Jul 152011
 

The tragic ‘almost’ is a poignant commonplace of epic literature. The Iliad tells how the Trojan War was almost brought to a close by a single combat between Paris and Menelaos. How many lives would have been spared had not Apollo intervened, and for the most petty of reasons!

Paradise Lost shows us Satan seriously considering whether he is making a huge mistake by initiating the temptation in the garden….but, alas, he decides to go ahead with it after all. But nowhere is this motif more forcefully present than in the biblical narrative.

Since the Fall of Adam humanity has come close to ultimate fulfillment and redemption on several occasions. Even now just one small righteous action may be all that separates us from reentering Eden. Noah certainly had his chance to restore humanity. The Flood was like a huge mikveh – a ritual bath for all creation, in which evil was subjected to a series of irresistible hot and cold ‘washing cycles’.

Rabbi Yehuda said that in Gehenom the wicked are punished with water for six months and with fire for six months. Why, during the flood were they punished only by water for twelve months? Six months should have been enough. Rabbi Yosi told him that they were sentenced to both punishments: water and fire. They water that fell upon them from above was cold as snow. And they were also punished by fire because the water that spouted from the deep was scalding.

Thus, they were punished for twelve months, receiving the full sentence of Gehenom. This continued until they were completely removed from the face of the world. During this time, Noah was hidden in the ark. As a result, the Angel of Darkness did not approach him, and the ark roamed upon the waters, as it is written: “And they bore up the ark, and it was lifted above the Earth.” (Genesis 7:17), The Zohar, Vol. 2, pp. 388-390.

But when at last the waters had receded, Noah made a tragic mistake. It was, in fact, the same mistake Adam had made, and it came about in much the same way. Popular belief to the contrary, the forbidden fruit that tempted Adam and Eve was not an apple. it was a grape.

Come and behold: Adam’s wife pressed him grapes and bought death upon him, Israel, and the whole world. When Noah came upon these grapes, he was not well guarded, as it is written: “He drank of the wine, and was drunk; and he was uncovered within his tent.:” (Genesis 9:21)

After the Deluge: Temperance, The Essential Zohar, Rav P S Berg

Apr 052011
 

When in the life after death one has passed through the cosmic midnight hour, the midpoint int he soul’s path after death, then one stands before the possibility of a definite temptation.

One says to oneself: “I live in the spiritual; spiritual light surrounds me. It would be possible for me to incorporate into this spiritual light everything that I bear within myself, to unite with it so that everything in me that is imperfect would be transformed into perfection.”

This is the Luciferic temptation. It means inwardly to break away from, and refuse, the whole further development of humanity. A temptation can be so great that a human soul cannot withstand it. Such a temptation is therefore concealed by the gods, but nevertheless it is effectively present in the world.

The element of temptation here does not consist in one’s being offered the possibility of, say, dominion, or of realising evil intentions, or the temptation of egoism in the worldly sense; no, the possibility offered is that of remaining pure and holy in the spiritual world.

But in that case what is imperfect – and yet, as potential perfection, is still present in human nature – will not be developed, even if what is already developed in human nature were to remain forever in the light of purity and holiness. The temptation, then, is to renounce the great ideal of the future. In return, one can attain to a high degree of beauty and light in one’s being, insofar as this is now developed.

Thus every human soul stands at one time before the choice of becoming wonderfully holy or else at soem time the future – by working through many, many imperfections – of attaining a far-off ideal, wherein all undeveloped faculties implanted in human nature by the gods will come to fruiton.

Valentin Tomberg, Inner Development, Indian Yoga in Relation to the Christian Rosicrucian Path

Mar 132011
 

How was Jesus of Nazareth able so to experience the destiny of humankind and how did this experience bring with it the descent of the Healer? He carried within himself both a  comprehensive knowledge of the Zoroaster “I” and, united in his physical nature, the conscience of humankind and the third hierarchy. The fact that this conscience lived in his physical nature indicates its highest development.

Within itself, his astral body continued the inner impulse effected in it by the hierarchical being Jesus in his former union with the Christ. This astral body was made up of the condensed inspirations of the Archangel Jesus, who, while functioning as an angel, had in the past been interpenetrated by the Christ three times. The active aftereffects of this earlier interpenetration made the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth a body of “longing after Christ.”

On the other hand, the whole organization of this body (likewise the result of its participation in the earlier healing influence of Christ on humankind) participated fully in all human destiny. We could even say: In its upward flow, the astral body of Jesus was human longing: in its downward flow, human suffering.

No physical body could have borne such an astral body had the “I” living within it not possessed an unusual power of cohesion, and had its superhuman sensibility to shock not been balanced by a force able to return it to equilibrium. Because the Zoroaster “I” could give a wisdom-filled direction to the immense forces of the longings of the Nathan Jesus, the physical organisation was empowered to bear those longings; because the being of Buddha radiated into the astral body of the Nathan Jesus, the tranquil calm of Buddha flowed into the intensely agitated life of the soul.

This current of calm preserved the physical organism from destruction by a fiery excess of pain; the centralising Zoroaster force preserved it from congealing in an excess of longing. Thus the astral nature of the Nathan Jesus united within itself the greatest possible capacity for ecstasy – for expanding in purest self-surrender – with the greatest possible capacity for enstasy, or concentrated repose in the self. The first faculty made it possible to sustain the ordeal of the baptism in Jordan, that is to say, the absorption of the cosmic being of the Christ; the other gave proof of its power soon after, during the temptation in the wilderness.

The ether body of Jesus of Nazareth bore the innocent life spirit of the sister soul of Adam, and hence the forces of human youth bestowed the freshness of the first day of creation on every impulse in the soul of Jesus. When he spoke, he did so as only the most childlike child would be able to speak if it also possessed the most mature wisdom of the ages. The wisdom of the great Zoroaster shone in him with all the freshness of youth, without weariness, without the wounds of innumerable disappointments, and without the heaviness of soul that must be experienced and endured on the paths leading to such wisdom.

Experience leads to wisdom, but it wearies even souls. Therefore, from very early ages, the soul of Zoroaster had carried within itself the experience of the terrestrial history, but it surrendered that earthly experience to a soul that was without it. Thence the wonderful combination of the most mature wisdom arose along with the most childlike mind. Here was a man who could speak in such a way that not only did he speak the truth, but in speaking, restored the life that animated it on the first day of creation. Cosmic dawn lived in the great Western concepts of human destiny when he spoke during the time before the baptism in Jordan.

*

The Nathan Jesus possessed an organism we could call an organism of love, as distinct from an organism of force that reverts to the centaur. The nature of the Nathan Jesus, however, is not exhausted by a study of his astral, ether and physical bodies. Something more belongs to the organism of every incarnate human being, something that envelops that being just as the bodies do. Every incarnate human being brings another kind of “body” that may be called a “karmic sheath”. This sheath is made up of the forces of good and evil, which are not rooted in the three human bodies but are drawn by past karma into one’s environment as a circle of influence, so to speak.

Nathan Jesus was an exception. He had no individual human karma from the past; thus his “karmic sheath” was very different from that of other people. Because he was without past individual karma, he was not surrounded by an individual karmic sheath, but by the karmic sheath of humanity as a whole. This meant, however, that a vast range of human impulses were active in his environment, born by spirit beings who represented them quite accurately.

These particular impulses were active around him, “making smooth the way” for the Christ within him. These impulses revealed themselves in the simple forms of “insight”, “the spirit of sacrifice”, and “penitence.” Later, st Paul – after being transformed by the presence of Christ – understood the scope of these impulses and described them as “faith,” “love” and “hope”.

Christ and Sophia, Jesus of Nazareth