HOW MY BOOKS ARE TO BE USED
When, soon after the turn of the century over thirty years ago, I made the first attempts to give expression in language to the spiritual revelations which had become living experience until then, – but also a decade later when my spiritual experience, along with my attempts to represent what I had experienced, had become familiar occurrences and deeds, – I never dreamt of publishing in my earthly life what I had written down in my own secret code in order to prevent any kind of profanation.
It had instead become an arrangement I made myself that, at the appropriate moment I would hand over the ‘key’ to unlock my secret code to someone I considered trustworthy who would then undertake to publish what was found after my death in an suitable manner.
Among my papers I also kept for years in a closed envelope a ‘disposition by will’ to this end and a second copy of the code in the event of the sudden death of the entrusted ‘executor’ before the will could be carried out.
I had no idea that I would one day make this premature ‘bequeathal’ available to the public and was destined to transcribe for the typesetter what I had carefully written down in a script only I could understand. – –
After my most important spiritual guide and teacher, who understandably had become for me my sole ‘authority’, had, on the occasion of a visit, convincingly explained to me for the first time that it was not enough simply to bequeath the teachings, but that I bore the obligation of representing my writings in person, during my outward life on earth, to everybody, – I found myself for a long time in a state of indescribable oppression, since I was searching every day in vain for a way of integrating this obligation to reveal myself, which had been forced upon me, with my spiritually based need for seclusion and isolation.
I was only able to overcome these inner torments after encountering once again the same fatherly spiritual leader, whom I loved with reverence, – this time far away from my home, – and when, during a year of spiritual and artistic work in Greece, I also got to know other men whose spiritual brother I would be from that time on.
From Athens I immediately dispatched the first small manuscript, entitled ‘The Light of Himavat’, – signed initially only with the three first letters of the spiritual name conferred upon me by my teacher and brothers, – on a trial basis amongst a restricted readership.
This happened in 1913.
The reception of the small teaching essay was much better than I had previously allowed myself to expect.
What was then published separately has now been reintegrated into the ‘Book of the Royal Art’ from where I had first taken it.
When in the following period hardly a year passed without one of my books, though for the most part the smaller ones, appearing, – or even different ones at the same time, – many readers did not really know if they were supposed to admire this productivity or to regard the author as a mere ‘scribbler’?
One could not know that much of what was published in quick succession had already lain for many years, as good as ready for printing, locked in my desk, or had been written in Greece long before publication.
These works included: almost everything in the ‘Book on the Living God’, and in the ‘Book on Man’, – practically everything in ‘More Light’ and in the ‘Book of the Royal Art’, as well as much found in the ‘Book of Dialogues’, – not to mention much that had been already written but which had to be revised by me because it was only intended for publication in its original form after my death.
After the task had become binding for me, whilst still living this outward earthly life, to talk about all the things expressed in my books, the previously chosen form of a spiritual bequeathal had become impossible.
I mention all these things here because I sometimes come across an all too ‘literary’ conception of my teachings which has taken the liberty of moving far away from the given facts.
I have never been plagued by even the slightest literary ambition!
It was the hardest, most responsible duty, which I would gladly have rejected, had this been possible, to force into the mould of language the things I write about – despite their resistance to all depiction.
I do not write for the enjoyment of writing!
Nothing of what I have imparted in writing up to this very hour in my writing has been written ‘with ease’; this would be completely impossible, since the almost unbearable eternal responsibility which cannot be taken from me obliges me to test not only every sentence but every word and syllable to see whether they are useful vehicles for the content entrusted to them, – not in a literary sense but with respect to the ability of these words to carry the substantial spiritual!
Wherever necessary the sentences, words and syllables formulated by me are – speaking metaphorically – : ‘loaded’ with the substantial spiritual.
I can neither describe nor teach the, in the highest sense of the word, ‘magical’ process needed to accomplish this; I can only indicate that there is nothing at all mysterious about it but rather a deployment of all the substantial spiritual oscillations latently available in almost all elements of language which are released when speaking them aloud or even only ‘in one’s thoughts’.
Many have experienced them consciously without knowing how the help they perceived had ‘accumulated’ in the words given them…
From this exposition of exceptional circumstances, – which I can only write down after having struggled to overcome an understandable timidity with regard to insinuations founded on ignorance, – it is clear enough: how one should not use my books!
One should not ‘read’ them as something more or less interesting, fantastical, strange or even as something taken on trust in the way one is usually accustomed to read nowadays: – that is, by reading only in groups of sentences, – scarcely anymore in sentences, – and where one is always more engaged with something else than with the sense of a word one has just ‘skirted past’. –
One should not read them thinking they are to be understood according to the interpretation that long ago became stereotypic, which one by habit ascribes to all reading matter. –
I am required by the aforementioned responsibilities towards the substantial spirit to use what is otherwise familiar in an unfamiliar way because rhythm, assonance, alliteration, and so on, are not only stylistically determined, – quite apart from the fact that I must allow myself to arrange the words so as to form the sentences in such a way that they express to me what I want to communicate to others.
It is impossible for me to judge otherwise whether I have fully carried out my duty or not!
If one is to be really capable of taking in what is offered in my books, one must learn to read with great circumspection. –
Surely this way of reading will be worth one’s while!
On the very first reading one should not be concerned about anything other than the general ‘content’ in the manner it presents itself to the superficial reader who never has any ‘time’.
The book the pupil holds in his hands must already have satisfied his curiosity to know its contents if he then decides to read it in a different way, a way which can bring about a bright, joyful resonance in his eternal soul and in his own substantial spiritual organism…
If a passage in one of my books which deals with the real eternal spirit and the things of the substantial spiritual life does not yet arouse the joyful echo one feels when something long forgotten, once loved in the past, is once more evoked, – then the passage in question has not yet been understood!
There is no point in racking one’s brains over this passage or even trying to produce artificially a sensation which does not yet resonate from within.
In this way only the worst of self-deceptions would be nourished!
If the emotion of recognition which gives complete certainty at the same time and is received with a deep joy is not yet there, then leave alone all such passages for the time being and turn to others which have something to say at a given moment.
The pupil will have to pick up the same book countless times for it to impart to him what it can impart! –
It would be completely wrong, however, to get it into one’s head to continue to read the one particular book one is reading at the time until it has offered up all that it can impart.
In this way the seeker would not only achieve nothing, he would deaden himself internally, so that in the most favourable instance it would take years for him to be able to read once more one of the books with an open mind and to his benefit.
One can really believe me when I say that it was not by chance that I divided up the things I had to teach or present into the various small self-contained volumes.
And if I describe these small volumes as ‘books’, this corresponds to their content which would have been far easier for me to express in extensive treatises than it was possible to do in the greatly condensed form used for the best interests of the pupil.
Those who look more closely will not only notice that it certainly would not have been difficult to turn the content of one of these slighter ‘books’ into a very large volume, – but in carrying out this scrutiny one will also discover that there were not only good reasons why I instead offered the people of today – who have ‘no time’ for reading – everything in ‘books’ which I always took care to restrict in length, but one will also see that the separation I carried out is based on psychological factors.
If one seeks to teach one’s fellow men personal, perhaps quite extraordinary views on matters outside the earthly senses, a single book can certainly suffice which may then swell into the volume the size of an encyclopaedia without thereby gaining or losing in value.
But if I want to lead people seeking their way to substantial spirituality in such a way that they become finders, then I must consider the capacity for comprehension in man which is determined by the way the brain works, and many other factors too, – so that I only then provide help when showing repeatedly the high goal towards which they strive from another side.
So it is that I advise my spiritual pupil to take hold of another of my books as soon as he notices that there is no inner resonance in response to the teachings and descriptions he has just read.
Indeed, he should make such a change as often as is necessary in order to arrive at the book which can give him those values creating an inner echo at a given moment.
We are not at all capable of receiving the same thing at every moment!
At different moments not only different forms of expression are needed but also different ‘perspectives’ from which we can look upon the object in question of our will to experience so that it may give us the answer we ask of it.
But since in my individual books ever fresh expression for the spiritual is sought for and found, and since I teach the reader to observe what is of the spirit from all relevant points of view, the seeker will never find it difficult which of my books to choose at a given moment.
One will, however, do well not to mix what is expressed in my individual books!
Everything is united by necessity with everything I am able ever to express, but from the start I have not deemed it a necessity to express myself by using strictly the same definition of words in all the books; such restriction on expression would have forced me to leave unsaid far too much that was important for me to say, – since I knew how much seekers are in need of those things.
It could easily lead to unintended errors – since I have not sought to give in my books any ‘system’ or ‘philosophy’, and always sought to describe any experience only as viewed in itself, if the diction of one particular book were to be mixed with that of another.
Deeper insight will of course soon discover that every statement is in deepest harmony with every other, regardless of whether it has its own emphasis with respect to particularities.
Time after time it is a question of whether one regards my books as ‘reading material’ or sees in them useful aids, already tested by many, for finding the path to the spirit and eventually entering ‘into the spirit’. –
These books are intended as advice for finding the path ‘into the spirit’!
The motive of my writings lay from the start far removed from the wish or hope of being esteemed as a writer by other writers.
The self-determined purpose of my writing was much too important for me for the writing itself to appear to me to be inherently worthy of estimation.
But naturally I cannot work miracles and even if I could, I would surely not do so since I could not even reconcile the mere wish: ‘if only a miracle might happen’, with the structure of the substantial eternal spirit which is open to my experience.
Despite all I have imparted in my books, it is therefore not enough to pick them up occasionally, to flick through them, and to allow some passage or other to pass through your head for a while.
If these books are to be used properly, so that they can impart what they have to impart, they must become continual companions in the life of the spiritual pupil.
No day must pass without reading them! –
This is necessary because the seeker finds himself in an age, and a world propagated by it, whose tendencies are directed at the penetration and greatest possible mastery of the outermost realms, while he must seek to keep himself directed towards the innermost.
Today’s age is no better and no worse than any other!
Today’s world is in every respect an expression of what today’s man must have lived through on earth, if the direction of his striving, continued for many centuries, towards the external and outermost realms, is to become capable of turning around towards the inner realm.
One must not imagine such a turn around as a kind of ‘mass conversion’!
What became truly capable of change is changed completely unnoticed, – and thus we are standing already in the midst of the change whilst most people think the movement continues ever outwards…
Eyes are, for now, still too accustomed to seeking supposed or even only hoped for horizons far outside, for them to be able to clearly recognise how cramped all striving towards the outer, outermost realms has already become, because it is merely a peripheral compulsive last convulsion of an impulse in the whole of mankind which long ago withdrew to its source of origin. –
Just as a scarcely burning candle shortly before being extinguished flickers briefly once more into bright light, so today the drive to the outer celebrates its triumphs which are nothing other than confirmation that it is destined for extinction; for the turning in direction has already begun unnoticed wherever it has found the appropriate conditions fulfilled.
The great impulses of the whole of mankind bend the powers of striving but do not break them!
Thinking, words and action of the individual are far more significant at such a time than in the midst of the still not nearly finished influence of the temporal impulses of mankind as a whole.
More than any other, he who seeks his own spiritually given centre of being needs at such times an inner world of experience where what still lies in the future for the outer realm, is powerfully working in a form which conforms to reality…
One of the main tasks of my books is to help open up this spiritually determined world of experience within the seeker.
They can only fulfil this task, however, if the seeker takes advice from them day by day, and in doing so always remains mindful of the fact, demonstrated a thousand times over, that he can never exhaust them.
I can confidently claim that a man, if he could live physically on earth for many hundreds of years and was in inner communion with my books every day, would still not see the day he could claim that these books had nothing new to say to him.
At times of the turn in direction made by the whole of mankind in its striving there is much that sees itself as progressive and ground-breaking, which in truth is only the last after-effect of the dubious will to hold onto what has been.
Thus the seeker is always in danger of being seriously deceived if he has no access to insights which allow him to recognise clearly what is truly creating the future.
He will come across such insights on almost every page of my books.
If he allows himself to be counselled daily by them, the future will reveal itself to him in his own present time, and he will become the co-fashioner of what is to come, early submitted to his own experience!
Only then will he experience in himself that existence on earth cannot lose its ‘meaning’ even in the hardest and saddest times, – but it does not have meaning, as it were, in thinking and what is thought, but in the ability to act in accordance with the spirit.
He who would be a ‘pupil’ of mine in the spirit is far from being so because he thinks in the way he thinks I think, or believes I think, – but he only becomes my pupil when his active life is refashioned in the way the advice in my books urges him!
If one day he can then say that these books caused him to begin a new life, filled with inner assurance and previously unknown joy in activity, and that he could no longer live without the teachings and stimulation I wrote for him, then he has used my books ‘in the way they are to be used’!
Like other things in this world books do not become a blessing or a curse only through their intrinsic worth but rather through the way they are used.
And so the issue of substantial spiritual help which my books can bring depends largely on the use to which they are put by the reader.
There is nothing on earth that could not be misused, – what one could not alienate from a use which would bring bliss! –
My books are certainly no exception to this.
Let those who do not yet understand how to make proper use of them lay these books for the time being aside until they can use them in the way they must demand to be used.
They will not wait in vain for better understanding if the will to reach light and clarity remains alive!
Only those will find inner peace through my books who in truth are before their own consciences: of ‘good will’…