Sunday, September 30, 2007

The New Esoteric Section Rules

We can see how Dr.Steiner "softened" the rules as time went on. You will have noted that meat eating was not forbidden, even from the early days- HPB loved her meat! Smoking wasn't even mentioned- H.P. Blavatsky a chain smoker, who was known to have indulged in hashish. Dr. Steiner, originally a smoker, later used snuff, and the first leader of the Anthroposophical Society after him - Albert Steffen - was a smoker.

Alcohol was another matter, as those who've read the original rules would know.

So here we go:
First Rules given by Rudolf Steiner in 1904

"6. The partaking of any kind of alcoholic drink is forbidden to the Shravakas ['hearers' - members of the school], because this would be harmful to the brain, especially the organ connected with spiritual insight. The contravention of this rule would render all the efforts of both teacher and pupil ineffective. The only exception to this rule is when the taking of alcohol is prescribed by a doctor.

7. Abstention from the eating of meat is not compulsory, but it is pointed out that a vegetarian diet will help in the struggle against one's lower nature. Changes of diet must be undertaken with the greatest caution."

Now notice how these rules, 1905, (June 5), become very unrule-like:

"6. The partaking of alcohol is incompatible with the aims of meditation.

7. The abstention from eating meat is not statutory but is recommended, because it works beneficially toward furthering the aims of the Esoteric School."

The full list of rules is in "From the History and Contents of the Esoteric Section."

On another occasion R.Steiner stated that alcohol was to be avoided even in sweets:
"It is most important to avoid all forms of alcohol. Even sweets filled with alcohol have a very harmful effect. Alcohol combined with spiritual exercises leads to the most wrong path. Now that science has proven the bad influence of alcohol on brain function, how much more should a man, who directs his entire efforts to the spiritual, abstain from a delight which completely excludes him from achieving spiritual consciousness."

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 267 – SeelenĂ¼bungen 1904-1924 (page 513)

"It's especially important to avoid alcohol in every form. The bad effect of alcohol on the brain function has been scientifically shown, and knowledge of spiritual things is made completely impossible through its use."
-From the Contents of Esoteric Classes, R. Steiner

"The drinking of alcohol is very harmful for an esoteric. Alcohol must definitely be avoided."

- Esoteric Lesson, Stuttgart, December 31, 1910

"Abstention from alcohol is necessary, for this works on the ego that lives and works in the blood. Meditation pulls the spirit up and loosens its connection with the physical body; alcohol pulls it down and consolidates it in the same."

- Esoteric Lesson, Cologne, May 9, 1912

Milk was recommended as a transition food for those giving up meat.

More on the Esoteric School:
"Pentecost 1907: The first department of the Esoteric School of Steiner separates from the Esoteric School of Theosophy as Steiner pursues another teaching system. He complains on one hand about Annie Besant's Americanism, i.e. worldliness and on the other hand on her adjustment on Indian traditions which would not have any effect in the West.

"For Steiner, the breathing is not to be controlled by physical body-exercises, but the bodily effects are to be consequences of the Intuition exercises. Steiner's path does the opposite of what the ancient Yogi did when he blended the thinking and breathing processes. ....

"With the new constitution of the Anthroposophical Society at Christmas 1923, Steiner initiates "new forms" of the new Esoteric School. Anthroposophy now consists of the ceremonial realization/gnosis department of the Esoteric School, of activities for the free religious education of the Rudolf Steiner School and of the church ceremonies for the "Christian Community" (founded in 1921).

"Parallel to this, all manuscripts so far only available for members are released. The Esoteric School is transformed into the "Free University for Hermeticism ["Geisteswissenschaften"]. Although Steiner dies before defining the details of its three classes, he intends for some contents of the Mystica Eterna to flow into the second class of this Highschool. ...."

More on Alcohol:

"There is a real reversal of all human organic activity under the after-effects of alcohol. For a “hangover” is the continuation of a process which is vividly at work in the upper digestive tract. It occurs if the natural internal activities following indulgence in wine, beer, or champagne, which are normal up to the incorporation of these substances in the formation of blood and lymph, pass the boundary line and affect these latter processes.

"If that occurs, the regions of the human organism which have as their proper office the liquefaction and dissolution are changed into a kind of sense organ, and instead of the man turning his main sense attention and activity to the world without, and communicating with that external world, and all the phenomena of earth, he is obliged through the damage done by drinking to perceive his own interior. For his own organism now contains processes strongly resembling those of the whole external world.

"Beyond the intestinal activities, into the very lymph and blood activity there has been inserted an internal replica of the earth's processes, an external world in miniature, an external world within the organism. The man thus makes himself inwardly into an external world, and most painfully and unpleasantly perceives inside himself that which does not disturb in the least if perceived in the external environment.

"For the human interior is not adapted to become an earth in miniature, but should withdraw from the earth's processes. The man however, in such conditions, makes a little earth in his own interior; something which would be far better placed, if it could be removed outside into full observation and surrounded with the apparatus of sense perception. He is now, however, compelled to perceive and receive sensation by means of an interior, so to speak “turned inside out.”

- Spiritual Science and Medicine, Lecture 20

"It is indeed so: since the matters that come to expression in a lecture, in a speech, must come out of the whole person, diet must by no means be overlooked. This is not only the case in an obvious sense. Of course, one can hear by the speech whether it comes from a person who has let endless amounts of beer flow down his gullet, or something like that. This is an obvious case."

-The Art of Lecturing, Lecture 5

Alcohol and the Earth:

"I have noticed crowds of students loitering about in their beer-houses, drinking and indulging their passions. Something is happening there: the human will is working in the metabolism. These are processes of which no mention is made in your books on physics and geology; they contain no reference to the fact that the course of earth-existence is also affected by whether the students drink or do not drink...

"That is what a being not entirely immersed in earthly ideas and prejudices would find lacking in the descriptions given by man himself of happenings on earth. For a being from Mars there would be no question but that moral impulses, pervading human deeds and the whole of human life, are part and parcel of the course of nature.

"According to modern preconceptions there is something inexorable in the play of nature, indeed pleasantly inexorable for materialistic thinkers. They imagine that the earth's course would be exactly the same were no human beings in existence; that whether they behave decently or not makes no fundamental difference or really alters anything. But that is not the case!

"The all-essential causes of what happens on the earth do not lie outside man; they lie within mankind. And if earthly consciousness is to expand to cosmic consciousness, humanity must realise that the earth — not over short but over long stretches of time — is made in its own likeness, in the likeness of humanity itself. There is no better means of lulling man to sleep than to impress upon him that he has no share in the course taken by earth-existence. This narrows down human responsibility to the single individual, the single personality."

"The truth is that the responsibility for the course of earth-existence through ages of cosmic time, lies with humanity. Everyone must feel himself to be a member of humanity, the earth itself being the body for that humanity."

"An individual may say to himself: For ten years I have given way to my passions, indulged my fancies and have thereby ruined my body. — With equal conviction he should be able to say: If earthly humanity follows impure moral impulses, then the body of the earth will be different from what it would be were the moral impulses pure."

-The Influence of Lucifer and Ahriman, Lecture 5

Alcohol and the Dead:

"If throughout the day we are engrossed in thoughts connected with material life, if our mind is directed only to what is going on in the physical world and can be achieved there, if we have given no single thought to the spiritual worlds before passing into sleep but often bring ourselves into those worlds by means quite different from thoughts, then we have no nourishment to offer to the dead.

"I know towns in Europe where students induce sleepiness by drinking a lot of beer! The result is that they carry over thoughts which cannot live in the spiritual world. And then when the souls of the dead approach, they find barren fields; they fare as our physical body fares when famine prevails because our fields yield no crops.

"Especially at the present time much famine among souls can be observed in the spiritual worlds, for materialism is already very widespread. Many people regard it as childish to occupy themselves with thoughts about the spiritual world but thereby they deprive souls after death of needed nourishment."

-Links between the Living and the Dead, Lecture 1
A positive message- Take Heart!

1,2,3,4 Elements

Ragon in his book on Masonry, mentions the curious fact that the first four numbers in German are named after the elements:
"Ein, or one, means the air, the element which, ever in motion, penetrates matter throughout, and whose continual ebb and tide is the universal vehicle of life.

"Zwei, two, is derived from the old German Zweig, signifying germ, fecundity; it stands for earth the fecund mother of all.

Drei, three, is the trienos of the Greeks, standing for water, whence the Sea-Gods, Tritons; and trident, the emblem of Neptune - the water, or sea, in general being called Amphitrite (surrounding water).

Vier, four, the number meaning in Belgian, fire....It is the quaternary that the first solid figure is found, the universal symbol of immortality, the Pyramid 'whose first syllable means fire.'...

"Finally the Ancients represented the world by the number five. Diodorus explains it by saying that his number represents earth, fire, water, air and ether or spiritus. Hence the origin of Pente (five) and of Pan (the God) meaning in Greek all."

-From the 3rd Volume of the Secret Doctrine.

More Esoteric Section Rules

Here is the continuation of the rules.
It was a common idea in the early days that fish eating was close enough to vegetarian. In
Japan, vegetarian Buddhists were allowed to eat fish, hence today it is still a largely fish eating nation. Deer was also eaten in Japan because it was deemed to be a "land whale"- don't ask for an explanation.

You'll see later how Dr. Steiner altered these rules, while he was the leader of his own Esoteric Section.


13. The use of wine, spirits, liquors of any kind, or any narcotic or intoxicating drug, is strictly prohibited. If indulged in, all progress is hindered, and the efforts of teacher and pupil alike are rendered useless. All such substances have a directly pernicious action upon the brain, and especially upon the "third eye," or pineal gland (vide "Secret Doctrine," Vol.11, p.288 et seq.). They prevent absolutely the development of the third eye, called in the East "the Eye of Siva".

14. The moderate use of tobacco is not prohibited, for it is not an intoxicant; but its abuse, like that of everything else - even pure water or bread - is prejudicial.

15. As to diet: The eating of meat is not prohibited, but if the student can maintain health on vegetables or fish, such diet is recommended. The eating of meat strengthens the passional nature, and the desire to acquire possessions, and therefore increases the difficulty of the struggle with the lower nature.

16. Each member is expected to set apart a certain time of the day or night, of not less than half an hour's duration, for meditation upon the instructions received, for self-examination and self-study. If possible, the place selected for this should be used by no other person, nor for any other purpose; but the providing of such a special place, if inconvenient, is not insisted upon.

17. Harbouring doubt as to the existence of Masters in general is no crime, since it is often but the effect of ignorance, and comes involuntarily. But it will inevitably prevent the pupil in attracting the attention of the Master; and he will fail to draw to himself His influence. Suspicions as to the character of the members of the Section are also prejudicial to advancement. In short, any malevolent feeling, especially malice, envy or revenge toward any person high or low, creates peculiarly obstructive conditions in the student's path, and will absolutely prevent progress of every sort. The elimination of the desire for reward aids the student in his development.

18. No member of this Section shall belong to any other body, association, or organization for the purpose of mystic study or occult training, except Masonry and the Odd Fellows, if they so desire. But they must be as careful to guard the secrecy of this Section from Masons as they are to preserve the secrets of Masonry from Theosophists. The reason for this rule is so self-evident as to need no explanation.

19. It is expected that all members of this Section shall have the following books and magazines where they can be referred to, as constant reference to them will be made in the course of the instruction, and no extended extracts will be furnished. Works on metaphysics and articles expounding the teachings of our Special School should be procured. The following books and theosophical magazines should be especially attended to:-

"The Secret Doctrine."
"The Bhagavad-Gita."
"Light on the Path."
"Patanjali's Yoga Philosophy"
"The Theosophist."

"The Path."
This rule is not intended to force members into the purchase of these books and magazines, but the undersigned has no time to copy extracts, giving explanations that have already appeared in print. Much has been already published, and it will be necessary to refer very often to such matter, and if a member is actually unable to procure the publications referred to, it is expected that others who are able will, upon request, furnish the desired book or a copy of the matter referred to. And herein the plea of poverty- if a pretence - will be as prejudicial to the student as any other vice."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Esoteric Section Rules

Here are the original rules of the E.S. as laid down by H.P.B.-  The E.S. was constituted in 1888 by Blavatsky independently from the T.S. I'd like to compare these with the rewrite by Dr. Steiner later. Things haven't changed much- note the first three rules.

In the following the masculine includes the feminine; the singular, the plural; and vice versa.
1. Groundless condemnation on hearsay of others, theosophists or not, must be refrained from, and charity to each other's faults widely practiced within, as well as without, the theosophical area.

2. Repetition of statements or gossip derogatory of others must be avoided. But condemnation of crime, of social evils and systems of every description, in the abstract, is a duty of every member. Above all, the duty of every member is to fight against cant, hypocrisy, and injustice in every shape.

3. A derogatory or slanderous statement made against a fellow theosophist in the presence of a member, shall not be permitted by him to pass without protest, unless he knows it is true, in which case he should remain silent.

4. No member shall boast of being in this Section.

5. No member shall pry into the standing in this Section of a Brother, nor shall he uninvited seek to know if another theosophist is a member of it. Members may use the password of the Section for the purpose of recognition, but never from curiosity, nor a desire to discover if the person addressed is a member of the Section.

6. Any member may, if he chooses, remain unknown as such, and that desire, if suspected by others, must not be talked about nor referred to.

7. If a member, whether falsely or truly, asserts that he has received letters or communications from Masters, unless directed to divulge the same, he will ipso facto cease to derive any benefit from the teachings, whether the fact be known or unknown to himself or to others. A repetition of such offense gives the Head of the Section the right to expel the offender in discretion. In every case where a member shall receive a letter or communication purporting to come from Master or Masters, and which directs the divulgation of its contents or a part thereof, the same before being divulged shall be communicated to H.P.B. directly, if the recipient is in Europe, and to William Q. Judge, if in America, for transmission to said H.P.B. For deception is easy, and, without great experience, members are not able to decide whether such a communication is genuine or not.

8. No member shall, under any circumstances, bring any charge of whatever nature against another member, whether to H.P.B., William Q. Judge, or any other member of the Section. This rule does not imply that the Masters condone, excuse, or tolerate any fault or crime. But no member is the judge of the acts of another member or theosophist, in this Section less than in any other. For, while in every Exoteric Branch, its President and Council decide upon any charges against their Fellows, in this Section each member is to be judged by his Karma and the Masters alone.

9. No member shall pretend to the possession of psychic powers that he has not, nor boast of those which he may have developed. Envy, jealousy, and vanity are insidious and powerful foes to progress, and it is known from long experience that, among beginners especially, the boasting of, or calling attention to, their psychic powers almost invariably causes the development of these faults and increases them when present. Hence

10 No member shall tell to another, especially to a fellow-member, how much he has progressed or what recognition he has received, nor shall he by hints cause such to be known. Where students of similar tastes and dispositions desire to form a group or groups for mutual help in training, application must be made to H.P.B. for permission and advice as to the same. But hasty judgment as to the advisability of forming such groups must be avoided. For it may so happen, that two or more members united by a real friendship, may yet be so contrary in their magnetic idiosyncrasies and conditions that their friendship may be changed into hatred on the occult plane, if they form groups without esoteric knowledge.

11. No member shall ask for any orders or instructions as to the conduct of his business affairs or the management of his social relations, or the ordinary affairs of life, nor as to the cure of diseases, whether in himself or in any other person. Questions relative to the instructions given will alone be accepted and attended to.

12. It is required of a member that when a question arises it shall be deeply thought over from all its aspects, to the end that he may find the answer himself; and in no case shall questions be asked out of curiosity, nor until the person has exhausted every ordinary means of solving the doubt or of acquiring himself the information sought.

Otherwise his intuition will never be developed. He will not learn self-reliance; and two of the main objects of the Section will be defeated. For an adept becomes such by his own exertions, by the self-developed merit of his own power; and no one but himself can effect this work. "An adept becomes, he is not made." The office of Guru or Guide is to adjust the disciple in his progress, and not to drag or push him forward.