The Rosicrucian Philosophy
Questions and Answers
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THE PHILOSOPHY OF WAR
QUESTION NO. 163
FROM THE ROSICRUCIAN VIEWPOINT, CAN WAR BE
SAID TO BE RIGHT? WHAT SHOULD BE THE STAND OF THE ROSICRUCIAN STUDENT IN THE
PRESENT CONFLICT? (World War I)
ANSWER: In the great crises of life we are
brought face to face with certain issues and called upon to make decisions of
such importance that they often require reversion of ideas and ideals, even of
our most cherished principles as hitherto conceived. When such a crisis comes it
will be nothing short of mental, moral, and spiritual suicide to shirk or evade
the issue, no matter what the cost. Consistency is said to be a jewel, but if we
would be truly wise we must be ready to change or revise our ideas whenever
occasion really demands.
The Rosicrucian teaching has always been in
conformity with the Bible dictum, "Thou shalt not kill." No
qualification was made and some have carried this idea to such extremes that
they would not kill a fly. But the majority rightly felt that the injunction was
not intended to cover pests and microorganisms which take such a terrible toll
of human life. These things, being manifestations of evil thoughts, are without
the pale. These people have no intention of allowing their bodies or the bodies
of their children to be overrun by vermin rather than to kill the pests, and
they realize that extermination of insects was a great basic factor in America's
success at Panama. In fact it turned the balance from failure to success, and
this principle should be applied wherever necessary. They feel that it would be
a foolish application of the injunction, "Thou shalt not kill," to
allow beasts of prey or poisonous reptiles to roam about among us to endanger
our lives, and they would cheerfully kill to remove such a menace from the
community. In their code of ethics the injunction involves only the idea that it
is wrong to kill for food, for sport, or for profit. To kill a human being
seemed to remote a possibility to most of us that it was not considered even as
a contingency. We always denounced capital punishment both on the ground that it
is basically wrong and that it is worse than useless for when we free the Spirit
of a murderer from his body we liberate him in the spiritual world where he can
and often does work on others to influence them to similar crimes. Therefore, it
is better to restrain him in a prison and strive to reform him so that even if
he does not regain his liberty in this life, he will in future existences
respect the sanctity of life of others.
But while it is possible thus to deal with
the individual murderer, the case is different when an entire nation runs amuck
against another, committing wholesale murder, arson, destruction, and pillage.
It is then impossible to imprison a whole nation and more drastic means of self-
defense must be found.
In civil life we recognize the law of
self-defense, which gives the intended victim of a would-be murderer the right
to slay rather than to be slain, and it would be specious to contend that this
right is lost because a million murderers dress themselves in uniform or because
they go out boldly and brazenly, proclaiming their intention to kill, or because
they lie in ambush by companies instead of singly. Being the aggressors, they
are murderers, and their intended victims have an unquestionable moral right to
defend their own lives by slaying these murderers. Furthermore, there rests upon
the strong the sacred duty of protecting the lives of those who are too weak to
protect themselves. Even that involves the slaying of the murderers.
FROM THE SPIRITUAL STANDPOINT, THEREFORE, THE
RIGHT OR WRONG OF WAR HINGES UPON THE QUESTION: WHO IS THE AGGRESSOR AND WHO IS
This question is easily answered where war is
started for the purpose of conquest, or when war is waged for an altruistic
purpose such as the emancipation of a subjected people from physical,
industrial, and religious bondage. It needs no argument to show that in such
cases the oppressor is also the aggressor and the liberator is the defender of
inalienable human rights. He is performing a sacred duty as his "brother's
When this is once understood we cannot be
deceived by the jack-o- lanterns of diplomacy, for we have a true light, a
simple standard of right and wrong.
Having made up our minds on that point, it
follows that it is far more noble and heroic to face a firing squad for refusing
to enter the army of the aggressor, or to flee from our native land, or even
join the ranks of the defenders in the most menial capacity, than to hold a post
of highest honor among the aggressors.
On the other hand it is a sacred duty in
accord with the highest and noblest spiritual principles to fight among the
defenders. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the merit, and he who shirks
this sacred duty to defend hearth and home, kin and country, or who fails to
fight for the oppressed, is beneath denunciation. Furthermore, the greater the
emergency, the greater the sacrifice that is required.
Nor is this great privilege of sacrifice
confined to those of brawn and broad shoulders. Not alone are they bound by
duty; the work behind the lines is even more important and all can share
according to talent and ability--mental, physical, and financial.
Furthermore, when the occasion arises where
defense of others or self-defense becomes unavoidable, the harder the campaign
is pushed, the shorter and more successful it will be. Therefore, no half
measures should be tolerated, and neutrality under such circumstances must be
regarded at least as a sin of omission.
It is well understood by students of
occultism that wars are instigated and inspired by the divine hierarchies who
thus use one nation to punish another for its sins. Even a superficial study of
the Bible will furnish many instances. This does not always mean that the victor
is altogether righteous, but it does show that the vanquished nation has done
wrong and merits the punishment inflicted, usually on account of its arrogance
and godlessness. Nor is it a sign that because it is victorious for a long time
and extremely difficult to conquer, it enjoys divine favor- -at least in a
measure. Such a course may be brought about by the invisible army who support
the arms of the aggressor and prolong the struggle for the purpose of making the
final defeat more thorough and disastrous; also to teach the defenders a lesson
that could not be learned in a short decisive struggle.
Such, briefly, is the philosophy of war from
the spiritual viewpoint, regardless of who are the nations involved. If we apply
these principles and tests to the present war (World War I) it must be apparent
to everyone who is not biased and will approach the subject with a broad and
open mind that the militarists of the Central Empires have been preparing for
this war for generations, and on the fifth of July, 1914, at the notorious
Potsdam Conference which is now acknowledged by them, they agreed to start the
war after a few weeks during which the bankers of these nations were so
manipulating the markets as to amass the greatest possible financial resources.
This stamps the Austro-German war parties as the aggressors, who under the spell
of the Race Spirits have marshaled their millions against all the other nations
of the world. In the beginning of the conflict France and England, who were the
immediate neighbors of the outraged Belgians, made her cause their own and acted
in that respect as their brother's keeper. However, being unprepared, they have
been unable to bring the struggle to a decisive termination. Therefore it became
necessary for America to enter the conflict and turn the balance, so that peace
may be restored and safety secured to those who are too weak to protect
It has been a matter for rejoicing that
whenever the United States has been forced to enter upon a military campaign it
has always been either in self-defense or in the still more altruistic role of
defender and emancipator of the weak. Were this a war of conquest or aggression,
it would be better for any spiritually minded person to face a firing squad as
already stated than to participate in such an unrighteous undertaking. On the
other hand, seeing that the present struggle which is waged for the purpose of
crushing the militarism of Central Europe has taken such a terrible toll of
human life with the strength of the allied defenders nearly spent, it is the
sacred duty of everyone to aid to the very limit according to his spiritual,
mental, moral, or physical capacity, either at the front or behind the lines
wherever the judgment of those in charge may require his or her service.
Therefore we would urge each and every one
of the students of the Rosicrucian Fellowship, of whatever country now defending
the cause of humanity against the militarist party of the Central Powers, to
support his or her government to the very best of his ability that we may soon
see "Peace on earth and among men good will."
IS THE TEACHING OF THE ROSICRUCIANS
AVAILABLE FOR EVERYONE? IF SO, HOW IS IT MADE AVAILABLE?
ANSWER: In order to promulgate this teaching
The Rosicrucian Fellowship has been formed, and anyone who is not a hypnotist,
professional medium, clairvoyant, palmist, or astrologer, may enroll as a
Preliminary Course Student by writing to the General Secretary. There is no fee
for initiation, or dues. Money cannot buy our teaching. Advancement depends upon
After completing the Preliminary Course one
is put on the Regular Student list for a period of two years, after which if he
has become so imbued with the verity of the Rosicrucian teachings that he is
prepared to sever his connection with all other occult or religious orders--the
Christian Churches and Fraternal Orders are excepted--he may assume the
Obligation which admits him to the degree of Probationer.
We do not mean to insinuate by the foregoing
that all other schools of occultism are of no account--far from it. Many roads
lead to Rome, but we shall attain with much less effort if we follow one of them
than if we zigzag from path to path. Our time and energy are limited in the
first place, and are still further curtailed by family and social duties not to
be neglected for self-development. it is to husband the minimum of energy that
we may legitimately expend upon ourselves, and to avoid waste of the scanty
moments at our disposal that resignation from all other Orders is insisted upon.
The world is an aggregate of opportunities,
but to take advantage of any one of them we must possess efficiency in a certain
line of endeavor. Development of our spiritual powers will enable us to help or
harm our weaker brothers. It is only justifiable when efficiency in service of
humanity is the object.
The Rosicrucian method of attainment differs
from other systems in one especial particular: It aims, even at the very start,
to emancipate the pupil from dependence upon others, to make him SELF-RELIANT to
the very highest degree, so that he may be able to stand alone under all
circumstances and cope with all conditions. Only one who is thus strongly poised
can help the weak.
DO YOU CONSIDER THE ANCIENT MYTHS OF ACTUAL
VALUE, OR ARE THEY LARGELY FIGMENTS OF THE IMAGINATION?
ANSWER: They contain profound occult truths.
The contest between light and darkness is described in innumerable myths which
are alike in the main features, though circumstances vary according to the
evolutionary stage of the people among whom they are found. Generally the appear
fantastic to the normal mind because the picture drawn is highly symbolical, and
therefore out of tune with the concrete realities of the material world.
However, embodied in these legends are great truths which appear when they are
stripped of their scale of materialism.
In the first place it should be borne in
mind that the contest between light and darkness, as fought here in the physical
world, is but the manifestation of a similar contest fought also in the moral,
mental, and spiritual realms. This is a fundamental truth, and he who would know
truth should realize that the concrete world, with all the things which we now
think so real, solid, and enduring is but an evanescent manifestation created by
the divine thought, and it will dissolve into dust millions of years before the
other worlds which we think of us unreal and intangible are similarly dissolved
and we once more return to the bosom of the Father, to rest until the dawn of
another and greater Cosmic Day.
It is particularly at Christmas, when the
light is low and the night long, that humanity turns its attention to the
Southern Sun, and waits in an attitude of expectancy for the moment when it
shall again commence its northward journey to bring back the light and life to
our frozen hemisphere. In the Bible we learn how Samson, the Sun, waxed strong
while his rays grew longer; how the powers of darkness, the Philistines,
ferreted out the secret of his power and had his hair, or rays, cut, to rob him
of his strength; how they deprived him of his sight by piercing his eyes and
finally slew him at the temple of the Winter Solstice.
The Anglo-Saxons speak of the victory of
King George over the dragon; the Teutons call to mind how Beowulf slew the fire
drake and how Siegfried conquered the dragon Fafner. Among the Greeks we find
Apollos victorious over Python, and Hercules over the dragon of the Hesperides.
Most of the myths tell only the victory of the newborn Sun, but there are others
which, like the story of Samson just recited, and Hiram Abiff of the Masonic
Legend, tell also of how the old year's Sun was vanquished after having
completed its circle and was then ready to give birth to a new Sun, which rises
from the ashes of the old Phoenix to be the Lightbearer of a new year.
It is in such a myth that we learn of the
origin of the mistletoe, a tale which is told in Scandinavia and Iceland,
particularly at Yuletide when the red holly mingles in decorative effect with
the white mistletoe--a shadowy symbol of the blood that was scarlet with sin but
has become white as snow. The story follows:
In ancient days when the Gods of Olympus
reigned over the Southland, Wotan with his company of Gods, held sway in
Valhalla where the icicles reflected the winter Sun in all tints of the rainbow
and the beautiful coverlet of snow made light the darkest night eve without the
aid of the flaming Aurora Borealis. They were a wonderful company; Tyr, the God
of War, still lives in memory among us, for him we have named Tuesday. Wotan,
the wisest among them, is remembered in Wednesday; Thor still is with us as the
God of Thursday. He was the hammer swinger. When he threw his hammer after the
giants, the enemies of God and man, he made thunder and lightning by the
terrific force with which his hammer struck the clouds. The gentle Freya, the
Goddess of beauty, for whom we have named Friday, and the treacherous Loke,
whose name lives in the Scandinavian Saturday, are other present-day fragments
of a forgotten faith.
But there was no one like Baldur. He was the
second son of Odin and Freya. He was the noblest and most gentle of the Gods,
beloved of everything in nature. He exceeded all beings, not only in gentleness,
but in prudence and eloquence, also, and was so fair and graceful that light
radiated from him. In a dream it was revealed to him that his life was in danger
and this weighted so heavily on his Spirit that he shunned the society of the
Gods. His mother Freya, having at length prevailed upon him to tell her the
cause of his melancholy, called a council of the Gods, and all were filled with
sad forebodings, for they knew that the death of Baldur would be the forerunner
of their downfall--the first victory of the giants, or powers of darkness.
Wotan therefore cast RUNES, magic
characters, which were used to foretell the future, but all seemed dark to him.
He could gain no insight. The "Vessel of Wisdom," which might have
served them in their need was in the keeping of one of the Norns, the Goddesses
of Fate, so that could not help them now. Ydun, the Goddess of health, whose
golden apples kept the Gods ever young, had been betrayed into the powers of the
giants by the trickery of Loke, the spirit of evil, but a delegation was sent to
her, in order that she might be consulted on the nature of the sickness which
threatened Baldur, if such it be. However, she only answered with tears, and
finally after a solemn council held by all the Gods, it was determined that all
the elements, and everything in nature should be bound by an oath not to harm
the gentle God. This was done and a pledge was obtained from everything, except
one insignificant plant which grew westward of the Palace of the Gods; this
seemed so frail and fragile that the Gods deemed it to be innocuous.
However, Wotan's mind still misgave him that
all was not right. it seemed to him that the Norns of good fortune had flown
away. Therefore, he resolved to visit the home of a celebrated prophetess by the
name of Vala. This is the spirit of the earth, and from her he would learn the
Fate in store for the Gods, but he received no comfort from her and returned to
Valhalla more cast down than formerly.
Loke, the spirit of evil, and treachery, was
in reality one of the giants, or powers of darkness, but part of the time he
lived with the Gods. He was a turncoat, who could be depended upon by neither
party, and therefore he was usually distrusted and despised by both Gods and
giants. One day while he was sitting bemoaning his Fate a dense cloud began to
rise from the ocean, and after a time the dark figure of the Giant King issued
from it. Loke in some terror demanded what brought him hither. The monarch began
to reproach him with the contemptible part he, a demon by birth, was acting in
consenting to be the tool of the Gods in their warfare against the giants, to
whom he owed his origin. It was out of no affection for himself that he was
admitted to the society of the Gods, but because Wotan knew well the ruin which
he and his offspring were destined to bring upon them and thought by thus
conciliating him to defer the evil day. He who from his power and cunning might
have been a leader with either party, was now despised and rejected by all. The
Giant King further reproached him with having already frequently saved the Gods
from ruin and even with furnishing them with weapons against the giants, and
ended by appealing to the hatred which rankled in his bosom against Wotan and
his whole race as a proof that his natural place was with the giants.
Loke acknowledged the truth of this and
professed his readiness to aid his brethren by all means in his power. The Giant
King then told him that the moment was now at hand when he might seal the Fate
of the Gods; that if Baldur was slain their destruction must sooner or later
follow and that the gentle God's life was at that time threatened by some as yet
undiscovered danger. Loke replied that the anxiety of the Gods was already at an
end, for Freya had bound everything in nature by oath not to injure her son. The
dark monarch said that one thing only had been omitted. However, what that was
lay concealed in the breast of the Goddess and was known to no other. He then
sank down again to his dark abyss and left Loke to his darker thoughts.
Loke then, having assumed the figure of an
old woman, appeared to Freya and by his cunning drew from her the fatal secret;
that presuming on the insignificant nature of the mistletoe she had omitted to
obtain from it the pledge wherewith she had bound everything else. Loke lost no
time in repairing to the place where the mistletoe grew, and tearing it up by
the roots, gave it to the dwarfs, who were cunning smiths, to form into a spear.
This weapon was made with many incantations, and when the spear was completed
one called for blood to temper it. A child free from all taint was brought in,
the dwarf plunged the spear into its breast and sang:
"The death-grasp hear,
Ho! Ho!--now 'tis o'er--
Soon hardens the spear
In the babe's pure gore--
Now the barbed head feel,
Whilst the veins yet bleed,
Such a deed--such a deed--
Might harden e'en steel."
In the meantime the Gods and the dead
braves, who are with them assembled for a tournament, in order to convince
Baldur how groundless were his apprehensions, now that his life was deemed to be
charmed, made him the butt of all their weapons.
Loke repaired there also with the fatal
spear and seeing the blind and strong God, Hoedur, standing apart from the rest,
asked him why he did not honor his brother Baldur by tilting with him, also.
Hoedur excused himself on account of his blindness and because he had no weapon.
Loke then put the enchanted spear into his hands and Hoedur, unsuspicious of
malice, pierced Baldur through the breast with the spear made from the
mistletoe, so that he fell lifeless to the ground to the unspeakable grief of
Baldur is the summer Sun, beloved by
everything in nature, and in the blind God, Hoedur, who slays him with the
spear, we may readily recognize the sign Sagittarius, for when the Sun enters
that sign in December it is nearly without light and is therefore said to be
slain by the blind God Hoedur. The bow of Sagittarius, as pictured on the zodiac
of the south presents symbolically the same idea as the spear of the story in
The legend of Baldur's death teaches the
same cosmic Truth as all other myths of kindred nature, namely, that the Spirit
of the Sun must die to the glories of the Universe while, as Christ, it enters
the earth to bring it the renewed life, without which all physical
manifestations on our planet must cease. As death here precedes a birth into the
spiritual realms, so also there is a death upon the spiritual plane of existence
before a birth can take place into the physical body. As Osiris in Egypt is
slain by Typhon, ere Horus, the Sun of the New Year, may be born, so also Christ
die to the higher world before He an be born into the earth and bring to us the
needed annual spiritual impulse; but our Holy Season commemorates no greater
manifestation of Love than that of which the mistletoe is emblematical. Being
physically the extreme of weakness, it clings to the oak which is the symbol of
strength. it is the very weakness of the weakest of beings that pierces the
heart of the noblest and gentlest of Gods so that, compelled by his love for the
lowly, he descends to the shades in the underworld, even as Christ for our sake
dies to the spiritual world each year and is born into our planet that He may
permeate it anew with His radiant Life and Energy.
QUESTION NO. 166.
WHAT IS THE ROSICRUCIAN ATTITUDE TOWARD
PRAYER, IN THE LIGHT OF BIBLICAL ADMONITIONS?
ANSWER: In one place the Bible directs us to
pray without ceasing. In another Christ repudiates the practice, saying that we
should not imitate those who believe they are heard for their many words. There
can, of course, be no contradiction between the words of Christ and those of His
disciples, and we must therefore reconstruct our ideas of prayer in such a
manner that we may pray always and yet without voluminous verbal or mental
expression. Emerson said:
"Although your knees were never bent,
To heaven your hourly prayers are sent,
And be they formed for good or ill,
Are registered and answered still."
In other words, every act is a prayer,
which, under the law of cause and effect, brings to us adequate results. We get
exactly what we want. Expression in words is unnecessary, but sustained action
along a certain line indicates what we wish, even if we ourselves do not realize
it, and in time, longer or shorter, according to the intensity of our desire,
there comes that which we have thus prayed for.
The things thus gained or achieved may not
be what we really and consciously want. In fact, sometimes we may get something
we would far sooner be without, something that is a curse and a scourge, but the
prayer- act has brought them to us and we must keep them until we can
legitimately get rid of them. If we throw a stone into the air, the act is not
complete until the reaction has carried the stone back to the earth. In that
case the effect follows the cause so speedily that it is not difficult to
connect the two.
However, if we wind the spring of an alarm
clock, the power is stored up in the spring until a certain mechanism releases
it. Then comes the effect--the ringing of a bell--and although we may have been
sleeping the sleep of forgetfulness, the reaction or unwinding of the spring
took place just the same. Similarly, acts which we have forgotten will sometime
or another produce their results regardless, and thus the prayer of action is
However, there is the true mystic
prayer--the prayer where we meet God face to face, as Elijah met Him. Not in the
tumult of the world, the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, do we meet Him, but
when all is still the soundless voice speaks to us from within. However, the
silence which is required for this experience is not a mere silence of words.
There are not even the inward pictures which usually pass before us in
meditation, nor are there thoughts, but our whole being resembles a calm
crystal-clear lake. In it Deity mirrors Himself, and we experience the unity
which makes communication unnecessary either by words or in any other way. We
feel all God feels. He is nearer than hands and feet.
The Christ taught us to say, "Our
Father who are in heaven," etc. That prayer is the most sublime that can be
given utterance in words, but this prayer of which I am speaking may at the
moment of union give itself utterance in the one unspoken word,
"Father." The devotee, when he is truly in the mood of prayer, never
gets any farther. He makes no requests, for what is the use? Has he not the
promise, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want"? Has he not been
told to seek first the kingdom of heaven and all other things shall be added?
His attitude can perhaps best be understood if we take the simile of a faithful
dog looking with dumb devotion into its master's face, its whole soul pouring
itself out through its eyes in love. Likewise, only of course with much greater
intensity, does the true mystic look to the God within and pour himself or
herself out in voiceless adoration. In this way we may pray without ceasing,
inwardly, while we work as zealous servants in the world without; for let us
always remember that it is not intended that we should dream our lives away.
While we pray to God within, we must also work for God without.
The Rosicrucian Philosophy in Questions and Answers, Volume II