I became interested in the
I realised that it goes beyond any existing religion. That when in its
metaphysical, it holds a great appeal to contemporary scientists,
physicists, chemists, mathematicians, but also to psychologists,
particularly those of the Jungian school. Above all, it has appealed to
philosophers in all ages. Therefore, to a non-Jewish person like
to any particular religion or even nationality, it must have
always appeared timeless. I also suspected that the Kabbalah must
really be older than the Jewish religion, and (together with the Hindu
esoteric tradition, which also interested me) older than any religion.
This is why so many people
with all sorts of backgrounds have found their way to it. My own path certainly had
not lead through any
religion; I had no religious upbringing.
Grandfather, who died long
before I was born, naturally had brought his twelve children up in his
own faith, but my father had left the Catholic Church by the time he
was in his twenties. At that point in his life he would have probably
described himself as an agnostic, but leaving the church was also
fashionable. He could still keep a foot in either camp, and after I was
born in the wartime London, he had me baptised, perhaps just to be on
the safe side in case the soul-snatching devil did exist. However, he
would not have it done by a Catholic priest. Instead a Serbian orthodox
priest was invited to perform the ritual. Apparently a priest of any
church would have done, but this one just happened to live somewhere
near in Kensington. Because of the war, a general feeling of ambiguity
towards religion, and subsequent movements between several countries
that our family had to make ─ my father being a diplomat, there was
little or no follow-up.
No religious education
term one, of my first year at school in the once fashionable but by
then somewhat ran-down suburb of Hanspaulka in Prague, a Catholic
was still coming to the school to take care of our tiny souls. Most
children in my class were Catholics, and their parents were still not
quite sure of what to make of the new political order that had come
after the 1948 Communist takeover, so many of them still allowed their
offspring to have the luxury of some religious education. When I went
to school for the first time my mother signed me up for the religion
classes, but after a few weeks the attending priest found out that I
was not a proper Catholic, and he had told her not to send me there
anymore. Thus together with several other children, whose parents had
been able to orientate themselves quickly and guessed what the new
regime was not going to be a great friend to religion, I would be
allowed to go home when the
religious lessons were about to begin (always at the end of the school
day, twice a week, I think). Naturally I considered myself lucky and
indeed privileged, but I had soon lost that prerogative when by the
next term the religious classes were abandoned altogether,
ostentatiously for lack of
interest. Though officially all people in the country were guaranteed
freedom of religious expression, in practice it was most unwise to be
seen going to church or even anywhere near it, if one wanted to keep a
decent job. And parents of young children certainly needed to keep
technically I belong to the Serbian Orthodox Church, as far as I can
tell I was only once inside the walls of an orthodox church, when my
mother took me to the only one that existed in Prague, for the
conformation when I was about eight years old. By then my father was
already dead. Mother was not religious, but I suspect that she felt
that it was her duty to at least make such
albeit a token one, just
in case my soul needed saving. Soon after my conformation we moved out
of Prague, but I doubt that my mother would have made me continue with
the religious education, even if circumstances would have allowed it.
how it came about that I had not had any religious education. I don’t
think that it hindered me in any way; on the contrary it probably
helped me, because I had to make up my own mind about everything,
instead of having it fed by a spoon. Since about the late forties, in
the then Czechoslovakia at least two generations grew up of whom a
large majority had never set a foot in church. At the same time many,
including myself, had been looking at the stuff that was given them by
politically correct Marxist ideologists, and which was supposed to
substitute for the stolen faith in God, with a great deal of cynicism.
In this situation perhaps ninety five percent of people would prove to
be conformists, while the remainder could potentially become what the
British writer Colin Wilson so aptly called “the outsiders”. The
outsider living behind the iron curtain, however did not have the
advantages of Wilson’s Outsider. The latter had access to practically
any kind of literature he or she wished to read, while the former had
only the publications deemed politically unobjectionable and
ideologically sound by the regime. In practice this meant that the only
literature available was that not in direct conflict with the
officially endorsed Marxist ideology. Under such circumstances
there was little room for any spiritual development.
had a lot
of catching up to do, and as soon as I learned enough English to be
able to do a more advanced reading, which did not happen until we came
to Brisbane, I became a member of a society, which for about twenty
years had been holding regular weekly meetings, aimed at the studies of
esoteric subjects, including the Kabbalah. By then I had found my
answer to the question that any 20th century
enquirer has to
ask himself: Evolution or Creation? I must admit that early on, while
living behind still functional Iron Curtain, the arguments that the
materialists would use to ridicule the idea of Creation made quite a
strong impression on me.
since the time of Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
and his theory of natural evolution, those who are opposed to religion
have seen in him a kind of prophet, someone on whom they can anchor
their atheistic opinions. Darwin himself, in a 19th century caricature on right, had
originally studied to be
a priest, but became a scientist instead. There were many speculations
about his views on religion, whether he was a believer or not, even
long after his death. It seems that he was traumatically uncertain
about himself and his own views. But he could not believe, as many
contemporary scientists do, that the Universe came about by chance. In
one of his letters, late in life, he wrote:
extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of
denying the existence of a God. — I think that generally (and more and
more so as I grow older), but not always, — that an agnostic would be
the most correct description of my state of mind."
Well, another fence-sitter; I had seen many in my life. However, I
always felt that one has to commit oneself one way or the other. The
Kabbalists naturally are Creationists, but they
still would agree with some of what the Evolutionists have to say. For
instance, they have always maintained that there is variation within
species, just as Charles Darwin had said. Unfortunately, the
evolutional theory has developed into a kind of religion, just as has
its close relative Marxism. Therefore it cannot be surprising that the
Evolutionists together with the Marxists have dug themselves deep into
their entrenchments, where they face their opponents the Creationists,
who have made their own foxholes. This is so because there could ever
only be two possibilities, out of which one has to make selection:
alive, including all its parts, came into being as a result of blind
chance (suits the Evolutionists).
that exists in this world stands some kind of intelligence.
Let’s look at the first possibility. It
that in some primary ocean, which existed on Earth many years ago,
the solar rays assisted by electrical discharges that accompanied the
constant fierce storms; the first organic compounds have somehow come
into existence. The scientists may not be able to tell us exactly (or
even approximately) how it happened, however many will insist that it
could have happened. They would back such theories up by the facts that
several kinds of amino acid substances have been created under the
laboratory conditions. That being so, it is still long way to having
such substances “come alive”. The scientists theorise that some kind of
“bouillon” that would have been able to perk them up must have existed.
In this primary broth, they further speculate, the coded molecules of
DNA or deoxyribonucleic
acid somehow came into being. No other life model thus far has been
discovered that would be able to carry the genetic material from one
generation onto another.
Again, there are
two possibilities, the evolution,
or the creation. The first, on which the dialectical materialist would
insist, is that it happened by a pure chance. He would maintain that a
movement towards improvement and refinement of matter is a natural one.
However, if we have all the necessary conditions present, i.e. some
sort of basic substance (the above said bouillon) that would be capable
of storing the amino acids, it would take a chance of monumental
proportions to have a life spring up, which would be able to go on
living. It would not only have to be able to maintain meaningful
information, built into the chain of DNA, but it would also have to be
able to pass it onto the generations to come. Even if we take the
simplest forms of life known to us, such as the most primitive kind of
bacteria, it still contains in a single cell at least two thousand
genes (cistrons). Each of these
controls and regulates
the activity of one of the enzymes. So far as the scientists know at
present, this is the bottom line; a smaller number of elements
controlling the enzyme activities within a cell of anything alive would
not be compatible with life.
It gets a lot more complicated from here on.
single one of the genes is coded with about one thousand “words”, i.e.
amino acids, while every single amino acid has four bases. Thus in case
of the simplest form of cellular bacterial life, there have to be at
least six million articles of amino acids, the four bases of which give
us four to the power of six multiplied by ten to the power of five
possibilities. The likelihood of such combination occurring
spontaneously, which would have to be perfect and without any flaws if
it were to contain meaningful information and thus carry within the
possibility of life, could therefore be expressed by the rate of 1:4 —
followed by a million of zeros. If the current estimates of the Earth’s
age are correct, the number of seconds that have passed since its
creation would only have thirteen zeros!
yet another possibility, which some would no doubt wish me to have
included, is that life was somehow seeded on our planet by
extra-terrestrial intelligent beings. Though this cannot be entirely
ruled out, it still doesn’t answer the fundamental questions, which are:
such seed come from?
for it to reach the Earth?
conceived the idea of such a seed?
has designed it?
was, have they evolved or were they created?
course, we must not forget the fundamental question:
created the Earth and Heaven?
fundamental questions that I was trying to resolve for myself. My wife
and I had tried several different societies, churches, etc., finally we
settled with one that was functional for the best part of twenty years.
Mainly because of its universal character, due to its hermetic and
freemasonic connections. And above all, it was not orthodox, as many
such organisations tend to be.
Up to that point I had not met
anyone who would impress me for reaching a really high level of
spiritual advancement. The one exception was
Joy Mills, who was at the time the international Vice-President of the
Theosophical Society, with which I have also had some association.
Mills, who was then based in Adyar in India, came to Brisbane for the
society’s Australian annual convention in 1979. I had interviewed her
on the radio, and she had made a great impression on me.
To the Theosophical Society in Brisbane
we used to go quite regularly at one stage, and I had even
graduated there to a lecturer. When our son was born, we
stopped coming for a time, and when we resumed, we soon realised that
things were not quite the same. A kind of Krishnamurti cult had taken
hold of the place. I'm exagerated somewhat in calling it "cult",
nevertheless to me it felt like it. Fortunately, I had other things to
look up to.
A. D. Grad
Emmanuel Meschers, whom I had already mentioned, and who had very good
contacts in France, had suggested that we sponsor a lecturing tour of
one of the greatest living exponents of the Kabbalah, professor Grad. His
full name is Adolf Dmitri Grad but, understandably, he had not been
using the first name his parents, the Russian Jews, gave him.
Naturally, in the year of his birth, 1916, they couldn’t have had any
idea that a man bearing the same first name would tarnish it so badly.
Grad had lived most of his life in France, and later in life mainly in
other French speaking countries. He is a prolific author on the subject
of Kabbalah, and I believe that at the time of writing, this
centenarian is still very much alive and active.
well as Theosophy, offers many opportunities for advancement. If we
take the trouble to learn a little more about the laws that govern this
world and if we try to live in harmony with these laws, if we set
ourselves valid goals in the areas of both the spiritual and material
reality, we would benefit much. Not only as individuals; would we
contribute to the advancement of humanity, of the whole world. By
learning the basics of the Kabbalah we gain the means of achieving
contentment and happiness right at the core of our being. I will not
dwell on this subject in this book, which is meant to be mainly
autobiographical one. Anyone interested I would refer to my book named The
Kabbalah ─ A Timeless Philosophy of Life,
available in the printed form as well as an E-Book, and can be found on
the Internet. As
out, professor Grad had toured here twice, in 1979 and again in 1983;
and it was on his second visit that I had the opportunity to get to
know him quite well. Together with Emmanuel, we took him for a
sightseeing trip through Queensland, and especially to the Barrier
Reef, which was his special wish.
There is something very unique about professor Grad, I would even
venture to say miraculous. Yes, he is Jewish, seemingly as Jewish as
anyone could be. To see him in the proper environment and attire,
reading some script, he would fit the picture of a rabbi. Which he
intended to be. He became a university lecturer in history, before he
was irresistibly drawn towards the Kabbalah, after his visit to
Palestine, at about the time the state of Israel was being formed. He
described to us how, on the said trip, the car in which he was
travelling suddenly broke down. It turned out that, without his
knowledge, this happened right next to the place where the famous
kabbalist Simon bar Yochai, who
lived in the first
century AD, was buried. The location of his grave at the time was known
only to some ─ it has only recently become a place of pilgrimage. This
mysterious event had somehow forged the link between the ancient Jewish
kabbalist and the modern one, who had since written at least 25 books
on the subject. Despite of this, Grad is not what one might describe as
an orthodox Jew. For this his views are far too universal.
Lady Elliott Island
expressed a wish to see the Barrier Reef, and we felt obliged to fulfil
it. The three of us went on a sightseeing trip travelling north, and
after a few days had boarded a small Cessna plane in Gladstone, to take
us to the Lady Elliot Island, which is the last in the chain of true
coral formed islands, about 400 km north/east of Brisbane. The island
is hardly a kilometre square, so the runway for aircraft (the only
practical way of getting to the Eco Resort that is there) takes up its
entire diagonal. With a strong side wind the landing was rather
treacherous, but with the holy man in the back seat I, who was seated
next to the pilot, had felt absolutely safe. We walked around the
island and eventually to the place where a boat with the glass bottom
could be hired, to see the corals in their natural beauty. It was a
lovely day, the wind had almost died, the sky clear and sunny. We had
hired the boat and were about to enter it, but Grad, who was physically
perfectly fit, was reluctant to do so. Emmanuel, who did most of the
communicating with him in French, asked if anything was wrong. Grad
explained to him, and then to me in his somewhat broken English, that
he did not wish to get wet. We didn’t understand. We just went through
a small adventure, only to get to this remote island, and the corals he
wished to see were there, within our reach. The boat looked very solid
and safe, the boatman was obviously experienced, there was hardly any
danger of us capsizing … and the kabbalist insisted that he did not
want to get wet!
Well, the boat was already paid for, so reluctantly we had left Grad on
shore and went for the sightseeing on our own. It was beautiful. The
corals were indeed colourful and thoroughly fantastic, but as we
admired them, first drops of rain had begun to fall onto our backs. We
looked up, and above us, one cloud was hanging, not big but black as
charcoal at midnight, which must have suddenly come from somewhere.
Otherwise, the sky was as clear as when we left the dry land, except
for this one cloud, which was full of water. Before we could get to the
shore, only a couple of hundred metres away, we were completely
gentleman, who had meanwhile found the only nearby shelter, had greeted
us, dry as a powder horn, but without trace of any schadenfreude,
without any “I told you so”. Somehow, he knew that if he got into that
boat he would have gotten wet. He knew how to avoid unpleasant
situation, such as we now had to deal with, having to strip into our
underwear and hang the wet shirts and trousers on the shrubs to dry
out. But he knew more than that, much more, one could tell it from his
eyes. There was knowledge; there was wisdom in those eyes. Such as I
have not seen before or since.