The Finnish Rosicrucian Order was founded on March 14th 1920 by the grand old man of Finnish theosophy, the writer Pekka Ervast (l8751934). Although its name suggests a Western, Christian orientation (of Christian Rosenkreutz in the 15th century), the Finnish group belongs to the universal theosophical movement initiated by H. P. Blavatsky, for its main philosophical and religious principles are similar to those of the original Theosophical Society and its different branches. They thus share concepts of the inner essence of man, the active, divine and spiritually oriented core within man, the highest self whose development into a life-dominating principle informs the doctrines of reincarnation and the karma. These very ideas of reincarnation and the karma (the laws of cause and effect) are questions central to the world view held in all branches of the movement. It should be emphasized that the reincarnated self is not during the period in question an active spiritual personality with all its qualities, but a monad, a fundamental self undergoing this schooling. Reincarnation should not therefore be confused with the primitive doctrine of the transmigration of souls.
The evolution of a human being to perfection by ethical and spiritual training also entails a conscious unification with the divine cosmic consciousness from which our own spiritual self derives. The process of perfection occurs slowly however in the school of life, but also through specific esoteric and ethical training. This is fully integrated with the concept of a kind of evolutional hierarchy, a belief in varying forms of human or divine evolution, the idea of masters, the great sages and saints of humanity as forerunners lighting the path for individuals and humanity at large.
General theosophical doctrines also include the concept of the seven fold nature of man's essence; there is thus a higher spiritual trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and a lower personal soul with its bodies (astral-mental) or feeling and the mental faculty together with the ethereal (invisible) and physical bodies. The starting point may be considered as St. Paul's threefold division of spirit, soul and body and their separation from each other. From this vision of man are derived certain notions about life after death, the question of which part of our substance disappears and what is born again.
As befits a group whose members are searching for truth, the Rosicrucians study the secret divine wisdom hidden in the religions and mythologies of all ages. The society is particularly interested in Finland's own "holy book", the Kalevala.
According to the three points of their programme, the Rosicrucians are in quest of a way to eternal life, a way which will foster and develop in man the spirit of brotherhood. This point above all is related to the Christian esoterism so strongly emphasized by the Rosicrucians, the path of spiritual evolution laid out by Jesus. The latter is based on the five ethical principles of the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospels: goodness, purity, truth, peace and love of one's neighbour as conditions for achieving union with the divine spirit. This Christian path is indissolubly linked with a new vision of Jesus Christ's position in the plan for cosmic evolution towards the divine spirit the victory of consciousness over matter. This is a cosmic Christ, by which we mean a spiritual force behind humanity and the whole of creation. The mystical Christ means an individual Christ, a spirit attached to a monad, Christ within us, Christus in Nobis. According to the founder of the Finnish Rosicrucians, Jesus was so great so pure and so highly evolved and had so perfectly fulfilled the commandment to love that the cosmic Christ was able to take him entirely into his own power and exercise influence through him. The perfect incarnation of Christ in one person was a cosmic event which incorporated him as the highest being on earth. It thus began a new age in the spiritual history of humanity. The event also has practical occult consequences. It has made it possible to receive the divine spirit in waking hours, in our daily awareness, and not merely in some admittedily conscious "temple dream" as at earlier stages. But the actual esoteric training for this "New Union" is based on Jesus's message of love as it appears perhaps most clearly in the Sermon on the Mount. It may be symptomatic that the Sermon on the Mount contains those disturbingly exacting words. "Be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect". This is not of course possible in the course of a single life time. The emphasis on Jesus's cryptic teachings may be the area in which the Rosicrucians, as one branch of the theosophical tree, may display most clearly their own original foundation.
The Order of Rosicrucians emphasizes the primary importance of the evolution and maturation of the individual. The society of course arranges lectures and members' meetings with discussions and also maintains lively publishing activity. The extensive output of the founder alone amounts to more than 100 works. Distribution is handled by the society's own bookshop (Kirjokansi). In addition there is so-called lodge activity on the ceremonial and ritual basis formulated by the founder, although this is also combined with a fixed study programme.
Although the Finnish Rosicrucians evolved around their leader Pekka Ervast, there was no authoritarian belief or personality cult. The leader himself was appalled at the slightest signs of this tendency. Each member was accountable at any moment for what he might regard as spiritual truth. He nevertheless certainly wished to inspire the belief that unity with the divine cosmic consciousness, the truth, was obtainable although the condition for success was the realisation of a pure and ethical life.
After the death of Pekka Ervast, subsequent leaders of the Rosicrucians, Hilda Pihlajamäki (19341951) and Uuno Pore (1951) have attempted to maintain the basic ideas of the founder as guiding principles of the society, by emphasizing that the society is not an end in itself but an instrument that must be refined to the most serviceable tool possible. To follow this path requires constant, fearless self-examination on the basis of utter truthfulness. It is clear that such rules are not calculated to attract mass membership. Thus for some years the number of members has remained constant at 9001000. This critical attitude is encouraged by the present leader of the Rosicrucians Uuno Pore in his book "The Meaning of the Rosy Cross" in his appeal to the counsel of the Buddha:
"Do not accept anything that I the Buddha have said or what you have read in the holy scriptures if your reason does not accept it".