The Two Brothers
Two brothers walked together along a stony road. The sun’s burning rays blinded their eyes and whitened the dust of the ground.
One brother was short and slight of build.
Upon his shoulders he bore a large and heavy burden. His gait was firm and steadfast, for he leaned upon a staff. He held his head high and his face shone with gladness.
The other was tall and strong.
Upon his broad shoulders he bore a small burden. His gait was unsure and unsteady, for he did not lean upon a staff.
His head was bent, and though his burden was small he sighed and groaned under its weight.
The first brother sought to lift his spirits, and he said:
"The road to our Father's home is long and difficult, my brother how will it be with you when at the beginning of the way you sigh and groan under your burden!"
The other answered by cursing the long road and its stones that cut his feet.
The first brother became saddened, and in silence they walked beside one another.
From by-ways came multitudes of people to enter the road the brothers followed.
Some journeyed in groups, others in pairs, many walked alone.
Some of the people strode briskly and surely along the road, though they all carried burdens upon their shoulders.
Some bore large and heavy burdens, others small and light ones.
Those who leaned upon staffs passed the brothers swiftly, greeting them and calling out:
“Behold, we go to our Father’s home. We shall greet him and say that you are soon to follow.” And they disappeared in the distance.
Many poor beings came staggering along the road, sighing under the weight of their burdens and bemoaning the burning rays of the sun and their thirst.
The first brother went to them and spoke kindly and gently.
He saw they had no cups to fill with water from the well by the road.
He took his own cup from his girdle, filled it with water and gave them to drink.
He saw they had no staff upon which to lean, and he offered them his that they should not fall.
He saw that they faltered under their burdens, and he took their burdens and laid them upon his own shoulders and walked on steadily and quietly, and all wondered greatly.
Then they spoke among themselves of this and said:
“Behold, this man gave us to drink, he lent us his staff, he took from us our burdens and laid them upon the heavy burden of his own—and yet he walks steadily and calmly along the road. How is this possible?”
But he answered them and said:
“I journey to my Father’s home. The hope of beholding my Father’s loving countenance lightens my burdens; my Father’s affectionate thoughts shorten the length of the road.”
And he turned and spoke to the multitudes:
“Follow me, all you who falter and groan under the travail of your journey. I shall lead you to our Father’s Kingdom; for he has many mansions. And I shall ask of him to prepare for you a place of rest after the struggles of your journey.”
And they all rejoiced greatly, and they all followed him.
When the son came to the Father’s Kingdom the servants threw open the mighty portals and they rejoiced as they saw the son enter, followed by the multitudes.
And the son went to his Father’s mansion, laid his burdens at His feet, kissed the hem of His robe and said:
“Behold, Father, all these poor beings I bring to your home. I saw them faltering under their burdens and I gave them my staff that they should not fall. I saw their thirst, and I gave them my cup filled with water from the well by the road. I heard them sighing, and I took their burdens and bore these for them. Father, I promised them that you would prepare a place for them where they might rest after the travails of their journey.”
The father looked gently upon his son and answered:
“To your father’s heart have you brought great gladness.” And he turned toward those gathered and said:
“Be you all welcome in my Kingdom; for know that you are all my children; for in the heart of your father are you all equal—high or low, rich or poor. Be you all welcome; for know that I, your Father, sent you forth upon the journey from which you are now returned.
“My servants shall lead you to the abodes prepared for my children; there shall you in solitude ponder your life’s journey. When all is become clear to you, then shall you answer me, your Father: why has the burden I gave you to bear weighed you down? Then shall you answer me: why have the stones of the road cut your feet, and the radiance of the sun blinded your eyes?
“Upon some of you I placed heavy burdens and entrusted you with light tasks; to others I gave light burdens and greater tasks to accomplish. Many of you returned before I called, many of you long after I called.
“My servants will now lead you to your abodes.
“When all is thought through, when all is answered, then will you become seeing, then shall the tears of remorse cleanse you, and then shall I, your Father, give to you the white robe which is the remission of sin.”
And he raised his hands and pronounced his blessing over their lowered heads.
And the servants led them away.
But the father turned toward the son and said:
“My son, many poor beings have you brought to my home, but one is missing. My eyes have sought and sought, but they found him not!
“My son, answer me: where is the brother who was with you at the beginning of the journey?”
The son answered him and said:
“Father, my brother will soon come. He is tall and strong, and his burden was light, he had no need of my help.”
Then the father’s countenance darkened, and he said:
“My son, when your brother no longer kept pace with you, did you not turn and call to him? Otherwise, how can you know that he needed not your help?
“My son, did you not see that your brother faltered, did you not see that the stones of the road cut his feet? Did you not see that the blazing radiance of the sun blinded his eyes? Did you not hear him sigh and groan under the weight of his burden?”
Then the son bowed his head in shame, and he answered and said:
"Father, when my brother no longer followed me, I did not turn round and I did not call. Father, I see I have done a great wrong; Father, I forgot my brother!"
Then the Father looked sorrowfully upon His son and said:
“Take up your staff and turn back; seek until you find the brother who fell behind you upon the way!”
The son bowed his head, and he said:
“Father, I will go forth and seek my brother—I will not return, except that I bring him with me.”
He took his cup and filled it with water from the well, he took up his staff and he turned back upon the road that he had just left.
He bore no burden upon his shoulders, but the sorrow of the Father lay heavily upon his heart.
He searched and searched, his eye sought and sought—but he found not his brother.
He journeyed back more than half of the way.
Then he saw his brother!
He lay by the side of the road. The burden had fallen from his shoulders. The flaming rays of the sun had blinded his eyes. The sharp stones of the road had cut his feet. His robe was in tatters, his body covered with wounds and bespattered with the mud of the road.
The brother knelt by his side and gave him water from the well of their father’s home; and he raised him up, and he took his own girdle and bound it about his loins that the tattered robe should not fall to the ground. He gave him his staff to support him, he took his burden and laid it upon his own shoulders.
He laid his arm tenderly about him and guided him along the road to their Father’s home.
When the servants saw the brothers come, they threw open the mighty portals and silently bowed their heads before them both.
And the brothers made their way to their Father’s mansion, and the son brought the newfound brother to the Father.
The Father opened his arms and pressed the newfound brother to his heart and said:
“My son, my son, why did you make your Father wait so long? Did you not hear my calling voice?
“My son, the spirit I gave to you was strong and beautiful—but behold, how you have soiled your body!
“My servants will now take you to the abode that has so long stood prepared for you. There shall you in solitude ponder upon the long journeying of your life.
“When all is thought through, when all is clear to you, then shall you answer me, your Father, why you performed not the task that you promised to fulfill; answer me why you let the stones in your path cut your feet; and you shall answer me why you fell under the small burden that I gave you, why the mud of the road bespattered your body and soiled your robe! And you shall say to me why you answered not my calling voice, why you let your Father wait so long.
“When you have answered, then shall your blinded eyes see, then shall the tears of remorse cleanse your body, and then will I, your Father, give to you the white robe which is the remission of sin.”
And he laid his hand upon his son’s lowered head, and the servants came and led him to the abode that had long stood empty.
Then the Father turned toward the other son, lovingly took his hand, and said:
“My son, you have brought great joy to my heart; for know you that no joy is greater than the joy in the heart of a father when the son who has fallen is brought back home. Truly, know you that no joy is greater than the joy of a father when the son He believed had perished is returned home!
“My son, to you much was given, to you shall more be given. Go to the abode that my paternal heart has prepared for you, and there accept the reward that awaits you.”
7 March 1911
This parable applies first and foremost to the relationship between Jesus of Nazareth and Joseph of Arimathea during that earthly life in which they were to have supported and complemented one another, according to their promise to God. Since Jesus, after his meeting with Joseph,1 made no attempt to win him over but went his way without further concern for him, the Father’s reproach in the parable is rightfully aimed at Jesus.
And as the son in the parable was to search for his brother, so was Jesus (the eldest of the Youngest) to search for Joseph of Arimathea, when Joseph’s spirit upon the death of his body returned not to the Heavenly abodes.
By taking his old servant’s life, by fearing to lose his wealth and his prestige among the people and by keeping silent about his part in the disappearance of the body of Jesus, Joseph brought himself under the power of the Darkness. His guilt of sin compelled his spirit to lead a long Earth-bound existence after the death of his body, until the eldest of the Youngest, after centuries of searching, found him sunken in deep spiritual Darkness.
The parable also applies to all humanity. When one during life on Earth sees relative or friend fallen under their burdens and shows no concern nor offers no helping hand, one must invariably, after the life on Earth has ended, answer God: where is that brother or sister who accompanied you?
This is true also for those human beings who before their incarnation have pledged to support one another in a particularly difficult mission in order to bring it to a favorable conclusion.
Although it is a thing of the past to search the astral counterpart of the Earth, or the Hell-Sphere for spirits who fall under the burdens of their earthly life, it can still be difficult enough for such negligent humans to make the required amends in future for their failure. This penance might for long periods prevent those who have neglected their duties, or who have broken their promise, from advancing spiritually.
Therefore, be never neglectful of a relative or a friend, and never ignore the inner voice that prompts you to offer your help—spiritual or material—in such instances where your assistance can be beneficial, whether your fellow human is faltering under the heavy burdens, or whether by your word, authority or prestige you can help another out of a difficult situation or give support in the struggle for truth and justice.
In other respects the symbolism of the parable can be interpreted according to one’s own thoughts and feelings.2
1) Ardor's Account, question 23.
2) The interpretation of this parable was given by the intermediary’s spiritual guide in the spring of 1916. —Publisher’s note.