A Western Approach to Reincarnation and Karma: Selected Lectures and Writings

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SteinerBooks, 1997 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 152 pages
The soul's immortality and its repeated earthly births are not new ideas in Western thought. They are implicit in the Pythagorean and Platonic traditions, as well as in some branches of esoteric Judaism and Cabbala. But it was not until the early years of this century that the West was given a detailed, modern, evolutionary philosophy of human life based on the reality of reincarnation and karma.

This turning point occurred when Rudolf Steiner began to make public the results of his spiritual scientific researches. He viewed the revelation of reincarnation and karma as one of his most important life tasks. Steiner's contribution, however, remains unique in its understanding of the human being as an evolving, developing being of body, soul, and spirit. On the basis of his researches--presented in numerous books and lectures--we begin to understand how the complex interaction of human lives between birth and death and between death and a new birth gives new meaning not only to individual lives lived on Earth in community with others, but also to human history and evolution and to earthly and cosmic events.

This book collects many of Steiner's major statements on reincarnation and karma. The primary purpose of this volume is to help readers meet the challenge of spiritual research in the area of individual evolution of the soul and spirit in the context of cultural and universal evolution. Such a study can be tremendously revealing and provide spiritual understanding in a time of increasing intellectual confusion and spiritual poverty.

The notion of reincarnation and karma is generally associated in most minds with spiritual traditions of the East, especially Hinduism and Buddhism. René Querido's in-depth, sixty-page introduction, however, places these concepts within the context of Western spiritual development and esoteric tradition, showing us a panoramic view of how such ideas have developed over the centuries in the West.


  • Introduction by René Querido:
  • 1 Our Present Dilemma
  • 2 Historical Survey of Reincarnation and Karma
  • 3 Rudolf Steiner's Original Contributions
  • The lectures:
  • 1 Natural and Chance Illnesses in the Human Being
  • 2 Elemental Events, Volcanic Eruptions, Earthquakes & Epidemics in Relation to Karma
  • 3 Death and Rebirth in Relation to Karma
  • 4 Knowledge of Reincarnation and Karma
  • 5 Examples of Karma Working between Two Incarnations
  • 6 Vital Questions in the Light of Reincarnation and Karma
  • 7 The Formation of Karmic Forces
  • 8 Reincarnation of the Spirit and Destiny

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The Vista SeriesForeword byRobertMcDermott
Historical Survey of Reincarnation and Karma
Rudolf Steiners Original Contributions
Natural and Chance Illnesses in the Human Being
Elemental Events Volcanic Eruptions Earthquakes
Death and Birth in Relation to Karma
Knowledge of Reincarnation and Karma
Examples of Karma Working between Two Incarnations
Vital Questions in the Light of Reincarnation and Karma
The Formation of Karmic Forces
Reincarnation of the Spirit and Destiny

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About the author (1997)

Austrian-born Rudolf Steiner was a noted Goethe (see Vol. 2) scholar and private student of the occult who became involved with Theosophy in Germany in 1902, when he met Annie Besant (1847--1933), a devoted follower of Madame Helena P. Blavatsky (1831--1891). In 1912 he broke with the Theosophists because of what he regarded as their oriental bias and established a system of his own, which he called Anthroposophy (anthro meaning "man"; sophia sophia meaning "wisdom"), a "spiritual science" he hoped would restore humanism to a materialistic world. In 1923 he set up headquarters for the Society of Anthroposophy in New York City. Steiner believed that human beings had evolved to the point where material existence had obscured spiritual capacities and that Christ had come to reverse that trend and to inaugurate an age of spiritual reintegration. He advocated that education, art, agriculture, and science be based on spiritual principles and infused with the psychic powers he believed were latent in everyone. The world center of the Anhthroposophical Society today is in Dornach, Switzerland, in a building designed by Steiner. The nonproselytizing society is noted for its schools.

René M. Querido, LLD, was a seminal figure in Waldorf education for a half century. He was educated in Holland, Belgium, France, and England and studied mathematics and physics at London University. Mr. Querido lectured throughout the world on historical and educational topics and was director of Rudolf Steiner College (Fair Oaks, California). He was also Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America.

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