THE YOGI AND THE COMMISSAR
by Arthur Koestler
This book was written in 1945 by a Hungarian named Arthur Koestler. It traced the author’s responses to the world crises through which he lived from the early 1930s to the mid-1940s. Koestler’s symbols for the two opposing poles of his attitude toward life are that of the Yogi who tries to solve problems by change from within, through spiritual means, and the Commissar who tries changing everything from without by revolution, or “radical reorganization of the system.” It was Koestler’s belief that between these two extremes most of us waver. It was originally Jane Wolfe who first shared this book with Crowley and it so inspired him because it reflected on what he was trying to tell Grady the year before in his letters discussing the Caliphate. This book is extremely historically significant to all Thelemites because Crowley personally recommended it to Grady McMurtry in regards to understanding his role as the future Caliph and in developing an understanding of the dual nature of this office. In other words; his office had to learn how to unite hat which is above to that which is below when formulating one's ideas behind how you can function as both the Caliph and the O.H.O. at the same time. In many ways “The Yogi and the Commissar” would shape Grady’s understanding of the dual polarities which permeate all existence; or as Koestler put it “the swinging of the pendulum from rationalistic to romantic.” The “Commissar” is one who is able to manifest changes without on the Malkuthian plane while the “Yogi” internalizes and works through individual effort from within. Yet it takes a balance of these two polarities for the lofty aspirations of the Yogi to manifest on this plane in any manner which is truly harmonious with his True Will. Koestler wrote “The Commissar’s emotional energies are fixed by the relation between the individual and society, the Yogi’s on the relationship between the individual and the universe.” Despite his military background Grady was definitely more of the “Yogi” type. It is no secret that the man had no Earth in his natal chart, which at times made things challenging for him on the Malkuthian plane. Because of this fact, years later, when acting as the Caliph, Grady would always benefit most from those relationships which could provide for him a strong “footing.” This is one of the reasons why he and Soror Meral, better known as Phyllis Seckler, would ultimately be successful at accomplishing so much work together. She was the Commissar to his Yogi, a viable matrix or vehicle for his word. She brought balance to his force. In a nutshell: the 'Commissar' aspect was meant to deal with the mundane affairs of the Order as O.H.O., while the 'Yogi' would be responsible for making sure the religious aspect of Thelema flourished, merging them together in the role of the Caliphate.