In order to give a complete picture, much that is extraneous but which influences the main issue more or less must be taken into consideration!
Free will! This is something which even eminent persons pause to ponder over, because the laws of justice demand that along with responsibility, there must unquestionably also exist the possibility of making a free decision.
Wherever one turns, from all sides one hears the question: Where does free will come in, if in fact man is subject to Providence, guidance, destiny, the influence of the stars, and karma *(Fate)? Man gets pushed, polished and molded, whether he wishes it or not!
Serious seekers eagerly seize upon all that is said about free will, rightly discerning that it is on this subject especially that an explanation is very much needed. As long as this is lacking, man cannot adjust himself properly so as to maintain his true position in this great Creation. If he is not properly attuned to Creation he must remain a stranger in it. He will roam about and have to submit to being pushed, polished and molded because he is lacking purposefulness. Thus one thing follows the other and as a natural consequence man has finally become what he is today, but what he actually should not be!
His great deficiency is that he does not know where his free will resides and how it functions. This fact shows that he has completely lost the way to his free will and no longer knows how to find it.
The entrance of the path leading to this knowledge is blocked by drifting sands and is no longer discernible. All traces are effaced. Man runs irresolutely in circles, tiring himself out, till at last a fresh breeze clears the path again. It is obvious that in this process the drifting sands will first be violently whirled up and, before subsiding, will blind the eyes of many who continue hungrily to seek the entrance to the path. For this reason everyone must exercise the greatest of care to keep his vision free until the last grain of drifting sand is blown away. Otherwise it might well happen that, although he sees the way, his somewhat dimmed vision may cause him to take a wrong step, stumble and fall, and thus sink away when the path is already right in front of him. —
The lack of understanding which men stubbornly show regarding the actual existence of free will has its roots mainly in the lack of understanding of what free will really is.
Although the explanation is already given in the words themselves, here as elsewhere, man does not see a truly simple fact for all its simplicity, searching instead in the wrong places, thereby being unable to form an idea of what free will is.
The great majority of men today regard the will as the forcible orientation of the earthly brain when the intellect, bound to time and space, determines and sets one or another definite direction for thoughts and feelings.
However, that is not free will, but the will bound by the earthly intellect!
The confusion of these two concepts by many people leads to great errors, and erects the wall which makes recognition and understanding impossible. Man is then surprised when he comes upon gaps and contradictions and cannot make any logical connections.
Free will is of quite a different nature; it alone has such an incisive effect upon actual life that it reaches far into the world beyond, imprinting its stamp upon the soul and molding it. It is too great to be limited to things of this earth. Hence it has no connection whatever with the earthly physical body, therefore not with the brain either. Free will rests solely in the spirit, in the soul of man.
If man did not always give absolute supremacy to the intellect, then the more far sighted free will of his spiritual true “self” would be able to direct the intellect from out of his intuitive sensitivity. As a result the bound will which is absolutely necessary for accomplishing all earthly purposes bound to time and space would quite frequently choose different paths from those chosen today. It is easily understandable that fate would thus take different directions since karma would spin different threads and bring about different reciprocal actions.
This explanation is naturally not sufficient to give a right understanding of what free will is. To give a complete picture it is necessary to know how free will has already worked, also how the many intricate entanglements of an existing karma came about, the effects of which can so conceal the free will that it is hardly possible, or completely impossible, to recognize its existence.
Such an explanation on the other hand can only be given if the entire development of spiritual man is taken into consideration, beginning with the moment in which the spirit-germ of man initially descends into the ethereal layer, the outermost edge of the World of Matter. —
Then we see that man is in no way what he imagines himself to be. He can by no means claim the absolute right to eternal bliss and eternal individual existence. *(Lecture No. 20: The Last Judgment) The expression: “We are all God’s children” is wrong in the way that man has understood it! Not every man is a child of God, but only he who has developed into one.
Man descends into Creation as a spirit-germ. This germ contains everything it needs to develop into a self-conscious child of God. The condition for this, however, is that it unfolds and cultivates the requisite abilities and does not allow them to wither.
Great and mighty is the process, yet quite natural in every stage, with everything following a logical development. For there is logic in all Divine activity which is perfect; and what is perfect cannot be wanting in logic. Each of these germs of the spirit carries the same abilities within itself, since they all derive from one spirit. Each of these abilities contains a promise which will be unconditionally fulfilled as soon as the ability is being developed. But only then! That is the prospect of every germ when it is sown. And yet...!
A Sower went forth to sow: The region where the Divine, the Eternal, floats above Creation, and where the finest ethereal substance of Creation borders upon the Realm of Animistic Substantiality, there is the field in which the human spirit-germs are sown. Small sparks cross the border from this Animistic Substantiality and immerse themselves into the virgin soil of the fine-material part of Creation, similar to electric discharges during a thunderstorm. It is as if the Creative Hand of the Holy Spirit were sowing seeds into the World of Matter.
While the seeds develop and slowly ripen towards the harvest many of them are lost. They do not germinate, that is, they have not developed their higher qualities, but have decayed or withered, and they must get lost in the World of Matter. But those which have germinated and rise above the surface are strictly sifted during harvest, and the dead ears are separated from the full ears. Then, after the harvest, the chaff is once more carefully separated from the wheat.
That is the general outline of the development. In order to recognize the free will it is necessary to go more thoroughly into the actual development of man:
As the highest, the most Pure in its glory is the Eternal, the Divine, the point of origin of everything, the beginning and the end, surrounded by luminous Substantiality.
When sparks from this Animistic Substantiality cross over into the soil of the ethereal fringes of the World of Matter, a gaseous covering of the same substance as this most delicate of all the regions of the World of Matter immediately envelops them. Thereby the spirit-germ of man has entered into the Creation which, like all that is material, is subject to change and disintegration. It is still free from karma and awaits the things which are to come.
The vibrations of the powerful experiences which continually take place in the midst of Creation, in the process of development and decay, extend to the furthest fringes.
Even if they are but the most delicate of hints that pass like a breath through this gaseous World of Ethereal Substance, yet they are sufficient to awaken and alert the sensitive volition in the spirit-germ. It desires to “taste” of this or that vibration, to follow it, or, to express it differently, to let itself be pulled along by it, which is the same as allowing itself to be attracted by it. Therein lies the first decision of the multi-talented spirit-germ which is now attracted here or there according to the choice it makes. Thus the first delicate threads are woven for the fabric that later is to become its tapestry of life.
The rapidly developing germ can now use every moment to indulge in vibrations of other kinds, which are constantly crossing its path in many variations. As soon as it does this, i.e. wishes it, it will change its course and follow the newly-chosen kind of vibration or rather, allow itself to be drawn by it.
Its wish is like a rudder which can change its course in the currents as soon as one current no longer pleases it. In this way it is able to “taste” here and there.
Through this tasting the spirit germ matures more and more. It gradually develops the capacity to distinguish and finally the ability to judge until, eventually, becoming ever more conscious and assured, it follows a certain definite direction. The choice of vibrations it is willing to follow has a deep effect upon it. It is but a natural consequence that these vibrations in which the spirit germ swims, as it were, on its own free volition will in reciprocity influence it in accordance with their nature.
The spirit-germ itself, however, possesses only pure and noble qualities! These are the talents which it should “put to the highest use” in Creation. If it gives in to noble vibrations, these will, through the reciprocal action, arouse its latent qualities, stir them up, and strengthen and cultivate them, so that they may, in time, bear interest and bring great blessing to Creation. A thus developing spiritual man will in this manner become a good steward.
If, however, the spirit-germ decides principally in favor of ignoble vibrations these can, in due course, influence it so strongly that their nature adheres to it and shrouds the pure qualities of the spirit-germ, suffocating them and preventing them from actual awakening and blossoming. These must finally be considered as downright “buried” whereby the person concerned becomes a bad steward of the talents entrusted to him.
Thus a spirit-germ cannot be impure of itself as it comes from the region of purity and carries only purity within itself. But after immersion into the Material World, the spirit germ can soil its cloak, which is now also material and, of its own volition “tasting” impure vibrations, i.e. through temptations. Thereby its soul can even outwardly take on what is impure because what is noble becomes overgrown, and thus the soul acquires impure qualities in contrast to the innate inherited qualities of the spirit. The soul is but the most ethereal, gaseous cloak of the spirit and it exists only in the material Creation. In the event of a return into the higher Pure-spiritual-Substantiality the soul has been discarded and there is only spirit which cannot cross over the boundary of the material Creation into the spiritual realm in any other way. However, his re-entrance, his return proceeds in a living, conscious form, which was not the case for the emerging spark at the beginning.
All guilt and karma are only material, existing only within material Creation and nowhere else! Nor can they become part of the spirit as such, but can only cling to it. Therefore it is possible to be washed clean of all guilt.
This recognition does not upset anything but only confirms what religion and church say allegorically. Above all, we recognize more and more the great Truth which Christ brought to mankind.
Of course, a spirit-germ having burdened itself with impurity in the World of Matter, cannot return to the Spiritual Realm with this burden, but must remain in the Material World until it has cast off this burden and redeemed itself from it. In this process it must naturally remain in that region to which the weight of its burden forces it, depending on the greater or lesser degree of impurity. If it does not succeed in ridding itself of and casting off its burden before the Day of Judgment, it will not be able to rise in spite of the purity always retained by the spirit-germ which, however, could not unfold itself according to its actual qualities, because it had been suffocated by impurity. The impurity holds it down by its weight and draws it along into the dissolution of all that is material. *(Lecture No. 20: The Last Judgment)
The more conscious a spirit-germ becomes in the course of its development, the more its outer cloak takes on the form of its inner qualities. Striving either towards what is noble or what is ignoble, it thus becomes either beautiful or ugly.
Every turn it takes forms a knot in the threads dragging behind it which, through following many wrong paths and going to and fro, become looped and form a net in which the spirit gets entangled, and which either holds it fast and causes it to perish, or causes it to free itself by force. The vibrations in which it indulged by nibbling or feasting during its wanderings remain attached to it and drag after it like threads, continually sending their particular radiations to it. If it keeps to the same direction for a long time, then both the threads further back and the new threads have an undiminished effect. Whenever it changes its course, however, the influence of the further vibrations will gradually be weakened by being crossed, for they must first pass through a knot. This hinders them because, in making the knot, they joined and fused with new vibrations of quite a different nature. The different nature of the then following direction has a corrosive and dissolving effect on the previous one unless it belongs to a species similar to the first one. Thus it goes on and on. As the spirit-germ grows, the threads become denser and stronger and form karma, the ultimate effect of which may become so powerful that it may attach to the spirit this or that “propensity,”which is finally able to influence its free decisions and give it a direction that can already be estimated in advance. Then the free will has been darkened and can no longer operate as such.
Thus free will exists from the beginning, but later on, many a will becomes burdened to such an extent that it is strongly influenced in the way already described and so can no longer act as a free will.
The spirit-germ which is developing more and more in this way must come ever nearer to the earth, for from there, the vibrations emanate most strongly. Steering more and more consciously, the spirit-germ follows these or, more precisely, lets itself be “attracted” by them, so that it may experience ever more intensely those species chosen according to its inclination. It wants to pass from nibbling to the real “tasting” and finally to “feasting.”
The reason why the vibrations from the earth are so strong is that something new and powerful is added: physical gross-material, generative power! *(Lecture No. 62: The significance of man’s generative power for his spiritual ascent)
The latter has the mission and the capacity to set the whole spiritual intuitive perception “aglow.” It is only through this that the spirit receives the proper connection with material Creation and consequently, it is able only then to be active in it with full vigor. It then embraces all that is requisite to gain complete validity in the Material World, to stand firmly in it in every respect, to be able to work in it decisively and forcefully, and to be armed and protected against everything.
Hence the mighty waves of power issuing from man’s experiences in his life on earth. Although they only reach as far as material Creation, in it they vibrate to the outermost delicate edges.
A human being on earth of spiritually high and noble character, who was therefore able to bring to his fellow-men high spiritual love, would remain a stranger to them and could not come close to them inwardly as long as his generative power was missing. A bridge would be missing for understanding and for empathy of the soul; there would be a gap.
However, at the moment in which this spiritual love enters into a pure union with the generative power and is set aglow by it, the emanation from this receives an entirely different vitality for all material substance. It becomes more real in the earthly sense and is thereby able to work more completely and understandably upon humanity and upon the whole World of Matter. Only then can this emanation be absorbed and perceived intuitively, bringing into Creation the blessing which the spirit of man is meant to bring.
There is something powerful about this union. It is the actual purpose, at least the main purpose, of this natural instinct, so immense and so mysterious to many, namely that it permits the spiritual to unfold to its fullest working power in the World of Matter! Without it the spiritual would remain too alien to the material world to be able to have its proper effect. The purpose of procreation is only of secondary importance. The main result of this union is the upliftment occurring in the human being. This gives the human spirit its full powers, its warmth and vitality and with this happening it becomes complete, so to speak. Therefore it is not until this point that its full responsibility sets in!
At this important turning point the wise Justice of God gives man not only the opportunity but even the natural urge to easily shake off all the karma with which he has burdened his free will up till then. This enables man to completely free his will again, so as to become a child of God, standing consciously and powerfully in Creation, working according to God’s Will, and ascending in pure and lofty intuitive perceptions to those heights to which he will later be attracted as soon as he has laid aside his physical body.
If man does not do this it is his own fault; for with the entry of the generative power there stirs within above all an enormous momentum upward to all that is ideal and pure. This can always be clearly observed in unspoiled youth of both sexes. Hence the daydreaming in the years of youth, unfortunately often derided by adults and not be confused for the years of childhood. This also accounts for the inexplicable, rather melancholy but none the less serious intuitive perceptions in these years. The hours in which it seems as if the young man or maiden were burdened with all the sorrows of the world, when they are touched by a deep seriousness, are not without reason. Also, their frequent feeling of not being understood has in reality much truth in it. It arises from their occasional recognition of how wrong is the world around them, a world which cannot and will not understand the blessed attempt of their soul to soar on high in purity. A world which is not satisfied until these intuitive perceptions in the maturing soul which serve as strong admonitions are dragged down to a level people can better understand, thus to something “more real” and matter-of-fact, which, with their one-sided intellectual mind, they consider to be better suited to man and to be the only normal state of affairs.
In spite of this there are many out-and-out materialists who during this period of their lives have perceived these same serious warnings, and who now and then enjoy speaking of the golden days of their first love with a slight tinge of sentimentality, even melancholy, thus unconsciously expressing a certain sadness at having lost something they cannot define more closely. And indeed, they are all correct in this respect! The most precious thing has been taken away from them, or they themselves carelessly threw it away when, in the dull routine of every-day work, or under the ridicule of their so-called “friends” or by reading bad books or through bad examples, they timidly buried the treasure. And still its radiance shines forth from time to time later on in life and, for a moment, makes their unsatisfied heart beat faster, with an inexplicable, mysterious feeling of sadness and longing.
Even if these sentiments are always quickly pushed away and laughed at in harsh self-contempt, they still bear witness to the existence of this treasure. Fortunately there are but few who can claim that they never had such sentiments. Such men would indeed only deserve pity, for they have never really lived.
But even such depraved ones, or let us rather call them pitiable ones, intuitively sense a longing when they have an opportunity to meet a person who makes use of this impetus with the right attitude, through which he has become pure and has attained a high level of inner maturity already on earth. However, in most cases, the first effect of such a longing in these people is the involuntary recognition of their own baseness and negligence which then turns into hatred and may escalate into blind rage. It often happens that a man whose soul has attained to an exceptionally high degree of maturity attracts the hatred of the masses without himself having given them any outwardly visible cause. The masses then know nothing better than to cry: “Crucify him, Crucify him!” For this reason there is such a long series of martyrs in the history of mankind.
The real cause is the violent grief at seeing something precious in others which they themselves have lost, a grief which they only see as hatred. When people who have more inner warmth, and who have only been kept down or dragged in the mud by the bad example of others, meet a person of high inner maturity, the longing for something they have not attained themselves will often manifest as an unbounded love and veneration. Wherever such a man goes there will always only be either for or against him, but indifference towards him is impossible.
The mysteriously radiating charm of an unspoiled maiden or youth is nothing but the pure upsurge of the awakening generative power which, united with spiritual power, strives for what is highest and noblest, and is intuitively perceived by their environment through the strong vibrations emanating from it! With careful forethought, the Creator provided that this awakening should come only at an age when man can be fully conscious of his volition and actions. This is the time when, in conjunction with the full power now resting in him, he can and should easily shake off all that lies in the past. It will even fall away of itself, if man only keeps his volition for the good, which he is being unceasingly urged to do during this time. Then, as the intuitive perceptions quite rightly intimate, he could rise without any effort to that level to which he as a human being belongs! Behold the dreaminess of unspoiled youth! It is but the perception of this upliftment, the wish to pull free from all baseness, the ardent longing for the ideal. Their uneasy restlessness, however, is the signal not to waste time, but to energetically cast off karma and start on their spiritual ascent.
That is why the earth has such great significance, why it is the great turning point for mankind!
How glorious it is to stand in this concentrated power, to work in it and with it! As long as the direction man chooses remains a good one. But there is nothing more wretched than to one-sidedly dissipate these powers in blind sensual orgies, thereby paralyzing one's spirit and depriving it of a great part of the impetus it so urgently needs to advance upwards.
And yet, in most cases man fails to profit from this precious period of transition, and allows himself to be led by “knowing ones” in his environment onto false paths which hold him down, and unfortunately too often lead him downwards. Consequently he is unable to throw off the tarnishing vibrations clinging to him; which on the contrary only attract reinforcement, and he will entangle his free more and more until he can no longer recognize it.
This is what happens with the first incarnation on earth. In later incarnations which become necessary, man brings a much heavier karma with him. Nevertheless the possibility of shaking it off is given each time again. No karma could be stronger than a human spirit reaching its full strength as soon as it receives, through the generative power, complete connection with the World of Matter, to which karma indeed belongs.
But even if man fails to make use of these periods to cast off his karma and thereby regain his free will, and even if he has further entangled himself, or perhaps even sunk deeply, a powerful ally is offered to help him combat his karma and to ascend. It is the greatest conqueror in existence that is able to overcome anything. The wisdom of the Creator has ordained that the times mentioned above are not the only ones in the World of Matter in which mankind may find the possibility of quick help, in which he is able to discover himself and his true worth, for which he even receives an exceptionally strong impetus, so as to draw his attention to it.
This magical power which is at everyone’s disposal throughout his whole life on earth, in constant readiness to help, which also originates from the same union of generative power with the spiritual power, and which can liberate from all karma, is love! It is not the demanding love of the material world, but the high pure love which knows and desires nothing but the welfare of the beloved one and which never thinks of itself. This love also belongs to material Creation, and it demands no renunciation, no asceticism, but only wishes what is best for the other. It fears for him, suffers with him, but also shares in his joy.
The basis of this love is similar to the idealistic intuitive longing of unspoiled youth when its generative power sets in. But it also spurs on the responsible, i.e. the mature human being, to the full powers of all his abilities, even to heroism, so that energies for work and fight are stretched to their fullest extent. In this, age presents no limit! As soon as a human being opens his heart to pure love, be it a man’s love for a woman or vice versa, or the love for a friend, for parents or children, it is all the same. If only it is pure it will bring as its first gift the opportunity to cast off all karma, which will then only be redeemed “symbolically” *(Lecture No. 37: Symbolism in the fate of man), so that the free and conscious will, which can only strive upwards, may blossom forth. As a natural consequence ascent will then begin, that is, redemption from the unworthy fetters that hold him down.
The first intuitive feeling which stirs the heart at the awakening of pure love is thinking oneself unworthy of the beloved one. This can be described in other words as the dawning of modesty and humility, thus the acquisition of two great virtues. With this comes the desire to protect the other so that no possible harm could come to him from any direction, and so that his way should lead over flowery, sunny paths. This desire “bear the other on one’s hands” is no empty saying, but marks the rising intuitive perception quite rightly. Inherent in this is the surrendering of one’s personality, a strong desire to serve, which alone could suffice to cast off all karma in a short time, provided the volition endures and does not give way to mere sensual instincts. Finally, with pure love comes the ardent desire to do something really great and noble for the beloved one, not to offend or hurt him even by a glance, a thought or a word, much less by an unworthy action. The most delicate respect comes alive.
The important thing is to hold fast to these pure intuitive sentiments and to place them above all else. Then no one will ever desire or do anything bad. They will simply be incapable of it. On the contrary, through this they will enjoy the best protection, the greatest power, and the most benign helper and counselor.
That is why Christ refers again and again to the omnipotence of love! Love alone can overcome and accomplish all things, always provided, however, that it is not the earthly demanding love, which harbors jealousy and kindred evils.
With this the Creator in His Wisdom has thrown a lifebuoy into Creation, with which every individual comes into contact more than once during his life on earth, so that he may grasp it and swing himself upwards!
This help is there for all. No distinctions are made, either in age or sex, between rich or poor, high or low. Therefore, love is the greatest of God’s gifts. He who grasps it can be certain of salvation from every tribulation, regardless of how deep he may have fallen! He frees himself and thus quickly and easily regains an undimmed free will, which leads him upwards.
And even if he had fallen to such a depth as to make him despair, love is able, with the force of a tempest, to sweep him upward to the Light, to God, Who Himself is Love. As soon as pure love stirs within a man, no matter what the impulse, he obtains the most direct connection with God, the Primordial Source of all Love, and thus he receives the strongest help. But should a man possess all things and have no love, he would be but sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal, without warmth, without life... nothing!
However, if he does find true love for any one of his fellow men, a love which strives only to bring light and joy to the beloved one, not to drag him down through improper desires, but a love that protects and uplifts him, then he serves the other without being aware of the act of serving. Through this he be-comes more of an unselfish giver, and this serving sets him free!
Here, many will say to themselves: That is exactly what I do or, at least, what I am striving to do! Using all the means in my power I try to make life on earth easy for my wife or family, offering them pleasures while I exert myself to obtain sufficient resources to enable them to lead a comfortable and agreeable life, free from all care. Thousands will thump their chest, feel uplifted and imagine that they are undeniably good and noble. But they err! That is not living love! Living love is not so one-sidedly material, but simultaneously urges much more strongly towards that which is high, noble and ideal. Certainly no one can forget earthly necessities with impunity, i.e., without detriment. He should not disregard them, but at the same time, they must not become the principal aim of his thoughts and actions. Hovering above all this, great and strong, is the desire, so mysterious to many, to actually be that which they are considered to be in the eyes of those who love them! With this desire they are on the right path, which will only lead upwards.
Genuine pure love needs no further explanation. Everyone feels exactly what its nature is. Man often tries to deceive himself about it on seeing his mistakes and realizing how far away he really is from loving truly and purely. But he must then pull himself together, he may not hesitate or stop and finally give up, for without genuine love there can no longer be any free will for him!
How many opportunities thus offered to men to pull themselves together and swing upwards are left unused. The lamenting and seeking of the majority are therefore not genuine! They simply do not want to be bothered if it means that they themselves must contribute something, be it but a slight re-arrangement of their habits and views. To a great extent it is falsehood and self-deception! God should come to them and lift them upwards to Him without their having to give up their precious comfort and self-worship. At best, they might then condescend to go along, but not without expecting special thanks from God for so doing.
Let these drones walk their paths to destruction! They are not worthy of anyone’s efforts on their behalf. Over and over again they will pass by opportunities presented to them while lamenting and praying. If ever such a person does grasp an opportunity, he would surely rob it of its most noble adornment of purity and unselfishness in order to drag this precious treasure into the mire of passion.
Those who seek and those who know should finally make up their minds to avoid such people! They should not think that they are doing God-pleasing work when they persist in offering His Word and His Holy Will so cheaply by attempted lecturing, so that it almost appears as if the Creator were forced, with the help of His faithful, to go begging in order to extend the circle of adherents. It is defilement to offer His Word to such as would grasp it with unclean hands. The saying should not be forgotten which forbids “casting pearls before swine.”
And that is what it amounts to in such cases. It is an unnecessary waste of time, time that may no longer be wasted to such a degree without ultimately causing harmful reactions. Help should be given only to those who seek.
The increasing restlessness felt by many people, and the searching and seeking for the whereabouts of the free will, are perfectly justified, and a sign that it is high time to set about it. This feeling is strengthened by an unconscious premonition that there may come a time when it is too late. That is what keeps seeking constantly active at the present time. But for the greater part it is in vain. The majority of people of the present day can no longer make use of their free will because they have entangled themselves too gravely!
They have sold and bartered it away... for nothing!
However they cannot hold God responsible for this, although they continually try to do so through all kinds of interpretations by which they erase from their minds all thought of the personal responsibility awaiting them, but they must indict themselves. Even if this self-indictment was imbued with the greatest bitterness and the deepest pain, it could not be severe enough to counterbalance, even in a small measure, the value of the lost gift which has been senselessly suppressed or squandered.
Yet, in spite of this, man can still find the way to regain what he lost as soon as he seriously exerts himself, always provided, of course, that the wish to do so comes from deep within, that it is really alive in him and never weakens. He must carry the greatest longing for it. And should he need to spend his whole life on its pursuit, he could only benefit, for it is an urgent necessity for mankind to regain their free will! Instead of regain we could also say dig out or wash free. It is basically the exact same thing.
As long as man only thinks and ponders on the subject, however, he will attain nothing. Here, the greatest efforts and perseverance must fail him, because thinking and pondering will never take him beyond the limits of time and space, which is where the solution lies. And since at present, thinking and pondering are considered as the main path to all research, there is no prospect of any progress, apart from mere earthly matters, unless indeed, men would fundamentally change in this respect.
Make use of your time on earth! Remember the great turning-point which always entails full responsibility!
For this reason a child is spiritually still under age, because the union between the spiritual and the material has not yet been established through the generative power. Not until the moment when this power sets in will its intuitive perceptions be sufficiently strong to incisively penetrate the entire World of Matter, reforming and transforming it. With this the human being automatically takes full and complete responsibility. Previous to this the reciprocal action is not so strong either, because the intuitive faculty is much weaker. Therefore in the first incarnation *(Entering of man into an earthly existence) the entrance of man into life on earth, karma cannot be so powerful, but at the most it could influence the circumstances into which a child is born, so that these can help the spirit in its earth-life to redeem its karma by recognizing the qualities it possesses. The attraction of homogeneous species would play an important role in this. But all these influences would be rather weak. The actual powerful and incisive karma only sets in when the generative power unites with the spiritual power in man, whereby he not only becomes of full value in the World of Matter, but can far surpass the material in every respect if he adapts himself accordingly.
Until then darkness and evil are unable to approach the human being directly. A child is protected against this by the gap which exists between itself and the material world. It stands as if separate. The bridge is missing.
Many readers will now more readily understand why children enjoy much greater protection from evil; which is even proverbial. However, on the same path which forms the bridge for the entering generative power, and over which a human being in his full power can stride forth to do battle, naturally everything else can also approach him, unless he is on his guard. But in no case can this happen until he possesses the necessary means of defense. Imbalance, which could serve as an excuse, does not exist, not even for one moment.
This enormously increases the responsibility of parents! Woe unto those parents who through misplaced ridicule or a wrong education, if not even by bad example, which also includes all sorts of overly ambitious desires, rob their children of the opportunity to rid themselves of their karma and to ascend. As it is, the temptations of life on earth lure men hither and thither. And since their actual position of power is not explained to them, adolescent youth use it too little or not at all, or they squander it in the most irresponsible manner, or even put it to improper or evil use.
Thus their karma, inevitable because of their ignorance, grows ever greater. Through some propensity or other its radiations influence decisions on this or that matter in advance, thereby limiting actual free will so that it is no longer free. That is why the majority of people today can no longer make use of their free will. They have bound, chained and enslaved themselves through their own fault. How childish and unworthy men show themselves to be when they try to reject the thought of an absolute responsibility, preferring to accuse the Creator of injustice! How ridiculous it sounds to pretend that they never really possessed free will, but are guided, pushed, polished and molded without being able to do anything about it.
If they could but realize for a moment what a pitiable role they actually play with such behavior. Above all, if they could but once critically observe themselves with a view to the position of power bestowed upon them, so as to recognize how senselessly they squander this power in petty and transitory things, how they raise trifles to a contemptible position of importance, and how they feel themselves great in things in which they must appear very small in comparison with their real purpose as human beings in Creation. Man of today is like one to whom a kingdom is given, but who prefers to idle away his time with the most simple of children's toys!
It is only natural, and not to be expected otherwise, that the mighty powers which have been given to man must crush him if he is not able to guide them.
It is high time to wake up! Man should make full use of the time and the grace accorded to him with each earth-life. He has no idea yet of how urgent this is already. At the moment when he once more frees his un-free will, everything that now so often seems to be against him will then serve him. Even the radiations of the stars, feared by so many, are only there to serve him and to help him, no matter what their nature.
And everyone is able to accomplish this regardless of how heavily karma weighs upon him, even when the radiations of the stars appear to be predominantly unfavorable! The effect of all this is unfavorable only when the will is not free. But even then it only appears that way, for in reality it is only for his benefit when he is at a loss to help himself. It forces him to defend himself, to awaken and to be on the alert.
Fear of the radiations of the stars is quite out of place, however, because the reactions they call forth are always and only linked up with the threads of karma attached to the person concerned. The radiations of the stars are merely channels into which is drawn all the karma hanging about a person at that time, in so far as the karma is homogeneous to the existing radiations. If the radiations of the stars are unfavorable, then only a person’s impending unfavorable karma will fit itself into these channels, exactly as it corresponds to the nature of the radiations, and nothing else. It is the same with favorable radiations. Channeled in such a more concentrated way karma can have a much more perceptible effect on an individual. However, where there is no bad karma outstanding, even unfavorable radiations of the stars cannot have bad effects. One cannot be separated from the other. Here again the great Love of the Creator is recognized. The stars control or direct the effects of karma. Therefore bad karma cannot manifest without interruptions or without allowing for breathing space in between, because the stars send out their radiations alternately, for evil karma cannot take effect at times of favorable radiations! It must then cease and wait until unfavorable radiations again set in; therefore it cannot easily oppress a man completely. If, apart from the evil karma, a man has no good karma which could manifest when the radiations of the stars are favorable, then at least the favorable radiations would give him some respite from his suffering during the time they are active.
So, here too, one wheel of the events gears into the other. In strict consistency one follows the other along, simultaneously controlling it, so that there can be no irregularities. And so it continues, as in a gigantic mechanism. On every side the teeth of the wheels gear sharply and exactly into each other, moving everything onward, driving it forward in its development.
In the midst of all this stands man, with the immeasurable power entrusted to him to direct this mighty mechanism through his volition. But always only for himself! It can lead him upward or downward. The direction he sets alone is decisive for the outcome.
But the machinery of Creation does not consist of rigid substance, but is entirely composed of living forms and beings that through cooperation create a much greater impression. The whole wonderful weaving, however, has the sole purpose of helping man, of serving him, so long as he does not obstruct it by childishly squandering and misusing the power given to him. It is time man adapted himself in a different way in order to become what he should be! In reality obedience means nothing more than to understand. To serve is to help. And to help means to rule. Within a short period every man can make his will free, as it should be. In so doing, everything will change for him, because he himself has first changed inwardly.
But for thousands, for hundreds of thousands, indeed for millions, it will be too late because they do not wish it otherwise. It is only natural that the misdirected power must destroy the machine which it would otherwise have served in the performance of its highly beneficial work.
And when everything breaks down all those who hesitated will suddenly remember prayer, but they will be unable to find the right way to pray, which alone can bring them help. When they recognize their failure they will, in desperation, quickly turn to cursing and will claim accusingly that there can be no God if He permits such things to happen. They will neither believe in inexorable justice, nor in the fact that they were given the power to change everything in time, and that they were told of this often enough.
With childish obstinacy they demand for themselves a loving God as they want Him to be, a God Who forgives everything. It is the only way in which they are willing to recognize His greatness! How, according to their idea, should this God deal with those who have always sought Him seriously, but were, precisely on account of their seeking, stepped on, scorned and persecuted by those who now expect forgiveness?
Fools who in their continual deliberate blindness and deafness rush headlong into their destruction, who diligently create their own doom. Let them be abandoned to the darkness, towards which they stubbornly strive in their know-it-all attitude. Only through their own experiences can they still come to their senses. Therefore the Darkness will be their best school. But there will come a day and an hour when this way will also be too late, because there will not be time enough left, after they have finally come to a recognition through their experiences, to tear themselves from darkness and ascend. For this reason it is high time to seriously concern yourself with the Truth.