Abd-ru-shin (civil name Oskar Ernst Bernhardt) was born on April 18 at 2 o’clock in the afternoon in 1875 in Bischofswerda at Dresden (Saxony). Already as a young boy, he was interested in religious and spiritual questions. He completed his business education on the advice of his mother, which lasted for 3 years, and this school from which he graduated with confidence in 1892, also had English in its curriculum. Oskar Ernst Bernhardt originally intended to study at university and become a cleric, but instead, after completing his business education, he founded a business company in Dresden in 1897.
He married Susanne Auguste Martha on July 10, 1897 with whom he had two children, son Herbert who died in the First World War, and daughter Edith. His business endeavours didn’t go well. He undertook a few journeys abroad after 1900 to the Middle East and India and he translated his impression of them into his novels and theatre plays. He travelled to USA, New York, and was interned during his journeys in England after the outbreak of the World War I and was held captive until the end of the war on the Isle of Man. He recognized the inner misery of many people during these years and the desire to help awakened in him.
After being released from captivity he returned to Dresden in 1919. He understood his marriage was inharmonious and he divorced. At first he was again literary active until he became aware of his mission to bring the Word from God to humanity. He began to write and publish his first lectures of the Message of the Grail from 1923 onwards in the so-called Letters of the Grail (Gralsblätter). Soon after publishing the Letters of the Grail there appeared the first called ones, who were supposed to closely cooperate and help with the earthly and spiritual work of Abd-ru-shin. He moved to Upper Bavaria in 1924 and in this year he married the widow Maria Freyer who, too, was intended as a helper with the spiritual work of Abd-ru-shin. Mrs. Maria had two daughters and a son from her previous marriage. Abd-ru-shin’s family settled on Vomperberg in Tyrol (Austria) in 1928. He completed his main work “In the Light of Truth – The Grail Message” on Vomperberg in 1931.
When Austria was occupied in 1938 by the fascist Germany, the majority of the called ones left him and his property was expropriated in Tyrol and he himself was not allowed to stay there. He spent his last years under the supervision of the Gestapo in Kipsdorf (Ore Mountains). During this time Abd-ru-shin rearanged his main work, the book “In the Light of Truth – The Grail Message” to the edition on last hand. Abd-ru-shin died on December 6, 1941. The Allies returned the property to the Bernhardt family after the war and a tombstone for Abd-ru-shin was built.