From The Wisdom of St. John, second edition revised, chapter 2 “The Luminary’s Mortal Life,” 2016. Translated from Die Weisheit des Johannes, published in German in 1924.Â
It here is made my task and duty to describe the Master's spiritual unfolding. Historians of his time took little note of his existence, but owing to the tales and legends growing up around his life, and also through a cult that used his name to give new life to ancient mystic rites, he became a great enigma, fraught with contradictions, and has remained so to this day.
I shall relate what can be known by those who have their knowledge from experience, and thus can speak with certainty on what has long since passed from outward observation.
He was born in Nazareth in Galilee, and thus was called a "Nazarene"—not, as some suppose, after a sect of mystics. He was still a little child when his father took him, together with his mother, into Egypt, where at that time the father's craft was in demand and well rewarded. From this, which did in fact occur, would later grow the legendary "Flight into Egypt."
A few years later he was back in his native city; and now, as soon as he was old enough, he started helping at his father's work. And so he learned, at first almost in play, to do some simple chores and duties, as these seemed fitting for his age and strength.
Thus, quite early in his youth, he had become a fellow craftsman to his father. To be a carpenter in those days meant, however, that he not only learned how wood was used for building and construction, but also how to make some of the sturdier tools that people used in house and field.
To acquire even the most basic elements of erudition, he neither had the time, nor was it then the custom that a youthful craftsman without means should have the like ambition.
His spiritual development, which I shall presently discuss, had been completed long before he learned the art of writing in the letters of his native tongue; in this he was instructed by some learned men whose friendship he had won by then.
Here then is the background of his spiritual unfolding.
From his father he had only heard the customary prayers that by tradition every pious Jew was wont to say.
Every Sabbath he would hear the usual interpretation of the Law, handed down from ancient times.
But since he could not read the sacred books himself, his knowledge here again was very much restricted.
However, even from his early youth, when tired from his labor, although still fresh in spirit, he would be resting on his humble bed, he knew a wondrous kind of inner guidance. He kept this very secret, even from his parents, but did believe that through this spiritual experience he more and more could understand the wisdom in the Law: like those—he thought—who had the learning needed to consult the Scriptures.
Yet from time to time he gave himself away, when on the Sabbath or on holy days he heard the elders of the congregation speak on questions of the Law, and then was able, through his inner guidance, to give a fitting answer. And thus the later legend, which shows him teaching as a boy among the learned elders in the Temple of the Holy City, is in substance based on fact; even though the doctors at Jerusalem were doubtless not the first to marvel at his wisdom.
At Capernaum, in his later adolescence, he had his first encounter with a Luminary, one of the Bearers of Eternal Light, whose exalted Brother he was destined to become, since by kind he had been one of them long before he saw the sunlight of this world. He then was working at Capernaum for several weeks on a commission from his father, with whose kinsmen he was lodging.
However, on that first occasion he did not know whom he had really met that peaceful evening hour by the lake; a man he now saw very often at that place: one who had the power to open more and more his heart, and made him see the inmost mysteries of Being.
But soon there followed more encounters of this kind, so that he finally no longer even thought it strange that he should be receiving such profound enlightenment through men who evidently were connected in some way. However, all of this he kept a secret, for so he was instructed.
When in this way he had continued for some years, his inner knowledge ever growing, one of these men—whom now he knew as old and trusted friends, although he bowed in awe before them—came to him one day and told him: that now the time had come that he begin a regular, more systematic kind of schooling, but that this would not interfere with the performance of his daily work.
It was to be the purpose of this schooling, he was told, to make him capable of comprehending the deepest wisdom of the Law, and not alone to know it for himself, but also that he might reveal this light to others: so that the many who sought nurture for their soul in Holy Writ be given more than the unprofitable commentaries of the scribes, which were like stones when handed to the hungry begging for bread.
From that day on he consciously received the inner spiritual guidance of those who were his kind.
His daily work did not prevent him from going through this schooling, nor from passing every trial it required.
Whenever he would falter, or fears and doubts began to threaten him, one of his teachers would quietly come to his side: to strengthen him in faith, and to dispel the demon world that was about to frighten him.
. . .
But only now, in this his dying hour, when all his work on earth appeared already ended, did the Master in effect accomplish his sublimest work of Love: a work of such immeasurable power that all who see the worlds of the eternal Spirit will honor him throughout eternity as the most radiant among the Luminaries: the Lord of Love to all who ever knew of love on earth. And there can never come another who might approach the awesome greatness of the love that he embodied.
For in his final hour he succeeded in wholly unifying in himself: the human mortal creature and the powers of the Spirit; and in this unified, eternal consciousness he found the strength to love the very men who were destroying him on earth; indeed, could love them—even as himself—and in the very hour of his agony.
The physically invisible dimension of this earth, which holds this globe surrounded as an egg contains its yolk, was freed for all eternity in this most sacred hour, and wrested from the powers of the "Prince of this world." This unseen, mighty Being, who is merely conscious of himself, but not within the Spirit, seeks only to experience his own reality; and, living in the loveless night of matter, would draw into his own experience all things that exist.
As he himself was vanquished in that final hour, so all the might of darkness can now be conquered on this earth: by those who know that man can gain this power, and who possess "good will"—whose will proceeds from love.
If man on earth were conscious of his power, he truly would have changed this planet's face in these almost two thousand years, so that the generations that now still have to bear the burdens of this life would find prepared for them a form of physical existence that to their eyes would seem "Elysium."
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