15. The Mystery of Birth

When people say that there is great injustice in the way births are granted, they do not know what they are talking about!

With great insistence, one asserts: “If there is justice, how can a child be born burdened with a hereditary disease! The innocent child must bear the sins of the parents.”

The other: “One child is born in wealth, the other in abject poverty and need. In this, there can be no sense of justice in that.”

Or: “Assuming that a punishment is to be inflicted on the parents, it is not right that this should be done by the sickness and death of a child. Surely the child suffers innocently.” These and similar sayings circulate among humanity by the thousands. Even serious seekers sometimes rack their brains over them.

With the simple explanation of “God’s inscrutable ways that lead all things to the good”, does not eliminate the urge to find out “why”. Anyone who is to be satisfied with this either
dumbly surrender to it or immediately suppress every questioning thought as wrong.

It is not what is intended! By asking questions one finds the right way. Dullness or forcible restraint is reminiscent of slavery. But God does not want slaves! He does not want obtuse submission, but a free, conscious looking upwards. His glorious, wise ordinances need not be shrouded in mystical obscurity, but rather in their sublime, inviolable grandeur and perfection when they lie freely before us! Immutable and incorruptible, they perform their eternal work, in even steadiness and certainty. They care not for the resentment or recognition of men, nor for their ignorance, but return to each individual the ripened fruit of the seeds that he has sown, with minutest accuracy.

“God’s mills grind slowly but surely,” is the popular saying so aptly applied to this weaving of unconditional reciprocal action in all Creation, the immutable Laws that carry and effect the Justice of God. It trickles, flows, and pours over all mankind, whether they desire it or not, whether they surrender or resist it, they must receive it as just punishment and forgiveness, or reward in their exaltation.

If a murmurer or doubter could but once glimpse into the subtle surging and weaving borne by the orderly Spirit that pervades all Creation in which it rests, which is itself a part of this Creation, a living eternally-driven loom of God, he would immediately fall shamefully silent and realize with dismay the presumption that lies in his words. The serene grandeur and certainty he would behold would force him into the dust in supplication. How small he had envisaged of his God! And what immense greatness he finds in His Works. He then realizes that in his highest earthly concepts he could only try to drag down God, to diminish the perfection of His Great Work with the vain effort to force it into petty narrowness that produces discipline of intellect, which can never rise above space and time. Man must not forget that he stands in the
Work of God, that he himself is a part of the Work, and that he therefore remains unconditionally subject to the Laws of this Work.

This Work, however, embraces not only things visible to earthly eyes, but also the Ethereal World, which contains within itself the greater part of the actual human being and human activity. The respective lives on earth are only small parts of it,
but always great turning points.

The earthly birth always only forms the beginning of a special phase in the whole being of a man, but not its beginning at all.

When man as such begins his course in Creation, he stands free, without threads of fate which stretch out into the Ethereal World, becoming stronger and stronger on the way through the attraction of the like species, crossing with others, weaving into each other and working back on the originator with whom they remained connected, thus carrying fate or Karma with them. The threads flowing back simultaneously then weave into each other, whereby the origin sharply expressed colours acquire other tints and bring new, united images. The individual threads form the path of the reciprocal action until the originator in his inner being no longer offers any support to the same nature, thus no longer of his own accord cultivates this path and keeps it fresh, whereby these threads can no longer attach themselves, are no longer able to hook on, and must wither away from him, whether it be evil or good.

Every thread of fate is therefore ethereally formed by the act of the will in deciding on an action, draws out, but remains nevertheless anchored in the originator, and thus forms the sure way to the homogeneous species, strengthening them, but at the same time also preserving them again from this strength, which runs the way back to the starting point. In this process lies the help that comes to those who strive for good, as it is promised, or else the circumstance that “evil must give birth to evil”.

The repercussions of these running threads, to which he knots new ones every day, bring to every man his fate which he has created for himself and to which he is subject. Every arbitrariness is thereby excluded, therefore also every injustice. Karma, which a man carries with him, and which appears like a one-sided predestination, is in reality only the unconditional consequence of his past, so far as this has not yet been triggered in the reciprocal action.

The real beginning of a man’s existence is
always good, and with many also the end, with the exception of those who are lost by their own accord, by first reaching out by their own volition to the evil, which then drew them completely into ruin. The changes of circumstances are always only in the interim, the time of inner growing and maturing.

Man therefore always shapes his future life himself. He supplies the threads and therefore determines the colour and pattern of the garment which the loom of God weaves for him by the Law of Reciprocal Action.

Far back often lie the causes that have a determining effect on the conditions into which a soul is born, likewise for the time under whose influences the child enters the earthly world,
so that it then constantly has an effect during its earthly incarnation and achieves what is necessary for the releasing, maturing, casting-off and further evolution of this soul exactly.

But even this does not happen unilaterally only for the child, but the threads weave themselves automatically in such a way that there is also a reciprocal action in the earth life. The parents give the child just what it needs for its further development, and vice versa the child gives it to the parents, whether it be good or evil;
for the further development and the upswing also include the release from an evil by living it out, which recognizes and rejects it as such. And the opportunity for this is always brought about by reciprocal action. Without this, man would never be able to become really free from what has happened. Thus in the Law of Reciprocal Action lie, as a great Gift of Grace, the way to freedom or ascent. It is therefore impossible to speak of punishment at all. Punishment is a wrong expression, for in it lies the most powerful love, the Hand of the Creator extended to forgiveness and liberation. The coming of man on earth is composed of procreation, incarnation, and birth. The incarnation is the actual entrance of man into the earthly being.

A thousand-fold are the threads involved in determining an incarnation. But it is always in these events of Creation that Justice, attuned to the very finest, has an effect and drives to the advancement of
all those involved in it.

This makes the birth of a child even more sacred, more important and valuable than is generally thought. At the same time, the child, its parents, and even its siblings and other people who come into contact with it, receive a new and special Grace from the Creator when it enters the earthly world, in that they are all given the opportunity to progress in some way. The parents may be given the opportunity of spiritual gain through the necessary nursing of a sick child, through deep worry or grief be it a remedy or as a simple means to an end, or even as a real redemption of an old debt, perhaps even as a preliminary redemption of an impending Karma. For it very often happens that, when a person’s good will has already set in, his own serious illness which, according to the Law of Reciprocal Action is to strike him as Karma, is by Grace
pre-redeemed, as a consequence of his good will through the self-sacrificing care of another or of one’s own child. A real redemption can only take place in the intuition, in the full experience. In the exercise of genuinely loving care the experience is often even greater than in the case of one’s own illness. It is more profound in the anxiety, the pain during the illness of the child or of another who one really regards as one’s dear neighbour. Just as deep is the joy of recovery. And this strong experience alone presses its traces firmly into the intuition, into the spiritual man, thus shaping him differently and, with this reshaping, cutting off threads of fate that would otherwise still have struck him. Through this cutting or dropping, the threads spring back like stretched rubber to the opposite side, the homogeneous ethereal collection-centres, now drawn from one side only by their attraction. Thus any further effect on the incomplete human being is excluded, as the connecting path to it is missing.

There are thousands of kinds of detachments in this form, when a person voluntarily and gladly takes upon himself some duty towards others, out of love or out of compassion akin to love.

Jesus showed the best examples in His parables. Likewise, in His Sermon on the Mount and in all His other speeches, He pointed out quite clearly the good results of such practices. He always spoke of the “neighbour” and thus showed the best way to redeem the karmas and to ascend in the simplest, most true-to-life form. “Love thy neighbour as thyself,” He exhorted, and thus gave the key to the gate of all ascent. It need not always be a question of sickness. Children, their necessary care and education, give so many opportunities in the most natural way that they contain within themselves
everything that can possibly be considered as a redemption. And therefore children bring blessing, no matter how they are born and developed!

What applies to parents also applies to brothers and sisters, and to all who have much contact with children. They, too, have opportunities to gain by the new citizen of the earth, by making an effort, if only by discarding evil qualities or similar things, in patience, in careful help of the most varied kind.

But the child itself is no less helped. Everybody is given the opportunity through birth the possibility of making an enormous step upwards! Where this does not happen, it is the fault of the person concerned. Then he did not want it. That is why every birth is to be regarded as a kind Gift of God which is bestowed equally. Even those who have no children of their own, and take a strange child to themselves, their blessing is not shortened, but only increased by the act of acceptance, if this is done for the child’s sake and not for their own satisfaction.

Now, in an ordinary incarnation, the attraction of the spiritual kind plays a leading part as a contributory factor in the reciprocal action. Qualities that are regarded as inherited are in reality not inherited, but are merely due to the force of attraction. There is nothing spiritually inherited from mother or father, for the child is as distinct a human being, carrying within oneself similar species by which it was attracted.

But it is not only this attraction of homogeneous kind which has a decisive effect on the incarnation, but other running threads of fate also have a part to play, to which the soul to be incarnated is bound and which are perhaps in some way connected with a member of the family into which it is led. All this has an effect, pulls and finally brings about the incarnation.

It is different, however, when a soul takes a voluntary mission upon itself to either help certain people on earth or to take part in a work of help for the whole of humanity. Then a soul also willingly takes upon itself everything it encounters on earth, whereby there can be no talk of injustice either. And the reward in return will come to the soul in the reciprocal action, if everything happens in self-sacrificing love, but which again does not ask for the reward. In families where there are hereditary diseases, souls come to incarnate who need these diseases for their release, purification or advancement through reciprocal action.

The guiding and holding threads do not allow a wrong, that is, unjust incarnation at all. They exclude any error in it. It would be an attempt to swim against a stream which flows in its orderly course with iron, immovable force, and excludes all resistance from the outset, so that no attempt can even be made. But when its properties are carefully observed, it only bestows blessings.

And attention is also paid to voluntary incarnations, where diseases are voluntarily assumed for the attainment of a certain purpose. If perhaps the father or the mother had brought the disease upon themselves through some fault, even if it was only through disregard of the Natural Laws which demand unconditional consideration for the preservation of the health of the entrusted body, the pain of seeing this disease again in the child will already carry an atonement in itself that leads to purification as soon as the pain is genuinely felt.

It is of little use to cite particular examples, since each individual birth, through the many interwoven threads of fate, would produce a new picture, different from the others, and even each type of likeness must show itself in a thousand variations through the subtle shadings of the interactions in its mixtures.

Let us take a simple example: A mother loves her son in such a way that she prevents him by all means from leaving her through marriage. She keeps tying him to herself. This love is false, purely egoistic, selfish, even though the mother, in her opinion, offers everything to make her son’s life on earth as pleasant as possible. She has wrongly interfered in her son’s life with her selfish love. True love never thinks of itself, but always only in favour of the loved one and acts accordingly, even if it is connected with its own renunciation. The mother’s hour comes when she is called away. The son now stands alone. It has become too late for him to muster the joyful impetus to fulfill his own desires that youth gives. In spite of everything, he has still gained something in the process; for he triggers something by the renunciation he has brought about. Whether it be a likeness of his former being, by which he has at the same time avoided the inner loneliness in a marriage which would otherwise have befallen him if he had married, or anything else. There is only gain for him in such things. The mother, however, has taken her selfish love over with her. She is drawn irresistibly by the attraction of spiritual likeness to humans of like qualities, because in their proximity she finds the possibility of feeling a small part of her own passion in the intuitive feelings of such people when they exercise their selfish love towards others. This keeps her earthbound. When there is a procreation of the people in whose vicinity she finds herself constantly, she incarnates through this spiritually chained bond. Then the tide turns. As a child, she must now suffer the same as she once made her child suffer. She cannot break away from her parental home in spite of her desire and the opportunities that present themselves. Her guilt is subsequently erased, in that, by experiencing in herself such qualities, she recognizes them as wrongs and is thus freed from them.

Through the connection with the physical body, that is, through incarnation, every human being comes with a blindfold which prevents him from overlooking his past existence. This too, like all that happens in Creation, is only to the advantage of the person concerned. In it again lies the Wisdom and Love of the Creator. If each person were to look back to his former life, he would remain in his new life as a calm observer, standing by, conscious that he was making progress or replacing something that was also progress. But this would not then be progress for him, but rather a great danger of slipping downwards. Life on earth must be really
experienced if it is to have any purpose. Only what is lived through inwardly with all its ups and downs, that is, felt through, has been made one’s own. If a man knew from the outset the exact direction that would be useful to him, there would be no weighing, no deciding for himself. In this way, he could gain no strength and no independence, which is absolutely necessary. But, in this way, he takes every situation of his earthly life more seriously. Every real experience imprints impressions firmly on the intuition, on the imperishable, which man takes with him in his transformation as his own, as a piece of himself, newly formed according to the impressions. But only what is really experienced; everything else expires with earthly death. What he has experienced, however, remains his gain as the clarified main content of his earthly existence! Not everything that has been learned belongs to what has been experienced. But only that part of what has been learned which has been made one’s own through experience. All the rest of what has been learned, for which many a man sacrifices his whole existence on earth, remains as chaff. That is why every moment of life can never be taken seriously enough, so that strong warmth of life flows through the thoughts, words and deeds, so that they do not sink down to empty habits.

The newborn child now appears, through the bandage presented at incarnation, to be utterly ignorant, and is therefore mistakenly regarded as innocent. At the same time, it often brings with it a tremendous karma, which offers it opportunities to release earlier erroneous paths in the living out. In predestination, karma is only the necessary consequence of what has happened. In the case of missions, it is a voluntary undertaking in order that the earthly understanding and earthly maturity for the fulfilment of the mission may thereby be attained, in so far as it does not belong to the mission itself.

Therefore, man should no longer grumble about injustice in births, but should look with gratitude to the Creator, Who only bestows new graces with every single birth!

  1. Lecture No.6: Fate
  2. Lecture No. 30: The Free Will of Man
  3. Lecture No. 7: The Creation of Man