Chapter IV. The Evolution of the World and Man
The more man's interests were fixed on the physical sense-world, the greater was the possibility of Ahriman gaining a hold upon the soul during earthly life and retaining his power of it after death. This danger was least among the peoples of ancient India, for during earthly life they had felt the physical sense-world to be an illusion, and thus had eluded the power of Ahriman after death. The danger for the primitive Persian peoples, who between birth and death had fixed their attention, with great interest, upon the physical sense-world was much greater. They would have largely fallen a prey to Ahriman's wiles had not Zarathustra pointed out, emphatically through his teaching concerning the Light of God, that behind the physical sense-world there exists the world of the Spirits of Light. In proportion to the ability of the people of this civilization to receive something into their souls out of the world of thought thus created, were they able to escape Ahriman's clutches during earthly life, and thereby elude him in the life after death, during which they were to be prepared for a new earth-life. The power of Ahriman in earthly life tends to make the physical sense-existence appear to be the only one, and thus to bar the way to any vista of a spiritual world. His power in the spiritual world leads man to complete isolation, and to the concentration of all his interest upon himself. Those who, at the time of death, are in Ahriman's power, are born again as egoists. It is now possible for occult science to describe life between death and a new birth as it is, provided the Ahrimanic influence has, to a certain degree, been overcome. It is in this sense that it has been described by the author in the first chapter of this book as well as in other writings. And it must be described in this way if that which can be experienced by man during this form of existence is to be visualized and if he has attained to purely spiritual perception for that which really exists. The degree to which the individual experiences this, depends upon the extent to which he has overcome the Ahrimanic influence.