The Monistic Theory
by Nhân Tử Nguyễn Văn Thọ
Preface | Chapters:
Rosicrucians and the Monistic Theory
When considering the history of the Rosicrucians, one must bear in mind
that members of the body were, and are, pledged to secrecy, and that the
paucity of their records is the proof of their sincerity and devotion.
But it is permissible to give some data of the history of the Society
since its foundation about the year 1420.
It is said to have been founded by Christian Rosenkreutz (Rosy Cross
1378-1484) about 1420, though, by some authorities, he is considered as
a legendary figure. He is supposed to have received his wisdom and
philosophy from ancient sources in the various places he visited:
Palestine, Damascus, Egypt and Spain.
Now Rosicrucians considered themselves as descending from an Ancient
Egyptian mystery school whose first Master was the Pharoah Akhnaton, and
that a great number of the most enlightened minds of history have been
counted among its members.
The Rosicrucians are now found in Europe, England, Scotland, South
Africa, Australia, America, New Zealand, South America, India and
elsewhere, and its secrets are very well kept.
What is, then, the etymology of Rosenkreuze? Some think that they derive
from the Latin words Ros, dew, and Crux, cross. The argument in its
favor may be fairly represented by the following quotation:-" Of all
natural bodies, dew was deemed the most powerful dissolvent of gold; and
the cross in chemical language, was equivalent to light; because the
figure of the cross exhibits at the same time the three letters of which
the word Lux, or Light is compounded. Now lux is called...the seed or
menstruum of the red dragon, or in other words, that gross and corporeal
light, which, when properly digested and modified, produced gold. Hence
it follows, if this etymology be admitted, that a Rosicrucian (sic)
philosopher is one by the intervention and assistance of the dew, seeks
for light, or in other words, the substance called the Philosopher's
But other people have different opinions. For them, it is the reunion of
the Rose and the Cross. Eliphas Levi provides the following commentary
on the Rosicrucian symbol:
"The Rose, which from time immemorial has been the symbol of beauty and
life, of love and pleasure, expressed in a mystical manner all the
protestations of the Renaissance. It was the flesh revolting against the
oppression of the spirit, it was Nature declaring herself to be, like
grace, the daughter of God, it was love refusing to be stifled by the
celibate, it was life refusing to be no longer barren, it was humanity
aspiring to a natural religion, full of love and reason, founded on the
revelation of the harmonies of existence of which the Rose was for
initiates the living and blooming symbol. The Rose, in fact, is a
pentacle; its form is circular, the leaves of the corolla are
heart-shaped and are supported harmoniously by one another; its color
presents the most delicate shades of primitive hues; its calyx is purple
and gold... the conquest of the Rose was the problem offered by
initiation to science, which religion toiled to prepare and establish
the universal, exclusive, and definitive triumph of the Cross.
"The reunion of the Rose and the Cross, such was the problem proposed by
supreme initiation, and, in effect, occult philosophy, being the
universal synthesis, should take into account all the phenomena of
In 1614, the town of Cassel in Germany was surprised by the appearance,
from where no one knew, of a pamphlet entitled, The Fame of the
Fraternity of the Meritorious Order of the Rosy Cross Addressed to the
Learned in General and the Governors of Europe, usually called for short
(it being written in Latin) the Fama Fraternitatis or Fama. It proposed
that men of learning should band together to undertake a reformation of
science comparable to that which religion had recently undergone, and
that this should be done with the assistance of a hitherto hidden
brotherhood of light - the Rosicrucians.
The Fama mentioned also about Christian Rosencreutz (Rosy Cross), his
life and his death.
A year later another pamphlet, Confession of the Rosicrucian Fraternity,
offered initiation to secret applicants. The Fama and Confessio soon
came to be regarded by most as either hoaxes or fantasies.
The movement attracted those of Kabbalistic tendencies, and concerned
itself with Astrology, Alchemy and, to some extent, with the principles
of Free Masonry. Its teachings combine elements of occultism reminiscent
of a variety of religious beliefs and practices.
The two most substantial groups of Rosicrucians in the United States,
are the Rosicrucian Fellowship, with its international headquarters at
Mt. Ecclesia, Oceanside, California, and the Ancient and Mystical Order
Rosae Crucis (AMORC) in San Jose, Rosicrucian Park. The latter is the
best-known group. The older of the two groups, and the most influenced
by Theosophy, is however, the Rosicrucian Fellowship, founded in 1917,
by Carl Louis van Grasshoff, who used the pen name Max Heindel. This
branch describes the Rosicrucian Philosophy as "a mystical philosophy,
founded upon Christian principles and based upon the reality of Christ,
and the work he came to earth to do". It believes in a sixth sense
latent in man which, when developed, enables one to investigate the
realm of the super-physical where dwell the dead. Its basic doctrine is
common to Theosophy: World evolution, reincarnation, secret initiation,
invisible helpers, and elder brothers. There is special emphasis on
healing and on astrology. One who is admitted into the Fellowship gives
up tobacco, liquor and meat...
The AMORC, is far larger. It claims not to be a "religion", but a
"worldwide fraternal organization" on the Masonic model which teaches
philosophy and practices designed to enable the individual to use
ordinary latent faculties for the sake of improving his abilities and
leading a more satisfying life...
The literature of Rosicrucianism speaks of the golden secret, which is
that man has two natures, a "duality of self." Besides the physical
body, there is a "greater inner self" . This secret is the key to the
Rosicrucian understanding of the question of death and the development
of psychic powers, including the projection of consciousness out of the
body. These techniques and the philosophy which go with them are
obtained in lessons sent out from the headquarters in San Jose, which
the individual may study at home or with a local lodge.
It tries to develop the intuitive knowledge, that is, a part of a
Universal Cosmic Intelligence which pervades the entire universe and
every cell of our being, and that we can command it to serve us, that we
can draw upon it as we will... Psychologists today say that man uses
only a fraction of the inherent power with which he is imbued as a human
being. The secret brotherhoods have known for centuries how to command
and use much more of this power to round up and enjoy an enriched life.
Hundreds of the so-called mysteries are understandable and workable laws
of the universe to those who master this esoteric (inner) knowledge...
The oldest of these humanitarian societies, worldwide in extent and not
a religion, is the Rosicrucians. It offers you this knowledge, as old as
time, for the fullness of life, free of any religious intolerance or
political or other prejudices or biases.
As in the earliest time, the Rosicrucians not only studied, but went
about ministering to those in distress... They believe that this world
and indeed the whole universe is permeated with the essence of the
Creator, that every rock is instinct with life, that every plant and
every tree is imbued with a sense derived from the Master Mind that
caused it to exist, and that each living thing moves, acts and thinks in
accordance with the supreme design by which all things were made, by
which all things exist, and by which they will continue to function till
the end of time. At no period did the Rosicrucians declare the
transmutation of metals to be a part of their practice, nor did they
ever promise indefinite prolongation of life by mysterious drugs, but
they did speak of these in parables with the full and complete knowledge
that all things are possible, and that with the forces of nature under
their control, they could do even these. They were content to act and to
trust to the future, when the mind of men having been cleansed, the
redemption and absorption should be accomplished.
Rosicrucians declared that they follow the tradition of Neo-Platonic
philosophy. "The traditions of the Neo-Platonic philosophy, with its
elaborate theurgical system, said Arthur Edward Waite, were to some
extent perpetuated through the whole period of the Middle-Ages, for
beside the orthodox theology of the great Latin Church, and amidst the
clamor of scholastic philosophy, we find the secret theosophy of the
magician, the Kabbalist, and the alchemical adept borrowing, directly or
indirectly from this prolific fountain of exalted mysticism... At this
time, Germany was a stronghold of mysticism, which according to
Ueberweg, was at first chiefly developed in sermons by monks of the
Dominican Order; its aim was to advance Christianity by edifying
speculation, and to render it comprehensible by the transcendent use of
the reason. "The author and perfector of this entire development was
Master Eckart, "who taught that the creature apart from the Absolute,
that is, from God, was nothing that "time, space, and the plurality
which depends on them', are also nothing in themselves, and that "the
duty of man as a moral being is to rise beyond this nothingness of the
creature, and by direct intuition to place himself in immediate union
with the Absolute."
We know also that Rosicrucians embraced all the Hermeticist Sciences,
such as Neo-Platonism, Kaballah, Alchemy, Free Masonry, Theosophy, and
that all these cults professed the Monistic Theory. In that case, even
if we find nothing or almost nothing pertaining to the Monistic Theory,
in the writings of some modern Rosicrucians, we must infer that in the
repertory of their lodges, we can find these documents.
When studying the Rosicrucians, I am convinced that they like to be
pioneers in the domain of teaching. If in the Middle Ages, many of them
were learned in Alchemy, now they like to teach people how to develop
their latent potentialities, and to achieve psychic development.
We know also that the Monistic Theory was always considered as a heresy
by the Roman Catholic Church. The proof of that is the case of Meister
Johannes Eckhart. Eckhart, a Dominican monk, spent his life (1260-1327)
preaching The Monistic Theory or The Emanation Theory, the essence of
which is: The divine essence imbues all beings; each human soul
contains, then, a divine spark: by the knowledge and by the mystical
experience, it can be united to the Godhead, which is the goal toward
which it tends. His mysticism was considered as an emanationist
pantheism, and in 1329 some of his doctrines were condemned by the Pope.
Therefore, in the Middle Ages, many societies became secret, so that
they could keep intact this monistic tradition of humanity.
Dictionnaire des Religions, E. Royston Pike, Presses
Universitaires de France, 1954, p. 116.
Preface | Chapters: