The esotericism of the Paternoster
The Cosmogony of the Rose and Cross
The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception
By Max Heindel
Rosicrucian Ass. - Oceanside, California, USA
The Lord’s Prayer
One of the spiritual aids to human progress is the Lord’s Prayer; it can
be considered an abstract and algebraic formula for the development and purification
of all man’s vehicles. The idea of taking proper care of the physical
body is expressed in the words: “Give us this day our daily bread”.
The part referring to the needs of our vital body is: “Forgive us
our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”.
The vital body is the seat of memory. It contains the sub-conscious images
of all the past events of our life, both good and bad, all the damages caused
or suffered and all the benefits received or given. We know that the chronicle
of life is made by these images written on the body of desire, immediately after
leaving the physical body with death.
All the suffering of the existence after death is the result of events represented
by these images.
If through continuous prayers we obtain forgiveness for the wrong done to
others (our trespasses), if we do our best to make amend for it and
if we purify our vital body by forgiving those who wronged us (those who
trespasses against us) and getting rid of all the bad feelings, then we
will save ourselves much suffering after death. Furthermore we will prepare
the way to the Universal Brotherhood, which depends most of all on the triumph
of the vital body (the physical Body, Note of the Author) on the body
of desire (the astral Body, Note of the Author).
The body of desire impresses in the vital body the idea of revenge in the shape
of memory. Therefore an imperturbable calm towards the vicissitudes of life
is a success for us. This means that the aspirant must practice the highest
control on his character, because this effort affects both bodies.
The Lord’s Prayer (Paternoster) as well has this influence.
Anger is one of the main causes of harm to others and it comes from the body
of desire. Most human beings keep at the end of the physical life the same attitude
they had in their youth. For this reason the aspirant must work hard to dominate
systematically all the efforts that the body of desire makes to keep its supremacy.
This can be obtained by focusing the thought on higher ideals. This practice
strengthens the vital body and it is more effective than common prayers.
The aspirant uses concentration rather than the prayer of the devotional cults;
this is because the first occurs through the mind, whilst the latter is usually
driven by emotion and passion. When prayer becomes the result of a disinterested
love for the highest ideal, it becomes an instrument superior to cold mental
Mystic prayer can never be cold, rational and detached, because it brings
the ascetic’s effusions on the wings of love towards the Divinity.
The prayer of the body of desire is: “Lead us not into temptation”.
Desire is indeed the great tempter of humankind. It is the great incentive
to action. It is good when actions favor the aims of Spirit; when desire aims
at degradation debasing its nature, it is necessary to pray not to be led into
Pos-session , Wealth, Power and Glory! These are the 4 great motives of human
The desire for one or more of these motives is the drive for what the human
being does or doesn’t do. These motivations have been given to the humankind
to push it to action, in order for it to acquire experience and grow, learning
how to choose and decide for itself.
The aspirant can use these motives as a drive to action, on condition that
he can ‘transmute’ them into their higher aspect.
The aspirant must wish for the Love coming from the soul, rather than for the
possession of a body, an object, even precious. It must be Love that embraces
all human beings and grows according to their needs.
He must wish for the Power that elevates the humankind.
He must wish for the Glory that increases his ability to spread the gospel
and all the teachings that work for the ‘Benefit of the Humankind’.
In this way all those who suffer will rapidly find comfort for their hearts.
The prayer for the mind is: “Deliver us from evil”.
The mind is the link between the higher and the lower nature of the being.
Only when the eyes of the mind were open the human being became aware of good
and evil. Animals are allowed to follow their instincts and desires without
For them there isn’t good or evil, because they don’t have a mind
and therefore they lack the ability of discriminating. A man without intellect
is not considered responsible for his actions either. If he commits a crime,
his inability to estimate what he’s done is recognized and he is only
put in condition not to harm again.
When the mind (personality or individual self, Note of the Author)
joins forces with the higher Self (superior Ego, Note of the Author)
and takes the initiative we have a person with an advanced conscience and high
ideals. On the contrary, the coalition between mind and desires of the lower
nature produces an egocentric personality with a low ideal profile.
The aim of the Lord’s Prayer is therefore to accelerate the breaking
of the ally between mind and body of desire and all that this implies.
The aspirant operates the union of the higher with the lower nature by
visualizing high subjects. The mystic union is strengthened by
contemplation, to which adoration follows, elevating the Spirit
up to God’s Throne itself.
With the Lord’s Prayer, in order to achieve the necessary spiritual exaltation,
adoration takes the first place in a plea representing all the needs of the
lower vehicles (see the following diagram, Note of the Author).
Every aspect of the spiritual triplicity, starting from the lowest one, elevates
towards the corresponding aspect of the Divinity through adoration.
When all the three aspects of the Spirit reach the Throne of Grace, each offers
a part of prayer that suits the most the needs of one’s material counterpart.
All the three of them join in the final part in favor of the mind.
The Human Spirit elevates up to its counterpart, the Holy Spirit, by saying:
“Hallowed be Thy Name”.
The Vital Spirit kneels down in front of its counterpart, the Son (Christ),
saying: “Thy Kingdom come”.
The Divine Spirit bows in front of its counterpart, the Father (God), saying:
“Thy Will be done”.
The first and highest aspect of the spirit, the Divine Spirit, asks the highest
aspect of the Divinity, the Father, on behalf of the denser counterpart, the
physical body: “Give us this day our daily bread”.
The second aspect, the vital Spirit, prays its counterpart, the Son, on behalf
of its reflection in the lower nature, the vital body: “Forgive us
our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.
The third and lowest aspect of the spirit, the Human Spirit, makes its plea
on behalf of the body of desire, to the lowest level (close to it, Note
of the Author) of the Divinity asking: “Lead us not into temptation”.
Finally, the three aspects of the Spirit of the human being join together
in the most important part of the prayer, where they make a plea on behalf of
the mind, saying: “Deliver us from evil”.
The introduction of the prayer “Our Father who art in heaven”
can be compared to the address on the envelope of a letter. The added sentence:
“For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever,
amen” wasn’t given by Christ, but it suits the conclusive adoration
of the triple spirit, because it encloses the address direct to the Divinity.
Athos A. Altomonte