Pekka Ervast: Finnish Mystic, Spiritualist, and Teacher.

Pekka Ervast was a writer, occultist, and Christian mystic, born December 26, 1875, in Finland. Since early childhood, Ervast searched honestly for truth, but was often beset by the conflicts between idealism and reality that are so common in all walks of life. His passion was to find the real purpose of our existence and how we should live honestly, but he did not find any answers within the religious standards of his day. Finland was largely Christian in the late 1800s, but Ervast was not satisfied with Christian doctrines as they were being taught in church or even in theological seminaries.

During his early years at the University of Helsinki, Ervast became acquainted with Theosophy. At this time, the works of Theosophist Madame H. P. Blavatsky were becoming known, and eventually Ervast himself became one of two translators of Blavatsky's classic Theosophical work, The Secret Doctrine, into Finnish. Theosophy is a system of philosophical thought based upon spiritual insights into the esoteric, occult history of the human race and its developmental laws. The principles of Theosophy opened up the avenue of inquiry that Ervast had been seeking. Furthermore, through reading the work of the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, Ervast discovered esoteric Christianity. The path of the Sermon on the Mount became his path, and its cosmic law became his law.

Ervast has testified that when he began to follow the esoteric teachings of Jesus, he entered an occult path wherein totally new worlds opened up for him. He became a spiritualist who travelled to realms of knowledge where he could understand the meaning of life and could see human beings not just as living single lives, but as reincarnating spiritual beings, journeying through the school of this world in order to learn and evolve spiritually.

Ervast's insights into the fundamental laws of life transcended his interest in esoteric Christianity. Being an avid student of world mythology and religion, and having great respect for his own culture's myths and legends, he specialized in interpreting his National Epic according to Theosophical principles. As a result, in The Key to the Kalevala, Ervast offers a most comprehensive and inspired mystical reading of the deeply profound esoteric knowledge sequestered within the Kalevala. He saw the Kalevala as a Holy Book, a sacred text that could be unlocked with the key of Theosophy.

The literary works of Pekka Ervast consist of over a hundred volumes, many of them full-length books. Very few of Ervast's works, however, are available in English. Fortunately, Ervast was fluent in several languages, including English, and he translated at least two of his books into English: H.P.B.: Four Episodes from the Life of the Sphinx of the XIXth Century (1933) and The Sermon on the Mount (1983), both published by the London Theosophical Publishing House. A collection of Ervast's lectures from 1929 called Astral Schools was translated and published by the Rosicrucian Literary Society of Finland in 1979. His book The Esoteric School of Jesus recently has been translated and is to be published by Blue Dolphin Publishers. Ervast's contribution to revealing the esoteric contents of the Kalevala was discussed by Finnish scholar Juha Pentikäinen in his book Kalevala Mythology. Pentikäinen discusses The Key to the Kalevala and emphasizes Ervast's unique interpretation of the Kalevala as a Holy Book.

Ervast was an avid reader and studied the writings of the best minds of his day, including Rudolf Steiner and H. P. Blavatsky. In Helsinki in 1912, Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Anthroposophy movement, gave a talk on national epics with special focus on the Kalevala, an event Ervast mentions in his Foreword to The Key to the Kalevala. In 1920 Ervast founded the Rosicrucian organization in Finland, the Ruusu-Risti, which still exists today and is engaged in publishing, teaching, and translating projects. Ervast labored to bring opportunities for spiritual learning and growth to his people, and the seeds he planted continue to bear fruit.

Ervast's life was not long-he died at age 58—but his collected writings, lectures, and books are all the more valuable for this reason. During the course of his Theosophical and Rosicrucian activities between 1895 and 1934, he gave over thirteen hundred public lectures, most of them without written notes. His skills and presence as a speaker verged on the mystical, and it was often noted that he seemed to answer questions from his audience before they had been asked. He could speak clearly and intelligibly to the most profound questions of philosophy, religion, and Theosophy. His message reached truth seekers in all sectors of society, and his books can be found in tens of thousands of Finnish homes. Through his life's work in service to the truth, he remains a most important spiritual teacher to his nation. Moreover, Ervast's diverse and profound teachings as a "seer from the North" are timeless and universal, intended for all of humanity.

Excerpt from the Introduction to Pekka Ervast's The Key to the Kalevala (Blue Dolphin Publishing, Nevada City, CA, 1999) by John Major Jenkins.