I became interested in the
Kabbalah when I realised that it goes beyond any existing religion. That when in its most 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 me, unattached 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.

     Baptized as Serbian Orthodox

Baptizing by a Serbian Orthodox priestGrandfather, 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

During the 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 priest 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 theirs.

Though 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 effort, 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.

So this is 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.

I 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.

Charles Darwin in a 19th century caricatureEver 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:

"In my most 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 done 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:

1. Everything alive, including all its parts, came into being as a result of blind chance (suits the Evolutionists).

2. Behind all that exists in this world stands some kind of intelligence.

            Let’s look at the first possibility. It presupposes 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. Every 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!

Of course, 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:

Where did such seed come from?

Who arranged for it to reach the Earth?

Who conceived the idea of such a seed? 

     Who has designed it?

Whoever it was, have they evolved or were they created?

And, of course, we must not forget the fundamental question:

Who has created the Earth and Heaven?

Such were the 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.

  Joy Mills (1920-2015)
     Up to that point I had not met in person 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.

Professor A. D. Grad


A. D. Grad

In 1979, 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.

The Kabbalah, as 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, which is available in the printed form as well as an E-Book, and can be found on the Internet. As it turned 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.

A. D. Grad  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 never was, or 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

Lady Elliott Island

Grad had 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!

What to do? 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 drenched!

The old 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.


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