Man, the indwelling Spirit, has at his present stage of development four vehicles through which he functions: the dense physical body, the vital body, the desire body, and the mind. Although these bodies are closely interrelated and are affected by each other, it is helpful to the student in understanding thoroughly their functions and possibilities to study each one separately and intensively. To facilitate such study Max Heindel's material concerning the desire body has been collected and published in this one convenient volume.
The desire body of man is his vehicle of feelings, desires, wishes and emotions. It is responsible for all his actions, revelling in unrestrained motion. If unbridled it makes the body do all the unnecessary and undignified things which are so detrimental to soul growth. However, that temper which is such a great menace when it takes control, may be as effective for service under proper guidance. Hence the temper of the desire body must be controlled but not by any means killed.
The Western Wisdom Teachings therefore emphasize the transmuting of the lower desires into higher ones through service motivated by devotion to high ideals. This generates the Emotional Soul, essential nourishment for the evolving Spirit.
Max Heindel (1865-1919) was an American Christian occultist, astrologer, and mystic. Originally born in Denmark, he left home at 16 to learn engineering at the ship-yards of Glasgow, Scotland, eventually becoming a Chief Engineer of a trading steamer and travelled extensively between America and Europe.
In 1903 Max Heindel moved to Los Angeles seeking work, and after attending a lecture there by the well-known Theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater, he joined the Theosophical Society of Los Angeles, where he served as vice-president in 1904 and 1905. Overwork and privation soon brought him severe heart trouble, but this period of illness allowed him to consciously travel outside of his body seeking truth as he might find it on the invisible planes. The next two years would be spent by Heindel giving lecture tours on occult knowledge throughout the north-western United States.
In 1907, his friend Dr. Alma von Brandis finally persuaded him to visit Germany to hear a cycle of lectures by the then President of the German Theosophical Society, Rudolf Steiner. Heindel admired him so much as an “esteemed teacher and valued friend”, that he dedicated his magnum opus to him. However, Heindel was dismayed that Steiner could not help him advance along the path of spiritual development he was seeking. But fortune had it that he was visited by a spiritual being who identified himself as an Elder Brother of the Rosicrucian order. After passing a moral test of strength, he was granted access to the Etheric Temple of the Rose Cross in Europe, where he underwent guidance and was given direct instructions by the order.
Returning to America in 1908, he would start writing the Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, which would be published in 1909 along with the founding of the Rosicrucian Fellowship in Oceanside, California. From 1909 until his death in 1919, Heindel would go on to write more books and developed correspondence courses that continue to reach students globally.