Nothing in the life of Jesus is without significance, but this part of his life has been given a slightly disproportionate amount of importance, especially by some modern spiritual writers. The Bible itself only reports the song of the sage Simeon and the amazement of the scribes with the twelve-year-old Jesus (Luke 2, 29-51). The most authentic of the non-biblical "childhood gospels" existing in fragments and retellings, the "St.Jakobus' Gospel", contains symbolic events and meetings., but nothing to support the modern thesis that Jesus learned everything from the Essenes or from the partially related community of Qumran; or in Egyptian or Greek temples; or in India, etc. Some of these hints might be helpful in activating the creative fantasy, but also led to jumping to conclusions or creating new dogmas. This would show an outline of a Jesus that encountered not just the one or the other, but all essential spiritual teachings of his time intensely; and who unfolded in each case, what he had to unfold, guided inwardly; - which was not necessarily identical with the way others thought it had to be. That is a basic experience that is comprehensible in smaller measures in the lives of several people, sometimes beginning in early childhood. This experience goes beyond all psychological ideas of "mould" and behaviour. For marked individuals and mystics it is almost typical, see, e.g. the life of the well known Indian Yogi Ramakrishna with his many teachers, who were soon no longer able to teach him anything. As some illustration for this kind of development concerning Jesus, see Levi´s so-called "The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ" (published in USA 1908 and later by L.N.Fowler &Co.Ltd., London). But this book may be looked on as a slightly fantastic portrayal and is not needed as a basis for this chapter.
R. Steiner describes a scene in "The Fifth Gospel", just before the baptism in the Jordan, in which Jesus made it distressingly plain that in the new age, the working methods of esoteric orders such as the Essenes, sealing themselves off from the outside world, can be counter-productive. Their religious zeal - with a lot of physical and ethical / intellectual cleansing rules – protected them from negative influences, but their environment was affected all the more. Especially in the further course of Jesus’ life we also find a biblically based impulse of "to be in this world, but not of this world", thereby including the world in his own development. So some of Jesus’ teachings would have been regarded as secret in prechristian times and are now directed to all open people in the world., which is no contradiction to the teachings basically taught to the better prepared disciples.
This is indeed apparent when compared with the old mystery traditions based on strict secrecy, as a new historical element. Interestingly enough, there was a similar tendency in new branches of Mahayana Buddhism, in which compassion for all beings is stressed strongly, in spite of spiritual goals beyond this world. (The old Hinayana branch of Buddhism stresses the goals beyond this world.) But only now in modern times has the possibility for everyone to access spiritual depths become obvious. Nobody can say they have never heard of it. Since the contemporary railway station kiosk esoteric books are still very superficial, one can assume that this tendency is not yet fully translated into action. It is clear, that, e.g.the secretive practices of the Vatican library are of a pre-christian nature as far as this point is concerned.
Reference to a complete version for print, and Copyright Ways of Christ™