1949 Paul Brunton read a summary of Martinus' teachings and a translation
of his book "Mankind and the World Picture". These inspired
Brunton to study with Martinus, and from May to August 1952 he lived
with his wife at the Martinus Institute in Copenhagen where he spent
2 - 4 evenings a week with him. In these sessions Martinus systematically
explained his symbols for Brunton, and Brunton had the opportunity to
have his many questions discussed. "Mankind and the World Picture"
has not yet been published since the translation needs to be revised.
The following article was written in the 1950's by Brunton as a Foreword
to "Mankind and the World Picture ".
the course of extensive travels around the world, it has been a part
of the research work, which is my vocation in life, to delve into the
philosophic, mystic, and religious literatures, organisations, and traditions
of each country I have visited. But another and not less important part
of this work has been the deliberate ferreting out of unusually gifted
and spiritually advanced individuals in much the same way that was recorded
many years ago in the books, A Search In Secret India, and A
Search In Secret Egypt. Some of them have been obscurely hidden
away in private life, but others have been the heads of influential
is how I came to meet the man who composed this work, which is now presented
for the first time in an English translation. We became good friends.
He prefers to be known only by his first, or Christian, name which is
principal work is Livets Bog (The Book of Life), of which five
large volumes have already been published. The sixth is still in the
course of composition, and the seventh, which is to be the final one
of the series, is yet to be started. In addition he has written three
medium-sized books. The first, entitled Logic, is an attempt
to get its readers to question their conventional ideas and traditional
beliefs, especially religious beliefs, and to rethink them in a more
courageously logical manner. The second, Funeral, is a treatise
on different ways of burying the dead and recommendation for their disposal
in zinc-lined coffins placed in above-the-surface mausoleums. The third
and only translated work (1) is Mankind and the World Picture,
which will be described later. He has also written several short monographs
and books on such varied subjects as Mental Sovereignity, The Ideal
Food, The Longest Living Idol, What is Truth? and The Mystery
I first met Martinus some years ago in Copenhagen, I found him a simple,
unpretentious individual who dressed, spoke, and lived in quite an ordinary
manner. No one looking at his physical exterior could easily guess that
it concealed a man who must be regarded as the outstanding living seer
of his own country, and who, his disciples assert and his teachings
predict, will eventually be recognized as the prophet of the modern
world. In some ways he reminded me of Jacob Boehme, "the illumined
shoemaker of Goerlitz".
he is virtually unknown outside Scandinavia, it may be useful to the
reader to give a few facts about his life. In 1950 he celebrated his
60th birthday. His parents lived and worked on a lonely farm in the
part of Denmark called Jutland, which is a large peninsula lying to
the west of the country. His home was situated in a region of few inhabitants,
forests and open rugged fields. This solitary environment developed
within him a close kinship with Nature, made him accustomed to being
alone with his own thoughts and fostered his innate religious yearnings.
spent the summers out in the pastures looking after herds of cows. The
nearest house was about two-thirds of a mile away. He especially liked
to play in a little neighbouring wood. Each day in winter he had to
walk for half an hour to reach the school house, where he was taught
enough letters to be able to add, to write, and to read, but little
more. He told me that the most visible fruit of this simple and brief
schooling was that it enabled him to read The Holy Bible. For this he
is immensely grateful, as he considers it a book of inestimable worth
when correctly interpreted. It is a work of which only certain parts
should be taken literally, while other parts must be taken symbolically
or allegorically. Apart from this scripture, he never cared for reading
and is unfamiliar even with the limited amount of literature with which
any Danish schoolboy of the present day is familiar.
adulthood, he was called to spend eight months in the Navy on compulsory
service, after which he changed his whole, life by settling in the town
of Copenhagen instead of returning to the country. He found employment
in the office of a great dairy-company and remained there for several
the two signs indicative of the course of his future development had
been a deeply religious temperament and the resolute adoption of a fixed
attitude when confronted by any situation calling for a moral decision.
He then always asked himself, "What would Jesus have done in these
circumstances?" The answer that evolved out of his own mind became
his guide for action.
day someone lent him a little book about Theosophy, a subject about
which Martinus knew nothing at all, and handed it to him with the suggestion
that it might be found interesting. Martinus, unaccustomed to reading
as he was, idly turned over two or three pages and then his eyes alighted
on a reference to "meditation". This single word was enough
to ring a bell deep inside his inner consciousness. Obeying a sudden
urge, he sat down in a chair and started to meditate on God. Almost
immediately his first "cosmic" experience followed. (The terms
"cosmic experience "and "cosmic consciousness" are
used to refer to a fully conscious, completely controlled awareness
of a higher dimension of being which accompanies and does not cancel
out ordinary physical dimension. It is not used by Martinus for any
mystically-occult or yoga experience. P.B.)
off he noticed the appearance of a tiny speck of radiant light. It then
moved slowly towards him, enlarging itself as it did so, until it took
the visible shape of a man none other than the master Jesus, himself.
This luminous form then entered into Martinus' own physical body and
since that time has lived within him as the Christ consciousness.
next day he went into the same deep state of introverted consciousness
again, and during this experience there was revealed to him the fact
that God was present in every part of the universe, that a perfect pattern
was hidden behind the movements of everything and the lives of every
creature within it. There was meaning and purpose behind the activities
of suns, stars, planets, seasons, and all the grand panorama of Nature.
he thus saw intuitively constituted a large revelation which he set
himself to communicate to his fellow men. The method of communication
which naturally suggested itself to him was two-fold. The first, writing
descriptive and explanatory books, was the conventional and traditional
method, but the second one was most striking and indeed the unique feature
of his contribution - since so many of these teachings are already familiar
to students of these subjects. It was the series of coloured drawings
and geometrical diagrams which he calls "Symbols", because
they explain the laws, forces, entities and evolutionary movements active
in the universe.
tried to resume his everyday life but found it impossible to continue
in the old groove. He had to withdraw from his employment and start
a new life, one entirely devoted to the mission which, he knew, had
been invested in him. This was made possible for him by the financial
help of a few good friends. Henceforth, he occupied himself with writing
at a feverish ardour, setting down in long sentences, sometimes a whole
page long, the truth which had come to him, but on a later day rejecting
and rewriting most of his manuscripts because he then regarded them
as being imperfect or inadequate. He found it difficult to obtain the
right words with which to describe his knowledge; the latter came, and
even today still comes through, with such an uprush that he recognizes
it to be a great mass of knowledge from former incarnations suddenly
revived again. His literary does not conform to any known Danish styles;
even there he expresses himself. It appears closer to Latin than
to any other European language. This period of rapidly developing knowledge
and improving capacity to formulate it lasted for seven years. It constituted
a kind of apprenticeship to the full proficiency with which he started
the second period of work that was deemed fit to find its way into print.
this apprenticeship he also experimented with various regimes of ascetical
living to purify the nervous system of his body, so as to receive with
less resistance the higher vibrations of spiritual forces which were
daily entering into it. It was a time of great stress and suffering
as his physical system slowly adjusted itself to the influx of these
forces. Now, however, he laughs at extreme forms of asceticism and declares
them to be either premature or unnecessary. Nevertheless, both he and
his convinced followers feel it quite natural not to smoke tobacco,
drink alcohol, eat meat and fish, since these things are regarded as
pernicious poisons which impair the body's health, and hinder spiritual
development. Indeed he predicts that the perfectly developed human being
of the far future will subsist exclusively on fruits, but says it would
be foolish for the present-day man to imitate him. Martinus himself
has never married, yet celibacy is not encouraged.
with some of his written "Analyses" of the world picture,
Martinus during this time began to create the series of coloured geometrical
patterns, "The Symbols", which now number nearly eighty.
large copy of his most important symbol, drawn during the third year
of his apprenticeship, hangs always on the wall beside his desk. It
is a symbolic representation of "God's Living Universe" with
the circular course of the evolution marked out for all the beings,
including the earth, within the cosmos. Martinus himself explains the
purpose of his Symbols in these words, "...I have considered it
helpful to give visible material expressions of those mental realities
so that instead of forming mere mental manifestations, of use only to
the trained thinker, or occultist, they now will appear as palpable
material picture, which are amenable to physical sight and hence can
be explored in the same easy and plain way as a far-off landscape with
its rivers, mountains and cities can be studied on an exactly prepared
map. Thus the intention with my illustrations is to make the access
to the study of the cosmic or spiritual universe just as easy to humanity
in general, as the study of the physical, materialistic territories
now are accessible to each pupil in school by help of geography."
winter Martinus lectures to public audiences of five to six hundred
people in the city of Copenhagen, and in addition and during other seasons,
to somewhat smaller audiences of convinced followers and interested
listeners. Martinus says that by such occasions new cells may be born
in the brains of his audiences as a result of the forces playing through
him the auditorium. Until he was sixty-two years old he had never stepped
across the frontiers of Denmark, but at that age he went to lecture
in Iceland at the invitation of the Theosophical Society.
small magazine entitled "Kosmos", which has a circulation
of nearly 1000 copies per month and carries a serialized contribution
from Martinus in every issue, is made up of articles written by students
of his teachings. His secretary, Erik Gerner Larsson, has also composed
a six-volume course, An Outline of Martinus' Spiritual Science,
which is an attempt to express fluently the teaching in easier and more
popular and less detailed form. Gerner Larsson was one of the first
disciples to recognize the worth of these teachings, and he has devoted
his whole life to the work of ardently propagating them since they were
launched by Martinus, a quarter century ago.
Larsson also edits and writes the major part of a fortnightly Newsletter
in mimeographed form. The main article deals at length with some problem
sent in by a reader, whether a personal or religious or occult problem,
which is judged to be of sufficiently wide interest to be worth treating
in this form. The next article is an installment of a serial course
explaining, in easy popular language, Livets Bog's teachings.
Formerly, Martinus himself wrote a page answering questions submitted
by readers, but he dropped this out lately.
a hundred kilometers northwest of Copenhagen Martinus has establishes
a colony and vacation home on the coast near the village of Klint. Here
he spends some summer months and together with two secretaries delivers
two or three lectures a week. About two hundred persons spend short
holidays or long periods here in a
friendly, cheerful and elevated atmosphere. This friendliness emanates
from the teacher himself and spreads around the place, but the teaching
itself must have some power in producing it. Martinus once summed it
up as being fulfilled in Jesus' admonition to love one's neighbour as
oneself. Indeed, his entire cosmological scheme, with its descriptions
of the movements of Life and Mind through the boundless space of the
cosmos, is intended solely to supply a scientific foundation for the
rightness of this admonition, and to bring popular knowledge of it on
an intellectual basis instead of an emotional one.
is the importance the Danish seer attaches to this attitude that he
ardently expects that a motion picture film will be made one day, whose
scenes will be drawn by hand as those of a Walt Disney cartoon are drawn.
The great circular symbol already mentioned will be its central theme.
This picture will be an attempt to provide for the masses of theatre-goers
proof that the only sound ethical basis for their lives is that love
towards all creatures, including the animals.
have heard it said a number of times that Martinus does not show any
outward signs of being an extraordinary individual. He has a bespectacled
face, massive head, wide shoulders and a figure of medium height. But
his black hair and the dark colour of his eyes is unusual in a Nordic
Scandinavian country, while their large dilated pupils bespeak to me
an indication of his clairvoyant seership. Moreover for a man of his
age his vitality he is astonishingly youthful.
does not want to glorify his personality at the expense of his principles,
does not seek to push himself forward so that a disproportionate attention
is given to the man at the expense of his message, and he discourages
worship of, or dependence on, the master by the disciple, in the Oriental
manner. Hence he gives no initiations to individuals, offers the followers
no free gift of a sudden expansion of consciousness, and bestows no
spiritual cosmic glimpses to aspiring candidates.
has the useful knack of falling instantly asleep if he has nothing to
do. This happens often when he is in street cars and trains, for instance.
In his private talk he is quite animated, speaking rapidly and fluently.
In public discourses on the platform his manner is equally vivacious,
and at times even excited. It is full of gestures with his hands; his
arms wave and he emphasizes points by pounding the air. Indeed he seems
almost carried away by his subject but in reality he has himself under
answers only the most urgent of his letters and grants only the most
urgent interviews. He says that it is more important to attend to his
true mission of serving humanity by writing books, than to let himself
get involved with individuals who seek him out for personal motives.
So important does he regard Livets Bog (The Book of Life) that
he lets no other work or activity come before his daily writing on it.
He some days even starts at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., composing directly on
a typewriter, and continues until about 10 a.m.
is fully convinced that Providence deliberately kept him away from education,
teachings, cults and movements in order to keep him free to express
his own inner knowledge unimpaired by other people's ideas and uninfluenced
by their work. Even the work on the Symbols was technically self-taught.
From 12 to 30 years of age he wrote nothing except a few letters to
his parents and read nothing except the New Testament. He says
that he learned in former lives the art of literary writing and the
art of drawing, which both now enter into the activity of his mission.
had, especially in the earlier days of his movement, his share of that
criticism and even slander which every public spiritual teacher or writer
who is really effectual or who follows an unorthodox path must expect
to receive. One who was close to him said to me that his usual response
to it was: "What a pity that they are making more bad Karma and
hence more suffering for themselves! I feel so sorry for them."
through his career he has found that his mission receives the help it
needs. He does what he can for it, but at the same time he believes
that Providence is taking care of its success. So even when troubles
or setbacks occur, they do not trouble him. And the help he receives
outwardly is, he feels, inwardly inspired by unseen higher beings who
are allotted to this task and who also protect him. He has complete
faith in this protection. During the war, he was walking one night in
a blackout when a man suddenly appeared and warned him not to continue
in that direction as a shooting battle between Germans and members of
the Danish resistance movement was happening there. The figure of this
stranger immediately vanished. This turned out to be his protection,
for he would have walked straight into the line of fire and his life
would have been endangered. He says that it was a psychic not physical
appearance, sent to enable him to continue his mission of earth.
may startle many students of these subject to hear it, but it is needful
to mention here that Martinus disagrees with the teaching of most mystics,
whether Western or Eastern, about the necessity of meditation. Indeed,
except in the case of highly advanced types, he is strongly opposed
to it. Most readers have become accustomed to consider it inseparable
from mysticism. But in his view the dangers of meditation are too great,
while its necessity was valid only for former epochs when the human
race was primitive and intellectually underdeveloped. In our epoch its
place is fully taken by the use of prayer combined with the use of intelligence.
He considers the development of logical intellectual thinking an absolute
necessity in the spiritual progress of the human race at its present
stage. Anything which detracts from it is therefore to be given up and
he asserts meditation does lead away from it.
further surprise for students is his coupling of religion with meditation
as likewise suited only to primitive mentalities, of course quite apart
from the previous exception. He considers the era of blind belief to
be a dying one, and the era of rational intelligence to be the dawning
one. He says that whereas people in the past accepted religious doctrines,
whether the latter were true or false, on the sole basis of authority,
they now will increasingly accept them on a basis of proven scientific
factuality alone. Any doctrines which cannot meet this test will be
rejected by the coming generations. Therefore, he does not even view
the spread of atheism and materialism with undue alarm, since they are
the products of the young intellect asserting itself in an unbalanced
manner, and with the passage of time better balance will be restored.
the grounds of out-of-date and unsuitable primitivity, Martinus discourages
the growing European interest in Oriental religions, mysticism, and
yoga. He is himself quite unfamiliar with those teachings, literature
and scripture except by hearsay. He has not even read the Bhagavad
Gita. He regards the works of all the Asiatic prophets, including
Krishna, Buddha, Christ and Mohammed, as being merely preparatory to
the unfoldment of the Christ-consciousness in mankind.
very controversial feature of the practical consequences of his teaching,
and which is hard for most people to accept, is that of the refusal
to bear arms in the event of war. Martinus asserts - just as Gandhi
did in India - that truly spiritual persons could not and would not
take the life of another, not even in self-defence. Therefore, they
should not take the lives of invading soldiers even in defence of their
own country. However, since the great majority of present-day people
do not seek to emulate such an ideal man, he sees no likelihood of the
danger of any innocent country being left defenceless against an aggressor
declares that he is acting as an invisible helper at night, when out
of the body during its sleep, on the Korean battlefield, helping newly-slain
soldiers pass through their ordeal peacefully and understandingly, instead
of being bewildered, or self-deceived into the belief that they are
still physically alive.
has selected this book Mankind and the World Picture as the introductory
volume to put his work before English-speaking readers because although
it is of modest size, it contains many of his basic doctrines. It should
constitute a revelation to a number of people as to what can be done
by keen intellectual analysis to bring the human being into a truer
understanding of its relation to the universe, to other human beings
and to God. In it, he proves, by a scrupulously logical argument, the
eternal existence of the "I".
asserts that the wars which afflict mankind, being fought by the physical
weapons produced by modern science, can only be ended by the psychological
weapons produced by spiritual science. He describes the limitations
of scientific instruments and shows why they cannot bring man to the
discovery of the ultimate truth of life, which is hidden within himself
and not in the external surroundings, with which these instruments deal.
He calls the materialistic conception of the universe a dead one, because
it fails to include as a separate principle the really living elements
of thought and consciousness. He declares that the correct explanation
of life is to be sought and found exclusively within the "I",
which seeks the explanation, and not in the body, which is merely the
organism of the "I".
gives some new and interesting interpretations of certain teachings
of Jesus. The belief held in many religious sects that Jesus will return
again in a physical resurrection or, alternatively, reincarnation, is
rejected as erroneous. Martinus looks upon Jesus as a world redeemer
whose teachings, when correctly explained and expounded by spiritual
science, are destined to be spread throughout the globe, and this alone
will constitute his second coming. This spreading of the truth by its
intellectual acceptance and inward realization is said to be the inner
meaning of the phrase, "the descent of the holy host".
looks forward to a golden age in a few thousand years when the leaders
and rulers of mankind will themselves be spiritual initiates, truly
wise men gifted with the power of clairvoyant insight into the cosmic
value of a movement must be judged partly by its effects. The moral
effects of Martinus's teachings are definitely good. This is doubtless
due in part to the fact that his followers are constantly urged to stop
blaming others for their troubles, or events for their misfortunes,
and to scrutinize their own characters for the true causes of these
troubles or misfortunes. This inevitable leads to constant endeavours
in the improvement of character and the discipline of emotion, with
beneficial results to the individuals concerned and to their relations
with those in their immediate surroundings.
this point the reader may see that a man and a teaching of living spiritual
value have appeared in Scandinavia and it is not proper that the rest
of the world should remain ignorant of them. Although Martinus has been
at work in Denmark for twenty-five years as a lecturer, a magazine contributor
and an author, his name and ideas are still unknown to the reading public
of English-speaking countries. That is a gap which should no longer
be left unfilled. Therefore, I take pleasure in helping to make him
known to my fellow students. He is a man whom to know is to take into
one's heart. He embodies the intelligence, the selflessness, and the
love, which constitute the essence of his moral and practical teaching.
For an up-to-date list of Martinus´books available in English
contact the Martinus
with permission from ©Martinus Idealfon 2001-06-18