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Knowledge of the Higher Worlds – Some effects of Initiation: Heart Chakrum - six attributes

The reader of spiritual-scientific literature will recognise in the qualities here described the 'six attributes' which the aspirant for Initiation must develop in himself. The intention here has been to show their connection with the organ of soul known as the twelve-petalled lotus-flower.

Knowledge of the Higher Worlds: How is it Achieved? page 132 Osmond and Davy translation, 1993
the equivalent quote in the Bamford 1994 translation How to Know Higher Worlds is on page 122.

The above statement by Steiner made in the context of the times and likely readership would have been obvious. Yet, even a few decades later, the reference seems lost on most readers and, for that matter, Anthroposophists.

The work was originally a series of essays, which only later was compiled into book-form by Rudolf Steiner, itself undergoing eight editions (in Steiner's lifetime). The final eighth edition will have obvious developmental clarifications from the first.

I will henceforth restrict myself to the English editions to get to those 'six attributes'.

The earliest translation of the text was in two volumes. Therein, the passage has, instead of 'spiritual-scientific literature', reference to 'theosophical literature'. Though this could have referred to a range of authors (including people like Jacob Boehme amongst others), it seemed clear to me, especially given the time of writing of Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, that it was to Theosophical Society [T.S.] literature to which Steiner referred.

Indeed, a small volume by Blavatsky, at times referred to as her 'spiritual guidebook', is the likely reference: The Voice of Silence.

Let's first look at Steiner's text from the earliest of the English translations (pp 34, 37-41), alongside Blavatsky's selection from the Voice of Silence ('Fragment III - The Seven Portals'):.

Steiner - Knowledge of the Higher Worlds


Blavatsky - Voice of Silence

The twelve-petalled lotus which lies in the region of the heart is formed in a similar way. Half its petals, likewise, were already existent and active in a remote stage of human evolution.


Everything that is growing or evolving rays out warmth; everything that is decaying, perishing, or in ruins, will seem cold. The development of this sense may be accelerated in the following manner. The first requirement is that the student should apply himself to the regulation of his thoughts.

Just as the sixteen-petalled lotus achieves its evolution by means of earnest and significant thinking, so is the twelve-petalled flower cultivated by means of an inward control over the currents of thought. Errant thoughts which follow each other in no logical or reasonable sequence, but merely by pure chance, destroy the form of the lotus in question. The more one thought follows another, the more all disconnected thought is thrown aside, the more does this astral organ assume its appropriate form. If the student hears illogical thought expressed, he should silently set it straight within his own mind. He ought not, for the purpose of perfecting his own development, to withdraw himself uncharitably from what is perhaps an illogical mental environment. Neither should he allow himself to feel impelled to correct the illogical thinking around him. Rather should he quietly, in his own inner self, constrain this whirlpool of thoughts to a logical and reasonable course. And above all things ought he to strive after this regulation in the region of his own thoughts.

A second requirement is that he should control his actions in a similar way. All instability or disharmony of action produces a withering effect upon the lotus-flower which is here in consideration. If the student has done anything he should manage the succeeding act so that it forms a logical sequence to the first, for he who acts differently from day to day will never evolve this faculty or sense.

The third requirement is the cultivation of perseverance. The occult student never allows himself to be drawn by this or that influence aside from his goal so long as he continues to believe that it is the right one. Obstacles are for him like challenges to overcome them and never afford reasons for loitering on the way.

The fourth requirement is tolerance as regards all persons and circumstances. The student should seek to avoid all superfluous criticism of imperfections and vices, and should rather endeavor to comprehend everything that comes under his notice. Evenas the sun does not refuse its light to the evil and the vicious, so he, too, should not refuse them an intelligent sympathy. If the student meets with some trouble, he should not waste his force in criticism, but bow to necessity and seek how he may try to transmute the misfortune into good. He does not look at another's opinions from his own standpoint alone, but seeks to put himself into his companion's position.

The fifth requirement is impartiality in one's relation to the affairs of life. In this connection we speak of 'trust' and 'faith'. The occult student goes out to every person and every creature with this faith, and through it he acts. He never says to himself, when anything is told to him, 'I do not believe that, since it is opposed to my present opinions'. Far rather is he ready at any moment to test and rearrange his opinions and ideas. He always remains impressionable to everything that confronts him. Likewise does he trust in the efficiency of what he undertakes. Timidity and scepticism are banished from his being. If he has any purpose in view, he has also faith in its power. A hundred failures cannot rob him of this confidence. It is indeed that 'faith which can move mountains'.

The sixth requirement is the cultivation of a certain equanimity. The student strives to temper his moods, whether they come laden with sorrow or with joy. He must avoid the extremes of rising up to the sky in rapture or sinking down to the earth in despair, but should constantly control his mind and keep it evenly balanced. Sorrow and peril, joy and prosperity alike find him ready armed.

The reader of theosophical literature will find the qualities here described, under the name of the 'six attributes' which must be striven after by him who would attain to initiation.

"UPADHYAYA, the choice is made, I thirst for Wisdom. Now hast thou rent the veil before the secret Path and taught the greater Yana. Thy servant here is ready for thy guidance."

'Tis well, Sravaka. Prepare thyself, for thou wilt have to travel on alone. The Teacher can but point the way. The Path is one for all, the means to reach the goal must vary with the Pilgrims.

Which wilt thou choose, O thou of dauntless heart? The Samtan of "eye Doctrine," four-fold Dhyana, or thread thy way through Paramitas, six in number, noble gates of virtue leading to Bodhi and to Prajna, seventh step of Wisdom?

The rugged Path of four-fold Dhyana winds on uphill. Thrice great is he who climbs the lofty top.

The Paramita heights are crossed by a still steeper path. Thou hast to fight thy way through portals seven, seven strongholds held by cruel crafty Powers — passions incarnate.

Be of good cheer, Disciple; bear in mind the golden rule. Once thou hast passed the gate Srotapatti, "he who the stream hath entered"; once thy foot hath pressed the bed of the Nirvanic stream in this or any future life, thou hast but seven other births before thee, O thou of adamantine Will.

Look on. What see'st thou before thine eye, O aspirant to god-like Wisdom?

"The cloak of darkness is upon the deep of matter; within its folds I struggle. Beneath my gaze it deepens, Lord; it is dispelled beneath the waving of thy hand. A shadow moveth, creeping like the stretching serpent coils. . . . It grows, swells out and disappears in darkness."

It is the shadow of thyself outside the Path, cast on the darkness of thy sins.

"Yea, Lord; I see the PATH; its foot in mire, its summits lost in glorious light Nirvanic. And now I see the ever narrowing Portals on the hard and thorny way to Jnana."

Thou seest well, Lanoo. These Portals lead the aspirant across the waters on "to the other shore". Each Portal hath a golden key that openeth its gate; and these keys are:

1. DANA, the key of charity and love immortal.

2. SHILA, the key of Harmony in word and act, the key that counterbalances the cause and the effect, and leaves no further room for Karmic action.

3. KSHANTI, patience sweet, that nought can ruffle.

4. VIRAGA, indifference to pleasure and to pain, illusion conquered, truth alone perceived.

5. VIRYA, the dauntless energy that fights its way to the supernal TRUTH, out of the mire of lies terrestrial.

6. DHYANA, whose golden gate once opened leads the Narjol(1) toward the realm of Sat eternal and its ceaseless contemplation.

7. PRAJNA, the key to which makes of a man a god, creating him a Bodhisattva, son of the Dhyanis.

Such to the Portals are the golden keys.

Before thou canst approach the last, O weaver of thy freedom, thou hast to master these Paramitas of perfection—the virtues transcendental six and ten in number—along the weary Path.

Six Paramitas

Blavatsky therein also talks of the 'six and ten Paramitas of Perfection' - these refer, respectively, to the Sanskrit and Pali versions of the Paramitas, with the six being expanded to ten when Meditation is 'expanded' or, rather, enucleated, to five. It is telling that it is these Pali enucleated Paramitas to which Steiner appears to refer:

Sanskrit tradition


Pali tradition

giving (dåna)

virtue (shîla) 

patience (kshânti)

energy (vîrya) 

meditation (dhyâna)

wisdom (prajñā) 





meditation (enucleated to ⇒








Especially in light of both Blavatsky's and the commentary by Acariya Dhammapala in his A Treatise on the Paaramis, one recognises Steiner's comment.