Mani (initiate)

From AnthroWiki

Mani (Persian مانی Mānī [mɔːˈniː]; GreekΜανιχαῖος Manichaios; LatinManes or Manichaeus) (* 14 April 216 probably at Seleucia-Ctesiphon; † 26 February 277 or on 14. February 276 in Gundishapur) is the founder of the historical religion of Manichaeism and was, according to Rudolf Steiner, an incarnation of the high initiate Manes, who had also been the teacher of the Buddha, Zarathustra and Scythianos and later (1459) the initiator of Christian Rosenkreutz.

„Manes is that high individuality, embodied over and over again on earth, who is the guiding spirit of those who are there for the conversion of evil.“ (Lit.:GA 104, p. 162ff)

The earthly incarnations of Manes

According to Rudolf Steiner, Mani was incarnated during Christ's lifetime as the youth at Nain, the widow's son, and before that as the youth at Sais. His raising from the dead was an initiation, but unlike Lazarus, it only took effect in the next incarnation:

„Another kind of initiation, however, can take place in such a way that at first only the germ is sunk into the soul concerned, so that it then has to wait for one more incarnation; then this germ emerges, and then in the later incarnation the person concerned becomes an initiate in the explicit sense.

Such an initiation was accomplished with the youth at Nain. At that time his soul was transformed in the event of Palestine; at that time it did not yet have the consciousness of having ascended into the higher worlds. Only in the next incarnation did the powers sprout which had been placed in this soul at that time. - In an exoteric lecture we cannot mention the names which came into consideration at that time, but we can only point out that later, in a mighty teacher of religion, that individuality awoke which the Christ Jesus had raised in the youth at Nain, and that in this way, in later times, a new teacher of Christianity could arise with the powers which had been sunk into his soul at that time.

In this way, the Christ ensured that an individuality could appear at a later time to further Christianity. And this individuality, which was awakened in the young man at Nain, was called upon later to penetrate Christianity more and more with the teachings of reincarnation and karma, to connect those teachings with Christianity which at that time, when the Christ himself walked on earth, could not yet be expressly proclaimed as teachings of wisdom, because at that time they had first to be transplanted emotionally into the souls of men.“ (Lit.:GA 114, p. 205ff)

Later Mani was reborn as Parzival:

„This soul, which previously lived in the youth at Nain and was initiated by the Christ in this way for later times, when that which was contained in Manichaeism and which has not yet fully developed will rise for the salvation of the peoples of the ancient Orient, has prepared this soul in its incarnation as Manes for its actual later mission: to bring about the true harmony of all religions.

In order to be able to do this, it had to be reborn as that soul which stands in a very special relationship to the Christ Impulse. Everything that had come up from this soul in that incarnation as Manes, old and new knowledge, had to be submerged once more, as it were. As the "pure fool" he had to face the outer knowledge of the world and the working of the Christ impulse in the depths of his soul. He is reborn as Parzival, the son of Herzeleide, the tragic figure abandoned by her husband. As the son of this widow, he now also leaves his mother. He goes out into the world. After many a wandering journey, he is chosen to be the guardian of the Holy Grail. And the continuation of the Parzival saga tells us how he again goes to the Orient, how he finds his brothers in the members of the dark races, and how the blessings of the Holy Grail will one day come to them too. Thus in his life as Parzival he prepared himself to become later a new teacher of Christianity, whose task it will be to permeate Christianity more and more with the teachings of karma and reincarnation when the time will be ripe for it.“ (Lit.:GA 264, p. 230)

In 1459 Manes became the initiator of Christian Rosenkreutz:

„Within this whole stream, the initiation of Manes, who also initiated Christian Rosenkreutz in 1459, is regarded as a "higher degree": it consists in the true realisation of the function of evil.“ (Lit.:GA 262, p. 24)

The spiritual disciples of Manes

According to Rudolf Steiner, the great spiritual disciples of Manes are: Zarathustra, Buddha and Scythianos.

„Thus, within the spiritual life of Europe, we find again from time to time the one who was the bearer of the Christ, Zaratas or Nazarathos, Zarathustra; thus we find again Scythianos; thus we find again the third great disciple of Manes, also Buddha, as he was after having lived through the later times.

Thus the European connoisseur of initiation always looked into the turning point of the times, looking up to the true figures of the great teachers. From Zaratas, from Buddha, from Scythianos, from them he knew that through them flowed into the culture of the future that wisdom which has always come from the Bodhisattvas and which is to be used to comprehend the most worthy object of all understanding, the Christ, who is a being fundamentally different from the Bodhisattvas, whom one can only understand if one takes together all the wisdom of the Bodhisattvas. Therefore, in addition to everything else, the spiritual wisdom of the Europeans also contains a synthetic synthesis of all the teachings given to the world by the three great disciples of Manes and Manes himself. Even if Manes has not been understood, a time will come when European culture will be shaped in such a way that people will again associate a meaning with the names of Scythianus, Buddha and Zarathustra. They will give people the teaching material to understand the Christ. Better and better people will understand the Christ through them. The Middle Ages, however, began with a strange veneration and worship of Scythianus, Buddha and Zoroaster, when their names had leaked out a little; it began with the fact that he who wished to profess himself a true Christian in certain Christian religious communities had to utter the formula: "I curse Scythianus, I curse Buddha, I curse Zaratas!" This was a widespread formula over many areas of the Christian age, by which one professed to be a true Christian. But what was believed to be cursed at that time will be the college of teachers who will make the Christ most comprehensible to humanity, to whom humanity will look up as to the great Bodhisattvas through whom the Christ will be comprehended.

Today humanity can hardly offer these great teachers of the Rosy Cross two things, which can only mean the beginning of what in the future will stand great and mighty as the understanding of Christianity. This is to be done by the spiritual science of today; it is to begin to bring the teachings of Scythianus, Zarathustra and Gautama Buddha into the world, not in their old form, but in a thoroughly new form which can be explored today from within itself. We begin by incorporating into culture the elementary things we can learn from them. From the Buddha, Christianity has to learn the doctrine of re-embodiment and karma, even if not in an old way that is no longer up-to-date today. Why do the teachings of re-embodiment and karma flow into Christianity today? They flow in because the initiates can learn to understand them in the sense of our time, as Buddha, the great teacher of re-embodiment, understood them in his way. In this way one will also begin to understand the Scythianos, who has not only to teach the re-embodiment of man, but who has to teach that which prevails from eternity to eternity. Thus more and more the essence of the world, more and more the essence of the centre of our earthly world, the essence of the Christ, will be comprehended. Thus more and more the teachings of the Initiates flow into humanity.“ (Lit.:GA 113, p. 194f)

See also


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: URL:
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.