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The very highest form of yoga

In an answer to a question in Kosmos no. 3, 1933 (the Danish edition) Martinus gives us concrete instructions about things we would all benefit from practising in order to develop our own mentality by using our willpower:

  • Remove the concept of “enemies” from your consciousness.
  • Never retort against anger, slander or other forms of unpleasantness directed towards you.
  • Never say anything evil about anyone or anything.
  • Be absolutely truthful and honest in all the situations of life.
  • Be absolutely uninfluenced by flattery, praise and criticism.
  • Never take part in killing, wounding or mutilating.
  • Never let your thought deviate from focusing on how you best can serve your fellow beings. In so doing you will be practising the very highest form of yoga or the most perfect training of the part of your development that is within the scope of your will and that, together with the other part of the refining of your nature by life itself, will ultimately lead you forward to becoming a moral genius and transform you into a perfect being, a God-like human being.  (Kosmos no. 3, 1933)

Modern reincarnation and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s prophecy of The Third Testament

“A more influential attempt to formulate a melioristic view of reincarnation was undertaken by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) toward the end of his theological and philosophical essay Die Erziehung des Menschengeschlechtes, published in 1780.”, Lessing sees the history of mankind as a story of ever greater insight and perfection. Earlier religions had merely been didactic instruments, preludes to a truly humanitarian faith. Historically, Judaism and Christianity have been the two great educating influences on mankind. However, the next step in the spiritual evolution of humanity would soon take place. This tripartite scheme of history resembles that of Joachim of Fiore and the Joachimites, and Lessing implicitly credits them with the theory of three ages. Soon to have an influence also on Blavatsky.”

Michael Cremo mentions extraterrestrials ala Zechariah Sitchin and reincarnation. Mikey Brass who has written a good critiques on part of Michael Cremo‘s palaeontology, on the other hand states that he provided material for a book on “a forgotten Race” and reincarnation in our time. The book with a chapter titled “Big Bang Was a Dawn of Brahma,” suggests advanced souls incarnated and the laws of universal karma dictated they should perish. With this new trend  in popular archaeology it is worthwhile to look at the history of these modern pseudo-scientific myths.

Several polls carried out in North America and Europe show that the professed belief in reincarnation is widespread. A mere century ago, reincarnation belief was marginal. The two main bastions of this creed were the spiritist subculture in France and the membership of the Theosophical Society. If one goes back another century, to the turn of the nineteenth century, belief in reincarnation was almost unknown in the West.

The fact that reincarnation is designated by the same label as reincarnation doctrines of Oriental or other provenance should not obscure the fact that the various beliefs display considerable differences.

The belief in reincarnation prevalent in certain in Neoplatonism, was largely eclipsed during centuries of Christian hegemony, and reentered the Western history of ideas with the revival of interest in the Kabbala.

The transmigration of souls or gilgul became a major doctrinal element with the sixteenth century school of Isaac Luria (1534-1572). Lunia’s own doctrines were basically an esoteric teaching reserved for the initiated, and were set down in writing by his disciples. Lurianic texts were translated from Hebrew into Latin by Christian Knorr von Rosenroth as part of his Kabbala denudata, published in three volumes, the first two in 1677-78 and the last in 1684. Francois Mercure van Helmont (1614-1699), believed that the doctrine of transmigration of souls could be made the cornerstone of a universal Christianity: by this means, the souls of individuals who had lived in the wrong time and place to have heard of the Gospel would have a chance of salvation. Van Helmont in turn influenced Anne Conway who openly defended transmigration.

A more  influential attempt to formulate a melioristic view of reincarnation was undertaken by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) toward the end of his theological and philosophical essay Die Erziehung des Menschengeschlechtes, published in 1780.”, Lessing sees the history of mankind as a story of ever greater insight and perfection. Earlier religions had merely been didactic instruments, preludes to a truly humanitarian faith. Historically, Judaism and Christianity have been the two great educating influences on mankind. However, the next step in the spiritual evolution of humanity would soon take place. This tripartite scheme of history resembles that of Joachim of Fiore and the Joachimites, and Lessing implicitly credits them with the theory of three ages. Soon to have an influence also on Blavatsky.

Belief in reincarnation soon took the leap from the pages of Enlightenment philosophers to the seance rooms. Thus by 1790, a small proto-spiritualist circle in Copenhagen led by the brother-in-law of the Danish king Christian VII, prince Karl of Hessen-Kassel, had been instructed in a reincarnationist doctrine resembling that of Kant and Lessing by a voice speaking from a white cloud. The wife of the Danish minister of foreign affairs, Auguste von Bernstorff, who was one of the five members, was proclaimed to be an incarnation of Mary Magdalene. It would take another six decades before the belief in reincarnation spread from such small groups of occultists and freethinkers to a somewhat larger audience of religious seekers. The basic mechanism of belief-the intervention of spiritual entities-would remain remarkably unchanged for another century.

Jean-Baptiste Willermoz conducted sessions with a talented somnambule, asking her questions to which, with the aid of the spirit world, she was able to give authoritative answers which were recorded in detail. The first documented afterlife beliefs of the mesmerist milieu are notes dating from 1785, which are infused with Christian mythology: the dead go to heaven, hell or purgatory; or alternatively, their destiny will be decided on the day of judgement. (N. Edelman Voyantes, guerisseuses et visionnaires en France 1765-1914, 1995, p. 23. ff)

Kardec adopted the method introduced by Willermoz, Le livre des esprit’s was reprinted in numerous editions, other spiritists adopted his beliefs, and reincarnation became part of the canonical doctrines of the French spiritist movement.

Two discursive strategies are central to Kardec’s work. The first is the reliance on revealed truth. Kardec’s book of more than 470 pages does not refer to a single contemporary printed source or spokesperson. At most, the reader that belief in reincarnation has existed since times immemonal among the Pythagoreans, Hindus and Egyptians.

The rhetorical strength behind this strategy is hardly in doubt: every last detail recorded in Le livre des esprits is directly taken from the dictation of the spirits. The form of the book reflects this method: it is basically a pastiche of Christian catechisms, with Kardec’s questions followed by the spirits’ answers in quotation marks.

His position is an innovation compared with earlier speculations: deceased spirits can never regress-, at worst, their progress towards God is merely halted temporarily. In short, Kardec lets the spirits elevate a morally justified hope to the status of revealed truth.

To strengthen his case, Kardec resorts to a second strategy, scientism. Already, the first mesmerist or somnambulist sessions were conceived of as methods of empirically exploring invisible dimensions of the cosmos. Spiritism uses the same rhetorical move to gain legitimacy. Thus, Kardec repeatedly and explicitly refers to his method as a new science.

Several elements of what would become theosophical reincarnation doctrine were already in place. The human soul reincarnates in order to progress spiritually. Incarnations take place not only on earth, but also on other planets. However the English channel was a formidable barrier to the spread of Kardecist theories of reincarnation, which did not gain much influence in the Anglo-American world until around 1880. (Godwin “Theosophical Enlightenment”)

The first link to Theosophy was lady Caithness, she became the recipient of a series of mediumistic revelations from sources as diverse as Mary Stuart and the archangel Gabriel. These messages were set down in writing and, over a period of twenty years, grew into a series of books. The second link, Anna Kingsford, made the acquaintance of lady Caithness while studying medicine in Paris.

Kingsford, which in other English, was the creator of a religious worldview clearly based on Kardec’s and the other French spiritists’ melioristic beliefs. In her main work, The Perfect Way or the Finding of Christ, published in 1882, she explains in typically evolutionist language how the soul aspires to progress from plant to animal to human, and finally to leave the physical body behind. Anna Kingsford herself claimed to have once lived as Mary Magdalene. In Kingsford’s view, physical existence is an evil to be overcome.

Upon her return to London, Kingsford joined the British section of the Theosophical  Society. A few British spiritualists had already adopted the doctrine of reincarnation. However, it appears that the publication of The Perfect Way, which attracted a great deal of attention, was crucial in achieving a critical mass for the controversial doctrine. Coincidentally or not, theosophical writings began to mention reincarnation as a spiritual truth for the first time around this same year 1882.

Blavatsky had claimed that the transmigration of souls was “an exception, a phenomenon as abnormal as a fetus with two heads.” As noted above, around 1882, Blavatsky had changed her mind. Since both the earlier and the later teachings were allegedly received from the same group of ascended Masters, the discrepancy became quite embarrassing. As recent as late 1876 Blavatsky had written  in her scrapbook: “Mind is the quintessence of the Soul-and having joined its divine Spirit Nous-can return no more to earth. IMPOSSIBLE.”

Also Olcott’s letter of May 20, 1876, to M.A. Oxon gave testimony of this. On the Barones von Vay’s wanting to join the Theosophical Society: “If she wants to come in with us she can-but she must scrape off her Reincarnation shoes at the door; there’s no room for that in our Philosophy.”

Exegetical treatises followed Blavatsky’s lead in adopting reincarnation. In chapter 5 of Sinnett’s Esoteric Buddhism, the author explains the destiny of man after death. Of the seven components that make up our persons, the three lower pass away at the moment of physical death.

If earlier theories on life after death were largely based on privileged knowledge, in the Mahatma Letters, and even more in Sinnett’s book, the discursive strategies of science and tradition were mobilized. The description of life after death increasingly rested on a number of Sanskrit terms, which, just like the title of his book, define the positive Others. In a style that will later be typical of other major theosophical movement texts, these Orientalist references are interspersed with appeals to contemporary science, including nineteenth century pseudo-sciences such as mesmerism. Thus, from their existence in Devachan, souls can appear to spiritualist mediums and magnetic somnambules because the spirit of the sensitive getting odylized, so to say, by the aura of the spirit in the Devachan, becomes for a few minutes that departed personality, and writes in the handwriting of the latter, in his language and in his thoughts as they were during his lifetime. Thus  what is called rapport, is, in plain fact, an identity of molecular vibration between the astral part of the incarnate medium and the astral part of the discarnate personality. (Sinnett “Esoteric Buddhism”, pp. 146 f.)

The belief in reincarnation advanced from being a minority view to becoming one of the core elements of the arguably most influential esoteric movement of the late nineteenth century.

A fundamental discursive strategy, legitimizing not only the belief in reincarnation but also the theosophical myth as a whole, is the construction of tradition. The Secret Doctrine is allegedly based on an ancient manuscript, the Book of Dzyan.

Blavatsky claimed that this palm leaf manuscript from Atlantis contained the true core of all the great religions. Implicitly, reincarnation had passed in six years from being a controversial innovation to becoming a central tenet of all the religious traditions of the world-or at least of the esoteric aspect of each of these traditions….

Blavatsky’s reincarnation doctrine builds on elements deriving from several different sources. Due to the inherent difficulties in harmonizing historically distinct traditions, her reincarnation doctrine is not free from contradictions. At times, she seems to draw on the purported roots of the “ancient wisdom religion” in a generalized Buddhism. Thus, Blavatsky can refer to “the great truth that reincarnation is to be dreaded, as existence in this world only entails upon man suffering, misery and pain.” (SD I:39)

Nevertheless, following a view that could be either Hindu or Platonic, but certainly not Buddhist in any orthodox sense, she claims that there is a unique individuality that incarnates again and again. In a reminiscence of an earlier Western esoteric tradition, the individual is said to reincarnate after a stay in the astral plane.” Another echo of the frequent esoteric preoccupation with the number seven, the individual is said to be composed of an aggregate of seven entities that part ways at physical death. A quote such as the following is closer to a Lurianic kabbalistic view than to the “Esoteric Buddhism” that Sinnett wrote of:

The Monad emerges from its state of spiritual and intellectual unconsciousness; and  gets directly into the plane of Mentality. But there is no place in the whole universe with a wider margin, or a wider field of action in its almost endless gradations of perceptive and apperceptive qualities, than this plane, which has in its turn an appropriate smaller plane for every “form”, from the “mineral” monad up to the time when that monad blossoms forth by evolution into the DIVINE MONAD. But all the time it is still one and the same Monad, differing only in its incarnations, throughout its ever succeeding cycles of partial or total obscuration of spirit, or the partial or total obscuration of  matter-two polar antitheses-as it ascends into the realms of mental spirituality, or descends into the depths of materiality.” (Secret Doctrine I:175)

The construction of tradition, the bricolage from bits and pieces of such originally distinct historical sources, masks the novelty of Blavatsky’s overall conception. Essentially, the theosophical view of the transmigration of souls is not so much Oriental or Platonic, as a typically nineteenth century construction.

Three key ideas run through Blavatsky’s description of the chain of rebirth. The first is the fact of Orientalism itself. The frequent references to India and the East rather than to e.g. Plotinus or Paracelsus are in themselves a phenomenon of the post-Enlightenment era.

The second is the placement of reincarnation within the arguably most overarching meta-narrative of the nineteenth century: evolutionism.

The third element is the synthesis of these ideas with another meta-narrative of the nineteenth century: the view that humanity is divided into races and peoples with clearly definable properties. A closer look at the purported ancient wisdom religion shows it to be a mythologization of ideas characteristic of late nineteenth century Europe.

Past life therapy is one of a set of similar, non-mainstream methods aimed at enhancing faded memories. However, a considerable body of scholarship has demonstrated the fundamental flaw of these methods. Contrary to a widespread contemporary legend, hypnotic techniques do not enhance memory.

Their main effect is to increase the hypnotic subjects’ propensity to confabulate, their willingness to accept the hypnotist’s suggestions, and their conviction that the essentially spurious memories created in the therapeutic setting are real. Dissenting voices that present such experimental research are, for obvious reasons, never allowed to speak out in the Esoteric and today’s pseudo-scientific texts.

Third-person and second-person narratives affect the experience of past life memories in a manner analogous to that discussed by Steven Katz in connection with the loftier mystical experiences: “Images, beliefs, symbolism, and rituals define, in advance, what the experience he wants to have and which he then does have, will be like.” However, by masking prescriptive leads behind a descriptive language, this state of affairs is effectively hidden from the reader.

The effect of modernity on reincarnationist belief can be discerned in many ways. Perhaps the most obvious effect of Enlightenment thought is the risk one takes as the spokesperson for an Esoteric position, or indeed for any other new religious movement with controversial doctrinal contents. As the belief in reincarnation has become more widespread, a naturalistic critique has also been formulated. Thus, alleged past life experiences are explained in terms that differ sharply from those invoked by the believers, perhaps in terms of socio-psychological factors or cognitive illusions.

Some spokespersons embrace Enlightenment rationality, claiming that reincarnation is part and parcel of a rational world-view. Besides Michael Cremo and the book on reincarnation Mikey Brass has been contributing to. An example is Tad Mann, the author of an apologetic book on the subject entitled The Flements Reincarnation. Mann attempts to link belief in reincarnation with Jung’s theories of the collective unconscious, with the discovery of the DNA molecule, and with Rupert Sheldrake’s vitalistic theories. If the evidence is as powerful as Mann would have us believe, why are more conventional scientists so unimpressed? Mann has a ready answer. With the exception of a few radical scientists, it is still common to deny the reality of  the spiritual worlds. Mainstream science is depicted as overly conservative, whereas controversial minority positions are described as progressive.

Frederic Myers and Ian Stevenson

Frederic Myers and others in the early days of psychic research, i.e. the late nineteenth century, to find evidence of life after death. The best known present day rationalist apologist for reincarnation is Ian Stevenson. Stevenson has recorded hundreds of narratives in which small children are said to remember past lives. In some cases, children as young as two to four years old tell their parents that they live somewhere else, that they have a different set of relatives. His latest publications record even more striking cases.

A child born with deformed fingers is claimed to be the new incarnation of a man who had his fingers damaged in an accident. A boy with a rare genetic defect that has atrophied his outer ears is claimed to be the incarnation of a man who died after being shot in the side of the head.

Stevenson’s work is a distinct product of the modern age. What is normally seen as a religious question.

One could of course interject that: Firstly, the transfer of distinctive bodily features from one person to another presupposes a mechanism that has no Counterparts in any other known area. Neither science nor common sense offers any clue as to how characteristics that are similar seen from the perspective of a human subject. but have entirely distinct underlying causes, could possibly be transmitted from one individual to another.

Secondly, the material is statistically odd. Subjects from India usually remember past lives in near-by villages. Westerners seem to be considerably more prone to change location drastically in time and space.

Thirdly, ethnic groups unknown to the average Westerner are seldom mentioned in reincarnation narratives. Few if any subjects claim to have been Illyrians, Sogdians, Tocharians or Urarteans.

Fourthly, interviewing small children is a problematic undertaking. The boundaries between reporting, inventing or following the cues ‘given by adults – parents. relatives, interviewers, interpreters, etc.) are fluid. Finally, critics have also noted that Stevenson has conducted some interviews through interpreters with documented reincarnationist belief, has been incorporated into the rationalist framework of modern society.

The progress of secularization has made it possible to combine questions of faith with the rhetoric of science. Within this rhetorical framework, there are certain given elements.

Stevenson’s work reminds the reader-and is probably intended to remind the reader-of the style of normal science. It is the subject rather than the methodology that may strike one as unusual.

Whereas previous generations could construct entities such as “science” and “faith” as opposites, the rhetoric of scientism gradually effaces such contrasts, at least in the eyes of the believers. “Spirituality” is said to point at the same truths that can be discerned with a higher and better form of science. Any conflicts are due to the negative attitude of conventional, mechanistic scientists unwilling to open their minds enough to accept the truth.

The hypnotically induced memories of Virginia Tighe or other subjects who have figured prominently in New Age texts tell dramatic stories of their previous lives-storlies that in the eyes of skeptics have seemed remarkably close to the plot structure of historical fiction.

Believers, however. Always appear to be one step ahead. Once one narrative has been debunked, interest in the cultic milieu gravitates towards new narratives.

Some of the most successful reincarnation stories in recent years have been written in a generalizing style. No names or dates are given, purportedly in the interest of protecting the privacy of the protagonists, but also effectively precluding confirmation or disconfirmation. ( example E.g. Weiss “Only Love is Real”) One suspects that belief is more important than evidence.

An important component in the rise of modernity is the ambivalence vis-a-vis rationality. Rationality was a central part of the Enlightenment project. However, the Enlightenment ended with a flood of non-rational alternatives: mesmerism, rosicrucianism and spiritism, among others.

Since then, non-rationalist projects have coexisted alongside the main, rationalist current. By choosing some examples of criteria of rationality as a roster through which Esoteric doctrines can be observed, one can see how Esoteric positions, especially later ones such as anthroposophy as well as various versions of New Age thought, lean on both rationalist and non-rationalist persuasive strategies.

Rational argumentation is occasionally invoked to support reincarnationist doctrines. One can choose to refer to Ian Stevenson’s studies and base one’s claims on a syncretism between faith and science that is characteristic of the modern era. Within the Esoteric literature on reincarnation, one also finds the opposite: a trust in revealed information, in the wisdom of authorities. Believers can rely on the veracity of claims found in dozens of texts received through psychic means, i.e. channelled texts in which reincarnation is taken for granted. Regardless of which entities are said to be the source of revealed wisdom-archangels, Egyptian priests, ascended Masters, dolphins or extraterrestrial beings from the Pleiades-they all seem to have adopted turn-of-the century theosophical doctrines of the steady progress of the soul through successive lives.

Nineteenth century belief in reincarnation generally rested on classical religious motifs: the belief in messages revealed from suprahuman sources. Knowledge of the afterlife state was imparted to prophetic figures, to mesmerist and spiritist mediums, or to religious virtuosi such as H.P. Blavatsky. The details of reincarnation were presented in abstract myths or through the imaginary lives of significant individuals. With time, both the doctrines and their legitimizing strategies have changed. Tradition has gained considerable weight in texts that discuss reincarnation. The theosophical legend that the earliest Christian communities believed in the transmigration of souls would hardly have been so resilient in the face of contrary evidence if it did not serve an important purpose. Part of the process of secularization consists in the realization that there are many religious faiths. As long as one is only aware of a single tradition, its doctrines and rituals may seem self-evident.

Once one gets to know several conflicting stories, one’s own set of beliefs risks being demoted to the status of one option among many. If one becomes aware of the fact that modern reincarnation belief is largely the product of a nineteenth century French author of schoolbooks, this knowledge might contribute to fostering a hermeneutic of suspicion.

Universalism becomes an effective remedy against doubt. If in the ultimate analysis, all religious are merely variations of a philosophiaperemis, the differences between Hindu, Christian or Spiritist beliefs are simply details. The question whether present-day reincarnation beliefs, as set out in the latest texts, were actually created or discovered) by Allan  Kardec, Helena Blavatsky or some nameless Oriental sage becomes a matter of no great concern.

An the believer does not need to rely on blind faith alone. There are supposedly rational reasons for accepting reincarnation. For those who wish to take the next step in their interest in the afterlife, past life experiences are a “proof” freely available to anybody. The therapeutic practices that have sprung from past life beliefs are widespread today; those interested in investigating purported past life memories can do so with little practical difficulty. Rationalists may find it obvious that experiences are ambiguous and can sometimes even be directly misleading.

For large segments of the pseudo-scientific cultic milieu. it seems equally obvious that personal experiences are faithful maps of underlying reality. Herein lies a deep contradiction within post-New Age religiosity. Overtly, its texts commonly invoke a democratic ideal. according to which nothing needs to be taken on faith, and which insists that the readers’ spiritual experiences are by far more important than any opinions that the author might entertain.

These experiences, however, are molded by the expectations of the most influential spokespersons of the movement. It might even be argued that earlier forms of authority, depending on claims to clairvoyance or contact with spiritual masters from Tibet, were easier to see through than the subtler strategies of the last few decades.

The doctrine of reincarnation has, at least overtly, also become democratized. The believer does not need to rely on blind faith alone.

There are supposedly rational reasons for accepting reincarnation. For those who wish to take the next step in their interest in the afterlife, past life experiences are a “proof” freely available to anybody. The therapeutic practices that have sprung from past life beliefs are widespread today; those interested in investigating purported past life memories can do so with little practical difficulty. Rationalists may find it obvious that experiences are ambiguous and can sometimes even be directly misleading. For large segments of the cultic pseudo-science milieu. it seems equally obvious that personal experiences are faithful maps of underlying reality.

Herein lies a deep contradiction within post-New Age religiosity. Overtly, its texts commonly invoke a democratic ideal. according to which nothing needs to be taken on faith, and which insists that the readers’ spiritual experiences are by far more important than any opinions that the author might entertain. These experiences, however, are molded by the expectations of the most influential spokespersons of the movement. It might even be argued that earlier forms of authority, depending on claims to clairvoyance or contact with spiritual masters from Tibet, were easier to see through than the subtler strategies of the last few decades.

Esoteric pseudo-scientific texts appear as the result of ongoing de- and recontextualizations that allow new synthesis between different notions to take place.
Even if the post-New Age is expressed in the style and strategy of modernism, its conceptualizations coincide with those of Romanticism and a reaction to the enlightenment project.
One of the questions this web site will explore is how various religious phenomena are adapted to the conditions of the modern world.

As seen in part one the belief in reincarnation advanced from a minority view to becoming one of the core elements of the post-theosophical movements, and today (Oct. 2002) is utilized even in pseudo archeological books that will claim “advanced incarnating souls” -are the driving force behind humankinds intellectual and cultural development during the same period; and that therein lies the explanation of a forgotten, golden age in the human past.”
Presented with the argument  that there is “anecdotal evidence” for reincarnation one could of course argue that even humans  today, might be  tricked by the fact that the mammalian part of our brain wants us to hold onto magical ideals.

At first it may seem plausible to maintain that we have two kinds of personal identity bodily continuity and memory. This is suggested by the fact that in daily life we sometimes use the one and sometimes the other. However, the memory criterion presupposes that of bodily continuity while the converse does not hold.

Another fundamental discursive strategy, legitimizing  the belief in reincarnation and pseudo-archeological myths, is the construction of tradition. The Secret Doctrine was allegedly based on a palm leaf manuscript  from Atlantis, “the Book of Dzyan.” The Secret Doctrine and “The Mahatma Letters” therefore can be seen as a peak of modern mythmaking and rest on the privileged and unreproducible experience of Madame H.P. Blavatsky herself.

Next dozens of creative spokespersons have positioned their own doctrines in relation to the Blavatskian framework. The fundamentals are common to most if not all of them: the theory of melioristic evolution, the existence of spiritually evolved beings, the fundamentals of esoteric historiography and, not least, the doctrine of reincarnation. The individual positions within the discourse are created by adjusting, adding or replacing details which may seem trivial to outsiders but are of central concern to the spokespersons who accept the rules of the discourse.

Blavatsky’s particular view of reincarnation gave rise to a number of modern legends. Besides personalized legends which I will discuss next in this article.
Blavatsky’s particular view of reincarnation gave rise to a modern legend.

The earliest movement texts -e.g. The Mahatma Letters, Esoteric Buddhism or The Secret Doctrine say nothing on the matter that “Christianity once did include he belief in reincarnation.” Neither does lady Caithness in texts devoted specifically to the theosophical interpretation of Christianity and the Bible.”

The earliest textual occurrence of the legend hat links Christianity with reincarnationist beliefs appears to be in a book published in 1888 by theosophist E.D. Walker, Reincarnation: A Study of Forgotten Truth. A few years later, William Q Judge’s The Ocean of Theosophy, published in 1893, would  popularize the mythology.

Blavatsky on the essenes, cf. SD 11: 11 In.; on druids, see SD 11: 760.

Interestingly, earlier Lurianic Christian kabbalists also attempted to harmonize the Bible with reincarnation, but details differ as to what is harmonized and how t is done. Thus, Anne Conway quotes scripture to “prove” the Lurianic idea that seemingly inanimate objects will progress into sentient beings. Conway 1982: 219.

Caithness 1887, ch. 10 and 11.

Then Walker 1888 claims that  after Jesus the doctrine was taught in the church until the council of Constantinople.

This legend proved to be quite robust and was adopted by several other Esoteric positions.

Edgar Cayce and the circle of adepts around him elaborated on the theosophical explanation and transmitted it to a larger audience. In 1967, an anthology of commented readings on reincarnation was published by the Association for Research and Enlightenment. This book anchors the legend in Scriptural passages and quotes from the church fathers, fleshing out the bare-bones theosophical version of the story with numerous details. Nevertheless, this elaborate form of the legend still rests on the same three pillars as Judge’s original argument: passages in the Bible that equate John the Baptist with Elijah, references to Origen and to the second church council at Constantinople in the year 553.

Reincarnationist pattern recognition builds on passages such as Matthew 11:14, where Jesus is reported to say, “And if ye will receive it, this [i.e. John the Baptist] is Elias, which was for to come. Likewise, in John 3:3 Jesus is quoted as saying, “I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

These passages are interpreted in a very different way by non-esotericist Christian commentators. There are other scriptural quotes used to contradict the notion of reincarnation. Thus Hebrews 9:27 reads “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement.” Second Corinthians 5:8 claims that at death the Christian immediately goes into the presence of God, not into another body, while Luke 16:19-31 explains that unbelievers at death go to a place of suffering. Another scriptural passage employed to a similar end is Matthew 25:46 in which Jesus teaches that people decide their eternal destiny in a single lifetime, some “shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

The Ascended Master group CUT  is a contemporary position which rests its case  heavily on the constructed tradition that Christ taught reincarnation. An entire 300 page volume is devoted to the purported missing teachings. Another 400 page volume details how the missing years were allegedly documented. (Prophet The Lost years of Jesus”1984, and The Lost Teachings of Jesus 1986.)

Further the legend is found in numerous New Age books even today. Hanegraaff has followed the legend as far as the writings of Shirley MacLaine, who added a new twist to it by confusing the council at Constantinople with the council in Nicaea.” Books more recent than those in Hanegraaff’s corpus continue to reproduce the legend. Thus, hypnotherapist Brian L. Weiss based on Theosophists Cranston and Head “Reincarnation in World Thought” claims that his research into the origins of reincarnation beliefs have shown how the doctrine was considered destabilizing by the worldly authorities under the emperor Constantine and was therefore banned in the sixth century. (Weiss “Through Time and Healing”)
Personalized Legends

Several post-theosophical spokespersons were to contribute with a distinct change in the basic model of reincarnation. They participated in a shift from the abstract to the concrete. Charles Leadbeater, the main ideologist of the Theosophical Society after the death of Blavatsky, was instrumental in the move toward personalized reincarnation legends. His claims to precise knowledge of past lives resulted in the elaboration of long lists in which members of the Society were traced back, sometimes hundreds of thousands of years. The psychic method and its results have been described in decidedly unflattering terms in scholarly as well as critical literature.

The lists of past lives were published in such works as Rents in the Veil of Time, in the appendix to Man: Whence, How and Whither, and in Lives of Alcyone. Many individual theosophists’ identities were masked behind code names such as Mars, Ulysses, Herakles, Beatrix, Erato and Gemini. Only the inner circle surrounding Leadbeater knew who was who.

More prominent members are identified in a list. Thus, Krishnamurti’s code name was Alcyone, Annie Besant was known as Herakles and Leadbeater gave himself the designation Sirius. Given Leadbeater’s central role, these claims were increasingly used to buttress power struggles. Those who supported the controversial Leadbeater were recorded as having had important roles in the past, while his opponents were depicted as villains.

Sections of Steiner’s anthroposophy seem directly taken from the pages of Leadbeater’s writings. There are distinct similarities between the detailed discussion in Leadbeater‘s “The Inner Life and the slightly scholastic tone in Steiner’s fine grained picture of the interval between death and  rebirth.

But where Leadbeater merely assured his readers that he knew the difference between observation and imagination, Steiner presents extremely detailed arguments as to why we should believe him. Everything he writes of, from the climate on Atlantis to the role of the archangel Michael in history to the mechanisms of reincarnation, builds on the foundations of an alternative science, objective visions achieved through the use of spiritual sense organs. The topics of reincarnation and karma are of central concern to Steiner, and recur periodically throughout his written output.

Steiner, a doctor of philosophy, writes extensively on the precise mechanisms that rule rebirth. Leadbeater, who enjoyed titles, pomp and ceremony, waxes eloquent on the various classes of individuals who reincarnate according to a meticulously detailed hierarchical plan.

Steiner’s “Esoterische Betrachtungen Kannischer Zusammenhaenge” are a series of eighty speeches collected in six volumes and published in 1924. Especially speeches 1-6 are concerned with the mechanisms of karma and reincarnation; in Leadbeater-like fashion, many of the others give the details of the previous incarnations of individual persons in the Anthrophososphic Society, people in his audience.

As in Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine Steiner’s Geisteswissenschaft or “spiritual science” every individual participates in a cosmic history. After eons of descent during which spirit became increasingly embodied in matter, we have passed the turning point, thanks to the death of Christ on the cross. We are on our way to a more spiritual mode of existence, an ascending curve that reincarnation allows us all to participate in. The highest hierarchies of spiritual beings choose a hereditary stream in which the being’s karmic potentials can be fulfilled. Steiner however confronted a problem that Blavatsky, being anticlerical and anti-Christian, probably did not experience as troublesome. Steiner primary aim is rather to harmonize two overtly conflicting doctrines, karma and atonement, both of which he claims to be correct.

Like his near-contemporary Leadbeater, Steiner claimed that the Akashic record could give him and other clairvoyants access to the minutest details of the previous lives of individual people.

Client-Centered Legends

Leadbeater’s and Steiner’s karmic insights created person-centered] legends out of the abstract mythology of theosophy. From the 1920s onwards, these personalized legends became available to ordinary people in their attempts to cast their personal histories in narrative form. Leadbeater and Steiner restricted their occult investigations to a small set of carefully chosen exemplars. They retained the essentials of the myth, but created a large set of personalized legends.

Edgar Cayce had similar claims to revelatory insight, but democratized this status yet another step by making esoteric knowledge available to anybody who enlisted his services.

Ordinary careers as a housewife or employee were enriched with new dimensions of meaning by being linked with Atlantis or ancient Egypt. Problems in the present could be explained by referring to unpropitious destinies hundreds of years earlier.

Weiss in “Many Lives, Many Masters” and Redfield “Celestine Vision” what  is normally hidden to us, can be unveiled by psychically gifted individuals.

A  latent element can be traced back to the days of the mesmerists and somnambules, and becomes an overt part of reincarnation doctrines, probably due to the strong influence of the Bridey Murphy case: knowledge of our past lives is not reserved for an elite of psychics, but can potentially be accessed by us all.

In the late 1960s, rather than merely telling the clients about their past existences, the expert could let them actually experience scenes from these lives. The 1970‘s saw a surge of interest in alternative religions. The therapeutic and pop psychological components of the nascent New Age were highly visible components of the spiritual landscape. Several of the most popular alternative therapies were born or gained in popularity.

By the 1990s, the metaphysically complex versions seem to have largely faded  while the experience-based versions have fared quite well.

Therapists opened consulting-rooms. A few spokespersons gained prominence within the circle of practitioners.

Since the 1970s, past life therapy has passed through several characteristic phases. The early, experimental stage was replaced by a period of establishment, centred around the doctrines and practices of the leading spokespersons. This was gradually followed by a phase of professionalization. Organizations were formed, magazines published, catalogues of practitioners appeared, and consumers’ information became available. Most importantly, within a few years, personal experience had become one of the most important discursive strategies buttressing reincarnationist claims.

In successful hypnotic sessions, the clients’ present problems are revealed to be the result of traumatic experiences in previous lives. In a sense, these unorthodox claims are extrapolations of the more common psychotherapeutic claim that present problems are rooted in repressed or subconscious childhood.

But according to a widely accepted psychological theory, memory does not function as an archive but consists of an active reconstruction of the past that at times can be rather free. At the same time, these free reconstructions are interpreted according to the archive model, and are thus believed to be retrieved reminiscences of actual events. The result is an overconfidence in what might be partly spurious recollections.

The ultimate step in democratizing past life experiences is to teach techniques whereby readers can conjure up the appropriate imagery themselves. Ted Andrews is a prolific writer of do-it-yourself manuals on the paranormal. From a sociocognitive perspective, his books (and other similar texts) can be seen as frameworks within which mundane experiences can be reformulated in order to meet certain given expectations by  means of gaining access to past life memories without needing to resort to the services of a regression therapist or hypnotist.


Originally from Olav Hammer’s “Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age”

Read Livets Bog and other works by Martinus

List of Books online

Livets Bog, volume 1, 3rd edition 2012. Read book. See colophon.
Livets Bog, volume 2, 1st edition 2000. Read book. See colophon.
Livets Bog, volume 4, 1st edition 2008. Read book. See colophon.
The Eternal World Picture, volume 1, 3rd edition 2013.Read book. See colophon.
The Eternal World Picture, volume 2, 2nd edition 2013.Read book. See colophon.
The Eternal World Picture, volume 3, 2nd edition 2013.Read book. See colophon.
The Eternal World Picture, volume 4, 2nd edition 2013.Read book. See colophon.

Shorter books:
1. The Fate of Mankind, 4th edition 2013. Read book. See colophon.
2. Easter, 3rd edition 2013. Read book. See colophon.
4. On the Birth of My Mission, 2nd edition 2013. Read book. See colophon.
5. The Ideal Food, 6th edition 2013. Read book. See colophon.
10. Cosmic Consciousness, 2nd edition 2013. Read book. See colophon.
11. The Mystery of Prayer, 2nd edition 2013. Read book. See colophon.
12. The Road to Initiation, 2nd edition 2015. Read book. See colophon.
16. The Principle of Reincarnation, 3rd edition 2013. Read book. See colophon.
17. World Religion and World Politics, 2nd edition 2013.Read book. See colophon.
20. Meditation, 2nd edition 2013. Read book. See colophon.
22. The Road of Life, 2nd edition 2013. Read book. See colophon.
23. The Immortality of Living Beings, 4th edition 2013.Read book. See colophon.
25. The Road to Paradise, 2nd edition 2013. Read book. See colophon.

The Third Testament on Amazon


An introduction to Martinus’ Third Testament or Christian Cosmology

Here you can read an introduction to some of the spiritually scientific analyses that Martinus presented in his extensive body of work

Read about the following subjects:

Science with a new horizon

The Road to Humaneness and Neighbourly Love

Globalisation with a Humane perspective

The Eternal Nature of Life

Christianity in an intellectualised form

People’s world picture is formed by their consciousness

Throughout history man has created images or pictures of the world. He has created myths and religious narratives that have provided explanations of the way the world is and of life and death. These individual world pictures are not, however, merely pictures of the world. They are also pictures of the stages of consciousness that prevailed in the society of the past. By observing the evolution of the various world pictures we can follow the evolution of man’s consciousness and the course of his psyche through history. We can see that world pictures arise and then perish. Martinus puts this evolution of consciousness in a comprehensive perspective by presenting a new world picture.

Mankind has gone through various cultural epochs

Martinus had the surprising insight that there was a higher plan behind these changing world pictures – a law-bound evolution of the consciousness of mankind.

Man has moved through various mythical and religious cultural epochs. The early cultural epochs were based on notions of war and revenge and of many gods. Later cultural epochs, however, cultivated the worship of only one god and inspired people to practise neighbourly love. Even later in evolution some people lost faith in the traditional religions and what they saw as their antiquated ideas and moral values. This happened at the same time as our intelligence developed, and our practical experiences of the world around us took on greater significance. The natural sciences and worldly humanistic and psychological theories have progressed and created a materialistic world picture. According to Martinus this is not, however, the final stage of the evolution of man’s consciousness. The various forms of consciousness that have arisen during the course of history have given rise to various stages on the road of life.

“Evolution or the transformation of living beings is making steady progress, even though human beings sometimes think that it is not going fast enough. We have, however, entered a period of accelerated evolution, with everything now going at a faster pace than it did hundred years ago. As a result, terrestrial mankind is inundated with a vast amount of material of experience. The great world wars, the revolutions, the unemployment, the great number of physical as well as psychological illnesses, the personal difficulties that each human being is subject to all contribute to strengthening human beings’ longing for peace.”
(The Mental Change of Course, Kosmos (English ed.) no. 4, 2007)

Materialism cannot tell us what the meaning of life is

The word “materialism” has two meanings. One is cognitive, where one considers only material things to be real. The other is a matter of values; one values the acquisition of material goods above all. As time passes, the lack of spiritual awareness will lead to many people gradually losing sight of any meaning in life. They concentrate on that which is dead, thus gradually losing a sense of that which is living. The materialistic world picture cannot give man any explanation of why suffering exists or of what man’s existence is all about, nor can it give people any ethical guidelines.

Experience gives us knowledge and insight

At a first glance it can seem to the individual human being as if our cultural past and the past of our consciousness is merely something that happened to others, to people of the past. Martinus’ insight, however, opens up an enormous perspective for the individual and his connection with his surroundings. During one life after another the individual’s consciousness has evolved. We all take part in both the past and the future. Life, according to Martinus, is a long project of evolution and education adapted to the individual. Through experiencing life’s fundamental contrasts – joy and suffering ­– man’s consciousness develops. Because of his ignorance he makes inevitable mistakes, thereby reaping painful consequences and gaining valuable experience.

The treasure chest of wisdom, the development of intuition

During one life after another the direct speech of life leaves profound impressions on the individual. From these impressions essences of what life is all about are distilled, essences that enrich the individual human consciousness and constitute a treasure chest of wisdom, which forms the basis for a future use of intuition. We see the first signs of the workings of intuition in certain artists and scientists. At a far more advanced stage the ethically highly developed and loving human being can choose for himself to use his intuition to study the law-bound regularity of life, to experience his own part in eternity and to be in contact with God. It is in this way Martinus has created his life’s work, thereby making a new and comprehensive world picture available to mankind. In this world picture, religious questions are presented in a new and intellectual form that constitutes a defence of all living beings.

The transformation of sexual roles, sexuality and love,

Martinus shows the consequences of the higher laws of life in modern man’s diverse and scattered experience of life. For Martinus it is not surprising that many people experience a feeling of being alienated from life. The experiences that people reap create profound changes in their consciousness. More and more people experience that they no longer have a psyche that fits into a traditional lifestyle and traditional sexual roles, where there is a strong division between the sexes. Both feminine and masculine qualities are developing in people today – the feminine shining through in men, and the masculine shining through in women. It creates changes in the structure of the family and of society as well as in people’s intimate relationships and sexuality. The evolutionary path of love and sexuality has thus many and various stages.

The living universe. Evolution towards a humane world society

As a part of his initiation into divine consciousness a vast perspective on life was revealed to Martinus. God is, according to Martinus, not a person, but the universe in its entirety, which has both masculine and feminine characteristics. Martinus agrees with astronomers in saying that the physical universe is gigantic, spanning from elementary particles to clusters of galaxies. But he sees the universe as a living whole, thereby creating a spiritually scientific world picture. He sees consciousness as that which controls the evolution of life ­– including the biological evolution. The various species are rooted on the spiritual plane, and emerge, manifest their lives and evolve on the basis of what is possible on the physical plane. In the animal kingdom this takes place as a struggle for existence. Man is regarded – as he is by natural science – as a living being that has evolved from an animal stage. Martinus says, however, that this evolution continues, and that our evolution towards becoming human beings is incomplete. We lack the experiences that will develop various faculties in us, including sympathy, tolerance, social understanding and an ethical sense. In the long term this will lead to a just and all-loving world society and a new and more conscious relationship to God.

The Star and an overview of the Symbols

A Summary Explanation of Symbol No. 41 – The Star Symbol

The symbol symbolises the universe in its entirety.

The main details of the symbol:

  • The triangle indicates that the basic analysis of the universe is a “triune principle”, namely X1, X2 and X3. These realities occur in every living being and are known as the “I, the “faculty to create and experience” and “that which is created”.
  • That the triangle is surrounded by a sun indicates that in the ultimate analysis life is absolute light.
  • That the rays appear in the shape of a cross indicates that the most perfect manifestation is love.
Overview of the Symbols
symbol 1 The Spirit of God upon the Face of the Waters
Symbol 1
The Spirit of God upon the Face of the Waters
symbol 2 The Principle of World Redemption
Symbol 2
The Principle of World Redemption
symbol 3 Intolerance
Symbol 3
symbol 4 The Road towards Light
Symbol 4
The Road towards Light
symbol 5 Cosmic Consciousness
Symbol 5
Cosmic Unconsciousness
symbol 6 The Living Being 1
Symbol 6
The Living Being 1
symbol 7 The Principle of Life Units
Symbol 7
The Principle of Life Units
symbol 8-9-10 The three analyses of the triune principle
Symbol 8-9-10
The three analyses of the triune principle
symbol 11 The Eternal World Picture, the Living Being 2, the Eternal Godhead and the Eternal Sons of God
Symbol 11
The Eternal World Picture, the Living Being 2, the Eternal Godhead and the Eternal Sons of God
symbol 12 The Combinations of the Basic Energies
Symbol 12
The Combinations of the Basic Energies
symbol 13 The Eternal World Plan
Symbol 13
The Eternal World Plan
symbol 14 The Cosmic Spiral Cycle 1
Symbol 14
The Cosmic Spiral Cycle 1
symbol 15 The Law of Movement
Symbol 15
The Law of Movement
symbol 16 The Body of Eternity
Symbol 16
The Eternal Body
symbol 17 Reincarnation, Cycles and Seasons
Symbol 17
Reincarnation, Cycles and Seasons
symbol 18 The living being’s arcs of fate
Symbol 18
The living being’s arcs of fate
symbol 19 Through the Initiation of Darkness (Hell or Armageddon)
Symbol 19
Through the Initiation of Darkness (Hell or Armageddon)
symbol 20 The Forgiveness of Sins
Symbol 20
The Forgiveness of Sins
symbol 21 The Eternal, Cosmic, Organic Connection between God and the Sons of God - 1
Symbol 21
The Eternal, Cosmic, Organic Connection between God and the Sons of God – 1
symbol 22 The Eternal, Cosmic, Organic Connection between God and the Sons of God - 2
Symbol 22
The Eternal, Cosmic, Organic Connection between God and the Sons of God – 2
symbol 22a The Materialistic or Unfinished World Picture
Symbol 22A
The Materialistic or Unfinished World Picture
symbol 23 The Finished Human Being in God’s Image after His Likeness
Symbol 23
The Finished Human Being in God’s Image after His Likeness
symbol 24 The Unfinished Human Being
Symbol 24
The Unfinished Human Being
symbol 25 The Karma of Mankind
Symbol 25
The Karma of Mankind
symbol 26 The Perfect Human Kingdom of the Future
Symbol 26
The Perfect Human Kingdom of the Future
symbol 27 The Cosmic Radiance of the Earth
Symbol 27
The Cosmic Radiance of the Earth
symbol 28 Eternal Life or the Ladder of Life
Symbol 28
Eternal Life or the Ladder of Life
symbol 29 Cosmic Paths of Evolution
Symbol 29
Cosmic Paths of Evolution
symbol 30 The Eternal Godhead and the Sensory Abilities of Living Beings
Symbol 30
The Eternal Godhead
and the Sensory Abilities
of Living Beings
symbol 31 The Sensory Faculty of the Living Being and the Steps in Evolution
Symbol 31
The Sensory Faculty
of the Living Being
and the Steps in Evolution
symbol 32 The Twelve Basic Answers or the Solution to the Mystery of Life
Symbol 32
The Twelve Basic Answers
or the Solution to
the Mystery of Life
symbol 33 Animal and Human Thought Climates
Symbol 33
Animal and Human Thought Climates
symbol 33a Registration of Symbol No. 33
Symbol 33A
Registration of Symbol No. 33
symbol 34 The Act of Copulation or God’s Spirit in the Darkness
Symbol 34
The Act of Copulation or God’s Spirit in the Darkness
symbol 35 The Cosmic Cycle of the Pole Principle
Symbol 35
The Cosmic Cycle of the Pole Principle
symbol 36 The Structure of Eternal Life
Symbol 36
The Structure of Eternal Life
symbol 37 The Veiled and Unveiled Eternal Truth
Symbol 37
The Veiled and Unveiled Eternal Truth
symbol 38 The Human Being, and Animal and Vegetable Food
Symbol 38
The Human Being, and Animal and Vegetable Food
symbol 39 The Categories of Consciousness of Terrestrial Mankind
Symbol 39
The Categories of Consciousness of Terrestrial Mankind
symbol 40 The Sign of the Cross
Symbol 40
The Sign of the Cross
symbol 41 The Star Symbol
Symbol 41
The Star Symbol
symbol 42 The Structure of the Flag
Symbol 42
The Structure of the Flag
symbol 43 Symbol of Livets Bog at its Present Stage
Symbol 43
Symbol of Livets Bog at its Present Stage
symbol 44 The Law of Existence - Love One Another!
Symbol 44
The Law of Existence – Love One Another!

symbol 45 Menneskelegemet som et stjernesystem
Symbol 45
Menneskelegemet som stjernesystem

symbol 46 Menneskets atomverden og grundenergierne
Symbol 46
Menneskets atomverden og grundenergierne

symbol 47 Den sunde menneskeorganisme
Symbol 47
Den sunde
symbol 48 Sygdom i menneskeorganismen
Symbol 48
Sygdom i
symbol 49 Mikrokosmisk stjernesystem.Organisk atomverden
Symbol 49
Mikrokosmisk stjernesystem.
Organisk atomverden
symbol 50 Instinktuniverset. Instinktatomet eller instinktsolsystemet
Symbol 50
Instinktatomet eller
symbol 51 Tyngdeuniverset. Tyngdeatomet eller tyngdesolsystemet
Symbol 51
Tyngdeatomet eller
symbol 52 Følelsesuniverset. Følelsesatomet eller følelsessolsystemet
Symbol 52
Følelsesatomet eller
symbol 53 Intelligensuniverset. Intelligens- atomet eller intelligenssolsystemet
Symbol 53
Intelligensuniverset. Intelligensatomet eller intelligenssolsystemet
symbol 54 Intuitionsuniverset. Intuitionsatomet eller intuitionssolsystemet
Symbol 54
Intuitionsatomet eller
symbol 55 Hukommelsesuniverset. Hukommelsesatomet eller hukommelsessolsystemet
Symbol 55
Hukommelsesatomet eller
symbol 56 Den sunde atomvirksomhed i organismen
Symbol 56
Den sunde atomvirksomhed
i organismen
symbol 57 Elektronsprængning i menneskets atomverden
Symbol 57
Elektronsprængning i
menneskets atomverden
symbol 58 Atomforgiftning
Symbol 58
symbol 59 Tyngdeenergiens indbrud i følelsesområdet
Symbol 59
Tyngdeenergiens indbrud
i følelsesområdet
symbol 60 Følelsesenergiens indbrud i tyngdeområdet
Symbol 60
Følelsesenergiens indbrud
i tyngdeområdet
symbol 61 Følelsesenergiens indbrud i instinktområdet
Symbol 61
Følelsesenergiens indbrud
i instinktområdet
symbol 62 Intuitionsenergiens indbrud i følelesesområdet
Symbol 62
Intuitionsenergiens indbrud
i følelesesområdet
symbol 63 Intuitionsenergiens indbrud i intelligensområdet
Symbol 63
Intuitionsenergiens indbrud
i intelligensområdet
symbol 64 Tyngdeenergiens indbrud i intuitionsområdet
Symbol 64
Tyngdeenergiens indbrud
i intuitionsområdet
symbol 65 Atomkatastrofernes udslag i organismen
Symbol 65
udslag i organismen
symbol 66 Mennesket i det fuldkomne tankeklima
Symbol 66
Mennesket i det
fuldkomne tankeklima

symbol 67 Den animalske og den vegetariske føde
Symbol 67
Den animalske og
den vegetariske føde

symbol 67A Den idelle fødes vibrationer
Symbol 67A
Den ideelle fødes

symbol 68 Mavesyre, kogning og kosten
Symbol 68
Mavesyre, kogning
og kosten
symbol 69 Den animalske fordøjelse
Symbol 69
Den animalske fordøjelse
symbol 70 Den vegetariske fordøjelse
Symbol 70
Den vegetariske fordøjelse
symbol 71 Skæbnetalent og talentkerner under diskarnation
Symbol 71
Skæbneelement og talentkerner
under diskarnation
symbol 72 Skæbneelement og talentkerner under inkarnation
Symbol 72
Skæbneelement og talentkerner
under inkarnation
symbol 73 Den defekte organisme
Symbol 73
Den defekte organisme
symbol 74 Den defekte organisme og skæbneelementet
Symbol 74
Den defekte organisme
og skæbneelementet
symbol 75 Menneskets talentkerneødelæggelse
Symbol 75
Menneskets talentkerne-
symbol 76 Det kosmiske spiralkredsløb 2. Det ufuldkomne menneske
Symbol 76
Det kosmiske
spiralkredsløb 2.
Det ufuldkomne menneske
symbol 77 Det kosmiske spiralkredsløb 2. Det fuldkomne menneske
Symbol 77
Det kosmiske
spiralkredsløb 2.
Det fuldkomne menneske
symbol 78 Jordklodens mineralepoke
Symbol 78
Jordklodens mineralepoke
symbol 79 Jordklodens vegetabilepoke
Symbol 79
Jordklodens vegetabilepoke
symbol 76 Det kosmiske spiralkredsløb 2. Det ufuldkomne menneske
Symbol 80
Jordklodens dyreepoke
– skærsilden
symbol 81 Jordklodens jordmenneskeepoke. Jordens åndelige verden i dens nuværende epoke
Symbol 81
Jordklodens jordmenneskeepoke.
Jordens åndelige verden
i dens nuværende epoke
symbol 82 Jordklodens fuldkomne menneskerigetilstand
Symbol 82
Jordklodens fuldkomne
symbol 83 Jordklodens visdomsepoke
Symbol 83
Jordklodens visdomsepoke

symbol 84 Jordklodens intuitionsepoke

Symbol 84
Jordklodens intuitionsepoke

symbol 85 Jordklodens åndelige struktur i dyreriget
Symbol 85
Jordklodens åndelige
struktur i dyreriget

symbol 86 Menneskets udviklingsanalyse. Jordklodens udviklingstrin
Symbol 86
Menneskets udviklingsanalyse.
Jordklodens udviklingstrin

symbol 87 Den menneskelige overtro om næsten. Solens kosmiske stråler, makrokosmisk livskraft
Symbol 87
Den menneskelige
overtro om næsten.
Solens kosmiske stråler,
makrokosmisk livskraft

symbol 88 Den rigtige forestilling om næsten. Menneskenes forskellige karaktertrin
Symbol 88
Den rigtige forestilling
om næsten.
Menneskenes forskellige karaktertrin

symbol 89 Menneskets bevidsthedskategorier
Symbol 89
Menneskets bevidsthedskategorier

symbol 90 Det levende væsen 1. Natbevidstheden
Symbol 90
Det levende væsen 1.
symbol 91 Gennem døden 1
Symbol 91
Gennem døden 1

symbol 92 Gennem døden 2
Symbol 92
Gennem døden 2

symbol 93 Det enpolede væsen
Symbol 93
Det enpolede væsen
symbol 94 Væsenets to poltilstande
Symbol 94
Væsenets to poltilstande
symbol 95 Det dobbeltpolede væsen
Symbol 95
Det dobbeltpolede væsen

symbol 96 Gennem døden 3. Poludviklinger og de åndelige planer

Symbol 96
Gennem døden 3.
Poludviklinger og
de åndelige planer
symbol 97 Loven for tiltrækning og frastødning
Symbol 97
Loven for tiltrækning
og frastødning
symbol 99 Jegets vending af bevægelsen eller energien
Symbol 98
Jegets vending af
bevægelsen eller energien
symbol 99 Tilværelsesplanerne og spiralzonerne
Symbol 99
og spiralzonerne
symbol 100 Den årsagsløse årsag eller den første årsag
Symbol 100
Den årsagsløse årsag
eller den første årsag


The structure of the rainbow flag


A symbol of Love
The flag is the outer visible expression for the very highest thought climate; it is a symbol of the holy spirit, the mathematical formula for the divine world plan, the expression of the eternal, perfect world picture. And by virtue of its identity as a symbol of love, flying it in the service of war and unrest could never take place without being a parody of its purpose. All war, brutality and unrest must be prohibited where this symbol of light therefore rightfully is to fly in the world. And in the same way a mental copy of this must fly in our hearts, where it must not be torn by the violent storms of passions, but be able to fly and shine all the time in an atmosphere of the fresh breezes of forgiveness and love.

A Summary Explanation of Symbol No. 42 – The Structure of the Flag

The flag is a symbol of the whole universe. Its structure thereby constitutes the very highest formula for everything that exists, for everything that has existed and for everything that will come to exist. Everything is thus set forth in this one single picture, which can therefore rightfully be nothing other than the symbol of the Godhead, of wisdom and of love, or the sign of the “holy spirit”.

The main details of the symbol:

  • The white triangle with the white rays in the middle indicates the basic analysis of the universe or the “triune principle”: the creator, the faculty to create and experience, and that which is created, which has also been termed X1, X2 and X3.
  • The red, orange, yellow, green, blue and indigo sections symbolise the six planes of existence that are based on the six basic energies, through which the universe manifests itself.

See also Martinus’ description of symbol no. 42 in The Eternal World Picture 4.

Articles and Q&A by Martinus

List of articles

The collection comprises the following articles by Martinus:

“Evil” and its Cause
A Christmas Story
A Glimpse of World Redemption
About Myself, My Mission and Its Significance
Amidst the Birth Pangs of a New World Epoch
An Anniversary
An Excerpt from Martinus’ Account of his Second Visit to Iceland
At the Turn of the Year
Beyond the Fear of Death
Can One Live without God?
Christ and the World Picture
Christmas Candles
Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve
Christmas in Heaven
Christmas Rings with the Sound of Angels
Consciousness and Happiness
Cosmic Flashes
Declining Cultural Factors
Do Human Beings have Free Will?
Does the Spiritual World Exist?
Does the Terrestrial Human Being have Free Will?
Downfall of a World Civilisation
Everything is Very Good
Extract from Bisættelse (Funeral)
False Prophets and False Christs
Father, Son and Fate
Formation an Dissolution of Matter
Freedom, Liberation and Peace
From the Martinus Centre 1938
God’s Senses
Hope and the New Year
How Does One Find the Strength to Forgive?
How You combat Your dark Fate
Human Beings’ Mental Short-Circuits
Illness and its Cure
In the Toils of Superstition
Information about my Spiritual Work
Judge Not
Judgement and Protection
Justice, Pleasantness and Love
Life Force and How We Direct Our Will
Life Protection and Life Guarantee
Life’s Fate-Drama
Life’s Mental Winter Solstice
Light in the Darkness
Man and his Life-Force
Mankind’s Hunger for Love
Marriage and Universal Love
Memoirs (1:8)
Memoirs (2:8)
Memoirs (3:8)
Memoirs (4:8)
Memoirs (5:8)
Memoirs (6:8)
Memoirs (7:8)
Memoirs (8:8)
Mental Illness 1 – Spiritual Suicide
Mental Illness 2 – Mental Skin Diseases
Moral Education
Nationalism versus Internationalism
Natural Cordiality
Nervous Breakdown and Religion
Night Consciousness and Paradise
On my Style and my Language
On the Altar of Love
On the Royal Road of Life
Out of the Darkness
Pages from God’s Picture Book
Particles, Empty Space and the Power of Thought
Physical and Spiritual Experience
Proletarian Consciousness and King Consciousness
Question Time with Martinus
Question Time with Martinus in Varnhem, Sweden
Question-time for study-groups 1970
Render unto Caesar the Things that are Caesar’s and unto God the Things that are God’s
Sensory Defects
Sensory Perception and the Spiritual World
Spirit and Electricity
Spiritual Science
Spiritual Suicide
Stone, Water, Air, Spirit
Sunrise at Klint on Easter Morning 1954
Terrestrial Mankind’s Number One Guardian Angel
The Bible within the Bible
The Catalogue of Life
The Christ Principle
The Christmas Mystery
The Christmas Ship
The Christmas Star
The Commandment Thou shall not kill
The Corruption of Private Ownership
The Cosmic Forces behind World Redemption
The Cosmic University
The Cosmic World Picture in Pocket-Sized Edition
The Courage to Face and Love Life
The Creation of an International World Kingdom
The Cycle of Marriage
The Day of Judgment
The Epoch of Intuition
The exercise of the will and the will of God
The Faculty for Death and the Faculty for Life
The First Christmas Carol on Earth
The Fixed Point and the Movement
The Forgiveness of Sins
The Garden of Gethsemane
The Gethsemane Law
The Godhead and the Courage to Embrace Life
The Guardians of the Threshold
The Holy Ghost
The Holy Night
The Human Being’s Ability to Work
The I and its Own World
The I at One with Eternity
The Kingdom of the Son of God 2
The Kingdom of the Son of God. Guardian Angels in the Earth’s Consciousness
The Land of Summer
The Living Being’s Existence outside Matter
The Lost Horizon
The Mental Change of Course
The Mystery of Death
The Mystery of Easter
The Necessity of Spiritual Science
The new sensory Dimension
The Old and the New World Culture
The Origin of Life Force
The Power of Thought
The Psychic Aspect of Prayer
The Redemption of Humankind
The Renewal of the Godhead’s Consciousness
The Road to Peace
The Road to Shangri-La
The Road to True Happiness
The Second Coming of Christ – the Coming of the Comforter
The Secret Power behind Weapons
The Small and the Great Resurrection
The Small and the Large Spiral Cycle
The Sounds of Christmas
The Sounds of Christmas – God’s Closeness in the Darkness
The Supreme Commander in Chief
The Temple of the Psyche
The True Cause of War, its Virus or Infectious Germs
The Unarmed Kingdom of the World or the Kingdom of Heaven
The Virgin Birth
The Way, the Truth and the Life
The World Situation and “God’s image”
Thoughts about Easter
Thoughts at the Turn of the Year
Three Kinds of Fate
Through Purgatory
Through Purgatory and Paradise
Through Purgatory and Paradise 2
Through the Gates of Death – Sleep and Death
Time, Space, Eternity and Immortality
To be One with the Father
Two Kinds of Hunger
Two Worlds
What is Animosity?
What is Death?
What is the Meaning of Death?
Why Do People Live in Excessive Fear?
World Reason

List of questions and answers

Martinus was occasionally asked questions; here are some of his answers:

Question no. 1 on burial and cremation as temporary measures
Question no. 2 on why burial is preferable to cremation
Question no. 3 on meat-eating as a vital necessity for animals alone
Question no. 4 on the destruction of life in vegetarian nutrition
Question no. 5 on death by starvation because of a lack of vegetarian food being the “greatest evil”
Question no. 6 on the loss of nutrients through cooking and digestion
Question no. 7 on whether fasting is beneficial or not
Question no. 8 on raw food versus cooked food
Question no. 9 on what one remembers of life on Earth after death
Question no. 10 on consciousness during sleep and after death
Question no. 12 on the reliability of clairvoyance
Question no. 13 on the fact that low-psychic abilities such as spiritualism are degenerating
Question no. 14 on experiencing spiritually scientific answers
Question no. 15 on Reincarnation and immortality as scientific facts
Question no. 16 on reincarnation and justice
Question no. 17 on Jesus Christ as a world redeemer
Question no. 19 on killing insects, rats and mice as the “least evil”
Question no. 20 on fertilisation and the creation of embryos
Question no. 21 on when artificial insemination is justified
Question no. 23 on our neighbours in our microcosmos, mesocosmos and macrocosmos
Question no. 24 on the I being the same I in all living beings
Question no. 25 on the difference between God and other beings
Question no. 26 on the fact that Martinus’ spiritual science is not a society or a sect
Question no. 27 on temporal and spatial sensory perception
Question no. 28 on sensory perception outside time and space
Question no. 29 on suicide worsening our dark fate
Question no. 30 on suicide causing suffering and giving rise to experience
Question no. 31 on the “every man for himself” attitude in animals and man
Question no. 32 on Martinus’ world picture as fact for the advanced researcher
Question no. 33 on how the transformation of the sexual poles makes women’s organisms less suitable for giving birth
Question no. 34 on spiritual nutrition, spiritual digestion and spiritual excrement
Question no. 39 on flying saucers beings possibly being temporary materialisations of spiritual beings
Answer to a Letter from a Sick Person

The Guardians of the Threshold

The Guardians of the Threshold

By Martinus


1. The terrestrial human being is a “wounded refugee between two kingdoms”

In the lectures here at the holiday centre I generally stick to subjects that are directly relevant to everyday life, thereby avoiding as much as possible more difficult, higher analyses. For that reason I would like to talk this evening about a subject that has a particular message for us all. The subject is, “the guardians of the threshold”.

Until now I have not said very much about this subject, having announced that I would go into it in depth in “Livets Bog”, which I will indeed do.

So what kind of a “threshold” are we dealing with, and what kind of “guardians” are they? –

In my work I have taught you that the terrestrial human being is at a stage in evolution where he finds himself like a “wounded refugee between two kingdoms”. Each and every one of you is a being that has evolved from primitive animal stages up to your present stage as terrestrial human beings. This stage in particular is the scene of the culmination of all suffering and pain and this in turn is due to the fact that you have evolved to the point where you are able to take part in creating your everyday life. You have gained the ability to walk. You can sit down and stand up. You can speak, etc., exactly when it suits you, according to your own wishes and will. The principle factor in this releasing of will is the desire for pleasantness. But not everything that appears or is felt as pleasant is the right thing and therefore the healthiest and most in contact with the world plan. Certain poisons can for example actually taste sweet and good, but nevertheless be absolutely deadly. Many manifestations can look right, can look highly moral and just and be tinged with love, but nevertheless also lead absolutely to suffering, sorrow and misery and both mental and physical ruin and mutilation.

2. The basis for human beings’ releasing of will is still not perfect

As long as pleasantness or what is presumed pleasant is exclusively the releasing factor in the determination of will, human beings will go on and on releasing suffering or the sort of unhappy fate that is these days more or less linked to all terrestrial human beings.

The basis for human beings’ releasing of will is therefore not perfect. The ability to sense things as pleasant or to presume that they are moral and correct is not enough to provide the sort of basis for the releasing of will that can form a solid guarantee for directly creating the absolutely happiest of fates. More is needed. There has to be the ability to analyse the various forms of pleasure that can appear as a result of the satisfaction of the desires that set the will into action. But as this ability is exclusively based on “knowledge”, this “knowledge” has to be introduced behind the human manifestation of will before it can be a one hundred percent logical manifestation, thereby guaranteeing to a corresponding degree the creation of the very highest happiness for its originator.

But as human beings do not have this knowledge and are therefore guided by what is pleasant, they still act partly in the dark, in fact one could say they move amongst a mass of pitfalls, because, as already mentioned, many of the things that directly appear as pleasant in fact create unhappiness. It is therefore a very difficult world to live in. Many people have a hard time, and are in the midst of great suffering and struggles that can in turn sometimes bring new struggles and suffering in their wake. The Earth is just the very sort of globe where these forms of experience can reach a definite culmination.

3. Wrong dispositions and wrong releasing of will make a really rational knowledge a necessity

But the results of the wrong dispositions, the wrong releasing of will and the many terrible sufferings and anxieties create more and more experience of the need for a really rational knowledge, thereby developing the receptivity to “the holy spirit”.

“The holy spirit” is nothing less than the very highest knowledge of the universe, of life and its laws. The many sufferings develop peoples’ emotions, that is to say they give them an ability to regret to a greater and greater extent this or that action, this or that manifestation aimed at their neighbour. They realise more and more that what is pleasant is not a totally solid guide or yardstick for the releasing of will. This becomes more and more a question of what one “has the heart to do”. Sympathies and antipathies therefore arise behind the manifestation of will. But as these emotional factors can to a high degree be misleading, due to the fact that not all forms of sympathy are love and not all forms of antipathy are not love, the individual at a certain stage in evolution can be completely at a loss regarding the best thing “to want”. From deep down in the individual’s soul blazes forth the question, “What shall I do to be saved?”.

4. “The holy spirit”, in the form of a cosmic wave of energy from the centre of our milky way system, is shining directly in over the Scandinavian countries

The severe sufferings have therefore brought the individual to the point of discovering and recognising his own ultimately inadequate ability to guide and lead his own being, his own inner characteristics and dispositions. And with this recognition, which in turn forms the basis of what we call “humility”, world redemption or the Christ principle steps in to help. This principle in turn is one that penetrates everything and is present everywhere in Nature. This is the principle that determines that every child born into the world has parents whose duty it is to take loving care of it until it can fend for itself. And it is the same principle that forms the basis for the creation of all forms of religion, for the creation of every kind of improvement, raising and expansion of morality and healthy thinking, and is manifested here through elder brothers in evolution who thereby appear as “prophets” and “wise men” and of whom the most evolved and influential are those we call “Christ beings” or “world redeemers”. And this also applies today. Christ’s promise, “the Comforter”, “the holy spirit” that “the Father will send in my name” etc. is already in the process of being fulfilled. Today “the holy spirit” is radiating with renewed power in over the world. This spirit is not a person but shining cosmic matter that is the only thing that can provide the material for the creation of those thoughts in the brain and consciousness that form the highest knowledge of God, the nature of the universe and the highest laws of life. Today this matter, in the form of a cosmic wave of energy from the centre of our milky way system, is shining directly in over the Scandinavian countries. And it is this that, for example, is a condition of my being able to manifest the highest cosmic knowledge. My consciousness has reached a stage where it has evolved sufficiently to enable it to receive, experience and manifest back “the holy spirit”. And those beings that today have evolved to the point of being interested in this highest enlightenment together make up the “generations to come” to whom Christ announced would be sent the aforementioned “Comforter” that these “generations to come” would be able to understand.

5. At the threshold to the kingdom of God

You can check for yourself whether it really is “the holy spirit” that is manifested or revealed through me. Christ himself indicated its distinctive characteristic and declared, “the tree is known by its fruits”. My “fruits” are my explanation and documentation of the identity of the “wise men’s” highest sayings as truth, as science. And nowhere in my manifestations will one find anything at all that does not in every way fit exactly into the great all-inclusive answer that culminates in love and that is the Godhead’s own view of life: “Everything is very good”. And thus my work cannot fail to lead you towards that bright mental state that I have called “the great birth”. It is in fact the case that many of you have begun to experience the closeness of the divine spirit through my work, my analyses and cosmic knowledge.

You all come therefore from a very dark zone and are longing for this great light, that you experience in the process of rising above the pitch-black, tragic horizon of the “animal kingdom”. And if you have certain areas in your mentality that are particularly well-developed or finished, you will already, as a result of these, have begun to experience the mental wellbeing and bright outlook on life that is the beginning of “the great birth”, and for this reason I have called this kind of experience “the forerunner stage” to this “birth”.

You are all therefore close to the entrance to a great and wonderful kingdom of light, the kingdom that Christ described as being “not of this world”. And all who study my work with love, which means with impartiality and humility, can hardly fail to have noticed its divine atmosphere. And here we are at the great “threshold”. This “threshold” is the entrance to “the kingdom of God”, which means the perfection of human beings as “the image of God after His likeness”, the complete transformation of the “animal” into the “human being”, the human being’s experience of being “at one with God”, the initiation of its consciousness or its envelopment in a permanent existence in “the holy spirit”.

6. The unfinished characteristics and dispositions in the mentality prevent access to the “kingdom of God” or “the great birth”

This “threshold” has its “guardians”. This term is somewhat drastic, but is really only symbolic. One must not think that at the gates to the “kingdom of God” there are guardians in military gear with swords and bayonets, or firearms and explosives. Neither should one think that these “guardians” are fantastic psychic beings with great magic powers, demons or demi-demons, mystical trolls that can kill with the glance of an eye or that use words to cast spells. No, the “kingdom of God” is firmly guarded by a completely different kind of “guardian”. But these guardians are no less dangerous than the former, especially because they appear to those they are preventing from passing over the “threshold” as the most radiant angelic figures, endowed with the most charming and perfect grace imaginable. But this splendour is really only how it seems on the surface. These “guardians” are nothing more or less than the beings’ own unfinished characteristics and dispositions.

When the beings in their evolution arrive in the vicinity of the “threshold” to the “kingdom of God” or “the great birth”, they have naturally overcome all the coarse forms in which they can break the law of love or neighbourly love, that is to say those forms that especially find expression in outright murder or other forms of deadly manifestations. These beings have of course to a large extent learnt to tolerate and forgive a great deal that they were previously completely unable to. And they have perhaps certain sympathetic dispositions that are already so perfect that they have been capable of allowing their originator to actually gain a direct connection with the light itself or the divine spirit. In this way they have come into great rapture or ecstasy and already believe that they are feeling the whole of “the great birth” , as a personal experience. But it is certain that these beings cannot go on being in the light. Those characteristics and natural dispositions in their mentality that are not finished will sooner or later become a fundamental barrier. These characteristics reveal themselves nearly always as unsatisfied desires, claims or demands that are in one way or another selfish. These unfinished characteristics are of course hidden or camouflaged so that their originator is really completely unable to see or understand their true essence, but believes he is benefiting or supporting the Cause or the light by allowing them to be manifested.

7. “The guardians of the threshold” consist of not being able to see “the beam in one’s own eye”

If, for example, a being in his enthusiasm or out of a feeling of joy has to a greater or lesser extent offered the light, or any person through which the light is manifested, financial support, physical work or other special expressions of sympathy, the unfinished characteristics, as opposed to the finished ones, will to a corresponding degree create claims or demands for favours or special attention directed to that person. The enthusiasm for the light can of course be so strong that it can keep these claims or demands at bay for some time. But gradually as the connection to the light through the few finished or well-developed characteristics becomes more of an everyday matter, these can no longer hold the desires from the unfinished characteristics in check. The result is that there gradually arises in the mentality of the being in question a correspondingly growing disagreement that eventually ends up being greater than the joy at the light. The unfinished characteristics, all of which are inevitably egoistic in nature, create a feeling that one is disregarded, ignored or unappreciated by the representatives of the light. One feels unjustly treated by those one has helped or supported. This feeling can even be so strong that one feels justified in opposing this “martyrdom”, seeking to combat it. And without in fact knowing it, one has become well established in a process of persecuting and combating the very light that one previously loved above everything else on Earth.

But this fight is in vain and strikes not the light but its “guardians”, which means the unfinished characteristics in oneself. There will therefore never ever arise a situation without it in fact being absolutely exclusively oneself that one is in combat with.

But that is certainly not how it feels. The ability to sense one’s own state of guilt is at this stage still very slight and weak. And in a period such as this, in which these unfinished characteristics have the upper hand, one therefore tends to see “the mote in one’s brother’s eye and not the beam in one’s own”.

8. The unfinished characteristics in Jesus’ disciples

“The guardians of the threshold” particularly consist of not being able to see this “beam in one’s own eye”. And to the extent that one is unable to see it but can only see all the faults, in fact even the slightest of faults, in one’s neighbour, one will without doubt have a feeling of being vastly superior in evolution to this neighbour, in fact sometimes have the feeling of being completely without faults. Naturally this can to a corresponding degree cause one to feel those unpleasant things that there may be in one’s existence as “martyrdom” and the originators of this “martyrdom” as one’s persecutors. These “persecutors” are not always fellow beings outside of the light. They can of course just as well be fellow beings within it. In fact one can even have the attitude that the greatest representative of the light, the “world redeemer” himself, is organising things wrongly. Do we not have the account of Judas? Do not believe, whatever you do, that he was some sort of “bandit”, as people have almost sought to make him out to be according to the accounts that have come down to us. Do not believe either that it was the thirty pieces of silver that made Judas betray Jesus. No, Jesus’ disciples were not a group of “bandits” or “money-grubbers”. They were a group of beings that had come so far in evolution that there were characteristics in them that gave them a receptivity and enthusiasm for the light and meant that they were in the light, and lived side by side with the world redeemer and became his personal friends. And do you not think that these beings were extremely happy about this friendship? But did the unfinished characteristics not turn up here too, making their presence felt and tearing the disciples away from the light for a while? Did we not witness the extraordinary fact that they actually did not believe Jesus’ own account of his approaching suffering and death? Do we not see in the same account the apostle Peter refusing to acknowledge that he knew and was closely associated with Jesus, through his repeated lying? – And did not the light fade away from him? – Is it not actually written that “he went out and wept bitterly”?

9. Judas was no “bandit”

Concerning Judas, one should not believe that he acted other than from intentions that he supposed to be the best and most noble. If this were not the case he would have been what we would call a “bandit”. But because it is not possible to imagine Jesus’ personally chosen companions and friends as “bandits”, it becomes clear that Judas must have had a motive for his ill-fated action that to him seemed noble. And this fact is further emphasised by his suicide. Do you not think this was precisely a result of remorse and despair over the reality that revealed itself to him as he had been the cause of Jesus’ capture? Do you not think it was sorrow over the ill-treatment his dispositions had brought on his dearly-beloved Master? What else could it be? But did he not understand beforehand that his action would inevitably bring this terrible ill-treatment on the world redeemer? Definitely not! That was something he truly had not understood. “The guardians of the threshold”, his own unfinished characteristics – which in this case means his strong desire to show the world, his sceptical family and his friends from the past, his Master’s greatness – had long ago caused him to believe that “the son of God” was omnipotent and thereby physically untouchable. They had also caused him to believe that anyone who would lay hands on him would find themselves paralysed and through his (Judas’) action the greatness and the divine origin of the world redeemer would be revealed and made plain to all people.

10. The cause of Judas’ suicide

But divine greatness is not revealed through brutal psychic or physical expressions or power. The world redeemer does not act by bringing death or disablement upon his opponents and sceptics with earthquakes, thunder and lightning, no more than with swords and spears or bows and arrows. Quite the opposite, he acts exclusively by “turning the right cheek when he is smitten on the left”.

But such a way of acting is far too slow for strong “believers” and interested beings of the kind whose unfinished characteristics still make them sensation-seeking, ambitious hotheads. But in order to unite the satisfaction of these wishes and desires with a well-developed conscience, they have to be justifiable. And Judas really found the justification in Jesus’ supposed physical invulnerability. In fact this justification was so strong in his consciousness that it completely drowned out the Master’s own permanent interpretation and acknowledgement of the fact that his kingdom “was not of this world”. And Judas, dazzled, went his “own way”. In the belief that he was going into “the kingdom of God”, he was going out of it. In the belief that he was the world redeemer’s helper and thereby the benefactor of mankind, he became the Master’s persecutor and mankind’s symbolic expression of betrayal down through the ages.

And this was the basic cause of his suicide. As the good and advanced human being that he otherwise was, his goodness and advanced state having given rise to his becoming a disciple of the world redeemer, he could not bear to see the real consequences of his course of action, their stark, actual reality, he could not endure seeing his beloved Master’s terrible torture and ill-treatment. And as he was unable to do anything to free his Master from the suffering, and could not even show him through his tears his repentance, owing to the powerful and brutal guard around him, he felt that the only thing he could do was to pay with his own life. (See also my book, Easter.)

11. A camouflaged justification for satisfying the egoistic or selfish desires

In this account we have the best picture of the mission that takes place under the concept of “the guardians of the threshold”. We have seen Judas enter the light and become a disciple of the world redeemer. And we have seen how his unfinished characteristics, desire for sensation and resultant impatience over what seemed to him the far-too-slow growth in the Jesus-movement, made him do something he thought could benefit it and speed it up. This conviction was in fact merely a camouflaged justification for the satisfying of the egoistic or selfish desires that he still had in his consciousness and that actually cut him off from being able to fully follow his Master, in fact they completely drowned out his Master’s words.

But do not believe that things are any different today. You are all – if you are truly interested in spiritual science and are interested in my work – close to the light, and you have to some extent begun to feel the wonderful wellbeing it can create in the soul, and have to a corresponding degree more or less become its disciple. But because you of course have not reached “the great birth”, there will be characteristics in you that are not finished. And these characteristics will therefore mean that each and every one of you to some extent sooner or later might appear as a “Judas”, and unconsciously betray the very light that has been the greatest joy in your life. So be watchful, all of you. Without knowing it you could come face to face with the world redeemer himself. And as he is absolutely infallible with respect to the highest factors and as the dispositions made by him that are based on these highest factors are the only absolutely correct ones, you will invariably fail in any situation in which you criticise and consider that he ought to act differently, ought to do whatever it is in the way that you think is right and that might be the exact opposite of the world redeemer’s opinion. And remember as well that your criticism when you are close to the world redeemer is twice as dangerous to you yourself because this closeness gives rise to an intensified mobilisation of everything in your consciousness that could serve to camouflage the basis of your criticism, giving it the most noble or angelic appearance, so that, in the most golden and radiant colours, it allows you to be convinced that you are right and in the same way shows you that you are being treated unjustly, that you are a martyr or are being persecuted if the world redeemer does not agree with you.

12. When one can be sure of not being a “Judas”

But a world redeemer does not make concessions to human beings’ bad, egoistic desires, no matter how much the being in question has supported the world redeemer, no matter how much the being thinks he has sacrificed himself for him or his cause or the light. All the steps of human consciousness are apparent to him and every human delusion can be seen for what it is with a routine ease. All he can do is therefore follow his own route independent of praise and criticism, independent of whether the outlook promises to bring support or opposition, independent of the prospect of thereby losing friends or making enemies. Only in this way and in this way alone can he permanently be “one with the way, the truth and the life”. Otherwise he would be one with deluded, blinded and unfinished beings whose power and influence he would be bowing down to.

In what I have said I have not been alluding to anything or anyone within this Cause, but have merely wanted to state for you the main occurrences that are characteristic of the evolutionary zone that you belong to and that you therefore to some extent might meet when you are close to the light or when you begin to be overshadowed by “the holy spirit”.

And if you were to ask me now how you can be sure that you are not being a “Judas”, I would have to answer: “when you have been so immersed in the divine light that you feel that no one can cause injustice and no one can suffer injustice, and that you yourself are the deepest cause of every unpleasantness directed towards you and that you can therefore never feel that you are as a martyr, never feel unjustly treated by this or that person, regardless of what that person might do to you, and that you can therefore never become angry with anyone or anything but live all the time in a permanent state of joy in the experiencing of the highest final conclusion of the world plan: Everything is very good. Only then will there be no need for you to fear that you are a Judas, as you will not criticise or attack anyone or anything. Only then could you at the very most in all friendship withdraw from whoever it is who is unable to be in harmony with you. Because then you yourself will have become ‘the way, the truth and the life'”.




Original Danish title: Tærskelens Vogtere.

From a lecture held at the Kosmos Holiday Centre on Thursday 15th July 1937.

First published in the Danish version of Kosmos no. 7, 1937.

Translated by Andrew Brown, 2002.


Article ID: M2390

Published in the English edition of Kosmos no. 4, 2002


© Martinus Institut 1981,

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