The Steward or the Ruling Faculty

Psychologically speaking man has no unity but contains many beings inside himself.

Composite man,Japanese Ukiyoe
(Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1847)



There exist ten thousand worlds, and all these are contained in man, without his being conscious of it. -- Darqawi (17th c. Moroccan Sufi)
Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes. -- Walt Whitman (19th c. American poet)
Man is compared to a house in which there is a multitude of servants but no master and no steward. The house can be got ready for the arrival of the steward who will, in his turn, prepare it for the arrival of the master. -- Gurdjieff (20th c. Fourth Way spiritual teacher)


The master, also called Real I, the Higher Self, the Original Spirit or the God within, is absent or asleep in man. To awaken Real I, a man must understand what it means to be asleep by seeing it in himself. He must learn how to awaken his Higher Self and see how different parts in himself oppose his aim. This understanding in a man, together with the ability to act upon it, is called Steward, Inner Mind, the Mind of Tao, Watchman, Warrior, Goodman, Ruler, Guru, King, or the Lord`s Deputy. It is educated with the psychological tools to control the servants or the many I's , and is taught how to invite the master of the house.

Pharaoh walking with a Ka on his head, Egyptian museum, Cairo
A man's foes shall be they of his own household. -- The Bible, Matthew, 10:36
And the Lord said, who then is that faithful and wise steward, who his lord shall make ruler over his household ? -- The Bible, Luke 12:42
He is the steward, and his hand is the hand of God. -- Rumi (13th c. Sufi mystic and poet
The body is the house of God. That is why it is said, ‘Man know thyself.’
-- Temple Aphorisms from Luxor
If the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.-- The Bible, Luke 12:39
In the midst of your household, remain balanced and unattached.
-- Guru Nanak (1st Sikh guru, 16th c.)
The lower self is like a thief who sneaks into your house at night to steal whatever is valuable and worthwhile. Turn on the light. The thief who is a coward will then run out. How do we turn on the light? Through the practice of remembrance. -- Sufi Wisdom
Let the wise man fight illusion with the sword of wisdom. -- Buddha
Seeing and hearing, emotions, desires, and opinions are all internal thieves. But if the inner mind is awake and alert, sitting aloof in the middle of it all, then these plunderers change and become members of the household.
-- Hong Zicheng, Caigentan (16th c. Chinese philosopher)

In another analogy, man is compared to a country or a city.

The human body is like a country, and the mind is like a ruler. -- Liu Yiming (18th c. Taoist master) Commentary on the I Ching,
The human being is a city, with a special place at its centre for the Lord’s deputy, where he resides with his governing officials. -- Ibn Arabi
Unless the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. -- The Bible, Psalms 127:2
This physical body of ours is a city. Our eyes, ears, nose and tongue are the gates. There are five external gates, while the internal one is the gate of consciousness. The mind is the ground. The Essence of Mind is the King who lives in the domain of the mind. -- Huineng (6th Partriarch of Zen Buddhism, 7th c.)

The ruler, such as a King, Emperor or Pharaoh symbolizes the steward and controls his subjects, the many I's.

The Great King of Glory thought: When a king has purified himself on the Sabbath day, on the day of the full moon, and has gone up into the upper story of his palace to keep the sacred day; if there appear to him the heavenly Treasure of the Wheel, that king becomes a king of kings invincible. -- Maha-Sudassanna Sutra (Buddhist text)
If a King is plagued by bandits, he must find out where their camp is beforehe can attack them. Likewise, when a man is beset by worldly passions, he should first find their origins. -- Buddha
There appeared in the sky five musicians with flutes and harps, playing wondrous music and singing as they played. ‘This night a child is born. He shall be a great King, who shall make good laws and shall help people to do the right. -- The Birth of Confucius
The Monkey King was fated to come to Heaven, Rather than be sullied by the mortal world. -- Journey to the West (one of the four great Chinese classical novels)

A Egyptian warrior with a vest of stars

Tutankhamun`s mask with a cobra and vulture head on the third eye

A stairway to heaven shall be prepared for the King, that he may ascend to heaven thereon.
--Egyptian Pyramid Texts
The Pharaoh is clothed with the imperishable stars. -- Egyptian Pyramid Texts
A messenger has come to the king; a divine word which causes him to arise. -- Egyptian Pyramid Texts


Emperor Saga with A over his Heart
13th c. Fujita Art Museum, Osaka, Japan

Japanese, Chinese and Roman emperors were called Son Of Heaven or Grand King who rules all under heaven, and were thought to be Divine, while Christ was called the Son of God and King of the Jews.

In the left image the emperor has the A-syllable written in sanskriet over his heart.

The A-syllable is the wellspring of all Dharma teachings. All teachings, including exoteric and esoteric, arise from this syllable.
-- Kukai (9th c. Founder of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism)

The child Horus protected by the falcon

The Egyptian Pharaoh was a Divine king and was considered to be the embodiment of the falcon-god Horus and the son of Ra, the Egyptian sun god.

The last day of the Sed festival culminates in a second coronation, confirming the king’s status as the Horus-king, Lord of the Two Lands, uniting heaven and earth, ‘son of Ra’. -- Egyptian Sed Festival

Ancient kings used to have the Divine right, meaning that they were not subject to earthly authority. The outer is a reflection of the inner. The inner meaning is that the steward is the deputy of the Lord, the Higher Self. He is a representative or spiritual offspring of Divine presence, trying to establish Divine presence (heaven) in a human being (earth). The idea of rulers being Divine, came from conscious schools that grew into a civilization that had a conscious being or, as Plato calls it, a philosopher king as it`s ruler. As the ruler, represented by the son, follows the will of God the father, so the steward follows the will of the Higher Self in the lower world; as above so below.

Not my will be done, but as thou wilt. -- The Bible, Luke, 22:42

In the scriptures of all esoteric traditions, the religious founder symbolizes the steward. The stories of the founder of esoteric traditions and heroes in myths are filled with supernatural events and miracles, symbolizing the steward creating the miracle of Divine presence .

Everyone has a Jesus within him, waiting to be born. -- Rumi (13th c. Sufi mystic and poet
Unless you realize that your own mind is the Buddha, you will be deceived by the multitude of conceptual thoughts. -- Padmasambhava (8th c. Tibetan Buddhist saint)
When I say Moses, you will misunderstand me, if you think I refer to something in the past.
The light of Moses is here and now, inside you. -- Rumi

The steward is born from the heart. The beginning of the realization that one`s life doesn`t have any meaning without presence, is an emotional realization and is the seed of the steward. When the heart is educated with the knowledge of how to awaken the god within, and starts to become familiar with the inner household, the steward is gradually formed.

Madonna and child by Leonardo Da vinci、The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Isis suckling Horus, Egyptian Museum, Cairo.



That baby is born in the heart and is reared and grows there. The heart like a mother, gives birth, suckles, and rears child of the heart. The child of the heart is taught inner wisdom. -- Al-Jilani (12th c. Sufi)
My heart is a beautiful Mary with a Jesus in the womb. -- Rumi




Since the steward is a symbol, the stories of the birth of the founders of esoteric traditions are therefore not to be taken literally. These stories describe different characteristics of the steward.

Mary said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal has touched me? The Angel replied: If Allah decrees a thing, He says unto it only: Be! And it is. -- The Koran
As Kabir’s mother prostrated herself before the priest and touched his feet, he predicted that she, a virgin, would bear a son. -- The Birth of Kabir
The Taoist tradition claims that Lao-Tzu was born wise as he came out of his mother’s womb with white hair, aged sixty … He died at a hundred and twenty. -- On the birth of Lao-Tzu
The completeness of the embryo in ten months is a symbol of completeness of spirit. It is like pregnancy completed in ten lunar months. -- Liu Yiming (18th c. Taoist master)

Pangu, the Chinese god of creation
in an egg

Buddha taking seven steps after his birth, Zhong Hua Monastery, Lumbini, Nepal
As soon as the Buddha was born, he stood firmly with his feet on the ground and then he took seven steps. -- The Birth of Buddha
You are Horus within the Egg. Raise yourself that you may see the gods, extend your arms towards the horizon, to the pure place where you desire to be. -- Egyptian Texts, Going Forth by Day
An egg was turned into a monkey to complete the Great Way. -- Journey to the West (one of the four great Chinese classical novels)

Guru is yet another name for the steward.

Horus with the Egyptian Sun God Ra in the night bark,
The Papyrus of Ani
This blessed human form is like a sturdy boat, with the guru at its helm and the wind in its sails,on which one may cross this ocean of samsara. -- The Uddhava-Gita (Hindu text)
The ship is your heart. Guard it. -- Macarius the Great, The Philokalia (Greek Orthodox Christian text)
Visualize your guru, sitting in the center of your heart, and forget Him never. -- Milarepa (11th c. Tibetan yogi)

Christ asleep in a boat, Illuminated manuscript, Cologne, 12th century

When Christ is absent, the ship is tossed by the waves of this world, and by numerous tempests. -- St. Augustine (4th c. Christian saint

Like a crew of angels
on a shattered bark at sea.
In front the mast is lost,
in back the rudder, too.
Drifting about as the wind blows,
tossed high and low with swelling waves.
How will you ever reach the shore?
More effort, don’t just sit there like a stiff.
-- Han Shan (9th c. Chinese Taoist poet)


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