Re: Esoteric Section Rules
- Here is the continuation of the rules- I won't go on.
It was a common idea in the early days that fish eating was close enough
to vegetarian. In Japan, vegetarian Buddhists were allowed to eat fish,
hence today it is still a largely fish eating nation with red meat only
recently making its way in. Deer was also eaten in Japan because it was
deemed to be a "land whale"- don't ask for an explanation.
You'll see later how Dr. Steiner altered these rules, while he was the
leader of his own Esoteric Section.
"13. The use of wine, spirits, liquors of any kind, or any narcotic or
intoxicating drug, is strictly prohibited. If indulged in, all progress
is hindered, and the efforts of teacher and pupil alike are rendered
useless. All such substances have a directly pernicious action upon the
brain, and especially upon the "third eye," or pineal gland (vide
"Secret Doctrine," Vol.11, p.288 et seq.). They prevent absolutely
the development of the third eye, called in the East "the Eye of Siva."
14. The moderate use of tobacco is not prohibited, for it is not an
intoxicant; but its abuse, like that of everything else-even pure water
or bread-is prejudicial.
15. As to diet: The eating of meat is not prohibited, but if the student
can maintain health on vegetables or fish, such diet is recommended. The
eating of meat strengthens the passional nature, and the desire to
acquire possessions, and therefore increases the difficulty of the
struggle with the lower nature.
16. Each member is expected to set apart a certain time of the day or
night, of not less than half an hour's duration, for meditation upon the
instructions received, for self-examination and self-study. If possible,
the place selected for this should be used by no other person, nor for
any other purpose; but the providing of such a special place, if
inconvenient, is not insisted upon.
17. Harbouring doubt as to the existence of Masters in general is no
crime, since it is often but the effect of ignorance, and comes
involuntarily. But it will inevitably prevent the pupil in attracting
the attention of the Master; and he will fail to draw to himself His
influence. Suspicions as to the character of the members of the Section
are also prejudicial to advancement. In short, any malevolent feeling,
especially nialice, envy or revenge toward any person high or low,
creates peculiarly obstructive conditions in the student's path, and
will absolutely prevent progress of every sort. The elimination of the
desire for reward aids the student in his development.
18. No member of this Section shall belong to any other body,
association, or organization for the purpose of mystic study or occult
training, except Masonry and the Odd Fellows, if they so desire. But
they must be as careful to guard the secrecy of this Section from Masons
as they are to preserve the secrets of Masonry from Theosophists. The
reason for this rule is so self-evident as to need no explanation.
19. It is expected that all members of this Section shall have the
following hooks and magazines where they can be referred to, as constant
reference to them will be made in the course of the instruction, and no
extended extracts will be furnished. Works on metaphysics and articles
expounding the teachings of our Special School should be pro. cured. The
following hooks and theosophical magazines should be especially attended
to:-"The Secret Doctrine."
"The Bhagavad-Gita." "Light on the Path."
"Patanjali's Yoga Philosophy:" "The Theosophist." "Lucifer."
This rule is not intended to force members into the purchase of these
books and magazines, but the undersigned has no time to copy extracts,
giving explanations that have already appeared in print. Much has been
already published, and it will be necessary to refer very often to such
matter, and if a member is actually unable to procure the publications
referred to, it is expected that others who are able will, upon request,
furnish the desired hook or a copy of the matter referred to. And herein
the plea of poverty-if a pretence-will he as prejudicial to the student
as any other vice."
- Since Sarah brought up the question of diet on the other list, I'll
continue with this thread.
As I said, we can see how Dr.Steiner "softened" the rules as time went
on. You will have noted that meat eating was not forbidden, even from
the early days- HPB loved her meat! Smoking wasn't even mentioned- HPB a
chain smoker, who was known to have indulged in hashish. And there were
advanced pupils of Rudolf's that loved a drag on a fag- Albert Steffen
Alcohol was another matter, as those who've read the original rules
So here we go:
First Rules given by Rudolf Steiner in 1904
"6. The partaking of any kind of alcoholic drink is forbidden to the
Shravakas [members of the school], because this would be harmful to the
brain, especially the organ connected with spiritual insight. The
contravention of this rule would render all the efforts of both teacher
and pupil ineffective. The only exception to this rule is when the
taking of alcohol is prescribed by a doctor.
7. Abstention from the eating of meat is not compulsory, but it is
pointed out that a vegetarian diet will help in the struggle against
one's lower nature. Changes of diet must be undertaken with the greatest
Now notice how these rules, 1905, (June 5), become very unrule-like:
"6. The partaking of alcohol is incompatible with the aims of
7. The abstention from eating meat is not statutory but is recommended,
because it works beneficially toward furthering the aims of the Esoteric
The full list of rules is in "From the History and Contents of the
On another occasion RS stated that alcohol was to be avoided even in
Milk was recommended as a transition food for those giving up meat.