Many readers of books have the wish to find out more about the author of the respective book. Often, the thought underlying this wish is to be able to draw conclusions about the book from the descriptions of an author's background, which will facilitate the decision to buy or to read the book.
In the work “In the Light of Truth” – The Grail Message, Abd-ru-shin makes the following statement:
"Any inwardly free man will always assess a matter or a teaching according to what it brings, not according to who brings it. ... Gold is gold, whether a prince or a beggar holds it in his hand."
These words, the accuracy of which is indisputable, clearly show how restricted today's reader is when he allows himself to be influenced only by the past experiences of an author. A book titled "In the Light of Truth – The Grail Message" and which gives clarification about the real meaning of life as a human being particularly demands neutral assessment without any explanation about the author. After coming to know the statements, the author makes in his work, the reader is then at liberty to come to a judgement of the author based on his work.
Investigating the truth also presupposes an openness and far-sightedness on the part of the reader. Experience has taught human beings that definitely, more things exist than we can grasp with our concepts of time and space. Part of this is the experience of a sudden premonition or of the effect of guidance that crosses our path in life.
For Abd-ru-shin, the main concern was to give his work, "In the Light of Truth" – The Grail Message – as a signpost to those people who are receptive to it. It is in the context of this concern that individual points in the life of Abd-ru-shin can be seen when reading the following account.
Abd-ru-shin was born as Oskar Ernst Bernhardt on 18 April 1875. His birthplace, Bischofswerda, in the vicinity of Dresden in Germany, was the place of his childhood as well as of his schooling and professional education. After this, he left the loving care of his parents' home and devoted himself to the profession of a business man as this was his training. The activity of being a business man allowed him to travel to different European countries as well as to North America. He started to put down in writing the experiences and impressions of these journeys, as well as his personal experiences from living with his fellow human beings. In this way, he combined his commercial activities with his ever increasing inclination to make his thoughts known as a writer.
In 1921, the consciousness with regard to Abd-ru-shin and his task on earth awoke in Oskar Ernst Bernhardt. With this conscious awareness of that which connected him with Abd-ru-shin, he ended his commercial activities to be able to devote himself completely to the task of Abd-ru-shin.
Almost two years later – in 1923 – Oskar Ernst Bernhardt, under the name "Abdruschin", published the first essays which sent out the call for spiritual awakening in human beings. Initially these essays were bound in booklets which bore the title "Grail Leaflets" ("Gralsblätter"). In the course of 1926, a collection of these essays appeared in a book form, with the title "In the Light of Truth – The New Grail Message – by Abdruschin". In later editions, the word "New" in respect of "The Grail Message" was removed, so that from 1931 it was just called "The Grail Message". The spelling of the author's name also changed in the editions. From 1937, the spelling "Abd-ru-shin", which was to be valid for the future, was used in the publications.
As an accompaniment to the publication of "The Grail Leaflets" and "The Grail Message", Abd-ru-shin also held public lectures at first in order to bring his thoughts closer to his fellowmen. As a result of the amount of the essays which Abd-ru-shin saw the growing need to compile, he stopped giving any public lectures. With his many readers, Abd-ru-shin’s essays caused an inner spiritual awakening that also became perceptible in many areas of life.
The urge became ever stronger in Abd-ru-shin to seek the destined earthly anchorage for the Message from out of the Grail. Directed by an inner guidance, he began to search for this place. As is common with everything arising out of a non-earthly guidance, here it also required a corresponding earthly indication to find the sought-for place. Through a sale advertisement in which a house in the secluded mountain region of northern Tyrol (Austria) was offered for sale, in 1928 Abd-ru-shin recognised the place for which he had been looking.
Abd-ru-shin’s essays explain the meaning of life in a clear, objective and intellectually comprehensible way; in addition, they lead to a perception of God such as humanity had not known. The basis for this is the recognition and observance of the Laws of Nature and Creation which are the discernible expressions of the Will of God.
Out of gratitude for the life-changing recognitions there also arose in many the pressing wish to worship the Creator in a suitable form and to express their gratitude to Him. To this end, Abd-ru-shin created the possibility of Hours of Worship and – in a higher form – the Grail Festivals. The Grail Festivals, which have become a conscious experience of Divine Grace for many people who are spiritually open, also today still constitute the great climax during the year for such readers of the Grail Message.
Abd-ru-shin’s greatest endeavour, with regard to his fellowmen, was to stimulate them through his essays to a conscious and free existence. The individual human being should recognise that he alone is responsible for his life and, above all, for his entire spiritual existence. Abd-ru-shin’s call that each human being distances himself from all existing constraints and restrictions in order to be able to consciously experience his own life, is also relevant here. The indication of the fact that there is no need for an earthly organisation between human beings and the Creator was not looked kindly upon by the Church leaders, and this caused considerable enmity towards Abd-ru-shin.
People with political powers were also displeased by Abd-ru-shin’s demand for independent thinking and objective examining which lead men out of the handicap of influenced opinions. Thus, in 1936, the sale of the work "In the Light of Truth – The Grail Message" was forbidden in National Socialist Germany and the existing publishing house in Munich for the printing of this work had to be shut down. When in March 1938 Austria was annexed by the German Reich, this brought an end to the things Abd-ru-shin was doing and to his work. Abd-ru-shin was arrested by the National Socialists and imprisoned in Innsbruck. The accusations and charges which had caused the imprisonment finally turned out not to correspond with the truth and this led to Abd-ru-shin's release. Nevertheless, the Grail Settlement on Vomperberg, which had developed around Abd-ru-shin's residence along with his entire personal possessions as well as that of his family, were seized and transferred to the Austrian State. Abd-ru-shin and his family had to leave Austria and put under compulsory stay in East Germany. All the remaining residents were expelled from the Grail Settlement. The further dissemination of Abd-ru-shin’s work as well as personal contact with Abd-ru-shin was prohibited through the restraint of the National Socialist rulers.
Abd-ru-shin’s Message from out of the Grail had reached very many readers in different countries and had caused a change in their everyday lives. Their lives and experiences were more conscious, leading to a deeper recognition of genuine human values. The stronger perception of spiritual guidance also helped these people bear the heavy fateful years of the Second World War.
The essays Abd-ru-shin wrote between 1923 and 1937 became published in the form of different writings and book editions such as "Grail Leaflets", "In the Light of Truth – The Grail Message", "Reverberations of the Grail Message" as well as individual lectures.
Abundant experiences with these different publishing possibilities, as well as his experiences with readers of his Grail Message prompted Abd-ru-shin to arrange his essays in a new edition. In the years 1939 and 1940 he created a printing draft for the future form of the current work "In the Light of Truth" – The Grail Message. This was to reach readers in three volumes. The first print of this edition, which made the work accessible once more to the readers, only came out in 1949.
Oskar Ernst Bernhardt brought humanity the Message from out of the Grail as Abd-ru-shin. The help Abd-ru-shin brought humanity was not recognised by man in its entirety. Conscious of this, Abd-ru-shin detached himself from his earthly body on 6 December 1941. The burial of his earthly body took place at that time in the cemetery of his birth place in Bischofswerda.
After the war in 1945, Abd-ru-shin’s widow, Frau Maria Bernhardt, was allowed to return to the Grail Settlement. The expropriation order of the possessions was lifted, and Frau Maria Bernhardt became the owner of the Grail Settlement on Vomperberg.
Under a great strain, it was possible in the summer of 1949 to transport Abd-ru-shin’s physical remains from Bischofswerda to the Grail Settlement, Vomperberg. A monument in the form of a pyramid was erected for this purpose and the earthly cloak of Abd-ru-shin was reburied in its vault.
Abd-ru-shin was a strict opponent of any form of dogma as well as of any sectarianism. He also confronted any form of a personality cult in an uncompromising way. For him, the only thing that mattered was that he lived that which he conveyed to readers in his work "In the Light of Truth" – The Grail Message.