The miraculous draught of the fishes – chapter 18 of ‘The Universal Gnosis’


The Holy Language contains a rich variety of stories about fish and fisherman. We read of miraculous draughts of fishes where the nets tear from the great load or of equally miraculous great draughts· where the nets do not tear. At times people are not only given bread to eat but also fish and there are many, especially among the disciples, whose trade is that of fisherman. The disciples are called while they are busy fishing, or working at repairing their nets.

These stories haven been told so frequently and the pupils of the School of the Rosycross believe they have such a thorough understanding of their various meanings that they generaly think all this teaching is a worn-out subject, which they may lay aside with all the rest that has lost its vitality. Yet, it is the Gnosis itself who draws your attention in particular to this fisherman’s trade with all its attributes, because it is not unlikely that quite a few things may yet emerge from the yellowed leaves of your trite reading matter of which you have not had the slightest inkling.

It is not that we wish to convey very spectacular things to you, for you to say, ‘Who in the world would ever have thought of that!’ Not at all. But we are of the opinion that it is not an impossibility that right within commonplace records there are treasures and warnings which have so far gone unnoticed. Therefore, we first of all direct your attention to the combination of the words, ‘bread; and ‘fish’, the two things which are miraculously multiplied as ‘food’.

Now you know that bread is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, of the original pranic Light, whereas the symbol of the fish conveys the idea of self­ sacrificing love. This does not mean a general love of mankind; it is not the quality of being philan­ thropic hut in a very special sense it refers to ‘applied love of mankind’, the love which creates an urge for the deed in a human life. The symbol of the fish is applicable only to those who, without regard to the self, completely forgetting the self, wade into the horrible reality of the dialectica! cesspool, in order to work on behalf of their fellow man.

It goes without saying that, measured by the standards of nature, such a work brings sorrow, but the reality, which is purely gnostic, holds an immense heavenly joy. Seen in this light the symbol of the fish refers to the universal gnostic bread transmuted within the pupil. The pupil who has taken his first steps upon the path of liberation, is fed with the bread of life: the Gnosis. As soon as this bread can actually be eaten, it implies that the fish are also eaten, that is to say that the touch of the Holy Spirit in the system of the plexuses brings about a tension, an urge within the pupil to be explained directly from the Gnosis. This urge incites him to great activity on the horizontal plane.

Reaching this stage means that the pupil possesses within himself ‘transmuted Holy Spirit’, and so, led from within, there is nothing else he can do hut set to work. He acts; he must act. So, in eating bread and fish, he becomes a fisherman. This gnostic calling evolves from the touch of the Holy Spirit, the bread, and from the possibility that this touch has a lasting influence upon the whole plexus-system. If this change in the plexus-system fails to carne about, there can be no question of the fisherman’s calling. Of course this state of being has a signature, one to which the words, ‘test the spirits whether they are of God’, apply. We must learn from this that loving one’s neighbour, practiced in the gnostic sense, is never the outcome of the goodness of this nature. Laving one’s neighbour, as it is viewed in dialectics and to which we refer by the common denominator ‘humanism’, should be very clearly distinguished from that love which develops under the influence of the Gnosis.

We see two categories of workers: those who work by means of a culture of goodness and the category which works through divine nature. The farmer category contributes to perpetuating this world, whereas the latter endeavours to guide the straying sheep back home to the fold of the Immovable Kingdom. As soon as a pupil has worked his way up, through the Holy Spirit, to the category of the true fisherman, he is very much aware of the familiar words, ‘work out your own salvation in fear and trembling’; for now that he has received the building materials of renewal, as out of the hand of God, he himself must explore the path, step by step, in liberating action. There are no gains without pains. Attainment of the aim must be reached by fighting for it.

Therefore, it will be clear to the pupil that he must have at his disposal a ship and a net, because with these he will be able to ply the fisherman’s trade. His own personality system, his own micro­cosm will have to be sanctified to be able to serve the great purpose of the Gnosis. An intense self­ activity, a self-freemasonry will be necessary for the work of the outer freemasonry to be fulftlled. He who does not work on his own self has no right to hold out his hand to the self of others. He who is unable to remove the beam from his own eye wi11 not be able to remove the mote from another’s eye. Desiring to be a fisherman means in the first place self-freemasonry, the building of a ship.

If this essential work is undertaken energetically, the need for the true freemason’s attribute, the fishing net wil1 also be feit. The fishing net is the gnostic server’s tool. With the aid of his ship and his tools the worker is ready to fish men out of the sea of dialectica! life. Now the fact is that the pupil finds that his ship and his net must evolve simultaneously. The two activities are interdepen­ dent and must work together in attaining their reciprocal objectives. When the inner urge of the transmuted gnostic force stirs in the pupil’s system, he cannot hut respond to it.

Therefore, it is certain that in the beginning the fishermen can frequently be seen repairing their nets. However, since this urge exists, it ensures that there wil1 never be a weakening of the twofold activity. As negative as the result of this activity may be and despite the pupil’s despair at the tearing of his nets, the urge of the Gnosis within him increases in power. His second attempt to make a catch will be more energetic and more dynamic than the hopeless first try.

There is another signature in this working. The one who possesses the gnostic signature will never give up hut rather, every disappointment will be of benefit to him. Mark this so you can distinguish between the hallmark of genuiness and its imitation. There is no end to the diversity of imitations liable to be made of both the ship and the fishing net in this world. But none of these can last. They will be either undone or unmasked.

As soon as the pupil-fisherman has advanced after many seeming disappointments (which are nothing but milestones marking development), to the point where his ship and his nets, his self­ freemasonry and his outer-freemasonry (his inner state and his outer tools) can pass a minimal test, the time has come for a new binding with the Gnosis. The fisherman then becomes a real fisher of men and his nets will not tear. There comes a historical moment in his experience when a multitude of fish are drawn to the shore.

However, before it has come to this, he has perhaps gone through may years of laborious struggle and an all hut endless series of disappointments. But this was necessary for him to learn the sacred craft and thus come nearer to the realization of the glorious aim of the Universal Brotherhood. Since all of you are participants in the School so that you may one day be able to exercise the sacred vocation, you must understand that the fisherman’s trade can and must be exercised on a cooperative basis. Provided their ships are ready, it is possible and desirable that all should pull a common net through the depths of the sea of life.

The School of the Rosycross is a training school for the fishers of men. In this School you are taught to build your ships under the radiation power of the Gnosis and, consequently, as you advance with building you will also weave your nets, because the urge for the liberating deed keeps pace with the progress in building. The School enables you to respond to this urge within its force-field and the mistakes you make and the nets you tear are chargeable to the School.

Do fully realize what an enormous privilege this is. There are workers who have to do their work in isolation without receiving any help from others, without the protecting wings of a Spiritual School. To them it is said, ‘Work while it is day, for the night comes soon’. Every mistake they make will come home to them to roost; every broken net will often cause an almost desperate situation and their little ships will be tossed about violently on the academie sea.

However, if they succeed after fighting hard for their success, the time will come when that, which is known to us as the Spiritual School, will develop. Those who are caught in the net that can tear no more find themselves in the training school for fishermen. That is, they live and have their being in a force-field, a vacuum, wherein a vibration of the Holy Spirit is maintained. It must be clear to you that in a vibration field which is so completely separated from this world it is infinitely easier to learn the trade, and that the mistakes made do not recoil as violently on the pupil as on those whose work it was to build up the force-field. The mistakes you make must be balanced out in and through the force-field.

There­fore, you will realize that this grace, this goodwill of the School, has its limits. You will likewise have to realize your great responsibility towards the School. When some speaker says something quite false, when elsewhere some worker commits a blunder, falls short of using tact or harms the work out of thoughtlessness, these offenders go scot-free almost immediately and aften they are totally unaware of their mistakes or by the very next day have completely forgotten how disastrously they have riddled the nets. But the force-field and those who are fully answerable for it must then shoulder the consequences of the mistakes and try to restore the balance.

Every person who attends a Service in one of the foei of the force-field takes away someting of its vitality. Many participants who fail to come up to certain standards are able to deplete the force-field totally. Your feelings and thoughts of criticism, your entire attitude towards the School inflict a daily wound upon the vibration-field. Do you realize that in such cases others literally have to suffer because of you, that they have to suffer vicariously for you? And do you also understand that this sacrifice is not just thoughtlessly made? In the Brotherhood of Life not an ounce of energy is wasted. When it becomes apparent that a pupil has no intention of learning the sacred trade; if he should prove to have other designs; when the sacrifice made by the School is infinitely greater than is warranted by the behaviour of the pupil concerned, such a parasite must then be dismissed from the School.

Just think of the responsibility of the workers who might, through inconsiderate admission of unfit pupils, make the vicarious suffering unbear­ ably heavy and hamper the development of the School to the point where there could be virtually no question of further progress.
Do not think so lightly of your pupilship from now on. Onderstand that it entails intense suffering and a sacrifice for your sake of which you know nothing. Consider also that all this is being done on your behalf, in order to teach you the sacred trade in the shortest possible time and in the easiest way, to enable you to help pull in the large net. It is the duty of every pupil to reinforce the force-field and to render the sacrifice made by others more radiant and less burdensome. How will you have to do this? Is it by saying something? By emitting some emotional thought or feeling? By some material sacrifice?

No! Only if you work at building your own ship in complete self-freemasonry, in liberating activity, only if your eye is directed at your own piece of work wti hin your own being, only then wil1 the sacrifice for you not have been made in vain. Because after a great deal of exertion and much negative work charged to the School you will one day be able to help cast the net on the right side, on the correct side.

This new call of the Gnosis is to make you see how the Christ Hierarchy and its servants approach you by actual sacrifice to be of service to you. It is to tell you that this offer is being made in a very intelligent and dynamic way and that, conse­quently, your response to this sacrifice must be equally intelligent and equally dynamic. In the present field of work, living in the latter days, there is an enormous consumption of power and so the sacrifice conceded is exceedingly great. So, hear the call that this sacrifice must be recom­pensed with actual results on your part, if the balance is to be preserved and you desire to be maintained as pupils of the School.

We hope and pray that you will soon be found capable of casting your nets on the right side.


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