The first question:
The Steiner School of Anthroposophy teaches one to have a strong will. This is a departure from traditional Eastern thought. What is this will? How does this will relate to the ego?
The East and the West, up to now, have worked as polar opposites – the West through the will, the East through surrender; the West through the ego, the East through absolute egolessness. The way of the West is that of the male, and the way of the East is that of the female.
The East believes in passivity: God comes to you when you are absolutely passive, receptive, a nothing, just an awaiting, a prayerful awaiting, with no effort at all on your part. The way of the West is aggressive: the way of the male. Man has to seek, man has to go, man has to conquer. Even God has to be conquered, nature has to be conquered, truth has to be conquered.
Both have failed, because both are partial; they had to fail. The East has failed tremendously, as tremendously as the West has failed – because man is not only male and man is not only female. Man is both…and more. Man is both the yin and yang. And a greater religion, a far more synthetical religion is needed in which the East and West will lose their old conflict.
Steiner is the representative of the Western mind. He revolted against theosophy and created a new school, anthroposophy. Theosophy was Eastern: Blavatsky, Annie Besant, Leadbeater and Olcott. They had searched in the East, in the old scriptures, traditions, old masters, and they had come to a certain conclusion about the East: that if you surrender, God happens.
Theosophy means: “theo” means God, “sophy” means love. You simply live like a woman. You wait, you remain in a welcoming mood. Only that welcoming mood is needed, and God penetrates you. You become the feminine and he becomes the male. That is the allegory of Krishna and his girlfriends. Krishna is God, the male; and the seeker, the devotee, is a female, a girlfriend, a gopi. One has to become feminine to reach to God – that has been the essential core of Eastern thought, religion, philosophy.
Steiner revolted against it. First he was a theosophist, but by and by he became aware that this was not possible for him to accept. He created a new movement against theosophy, a new school. He called it “anthroposophy.” “Anthrop” means man, “theo” means God. Theosophy is love of God, anthroposophy is love of man. He placed man in the very center. God is not in the center of his thinking, man is at the center.