Hitler’s Spiritism and the German People by Paul Brunton

The European thinkers who worked out the mentalistic basis of life with intellectual thoroughness were German, too. Kant, Schopenhauer, Hartmann, Hegel, Schiller and Fichte saw and taught that Mind was the primal reality and that the world was an idea in Mind. The first people to take up the study of Sanskrit literature on a more extensive scale than any other in Europe, were the Germans. Among the small company of scholars who patiently thumbed the old Indian books – vehicle of the world’s noblest and loftiest thoughts as they are – during the previous century, they were pre-eminent. Max Muller, the most famous of all Orientalists, was a German. Yet the first people to violate every ethical principle of that literature on a more extensive scale than any other in Europe, were the Germans.

Why did the German people put the Nazi iron mask on their faces and follow Hitler so fervently and so long? It is not that they lacked intelligence but that they let their intelligence be guided by their baser qualities. The situation must not be over-simplified, however. It is complicated by the fact that the German people have for long had a divided mentality. On the one hand they are idealistic, fanatically eager to give themselves up to and for a cause, that is an Idea. But on the other hand, they are crudely materialistic; ready to sink down into narrow selfishness and brutal violence. There is a still deeper and consequently a more metaphysical explanation, however, tremendous contrast, as developed during our own times and that is demoniac psychic obsession. This will shortly be explained.

The Germans are a great people gone astray. We must hope that, like the prodigal son, they will sooner or later come back to the right path. But the historic fact is that they have gone astray too often within recent times. They provide a striking case of failure to comprehend the truth of collective race Karma and consequently to evaluate suffering rightly. What utter destitution, what pitiful starvation, what widespread ruin prevailed among the German masses during the years after the First World War. These self-earned karmic sufferings sought to etch into every German heart the futility and failure of aggressive war. Nevertheless, as dominated as it was by stiff-backed Prussian Junkers, the Army High Command saw in the tremendous miseries which afflicted Germany during the decade that followed the 1914 War not a lesson to be learned repentantly but a condition to be violently revenged by future victories, not a melancholy harvest of that war itself but a jumping-off ground for preparing a second war. Hitler later utilised and magnified the High Command’s spirit and sought to undo whatever had been gained of this valuable lesson, and tried to inspire the lust for further war in his impressionable fellow countrymen.

If Hitler succeeded in gaining a response to his demoniacal suggestions, this was partly because of the moral cowardice of the German people and partly because the German character itself always latently harboured, as the poet Heine pointed out, a bullying tendency and homicidal mania akin to his own, albeit in lesser degree. Hitler became their beloved Fuehrer because too many of them wanted him to be their Fuehrer. Hitler was the final consummation of a process which was started intellectually by State-paid Hegel and practically by State-ruling Bismarck.

So far as Nazism merely sought the unscrupulous aggrandisement of a war-minded nation at the expense of the rest of Europe, it merely developed to an extreme degree seeds of thought previously sown in the German mind by academic metaphysicians like Fichte and Hegel. Hegel was the spiritual progenitor of Goebbels, Fichte the intellectual kinsman of Alfred Rosenberg. The academic intonings of these and other Prussian metaphysicians heralded the crude bawlings of Nazism. Hegel was a brilliant but wordy metaphysician who set up the absolute State as a sacred idol. Karl Marx got his leading ideas from Hegel, whom he revered and on whose teachings he was brought up. Thus we may trace Marxism to its ultimate source – not Russia, not Jewry, but Germany! Hegel asserted that the national Government was the will of God made actual and was therefore under no moral obligation to other Governments. He went farther still on the downward path and proclaimed that war was necessary for settling problems between States and even desirable because constant peace corrupted a people! He asserted that the human race had reached its maturity in the German people alone and that the supreme manifestation of the Spirit was in the German State! Therefore, this was to receive man’s highest worship.

Bismarck laid his plans for a Germany of competent warriors grown great at the expense of other nations and he did so with an ethical unscrupulousness and a practical efficiency which became the keynote of the ruling Junker class henceforth. France, Austria and Denmark were his first victims and if he did not have more, it was only because he did not live long enough to secure them.

Then came Nietzsche’s distorted semi-mysticism to set up before his educated countrymen the ideal of a barbaric Superman, and Oswald Spengler’s distorted intellectualism which led them to draw the false lesson from history that man is always a beast of prey. Spengler taught them that militarism was the correct tune to harmonise with the world’s mystical rhythm.

Just as Hitler, the screaming Devil of Berlin, raised the bogeys of Bolshevism and Judaism to hide his real evil aims, so the Kaiser Wilhelm raised the bogey of the Orient to hide his own over-reaching ambitions. He drew a picture in which he himself was represented as the German Archangel Michael calling upon all Europe to defend its homes against the invented Eastern peril, represented by a Buddha figure in the midst of a sinister halo! He frequently likened himself to a hand of God, to one destined to carry out Jehovah’s will on the European continent. He finally proclaimed to his people that “Nothing must be settled in this world without the intervention of the German Emperor,” and set out to back his words by drenching Europe in blood and tears.

So we arrive at our own generation, when self-grown economic frustration and selfish ambition, self-earned personal misery and moral failure prompted different groups within Germany to accept totalitarianism. Then Hitler and his blood-stained hierarchy succeeded in imposing his rule not only on them, but also on those who didn’t want them.

There was once quite a glamour, for many people, around the figures of dictators, a glamour which fascinated and deceived not a few who ought to have known better. Only a few months before the war broke out, a German Countess, an educated spiritually-minded and travelled woman, wrote to me in these terms: “The Fuehrer is the Messiah for whom not only we Germans but most Europeans have been waiting. He will save us all from the menace of irreligious materialism.” I read this statement with deep wonder at what had become of her intelligence. And in earlier years I had listened, albeit sceptically, to verbal eulogies of Benito Mussolini made by prominent English men of affairs.

Setting aside the homage which was given to Adolf Hitler because of reasons which are easy to understand although hard to admire, there remains a residue which could have been born only because of the confusion and vagueness which hung around a certain side of his personality, and which, in pre-war years, bred many illusions in the minds of many people, German and non-German, European and Asiatic alike. This was his open confession of surrender to supernatural guidance and to superpersonal inspiration. Indeed, anyone listening to his speeches for the first time, with their exaggerated claims and confident declamation, might have been forgiven for deriving the impression that his opinions were shared by God!

Before the course of war revealed his full character and disillusioned them accordingly, a legend raised its foolish head amongst many Indians that he was a yogi who had taken to politics and so they admired him accordingly. Other Indians in their morbid reverence even proclaimed him to be an Avatar, and Incarnation of Deity! Not a little of their error was due to the superstitious regard in which they held Hitler’s flaunted asceticism. But the truth is that his asceticism was not genuine. He was no celibate even though he did not marry. Pauline Kohler’s book, “I Was Hitler’s Maid,” alone offers sufficient evidence of this. But he took care to keep his sexual adventures remote from public knowledge. He did not eat meat because he thought it poisoned the body, certainly not because he felt pity for slaughtered animals as he ate fish every day with great gusto. He did not drink alcohol because he believed it would interfere with the efficiency of his work, not because of any spiritual effort at self-conquest. He did not smoke, first because he regarded smoking as physically unhealthy, and second because he had a physiological reaction of strong nausea to it; in fact, only one man was ever allowed to smoke in his presence. That man was British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the occasion was the famous negotiation at Munich. Thus, these three renunciations were merely preoccupations with bodily welfare and not with ethical ideals; indeed, they were actually tokens of his materialism and not of his holiness.

But if Hitler was not a mystic, what then was he? For we have to face the fact that he certainly had some kind of supernatural guidance, some abnormal element in his mentality. This element he sometimes referred to privately as his subconscious mind and at other times as a magical insight but more often and quite publicly as plain Providence.

“I shall go my way with the assurance of a sleep-walker,” he announced after his accession to the Chancellorship. When he spoke as a medium, he could easily bewitch and capture a gullible audience. And this indeed was one of his secrets, that he was nothing less and certainly something more than what is called in the West a spiritualistic medium between this world and the next.

When Hitler told the world that he was the instrument of a higher power, which he variously called Providence, the Almighty, and so on, he was not wholly deceiving the world. We need not deny that Hitler firmly believed in his own hidden intuitive and mediumistic powers and in the past ascribed much of his success to his readiness to follow their guidance despite the opposition of logic and circumstance. His consciousness of being the medium for some mysterious entity was an authentic one. He felt that this was actually so. When its inspiration was upon him he could move whole audiences and mould important individuals to his will. Where he did deceive others was in his naming this inspiring power as divine and not devilish, as good and not evil, as higher and not lower. The voice which Hitler heard was not that of Providence, as he loudly claimed, but of lying evil spirits.

It is a fact, although not a commonly known one, that the Fuehrer for years secretly cultivated the habit of going quite frequently into a passive semi-trance condition. Occasionally he used an enormously large crystal to induce such a condition. In this state he believed himself to be in communion with occult forces, with spirit ‘controls,’ from whom he got both guidance and inspiration. To take counsel of the perverted forces that possessed him and to promote his inner communion through such trances with them, he built a glass-walled private retreat six thousand feet high on the snowy precipitous summit of Mount Kehlstein where, unlike his famous mountain resting place at Berchtesgaden, visitors were hardly ever permitted to enter. Thus he could remain in the virtual solitude which this communion required. To find the time for these solitary meditations, he left the largest possible amount of state work and party direction to his collaborators. Even as late as the last years of the war, when the pressures of military necessity upon his time became more tremendous than ever before, Hitler insisted upon being alone for at least an hour each day. And it was known to a number of his close associates that this solitude was used to satisfy his occult interests and to carry on his magical practices.

He was indeed the focal point for a gigantic influx of evil spirits into our world. Those who have scientifically engaged in psychical research, know that a psychological belt wherein a host of evil earth-bound spirits are congregated, surrounds this planet. Hitler drew his deepest inspiration from this dark infernal region. Yes! He was satanically driven, darkly obsessed. This condition was normally evidenced by his vacant fixedly-staring look as well as by his raving, maniacal shouts. When taking tea or dinner with a friend, he often sat for hours after arrival silently gazing into space. His foaming mouth when he raged against somebody during his public speeches, no less than the diabolical hatred which impregnated his eyes when he delivered them, also testified to the ugly fact that he was demoniacally obsessed.

Psychical researchers are aware too that such obsessing entities become most active at night, as anyone may discover by watching the conduct of a possessed person. Hence, we need not be surprised to learn that Hitler habitually did his most important work when others were asleep. He plotted his diabolical crimes, planned his military campaigns and dictated his political, personal and staff letters during the hours around and after midnight.

To comprehend the mysterious side of Hitler’s personality correctly, we must comprehend its twofold nature. Not only was he a negative agent for disembodied external forces, he was also a positive agent for his own embodied internal ones. For, contrary to most mediums, he possessed an extraordinary mesmeric influence on others. He combined in himself the rare dualities of negative medium and positive hypnotists. Thus, we witness the paradox that whilst his own feelings and thoughts were being passively swayed by disincarnate beings, he himself positively swayed the feelings and thoughts of millions of his countryfolk.

His close associate, Himmler, made the following statement in a reported interview shortly before he committed suicide: “I know that I am personally doomed. That does not bother me much. I have no illusions whatsoever. But I am convinced Hitler has supernatural powers.” And again: “Hitler is supernatural – of that I am convinced.” Himmler had nothing to gain by making such statements at such a time. Hitler must be accorded these powers. Indeed Himmler himself kept in his pay a group of students of occultism who delved for him into Rosicrucian, Masonic, Ceremonial Magic, and other dark mysteries. But what Himmler did not say or did not know was that they were the powers of a black magician and a demoniacally possessed medium. Hitler’s feverish inner world, exceptional though it was in some ways, was not much different from that of witchcraft and diabolism in others. It is a fact that the late Neville Chamberlain told his friends privately of finding horrible pictures of creatures of the underworld painted on the walls of Berchtesgaden, when he visited Hitler in 1938. And if we are to consider him against the larger background of planetary war and crisis, Hitler was something immensely more important and therefore more dangerous to mankind. He was the shadow thrown by the light of great coming events.

Those who could not look deeply into his soul did not understand what powerful forces were at work through him. They did not understand why a daughter of Lord Redesdale, Miss Unity Mitford, his English follower and close friend, was so mesmerised that she would seem like a woman in a trance when she spoke of him. Hitler was indeed a hypnotist who used his powers for such utterly selfish ends as to warrant the title of black magician. Despite his own contempt for ordinary literature, he got together at his Berchtesgaden home one of the largest collections in Europe of books dealing with occultism, magic and the development of supernormal powers. His agents abroad co-operated by command in forming this extraordinary library. The daughter of a former American ambassador to Berlin described her reaction to meeting Hitler. She pointed out that his eyes were his only distinctive feature and she noticed how startling they were. Now every neophyte in hypnotism knows that the eyes constitute the principal physical channel for this strange mental influence. Understanding this we may know why he used always to persuade the heads of other States to come to him so that he could deal personally with them rather than through ordinary diplomatic channels, as he persuaded the late Mr Chamberlain, President Hacha of the Czech Republic, the late King Boris of Bulgaria and several others.

He possessed also an instinctive belief in astrology. He looked constantly to the planets for advice about the right timing of his major moves. He kept hidden in the background of his personal life a group of advisers who acquired considerable influence over his decisions. They were men and women who devoted their lives to the practice of astrology, crystal gazing or black magic. The one to whom he owed most of all, the one who for ten years preceding his rise to power in 1933 led him step by step did not even live to see the war. From the hour when he met Erik Hanussen and heard the prediction: “You will rule Germany and conquer Europe,” Hitler made his political moves not when circumstances or political associates suggested he should make them, but when the favourable positions of his stars suggested them. Hanussen’s advice, based usually on interpretations of Hitler’s horoscope but sometimes on crystal gazing, was implicitly accepted and fanatically followed for several years. How much Hanussen did to give Hitler great faith in himself and confidence in his unique destiny, cannot be correctly estimated but it was more than the world suspects because Hanussen was something more than a fortune-teller. He also dabbled deeply in black magic. He was immensely ambitious and morally unscrupulous. He acquired such an ascendency over Hitler that the other Nazi leaders became madly jealous and when, in 1933, the Nazis became Germany’s rulers, a squad of storm Troopers under orders from Count von Helldorff and General Goering brutally murdered him.

The gap left by Hanussen’s exit was filled by two persons – Elsbeth Ebertin and Rudolf Hess. Frau Ebertin owned several shops which circulated psychic books and occult periodicals. One day she too disappeared but her body was never found. Nobody knows whether she is alive or dead. Rudolf Hess fervently studied the predictive arts and took an intense interest in occultism. Consequently, the tie between Hitler and Hess became more intimate and more close than between him and any of the other Nazi leaders. Because of this intimacy, Hess was not only appointed Leader of the Nazi Party but also nominated by the Fuehrer as his successor. It was Hess who announced the date of Jupiter’s transit across the Sun in Hitler’s horoscope as being auspicious for a highly successful move and his chief turned his attack on France in 1940 accordingly. Hess was undoubtedly psychic and was so used by Hitler. “My job was to estimate public opinion for the Fuehrer,” he confessed to his British captors during interrogation after his flight from Germany.

Hitler’s junior partner, Mussolini, was at an early age acquainted with the Asiatic occult and mystical doctrines, but he flatly said that he did not want them because they were enervating to his ego. Again, when Rosita Forbes, the well-known traveller, once asked Mussolini, “Do you believe in God?,” he answered, “No I do not believe in any power other than my own. If I did I should be smashed.” On the other hand, he was interested, for the avowed object of developing his personal force, in the study and practice of Tantric yoga. This is a system of yoga which originated in Bengal but is now prevalent chiefly in Tibet. It easily becomes an instrument to serve overweening ambitions or unscrupulous lusts. In Mussolini’s case it certainly did so and its treading only strengthened his capacity to hurt both himself and mankind.

Hitler was used not unwittingly but quite consciously as a channel for an influx of devilish entities from the unseen world. His claims to supernatural guidance from God were the expression for a gullible public of this secret communion with satanic beings. Through him the German race shared a terrible mental experience. It was awful, it was dramatic – this wholesale surrender of an entire nation’s mind not only to a single evil monomaniacal passion, but also to a host of evil spirits submission to whom is technically known to psychical researchers as obsession.

He opened up the netherworld to unheard-of dimensions as he opened the gates of our own world to an influx of the foulest spirit-entities. Through him mankind suffered the invasion of a host of invisible, demoniac creatures of the worst kind. Out of the degraded depths of the mental underworld wherein they had long lurked, these hideous monstrosities emerged to prey on an unwary planet. It was they who supported Hitler, who gave him strength, boldness and almost superhuman power. Such an irruption was not unexpected.

You had only to look into the frighteningly sinister face of a Himmler, the cunningly insincere face of Goebbels, the insanely earnest face of a Hess, and the incredibly stony or monstrously cruel faces of a hundred lesser Nazi leaders – all denuded of any decent human expression as they were – to see that the men themselves had been veritably caught and held by demons from foul regions of the netherworld. So eminent an Indian Yogi as Sri Aurobindo Ghose, the sage of Pondicherry, held the same view very strongly. These spirits, for whom Hitler was a super-medium, possessed neither conscience nor sense of truth. They were crafty, lying and deceitful. Hence, we need not be surprised that Hitler himself never heard the voice of conscience, never felt any sense of what is right or wrong. He himself once blatantly brazened forth the frank but ignoble admission that the only moral code which existed for him was that of success or failure. Anything that assisted him to get what he wanted was ethically good; anything that hindered him from doing so was ethically evil! It is for this reason that he became the most notorious liar in the contemporary public life of our planet. He would say anything – even the most elephantine exaggeration – that would be profitable to say but was just as ready to deny it the next moment if it was then still more profitable to do so. In his mouth the very function of language became a perverted one. All this should evidence even to the layman the evil character of the forces which possessed him and influenced them.

The Nazis made it their business not only to drag other people’s bodies down to enslavement but also to drag their minds down to the gutter. For their cunning propaganda strove to create, stimulate or spread materialism, doubt, suspicions, treachery, dislike, greed, malice, hatred, bitterness and strife amongst mankind throughout the world. Whereas all the great prophets like Jesus and Krishna made a religion out of love, Hitler made a religion out of hatred. The Nazi movement was a demonist one, the Nazi way of life an inhuman one. The war was the struggle of unseen powers of Light against Darkness. Upon its physical outcome depended whether mankind was to sink into terrible materialism or rise to spiritual progress. The ideological differences between the democratic peoples and the Axis group were so sharp that there could be no compromise.

Hitler was Anti-Christ and Anti-Krishna. A worthy son of Satan, he won too many over to a new-old religion of untruth and hatred, which he falsely symbolised by the once-beloved but the now-dreaded double cross of Swastika. Through him Satan brooded over Berlin. Because woman can love more intensely than man, she can also swing backwards and hate more intensely. That is partly why, when the ground had to be broken, Hitler, the apostle of the Gospel of Hatred, found most converts among the German women of all ages, and the next largest number among the young men. “Keep your people in such a fanatically devoted and receptive mood,” he once advised an associate, “that all your words will be mesmeric; then neither facts nor reason can prevail against them.” It was easy even then to foresee that he would lead such followers through paths of dishonour and degradation to sheer suicide. Yet they were too blinded by their passions and selfishness to see where they were going. If the German masses followed Hitler as though they were a lot of dumb cattle and not thinking human beings, it was not because they, like their leader, had no conscience but because too many of them had perverted their conscience. Confronted by an inner evolutionary cross-roads, they tried to turn backwards along an outworn road which belonged to the primitive era of the cave-man. If thanks [to Hitler they] were at first economically destitute, the price they paid was worse still, for he left them ethically destitute. No consideration of human kindness or human fellowship was allowed to interfere with the thoroughness of their leader’s preparations for conquering an entire continent. No ethical scruple or kindling of conscience was permitted to weaken their mad worship of themselves or corrode their equally insane belief that might is the only right. In their Fascist frenzy they became the most dangerous people on earth because, to these disregards of ethical canons, they added the power of efficient military organisation, the skill of advanced industrial technique, the strength of applied science, the cunning of developed intellect and the concentration of neurotic hatred.

But this said, let us not forget that however directly responsible Germany was for the war, the fact of world inter-dependence prevents us from claiming snow-white innocence for ourselves. It is a surface view which blames the war only upon the deeds of certain individual men. The war was also the culmination of a world crisis, of a larger international tension which had developed during a number of years. The phenomenon of Fascism was thrown up by this tension. Hitler was but its concentrated expression, its supreme voice. The disappearance of leading Nazis does not necessarily mean the disappearance of the Nazi doctrines which they personified. These doctrines arose out of bad religious, intellectual, moral, economic and political conditions. The rectification and improvement of such conditions is an essential element in the work of purifying modern society of its Nazi poison.

The wealthy German industrialists who financed Hitler thought they would thereby exercise the wraith of Bolshevism which hung over Germany as well as make large profits out of new armaments policy. But they started something which, like a terrible Frankenstein, they could not control and Hitler in turn started a European war thinking he would become the European overlord. He in turn thus raised another and even worse Frankenstein and would fain have called for peace but his enemies were no longer willing to grant it. So his henchman Goebbels had to make this terrible admission at the end of 1942: “We could not stop now, even if we wanted to.”

Behind it all lay the dramatic fact that the Germans were driven by a leader who was the most obsessed person in recorded history. Evil lying spirits used Hitler as their medium and through him influenced his people. This diabolic drama which was enacted on a patch of the earth’s surface was really the reflection of a terrible struggle in the unseen world, a struggle referred to more lengthily in “The Wisdom of the Overself.” And the only remedy for the obsessed condition of Hitler’s followers was – bloodshed! Faust, the learned wizard in Goethe’s drama, rightly observed, “Blood is a peculiar fluid.” It was not for nothing that blood sacrifices were such a prominent feature of old-time magical rites or animal sacrifices such an important one of old-time religious rites. There is an intimate connection between blood and the emotions. A colossal blood sacrifice became necessary violently to shatter the occult spell and quickly to purge the ferocious fanaticism of the Nazis. Their blood had indeed to be spilt on a vast scale. Therefore, from the time that Hitler was beguiled by his spirits to make his monumental mistake and invade Russia, the German armies suffered such colossal casualties that they steadily bled to death. In this way, Europe began to be partially drained of this sinister psychic foulness.

It is true that Hitler’s invasion of Russia was not altogether the mistake it seemed to be. For it was also an act of desperation. Russia was rapidly building up her military forces at such a rate that Hitler perceived he had to strike soon or later would be too late. Nevertheless the fact remains that he did make one gigantic mistake. His lying obsessing entities promised him a seven weeks’ lightning dash to Moscow and victory at the end of it. Instead they led him into a deadly trap. Out of the Russian adventure was born the beginning of the end of his regime. Both leader and led, being ignorant of karma, did not comprehend that with every aggressive step the Nazi armies took outside Germany, they were marching farther and farther away from true safety. This was true, not only in a military sense but also in a moral sense. Just as they got farther and farther from their base and more and more exhausted as they spread themselves out across Europe and North Africa so they were preparing a worse and worse karmic retribution for themselves with every step taken into other lands. What Hitler’s mesmerised worshippers did not know was that the world is still divinely governed. The ruin which Hitler and the Army High Command brought upon their country sharply illustrates the danger in which a great nation puts itself when it credulously entrusts its guidance to a man so utterly devoid of goodness.

When a combination of militarists, lunatics, gangsters and demon-possessed persons are allowed in any country to predominate in the seats of power, as was the case with Nazi Germany, be assured that that country is headed for disaster. The victory of Hitler would have meant the defeat of truth, goodness, human worth. Could those who followed him so fervently have glimpsed history beneath the surface, they would have recognised in him their own worst enemy. They failed to perceive that the Nazis were a passing phenomenon, that their misdeeds would find them out and that a dictator like Hitler, being only a glorified gangster, would ultimately meet a gangster’s doom. Insofar as they adapted themselves to the Nazi credo of intellectual savagery, exaggerated nationalism and selfish aggression – so low had the countrymen of romantic Schiller and philosophic Schopenhauer fallen – they incurred a hard penalty. Hitler, luring them through a vainglorious pride, first exploited bad economic conditions both to establish his own power and to create international tension, then used both their unworthy passion and their short-sighted prejudice to satisfy his own diseased psychosis of world domination. Such moral aberrations pass but they must be paid for. Humiliation and failure are but part of the price they had to pay for return to a more righteous path. The progress which he promised his people led them first into a vast prison and then into costly war.

Although Hitler unwittingly helped to break up the old order of things, in many ways he never destined to inaugurate the new one. Other hands than his and other methods than Nazism will construct the coming civilisation. The bewitchment of a whole nation is drawing to a dramatic end. The self-styled Saviour of the Aryan race finally needed to save himself. He who conquered nearly all Europe was himself conquered by a power before which he was as helpless as a babe – the power of divine retribution. The harvest of aggressive war has been gathered in. The memory of slain relatives and the sight of crippled ones is there to teach them certain lessons. Only the fanatic and the ruthless will refuse to absorb these lessons and will see in those very sufferings a stimulant to revenge, an inducement to plot secretly or openly for a further war.

There are three main groups inside the Reich’s frontiers. (1) Those who loved what Hitler stood for; (2) those who hated it; (3) those who neither loved nor hated it. With the first group may be counted the thoroughly convinced, violent Nazis, the proud Prussian Junkers, the arrogant, chauvinistic officer caste and those pseudo-communists who discarded their principles overnight and joyfully joined in following Hitler along what promised to be a successful path of national aggrandisement. With the second group may be counted the sincere trade unionists with an international outlook and the intelligentsia with a liberal one, the communists who never ceased to regard Hitler as the enemy of the proletariat and the pious Christians who never ceased to regard Hitler as the enemy of Christ. With the third group may be counted those who stood between the two camps, a large middle and muddled host of mentally sick and emotionally gullible folk {who} out of economic despair [or] spiritual disheartenment thrust conscience aside, and turned towards Hitler. Thus the first were men of violence, the second, men of goodwill, the third, men of weak character.

Those Germans who fall into the second group include many who have spent years in concentration camps as well as many who did not follow Hitler inwardly, although they were compelled by his gangster dictatorship to do so outwardly. They were among the millions who voted against him at the elections before he seized power. Many of them were quite helpless under the Gestapo and had to do what they were told. They should be singled out to replace the others in all official posts, public offices and organisational superintendence, so that they may become the shepherds to lead their nation back to the paths of rectitude, morality and restitution. They should receive all the practical and moral encouragement we can give them in their great task.

Those who fall into the third group – and they number at least half of all the people – present a problem which is more confused and less straightforward than the others. The particular lesson which they have to learn is that acquiescence in brutality and aggressiveness does not pay in the end any more than the perpetration of such crimes themselves. Nevertheless, although a people which acquiesces in the deeds of its rulers has to share the karma of those deeds, it need not necessarily share all the karma. They should make some reparation to those they have robbed, ruined or mutilated. But if we put them in a position where they will have nothing else to look forward to except a whole generation of starvation, then in their desperation they will just as certainly rise again and seek to destroy all Europe alongside of themselves. Therefore, remembering Versailles and its aftermath, we must temper natural desire to punish them adequately with a wise mercy, which need not be stretched too far but must not be stretched too little.

We must not forget that they are mostly the unfortunate, although not unwilling, dupes who allowed themselves to be carried away by a colossal hypnotic feat. Hence, they too are in a lesser sense Hitler’s victims like other Europeans. The middle-aged and elderly among them had no enthusiasm for the war. They suffered to some extent from a guilty conscience and had also memories of a long series of victorious battles in World War I which led only to final defeat. If this second defeat has brought them to the discovery that they had been living for years under the leadership of liars, lunatics and criminals, and if suffering has been taken to heart and wrung a reluctant repentance from them, then we may deal more tolerantly with them, without however giving them the rewards and prerogatives which should be given to members of the second group. We should not be too cruel to them and we need not be too kind. In the final test, they may show by their own words and actions during the next decade whether they honestly wish to enter the path of reconciliation. Their last yet first hope is to purify themselves by sacrifice and to make restitution – either physical or verbal – to those they have wronged. Every German who is not curable must be prevented from using any of the available means of influencing public opinion. We must try to purge their minds of Nazi tendencies and lead them to a better road. We must make it clear that not revenge nor even punishment alone but rather re-education for European citizenship is our inspiration.

What have they learnt from the tremendous vicissitudes of the twelve-year Hitler regime, with its dizzy heights of early success and dismal humiliations of utter collapse. What have they read in the transiency of the success and in the finality of the collapse? After World War I, the more intelligent Germans of the middle classes, disillusioned by defeat, were swept by waves of pessimism which, in the case of some found expression in a search for mystical consolation, occult experience and prophetic messages and a search for violent sensualism in the case of many others. It is interesting to recall here that Dr. Neumann’s “Buddha: Die Reden Gotamo Buddhos,” a translation of the many of the Buddha’s sayings, lay in manuscript for over thirty years because it could not find a publisher. Then, in 1919, this lengthy volume was published in Berlin and immediately became a best seller. There was at the same time a wave of interest in Eastern wisdom and Oriental thought among the intelligentsia. But when economic conditions improved, in a few years most of the interest fell away. It was the drastic shock of defeat and its miserable aftermath that awakened them to this search for consolation. The external collapse led to an inner one. Buddhism, with its highly ascetic outlook, its over-emphasis on suffering, its denial of earthly hope, could offer this ruined people only an inward peace at most. Yet the intellectual elements among them clutched at it in their despair.

Again when Rabindranath Tagore visited Europe in 1921 bringing, as he himself said, the spiritual message of the East to the West, it was in Germany that he achieved a sensational success; it was in Germany that his lectures and writing gained an appreciation tremendously greater than they gained anywhere else. During that year nearly a million copies of his translated books were sold and there were always many more applicants than seats at his lectures. It is noteworthy, however, that this response developed chiefly in the German middle classes, the same classes who a dozen years later bestowed their devotion upon Hitler!

That some groups of middle-aged and elderly German men and women are taking to sincere forms of religion and, in lesser numbers, to mysticism, whether Eastern or Western, for consolation is again true. Through this they may be led to experience an inner change and become truly repentant about their country’s war guilt. Hence, none should be happier than ourselves if they were to become morally awake. For then, indeed, we could rejoice with them. Jesus said: “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, which need no repentance.” Let us not forget these words. If it is possible for every embodied being to attain the knowledge of its own inherent divinity, as it certainly is, then it is possible for every German to do so. We must recognise the indisputable fact that in turning to Hitler as a saviour, millions of Germans were actuated by a vague belief in pseudo-mysticism. They had the right tendency turned in the wrong direction. If their suffering purify them sufficiently, they might now be readier for less ambiguous belief in a true mysticism. The Higher Self, speaking through its symbolic mouthpiece, Krishna, in the “Bhagavad Gita,” says: “If one, even of demonistic conduct, were to be entirely devoted to me, he should be considered as a holy one treading the path of Yoga. Soon he comes to know truth and then attains to peace.”

[The PBPF archivist speculates that this essay was written in approximately 1945.]