Mozart the Asiatic

27 May

What was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart seeking when he joined the Freemason Lodge called “Beneficence” in the Vienna of 1784?

Short and slight, the twenty-eight year old composer was marked with large, bulging eyes and a smallpox flawed facial skin. The famed musician arrived at his initiation ceremony in a sensational crimson coat that set him off. Mozart and a large crowd of members heard the ledge master address the neophyte with fulsome flattery.

“Chosen by benevolent Nature to move our hearts through rare magical powers, and to pour consolation and comfort into our souls – You shall be embraced by all the warm feelings of mankind, which you so wonderfully express through your fingers, through which stream all the magnificent works of your ardent imagination!”

This young Mozart soon was a very active Freemason. He attended the meetings of both his own and other Vienna lodges. Several Masonic pieces of music came from his pen. He played the piano at benefit concerts sponsored by his new ledge brothers. His spirit appeared reborn. In a short time, the popular Wolfgang was promoted to the rank of journeyman, then to the highest level of Master Mason. His reputation among the members soared.

But then a sudden depression struck the musical genius. The high enthusiasm of this early period quickly disappeared. He found unexpected difficulty in his creation of new music and could not understand or easily cope with this new melancholy that plagued him.

It was at that time, in the summer of 1785, that an inner secret of the Masonic organization was revealed to him.

Otto von Gemmingen was a famous playwright with whom Mozart was well acquainted. This old friend was the one chosen to make an important revelation to the composer then troubled with inner depression. The two Masonic brothers were having dinner together at the writer’s ornate, luxurious residence on Ringstrasse.

“What I am about to tell you must be kept in your inner heart and never revealed to any other person. There exists a higher order of truth-seekers within the lodges. It consists of special individuals who have advanced beyond the other members. They share a secret enlightenment that, in a way, makes them an elite of spiritual aristocrats. We call ourselves the Order of Illuminati.”

The astonished master of music listened to a list of persons well known to him who were part of the organization within an organization, an invisible grouping within the Vienna lodges.

Ignaz von Born, Grand Secretary of all the Austrian lodges, Master of the “True Concord” lodge of Vienna that Mozart had frequented many times.

Prince Johann Dietrichstein, Grand Master of all Austrian lodges.

Joseph von Sonnenfels, a high government official and music patron.

Von Gemmingen went on to name some of Wolfgang’s closest friends as Illuminati: Count August von Hatzfeld, Baron Gottfried van Swieten, as well as others in Salzburg, Munich, and Mannheim with whom the musician was close.

The playwrite explained that the officers of both the “Beneficence” and the “True Concord” groups were secret members of the unpublicized order.

“Within my own “True Concord”, thirty-six of the eighty-three members are Illuminati,” revealed von Gemmingen. “The founder of our unseen order, Adam Weishaupt, taught us that those who remain unprepared for our mission can stay in the Masonic Lodges without knowing of the secret system. We only reveal ourselves to those such as you, whom we judge fit to become enlightened ones.”

Mozart, his head spinning, gulped hard. “And I am considered an eligible candidate?”

“Indeed,” answered his friend. “And it shall be my pleasant duty to introduce you to the ideas of the Illuminati, Wolfgang.”

The secret ideology presented to Mozart was rational, scientific, and supportive of political and social reform. A new world without hereditary monarchs was the hidden dream and secret aim. The program was one for the extreme, total reform of social life.

Wolfgang became enthused and his musical composition was revived and energized by this new interest and membership.

But the sky soon fell on this organization within Masonry. Finally, all the Freemasons came under official suspicion across Austria.

Over in Bavaria, the royal government banned the anticlerical, radical Illuminati in early 1785. An immediate shudder went through the Vienna Illuminati. Was that going to be their fate too?

Early in his reign, Emperor Joseph II had recruited the Masons as allies in his drive for reform of both church and state. But, in time, he came to fear the possibility of dangerous anti-monarchical ideas within the large, overall lodges. Reports came to him of members delving into the secret theosophy of the Rosicrucians. There were signs that occult and mystical teachings were present among some Masons. Such radical heresy had to be stamped out, decided the progressive ruler with reluctance. His liberalism had gone too far and permitted an unnoticed peril to arise within the Masonic movement.

In December 1785, an Imperial decree ordered the re-organization of all the Austrian lodges. Uniformity and orthodoxy was to replace diversity and plurality. There was to be strict official supervision of Freemasonry. The eight lodges in Vienna were commanded to merge into two new, general organizations. Total membership had to be limited. The police were to be given lists of all members. Any new masters had to be appointed by the Grand Master and approved by the government.

At first, the Masonic leaders thought that the Emperor’s aim was mainly to purge their movement of mystical and occult teachings. But they gradually came to realize that they were all under suspicion of subversive political goals. The decree had a deadening effect on the world of Masonry. Membership within Austria fell from 706 to 547 in a short time. Divisions broke out and many leading figures quit their lodges. The Order of Illuminati rapidly disintegrated and died out within this new intolerant environment.

Wolfgang Mozart, affected by this furious storm, fell back into mental depression and negativism. His creativity suffered renewed collapse. The amount and quality of music coming from inside him declined sharply. The crisis within Masonry propelled him into a fall in his musical productivity. What was he to do?

It was Otto von Gemmingen, the friend who had ushered the composer into the “Beneficence” lodge, who opened a new, unexpected door. He visited Mozart’s home in late l786. His mood was unusually cheerful, despite what had happened to the Illuminati.

The pair sat opposite each other in the musician’s private study. The visitor began by describing his deep mental depression. “I shall soon be resigning my lodge post and leaving the ranks of the Masons,” announced the writer. “It is no longer possible for me to work there as before. And I will not be the only person quitting. Grand Master Dietrichstein also intends to leave the official organization.We can no longer enjoy any independence of thought or action there.”

“I am most sorry to hear that,” said Wolfgang with a moan. “Great sorrow fills my heart and my mind about what has happened to our movement. It is terrible. My pain is so heavy that I can hardly complete any work whatever.”

The visitor leaned forward and spoke in nearly a whisper.

“You have been one of the Illuminati within our lodge. But there has also been a second hidden grouping. Have you been told of the Asiatic Brethren?”

Mozart made a grimace. “Rumor has it that they hold theosophic ideas similar to those of the Rosicrucians and Templars.”

Gemmingen made a wry smile. “I am not the only Masonic officer who also is an Asiatic as well.”

Mozart experienced a jolt of surprise. “But you are in the Illuminati, are you not?” he said with a gasp.

“Prince Dietrichstein, who has long been Grand Master of all the lodges, has secretly been the head leader of all the Asiatics in Vienna. No one knew this except his philosophical comrades such as myself. But there are also others who have at the same time been both Illuminati and theosophists of the East, my dear fellow.”

“I find what you are saying to be an amazing revelation!” sighed the musician.

“Our exploration for truth has been moved to the far Orient, to the land of India. You see, a man in England named Charles Wilkins has translated and published the main classics of the Hindu faith. A copy of his work is now available here in Vienna, along with other old texts from the Far East. I was permitted to read these books by the founder of the Asiatic Brethren, Hans Ecker. Would you like to meet him, Wolfgang? I am certain that he would allow you to read the Indian masterpiece called the “Bhagavad-Gita”. It is an astoundingly wise and profound spiritual experience, I can tell you. And there are a number of other enlightening works that originated in India.”

“Yes, I would like to meet this man and read those translations,” replied Wolfgang Mozart. “Up until now, I know nothing of India and the course of thought there.”

“You will discover that the level of thinking there is quite advanced,” promised Otto.

The founder of the Asiatics, Hans Ecker, was about the size of Mozart himself. His dark eyes, large and steady, were the central feature of his tiny face. Arrangements were made for him to meet with the famous composer in a secluded chamber of the combined “New Crowned Hope” lodge of the Masons.

Ecker addressed Mozart with uninhibited candor from the start.

“I believe that you now have some inkling of the dimensions of the work being done by our Asiatic Brethren. Our rule is never to reveal ourselves except to other members or potential recruits. My hope is that you will soon join with us, as a member and fellow believer in the creed and system of thought that we are in the process of constructing here in Vienna.”

“My hope is to learn all I can about the ideas shared within your group,” declared the composer. “I am in great need of whatever wisdom I can find in those ancient texts.”

Hand Ecker seemed to look away. “We are in great excitement at present, since the “Bhagavad-Gita” has been revealed to us. We are entering into the stream of theosophy, but far beyond the work of the European Rosicrucians and mystics. The works from India possess greater depth of knowledge than anything found here in the West. Our members can see everything in a new light, from a different angle.” He stared at Ecker. “What is the nature of this new perspective, may I ask?”

The theosophist smiled serenely. “The Hindu writings teach one how to attain a higher, purer knowledge than anything we now have. Self-discovery is the objective, because that is the path to self-transcendence. Self-understanding results in power over the self unlike anything we have seen or know of. The Hindu term used for such elevation of the self is “yoga”. It signifies a balance between theory and practice, thought and actual life. The personal goal of each member of the Asiatics is to attain a supreme, transcendental self through perfection in both study and practice. Our spiritual ambitions are quite high, I must admit.”

Wolfgang listened as if enchanted to the explanation of the newly found Oriental system of thought and belief. Before he left the lodge, Ecker handed him a copy of the translated “Bhagavad Gita” and promised other ancient eastern texts.

The stymied, depressed creator of music within a few days found all the inspiration and exhilaration he had been hungering for. A new optimism permeated the volume of music he now began to create for his listeners.

Wolfgang held a number of secret meetings with Hans Ecker where he learned more about Eastern philosophy and mysticism. The composer became an enthusiast for the truths of India found in the translations provided him through the Asiatic Brethren. He was initiated into this secret organization within another organization, as he had been brought into the Illuminati.

Mozart declared his total loyalty whenever he conferred with his new mentor, Hans Ecker. “The salvation of the peoples of Europe will come from a rebirth of the ideas in the “Bhagavad-Gita” on our Christian continent. We have to dissolve our own traditions within the great ocean of the East and subordinate all our art, literature, and music to that sublime purpose. We must turn ourselves back to the oldest beginnings of human life, which will only be found in ancient India.”

The musical genius of the composer had received a secret rebirth which his public did not directly know of. This new creativity affected all of the compositions of his last years, till his death in 1791. The imprint of his interest in India is most visible in his Masonic choral works, as in a cantata he wrote for tenor and piano. The work was composed for the dedication of a new temple for the “New Crowned Hope” lodge in Vienna.

The cantata opens with lines that reflect Mozart’s new devotion to the ideas he received from his Asiatic brothers in the most hidden of the units he had joined.

“You who revere the Creator of the boundless universe,
Call him Jehovah or God, call him Fu or Brahma.
Hark! Hark to the words of the Almighty’s trumpet call!
Ringing out through earth, moon, sun,
Its sound is everlasting.”

Wolfgang Mozart believed that he was recording the cosmic music of the spiritual soul of the universe. His compositions were merely echoes of a timeless, omnipresent music made manifest to him after his study of ancient Eastern wisdom.

Telepathic echoes from the higher existence of a Sublime Whole were the means by which his creative production was restored.

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