Krishna impulse

From Anthroposophy

The Krishna impulse refers to the Adam sister soul working on humanity to instill into Man the impulse to consciousness of self, during the third cultural age, starting with the sentient soul.

The Adam sister soul stayed behind when the Adam soul and humanity underwent the Fall and Luciferic infection. Christ had worked through this archangel in the Three pre-MoG interventions of Christ in the Lemurian epoch and Atlantean epoch to balance the Development of the I. Later this pure human soul would incarnate in the Nathan Jesus child and provide the physical body for Christ-Jesus.

During the Current Postatlantean epoch the Krishna impulse happened around 3000-3100 BC. This was the start of the Kali Yuga or age of darkness whereby natural clairvoyance (related to blood relationships) started to subside for humanity (see Yuga ages), at the end of the ancient Persian cultural age and also around the time of the incarnation of Lucifer.

This was an important moment: after the foundations were laid in the lemurian and atlantean epochs, the current epoch would develop the 'I' consciousness required for spiritualization after the Mystery of Golgotha. As shown in Schema FMC00.047 below (and Schema FMC00.233), this development took and is taking place in the third, fourth and fifth cultural ages, over a period of six millenia. The Krishna impulse 'kicked off' this development, to leave the old behind and in the process from group soul disconnection towards individuation, when Man would no longer be guided by spiritual beings and clairvoyance, but Man would have to find and develop his own 'I'. This is depicted in Schema FMC00.013 below, the bottom shows how these three cultural ages were key. Schema FMC00.380 then shows the polarity going into and coming out of the 'six millenia' period depicted by the grey rectangle in FMC00.013 and pivoting around the Mystery of Golgotha,

The Krishna impulse worked approx. between -3000 and -800 BC during the third cultural age of the sentient soul (between approx. -2970 and -747 BC) and lasted until the time of Elijah around 800 BC, the start of a new cultural age of the intellectual soul. (refer to Schema FMC00.047)

The teachings and influence is found in the ancient Indian teachings of the 'Bhagavad Gita', in which Krishna instructs his pupil Arjuna, symbol for mankind and representing the group soul, blood based clairvoyance that has to be replaced by the development of I-consciousness.


  • Krishna is a manifestation of the Adam sister soul, not an incarnation but a 'kind of embodiment' (1913-06-03-GA146, 1913-06-05-GA146)
  • the Bhagavad Gita and the teachings of the three soul states of sattwa, rajas and tamas (1913-06-05-GA146)
  • the Krishna Impulse hàd to be followed by the Christ Impulse, alone it would have side tracked humanity just as the Luciferic Impulse would have done in another way (1912-12-31-GA142, 1913-01-01-GA142, 1913-06-02-GA146)
  • when Paul of Tarsus had his Damascus experience, he saw a densified soul-form, of Christ enveloped in a halo of light of Krishna. Christ has taken Krishna for his own soul-covering through which he works on further (1913-01-01-GA142)
  • relationship between Krishna's teaching and Paul's letters (GA142) and Fichte Schelling Hegel (1912-09-19-GA139).
    • Note that Steiner explicitly states that the most mature intellectual thinkers in Christianity were inspired directly by Buddha (1911-09-19-GA130 mentions Leibniz, Schelling and Solovjiev; and 1911-09-21-GA130). More in Discussion Note [2]

Inspirational quotes


.. we see how a continually increasing individualization was prepared and brought about in mankind, and how then those souls who had the impulse to individualize themselves more and more were met by the Christ Impulse, leading them once more together into a common humanity. What I have tried to indicate has been a rather preliminary description of the two impulses from the Christ and Krishna.

I have tried to show how closely the two impulses come together in the age of the mid-point of evolution, even though they come from diametrically opposite directions. We can make very great mistakes by confusing these two revelations. But I would close today with a few words that may simply and clearly summarize what these two impulses are — truly the most important in human evolution.

If we look back to all that happened between the tenth century before Christ and the tenth century afterward, we may say that into the universe the Krishna Impulse flowed for every individual human soul, and into the earth the Christ Impulse came for all mankind.

For the last sentence, see also Schema FMC00.167 on Transition between 4th and 14th century


Schema FMC00.047 shows that, after a transition and changes with a hardening of earth and the human physical body, we have a recapitulation in the current Postatlantean epoch whereby the 'I' now has the physical and etheric bodily structure to develop it's autonomous self-consciousness.

FMC00.047 .jpg

Schema FMC00.377A positions various steps in development of the I, with the three pre-MoG interventions of the Christ, the preparatory working of the Krishna impulse and the being of Elijah, and the great enactment by Christ-Jesus and John the Baptist where the Adam sister soul worked as part of Christ-Jesus' structure and also 'from outside'.

The same colour code mapping is used for the green and blue streams as in Schema FMC00.377. The dark green box connecting John the Baptist and Nathan Jesus refers to 1912-09-19-GA139 and Schema FMC00.381.


Schema FMC00.013 below stacks a number of views and original illustrations that have been calibrated to a single horizontal time line.

It depicts the fact that in the current epoch the old form of natural or atavistic clairvoyance ('guided by spiritual beings') slowly ebbed away, and a new form of consciousness is forming and will further develop in the remaining cultural ages into a new independant form of clairvoyance.

The table under the blackboard drawing illustrations shows:

  • the grey cultural ages on top along the horizontal time dimension (the blue is the current, the yellow pointer showing our current century)
  • with underneath the typical level of clairvoyance, into which plane or world of consciousness
  • at the bottom, an illustration to show that 'like a curtain fell' over the old clairvoyance and connectness with the spiritual world (this is the only part of the picture not calibrated to the time scale, it should be more extended)
  • the blackboard drawing from GA191 shows: the old mixture of wisdom and morality is impacted by the central MoG event (in orange) .. and after a period of impact after consciousness soul (see also the GA343 drawing for this delay) .. a new future lies ahead with a different connectedness, clairvoyance and brotherly love that is developing.

FMC00.380 shows the polarity during the development of Man's I consciousness, from sentient soul to intellectual soul. Above in the language of the Bhagavad Gita, below in the language of the Grail.

On the right: Man's sentient consciousness in the world, illustrated by the sensory perception and cosmic influences from nature working from outside: instreaming from without. On the right, Man developing the twelve-foldness from out of his own inner centre.

For an explanation see: Enlivened images#1920-05-16-GA201 as well as Human character - the I and threefold soul


Lecture coverage and references

Rudolf Steiner delivered two sets of lectures on Krishna and the Bhagavad Gita: one on the occult basis of the Bhagavad Gita (1913-GA146) and one on the Bhagavad Gita and the Letters of St. Paul (GA142)


in this lecture:

  • Krishna describes himself as Vishnu, the spirit of being, it's start middle and end, the most noblest of beings that became. The essence when Man goes into his inner soul, the highest in Man.
  • The Krishna Impulse is described as the highest possible advance, but it should not be linked to Krishna alone but to the whole of the people where these things were communicated to as 'pre-carriers' centuries and millenia before, and now came together again in renewed form in this impulse.
  • Buddha states he came after the greater one who came before him, to show the same way .. [referring to Krishna]. So the sequence is Krishna-Buddha who came after him, then John the Baptist who came before Christ.
  • what one connects with Krishna can be compared with what, in more recent times, came to us in another philosophical form in the names of Fichte, Schelling and Hegel as the most mature thinkers of Christianity

covers the teaching of Krishna, comparing it with the epistles of St Paul

In the sublime Gita we find a wonderfully pure sphere-an etheric sphere-that borders on the superhuman and at times extends into it. Externally, therefore, there are powerful differences, and we may say that it would be blindest prejudice not to admit that through the great Song that once was given to Hinduism, flows the union of mighty fateful world-philosophies, that through the Gita something of a noble purity, quite impersonal, calm and passionless, was given to the Hindus; while the original documents of Christianity — the Epistles of St. Paul — bear, as it were, an entirely personal, often a passionate character, utterly devoid of calm. One does not attain knowledge by turning away from the truth and by refusing to admit such things, but rather by understanding them in the right way. Let us, therefore, inscribe this antithesis on a tablet of bronze, as it were, during our subsequent considerations.


Now who exactly is Krishna? This question must, above all, be of interest to us. One cannot understand who Krishna is if one does not make oneself acquainted with a point which I have already taken the opportunity of mentioning in various places; that is, that in earlier ages the whole system of giving names and descriptions was quite different from what it is now.

[explanation on naming follows]


Now if you think of what may live in a man of our present cycle of humanity as the deepest part of his being, which every man can dimly sense as those secret forces within him which can raise him up to soul-heights; if we think of this, which in most men exists only in rudiment, becoming in a very rare case the essential principle of a human being-a being who only appears from time to time to become a leader of other men, who is higher than all the Manus, who dwells as an essence in every man, but who' as an actual external personality only appears once in a cosmic epoch; if we can form such a conception as this, we are getting nearer to the being of Krishna. He is Man as a whole; he is — one might almost say — humanity as such, thought of as a single being. Yet he is no abstract being. When people today speak of mankind in general, they speak of it in the abstract, because they themselves are abstract thinkers. The abstract being is we ourselves today, ensnared as we are in the sense-world, and this has become our common destiny. When one speaks of mankind in general, one has only an indistinct perception and not a living idea of it. Those who speak of Krishna as of Man in general, do not mean the abstract idea one has in one's mind today. “No,” they say, “true, this Being lives in germ in every man, but he only appears as an individual man, and speaks with the mouth of a man once in every cosmic age. “ But with this Being it is not a question of the external fleshly body, or the more refined elemental body, or the forces of the sense-organs, or Ahamkara and Manas, but the chief thing is that which in Budhi and Manas is directly connected with the great universal cosmic substance, with the divine which lives and weaves through the world.

From time to time Beings appear for the guidance of mankind such as we look up to in Krishna, the Great Teacher of Arjuna. Krishna teaches the highest human wisdom, the highest humanity, and he teaches it as being his own nature, and also in such a way that it is related to every human being, for all that is contained in the words of Krishna is to be found in germ in every human soul. Thus when a Man looks up to Krishna he is both looking up to his own highest self and also at another: who can appear before him as another Man in whom he honours that which he himself has the predisposition to become, yet who is a separate being from himself and bears the same relationship to him as a God does to Man. In this way must we think of the relationship of Krishna to his pupil Arjuna, and then we obtain the keynote of that which sounds forth to us out of the Gita; that keynote which sounds as though it belonged to every soul and can resound in every soul, which is wholly human, so intimately human that each soul feels it would be ashamed if it did not feel within it the longing to listen to the great teachings of Krishna. On the other hand, it all seems so calm, so passionless, so dispassionate, so sublime and wise, because the highest speaks; that which is the divine in every human nature and which yet once appears in the evolution of mankind, incorporated, as a divine human being. How sublime are these teachings! They are really so sublime that the Gita rightly bears the name of the “Sublime Song” or the “Bhagavad Gita.” Within it we find, above all, teachings of which we spoke in yesterday's lecture, sublime words arising from a sublime situation; the teaching that all that changes in the world, although it may change in such a way that arising and passing away, birth and death, victory or defeat, appear to be external events, in them all is expressed something, everlasting, eternal, permanently existent; so that he who wishes to contemplate the world properly must raise himself from the transitory to this permanence. We already met with this in Sankhya, in the reasoned reflections as to the permanent in everything transitory, of how both the conquered and the victorious soul are equal before God when the door of death closes behind them.


[further also a.o.]

Arjuna has to fight against his blood-relations.


We are confronted with a cosmic mystery of which the Gita tells us that it was given to mankind at a most significant cosmic hour, that significant cosmic hour when the old clairvoyance which is connected with the blood, ceases: and human souls must seek new paths to the everlasting, to the intransitory. Thus this mystery is brought to our notice so that we may at the same time realise by means of its presentation all that can become dangerous to man when he is able to see his own being brought to birth out of himself.

If we grasp this deepest of human and cosmic mysteries — which tells of our own being through true self knowledge — then we have before us the greatest cosmic mystery in the world. But we may only put it before us if we are able to reverence it in all humility. No powers of comprehension will suffice, none will enable us to approach this cosmic mystery; for that the correct sentiment is necessary. No one should approach the cosmic mystery that speaks from out the Gita who cannot approach it reverentially. Only when we can feel thus about it do we completely grasp it.


includes the subtitle 'How the Christ Impulse surpasses the Krishna Impulse'.

Observe a man today, see what he has to occupy himself with as regards his external knowledge and his occupation; and try to compare with this how the Christ-Impulse lives in man, as if hidden in his inmost being, like a yet tiny, feeble flame, veiled by the rest of the soul's contents. That is Tamas as compared with the pre-Christian state, which latter, as regards the relation of soul and spirit, was the Sattva-state. What part, therefore, in this sense does the Mystery of Golgotha play in the evolution of mankind? As regards the revelation of the spirit, it transforms the Sattva into the Tamas state.


describes Krishna as 'the Light-Halo of Christ'. This lecture also compares the teachings of Krishna and Paul, and explains why the Krishna Impulse did not suffice but required the Christ Impulse.

[Paul's Damascus experience]

Thus we have the Being of Christ Jesus presented before us in a way only now possible to mankind from the basis of occult science. St. Paul, although an Initiate, was compelled to speak in concepts more easily understood at that time; he could not then have assumed a humanity able to understand such concepts as we have brought before your hearts today. His inspiration, however, was derived from his initiation, which came about as an act of grace. Because he did not attain this through regular schooling in the old mysteries, but by grace on the road to Damascus when the risen Christ appeared to him, therefore I call this initiation one brought about by grace.

But he experienced this Damascus Vision in such a way that by means of it he knew that He Who arose in the Mystery of Golgotha lives in the sphere of this Earth and has been attached to it since that Event. He recognised the risen Christ. From that time on he proclaimed Him.

Why was he able to see Him in the particular way he did?

At this point we must enter somewhat into the nature of such a vision, such a manifestation as that of Damascus: for it was a vision, a manifestation of a quite peculiar kind. Only those people who never wish to learn anything of occult facts consider all visions as being of one kind. They will not distinguish such an occurrence as the vision of St. Paul from many other visions such as appeared to the saints later.

What really was the reason that St. Paul could recognise Christ as he did when He appeared to him on the way to Damascus? Why did the certain conviction come to him that this was the risen Christ?

This question leads us back to another one:

What was necessary in order that the whole Christ-Being should be able completely to enter into Jesus of Nazareth, at the baptism by John in the Jordan?

Now, we have just said what was necessary to prepare the body into which the Christ-Being could descend.

But what was necessary in order that the Risen One could appear in such a densified soul-form as he appeared in to St. Paul? What, then, so to speak, was that halo of light in which Christ appeared to St. Paul before Damascus? What was it? Whence was it taken?

[Adam sister soul]

If we wish to answer these questions, my dear friends, we must add a few finishing touches to what I have already said. I have told you that there was, as it were, a sister-soul to the Adam-soul, to that soul which entered into the sequence of human generations. This sister-soul remained in the soul world. It was this sister-soul that was incarnated in the Luke-Jesus. But it was not then incarnated for the first time in a human body in the strictest sense of the words, it had already been once incarnated prophetically.

This soul had already been made use of formerly as a messenger of the holy mysteries; it was, so to say, cherished and cultivated in the mysteries, and was sent whenever anything specially important to Man was taking place; but it could only appear as a vision in the etheric body, and could only be perceived, strictly speaking, as long as the old clairvoyance remained. In earlier ages that still existed.

Therefore this old sister-soul of Adam had no need at that time to descend as far as the physical body in order to be seen. So it actually appeared on Earth repeatedly in human evolution: sent forth by the impulses of the mysteries, at all times when important things were to take place in the evolution of the Earth; but it did not require to incarnate, in ancient times, because clairvoyance was there.

The first time it needed to incarnate was when the old clairvoyance was to be overcome through the transition of human evolution from the third to the fourth Post-Atlantean age, of which we spoke yesterday. Then, by way of compensation, it took on an incarnation, in order to be able to express itself at the time when clairvoyance no longer existed. The only time this sister-soul of Adam was compelled to appear and to become physically visible, it was incorporated, so to speak, in Krishna; and then it was incorporated again in the Luke-Jesus. So now we can understand how it was that Krishna spoke in such a superhuman manner, why he is the best teacher for the human I, why he represents, so to speak, a victory over the I, why he appears so psychically sublime. It is because he appears as human being at that sublime moment which we brought before our souls in the lecture before last, as Man not yet descended into human incarnations.

He then appears again to be embodied in the Luke-Jesus. Hence that perfection that came about when the most significant world-conceptions of Asia, the I of Zarathustra and the spirit of Krishna, were united in the twelve-year-old Jesus described by St. Luke. He who spoke to the learned men in the Temple was therefore not only Zarathustra speaking as an I, but one who spoke from those sources from which Krishna at one time drew Yoga; he spoke of Yoga raised a stage higher; he united himself with the Krishna force, with Krishna himself, in order to continue to grow until his thirtieth year. Then only have we that complete, perfected body which could be taken possession of by the Christ. Thus do the spiritual currents of humanity flow together. So that in what happened at the Mystery of Golgotha, we really have a co-operation of the most important leaders of mankind, a synthesis of spirit-life.

[Back to Damascus]

When St. Paul had his vision before Damascus, he who appeared to him then was the Christ. The halo of light in which Christ was enveloped was Krishna. And because Christ has taken Krishna for his own soul-covering through which he then works on further, therefore in the light which shone there, in Christ mimself, there is all that was once upon a time contained in the sublime Gita. We find much of that old Krishna-teaching, although scattered about, in the New Testament revelations. This old Krishna-teaching has on that account become a personal matter to the whole of mankind, because Christ is not as such a human I belonging to mankind, but to the Higher Hierarchies.

Thus Christ belongs also to those times when Man was not yet separated from that which now surrounds him as material existence, and which is veiled to him in maya through his own Luciferic temptation. If we glance back over the whole of evolution, we shall find that in those olden times there was not yet that strict division between the spiritual and the material; material was then still spiritual, and the spiritual — if we may say so — still manifested itself externally. Thus because, in the Christ-Impulse, something entered into mankind which completely prevented such a strict separation as we find in Sankhya philosophy between Purusha and Prakriti, Christ becomes the leader of men out of themselves and towards the divine creation. Must we then say that we must unconditionally give up maya now that we recognise that it seems to be given us through our own fault? No, for that would be blaspheming the spirit in the world; that would be assigning to matter properties which we ourselves have imposed upon it with the veil of maya. Let us rather hope that when we have overcome in ourselves that which caused matter to become maya, we may again be reconciled with the world.

[if there were nothing but Krishna-teaching]

For do we not hear resounding out of the world around us that it is a creation of the Elohim, and that on the last day of creation they considered: and behold, all was very good? That would be the karma to be fulfilled if there were nothing but Krishna-teaching (for there is nothing in the world that does not fulfil its karma). If in all eternity there had been only the teaching of Krishna, then the material existence which surrounds us, the manifestation of God of which the Elohim at the starting-point of evolution said: “Behold all was very good,” would encounter the judgment of men: “It is not good, I must abandon it!” The judgment of Man would be placed above the judgment of God. We must learn to understand the words which stand as a mystery at the outset of evolution; we must not set the judgment of Man above the judgment of God. If all and everything that could cling to us in the way of guilt were to fall away from us, and yet that one fault remained, that we slandered the work of the Elohim; the Earth-Karma would have to be fulfilled; in the future everything would have to fall upon us and karma would have to fulfil itself thus.

In order that this should not happen, Christ appeared in the world, so to reconcile us with the world that we may learn to overcome Lucifer's tempting forces, and learn to penetrate the veil; that we may see the divine revelation in its true form; that we may find the Christ as the reconciler, who will lead us to the true form of the divine revelation, so that through him we may learn to understand the primeval words: “And behold, it is very good.” In order that we may learn to ascribe to ourselves that which we may never again dare to ascribe to the world, we need Christ; for if all our other sins could be taken away from us: yet this sin could only be removed by Him. This, transformed into a moral feeling, is a newer side of the Christ-Impulse. It shows us at the same time why the necessity arose for the Christ-Impulse as the higher soul to envelope itself in the Krishna-Impulse.


Arjuna as representative of the group soul, Krishna as leader to experience the individual I


preparatory for self-consciousness in times of the cast system and veneration of the deceased

over centuries upto 8th century BC


Krishna as the bringer of self-consciousness

Explanation of Bhagavad Gita (imaginative images)

The meaning of the Krishna Impulse for the single human soul, the Christ Impulse for the whole of humanity

Below follows a concatenation of a few excerpts of this lecture:

In the last lecture we spoke of things that men still have to learn. Above all we must firmly realize how the human soul, under certain conditions, can actually meet the Being whom we tried to describe from a certain aspect, calling him Krishna.


“And now, having told thee everything, I will declare to thee the profoundest secret for the human soul.”

Here indeed is a strange saying that seems to sound abstract yet has deep significance. Then there follows this most profound mystery.

“Understand me well. I am in all beings, yet they are not in me.”


.. we may say to ourselves that here then on earth these souls have been planted; the highest they can attain is to become free souls. Free — that is what men will become if they bring to full development all the forces latent within them as individual souls. In order to make this possible Krishna was active, indirectly and almost imperceptibly at first, then ever more definitely, and at last quite directly in the period we have been describing. In all of earthly evolution there is no Being who could give the individual human soul so much as Krishna.

I say expressly the individual soul because — and I say this deliberately — on earth there exists not only the individual human soul but also mankind. Consider this in connection with all I have tried to give about Krishna, because on earth there are all those concerns that do not belong to the individual alone.


Observe that for those who can think specifically, “all mankind” by no means signifies the same as the mere sum total of all individual human souls.


states that it was the Adam soul that worked in the Krishna impulse.

[Adam sister soul]

At the same time, as we can see clairvoyantly by looking back into the Akashic record, there appeared beside ordinary people, who themselves were permeated by the human creative forces, something like a brother- or sister-soul; a definite soul. It was as though this sister-soul was held back, not thrown into the current of human evolution. It remained permeated through and through by human creative forces only, and by nothing else. Thus, a brother- or sister-soul (in that ancient time there was no difference) — Adam's brother-soul — remained behind. It could not enter the physical process of mankind's development. It lived on, invisible to the physical world of man. It was not born as men are born, in the flowing stream of this life, because if it had entered into birth and death it would have been in the processes of physical human life. It could only be perceived by those who rose to the heights of clairvoyance, who developed those forces that awaken in the state we otherwise know as sleep. In that state man is near to the forces that live and work in purity in the sister-soul.

Man entered his evolution, but holding sway above this life there lived, in sacrifice, a soul that throughout all the processes of human life never came down in bodily form. It did not strive like ordinary human souls for birth and death in successive incarnations, and it could only show itself to them when in their sleep they attained clairvoyant vision. Yet it worked on mankind wherever they could meet it with special clairvoyant gifts. There were men who either by nature or special training in schools of initiation had this power and were able to recognize the creative forces. Wherever such schools are mentioned in history we can always find evidence that they were aware of a soul accompanying mankind. In most instances it was only recognizable in those special conditions of clairvoyance that expand man's spiritual vision into sleep consciousness.

When Arjuna stood on the battle-field with the Kurus and Pandus arrayed against each other, when he felt all that was going on around him and deeply realized the unique situation in which he was placed, it came about that this soul we have mentioned spoke to him through the soul of his charioteer. The manifestation of this special soul, speaking through a human soul, is none other than Krishna. For what soul was it that could instill into Man the impulse to consciousness of self? It was the soul that had remained behind in the Lemurian epoch, when men entered his actual earthly evolution.

This soul had often been visible in manifestations before, but in a far more spiritual form. At the moment, however, of which the Bhagavad Gita tells us, we have to imagine a kind of embodiment, though much concealed in Maya of this soul of [editor: in?] Krishna.

[Nathan Jesus child]

Later on in history a definite incarnation takes place. This soul actually incarnated in the body of a child. Those of our friends to whom I have spoken of this before know that at the time when Christianity was founded two children were born in different families, both from the house of David. The one child is mentioned in St. Matthew's Gospel, the other in St. Luke's. This is the true reason for the external discrepancies between the two Gospels. Now this very Jesus Child of St. Luke's Gospel is an incarnation of that same soul that had never before lived in a human body but is nevertheless a human soul, having been one in the Lemurian epoch. This is the same that revealed itself as Krishna.

to adam sister soul was best suited to infuse in mankind the impulse for self-consciousness

this impulse worked through Krishna, that later incarnated into the Luke Jesus child

p 88 Nassenstein: Krishna following ancient Indian tradition died in 3101 BC


quote A - the three soul states. The mission for Arjuna to rise from the three soul states.

.. in order to understand these feelings of sattwa, rajas and tamas, so fundamental in the Gita, it is well for us to apply them to our own conditions.

  • Now if we would consider what sattwa really is, it is best to begin by taking the most striking conception of it. In our time the Man who can give himself up to knowledge as penetrating as our present knowledge of the mineral kingdom is a sattwa Man. For the Indian he was not one who had such knowledge, but was one who went through the world with intelligent understanding as we would say, with heart and head in the right place. A Man who takes without prejudice and bias the phenomena the world offers. A Man who always perceives the world with sympathy and conceives it with intelligence; who receives the light of ideas, of feelings and sentiments streaming out from all the beauty and loveliness of the world; who avoids all that is ugly, developing himself rightly. He who does all this in the physical world is a sattwa man. In the inorganic world a sattwa impression is that of a surface not too brilliant, illuminated in such a way that its details of color can be seen in their right lustre yet bright also.
  • A rajas impression is one where a Man is in a certain way prevented by his own emotions, his impulses and reactions, or by the thing itself, from fully penetrating what lies around him, so that he does not give himself up to it but meets it with what he himself is. For example, he becomes acquainted with the plant kingdom. He can admire it, but he brings his own emotions to bear on it and therefore cannot penetrate it to its depths.
  • Tamas is where a Man is altogether given up to his bodily life, so that he is blunt and apathetic toward his environment, as we are toward a consciousness different from our own. While we dwell on the physical plane we know nothing of the consciousness of a dog or a horse, not even of another human being. In this respect Man, as a rule, is blunt and dull. He withdraws into his own bodily life. He lives in impressions of tamas. But Man must gradually become apathetic to the physical world in order to have access to the spiritual worlds in clairvoyance.

In this way we can best read the ideas of sattwa, rajas, and tamas. In external nature a rajas impression would be that of a moderately bright surface, say of green, a uniform green shade; a dark-colored surface would represent a tamas impression. Where man looks out into the darkness of universal space, when the beautiful spectacle of the free heavens appears to him, the impression he gains is none other than that blue color that is almost a tamas color.

If we saturate ourselves with the feeling these ideas give we can apply them to everything that surrounds us. These ideas are really comprehensive. For the ancient Indian, to know well about this threefold nature of his surroundings meant not only a certain understanding of the outer world, it also meant bringing to life his own inner being. He felt it somewhat as follows. Imagine a primitive country man who sees the glory of nature around him — the early morning sky, the sun and stars, everything he can see. He does not think about it however. He does not build up concepts and ideas about the world but just lives on in utmost harmony with it. If he begins to feel himself an individual person, distinguishing his soul from his environment, he has to do so by learning to understand his surroundings through ideas about them.

quote B - The Krishna Impulse to develop and perfect the human soul as autonomeous. The synthesis of the Lucifer Impulse and Krishna-Jesus Impulse through the Christ Impulse.

Krishna — that is, the spirit who worked through Krishna — appeared again in the Jesus child of the Nathan line of the House of David, described in St. Luke's Gospel. Thus, fundamentally, this child embodied the impulse, all the forces that tend to make Man independent and loosen him from external reality.

What was the intention of this soul that did not enter human evolution but worked in Krishna and again in this Jesus child?

At a far distant time this soul had had to go through the experience of remaining outside human evolution because the antagonist Lucifer had come; he who said, “Your eyes will be opened and you will distinguish good and evil, and be as God.” In the ancient Indian sense Lucifer said to man, “You will be as the Gods, and will have power to find the sattwa, rajas and tamas conditions in the world.”

Lucifer directed Man's attention to the outer world. By his instigation Man had to learn to know the external, and therefore had to go through the long course of evolution down to the time of Christ.

Then he came who was once withdrawn from Lucifer; came in Krishna and later in the Luke Jesus child. In two stages he gave that teaching that from another side was to be the antithesis of the teaching of Lucifer in Paradise.

“He wanted to open your eyes to the conditions of sattwa, rajas, and tamas. Shut your eyes to these conditions and you will find yourselves as men, as self-conscious human beings.”

Thus does the Imagination appear before us. On the one side the Imagination of Paradise, where Lucifer opens Man's eyes to the three conditions in the external world, when for a while the opponent of Lucifer withdraws. Then men go through their evolution and reach the point where in two stages another teaching is given them, of self-consciousness, which bids them close their eyes to the three external conditions.

Both teachings are one-sided. If the Krishna-Jesus influence alone had continued, one one-sidedness would have been added to another. Man would have taken leave of all that surrounds him, would have lost all interest in external evolution. Each person would only have sought his own perfection. Striving for perfection is right; but such striving bought at the price of a lack of interest in the whole of humanity is one-sided, even as the Luciferic influence was one-sided. Hence the all-embracing Christ Impulse entered the higher synthesis of the two one-sided tendencies.

In the personality of the St. Luke Jesus child Himself the Christ Impulse lived for three years; the Christ who came to mankind to bring together these two extremes. Through each of them mankind would have fallen into weakness and sin. Through Lucifer humanity would have been condemned to live one-sidedly in the external conditions of sattwa, rajas and tamas. Through Krishna they were to be educated for the other extreme, to close their eyes and seek only their own perfection. Christ took the sin upon Himself. He gave to men what reconciles the two one-sided tendencies. He took upon Himself the sin of self-consciousness that would close its eyes to the world outside. He took upon Himself the sin of Krishna, and of all who would commit his sin, and He took upon Himself the sin of Lucifer and of all who would commit the sin of fixing their attention on externalities. By taking both extremes upon Himself he makes it possible for humanity by degrees to find a harmony between the inner and the outer world because in that harmony alone man's salvation is to be found.

An evolution that has once begun, however, cannot end suddenly. The urge to self-consciousness that began with Krishna went on and on, increasing and intensifying self-consciousness more and more, bringing about estrangement from the outer world. In our time too this course is tending to continue.

At the time when the Krishna impulse was received by the Luke Jesus child mankind was in the midst of this development, this increase of self-consciousness and estrangement from the outer world. It was this that was brought home to the men who received the baptism of John in the Jordan, so that they understood the Baptist when he said to them, “Change your disposition; walk no longer in the path of Krishna” - though he did not use this word.

[from the Jesus path to the Christ path]

The path on which mankind had then entered we may call the Jesus-path if we would speak in an occult sense. In effect, the pursuit of this Jesus-path alone went on and on through the following centuries. In many respects human civilization in the centuries following the foundation of Christianity was only related to Jesus, not to the Christ Who lived in Jesus for the three years from the baptism by John until the Mystery of Golgotha.

Every line of evolution, however, works its way onward up to a certain tension. In the course of time this longing for individual perfection was driven to such a pitch that men were in a certain sense brought more and more into the tragedy of estrangement from the divine in nature, from the outer world. Today we are experiencing this in many ways. Many people are going about among us who have little understanding left of our environment. Therefore, it is just in our time that an understanding of the Christ Impulse must break in upon us. The Christ-path must be added to the Jesus-path. The path of one-sided striving for perfection has become too strong. It has gone so far that in many respects men are so remote from their surroundings that certain movements, when they arise, over-reach themselves immediately, and the longing for the opposite is awakened. Many human souls now feel how little they can escape from this enhanced self-consciousness, and this creates an impulse to know the divinity of the outer world. It is such souls as these who in our time will seek the understanding of the Christ Impulse that is opened up by true anthroposophy; the force that does not merely strive for the one-sided perfection of the individual soul but belongs to the whole progress of humanity. To understand the Christ means not merely to strive toward perfection, but to receive in oneself something expressed by St. Paul, “Not I, but Christ in me.” “I” is the Krishna word. “Not I, but Christ in me,” is the Christian word.

So we see how every spiritual movement in history has in a certain sphere its justification. No one must imagine that the Krishna impulse could have been dispensed with. No one should ever think either that one human spiritual movement is fully justified in its one-sidedness. The two extremes — the Luciferic and the Krishna impulses — had to find their higher unity in the mission of the Christ.

He who would understand in the true anthroposophic sense the impulse necessary for the further evolution of mankind, must realize how anthroposophy has to become a means of shedding light on all religions. He must learn to see how the different streams in evolution all flow into the one main current of development. It would be a dilettante way of beginning to do this if one tried to find again in the Krishna stream what can be found in the stream of Christianity. Only when we regard the matter in this way do we understand what it means to seek a unity in all religions. There is, however, another way of doing so. One may repeat over and over, “In all religions the same fundamental essence is contained.” In effect, the same essence is contained in the root of a plant, in the stem, leaves, flowers, the pollen, and the fruit. That is true, but it is an abstract truth. It is no more profound than if one were to say, “Why make any distinctions? Salt, pepper, vinegar, and milk all have their place on the table; all are one, for all are substance.” Here you can tell how futile such a way of thought can be, but you do not notice it so easily when it comes to comparing religions. It will not do to compare the Chinese, Brahmin, Krishnan, Buddhist, Persian, Moslem, and Christian faiths in this abstract way, saying, “Look, everywhere we find the same principles. In each case there is a Savior.”

Abstractions can indeed be found in countless places and in countless ways, but this is a dilettante method because it leads to nothing. One may form societies to pursue the study of all religions, and do so in the same sense as saying pepper, salt, etc. are one because they are all substance. That has no importance. What is important is to regard things as they really are. To the way of looking at things that goes so far in occult dilettantism as to keep on declaiming the equality of all religions, it is one and the same whether what lived in the Christ is the pivot of the whole of evolution or whether it can be found in the first man you meet in the street. For one who wishes to guide his life by truth it is an atrocity to associate the impulse in the world's history that is bound up with the Mystery of Golgotha and for which the name Christ has been preserved — to associate that impulse with any other impulse in history, because in truth it is the central point of the whole of earthly evolution.


Note [1] - On the Adam sister soul

  • The Adam sister soul stayed behind when humanity underwent the Fall and Luciferic infection
  • Christ had worked through this archangel in the Three pre-MoG interventions of Christ in the Lemurian and Atlantean epochs to balance the Development of the I.
  • worked into humanity through the Krishna impulse
  • would incarnate in the Nathan Jesus boy and be the body for the incarnation of the Christ in the flesh at the Baptism at the Jordan, see The two Jesus children
  • is also the light that Paul of Tarsus perceived in the Damascus experience

Note [2] - Inspiring Schelling and others

German idealism has as prominent exponents a.o. (but not limited to) Fichte (1762-1814), Schelling (1775-1854) and Hegel (1770-1831). See Schema FMC00.243 on the Goethe page which shows the broader network of concurrent incarnations.

However Steiner often speaks of Fichte Schelling Hegel together, eg in 1914-GA018 (Riddles of Philosophy) and various lectures (eg 1906-03-15-GA054).

On the side, in 1924-04-12-GA236 Steiner does give an example of one Individuality inspiring multiple personalities (Bacon, Boehme, Schakespeare, Balde). So it might be, pure hypothesis, that this could also apply in this context. In fact Karl Koenig came to the same intuition, see below.

Who was inspiring Schelling? Interestingly:

  • In 1924-06-01-GA238 is described how Schellings work was written under the inspiration of the Individuality of Julian the Apostate.
  • In 1911-09-19-GA130 states that Leibniz, Schelling and Solovjiev; were directly inspired by Buddha

Furthermore, the following is an excerpt from the diaries of Karl Koenig who studied Schelling on 18 and 20 August 1954 (see booklet by P. Selg):

"Who was Schelling? He did not belong to the circle of the apostles, like Novalis and the two Schlegels and others, yet he must have been very close to them .. I begin to understand, or better, to sense how Herzeloid-Tycho inspired him.

and further:

Read .. the lecture by Rudolf Steiner where he speaks about Fichte, Schelling and Hegel, drawing a link between the loftiness of their idealistic imaginations and the spirituality of Krishna. And I have to consider that Krishna is the Nathan Jesus and therefore the spirit sun illuminates the three of them. Thus it would have been his individuality whoch reigned in the Michael School of the last century, and it was Tycho de Brahe who held up the mirror to receive the rays of this Sun, and thus inspired Schelling.

Koenig indeed sees Krisha as the Adam sister soul or Nathan Jesus soul, seems to position the Individuality of Julian the Apostate as an intermediate channel. We can regard the White Lodge (and this includes not just the twelve but the network of direct helpers) as a channel between the Adam sister soul impulse into humanity. This view integrates various statements consistently, a.o. the above but also the one where statement where Steiner says that the 'apostles group soul of John the Baptist' continues to work further.

see also:

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Edouard Schuré: 'Krishna and Orpheus: The Great Initiates of the East and West'
  • Sigismund von Gleich: 'Krishna en het wezen van den mens' (article in NL, 'Brieven over het geestelijk leven der mensheid', jaar nr 2, 3, blz 4-8)
  • Else Nassenstein: 'Die Michael-Christus-Wesenheit. Jesus von Nazareth und die Auferstehung Christi im Leibe' (1989), Ch 3. p 83-92