To speak about Mani we must assume a breadth of understanding and attention to spiritual life that is not so easy to come by. We have worked for years in order to approach this possibility by first considering the four Gospels and then the initiation of Christian Rosencruetz as well as what Rudolf Steiner has to say about the Gospel of St. Matthew. All this forms the background to approaching Mani.
We began our work here at the Fellowship by taking up the St. John Gospel. Paul Allen spent almost an entire winter with the St. John Gospel, reading it first in Greek and then in English. He brought the content from Anthroposophy to bear upon the gospel passages we read. Then we worked through the St. John Gospel another three or four times and the two lecture cycles by Rudolf Steiner concerning this gospel. In our studies we also took up the Apocalypse as we strove toward understanding John the Initiate, whose gospel speaks very much to what we will meet in the future. John was apocalyp- tic. He pointed to the future not only in the Apocalypse but throughout his gospel. He thereby points to our astral body, which directs us to the future. The view of John is to the future. His gospel begins with the Word but leads us to take up the “cry” of the soul in the wilderness. The orientation is to the inwardness-emptiness of the soul, but directs the soul to the future where the loneliness, isolation and emptiness can find resolution. The John Gospel is a good point of departure to take up our study of Mani, the “Son of the Widow” — a soul bereft of inner content; thereby, the son of a widow. The spirit, the husband, the male is absent.
The second gospel that we have worked through on numerous occasions is the St. Luke Gospel. Luke, a physician, builds his gospel on the healings while leading us back to God, to Adam Kadmon. The simple being of Jesus, the healing element of this being, is brought before us again and again. We refer here to the element, the beingness, of the Nathan Jesus — the Adam Kadmon impulse —that worked as the healing agent through this Jesus. Going over this gospel again and again, we considered what is healing, the healing agent: the etheric. It is this principle in man that takes us back in the life stream to recollect the Beginning with God. Recollection is the thread, not creativity as with John.
The Mark Gospel was written by a jurist. It places man in the world and speaks of him as a worldly being, as a worldly ego being. We have not yet really taken up the Mark Gospel in depth, though we have gone through it once or twice.
The Matthew Gospel we took up a little over a year ago at Christmas. We entered deeply into this gospel and the lecture cycle on this gospel by Rudolf Steiner, where we took up the secret and deep mystery of the two Jesus children. In the process, we talked about the being Zarathustra: Zarathustra as a bodhisattva being. We discussed the makeup of the human being and emphasized how this had to be so configured from the time of Abraham, who was initiated by Melchizedek, that man would be able to enact the mathematic or arithmatic process. We pointed how this was placed in the bloodline, the bloodline of six times seven generations. We looked at Abraham and his initiation, which was so crucial to the evolution of the human organism, namely, the brain, whereby the process of arithmatic, with its inwardness, could be cultivated. We went further and spoke of the Adam Kadmon impulse that worked in the Nathan Jesus. This had to be taken up by the Solomon Jesus being, which entered into the Nathan Jesus at his twelfth year and enabled the Solomon being to experience fresh etheric forces — rejuvenated etheric forces — through the activity of the Nathan Jesus-Adam Kadmon being. All this prepared the way for us to consider the ego—the Zarathustra ego, or Solomon Jesus ego. The physical, etheric and astral organizations of the Solomon Jesus were sacrificed to the being of Christ.
Our concern for the being of Zarathustra gave rise to a discussion of the bodhisattvas. We considered three major bodhisattvas: the bodhisattva connected with the Gautama Buddha, the bodhisattva of Zarathustra, and the bodhisattva that we know as Scythianos. From history we know that these three were very much opposed by the Church. At times we also hear of these three as one, acting in such a way in order to serve the Christ. There are twelve such beings, bodhisattvas, who bring the impulse of culture to man; bring new impulses. These twelve beings are actually the beings of the Holy Spirit. What they bring permits man to evolve in such a way that the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, can become a province of the human soul. The region in which these spiritual beings exist, in reverence to the Christ-Elohim, gives rise to the question of what type of beings they are. Where do they exist? When did they come into being and how do they work? We have pointed to the “world of archetypes” as the lofty etheric-astral world where these beings, archangelic beings, work. We are dealing with beings from a very lofty world, a world in which re-creative impulses exist. The central figure is the being of the Christ. From this domain come impulses for new faculties. We also considered the Maitreya Buddha, or the Buddha to come, who appeared in Yeshu ben Pandera. He lived among the Essenes. It is he who will bring the real knowledge of the Christ in the form of comprehending the Word — the creative process. The bodhisattvas are not creative; they help carry out the creation. Their service is to the Christ — to further evolution and knowledge of the Christ.
It was in our discussions of the Matthew Gospel that we turned to the Temple Legend. What we found there we tried to use to understand how the bodhisattvas work to help evolve that which is the core of the human being, the ego. It was at that time that we spoke of a way to view man as he goes through the seven ego experiences, giving rise to the sevenfold ego. We took this from Rudolf Steiner’s indication that there are seven different types of men. The first is Elemental-man, the sec- ond is Kama-man, the third is Pure-man, the fourth is Bodhisattva-man, then Nirmanakaya-man, then Pitris-man, and finally God-man. These types of men — or stages of ego-unfolding in man — give each human being the possibility to unfold his full egoness. For this, the ego has to be able to go back to the beginning of Saturn-Earth evolution and unfold in the previous evolutions as well as in the present Earth evolution. Future evolutions are needed for the fulfillment of the sevenfold ego expressed in the Temple Legend by the seven types of men. The make-up of Elemental-man, Pure-man, Bodhisattva-man, and so forth, we tried to detail in what I have written about in the St. Matthew Gospel. I tried to speak to this during the Holy Nights of 1987-1988.
It is in the perspective of the evolving of the human ego that we have tried to see how the bodhisattva beings try to work so that man can fulfill himself. Man has to become God-man, or as we can say, to become the tenth hierarchy. This requires the impulses of the bodhisattvas, of the Christ,for a continuous process of evolution. Those who come as initiates—Mani, Christian Rosencruetz, Rudolf Steiner—have to be able to help us evolve our ego nature within the complexity of the human configuration as a physical, etheric and astral being.
In considering the bodhisattvas, we tried to depict the direction, the life and the activity of the Bud- dha as leading toward the domain that is called Nirvana. The Buddha works so that man is guided out of this world and into the spiritual worlds. He is directed into the domain that is called the sphere in which the Nirmanakaya exists. We have already indicated that as Goethe perceived the archetypal plant his being was really working on that level. Rudolf Steiner indicates that his Philosophy of Spiritual Activity leads human beings to this level of existence.
In this ascent we leave the human organism and enter into the cosmic spheres where we are able to take with us those faculties that are necessary to perceive on that level. This level of accomplishment has been attained as a bodhisattva becomes a buddha. Such a being no longer incarnates, he becomes a buddha, a Nirmanakaya-man. The Gautama Buddha has done this cleansing of the astral body and creating of a higher life body — a spirit-life or a life-spirit body — a buddhi body. We might see the buddha path as one that leads out into the world, paying credence to the light-working of the knowl- edge process and to Lucifer — leading away from the physical, the earth.
If we now turn to Zarathustra, we note that his task was to bring the working of a ripe astral body with an ego impulse into the astral in such a way that the development could be toward the earth. This he had to do, and to bring forth the polarity between the light and working of the darkness by introducing man to the Ahrimanic workings on earth. Zarathustra permitted man to work into the earth sphere where Ahriman works and can be experienced. “By this means Zarathustra could create the counterpole to the working of the light that is inherent in the Buddha impulse.” The Buddha- Nirmanakaya impulse leading to the Luciferic sphere has to be balanced by the impulse that permits man to enter the sphere of Ahriman. In this way man is not drawn solely into the Luciferic light. “Men can turn to the darkness to find a balance with the Luciferic light…. In the light in which light can work with darkness to produce color, there works a balance—a Christ impulse.”
The simple categorizing of good and evil between light and darkness is not a proper description of the polarity established here. The impulse of Ahriman was established by Zarathustra to work coun- ter to the tremendous light impulse of Lucifer so that the balance could be found in color, a kind of Christic balance. The aura of the sun — I take this to be the old Christic balance, the pure higher etheric-astral light forms of the sun. The effort to balance the astral light forms in which the Luciferic finds existence was attempted by Zarathustra. He brought a new impulse into civilization in his effort to penetrate the world of Ahriman. He was to bring a balance to the working of Lucifer and to center the activity in the sun. Rudolf Steiner tells us that Zarathustra was not able to accomplish his task because the Christ was in the process of leaving the sun. My understanding is that Zarathustra failed because he was led too strongly into the domain of darkness at the time when the Sun-Leader was leaving.
We see Zarathustra going on to enliven that which he was to have given. He continued by incarnating into the Solomon Jesus and then into the Nathan Jesus. This matured the Zarathustra-ego to such an extent that he now can continue on for the future of humankind. However, if we look back to the original Zarathustra initiation, which we find in Persia, then we see that Zarathustra could not complete his task at that time. The incarnation of the Christ was needed. It is the incarnation of the Christ that then brings this sun aura, the warmth-light, to the earth. The Luciferic light remains in its proper place in the sphere of the sun and beyond. In being an aura of the sun that is truly Christic, the light was gradually brought to the earth through the Christ. By preparing a physical body for Christ, Zarathustra prepared the possibility for the Christ to enter into the earth. The Christ had to work through the organism that was sacrificed by Zarathustra. My understanding is that with this, Zarathustra completed his ego development. He thereby developed from being Nirmanakaya-man to becoming Pitris-man, and then evolving to God-man. My understanding is that the role of a Pitrisman is to be able to sacrifice what has been created. That means that Zarathustra helped to create the physical body and then sacrificed it to the incarnating Christ Being. In this way he rose from the stage of a Pitris to the stage of a God-man. He now works as the being known as the Master Jesus, as a God-man, and is essentially incarnated continuously, stepping from one organism into another — bringing human evolution forward. The organism here is not the usual physical-physiological construct: Consider the social organism where two or more are gathered.
With this polarity between the original Buddha striving upward and the original Zarathustra striving downward, we can see that each needs a correction. The Christ corrected these polarities. However, man must take up these impulses, and the bodhisattvas must work in conjunction with man. The bodhisattvas are lofty spiritual beings that anticipate the future of man. Man, however, must in turn bring impulses into the spiritual world as well as enter the spiritual world as a spiritual being — at death. Except for the Christ, spiritual beings can not incarnate to correct what human beings have taken up on earth. We must find those beings who incarnate as human beings to take up the bodhisattva impulses. This leads man to initiation experiences. In this regard we can think of Christian Rosencruetz working with the Buddha. Christian Rosencruetz is a human being — one who was initiated — strongly working with Buddha impulses. He then, in turn, could send Buddha to Mars to enact a sacrifice similar to the Christ’s sacrifice on earth. This resulted in the fact that Buddha can now direct from Mars the knowledge that is necessary in order to develop the thought forms that enable us to have the spiritual science of today. In this way, what would have previously only streamed upward to the heights, to Luicifer’s domain, is turned back to the earth. Now Lucifer wisdom, Lucifer gnosis, streams from the Buddha, from Mars, to the earth. Through Rudolf Steiner we can make use of this today for a spiritual science.
The correction of the impulse initially brought by Zarathustra was the Christ himself. However, again a spiritual being and a human being have to work to balance the previous tendencies that are now in humankind. A bodhisattva has to come to balance the two tendencies that lead to either Lucifer or Ahriman. Christ came to correct the imbalance of Buddha and Zarathustra.
Now a bodhisattva is needed. This bodhisattva we already know as Scythianos. He is depicted in the case of Mani as a dying merchant who bequeaths his wife four books. As a merchant, Sythianos is a traveler — one who courses the earth. “Merchant,” as I take it, is a Mystery term for one who encom- passes the earth — the globe. It is also one who deals with the transformed goods of the earth, which gives rise to economics. The process of banking — the holding of valuables for the sake of man belongs to this. The process by which the earth is transformed for men and by which men come into association with one another over the whole earth is a kind of higher form of an earth-globe, a kind of etheric earth process. We can relate this to Scythianos. This, however, should not lead men into the Luciferic heights, nor should it lead them into the Ahrimanic depths. The Scythianos impulse should lead men into the sphere where the [universal] all-human, the purely human, can come about. The association of men over the entire earth creates a kind of etheric earth-sphere. This is necessary for a true brotherhood of humankind to come about.
This process of bringing man into that which is human, into that which is totally human, universal, and is brotherly in nature, we can see as a major impulse of Scythianos. This is the impulse that Mani must serve as a human being. He is the “Son of the Widow.” It will be noted that Mani was born in the third century after the Mystery of Golgotha. He then had to work into a kind of etheric earth-sphere that had not been prepared yet. This could only come some centuries later. If we take into consideration Rudolf Steiner’s indications of the Christ first entering the etheric sphere of the earth in 1910, we see that Mani was not yet able to create and work into this sphere. In the third century, Mani was way ahead of his time. Mani was working for and with Scythianos but could not attain the goal of his striving and his initiation at that time. His initiation could not be completed in the third century. Here, I would like to discuss the meaning of being the “Son of the Widow.” Rudolf Steiner spoke to this point in lectures he gave in 1913,“The Mysteries of the East and the Mysteries of Christianity,” where he points out that there have always been four major steps in Mystery initiation. The first is to come to the door of death, the second is to enter the elementary world, the third is to become a sun-hero (to see the sun-at-midnight), and the fourth is to come into relationship with the upper and lower gods. What Rudolf Steiner points out is that the old initiation, as given by Zarathustra, lead the human being to become a sun-hero. This means that the initiate is outside of the physical and etheric bodies. When this occurs the physical and etheric bodies appear as a plant. These two bodies appear as a plant, with the sun shining on the plant (the sun-at-midnight). At the time of Zarathustra, if we take it as 6000 b.c., it was possible to come to the sun-at-midnight, but the leader of the sun — the Christ —was leaving the sun. The Christ was already approaching the earth, and therefore those who came to the sun-at-midnight did not find the spirit they were searching for. They felt as if a lonely soul — as if a widowed woman. They felt alone — forsaken — deserted, (wandering in the desert like John). The possibility of nurturing the ego, of experiencing true ego content — this requires the Christ.
However, the Christ had already begun to leave the sphere of the sun. Therefore, Zarathustra, in the initiation given in the Persian times, could not lead souls to fulfillment. Initiated souls came into the condition of “death.” Those who then traversed the elemental world into the sphere of the sun became sun-heros, but they found that they were alone. The leader — the “Ego-of-All-Men” — who could bring forth the ego impulse for re-entering the earth was not present. In the sun-sphere the soul’s experience was as if the mate – the husband – the spirit had died. The soul was barren and found to be widowed. In this regard, Rudolf Steiner says that the same thing will happen today as was the case in ancient times if we merely become a sun-hero. What will happen is that we will then pine away searching for the real meaning of our ego and astral body because the ego and astral cannot find their fulfillment in the sphere of the sun as a sun-hero. This is the reason why we have had the need to search for our own inner being (Who Am I?). This is the basis for speaking of the son of the widow.
Let me continue. As single human individuals we each can say “I”. This is true of all humans: All humans can speak and have object-consciousness. All can say “I”. This forms a group that needs a leader who allows the independence of each. This leader is no longer to be found on the sun — but here on earth. Here we must seek the Christ. Further, we must know that on entering into the higher spheres where our real ego content is—in the Akasha, the lofty etheric ego world—the content can be found only through the Christ, who has to be recognized while the soul is still on the earth. Man’s continuity, wholeness, and soul content lie in the Akasha, but this will remain hidden and dark, unrealized, without a relation to the Christ. If Christ is not experienced here on earth, he cannot be recognized there; and our own identity, given by the Akasha, will not be revealed.
With this we see the path that Mani had to create He needed to make it possible for us to tread a path on the earth. Something of earthly man needs to be cultivated so that a universal principle can be car- ried by all men and a kind of exchange be created in the universal. We have to be able to come into a common world where there is exchange and brotherliness. Always the association with the true being of one another must be striven for. The individuality who works so that in dying he can enter this common world, or through initiation come into this common world, needs to work selflessly in the world of the merchant — of Scythianos. It is necessary to work as a servant of Scythianos-Mani. Here we can see that as a bodhisattva being Scythianos can pour impulses into humankind. It takes men millennia, acting over many many millennia, to bring these impulses to fruition. The impulse to be brought by Mani is that there is association in the world, common to us all, where we find one another as all-human, as fellow human beings in fellowship. This is the world in which brotherliness has to be cultivated because there is such a being as Mani always standing at the Threshold, helping us to find our way into this world where the element of brotherly exchange can occur. Mani stands as gatekeeper of the spiritual world, where the cultivation of spirit-self is necessary for entry. Here brotherliness in the deepest sense begins.
Mani becomes the first individual to cultivate this aspect of the human being. He carries selfless purity in such a way that we can come into an associative process where true brotherliness should unfold. This gives a totally new direction to the working of monies, to economics, to banking, where the whole sense that what flows between men as an invisible quality (following the course of the sun throughout the course of the day) unites men over the entire earth. This is set before men by Mani: this becoming human, this becoming rather a pure whole man, this becoming a good man. This is all necessary for a moral basis for coming into this world and handling materiality in such a way that moral principles hold sway. It is just exactly where we are getting in trouble with our business, banking and economic systems today.
If we look at the life of Mani depicted in the play by Albert Steffen, we note that he is crucified. His skin is torn from his body, is stuffed with dry grass and is hung at the gate of Shapur. True to history, the events of being skinned and stuffed with dead substance (or entering the cosmos to find a dead residue of life) appear to me as a fulfillment of the initiation process that leads to soul-widowing — soul death. The true essence of the sun-hero could not be gained. Death was experienced by Mani as a crucifixion event. What had occurred in the initiation events of earlier times became an actual event of life during Mani’s lifetime.
This concern with Mani has significance, because such a soul-spirit continues to work. The fact that the past initiation did not work does not indicate that Mani will not work in our time or in the future. I see the impulse of Scythianos-Mani working strongly into the impulse Rudolf Steiner gave to the world in the Threefold Social Order. There freedom, rights, and fraternity, or we can say brotherhood, has to reign. We might say that Rudolf Steiner also tried to introduce the element of brotherhood in the domain of spiritual matters. When Rudolf Steiner brought forth what he had to give in the School for Spiritual Science, he worked for a brotherhood in the spirit as well. There brotherhood should also exist. There Brother Mani works at the threshold of the spiritual world, uniting those striving for initiation in an association of fellowship. This, I would say, is the spiritual impulse that is needed in the Threefold Social Order so that true freedom and individuality finds an associative working in the light and freedom of the spirit. The working outward into the world then also requires the impulse of Mani, the brotherhood impulse introduced into the inner working in the School of Michael.
|Angel Being –||Raphael||Christ||Michael|
|Human –||Christian Rosencruetz||Rudolf Steiner|