Jacob Boehme



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Fast Facts
Jacob Boehme.jpg
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Jakob Bohme, Jacob Behmen, Jakob Böhme, The Teutonic Philosopher, The Teutonic Theosopher
Function: 
Mystic
Traditions: 
Christian Mysticism
Main Countries of Activity: 
Germany, Europe
Date of Birth: 
April 24, 1575
Place of Birth: 
Altseidenberg, Germany
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
No
Date Left His/Her Body: 
November 17, 1624
Ancestor Gurus: 

Biography

Jacob Boehme, "chosen servant of God," was born in Altseidenberg (now a part of Sulików, Lower Silesian Voivodeship), near Görlitz in eastern Germany in 1575.

Born of poor, but pious, Lutheran parents, from childhood, Jacob Boehme was concerned about "the salvation of his soul." Although daily occupied, first as a shepherd, and afterward as a shoemaker, he was always an earnest student of the Holy Scriptures; but he could not understand "the ways of God," and he became "perplexed, even to sadness, pressed out of measure." He said: "I knew the Bible from beginning to end, but could find no consolation in Holy Writ; and my spirit, as if moving in a great storm, arose in God, carrying with it my whole heart, mind and will and wrestled with the love and mercy of God, that his blessing might descend upon me, that my mind might be illumined with his Holy Spirit, that I might understand his will and get rid of my sorrow"

Boehme's first job was that of a herd boy, however he was deemed to not be strong enough for husbandry. When he was 14 years old he was sent to Seidenberg as an apprentice to become a shoemaker. His apprenticeship for shoemaking was hard; he lived with a family who were not Christians, which exposed him to the controversies of the time. He regularly prayed and read the Bible as well as works by visionaries such as Paracelsus, Weigel and Schwenckfeld, although he received no formal education. After three years as an apprentice, Boehme left to travel. Although it is unkown just how far he went, he at least made it to Görlitz. By 1599 Boehme was master of his craft with his own premises in Görlitz. That same year he married Katharina daughter of Hans Kuntzschmann, a butcher in Görlitz, and together they had four sons and two daughters.

"I had always thought much of how I might inherit the kingdom of heaven; but finding in myself a powerful opposition, in the desires that belong to the flesh and blood, I began a battle against my corrupted nature; and with the aid of God, I made up my mind to overcome the inherited evil will... break it, and enter wholly into the love of God in Christ Jesus... I sought the heart of Jesus Christ, the center of all truth; and I resolved to regard myself as dead in my inherited form, until the Spirit of God would take form in me, so that in and through him, I might conduct my life."

"I stood in this resolution, fighting a battle with myself, until the light of the Spirit, a light entirely foreign to my unruly nature, began to break through the clouds. Then, after some further hard fights with the powers of darkness, my spirit broke through the doors of hell, and penetrated even unto the innermost essence of its newly born divinity where it was received with great love, as a bridegroom welcomes his beloved bride."

Boehme had a number of mystical experiences throughout his youth, culminating in a vision in 1600 as one day he focused his attention onto the exquisite beauty of a beam of sunlight reflected in a pewter dish. He believed this vision revealed to him the spiritual structure of the world, as well as the relationship between God and man, and good and evil. At the time he chose not to speak of this experience openly, preferring instead to continue his work and raise a family.

"No word can express the great joy and triumph I experienced, as of a life out of death, as of a resurrection from the dead!... While in this state, as I was walking through a field of flowers, in fifteen minutes, I saw through the mystery of creation, the original of this world and of all creatures. . . . Then for seven days I was in a continual state of ecstasy, surrounded by the light of the Spirit, which immersed me in contemplation and happiness. I learned what God is, and what is his will... I did not know how this happened to me, but my heart admired and praised the Lord for it!"

At the age of twenty-five, Boehme was given another great illumination, in which the Lord let him see further into "the heart of things... the true nature of God and man, and the relationship existing between them." Ten years later "the divine order of nature" was opened up to him, and he was inspired to write what the Lord had revealed to him."

The shop in Görlitz was sold in 1613 and had allowed Boehme to buy a house in 1610 and finish paying for it in 1618. Having given up shoemaking in 1613, Boehme sold woollen gloves for a while which caused him to regularly visit Prague to sell the gloves.

From 1612 to 1624, he wrote thirty books, "My books are written" Boehme said "only for those who desire to be sanctified and united to God, from whom they came . . . Not through my understanding, but in my resignation in Christ . . from him have I received knowledge of his mysteries. God dwells in that which will resign itself up, with all its reason and skill, unto him . . . I have prayed strongly that I might not write except for the glory of God and the instruction and benefit for my brethren."

Jacob Boehme’s persecutions and suffering began with the publication of his first book, "Aurora," at the age of thirty-five. then not withstanding five years of enforced silence, banishment from his home town, and an ecclesiastical trial for heresy, his "interior wisdom" began to be recognized by the nobility of Germany; but at this time, at the age of forty-nine, Boehme died, "happy," as he said, "in the midst of the heavenly music of the paradise of God." <<<

John Wesley, in his day, required all of his preachers to study the writings of Jacob Boehme; and the learned theologian, Willam Law, said of him: "Jacob Boehme was not a messenger of anything new in religion, but the mystery of all that was old and true in religion and nature, was opened up to him," — "the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God."

Teachings

The disciple said to his master: Sir, how may I come to the supersensual life, so that I may see God, and may hear God speak?

The master answered and said: Son, when thou canst throw thyself into That, where no creature dwelleth, though it be but for a moment, then thou hearest what God speaketh.

Disciple-
Is that where no creature dwelleth near at hand; or is it afar off?

Master-
It is in thee. And if thou canst, my son, for a while but cease from all thy thinking and willing, then thou shalt hear the unspeakable words of God.

Disciple-
How can I hear him speak, when I stand still from thinking and willing?

Master-
When thou standest still from the thinking of self, and the willing of self; "When both thy intellect and will are quiet, and passive to the impressions of the Eternal Word and Spirit; and when thy soul is winged up, and above that which is temporal, the outward senses, and the imagination being locked up by holy abstraction," then the eternal hearing, seeing, and speaking will be revealed in thee; and so God heareth "and seeth through thee," being now the organ of his Spirit; and so God speaketh in thee, and whispereth to thy spirit, and thy spirit heareth his voice. Blessed art thou therefore if that thou canst stand still from self-thinking and self-willing, and canst stop the wheel of thy imagination and senses; forasmuch as hereby thou mayest arrive at length to see the great salvation of God, being made capable of all manner of divine sensations and heavenly communications. Since it is nought indeed but thine own hearing and willing that do hinder thee, so that thou dost not see and hear God.

Disciple-
But wherewith shall I hear and see God, forasmuch as he is above nature and creature?

Master-
Son, when thou art quiet and silent, then art thou as God was before nature and creature; thou art that which God then was; thou art that whereof he made thy nature and creature: Then thou hearest and seest even with that wherewith God himself saw and heard in thee, before ever thine own willing or thine own seeing began.

From Dialogue 1 of "The Supersensual Life-Two Dialogues Between a Scholar or Disciple and his Master" by Jacob Boehme.

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Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

Aurora

by Jacob Boehme

(Paperback)

That is, the Day-Spring or Dawning of the Day in the Orient or Morning Redness in the Rising of the Sun. That is the Root or Mother of Philosophie, Astrologie and Theologie from the true Ground. Or a Description of Nature, I. How All was, and came to be in the Beginning. II. How Nature and the Elements are become Creaturely. III. Also of the Two Qualities Evil and Good. IV. From whence all things had their Original. V. And how all stand and work at present. VI. Also how all will be at the End of the Time. VII. Also what is the Condition of the Kingdom of God, and of the Kingdom of Hell. VIII. And how men work and act creaturely in Each of them. All this set down diligently from a true Ground in the Knowledge of the Spirit, and in the impulse of God.

Pro Opinions

Mystic

NIDHI PARKASH's picture

Mystic is also the way to God which may be available in Raj yoga in view of harmony between yogic meditation and mystic approach of meditation in holy bible, it may be spoken through scientific resea