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Chapter IV. The Evolution of the World and Man


had imparted the mystery of reincarnation to immature souls, mankind began to confuse more and more the true with the false ideas. Many of these people indeed retained a kind of dim clairvoyance, as a heritage from the Atlantean period. Just as the Atlanteans had entered the spiritual world during sleep, their descendants had experience of it in abnormal states, intermediate between sleeping and waking. Then there arose in these people the images of the ancient times of their forefathers. They believed themselves to be reincarnations of people who had lived in those times. Teachings about reincarnation, which were at variance with the true ideas of the Initiates, were widely spread over the earth. As a result of the long-continued migrations which had taken place from west to east since the beginning of the Atlantean catastrophe, a group of people settled in western Asia whose posterity is known to history as the Persian race and the tribes related thereto. Here we look back to a much earlier period than the historical times of these peoples. Next after the Indian period, we have first to do with the very early ancestors of the later Persians, among whom arose the second great civilization of post-Atlantean evolution. The peoples of this second era had a different mission from that of the Indians. Their longings and inclinations were not fixed on the supersensible world alone; they were also directed toward the physical sense-world, and the earth became dear to them. They valued what man is able to acquire on it, and what he is able to win by means of its forces. Their achievements as a warlike people, and the methods which they discovered of acquiring the earth's treasures, are connected with this peculiarity of their nature. There was no danger of their turning their backs upon the “illusion� of the physical senses in their yearning after the supersensible, but rather of their entirely severing the connection of their souls with the supersensible world, through their appreciation for the physical world. The oracle-sanctuaries, which had been transferred hither