN the realm of knowledge. Onepoint in this connection must, indeed, not beneglected . One could say, "Of what use is itto speak to people about things for which theirpowers of knowledge are not yet awakened,and which are therefore still closed to them?"But that is also the wrong way to look at it .One requires certain faculties to FIND OUT thethings referred to ; but if, after having beenfound out, they are made known, EVERY PER-SON can understand who is willing to bring tobear upon them unprejudiced logic and ahealthy instinct for truth . In this book thethings made known are of no other kind thansuch as can produce the impression thatthrough them the riddle of human life and thephenomena of the world find a satisfyingexplanation . This it can do on anyone whoallows thinking that looks at all sides of a sub-ject and is unclouded by prejudice, and a feel-ing for truth that is free, and sets no reserves,to take effect . Let one merely place himself inthe attitude of asking, "If the things that areasserted here are true, do they afford a satisfy-
  22. 22. INTRODUCTION 7ing explanation of life?" and one will find that the life of each human being supplies the con- firmation. In order to be a "teacher" in these higher regions of existence, it is by no means sufficientthat a person has developed the sense for them . For that purpose "science" is necessary, just asmuch as it is necessary for the teachers callingin the region of ordinary reality . "Higherseeing" alone makes a "knower" in the spiritualjust as little as healthy sense organs make a"scholar" in regard to the sensible realities .And because in truth ALL reality, the lowerand the higher spiritual, are only two sides ofone and the same fundamental essence, anyonewho is unlearned in the lower branches ofknowledge will as a rule remain so in regardto the higher . This fact creates a feeling ofresponsibility that is immeasurable in himwho, by a spiritual call, is destined to be ateacher in the spiritual regions of existence .It creates in him humility and reservedness .But it should deter no one from occupyinghimself with the higher truths, not even himwhose other circumstances of life afford noopportunity for the study of ordinary science.
  23. 23. 8 THEOSOPHYFor one can, indeed, fulfill ones task as ahuman being without understanding anythingof botany, zoology, mathematics, and othersciences ; but one cannot, in the full sense ofthe word, be a "human" being without having,in some way or other, come near to a percep-tion of the nature and destination of manrevealed in the "Higher Wisdom ." The highest to which a man is able to lookup he calls the "Divine." And he has in someway or other to bring his highest destinationinto connection with this Divinity . For thisreason the higher wisdom which reveals to himhis own being, and with it his destination, mayvery well be called "Divine Wisdom," orTHEOSOPHY . From the point of view here indicated therewill be sketched in this book an outline of thetheosophical interpretation of the universe .The writer of it will present nothing that isnot a FACT for him, in the same sense as anexperience of the outer world is a fact for eyesand ears and the ordinary intelligence . Indeed,experiences will be dealt with which becomeaccessible to each person who is determined totread the "path of knowledge" described in aspecial section of this work .
  24. 24. CHAPTER I THE CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING THE following words of Goethes describe,in a beautiful manner, the starting point ofone of the ways by which the constitution ofman can be known : "When a person firstbecomes aware of the objects surrounding him,he observes them in relation to himself, andrightly so, for his whole fate depends onwhether they please or displease him, attractor repel, help or harm him . This quite naturalway of looking at and judging things appearsto be as easy as it is necessary. Nevertheless,a person is exposed through it to a thousanderrors which often cause him shame andembitter his life . A far more difficult task dothose undertake whose keen desire for knowl-edge urges them to strive to observe the objectsof nature in themselves and in their relationsto each other, for they soon miss the gaugewhich helped them when they, as persons, 9
  25. 25. To THEOSOPHYregard the objects in reference to THEMSELVESpersonally. They lack the gauge of pleasureand displeasure, attraction and repulsion, use-fulness and harmfulness ; this gauge they haveto renounce entirely . They should, as dispas-sionate and, so to speak, divine beings, seek andexamine what is, and not what gratifies . Thusthe true botanist should not be affected eitherby the beauty or by the usefulness of the plants .He has to study their structure and their rela-tion to the rest of the vegetable kingdom ; andjust as they are one and all enticed forth andshone upon by the sun, so should he with anequable, quiet glance look at and survey themall and obtain the gauge for this knowledge,the data for his deductions, not out of himself,but from within the circle of things which heobserves ." The thought thus expressed by Goethedirects attention to three kinds of things .First, the objects concerning which informa-tion continually flows to man through thedoors of his senses, those that he touches, smells,tastes, hears, and sees . Second, the impressionswhich these make on him, and which recordthemselves as his pleasure and displeasure, his
  26. 26. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING i idesire or abhorrence, according as he finds oneharmonious, another inharmonious, one useful,another harmful . Third, the knowledge andthe experiences which he, as a so-to-speak"divine being," gains concerning the objects-the secrets of their activities and their beingwhich unveil themselves to him . These three regions are distinctly separate inhuman life . And man thereby becomes awarethat he is interwoven with the world in a three-fold way . The first way is something that hefinds present and accepts as a given fact .Through the second way he makes the worldinto his own affair, into something that has asignificance for himself . The third way heregards as a goal toward which he has unceas-ingly to strive . Why does the world appear to man in thisthreefold way? The simplest considerationwill explain that . I cross a meadow coveredwith flowers . The flowers make their colorsknown to me through my eyes . That is thefact which I accept as given . I rejoice in thesplendor of the colors . Through this I turnthe fact into an affair of my own . By meansof my feelings I link the flowers with my own
  27. 27. 12 THEOSOPHYexistence . A year after I go again over thesame meadow . Other flowers are there . Newjoy arises in me through them . My joy of theformer year will appear as a memory . It is inme ; the object which aroused it in me is gone .But the flowers which I now see are of thesame species as those I saw the year before ;they have grown in accordance with the samelaws as did the others . If I have enlightenedmyself regarding this species and these laws,I find them again in the flowers of this year asI recognized them in those of the former year .And I shall perhaps muse as follows : "Theflowers of last year are gone ; my joy in themremains only in my remembrance . It is boundup with MY existence alone . That, however,which I recognized in the flowers of the formeryear and recognize again this year, will remainas long as such flowers grow . That is some-thing that revealed itself to me, but which isnot dependent on my existence in the same wayas my joy is . My feelings of joy remain in me ;the laws, the BEING of the flowers, remain out-side of me in the world." Man continually links himself in this three-fold way with the things of the world . One
  28. 28. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 1 3should not for the time being read anythinginto this fact, but merely take it as it presentsitself . It makes it evident that man has THREESIDES TO HIS NATURE . This and nothing elsewill for the present be indicated here by thethree words BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT. He whoconnects any preconceived meanings, or evenhypotheses, with these three words will neces-sarily misunderstand the following explana-tions . By BODY is here meant that by which thethings in the environment of a man revealthemselves to him, as in the example just cited,the flowers of the meadow . By the word SOULis signified that by which he links the things tohis own being, through which he experiencespleasure and displeasure, desire and aversion,joy and sorrow . By SPIRIT is meant that whichbecomes manifest in him when, as Goethe ex-pressed it, he looks at things as "a so-to-speakdivine being ." In this sense the human beingconsists of BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT. Through his body man is able to place him-self for the time being in connection with thethings ; through his soul he retains in himselfthe impressions which they make on him ;through his spirit there reveals itself to him
  29. 29. 14 THEOSOPHYwhat the things retain in themselves . Onlywhen one observes man in these three aspectscan one hope to gain light on his whole being .For these three aspects show him to be relatedin a threefold way to the rest of the world . Through his body he is related to the objectswhich present themselves to his senses fromwithout. The materials from the outer worldcompose this body of his ; and the forces of theouter world work also in it. And just as heobserves the things of the outer world with hissenses, he can also observe his own bodily exist-ence. But it is impossible to observe the soulexistence in the same way . All occurrencesconnected with my body can be perceived withmy bodily senses . My likes and dislikes, myjoy and pain, neither I nor anyone else canperceive with bodily senses . The region of thesoul is one which is inaccessible to bodily per-ception . The bodily existence of a man ismanifest to all eyes ; the soul existence he car- ries within himself as HIS world. Through the SPIRIT, however, the outer world is revealed to him in a higher way . The mysteries of the outer world, indeed, unveil themselves in his inner being ; but he steps in spirit out of him-
  30. 30. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 15self and lets the things speak about themselves,about that which has significance not for himbut for THEM . Man looks up at the starryheavens ; the delight his soul experiencesbelongs to him ; the eternal laws of the starswhich he comprehends in thought, in SPIRIT,belong not to him but to the stars themselves . Thus man is citizen of THREE WORLDS .Through his BODY he belongs to the worldwhich he perceives through his body ; throughhis SOUL he constructs for himself his ownworld ; through his SPIRIT a world revealsitself to him which is exalted above both theothers . It is evident that because of the essentialdifferences of these three worlds, one canobtain a clear understanding of them and ofmans share in them only by means of threedifferent modes of observation . I. THE CORPOREAL BEING OF MAN One learns to know the body of manthrough the bodily senses . And the way ofobserving it can differ in no way from thatby which one learns to know other objects per-ceived by the senses . As one observes min- 3
  31. 31. i6 THEOSOPHYerals, plants, animals, so can one observe manalso. He is related to these three forms ofexistence . Like the minerals he builds hisbody out of the materials in nature ; like theplants he grows and propagates his species ;he perceives the objects around him and, likethe animals, forms on the basis of the impres-sions they make his inner experiences . Onemay therefore ascribe to man a mineral, aplant, and an animal existence . The difference in the structure of minerals,plants, and animals corresponds with thesethree forms of existence . And it is this struc-ture, this shape which one perceives throughthe senses, and which alone one can call body .But the human body is different from that ofthe animal . This difference everybody mustrecognize whatever may be his opinion in otherrespects regarding the relationship of man toanimals. Even the most radical materialistwho denies all soul will not be able to avoidagreeing with the following sentence whichCarus utters in his "Organon der Natur anddes Geistes" : "The finer, inner construction ofthe nervous system, and especially of the brain,remains as yet an unsolved problem to the
  32. 32. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING i7physiologist and the anatomist ; but that thisconcentration of the structure increases moreand more in the animal, and in man reaches astage unequaled in any other being, is a fullyestablished fact, a fact which is of the deepestsignificance in regard to the spiritual evolu-tion of man, of which, indeed, we may franklysay it is a sufficient explanation . Where,therefore, the structure of the brain hasnot developed properly, where its smallnessand poverty show themselves, as in the case ofmicrocephali and idiots, it goes without say-ing that one can as little expect the appearanceof original ideas and of knowledge, as one canexpect propagation of species in persons withcompletely stunted organs of generation . Onthe other hand, a strong and beautiful con-struction of the whole person, especially of thebrain, will certainly not in itself take the placeof genius, but it will at any rate supply the firstand indispensable requirement for higherknowledge ." Just as one ascribes to the hu-man body the three forms of existence, min-eral, plant, animal, one must now ascribe to ityet a fourth, the distinctively HUMAN form .Through his mineral form of existence man
  33. 33. THEOSOPHY related to everything visible, through his Cant- like form of existence to all beings thatgrow and propagate their species, through hisanimal existence to all those that perceive theirsurroundings, and by means of external im-pressions have inner experiences . Throughhis human form of existence he constitutes,even in regard to his body alone, a kingdomby himself . 2. THE SOUL BEING OF MAN The soul being of man differs from his cor-porality through being his own inner world .This inner world peculiar to each person facesone the moment one directs ones attention tothe simplest sensation . One finds, in the firstplace, that no one can know if another personperceives even the simplest sensation inexactly the same way as one does oneself . Itis known that there are people who are color-blind. They see things only in differentshades of gray . Others are partially color-blind. They are unable, because of this, toperceive certain shades of colors. The pic-ture of the world which their eyes give them isdifferent from that of so-called normal per-
  34. 34. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING i9sons . And the same holds good in regard to the other senses . It will be seen, therefore,without further elaboration, that even simplesensations belong to the inner world . I canperceive with my bodily senses the red tablewhich another person also perceives ; but Icannot perceive his sensation of red . Onemust therefore describe sensation as belongingto the SOUL . If one grasps this fact alonequite clearly, he will soon cease to regard innerexperiences AS MERE brain processes or some-thing similar . The first result of sensation isFEELING . One sensation causes man pleasure,another displeasure. These are stirrings ofhis inner, his soul life. Man creates in hisfeelings a second world in addition to thatwhich works on him from without . And athird is added to this-the will . Through itman reacts on the outer world . And hethereby stamps the impress of his inner beingon the outer world . The soul of man, as itwere, flows outward in the activities of hiswill . The actions of the human being differfrom the occurrences of outer nature in thatthey bear the impress of his inner life . In thisway the SOUL represents what is mans own in
  35. 35. 2o THEOSOPHYcontradistinction to the outer world . Hereceives from the outer world the incitements ;but he creates, in responding to these incite-ments, a world of his own . The corporalitybecomes the foundation of the soul being ofman. 3. THE SPIRITUAL BEING OF MAN The soul being of man is not determined bythe body alone. Man does not wander aim-lessly and without a goal from one sensation toanother ; neither does he act under the influ-ence of every casual incitement directed onhim either from without or through the pro-cesses of his body . He THINKS about hisperceptions and his acts . By thinking abouthis perceptions he gains knowledge of things ;by thinking about his acts he introduces a rea-sonable coherence into his life . He knowsalso that he will fulfill his duty as a humanbeing only when he lets himself be guidedby CORRECT THINKING in knowledge as wellas in acts . The soul of man, therefore, facesa twofold necessity. The laws of the bodygovern it in accordance with the necessities ofnature, but it allows itself to be governed by
  36. 36. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 21the laws which guide it to exact thinkingbecause it voluntarily acknowledges theirnecessity . Nature subjects man to the laws ofthe change of matter, but he subjects himselfto the laws of thought . By this means hemakes himself a member of a higher orderthan that to which he belongs through his body .And this order is the SPIRITUAL . The soul isas different from the body as the body is differ-ent from the soul . So long as one speaks onlyof the particles of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen,and oxygen which stir in the body, one has notthe soul in view . The soul life begins onlywhen within the motion of these particles sen-sation arises, and one can say : "I taste sweet-ness" or "I feel pleasure." Just as little hasone the SPIRITUAL in view when one considersmerely the soul experiences which coursethrough a man who gives himself over entirelyto the outer world and his bodily life . Ratheris this soul life merely the basis for the spirit-ual, just as the body is the basis of the soul life .The naturalist, or investigator of nature, hasto do with the body, the investigator of thesoul (the psychologist) with the soul, and theinvestigator of the spirit with the SPIRIT. To
  37. 37. 22 THEOSOPHYrealize what one is in oneself, and thus becomeclear as to the difference between body, soul,and spirit, is a requirement which must bedemanded from those who wish by thinkingto enlighten themselves regarding the consti-tution of man . 4. BODY, SOUL, AND SPIRIT Man can enlighten himself in a correct wayconcerning himself only when he grasps thesignificance of THINKING within his being .The brain is the bodily instrument for think-ing. Just as man can only see colors with aproperly constructed eye, so the suitably con-structed brain serves him for thought . Thewhole body of man is so formed that it receivesits crown in the organ of the spirit, the brain .One can understand the construction of thehuman brain only by observing it in relationto its task, which consists in being the instru-ment or tool for the thinking spirit . This isborne out by a comparative survey of the ani-mal world . Among amphibians we find thebrain small in comparison with the spinalcord, in mammals it is proportionately larger,in man it is largest in comparison with the
  38. 38. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 23rest of the body . There are many prejudicesprevalent regarding such statements aboutTHINKING as are brought forward here .Many persons are inclined to undervalueTHINKING, and to place higher the "warm lifeof feeling" or "emotion ." Some, indeed, sayit is not by "dry thinking" but by warmth offeeling, by the immediate power of "the emo-tions," that one raises oneself to higher knowl-edge . Persons who speak thus fear to bluntthe feelings by clear thinking . This certainlyresults from the ordinary thinking that refersonly to matters of utility . But in the case ofthoughts that lead to higher regions of exist-ence, the opposite is the result . There is nofeeling and no enthusiasm to be comparedwith the sentiments of warmth, beauty, andexaltation which are enkindled through thepure, crystal-clear thoughts which refer to thehigher worlds . For the highest feelings are,as a matter of fact, not those which come "ofthemselves," but those which are gained byenergetic and persevering thinking . The human body has a construction adaptedto THINKING . The same materials and forceswhich are present in the mineral kingdom are
  39. 39. 24 THEOSOPHYso combined in the human body that by meansof these combinations thought can manifestitself . This mineral construction, formed asa suitable instrument for its work, will becalled in the following pages the PHYSICALBODY of man. (In theosophical literature it iscalled "Sthula sharira .") This organized mineral construction withthe brain as its center comes into existence by .PROPAGATION, and reaches its developed formthrough GROWTH . Propagation and growthman has in common with plants and animals .Propagation and growth distinguish what isliving from the lifeless mineral . What livescomes forth from the living by means of thegerm. The descendant follows the fore-fathers in the succession of the living . Theforces through which a mineral originates wemust look for in the materials themselveswhich compose it. A quartz crystal is formedby the forces united in it, and inherent in thesilicon and oxygen . The forces which shapean oak tree we must look for in a roundaboutway in the germ in the mother and fatherplants . The FORM of the oak is preservedthrough propagation from forefathers to
  40. 40. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 25descendants . There are INNER DETERMININGFORCES INNATE in all that is living . It was acrude view of nature which held that loweranimals, even fishes, could evolve out of mud .The form of the living passes itself on bymeans of HEREDITY. The manner in which aliving being develops depends on what fatherand mother beings it has sprung from or, inother words, on the SPECIES to which itbelongs . The materials of which it is com-posed change continually ; the SPECIES remainsduring life, and is transmitted to the descend-ants . Thus the SPECIES is that which condi-tions the organizing and molding of thematerials . This species-forming force willhere be called LIFE-FORCE (in theosophical lit-erature it is called "Prana") . Just as themineral forces express themselves in crystals,so the life-force expresses itself in the speciesor form of plant and animal life . The mineral forces are perceived by man bymeans of the bodily senses . And he can onlyperceive that for which he has such senses.Without the eye there is no perception oflight, without the ear no perception of sound .The lowest order of organic beings has only a
  41. 41. 26 THEOSOPHYkind of sense of touch . For these there existonly those mineral forces of which the sense oftouch enables them to become aware . In pro-portion as the other senses are developed inthe higher animals is the surrounding worldricher and more varied for them . It depends,therefore, on the organs of a being whetherthat which exists in the outer world exists alsofor the being itself, as perception, as sensation .What is present in the air as a certain motionbecomes in man the sensation of hearing .Man does not perceive the manifestations ofthe life-force through the ordinary senses .He SEES the colors of the plants ; he SMELLStheir perfume ; the life-force remains hiddenfrom THIS form of observation . But the ordi-nary senses have just as little right to deny theexistence of the life-force as has the man bornblind to deny that colors exist . Colors arethere for the person born blind just as soon ashe has been operated upon ; in the same way,the life-force, as creating the various species ofplants and animals created by it, is presentto man as an object of perception as soon asthe necessary organ unfolds within him . Anentirely new world opens out to man through
  42. 42. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 27the unfolding of this organ . He now per-ceives, not merely the colors, the odors, etc .,of the beings, but THESE BEINGS THEM-SELVES . In each plant, in each animal, heperceives, besides the physical form, the LIFE-FILLED SPIRIT-FORM . In order to have a namefor this spirit-form let it be called the ETHER-BODY, or LIFE-BODY . To the investigator of spiritual life thismatter presents itself in the following manner :The ether-body is for him not merely a prod-uct of the materials and forces of the physicalbody, but a real independent entity which firstcalls forth these physical materials and forcesinto life. One speaks in harmony with spirit-ual science when one says : a mere physicalbody, a crystal for example, has its form bymeans of the physical formative forces dwell-ing within it. A living body does NOT haveits form by means of THESE forces, for in themoment in which life is extinct in it, and it isgiven over to the physical forces ONLY, it fallsto pieces . The ether-body is an organismwhich preserves the physical body everymoment during life from dissolution . Inorder to SEE this body, to perceive it in another
  43. 43. 28 THEOSOPHY being, one requires the awakened "SPIRITUAL EYE." Without this, one can accept its exist- ence as a fact on logical grounds ; but one can SEE it with the spiritual eye as one sees a colorwith the physical eye . One should not takeoffense at the expression "ether-body.""Ether" here designates something differentfrom the hypothetical ether of the physicist .One should regard the thing simply as a namefor what is described here . And just as thephysical body of man is constructed in con-formity with its set task, so is it also inconformity with the ether-body of man . Onecan understand it also only when one observesit in relation to the thinking spirit . The ether-body of man differs from that of plants andanimals through being organized so as to servethe requirements of the thinking spirit . Justas man belongs to the mineral world throughhis physical body, he belongs through hisether-body to the life-world . After death thephysical body dissolves into the mineralworld, the ether-body into the life-world . (Intheosophical literature the human ether-bodyis called "Linga sharira .") By the word"body" is designated what in any way gives a
  44. 44. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 29being "shape" or "form ." The word used inthis sense must not be confused with the wordbody when used to designate physically sensi-ble bodies . Used in this sense the term bodycan also be applied to forms which soul andspirit may assume. In the life-body we still have somethingexternal to man . With the first stirrings ofsensation the inner self responds to the excita-tions of the outer world . You may trace whatone is justified in calling the outer world everso far, but you will not be able to find the sen-sation. Rays of light stream into the eye, pene-trating till they reach the retina . There theycall forth chemical processes (in the so-calledvisual-purple) ; the effect of this stimulus ispassed on through the optic nerve to the brain ;there further physical processes arise . Couldone observe these one would see more physicalprocesses, just as elsewhere in the physicalworld. If I am able to observe the ether-body, I will see how the physical-brain processis at the same time a life-process . But the sen-sation of blue color which the recipient of therays of light has, I can find nowhere in thismanner . It arises only within the soul of the
  45. 45. 30 THEOSOPHYrecipient. If, therefore, the being of therecipient consisted only of the physical bodyand the ether-body, sensation could not exist .The activity by which sensation becomes a factdiffers essentially from the operations of thelife-force. By that activity an inner experi-ence is called forth from these operations .Without this activity there would be a merelife-process, such as one observes in plants . Ifone tries to picture how a human beingreceives impacts from all sides, one must thinkof him at the same time as the source of theabove-mentioned activity which streams outtoward every point from which he receivedthese impacts . Sensations respond in alldirections to the impacts . This fountain ofactivity is to be called the SENTIENT-SOUL . (It is the same as that which in theosophicalliterature is called "Kama .") This sentient-soul is just as real as the physical body. If aman stand before me and I disregard hissentient-soul by thinking of him as merely aphysical body, it is exactly as if I were to callup in my mind, instead of a painting-merelythe canvas . A similar statement has to be made in
  46. 46. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 31regard to perceiving the sentient-soul as waspreviously made in reference to the ether-body . The bodily organs are "blind" to it .And blind to it is also the organ by which lifeas life can be perceived . But just as the ether-body is seen by means of this organ, the innerworld of sensation itself can be seen througha still higher organ . A man then not onlysenses the impressions of the physical and lifeworlds, but he BEHOLDS the sensations them-selves. Before a man with such an organ theworld of the sensations of another being isspread out like an open and, for him, a legiblebook. One must distinguish between experi-encing ones own sensation world and lookingat the sensation world of another . Every manof course can see into his own sensation world ;only the SEER with the opened "spiritual eye"can SEE the sensation world of another .Unless a man be a seer he knows the sensationworld only as an "inner" one, only as thepeculiar hidden experiences of his own soul ;with the opened "spiritual eye" there shinesout before the external spiritual gaze whatotherwise lives only in the "inner" being ofanother. 4
  47. 47. 32 THEOSOPHY The sentient-soul depends, as regards itsactivity, on the ether-body because it drawsfrom it that which it will cause to gleam forthas sensation . And since the ether-body is thelife within the physical body, the sentient-soul is indirectly dependent on the latter .Only with correctly-functioning and well-constructed eyes are correct color sensationspossible . It is in this way that the corporalityaffects the sentient-soul . The latter is thusdetermined and limited in its efficaciousnessby the body. It lives therefore within thelimitations fixed for it by the corporality .The BODY accordingly is built up of mineralmaterials, is vitalized by the ether-body, anditself limits the sentient-soul . He, therefore,who has the above-mentioned organ for "see-ing" the sentient-soul, sees it limited by thebody. But the limits of the sentient-soul do not coincide with those of the physical body .The soul extends somewhat beyond it . By this one sees that it proves itself more power- ful than the physical body . But the force through which its limits are set proceeds from the physical body . So that between the phys- ical body and the ether-body on the one hand,
  48. 48. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 33and the sentient-soul on the other, there insertsitself another distinct member of the humanconstitution . This is the SOUL-BODY, or sentientbody . (It is called in theosophical literature"astral shape," or "Kama Rupa ;" "Rupa" sig-nifies form or shape .) One can also say : apart of the ether-body is finer than the rest,and this finer part of the ether-body forms aunity with the SENTIENT-SOUL, whereas thecoarser part forms a kind of unity with thephysical body. Nevertheless, the sentient-soul extends, as has been said, beyond the soul-body . What is here called sensation is only a partof the soul being . (The expression sentient-soul is chosen for the sake of simplicity .)Connected with sensations are the feelingsof desire and aversion, impulses, instincts, pas-sions . All this bears the same character ofindividualized life as do the sensations, and is,like them, dependent on the corporality . Just as the sentient-soul enters into mutualaction and reaction with the body, so does italso with thinking, with the spirit . Thought,among other things, is of immediate service toit. Man forms thoughts about his sensations .
  49. 49. 34 THEOSOPHYIn this way he enlightens himself regardingthe outside world . The child that has burntitself thinks it over, and reaches the thought"fire burns ." Also man does not followblindly his impulses, instincts, passions ; histhought over them brings about the opportu-nity by which he can gratify them . What onecalls material civilization moves entirely inthis direction . It consists in the serviceswhich thinking renders to the sentient-soul .Immeasureable quantities of thought-powerare directed to this end. It is thought-powerthat has built ships, railways, telegraphs, tele-phones ; and by far the greatest proportion ofall this serves only to satisfy the needs of thesentient-soul . Thought-force permeates thesentient-soul in a similar way to that in whichthe life-force permeates the physical body .Life-force connects the physical body withforefathers and descendants, and thus bringsit under a system of laws with which thepurely mineral body is in no way concerned.In the same way thought-force brings the soulunder a system of laws to which it does notbelong as mere sentient-soul . Through thesentient-soul man is related to the animals .
  50. 50. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 35 In animals, also, we observe the presence of sensations, impulses, instincts, and passions . But the animal obeys these immediately .They do not, in its case, become interwovenwith independent THOUGHTS, transcendingthe immediate experiences . This is also thecase to a certain extent with undevelopedhuman beings. The mere sentient-soul istherefore different from the evolved highermember of the soul which brings thinkinginto its service . This soul that is served bythought will be designated the intellectual-soul . One could call it also the emotionalthought-soul. (Theosophical literature callsit "Kama manas .") The intellectual-soul permeates the sentient-soul . He who has the organ for "seeing" thesoul sees, therefore, the intellectual-soul as aseparate entity, distinct from the mere sen-tient-soul . By thinking man is raised above and beyondhis own personal life . He acquires some-thing that extends beyond his soul . He comesto take for granted his conviction that thelaws of thought are in conformity with thelaws of the world . And he feels at home in
  51. 51. 36 THEOSOPHYthe world because this conformity exists . Thisconformity is one of the important factsthrough which man learns to know his ownnature . Man searches in his soul for truth ; andthrough this truth it is not only the soul thatspeaks, but the things of the world . Thatwhich is recognized as truth by means ofthought has an INDEPENDENT SIGNIFICANCE,which refers to the things of the world, andnot merely to ones own soul . -My delight inthe starry heavens is part of my own innerbeing ; the thoughts which I form for myselfabout the courses of the heavenly bodies havethe same significance for the thinking of everyother person as they have for mine . It wouldbe absurd to speak of MY delight were I not inexistence ; but it is not in the same way absurdto speak of my thoughts, even WITHOUT REF-ERENCE to myself . For the truth which Ithink to-day was true yesterday also, and willbe TRUE to-morrow, although I concern myselfwith it only to-day . If a piece of knowledge gives me joy, the joy has significance just so long as it lives in me . The TRUTH of the knowledge has its significance quite independ- ently of the joy . By grasping the truth the
  52. 52. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 37soul connects itself with something that carriesits worth in itself . And this worth does notvanish with the feeling in the soul any morethan it arose with it. What is really truthneither arises nor passes away ; it has a signifi-cance which cannot be destroyed . This is notcontradicted by the fact that certain human"truths" have a value which is transitory, inas-much as they are recognized after a certainperiod as partial or complete errors . Forman must say to himself that truth after allexists in itself, although HIS conceptions areonly transient forms of manifestation of theeternal truth . Even he who says, like Lessing,that he contents himself with the eternal striv-ing toward truth because the full pure truthcan, after all, only exist for a God, does notdeny the eternity of truth, but establishes itby such an utterance . For only that whichhas an eternal significance in itself can callforth an eternal striving after it . Were truthnot in itself independent, if it acquired itsworth and significance through the feelings ofthe human soul, THEN it could not be the ONECOMMON GOAL for all mankind . One con-
  53. 53. 38 THEOSOPHYcedes its INDEPENDENT BEING by the very factthat one wishes to strive after it . And as it is with the truth, so it is with theTRULY GOOD . The moral good is independentof inclinations and passions, inasmuch as itdoes not allow itself to be commanded bythem, but commands them . Likes and dislikes,desire and loathing belong to the personalsoul of man . Duty stands higher than likesand dislikes . Duty may stand so high in theeyes of a man that he will sacrifice his life forits sake . And a man stands the higher themore he has ennobled his inclinations, his likesand dislikes, so that, without compulsion orsubjection, they themselves obey the recog-nized duty. The moral good has, like truth,its eternal value in itself, and does not receiveit from the sentient-soul . In causing the self-existent true and goodto come to life in his inner being, man raiseshimself above the mere sentient-soul . Theeternal spirit shines into this soul . A light iskindled in it which is imperishable . In sofar as the soul lives in this light, it is a partici-pant, of the eternal . It unites its own exist-ence with an eternal existence . What the soul
  54. 54. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 39carries within itself of the true and the good isIMMORTAL in it. That which shines forth inthe soul as eternal is to be called here CON-SCIOUSNESS-SOUL. CONSCIOUSNESS can bespoken of even in connection with the lowersoul stirrings . The most ordinary everydaysensation is a matter of consciousness . To thisextent animals also have consciousness . Thekernel of human consciousness, that is, THESOUL WITHIN THE SOUL, is here meant by CON-SCIOUSNESS-SOUL . The consciousness-soul isaccordingly differentiated from the intellect-ual-soul as yet another distinct member of thehuman soul. The intellectual-soul is stillentangled in the sensations, the impulses, thepassions, etc . Everyone knows how at first aman holds that to be true which he, owing tohis feelings, prefers. Only THAT truth, how-ever, is PERMANENT which has freed itselffrom ALL taint of such feelings as sympathyand antipathy . The truth is true, even if allpersonal feelings revolt against it . The partof the soul in which THIS truth lives will becalled consciousness-soul . So that even as one had to distinguish threemembers in the body, one has also to distin-
  55. 55. 40 THEOSOPHYguish three in the soul ; SENTIENT-SOUL, INTEL-LECTUAL-SOUL, CONSCIOUSNESS-SOUL. And justas the corporality works from below upwardwith a LIMITING effect on the soul, so thespiritual works from above downward intoit, EXPANDING it. For the more the soul fillsitself with the True and the Good, the widerand the more comprehensive becomes theeternal in it. To him who is able to "see" thesoul, the splendor which goes out from ahuman being, because his eternal is expanding,is just as much a reality as the light whichstreams out from a flame is real to the physicaleye. For the "seer" the corporeal man is onlya part of the WHOLE MAN . The body as thecoarsest structure lies within others, whichinterpenetrate both it and each other . Theether-body fills the physical body as a doubleform ; extending beyond this on all sides is tobe seen the soul-body (astral shape) . Andbeyond this, again, extends the sentient-soul,then the intellectual-soul, which grows thelarger the more it receives into itself of theTrue and the Good . For this True and Goodcause the expansion of the intellectual-soul . Aman living only and entirely according to his
  56. 56. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 41inclinations, his likes and dislikes, would havean intellectual-soul whose limits coincide withthose of his sentient-soul . These organiza-tions, in the midst of which the physical bodyappears as if in a cloud, are called the HUMANAURA. In the course of the childhood of a humanbeing, there comes a moment in which, for thefirst time, he feels himself to be an independentbeing distinct from the whole of the rest of theworld . For persons with finely-strung naturesit is a significant experience . The poet JeanPaul says in his autobiography, "I shall neverforget the event which took place within me,hitherto narrated to no one, and of which Ican give place and time, when I stood presentat the birth of my self-consciousness . As a verysmall child I stood at the door of the houseone morning, looking toward the wood pileon my left, when suddenly the inner revelation`I am an I came to me like a flash of lightningfrom heaven and has remained shining eversince. In that moment my ego had seen itselffor the first time and forever . Any deceptionof memory is hardly to be conceived as possiblehere, for no narrations by outsiders could have
  57. 57. 42 THEOSOPHYintroduced additions to an occurrence whichtook place in the holy of holies of a humanbeing, and of which the novelty alone gavepermanence to such everyday surroundings ."It is known that little children say to them-selves, "Charles is good," "Mary wishes tohave this ." They speak of themselves as ifof others because they have not yet becomeconscious of their independent existence,because the consciousness of the self is not yetborn in them. Through self-consciousnessman describes himself as an independentbeing, separate from all others, as "I." In his"I" man brings together all that he experi-ences as a being in body and soul . Body andsoul are the carriers of the ego or "I ;" in themit acts. Just as the physical body has its centerin the brain, so has the soul its center in theego. Man is aroused to sensations by impactsfrom without ; feelings manifest themselves asthe effects of the outer world ; the will relatesitself to the outside world in that it realizesitself in external actions . The ego as thepeculiar and essential being of man remainsquite invisible . Excellently, therefore, doesJean Paul call a mans recognition of his ego
  58. 58. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 43an "occurrence taking place only in the veiledholy of holies of a man," for with his "I"man is quite alone . And this "I" is theman himself . That justifies him in regardinghis ego as his true being . He may, therefore,describe his body and his soul as the"SHEATHS" or "VEILS" within which he lives ;and he may describe them as his TOOLS throughwhich he acts . In the course of his evolutionhe learns to regard these tools ever more andmore as the servants of his ego . The littleword "I" (German ich) as it is used, forexample, in the English and German lan-guages, is a name which differs from all othernames. Anyone who reflects in an appropri-ate manner on the nature of this name willfind that it forms an avenue to the understand-ing of the human being in the deeper sense.Any other name can be applied to its corre-sponding object by all men in the same way.Anybody can call a table "table" or a chair"chair," but this is not so with the name I .No one can use it in referring to another per-son ; each one can call only himself "I ."Never can the name "I" reach my ears fromoutside when it refers to ME. Only from
  59. 59. 44 THEOSOPHY within, only through itself, can the soul refer to itself as "I ." When the human being therefore says "I" to himself, something begins to speak in him that has nothing to do with anyone of the worlds from which the "sheaths" so far mentioned are taken . The I becomes ever more and more rulerr of body and soul . This also comes to visible expression in the aura . The more the I is lord over body and soul, the more numerous and complex are its members, and the more varied and rich are the colors of the aura . This effect of the I on the aura can be seen by the "seeing" person. The I itself is invisible, even to him . This remains truly within the "veiled holy of holies of a man ." But the I absorbs into itself the rays of the light which flames forth in a man as eternal light. As he gathers together the experiences of body and soul in the I, he also causes the thoughts of truth and goodness to stream into the I . The phenomena of the senses reveal themselves to the I from the one side, the SPIRIT reveals itself from the other . Body and soul yield themselves up to the I in order to serve it ; but the I yields itself up to the spirit in order that
  60. 60. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 45it may be filled by it. The I lives in body andsoul ; but the spirit lives in the I . And whatthere is of spirit in the I is eternal . For the Ireceives its nature and significance from thatwith which it is bound up . Inasmuch as itlives in the physical body, it is subject to thelaws of the mineral world ; through its ether-body to the laws of propagation and growth ;by virtue of the sentient and intellectual soulsto the laws of the soul world ; in so far as itreceives the spiritual into itself it is subjectto the laws of the spirit . That which themineral laws and the life laws construct comesinto being and vanishes ; but the spirit hasnothing to do with becoming and perishing . The I lives in the soul . Although the high-est manifestation of the I belongs to the con-sciousness-soul, one must nevertheless say thatthis I, raying out from it, fills the wholeof the soul, and through the soul affects thebody . And in the I the spirit is alive . Itrays into it and lives in it as in a "sheath" orveil, just as the I lives in its sheaths, the bc4yand the soul . The spirit develops the I fromwithin, outward ; the mineral world developsit from without, inward . The spirit forming
  61. 61. 46 THEOSOPHYan I and living as I will be called SPIRIT-SELF, because it manifests as the I, or ego,or "self" of man . ("Spirit-self" signifies thesame as that which in theosophical literatureis called "Higher manas ." The Sanscritword "manas" is related to the English word"man," and the German word "Mensch," andsignifies the human being in so far as he is aspiritual being.) The difference between the"spirit-self" and the "consciousness-soul" canbe made clear in the following way . Theconsciousness-soul is the bearer of the self-existent truth which is independent of allantipathy and sympathy, the spirit-self bearswithin it the SAME truth, but taken up into andenclosed by the I, individualized by the latterand absorbed into the independent being ofthe man . It is through the eternal truthbecoming thus individualized and bound upinto one being with the I, that the I itselfattains to eternity. The spirit-self is a revelation of the spiritualworld within the I, just as from the other sidesensations are a revelation of the physicalworld within the I . In that which is red,green, light, dark, hard, soft, warm, cold, one
  62. 62. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 47recognizes the revelations of the corporalworld ; in what is true and good, the revela-tions of the spiritual world . In the same sensein which the revelation of the corporal worldis called SENSATION, let the revelation of thespiritual be called INTUITION . Even themost simple thought contains intuition, forone cannot touch it with the hands or see itwith the eyes ; one must receive its revelationfrom the spirit through the I . If an unde-veloped and a developed man look at a plant,there lives in the I of the one something quitedifferent from that which is in the ego of theother. And yet the sensations of both arecalled forth by the same object . The differ-ence lies in this, that the one can make farmore perfect thoughts about the object thanthe other can . If objects revealed themselvesthrough sensation alone, there could be noprogress in spiritual development . Even thesavage is affected by nature, but the laws ofnature reveal themselves only to the thoughts,fructified by intuition, of the more highlydeveloped man . The excitations from theouter world are felt even by the child as incen-tives to the will ; but the commandments of 5
  63. 63. 48 THEOSOPHYthe morally good disclose themselves to himin the course of his development only as helearns to live in the spirit and understand itsrevelations. Just as there could be no color sensationswithout physical eyes, there could be no intui-tions without the higher thinking of the spirit-self. And as little as sensation creates theplant on which the color appears, does intui-tion create the spiritual realities about whichit is merely giving information . The I of man, which comes to life in thesoul, draws in messages from above, from thespirit world through intuitions, just as throughsensations it draws in messages from the phys- ical world . By doing this it makes the spiritworld the individualized life of its own soul, even as it does the physical world by means of the senses . The soul, or the I flaming forth in it, opens its portals on two sides, toward the corporal and toward the spiritual . Now as just the physical world can only give informa- tion about itself to the ego, because it builds out of physical materials and forces a body in which the conscious soul can live and possess organs for perceiving the corporal world out-
  64. 64. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 49side itself, so the spiritual world builds, withits spiritual materials and spiritual forces,a spirit-body in which the I can live andthrough intuitions perceive the spiritual . (Itis evident that the expression SPIRIT-BODY con-tains a contradiction, according to the literalmeaning of the word . It is only to be usedin order to direct attention to what, in thespiritual regions, corresponds to the body ofman in the physical .) Just as within the physical world eachhuman body is built up as a separate being,so is the spirit-body within the spirit world.In the spirit world there is for man an innerand an outer, just as there is in the physicalworld. As man takes in the materials of thephysical world around him and assimilatesthem within his physical body, so does he takethe spiritual from the spirtiual environmentand make it into his own. The spiritual isthe eternal nourishment of man . And as manis born of the physical world, he is also bornof the spirit through the eternal laws of theTrue and the Good . He is separated fromthe spirit world outside of him, as he isseparated from the whole physical world, as
  65. 65. 50 THEOSOPHYan independent being. This independentspiritual being will be called SPIRIT-MAN . (It is the same as that which is called ATMAin theosophical literature .) If we examine the human physical body,we find the same materials and forces in it aswe find outside it in the rest of the physicalworld. It is the same with the spirit-man .In it pulsate the elements of the external spiritworld. In it the forces of the rest of thespirit world are active . As a being withinthe physical skin becomes a self-containedentity, living and feeling, so also in the spiritworld. The spiritual skin which separatesthe spirit man from the uniform spirit worldmakes him an independent being within it,living a life within himself and perceivingintuitively the spiritual content of the world .This "spiritual skin" will be called SPIRIT-SHEATH . (In theosophical literature it iscalled AURIC SHEATH .) It must be keptclearly in mind that the spiritual skin expandscontinually with the advancing human evolu-tion, so that the spiritual individuality of man (his auric sheath) is capable of enlargementto an unlimited extent .
  66. 66. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 5 1 The spirit-man LIVES within this spirit-sheath. It is built up by the spirtual LIFE-FORCE in the same way as is the physical bodyby the physical life-force . In a similar way tothat in which one speaks of an ether-body onemust therefore speak of an ether-spirit inreference to the spirit-man . Let this ether-spirit be called LIFE-SPIRIT . The spiritualbeing of man therefore is composed of threeparts, SPIRIT-MAN, LIFE-SPIRIT, and SPIRIT-SELF . (Atma, budhi, manas are the corre-sponding expressions in theosophical litera-ture. For Budhi is the separated speciallife-spirit which is formed by the SPIRITUALLIFE-FORCE, or Budhi .) For him who is a "seer" in the spiritualregions, this spiritual being of man is a per-ceptible reality as the higher, truly spiritualpart of the AURA. He "sees" the spirit-manas life-spirit within the spirit-sheath, and he"sees" how this "life-spirit" grows continuallylarger by taking in spiritual nourishmentfrom the spirtual external world . Fur-ther, he sees how the spirit-sheath continuallyincreases, widens out through what is brought into it, and how the spirit-man becomes ever
  67. 67. 52 THEOSOPHYlarger and larger. For the difference betweenthe spiritual and the physical being of man isthat the latter has a limited size while theformer can grow to an unlimited extent .Whatever of spiritual nourishment is absorbedhas an eternal worth . The human aura isaccordingly composed of two interpenetra-ting parts . Color and form are given to theone by the physical existence of man, and tothe other by his spiritual existence . The egoforms the separation between them in this waythat, while the physical after its own mannerGIVES ITSELF to building up a body whichallows a soul to live and expand in it, and theego GIVES ITSELF to allowing to live and de-velop in it the spirit which now for its partpermeates the soul and gives it the goal in thespirit world . Through the body the soul isenclosed in the physical ; through the spirit-man there grow wings for its moving in thespiritual world . In order to comprehend the WHOLE man,one must think of him as formed of the com-ponents above mentioned . The body buildsitself up out of the world of physical matter in such a way that the construction is adapted
  68. 68. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 53to the requirements of the thinking ego. Itis penetrated with life-force, and therebybecomes the ether or life-body . As such itopens itself through the sense organs towardthe outer world and becomes the soul-body .This the sentient-soul permeates and becomesone with. The sentient-soul does not merelyreceive the impacts of the outer world as sen-sations . It has its own inner life which itfructifies through thinking on the one hand,as it does through sensations on the other . Inthis way it becomes the intellectual-soul . Itis able to do this by opening itself up to intui-tions from above, as it does to sensations frombelow . Thus it becomes the consciousness-soul .This is possible to it because the spirit worldbuilds into it the organ of intuition, just asthe physical body builds in it the sense organs .As the senses transmit sensations by means ofthe soul-body, the spirit transmits to it intui-tions through the organ of intuition . Thespirit-man is therefore linked into a unitywith the consciousness-soul, just as the physicalbody is with the sentient-soul in the soul-body.Consciousness-soul and spirit-self form aunity. In this unity the spirit-man LIVES as
  69. 69. 54 THEOSOPHYlife-spirit, just as the ether body forms thebodily life-basis for the soul-body . And as thephysical body is enclosed in the physical skin,so is the spirit-man in the spirit-sheath . Themembers of the WHOLE man are as follows A. Physical-body . B . Ether-body . C . Soul-body . D . Sentient-soul . E . Intellectual-soul . F. Consciousness-soul . G . Spirit-self . H . Life-spirit . I . Spirit-man. Soul-body (C) and sentient-soul (D) are aunity in the earthly man ; in the same wayare consciousness-soul (F) and spirit-self (G)a unity . Thus there come to be seven partsin the earthly man . The expressions used intheosophical literature are as follows i . Physical-body (Sthula sharira) . 2. Ether or life-body (Linga sharira) . 3. Sentient-soul-body (Astral body, Kama rupa) . 4 . Intellectual-soul (Lower manas, Kama manas) .
  70. 70. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 55 5 . Spirit-filled Consciousness-soul (Higher manas) . 6 . Life-spirit (Spiritual-body, Budhi) . 7 . Spirit-man (Atma) . The "I" flashes forth in the soul, receivesthe infusion from out the spirit and therebybecomes the bearer of the spirit-man .Through this, man participates in the "threeworlds," the physical, the soul, and the spir-itual . He takes root in the physical worldthrough his physical body, ether-body, andsoul-body and flowers through the spirit-self,life-spirit, and spirit-man up into the spir-itual world . The STALK, however, whichtakes root in the one and flowers in the other,is the soul itself . One can express this arrangement of themembers of man in a simplified way, but oneentirely consistent with the above . Althoughthe human I flashes forth in the conscious-ness-soul, it nevertheless penetrates the wholesoul-being . The parts of this soul-being arenot as distinctly separate as are the limbs ofthe body ; they penetrate each other, in ahigher sense . If then, one hold clearly inview the intellectual-soul and the conscious-
  71. 71. 56 THEOSOPHYness-soul as the two members united to formthe bearer of the I, and this I as their kernel,one can divide man into physical body, life-body, astral-body, and I . The expressionastral-body designates here what is formedby soul-body and sentient-soul together,although the sentient-soul is in a certainrespect energized by the I . When now the Ipenetrates itself with spirit-self, this spirit-self comes into evidence in the transmutationof the astral-body by a force within the soul .In the astral-body there are primarily activethe impulses, desires, and passions of man,in so far as they are felt by him ; the physicalperceptions also take effect in it. Physicalperceptions arise through the soul-body as amember in man which comes to him from theexternal world . Impulses, desires, and pas-sions, etc., arise in the sentient-soul, in so faras it is energized by the soul before the latterhas yielded itself to the spirit . If the I pene-trates itself with spirit-self, the soul proceedsto energize the astral-body with this spirit-self. This expresses itself in the illuminationof the impulses, desires, and passions by whatthe I has received from the spirit . The I has
  72. 72. CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN BEING 57then, through the power it gains as partakerof the spiritual world, become ruler in theworld of impulses, desires, etc . In proportionto the extent to which it has become this thespirit-self appears in the astral-body . Andthe astral-body becomes thereby transmuted .The astral-body itself then becomes visible asa two-membered body, an untransmuted anda transmuted . One can therefore designatethe spirit-self, as manifested in man, as trans-muted astral-body . A similar process takes place in a personwhen he receives the life spirit into his 1 .The Life-body then becomes transmuted . Itbecomes penetrated with the life-spirit . Andthe Life-spirit reveals itself in that the life-body becomes quite other than it was . Forthis reason one can also say that life-spiritis transmuted life-body . And if the I receivesthe spirit-man, it thereby receives the strongforce with which to penetrate the physicalbody. Naturally, that part of the physicalbody thus transmuted is NOT perceptible tothe physical senses . It is, in fact, just thatpart of the physical body which has beenspiritualized that has become the spirit-man .
  73. 73. 58 THEOSOPHYThe physical body is then present to thephysical senses as physical, and in so far asthis physical is spiritualized, it has to beperceived by spiritual faculties of perception .To the external senses the physical, even whenpenetrated by the spiritual, appears to bemerely sensible . Taking all this as a basis, one can have alsothe following arrangement of the membersof man r . Physical-body. 2. Life-body . 3 . Astral-body . q.. I, as soul kernel. 5. Spirit-self as transmuted astral-body. 6. Life-spirit " " life-body . 7. Spirit-man " " physical-body .
  74. 74. CHAPTER IIRE-EMBODIMENT OF THE SPIRIT AND DESTINY REINCARNATION AND KARMA IN the midst between body and spirit livesthe SOUL. The impressions which come to itthrough the body are transitory . They arepresent only as long as the body opens itsorgans to the things of the outer world . Myeye perceives the color of the rose only solong as the rose is opposite to it and my eyeis itself open . The PRESENCE of the things ofthe outer world as well as of the bodily organsis necessary in order that an impression, asensation, or a perception can take place.But what I have recognized in my spirit asTRUTH concerning the rose does not passwith the present moment . And, as regardsits truth, it is not in the least dependent onme. It would be true even although I had 59
  75. 75. 6o THEOSOPHYnever stood in front of the rose . What I knowthrough the spirit is timeless or ETERNAL .The soul is placed between the present andeternity, in that it holds the middle placebetween body and spirit . But it is alsothe INTERMEDIARY between the present andeternity . It preserves the present for theREMEMBRANCE. It thereby rescues it fromimpermanence, and brings it nearer to theeternity of the spiritual . It stamps eternityon the temporal and impermanent by notmerely yielding itself up to the transitoryincitements, but by determining things fromout its own initiative, and embodying its ownnature in them by means of the actions itperforms. By remembrance the soul pre-serves the yesterday, by action it prepares theto-morrow . My soul would have to perceive the red ofthe rose always afresh if it could not store itup in remembrance . What remains after anexternal impression, what can be retained bythe soul, is the CONCEPTION . Through thepower of forming conceptions the soul makesthe corporal outer world so far into its owninner world that it can then retain the latter
  76. 76. RE-EMBODIMENT AND DESTINY 61in the memory for remembrance and, inde-pendent of the gained impressions, lead withit thereafter a life of its own . The soul-lifethus becomes the enduring result of thetransitory impressions of the external world . But an action also receives permanencewhen once it is stamped on the outer world .If I cut a branch from a tree something hastaken place by means of my soul whichcompletely changes the course of events inthe outer world . Something quite differentwould have happened to the branch of thetree if I had not interfered by my action . Ihave called forth into life a series of effectswhich, without my existence, would nothave been present . What I have done TO-DAYendures for TO-MORROW ; it becomes permanentthrough the DEED, as my impressions of yes-terday have become permanent for my soulthrough memory. Let us first consider memory . How doesit originate? Evidently in quite a differentway from sensation or perception, becausethese are made possible by the corporality.Without the eye I cannot have the sensation"blue ." But in no way do I have the
  77. 77. 62 THEOSOPHYremembrance of "blue" through the eye.If the eye is to give me this sensation now,a blue thing must come before it . Thecorporality would always allow impressionsto sink back into nothingness if it aloneexisted . I remember ; that is, I experiencesomething which is itself no longer present .I unite a past experience with my presentlife. This is the case with every remembrance .Let us say, for instance, that I meet a manand recognize him again because I met himyesterday . He would be a complete strangerto me were I not able to unite the pictureperception with my impression of him to-day .The picture of to-day is given me by theperception, that is to say, by my corporality .But who conjures that of yesterday into mysoul? It is the same being in me that waspresent during my experience yesterday, andthat is also present in that of to-day . In theprevious explanations it has been calledSOUL . Were it not for this faithful preserverof the past each external impression would bealways new to a man . As preserver of the past the soul con-tinually gathers treasures for the spirit . That
  78. 78. RE-EMBODIMENT AND DESTINY 63I can distinguish right from wrong followsbecause I, as a human being, am a thinkingbeing, able to grasp the truth in my spirit .Truth is eternal ; and it could always revealitself to me again in things, even if I werealways to lose sight of the past and eachimpression were to be a new one to me . Butthe spirit within me is not restricted to theimpressions of the present alone ; the soulextends its horizon over the past . And themore it is able to bring to the spirit out of thepast, the richer does it make the spirit . Inthis way the soul transmits to the spirit whatit has received from the body . The spirit ofman therefore carries each moment of its lifea twofold possession within itself, firstly,the eternal laws of the good and the true ;secondly, the remembrance of the experiencesof the past. What he does, he accomplishesunder the influence of these two factors . Ifwe wish to understand a human spirit wemust therefore know two different thingsabout him, first, how much of the eternalhas revealed itself to him ; second, how muchtreasure from the past is stored up withinhim .
  79. 79. 64 THEOSOPHY The treasure by no means remains in thespirit in an unchanged shape . The concep-tions which man extracts from his experiencesfade gradually from the memory . Not so,however, their fruits . One does not rememberall the experiences one had during childhoodwhen acquiring the arts of reading andwriting. But one could not read or write ifone had not had the experiences, and if theirfruits had not been preserved in the form ofabilities . And that is the transmutationwhich the spirit effects on the treasures ofmemory. It consigns the pictures of theseparate experiences to their fate, and only extracts from them the force necessary forenhancing and increasing its abilities . Thusnot one experience passes by unused ; the soul preserves each one as memory, and from each the spirit draws forth all that can enrich its abilities and the whole content of its life . The human spirit GROWS through assimilated experiences . And, although one cannot find the past experiences in the spirit preserved as if in a storeroom, one nevertheless finds their effects in the abilities which the man has acquired .
  80. 80. RE-EMBODIMENT AND DESTINY 65 Thus far spirit and soul have been con-sidered only within the period lying betweenlife and death . One cannot rest there . Any-one wishing to do that would be like theman who observes the human body alsowithin the same limits only . Much can cer-tainly be discovered within these limits . Butthe HUMAN FORM can never be explained bywhat lies between birth and death . It can-not build itself up unaided out of mere phys-ical matter and forces . It takes rise in aform like its own, which has been passed onto it by propagation . Physical materialsand forces build up the body during life ; theforces of propagation enable another body,inheriting its form, to proceed from it ; that isto say, one which is able to be the bearer ofthe same life-body . Each life-body is a repeti-tion of its forefathers . Only BECAUSE it issuch does it appear, not in any chance form,but in that passed on to it . The forces whichhave given me human form lay in my fore-fathers . But the spirit also of a man appearsin a definite form . And the forms of the spiritare the most varied imaginable in differentpersons . No two men have the same spiritual
  81. 81. 66 THEOSOPHYform . One ought to make investigations inthis region in just as quiet and matter-of-facta manner as in the physical world . It cannotbe said that the differences in human beingsin spiritual respects arise only from the differ-ences in their environment, their upbring-ing, etc . No, this is by no means the case,for two people under similar influences asregards environments, upbringing, etc.,develop in quite different ways . One is there-fore forced to admit that they have enteredon their path of life with quite different pre-dispositions . Here one is brought face to facewith an important fact which, when its fullbearing is recognized, sheds light on thenature of man . Human beings differ from their animal fellow-creatures on the earth as regardstheir physical form . But among each otherhuman beings are, within certain limits, the same in regard to their physical form . There is only one human species . However great may be the differences between races, peoples, tribes, and personalities as regards the phys- ical body, the resemblance between man and man is greater than between man and any
  82. 82. RE-EMBODIMENT AND DESTINY 67brute species . All that expresses itself ashuman species passes on from forefather todescendants . And the human form is boundto this heredity . As the lion can inherit itsphysical form from lion forefathers only, sothe human being inherits his physical bodyfrom human forefathers only. Just as the physical similarity of men isquite evident to the eye, the DIFFERENCE oftheir spiritual forms reveals itself to theunprejudiced spiritual gaze . There is onevery evident fact which shows this clearly . Itconsists in the existence of the biography ofa human being. Were a human being merelya member of a species, no biography couldexist. A lion, a dove, lay claim to interest inso far as they belong to the lion, the dovegenus. One has understood the separate beingin all its ESSENTIALS when one has describedthe genus . It matters little whether one hasto do with father, son, or grandson . What isof interest in them, father, son, and grandsonhave in common . But what a human beingsignifies begins, not where he is a mere mem-ber of a genus, but only where he is a separatebeing. I have not in the least understood the
  83. 83. 68 THEOSOPHYnature of Mr . Smith of Crowcorner if I havedescribed his son or his father . I must knowhis own biography . Anyone who reflectsaccurately on the essence of biographybecomes aware that in regard to spiritualthings EACH MAN IS A SPECIES BY HIMSELF .Those people, to be sure, who regard a biog-raphy merely as a collection of external inci-dents in the life of a person, may claim thatthey can write the biography of a dog in thesame way as that of a man . But anyone whodepicts in a biography the real individualityof a man, grasps the fact that he has in thebiography of ONE human being somethingthat corresponds to the description of a wholegenus in the animal kingdom . Now if genus or species in the physicalsense becomes intelligible only when oneunderstands it as the result of heredity, thespiritual being can be intelligible only througha similar SPIRITUAL HEREDITY. I havereceived my physical human form from myforefathers . Whence have I that whichcomes to expression in my biography? Asphysical man, I repeat the shape of myforefathers . What do I repeat as spiritual
  84. 84. RE-EMBODIMENT AND DESTINY 69man? Anyone claiming that what is com-prised in my biography requires no furtherexplanation has to be regarded as having noother course open to him than to claimequally that he has seen, somewhere, anearth mound on which the lumps of matterhave aggregated quite by themselves into aliving man . As physical man I spring from otherphysical men, for I have the same shape asthe whole human species . The qualities ofthe species, accordingly, could be bequeathedto me within the genus . As spiritual man Ihave my own shape as I have my ownbiography . I therefore can have obtainedthis shape from no one but myself . Since Ientered the world not with undefined but withdefined predispositions ; and since the courseof my life as it comes to expression in my biog-raphy is determined by these predispositions,my work on myself cannot have begun withmy birth. I must, as spiritual man, haveexisted before my birth . In my forefathersI have certainly not been existent, for they asspiritual human beings are different from me .My biography is not explainable through
  85. 85. 70 THEOSOPHYtheirs. On the contrary, I must, as spiritualbeing, be the repetition of one through whosebiography mine can be explained . The phys-ical form which Schiller bore he inheritedfrom his forefathers . But just as little asSchillers physical form can have grown outof the earth, so little can his spiritual beinghave done so . It must be the repetition ofanother spiritual being through whose biog-raphy his will be explainable as his physicalhuman form is explainable through humanpropagation . In the same way, therefore, thatthe physical human form is ever again andagain a repetition, a reincarnation of the dis-tinctively human species, the spiritual humanbeing must be a reincarnation of the SAMEspiritual human being . For as spiritual humanbeing, each one is in fact his own species . It might be said in objection to what hasbeen stated here that it is pure spinning ofthoughts, and such external proof might be demanded as one is accustomed to in ordinarynatural science . The reply to this is that thereembodiment of the spiritual human being is, naturally, a process which does not belong to the region of external physical facts, but
  86. 86. RE-EMBODIMENT AND DESTINY 71is one that takes place entirely in the spiritualregion . And to this region no other of ourORDINARY powers of intelligence has entrance,save that of THINKING . He who is unwillingto trust to the power of thinking cannot, infact, enlighten himself regarding higher spir-itual facts . For him whose spiritual eye isopened the above train of thoughts acts withexactly the same force as does an event thattakes place before his physical eyes . He whoascribes to a so-called "proof," constructedaccording to the methods of natural science,greater power to convince than the aboveobservations concerning the significance ofbiography, may be in the ordinary sense of theword a great scientist, but from the paths oftrue SPIRITUAL investigation he is very fardistant . One of the gravest prejudices consists intrying to explain the spiritual qualities of aman by inheritance from father, mother,or other ancestors . He who contracts theprejudice, for example, that Goethe inheritedwhat constitutes his essential being fromfather or mother will at first be hardlyapproachable with arguments, for there lies

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