CHRIST OR BUDDHA?
Annet C. Rich
With Foreword By
THE ROSICRUCIAN FELLOWSHIP
P.O. BOX 713
OCEANSIDE, CALIFORNIA, 92054
The following treatise was written by the
author at my request for the purpose mentioned in the first two paragraphs, and
being well fitted by years of study of both Eastern and Western religious
systems to undertake such a commission, she has, in my estimation, given a most
comprehensive view of the subject. She has taken a most sympathetic attitude
towards the Eastern teaching as becomes an enlightened soul. Thus the spirit of
this little book is not controversial in any sense, for we do not believe in
trying to build up our own religion by casting aspersions upon that of other
people. We are just as sure that the religion of the East is perfectly suited to
the people who live there as that the Christian religion is the religion for the
Western people. Were the Buddha teaching today and a student from the West asked
his opinion as to whether he should follow him or the Christ, I feel sure that
he would direct the inquirer to The Light of the World. This little book is
therefore sent forth in the hope that it may show Western students that their
religion is the Christian religion, and that they should leave the Eastern
religion to the Eastern people, while embracing with their whole heart and soul
the religion of the Christ.
CHRIST OR BUDDHA?
When the eastern Occult Teaching was
presented to the Western World about forty years ago, its explanations of the
universe were accepted as reasonable by many students. The
Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception given in 1909, was similar in certain
respects concerning the laws governing the universe. The question then naturally
arises as to its scope and purpose, why it was given, and whether its teachings
and methods of development are better suited to an advanced, modern,
This treatise is written in answer to this
inquiry and to correct the erroneous conclusion, based upon a superficial
examination, that both teachings are the same.
The eighth chapter of Hebrews tells of a time
to come when it will not be necessary to teach men to know God, for then all,
from the least to the greatest, will have His laws inscribed in their hearts and
minds, and all will know Him. At present spiritual perception is obscured in
varying degrees by the veil of flesh and blood which "cannot inherit the
Kingdom of God." We are now groping for the truth which shall make us free
from the fetters of flesh and endue us with the spiritual faculties requisite
for knowing God. It is the promise of Christ that if we seek, we shall find. He
made no exceptions; we need not fear that any will be "lost." Yet much
effort may be saved by searching in the right direction, and we therefore feel
impelled to place before Western students some of the differences between the
teachings of the East and those of the West with particular emphasis upon the
Western method of soul unfoldment, a method naturally adapted to Western people
and which takes into account the mental and racial differences between the
occidental and oriental civilizations (or peoples).
(1) We believe that ALL religions have been
divinely given, each perfectly suited to the nation to whom it was given, having
been originated by one of God's messengers.
(2) We know that the path of civilization
has been from East to West, and that the most advanced people are now living in
(3) We think it a reasonable supposition
that the most advanced religion has been given to the most advanced people, and
that thus our Christian religion is at present the most lofty form of worship.
(4) We know that each of the older religions
had Mystery Schools for advanced souls, also that Christ gave His chosen
disciples knowledge concerning "the mysteries of the Kingdom of
Heaven" but parables to the public.
(5) In the Eastern Teaching UNIVERSAL
BROTHERHOOD is considered the great ideal. In the Christian Mystery Teaching of
the West, UNIVERSAL FRIENDSHIP is the ideal. Christianity is to be a cosmic
instead of a race religion, and its esoteric teachings are destined to become
universal. According to the Western teaching Christ will be the leader of the
next Great Epoch, and will come again, not in a physical body, but in a
"soul body" (soma psuchicon), as taught by Paul in 1 Cor. 15-45. This
vehicle is built of ether, and when man has evolved etheric consciousness so
that he can meet Christ "face to face," He will appear.
(6) If the Christian religion is the most
advanced, its inner teaching must necessarily be deeper and more far-reaching
than any other. The Western Wisdom Teaching includes methods for developing the
soul body so that we may function consciously in the invisible worlds while
still living in the dense body. These methods are particularly adapted to the
needs of Westerners, hence they are productive of results without the dangers
attendant upon the use of Eastern methods.
We may add that after many years' study of
the ancient religions we speak without prejudice and with gratitude for the
light received through them. Thus we feel free to voice our conviction that the
Christian religion is more lofty than any of its predecessors; that the
Christian Mystery Teachings, now promulgated by the Order of the Rosicrucians
through the Rosicrucian Fellowship, are both scientific and specially adapted to
our advanced civilization; and that to repudiate the Christian religion for any
of the older systems is analogous to preferring the older textbooks of science
to the new editions which embrace discovery to date.
We no longer need to be reminded that we are
living in times pregnant with innovations. Into every department of our
civilization has swept the intrepid, invading spirit of inquiry, of
investigations, of analysis. Neither can we fail to observe that we are living
in an age when the intellect is reaching its most practical and intense
expression; that it is arrogating to itself with a royal, self-sufficing
confidence the right to challenge any code of ethics, any theory of life or
religion, any landmarks of civilization, or any hypothesis of science, and to
demand proof of its right to exist. Nothing in the universe is too colossal for
its investigation or too infinitesimal for its analysis. Society has ceased to
shrink from the revolutionary attacks of scientific discoveries which for many
years have been beating back ignorance, prejudice, and dogmatism with resistless
force. These have had their day, and are now powerless to retard progress;
mankind is advancing whether it will or not.
In no department of life is the spirit of
inquiry, of sifting of investigation more intimately manifested than in
religion. Into this domain of mystery and tradition, into the depths of its
origin, into the realm of its authority has marched the relentless spirit of
inquiry, which has not halted nor flinched nor turned back though all the sacred
bulwarks of creed threatened to crumble before its encroachment. The intellect
is demanding a right higher than that of the priest to interpret the truth of
religion, confidently asserting that if it cannot discern truth or penetrate
beyond the borders of the invisible to a knowledge of God, no other faculty
exists capable of cognizing Deity.
If we look back over the centuries of
history, we note that the present intellectual and material age is the fruitage
of a long and significant past; the crest of a wave of progress that has
followed an impulse sent out from the very beginning of the race. Vague and
uncertain as our glimpse may be of the civilization of India, Egypt, Persia, or
Greece, we nevertheless can note that since the birth of the Aryan race the line
of progress has been the beckoning glory of the setting sun.
When India reached the pinnacle of her
greatness, the Hindu religion taught a conception of God and His omnipotence
which in all history has not been exceeded for lofty spirituality. From the
crest of the wave of progress has flashed down through the centuries the light
of the wonderful truth of the unity of life and light of the wonderful truth of
the unity of life and of a divine Presence in the universe. Then with deep
stillness the wave receded to reappear in Persia, adding a new light to
stimulate human progress.
We do not usually associate the idea of
material development with the Orient, yet it was born there. As the keynote of
the Hindu religion is unity, realizing the Deity in every part of the universe,
so the keynote of the Parsic or Zoroastrian religion is purity; purity of
conduct and in the affairs of life. Zoroaster came to lift his people from the
sloth and idleness into which they had fallen, and to arouse them from the state
of apathy and inactive contemplation of the inner life, all too common among the
Hindus, to a consideration of spiritual truth adapted to their day. Like all
great religions it emphasized the practical side of life rather than the
metaphysical, and its motto of "pure thoughts, pure words, pure deeds"
reveals how ancient is the doctrine of right thinking and right living.
Centuries later the Buddha came to
re-enunciate the ancient truths that lay concealed beneath the debris of
selfishness and caste, and feeling the suffering and sin of the world to be
rooted in unfulfilled desire, his compassionate heart sought to alleviate sorrow
through the doctrine of overcoming all desire and thus attaining to peace, a
doctrine that fell like a benediction on the troubled lives of his
contemporaries, and which still lives in the hearts of his followers.
With the passing of the great Eastern
teacher the glory of the Orient began to wane. Again the spiritual wave receded
to reappear among the Greeks. Since the Greeks no higher type of pure intellect
than theirs has been achieved; their art, their philosophy, speaks always in the
language of repose, of dignity, of self-control. To them TRUTH AND BEAUTY were
the pearls of great price. They inscribed over their temples "Know
Thyself," for to know oneself is to know truth. Whether manifesting through
the conscious power of their god Apollo, issuing from his temple to defend in
person the sacred shrine, or reflected in the splendid achievements of Pericles
or the lofty philosophy of Pythagoras, Socrates, or Plato, we contact always in
the Greeks the presence of intellectual power of intellect and self-sufficiency,
Greece fell before the organized militarism of Rome.
From her pinnacle of military supremacy Rome
looked with complacency over the world she had conquered. Little she dreamed
that she would topple before mere spiritual force, leaving a heritage of law,
order, and justice to a later generation.
To glimpse the misery and degradation of the
world at the feet of Rome, enslaved by vice, apathy, and superstition, is to
realize, though vaguely, how far humanity had strayed from the lofty precepts of
the ancient Teachers. All too faintly amid the babble of race prejudice and race
separateness sounded the ancient keynotes of unity and purity. Egypt was wrapped
in the darkness of a degenerate priesthood; India was fettered by caste; Persia
lay asleep beneath her jeweled canopies; the glory of Greece was dimmed; Rome,
reeking with vice and dissipation, affronted the skies with her camp fires; and
it almost seemed as if God had forgotten His world. But, "He standeth still
within the shadow, keeping watch above His own." Again the time had come
for one of those divine manifestations which from age to age take place for
helping humanity. Such a manifestation invariably comes when the oppression of
darkness seems too heavy to bear and a new impulse is needed to quicken
Into this mire of a decaying empire, into
the weariness of a despairing world, into the midst of a lost and despised
people, descended the Sun Spirit, Christ, manifesting "the greatest of the
divine measures yet put forth for the upliftment of the world." Christ came
not alone to rescue truth from oblivion, to bring back the ancient teachings, or
to re-establish the law, but to add to them the greatest principle of all--Love;
to reveal to humanity the doctrine of the heart; how we may attain to a more
sublime wisdom by the pathway of love than we can reach by reason. He came to
replace the race religions which were instituted by and under the guidance of
Jehovah, with a COSMIC RELIGION, promotive of Universal Amity as well as
Universal Brotherhood; a religion wherein the reign of Law is to be superseded
by the reign of Love, and wherein the spirit of antagonism and separateness
which lies at the root of all race religions will be transmuted into selfless
service, each for all, so that nations may beat their swords into plowshares and
the reign of Friendship and Peace begin.
In all the previous religions there were
deeper truths than were given to the masses. The priests were custodians of this
inner knowledge, and Initiation was open only to a few. Humanity as a whole was
not sufficiently advanced to receive it. Those who were initiated into the
ancient Mysteries required the mediation of priests, and only the High Priest
could enter the innermost Temple of God. When Christ came, begotten of the
Father, He brought direct to humanity the light and power of the spiritual Sun.
He poured into human life the Cosmic Ray of Himself. He is the link between God
and man, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, filling within Himself the office of
the High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, Himself the Initiator; and now
"whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
It seems paradoxical to consider the
material growth and supremacy of modern civilization as in any real sense the
outcome of an impulse sent forth by the gentle Nazarene, yet the birth of the
Christian religion gave direct and special stimulus to INDIVIDUAL achievement,
for it broke down the barriers of caste and race and revealed the fact that all
men are equal in the sight of God. That all are brothers is a fact in nature,
but under the regime of Jehovah some were preferred above others; therefore
Christ came to level the differences. Galilee itself was a more fitting
birthplace for a new order of things than at first may be apparent. Obscure as
it is today, two thousand years ago Galilee was the Mecca of travelers who
flocked there from all the known parts of the world. It was as cosmopolitan as
Rome itself, a sort of "melting pot," providing conditions congenial
for the birth of a body and brain different from the ordinary type, and an
environment where adaptability to new impulses could find scope and whence new
conceptions could be sent over the world.
In the new Christian religion the old ideals
of slave and master, Jew and Gentile, priest and people, Brahmin and Pariah,
were superseded by the ideals of EQUALITY, INDEPENDENCE, and INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM.
Even the lowliest began to lift their heads as free men and to reach towards
individual achievement and individual development; and with this new sense of
freedom in their hearts it is small wonder that they commenced to quench their
first thirst for self- expression from the waters of material prosperity that
never before had flowed so abundantly at their feet. Our modern civilization is
a normal outgrowth of this impetus given to individual development both in
thought and action.
The material and intellectual achievements
of modern civilization have naturally evolved the critical and analytical spirit
that always accompanies individual growth. This was accentuated by the birth of
modern science. Today the intellect sits enthroned upon the knowledge it has
acquired, and refuses to accept anything as truth that cannot be seen, measured,
or analyzed. But though physical science may scoff at the Christian religion of
love and self- sacrifice as being unscientific and contrary to the laws of
self-preservation and the survival of the fittest, the teachings of the lowly
Nazarene have silently and almost imperceptibly inoculated the Western World
with a spirit of altruism, impelling mankind to bear one another's burdens and
make the cause of individual welfare the cause of the whole.
Every student knows that this modern
civilization has not been achieved by stages of smooth and uniform growth.
Following the spiritual impulse of early Christianity came the gruesome Dark
Ages with their cloak of superstition and intolerance. The Christian religion
was used as a ladder for greed and ambition, and the inner teachings of Christ
were submerged under a theological dogmatism that threatened to arrest human
progress for the sake of ecclesiastical supremacy. The shackles of an autocratic
priesthood were at length broken by modern science, and REASON leaped to the
dangerous, tyrannical supremacy it still maintains.
The intellect in its revolt against
superstition soon showed a leaning towards ultra-materialism. That this might
not engulf spiritual truth, there came about the 14th century a great Teacher
bearing the symbolical name of Christian Rosenkreuz to throw new light upon the
misunderstood Christian teachings, to preserve them and steer them through the
impending materialistic and scientific controversies. He is a warden of the
hidden Wisdom of the West, which alone can satisfy BOTH heart and mind.
We are today in the midst of a civilization
born of stress, strife, and ultra-activity; a civilization hewn by the sword and
trailed by human blood. Truly, Christ ignores the physical or hygienic welfare
of its people. To the knowledge of this and other branches of science the
Western Wisdom Teaching of the Rosicrucians brings certain new and far-reaching
explanations that furnish a reasonable solution to many of the problems of
Besides presenting the theory of Involution
of LIFE and the synchronous Evolution of FORM, the Western teaching includes a
third factor, the Law of EPIGENESIS. Man is himself a factor in the building of
his bodies. During antenatal life he works unconsciously, building in the
"quintessence of former bodies"; later he begins to work consciously,
and the more advanced he is, the better he can build. In each embodiment he does
some ORIGINAL WORK, so that "there is an influx of new and original causes
all the time," and this process of taking the initiative, of creating new
possibilities of growth, is called "Epigenesis." This enables man to
become a GENIUS and a co-worker with the Creative Hierarchies of the world. If
evolution consisted merely in the unfoldment of germinal or latent
possibilities, man could not thus become a creator. The Eastern teaching says
nothing of this far-reaching principle.
Soon after the promulgation of Darwin's
theory of evolution certain objections were brought forward which have never
been satisfactorily answered by science, but which receive a reasonable
explanation in the Western Wisdom Teaching. These objections to the Darwinian
theory of evolution are:
1. THE ABSENCE OF DISCOVERED LINKS BETWEEN THE HIGHER APES AND MAN.
There is always movement in nature, and as
man passed through the various kingdoms, he evolved and occupied forms adapted
to each stage of development. "It is a law in nature that no one can
inhabit a more efficient body than he is capable of building." When the
form reaches the limit of its capacity for usefulness, it begins to degenerate,
having served its purpose as a vehicle of growth. All along the way there were
always some who refused to advance and were left behind as stragglers. As the
pioneers passed into bodies better suited for further progress, the archetypal
models of their outgrown and degenerating vehicles were taken up by the less
evolved and by the stragglers, who in turn used them as stepping stones until
the corresponding bodies crystallized beyond the possibility of the evolving
life to ensoul them. Science speaks of the evolution of forms, but there is also
this line of degenerating forms used by the less evolved and by the stragglers.
The apes belong to the latter class, and instead of being the progenitors of man
they are in reality stragglers occupying the degenerated forms once used by man.
The Eastern teaching attributes their existence to the improper relations of
primitive man with animals.
2. THE STERILITY OF HYBRIDS
This is another problem in evolution passed
over entirely by Eastern occultism, nor is it satisfactorily explained by
science, but it receives a rational solution in the Western Wisdom Teaching.
Briefly stated, it is this:
Until the animals become ensouled by
individual indwelling spirits endowed with reason to consciously or
subconsciously guide them FROM WITHIN, Mother Nature wisely appoints a group
spirit which guides them FROM WITHOUT in harmony with cosmic law; and that which
we call "instinct" is a manifestation of this group spirit's wisdom.
When animals of different species mate, their progeny are not wholly under the
control of either of the group spirits which guide their parents. If hybrids
were able to propagate, the issue would be still further removed from the group
spirit's guidance and control; it would be a helpless waif on the sea of life,
having neither instinct nor reason. Therefore the group spirits beneficently
withhold the seed atom necessary to fertilization from hybrids, which are
The scientifically observed fact of
"haemolysis," or destruction of blood when unnaturally mixed also has
an important bearing on this subject. This is fully elucidated in THE
ROSICRUCIAN COSMO-CONCEPTION to which students desiring to thoroughly
investigate the matter will do well to refer.
3. THE MORAL AND MENTAL SUPREMACY OF MAN OVER ANIMALS.
This fact, so apparent that it cannot escape
the notice of the most superficial observer, is not clearly explained by Eastern
occultism, but receives thorough and logical treatment in the Western Wisdom
Teaching of the Rosicrucians.
The plants draw their sustenance from the
soil, animals feed upon the plants, and human beings take their food from the
lower kingdoms. Thus in the final analysis all mineral, vegetable, animal, and
human forms are composed of the same chemical constituents of the earth.
Besides this physical form world which we
see, there are realms invisible to the eye, but perceptible by a sixth sense
which is latent in the majority but awakened in some. This spiritual vision
reveals the existence of:
An Etheric Region, promotive of growth and
A Desire World.
A World of Thought.
As a form built of chemical matter is
required for life in the physical world, so also is it necessary to have a
vehicle made of the substance of the other realms of nature in order to express
their qualities. Further, life in evolution is ever seeking expansion of
consciousness. To this end forms become more complex as we ascend the scale from
mineral to man, and invisible vehicles are also added to the physical form. Man
alone has vehicles correlating him to all four realms, which results in four
states of consciousness analogous to those possessed by the four kingdoms.
At spiritual seances invisible entities
accomplish the feat of materialization by drawing out of a medium's body,
forming it as they wish, and filling this warp to any desired density with a
woof of physical particles floating in the atmosphere. The body of the medium is
thus separated from the higher vehicles which link it with the spirit, hence the
medium is in a state of deep unconsciousness which we call "trance."
As the mineral has only a physical body it may be said to have a trance
When we look at a person wrapped in
dreamless slumber, the body seems inert; but when we focus our spiritual vision
upon the sleeper, we see an inner activity. The processes of digestion,
assimilation, secretion, etc., are carried on to even better purpose than in the
waking state. This is because the dense body is interpenetrated by a vital body
made of ether, but the higher vehicles float a few feet above the bed. When we
examine the plants we find that they also have a dense and a vital body, which
enable them to digest and assimilate food, to breathe the air, etc., and we may
therefore say that the plants have a consciousness analogous to dreamless sleep.
Sometimes when we are unduly intent upon the
affairs of this world, the higher vehicles do not properly separate when we go
to sleep. The dense and vital bodies are then partially interpenetrated by the
desire body which generates emotion and incentive to motion. Because the sense
centers of our higher vehicles are then askew in relation to our brain, we see a
galaxy of wild dream pictures, and toss about on the bed under the sway of
emotions caused by these visions. We cannot reason about them, for the mind is
outside the dense body, and we therefore accept unquestioningly even the most
A vital body and a desire body
interpenetrate the dense body of animals, but are not quite concentric with it.
Upon the screen of these vehicles pictures are projected by the wise group
spirit, and the animals, having no mind, follow blindly the course suggested by
these pictures. Thus we see that the consciousness of animals is analogous to
our own dream state, with the important difference that the suggestive pictures
projected by the group spirit are not irrational, but embody a wonderful wisdom
which we call instinct.
The supernormal intelligence and reason
observable in domesticated animals are induced by association with man on the
same principle that electricity of low voltage is induced when an uncharged wire
is brought into close proximity with another carrying a current of high tension.
In the waking state all of man's vehicles
are concentric, and he is thus able to will and reason. The mineral cannot
chooses whether it will crystallize or not, nor has the plant free will; it is
compelled to bloom by conditions outside its control. The lion must prey, and
the rabbit must burrow. Each species has certain generic habits, and all the
separate plants or animals of a certain family act alike under like conditions
because impelled to action by the common group spirit. Therefore if we know the
habits of any one animal, we know the characteristics of the whole family. Not
so with man, WHO IS GUIDED FROM WITHIN. Each is a species, a law unto himself,
and no matter how many we study, we never can tell what any one will do in a
certain case by knowing how another has acted. Neither can we write the
biography of a rose, or a lion. Only a man, whose life is different from all
other, can be thus sketched.
Thus man's mental and moral supremacy over
the animals and lower kingdoms is due to the fact that he is an individual,
indwelling ego, knowing himself as "I AM," an appellation not
applicable to an animal. Man is capable of initiating action from within by an
"I WILL," while animals are guided from without by a group spirit and
have no volition.
4. THE EXISTENCE OF ORGANS OF NO USE TO THEIR POSSESSORS.
Here also the Western Wisdom Teaching is
more comprehensive and explicit that Eastern occultism. It distinguished
a. Parts which are atrophying because they
have ceased to be of use, such as the muscles which move the skin and ears in
animals. These are present in man, but not used.
b. Organs like the pineal gland and the
pituitary body, which have played an important part in our past evolution, and
though dormant now are destined to play a still greater part in the future.
During the period of involution when man was
building his bodies and was in closer touch with the spiritual worlds than now,
these organs were vehicles of consciousness by means of which he contacted the
inner worlds, which were then as real to him as the physical world is today. But
as he dipped deeper into matter and began to focus his consciousness here, these
organs were a hindrance, for through them his attention was diverted from the
work of the physical world. Therefore they became dormant. Man, however, evolves
in a spiral, and as he mounts upward, these centers will again become active to
enable him to recontact the spiritual worlds. Therefore they have not atrophied
as they would have done had their purpose been entirely served.
After many years' study of the ductless and
secretory glands, Dr. C. E. de Sajons has published a profound treatise on the
pituitary body, wherein he shows that this organ exercises a central control
over our entire physical organism; that instead of being a rudimentary or
atrophied organ as physiologists have long held, it serves as a point of control
over the body. The sympathetic nervous system, the vital secretions of the
thyroid gland, and the suprarenal capsules are regulated by direct connection
with the pituitary body, as well as are the digestive tract and the vasodilator
and vasoconstrictor nerves. These scientific statements concerning the
importance of the pituitary body to our physical system are especially
interesting in the light of the Western Wisdom Teaching regarding the future
function of this organ.
c. Organs not yet completely developed.
The heart belongs to this class. It is an
involuntary muscle, but it is invested with the cross stripes peculiar to
voluntary muscles, and these cross stripes will become more and more marked as
the ego gains control over this organ. All muscles are the expression of the
desire body, and as man evolves more spiritual desires and grows in spiritual
power, the heart will become a voluntary muscle, and the circulation of the
blood will pass under voluntary control. Then he will have the power to withhold
the blood from those areas of the brain devoted to selfish purposes, and to
direct it to other centers devoted to altruistic ideals.
In the Christian scriptures the following
doctrines are given great prominence:
1. Contamination of the blood by generation.
2. Cleansing of the blood by RE-generation.
The doctrine of blood is written large upon
every page of the Bible from Genesis to the Apocalypse. It is undeniable that
blood is the basis of all forms having sentient life; but so far as the writer
has been able to learn, Eastern occultism has not one word upon the important
subject. The Western Wisdom Teaching, on the other hand, throws a light upon the
"Mystery of Blood" which is illuminative of many of the most intimate
problems of life. It presents various far-reaching ideas concerning the blood.
It calls the blood the "vantage ground of the spirit," the direct and
individual vehicle through which man by means of its heat controls and directs
his physical body. When man had entered the human kingdom and was developing his
individuality, control over his actions was to a certain extent exercised by the
RACE SPIRIT, who, in a manner somewhat analogous to the control of the group
spirit over the animal kingdom, maintained dominion over him by preserving the
purity of the tribal or family blood; the closer the intermingling of blood by
marriage in the clan, caste, or tribe, the stronger the power of the race
spirit. Since the blood is the vehicle of the ego, the carrier of its feelings
and emotions and the recorder of its memory, the intermingling of the family
blood had the effect of reproducing the mental pictures of the parents in their
descendants, who saw themselves in this memory of nature, through a long line of
ancestors. Events in the lives of their forebears thus seemed to have happened
to themselves. It was through this common consciousness or memory that a man was
said to live many generations. When we read that Adam lived 900 years and the
patriarchs lived for centuries, it means, not that they themselves lived that
long, but that their descendants felt themselves to be Adam, Methuselah, etc.,
because the ancestral blood, transmitted directly through intermarriage, was the
storehouse of all experience, and carried the memory pictures of the life of
these patriarchs. Thus certain faculties and traits were built in and the type
strengthened until humanity could stand on its own feet without the aid of
family or race spirit. During man's earlier evolution of self-consciousness he
lived under this reign of law, which submerged the individual in the nation,
tribe, or family that the type might be formed.
There is evidence that the early Jews had
special teaching concerning the blood, as shown in the 14th verse of the 17th
chapter of Leviticus, where they were prohibited from eating the blood because
the "soul of all flesh is in the blood." Among them the race spirit
was stronger than the individual, for every Jew thought of himself first as
belonging to a certain tribe or family, and his proudest boast was that he was
of the "seed of Abraham."
The original Semites were the first to
evolve free will. They in a measure broke away from the grip of the race spirit
by intermarrying with other tribes, and this introduction of strange blood
interrupted the common consciousness which they shared with their ancestors, and
which was superseded by individual consciousness. But by this act they also
gradually lost the so- called "second sight," retained to the present
day by many of the Scots who marry in the clan.
The great significance of the Christian
religion lies in its teaching that Christ came to prepare the way for the
emancipation of humanity from the sway of the race spirit and unite the
multiplicity of races into a brotherhood of the whole; to supersede the reign of
law with the reign of love and self- sacrifice; to instill into the new race the
ideal of FRIENDSHIP, an ideal that will eventually level all distinctions and
bring peace upon earth and good will among men. He brought a sword for the sake
of ultimate peace, for not until the kingdom of men is destroyed can the kingdom
of God be built--the kingdom of God that is built FROM WITHIN through the free
will of man as a self-governing individual, co-operating with the divine will.
Man is building in all the worlds, and while
at times he appears to build only for the separate self, yet there exists in the
world today an ideal of friendship and altruism that was scarcely known in
ancient civilizations. Through this expression of altruism man is brining to
perfection his VITAL BODY, WHICH IS THE HIGHEST EXPRESSION OF THE BLOOD. This
vehicle is also the seat of memory and is correlated to the unifying Life Spirit
as shadow is to substance. The blood corpuscles of the lower animals are
nucleated, and these nuclei are the vantage ground of group spirits which
control each species through these centers of life. When individuality is
evolved, the nuclei disappear as in the higher mammals which are nearing
individualization. In the human fetus the blood corpuscles are nucleated during
the first few weeks while the mother works on the body; but these the indrawing
ego disintegrates, and at the quickening, when it takes possession of its body
as an individual, the last are gone, for there can be no other governing
principle where the indwelling spirit is. Thus the blood of every human being is
different from the blood of every other individual, which fact will shortly be
discovered by science. We are taught in the Western Wisdom Teaching that the
vital body will be our densest vehicle in the next upward cycle, therefore the
necessity of its proper unfoldment is readily apparent. The Western Wisdom
Teaching gives definite explanation concerning the vital body's constituent
ethers, their functions in the development of man, and the relation of the
development of the vital body to the second coming of Christ. It includes
instructions for this development by cleansing the blood, and this method is
suited to the mind and body we have evolved under the modern and progressive
ideals of the west. It is a WESTERN METHOD FOR WESTERN PEOPLE; hence it is safe
and sure, as the writer knows by experience.
As we study more closely this wonderful
teaching, we can understand in a measure the intricate problem of racial blood
that has played such an important part in the world's history and in the
perpetuation of family, tribe, and national ideas. Science is still searching
for its significance; it recognizes the fact that the transfusion of blood from
an animal of a higher species to one of a lower kills the latter (haemolysis).
But this Western Wisdom Teaching further explains that as humanity evolves
towards the divine stature, mixing of human blood will become impossible. In a
far-off future age propagation of the race will no longer be necessary, for man
will then have learned to create from within BY THE WORD. Even today man is
building a finer and better body than he had in the past, more flexible, more
adaptable; he is learning to know its functions, and is beginning to liberate
himself from the crystallizing influence of racial blood and to become a citizen
of the world.
The Western Wisdom Teaching also gives a
solution of the problem of sex and its purpose. "The ego itself, contrary
to the generally accepted idea, is bi- sexual." This duality does not
manifest as sex in the inner worlds, but as will and imagination, akin to the
solar and lunar forces respectively. During the epoch when the earth was united
with the sun "the solar forces supplied man with all needed sustenance, and
he unconsciously radiated the surplus for the purposes of propagation." But
when the ego began to dwell within the body and control it, it was necessary to
use part of this creative force to build a brain and larynx that man might be
furnished with instruments for self- expression. As the physical body became
upright, the dual creative force was divided, one part being directed upward to
build the brain and larynx, the other downward to build the procreative organs.
As a result of this change only one part of the force essential for the creation
of another body was available in each individual, and the co-operation of
another became necessary for propagation. Thus man obtained brain consciousness
at the cost of half of his creative power, but he gained an instrument with
which he could create in the World of Thought, in the realms of music, of
poetry, and of art, and enter into a heritage of the world's beauty; and if by
this act his eyes were opened to the knowledge of death, of pain, and of sorrow,
they were also opened to the knowledge of his own divinity, and to a knowledge
of the law of sacrifice, of love, and of service. Eastern occultism teaches the
fact of the separation into sexes, but the Western Wisdom Teaching SHOWS THE
PURPOSE OF THE SEPARATION.
The Western Wisdom Teaching also logically
explains how infant mortality, which has brought so much sorrow and suffering
into the world, is really the merciful action of a beneficent law to prevent a
still greater calamity. An understanding of the workings of this law will show
us how we may prevent this anomaly and save ourselves the suffering incident to
the premature departure of those beloved rays of sunshine which, alas, too
frequently leave our earth cold and desolate.
Immediately after death a panorama of the
life just ended passes before the spirit. By contemplation this is etched into
the desire body, and as the ego enters the world of desires and emotions, it
feels with a keenness incomprehensible to us in our present state the mistakes
of the past life as it broods over the pictures of scenes wherein it did wrong.
That is purgatory, and out of the suffering there the soul weaves CONSCIENCE to
guard if from evil acts in future lives. It also enjoys with unbelievable
intensity virtues evolved in the past life and the good deeds done. That is
heaven, and out of this joy comes the incentive to live up to still HIGHER
IDEALS in the future. Thus the spirit reaps the fruits of conscience and lofty
aspiration from the UNDISTURBED contemplation and of the panorama immediately
When this contemplation is disturbed, as in
case of death on a battlefield or by fire, drowning, or other accidents, the
harrowing circumstances attending make it impossible for the departing spirit to
give undivided attention to the panoramic review of the past life. This is also
the result when hysterical outbursts from relatives act in a similarly
disconcerting manner. Under such conditions the etching on the desire body is
weak, and consequently the feelings of joy and sorrow are not felt with
sufficient keenness in the post mortem existence to generate conscience to guide
the spirit in its next earth life, or ideals to beckon it onward. It has sown,
but has not reaped; the life has been lived in vain, and in its next earth life
the man would still be subject to the vices which beset him in the life just
passed; the virtues achieved in the preceding life would have to be wrought
anew. Thus the Spirit would be launched upon the sea of life like a ship without
compass to guide it into a haven of rest, and it would be doomed for a lifetime
to drift aimlessly. Strange as it may seem, death in childhood under such
conditions is designed by the loving kindness of God to avert this calamity
caused by savagery, carelessness, or lack of consideration, and to give the
incoming spirit a fair start in life. The method of attaining this end is as
On its way to rebirth the spirit gathers
materials for a new mind, desire body, vital body, and dense body. As a period
of gestation precedes the birth of the dense body, so with the finer vestures.
Birth of the vital body at seven years of age inaugurates rapid growth; of the
desire nature at fourteen brings adolescence and ushers in the emotional age;
and at twenty-one when the mind is born, reason lights the path to subdue
emotion and guide us through life.
That which has not been born cannot die; and
when the dense body of a child dies before the age of adolescence, gestation of
the desire body is completed in the first heaven, a part of the desire world
(called "Summerland" by some) where noble ideals and an aversion to
evil are instilled by devoted teachers. There the children are taught a superior
morality while engaged in play with colors and living toys so beautiful, that
could we see them, we would forget our sorrow and thank God for His goodness.
After a few years these lucky ones are often born in the same family, nobler
than they would have been if they had not had the experience resulting from
death in childhood.
Eastern occultism tells us that we should
not grieve for those who pass on, for birth is as certain to those who die as
death is to all who are born. This is true, but it is as cold as occultism
itself. Infant mortality is so sad, it is such an apparent anomaly in nature,
that we crave a ray of hope to comfort our aching hearts when the Angel of Death
has taken the sunshine from our homes. The Western Wisdom Teaching speaks to
heart and mind alike; it shows us a law working for good to correct our
mistakes; it lights the path of sorrow with the ray of hope, and shows us how we
may save ourselves this sorrow in future lives by abolition of war, by taking
care to avoid accidents, and be being considerate of departing friends in the
hour of death, not disturbing them with selfish lamentations.
The Western Wisdom Teaching gives invaluable
instructions in the care of the dying, and shows how we may aid them, in the
hour of passing to realize the greatest possible soul growth from the life just
ending. Thus this teaching is of practical benefit in every contingency of life
Although the idea has been accepted by most
thoughtful students that death is but a shifting of activities from this
physical world to worlds less material, the Western Wisdom Teaching explains the
working of natural law concerning length of earth life and the collapse of the
physical body. Man builds the archetype of his dense body in the heaven world.
This archetype is of course built according to his capacities. Sometimes a life
is prolonged beyond the normal length when the Compassionate Ones see that it
can be of special service, but generally speaking, the archetype persists only
till the vibration given it at birth has been expended.
When the life is ended, the ascent of the
Spirit is hindered by the desire matter which cling to it after the mortal coil
has been shed. From this it seeks to free itself by centrifugal force, following
the same natural law by which a planet throws off that part of itself which is
most crystallized. Thus the coarsest matter of the desire body is thrown off
first. It is eliminated by the PURGING centrifugal force which tears out the
evil and allows the spirit to ascend into the higher regions constituting the
heaven world. In this connection the very important teaching is given as to the
necessity of properly etching the panorama of the past life into the desire body
that the ego may see its successes and its failures, wherein it was strong and
wherein it was weak; that it may see the purpose of pain and the path that leads
to its elimination.
Each generation as it ascends to the heaven
world sings a song of its accomplishments while upon earth. Thus each sings a
different measure in the harmony of our sphere, and as spores upon a glass plate
are differently arranged when different tones set them into vibration, so these
variations in the world anthem are the causes which change climate, flora, and
fauna on earth. If we were diligent during our past earth life, when we reached
the heaven world we sang of a land of plenty, and lo! we find it awaiting us on
our return. If we neglected the land and spent our time in metaphysical
speculation, our song in the heaven world was very different, and when we return
to earth life, we find ourselves in a land of famine, flood, and desolation. All
things in heaven and on earth are governed by the immutable law of consequence,
which maintains the equilibrium of the world.
While the foregoing points are of importance
in showing the superior concepts of the Western Wisdom Teaching relative to
those of Eastern occultism, they become insignificant in comparison with the
differences between the two teachings concerning the Christ, His identity, His
mission, and the nature of His advent. On this important point, says Edith Ward
in THE OCCULT REVIEW, there is such a radical and irreconcilable difference that
BOTH CANNOT BE TRUE. She arrives at this conclusion by comparing THE ROSICRUCIAN
COSMO-CONCEPTION by Max Heindel with the writings of a leader of the principal
society promulgating Hinduism among the people of the West.
Until November, 1909, when THE ROSICRUCIAN
COSMO-CONCEPTION was published, this society had had very little to say about a
Christ; but since then they have made this a feature. In one of their more
recent books their leader claims that the lives of Christ have always been lived
in close relationship with the most devoted members of this society. Jesus is
said to have recently taken birth as a Hindu, and at the present time to be the
ward of this leader, who claims to be fitting him for the spiritual rulership of
We have no quarrel with those who believe
this. It is contrary to the policy of The Rosicrucian Fellowship to speak in a
derogatory manner of people of another persuasion or to make light of their
sincere beliefs; but we do claim the ethical right to compare the Western Wisdom
Teaching, which is in full agreement with the Christian scriptures in which we
believe, with the teaching of the Eastern school, for the purpose of showing
that the Christ to whom the whole Christian world looks for light and hope is
NOT the Christ proclaimed by this society.
To this end there might be adduced most
voluminous references, but the following will suffice. The letters X and Z are
used to designate quotations from two writers of the Eastern school.
According to X., it is stated that
"when the time came at which it was expected that humanity would be able to
take care of itself, the foremost who had reached the stage of adeptship were
two friends or brothers whose development was equal. These were Lord Gautama and
Lord Maitreya. The former held office first, the latter followed thousands of
years later....Buddha has yielded his office of ruler of religion and education
to LORD MAITREYA, WHOM THE WESTERN PEOPLE CALL THE CHRIST, and who took the body
of the disciple Jesus during the last three years of his life on the physical
plane....Lord Maitreya had taken various births before he came into the office
he now holds."
Z. traces a similar line of births:--
"The Lord Maitreya in due course
appeared as Shri Krishna, and passed away in early manhood, returning to his
Himalayan home. Then he came again, using the body of his dear disciple, Jesus
the Hebrew, and for three years shone in the perfect tenderness of the
Christ....And now again we are hoping, watching for His coming."
But that these people are not looking for
the Christ of the gospels, of the Christian world, or of the Western Wisdom
Teaching is a fact they are careful to impress on their readers as follows:
"In considering the return of the
Christ I would have you distinguish clearly between the Christ of the gospels
and him to whom I refer. All they have in common is the name Jesus....It is
necessary to emphasize the fact that the Jesus whose immediate return I look for
should in no way be confused with your Christ....If you remain a faithful
believer in your scriptures--THE AUTHENTICITY OF WHICH I DENY--they will
safeguard you against....confusing the prophet whose immediate return I proclaim
and the Christ of the gospels."
"When we examine clairvoyantly the
life of the founder of Christianity....we find no trace of the twelve
apostles....The author of the gospels seems to have conceived the idea of
casting some of the great facts of initiation into a narrative form and mingling
them with some points out of the life of the real Jesus who WAS BORN 105
With this Z. agrees:
"Your faith in his divinity arises out
of your faith in the story of his life as recorded by his disciples. But so far
as I know, these disciples never existed, and THE STORY OF HIS LIFE, AS OF
THEIRS, IS A CREATION OF THE IMAGINATION....The Christ to whom I refer....lived
on earth about a century before the time when these events in Palestine were
supposed to take place BUT DID NOT DO SO."
Does it not seem, strange that this writer
who thus repudiates the Christian scriptures and brands the story of Christ and
His apostles as a figment of the imagination should pathetically exclaim as
follows because the new Christ is repudiated by many members of his society:
"Shall history here repeat itself and
the story of Judea, Jerusalem, and even Calvary once more be played?"
How can that repeat itself which never took
place? And is it not strange that a leader who makes a worldwide campaign
repudiating the Christ of the Western World and of the Christian scriptures and
who heralds another Christ, should say:
"I know next to nothing of this Jesus,
whose return I foretell."
Is it not strange that one who says bluntly
and without reserve,
I am not a Christian,
should have been entrusted with the great
mission of proclaiming the return of Christ?
Let the reader answer these questions as he
thinks the evidence merits. But we believe, nay, we know, that the Christ of all
devout and believing Christians is entirely different from the one heralded by
the NEW leaders of the Eastern school of occultism.
The Western Wisdom Teaching gives a
comprehensive account of cosmogenesis. Three great evolutionary periods have
preceded our present state. The Father is the highest Initiate of the first or
Saturn Period. The Son (Christ) is the highest Initiate of the second or Sun
Period, and Jehovah is the highest Initiate of the third or Moon Period.
Under the regime of Jehovah and his angels
separation of the sexes took place, also a division of mankind into tribes and
nations. The desire nature was rampant, so laws were given, and "the fear
of the Lord" was pitted against the desires of the flesh. All race
religions were designed by Jehovah, each suited to the particular nation to whom
it was given. All these forms of worship aimed to prepare mankind for the reign
of Christ, whose mission is to emancipate us from the rule of law, under which
all sin; substituting the reign of Love where all will serve.
Jehovah worked upon the earth and mankind
FROM WITHOUT, as group spirits work with the animals. But 2000 years ago, at the
Baptism, the Christ Spirit descended upon Jesus and dwelt in his body until the
tragedy on Golgotha, when it entered the earth as indwelling Planetary Spirit.
Forthwith Christ commenced to cleanse the desire world, which reeked with
brutality and egotism generated under the law, and also to radiate love and
altruism, which is slowly but surely permeating the world. Thus in time we shall
surely see "on earth peace, good will toward men."
But the Great Sacrifice was ONLY BEGUN on
Golgotha; the Christ is still "groaning and travailing," and must
continue to do so "till the day of manifestation of the Sons of God,"
the day when we shall have evolved sufficiently to guide our own planet in its
orbit and care for our weaker brothers. Let us not forget that we can hasten or
retard the day of His coming by the lives we lead. If we live unto the world, we
lengthen His imprisonment and agony; and so it behooves us to heed His last
admonition, that whatever we do, it be done IN REMEMBRANCE of Him; for then
shall we be working to free Him, thereby hastening the time when we shall meet
Him "in the air" as He passes out from the center of the earth to the
surface and thence to the sun whence He came.
The work of the Aryan race has been to
evolve reason; and right well has it accomplished this purpose. But henceforth
humanity must learn to illuminate its reason by the inner light of the spirit,
and unite its HEAD KNOWLEDGE with the knowledge of the HEART. it must learn to
initiate through its own free will all action from within, and this action must
result in Service.
It has been said that "the flower of
religion is always given to the flower of humanity," and that more glorious
religions are yet to come. Yet the world today is just beginning to catch faint
glimpses of the lofty mission of Christ, which is to lift mankind into the
living reality of UNIVERSAL FRIENDSHIP.
In the Atlantean Mystery Teaching, recorded
in the Old Testament, we learn that man of his own free will partook of the
"tree of knowledge," which brought pain and death into the world, and
as a result he was "expelled from the garden of God, to wander in the
wilderness of the world"; that God in pity made a covenant with man; that a
tabernacle was built, within which was placed the Ark, symbolizing the human
spirit, which never dies; that the staves of the Ark were never removed, even as
man, a pilgrim, may never rest until he reaches through his own free will the
human goal. Within this Ark was the "golden pot of manna," MAN, fallen
from heaven, together with a statement of divine laws which he must learn in his
"pilgrimage through the wilderness of matter"; there was also the
"magic wand" of Aaron, the emblem of spiritual power, which is within
every one, urging him on his way to the Mystic Temple of Solomon. In the Old
Testament is traced man's descent from heaven, his transgressions from the
commands of Jehovah, who led and guided him in pain and sorrow through the
wilderness of matter toward the reign of peace which will be ushered in by
Scarcely has the world yet begun to live
the inner teachings of Christianity; only dimly is it beginning to grasp their
significance; yet slowly but surely we are proceeding toward the next cycle of
progress, the great Sixth Epoch, of which Christ is to be the leader, an Epoch
which will marshal all mankind, whether "Sons of Cain" or "Sons
of Seth," to work in harmony in the Kingdom of their Lord; and Epoch when
the rays from the Rose Cross will shed the light of understanding upon every
institution of men so that every difference will sink in common service for the
good of all, and friendship will unite the scattered souls in the kingdom of
Christ. When He has fully perfected the unification of the Kingdom, he will
yield it to the Father, as stated in the Bible.
In the Western Mystery Teaching is found
revealed the mission of Christ, who came to show and prepare the way to His
Kingdom, that not the stragglers alone might be lifted up, but that all who are
ready to enter into the narrow way and through the straight gate may find the
Light and the Way. No longer is He "the One to come," but the One to
COME AGAIN. NEITHER WILL HE AGAIN APPEAR IN THE FLESH, which, as Paul says,
cannot inherit the Kingdom, but in the SOUL BODY. When humanity has evolved
etheric consciousness, they can meet Him "in the air." But "of
that day and hour, knoweth no man, no, not even the angels which are in heaven,
neither the Son, but the Father." Then the law that was given by Moses will
be superseded by the "grace and truth that came by Jesus Christ," and
the stream of humanity that has been surging onward in its appointed course will
bear witness as rightful sons of God that it is possible to obey the divine
command, "Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect."
In the foregoing pages we have scarcely
touched upon the wealth of wisdom found in the Christian Mystery Teaching
disseminated through The Rosicrucian Fellowship, but sufficient has been said to
convince anyone acquainted with the teaching of Eastern occultism and who is
open to conviction, that while both contain the same great basic truths common
to all religions, both ancient and modern, they are very far from being THE SAME
and that THE WESTERN WISDOM TEACHING IS AS FAR IN ADVANCE OF EASTERN OCCULTISM
AS BUDDHA, THE LIGHT OF ASIA, IS OUTSHONE BY OUR GLORIOUS CHRIST, THE LIGHT OF
THE WORLD, for whose coming we watch and pray.