We are initiating a new course on the fundamentals of the gnostic teachings; the basis upon which the ancient schools of Mysteries—whether from Greece, from Rome, from Asia, the Middle East—have developed. We will be examining not only the fundamental root from which these traditions have sprung, but also the heart teaching which they contain.
Gnosticism, coming from the Greek work gnosis, signifies conscious knowledge, experiential wisdom; truth that we verify from our actions, from our works. It has nothing to do with theory, scholasticism, or something to debate for or against. It instead pertains to the very intimate and profound matter of uniting the soul with divinity; regardless of the name, the definitions, the language that we use.
However, this type of experiential knowledge is universal, and has been manifested in different teachings, different faiths, different religions. It has been manifested through the lives of the great prophets, whom we seek to emulate and to fulfill the code of conduct that they have established, for those who seek to unite with the truth.
So, gnosis is defined as that very profound relationship that we acquire, when we know how to awaken our consciousness to develop our full divine potential. It is to access, from an experiential basis, the truths contained within religion, within the different symbols of the scriptures, the different writings as relayed by the great masters of humanity.
We have included in this image a very famous temple from Delphi, on which we find the maxim, "Homo Nosce Te Ipsum," meaning: “Man, know thyself and you will know the universe and its Gods.” It is precisely by knowing who we are, and knowing our full capacity, that we can truly speak face to face with the divine, with God, with Brahma, Allah, Christ... whatever name we give to that truth. We must develop this introspection within ourselves if we want to seek to understand who we are as a soul, as a body and as a spirit, as a terrestrial vehicle, as an energetic quality, and as a divine being.
And so, we're going to examine the foundations upon which the prophets gave their knowledge. Not only as an experiential wisdom, but as what we can interpret from the different traditions that they left behind. But, of course, we want to verify the truths for ourselves, based on facts. As the founder of the modern gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, stated:
“Gnosis is lived upon facts, withers away in abstractions, and is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts.” ―The Revolution of the Dialectic
This is a very essential thing to think about, to comprehend in ourselves. We make a very fine distinction between belief and faith: belief and conscious knowledge. It is one thing to think, to feel, that something is true. It is a completely different thing to know it is true.
We state in this teaching that one who has genuine faith has no need to belief in anything. Faith is conscious perception; faith is conscious wisdom. The word wisdom is precisely "vis-dom": the power to perceive. It is from where we get the word vision, perception. Likewise, it is the root of the word kingdom, which is precisely referenced in the Gospels. We seek to understand the Kingdom of Heaven, which is a state of being, a quality of consciousness that we need to learn how to verify. When we truly speak face to face with those divine masters—whether in the dream state, or meditation—then we have verification, we know, we have faith that is the rock; it cannot be swayed, cannot be shaken, cannot be diverted. We know the truth, and the truth will set us free; as stated in the Gospel of John.
We must reflect upon what in us is factual. What do we perceive factually in ourselves? Fundamentally, in terms of psychological studies, we seek to verify and establish facts as to who we are. We cannot believe that we are a specific way, that we are a certain type of person. We have many beliefs about who we are as an individual: meaning, our name, our language, our culture, the place we grew up, our history. We know from these studies that these things are temporal: they are born in time, they die in time. But, that which is eternal, that which is the truth, is beyond language, beyond names, beyond our personality, beyond our habits. We will talk more about the specifics of the nature of psychology within this course, how the ancients studied the science of understanding the mind, and what the mind is, what the soul is, what consciousness is. But, fundamentally, we want to know the facts of who we are, and why we suffer.
If our departure point into any type of mystical study is not based up this reflection of understanding the causes of suffering in ourselves, we are wasting time. If we want to know how to unite with the truth, to know the truth, to have conscious knowledge, we have to understand what in us prevents us from knowing that truth. For, as the Sufis state, “He who knows himself, knows his Lord.” If we do not know the Lord, it means that we do not know ourselves.
Obviously, if there are certain obscurations within our experience; if we do not directly know God, we have to verify and understand what in us is preventing the access to that truth, and to have that confrontation within ourselves. Therefore, even if we genuinely adopt a religion or tradition, no matter how noble our aspirations, we have to be scientific, we have to be concrete. We have to examine what in us is preventing us from realizing the truth. We cannot be living in fantasies about the way the world is, or who we are. Once we gain access to conscious knowledge of the divine within us, then we develop the genuine qualities of the soul: peace, virtue, serenity, faith, insight into the nature of our deepest problems; wisdom, patience, conscious love for humanity. These are the natural qualities of the soul. These are the natural qualities of God, which we can access in ourselves, here and now.
If we look at the facts of our life, we see that humanity has truly precipitated itself towards destruction. We have to analyze: how do we contribute to that suffering? How do we contribute to the world’s problem? The exterior world is a reflection of the interior world. We are a part of this chaotic humanity. Being factual and scientific means to look within ourselves and ask, "How do I contribute to the suffering of humanity? How do I suffer and why? What do I need to change in myself to stop suffering?" God does not suffer like us. The Being is plenitude. The Spirit, the truth is genuine peace of mind; it is the life that vibrates within every atom, within every galaxy, within every cosmos.
We need to reflect that truth, like in this image: as the serene waters of the mind, or the lake of understanding, can reflect the images of God. The mountain is a symbol within esoteric literature, representing the path itself. It is the path that leads from this valley of tears, to the heights, the Empyrean, the truth absolute. The highest regions and aspects of understanding that we are capable of.
We will talk about this image of the mountain in relation to the traditions of alchemy, and in relation to some of the ancient philosophical schools. But, I wanted to include this image because it is the arduous path: a mountain. It is rigorous, enlivening and profound.
The Secret Teachings of All Ages
So, this path of self-knowledge, this self-exploration, this seeking of understanding who we are, has been given different names. Gnosis is Greek, but, this teaching has existed on every continent, amongst every people and in diverse forms. There are many synonyms for the word Gnosis (knowledge), in which different prophets and teachers have expressed this truth, in accordance with their idiosyncrasy, the language, the customs of the particular people whom they were teaching.
Amongst the Hindus, the yogis of India, they studied Jnana: Jnana Yoga. Jnana means "knowledge." Notice the prefix "Jn" has the same pronunciation as "Gnosis": the N sound, as you would pronounce it in Spanish. Da’ath, in Hebrew, is the mystical teachings of Judaism; it is the full expression of the wisdom of Moses, and the kabbalistic masters who taught the sciences of the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. We will elaborate upon this as the foundation of this tradition.
This teaching has also been known as "Dharma." Dharma, in Sanskrit, means "law, commandment, instruction." The Buddha taught that the one who follows the law of the Dharma, is one who refines his or her conduct, his or her quality of mind, and who understands the causes of suffering within him or herself. If we remember the Four Noble Truths that he taught, within the first turning of the Dharma wheel, he states that in life there is suffering: the first truth. The second truth: suffering has causes. Likewise, the third truth: there exists the cessation of the causes of suffering, meaning, the end of those points, qualities and psychological aspects of ourselves that create our experience of suffering. The fourth truth: there is a path upon which one walks towards the cessation of suffering, the equanimity of mind. This is symbolized by the serene lake which can reflect the heavenly images of Nirvana. Nirvana means "cessation of suffering." It is referred to as a place in dimensionality, but also a quality of being, which is our primary focus.
The teachings of Gnosis have also been known as the Torah. Torah means "law." It is from where we get the word Tarot. The Tarot are those cards and symbols associated with the mysteries of Egypt. The wisdom of Israel and the teachings of the Egyptian mystics are integrally related. Torah, Tarot; this knowledge was given by an Angel by the name of Metatron, a very high master who gave unto the Jewish people the 22 Hebraic letters of the kabbalistic alphabet. The language of Kabbalah, the mystical science of Judaism, is a highly symbolic teaching. Each letter represents a number. Each letter represents a quality of consciousness.
Not only Hebrew, but many other languages are sacred; Latin, Sanskrit, Hebrew, Arabic... Hebrew and Arabic are very intimately related. The wisdom of the Middle East is known as Marifah. Another word of Marifah is "Ilm."
In Gnosis, we study these languages in synthesis. We do not need to be an expert in all of them, but we do study certain aspects of language, to understand conscious qualities of perception.
Here we have five images from the different traditions. We have the Tree of Life, or better said, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil of the Judeo-Christian tradition. We have the image of Christ who embodied the prophets and the Law. Likewise, we have Krishna teaching his divine precepts to Arjuna, through the Bhagavad Gita: the Song of the Lord. Likewise, we have the image of Milarepa; a great Tibetan saint and yogi who taught the path of meditation. Lastly, we have the image of the Prophet Muhammed, riding the mystical create Al-Buraq, which in Arabic symbolizes “the lightning,” the creative energy of God within our body and psyche.
I am going to elaborate on a few scriptural teachings from these faiths, to point towards the unanimity of this knowledge; their integrity, their relationship. That these traditions really are not separate: they are united. They all emphasize the need to know ourselves, to gain self-knowledge. To really analyze our problems and what causes them, from a psychological and spiritual perspective.
In relation to the Hindu tradition, we have a very beautiful scripture called the Bhagavad Gita. This excerpt is from chapter four, verses 36-37, in which Krishna—the embodiment of the divine, whom we could also call the Christ, gave the secret teachings as expressed in the Hindu tradition. Christ is an energy; it can be particularized and manifested within any individual who has been properly prepared. All these masters, whether Milarepa, Muhammed, Jesus, Krishna... they all embodied that principle. Although that light, that knowledge was given different names, divinity is one. The Bhagavad Gita emphasizes how to know Krishna fully, for Arjuna (the soul, the warrior) who must learn to combat against him or herself, must overcome his own errors, his own faults, so as to unite with divinity. Krishna states:
"Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.
“As a blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities." ―Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4, Verses 36-37
Karma is the Sanskrit word meaning cause and effect. Buddhism and Hinduism study this in depth. In the Bible it says, “you will reap what you sow”; meaning, our actions produce the fruits of suffering. So, we have to analyze this psychological relationship of cause and effect, as it relates from our interior world to the exterior world.
This type of knowledge is not theoretical. It is not conceptual. It is directly conscious and cognizant. Understanding how we cause pain upon others or within ourselves is an observable fact. It is something that we have to verify through consciousness, through observation of ourselves. It is not an intellectual exercise. We might make a mistake and perhaps say something that is negative towards another person, we may cause harm with our words or our speech, and afterwards we may have a sense of regret. Intellectually, we may know that such an action was wrong. Likewise, if we observe an alcoholic, or a drug addict, somebody that is addicted to a certain vice, they may intellectually understand that what they do is wrong, but they still repeat the same mistake. This shows a vast disparity between intellectual knowledge and conscious knowledge. That alcoholic knows intellectually from AA or some other group, that certain behaviors are negative, and yet fails to be cognizant of the effects of that destructive habit. Likewise, with many other actions, which certain religions and faiths, teach us. We have to be very sincere, analyzing our actions, analyzing our mind, our heart, our body. We must not simply leave this type of teaching to the intellect.
Milarepa gave a very power teaching about the nature of true realization. He uses the word Dharma, which we can say is the gnostic teaching, the conscious wisdom that we seek to utilize to develop genuine peace. He stated:
"Those who practice the Dharma with their mouths
“Talk much and seem to know much teaching,
“But when the time comes for the perceived to leave the deadened body,
“The mouth-bound teacher into space is thrown."
Meaning, to be born again into a new life, in accordance with the doctrine of transmigration: the soul leaving its physical, corporeal form, in order to enter into different bodies. This is a teaching that was extirpated from the Christian Bible. It is hinted at by the experience of Christ rejecting demons from the body of an insane man. And, those evils demon qualities that possessed this man, had entered into the bodies of pigs, if you remember the story from the Gospels.
"When the clear light shines (the clear light of Divinity) it is cloaked by blindness."
Meaning, that light is within us, but we are not aware it, we are not cognizant of it; we do not perceive it factually. We are blind, spiritually, like the myth of Samson, blinded by the Philistines through the deception of Delilah.
"The chance to see the Dharmakaya (Dharma means truth; Kaya means body. Dharmakaya is the vehicle of the truth; it is the highest aspect of divinity that we can access) at the time of death
“Is lost through fear and confusion."
Meaning, a mind that has not been trained for it to be perceptive, conscious and awake at all times. Even though one spends their life in studying the cannon (the scriptures of whatever teaching we follow), it does not help the consciousness at the moment of death: departure from the body.
Having intellectual knowledge from a book, from a scripture, from a lecture is useful, so long as we apply it to our life. That is a fundamental principle that we need to become aware of—factually. Knowledge that we study and that we do not become conscious of, in this life, when we physically die, we will not retain. The soul that has not been trained, psychologically speaking, to be awake, will not be aware of the process of death and the transition of the soul into a new stage of development.
Milarepa warned that people who study Buddhism, or any gnostic teaching, have to be very practical. We must apply what we read, apply what we know. We can say that one should read less, but instead practice more. In this tradition, we have many exercises that we engage with to be practical, to verify, to test and to know.
This type of knowledge was known as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life, in the Judeo-Christian Bible. We have in the book of Genesis, chapter 2, verses 9, and 16-17, the scriptural emphasis of the nature of spiritual knowledge. From the Jewish tradition, we have the following scripture:
"And out of the ground made (Jehovah Elohim) the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life (Otz Chayim, "Tree of Lives") also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil."
Otz (tree) Ha-Daath (knowledge) Tob (purity, truth, goodness) Ve (and) Ra (evil, sin, wrongness).
The Tree of Life is a symbol which we are going to examine in this lecture. It is a symbol of the complete human being, made into the image of the divine. The Tree of Knowledge is a symbol of how we use our creative energy. I mentioned how, psychologically, we need to train ourselves: our mind, our heart, to not act from egotistical impulses. To not think harm, to not feel harm, to not act in wrong ways. This is Dharma; this is knowledge, truth, instruction. This is where we learn to not speak evil, to not be sarcastic to others; because that is a form of violence, mentally, psychologically speaking. Likewise, we learn to be highly observant, to conserve our energy: mental, emotional, physical, as well as instinctual and sexual. We must learn how to use energy in accordance with the will of God within us. Energy is simply force; it can be used for good or evil.
The Tree of Knowledge is a symbol of our creative potential, which is known by different names in different traditions, but we can refer to it as the creative sexual energy. The energy of sex can create life, spiritually, as we mentioned previously. It can give birth to a physical child. Or, that energy, when harnessed within our meditation practice, can empower our psyche, our Spirit. It can create physical life, but it can also create spiritual life. That is why we learn to conserve all our forces: physical, emotional, mental, psychic, sexual, vital, etc., etc. The problem, represented in the book of Genesis, is a symbol of ancient humanity that had known this teaching, but that had abused that wisdom. Where people learn to take the forces given to them by God, and to use them for evil things; to use them for evil will. That evil will we can call "self-will." Our will, our tendencies, impulses, tend to be selfish; if we are honest and examine our mind on a moment to moment basis.
Also, the famous prayer, the Pater Noster, states: “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Meaning, not our will, but the divine will. We have to learn how to do the will of the divine being within us, here and now. That means, “to love thy God with all thy heart, all thy mind, all thy soul, all thy strength,” as Jesus taught. “And, thy neighbor as thyself.” By learning to fulfill that precept, we in turn develop compassion for others. We also learn to conserve energy: we learn not waste it. As a result of wasting energy all day, we have no fuel with which to be spiritual. Our spirituality is based on how we use energy, on facts, on clear, documentable behavior. That is why, whether it is known as Gnosis, Dharma, Torah... these are instructions, codes of conduct that teach the soul how to behave. We don't follow these instructions merely because one should follow one’s teacher, one’s tradition, out of blind obedience, to be someone because someone said so. Instead, it is a conscious wisdom that we gain when we see how positive action produces positive results. Whereas, negative actions produce its consequences.
So, the Tree of Knowledge is precisely that energy potential that we carry within our body. It can be used for God or for evil. Of course, our humanity ate that forbidden fruit. It is not a literal tree: it is a symbol of how we can abuse those forces, and have created our own egotistical self-will, which has obscured the divine self.
This is why Jehovah Elohim, the Lord, commanded the man, saying:
"Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." —Genesis 2: 16-17
This is not a physical death: this is spiritual death.
People continue to this day and age eating the forbidden fruit, wasting their energy, expelling it, and indulging in fruitless activities that invest so much energy and attention, that leave one drained, psychologically and physically. Therefore, what power does one have left to connect with the truth? If there is no energy, if there is no fuel, the car cannot drive. The mind, the heart, the body: these are vehicles that can express the full potential of the soul. But, if we do not know how to give our vehicle—our body, our heart, our mind—good fuel, we will languish, spiritually.
Jesus built off the teachings, being the representation of the highest divine principle that we can access, known as Christ. Christ, through Jesus of Nazareth, taught the following truth to the disbelievers of his time, the Jewish Pharisees and Sadducees—people that believe that they are very spiritual because they've read the Torah, read scripture, read books, and yet, psychologically speaking, they are full of many vices. They may teach to large congregations of people, and yet be truly negative, psychologically speaking. People who preach, but do not practice.
Every tradition, every faith, has these types of individuals. We find this in all schools, in all types of teaching. People may have this kind of knowledge, but they do not fulfill the commandments, personally. This is why Jesus taught the following about the need to follow the Dharma, the Torah, from one’s heart:
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
The law of cause and effect, karma, is: you reap what you sow.
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (of the law, the Torah, the physical scriptures), ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." —Matthew, chapter 5, verses 17-20
We include this image of Jesus with the sacred heart, enclosed with a crown of thorns and the cross of light and fire. The following Jewish scripture from the Psalms, Chapter 40, verse 8:
"I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."
The law means, "Torah." David, in the Psalms, was teaching that one has to incarnate that truth by following the law within one’s very being, within one’s very consciousness. And, that intellectual study, divorced of any spiritual discipline or practice, is fruitless. We must embody the law of the prophets in our heart.
We also included an image of the Prophet Muhammed, which we recently discussed in a course on Sufism, entitled The Sufi Path of Self-Knowledge. Prophet Muhammed demonstrated with his life and symbolized through his actions the path that the soul takes to unite with the divine, which constitute the essence of the beautiful teachings of the Middle-East.
You see in this image that he is surrounded by fire; his face is veiled: meaning, the divine truth and states that he accessed and that we need to develop within ourselves are veiled from our physical senses. But, if we know how to work consciously, we can tear that veil: the veil of Isis, mentioned in Theosophy. Fire is the creative energy that he has fully manifested and incarnated. It is that energy of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which can illuminate our mind, our body, our heart. That mystical animal, "Al-Buraq," which in Arabic means, "the lightning," is the creative potential of God, in our body. We can raise that energy up the spine to the mind, the brain, to illuminate our intellect with fire. Some people call this energy Kundalini; the serpent power of the divine; the serpentine force; the Divine Mother; or the energy of Jehovah Elohim, in Hebrew. He had fully developed that energy to rise to the superior worlds, the superior states of being.
The Muslims have a very profound psychological teaching in their scriptures. Which is why in the Qur’an, in Sura 6, verse 91, God Most High says:
"They have not estimated God as he deserves to be estimated."
And in the book, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism, Al-Qusharyi explains the following:
"It is written in commentaries on this verse that it means, “they have not known God as He deserves to be known” (6:91).
In this scripture, he also explains the nature of Marifah. I would like to read a brief excerpt from this book of his, which explains the nature of conscious knowledge.
“In the usage of the scholars, ma'rifa is 'ilm (knowledge). Thus in their opinion all 'ilm is ma'rifa, all ma'rifa is 'ilm, and everyone who is 'alim (knowledgeable) with respect to God is an 'arif (gnostic) and vice versa.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So, what is a real gnostic? A real spiritual person? One who has fully acquired self-knowledge of the divine. There is no individual self; there is only the Lord. There is only the Being, the truth. There is no "me," there is no "I," there is only Him. That conscious quality of God is limitless, as we were teaching previously.
“But among the Sufis, Marifah is the attribute of one who knows God (may He be exalted) by His names and His attributes, and is truthful toward God by his deeds.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Again, the need to be basing our spiritual life on action, on facts…
“…who then purifies himself of base qualities and defects, who stands long at the door and who withdraws his heart continually from worldy affairs.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So, the door of knowledge, refers to the dervishes, the whirling dervishes of Turkey, as well as the Sufis from the tradition of Rumi. A dervish, a darvish is a poor person, a fakir: someone who stands at the door, waiting for alms. Likewise, we need to stand at the door of knowledge. Not intellectual knowledge, but the door that leads to the temple of our Inner God, which is within us. To recognize our poverty, so that we can be enriched by that truth).
Likewise, the Sufi Master, Abu Ali Al-Daqqaq states the following in Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Qushayri, about the nature of one’s consciousness or cognizance of God:
God Most High says, "They have not estimated God as He deserves to be estimated" It is written in commentaries on this verse that it means "They have not known God as He deserves to be known." "One of the signs of Gnosis is the attainment of awe. For one whose Gnosis increases, awe of God increases." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
He also stated:
"Gnosis brings about utter tranquility to the heart, just as knowledge brings about peacefulness. So, for one whose Gnosis increases, tranquility increases." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is a very important teaching. It is very profound, because if we lack peace in our lives, it is because we do not know God. The more we know God, the more peace we acquire; the more serenity; the more faith; the more understanding of how to live, day by day, moment by moment, not for our own well-being, but for the benefit of others. This is the fundamentals of gnosis: we live to benefit others. To let our own inner divinity be the one who guides us, as to how we manage our daily life, in accordance with the law, the Torah, the Dharma.
The Levels of Spiritual Teaching
In speaking about the fundamentals of gnosis, we emphasis that there are three aspects of teaching. There is an introductory level; there is an intermediate level; and there is an advanced level.
In relation to this demarcation between stages of knowledge, we've included this image by an alchemical author and writer by the name of Heinrech Khunrath. The image is from his Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae, "The Amphitheatre of Eternal Wisdom." It is a very powerful image that conveys a very profound psychological and spiritual truth.
In relation to the three stages of religion or tradition, we explain that there are forms of knowledge, forms of wisdom and forms of understanding. It is important to know where we are at in the present moment, so that we learn how to enter the higher stages of mystical teaching.
The introductory level of any religion is the exoteric doctrine; it is the body of the teaching. In Judaism, the body of the teaching is known as the Torah, the Law. So, everything that we have been explaining in relation to self-conduct, conscious management of our psyche, our mind, our impulses, our desires, etc., that in itself constitutes the Torah, the Dharma, the law. We begin with the exoteric doctrine; first, by learning to receive teachings, whether from a lecture or a book, as "Shravakas." A Shravaka is someone who listens, in Buddhism. It is from the Sansrkit, "Shravaka," to hear. This constitutes the "Shravakayana," which means the path, the vehicle through which one listens to knowledge: Yana (vehicle), Shravaka (listener).
In the beginning, we have to listen. It begins by learning to listen physically, but more importantly, to listen spiritually, to the truth, to the word of the divine. That is something experiential, something that we can access through our practice, our meditation exercises, our astral projection exercises, our dream yoga practices and methods that we fulfill in this teaching. To learn how to listen to the truth does not mean to just listen to a lecture; it means to hear and to communicate face to face with the divine, from experience.
The intermediate path is the mesoteric doctrine; we call this the "soul" of any religion. In Judaism, this is known as the Talmud, in terms of scripture. There are certain scriptures that relate to levels of knowledge, in terms of complexity and profundity. The soul of Judaism is the Talmud, which is more of the philosophical discourses, given by Jewish tradition.
Likewise, we have the advanced teaching, which is the esoteric, the Spirit of any doctrine. In Judaism, the scripture associated with this level is known as the Zohar: a very complex, dense and rich teaching. If you learn to meditate on that scriptural knowledge, and become conscious of it, one will in-turn enter into the profound regions of the consciousness, known as the different dimensions of the Tree of Life, which we will be looking at shortly.
We see this demarcation between the introductory, intermediate and advanced stages in this image. This is a symbol of how the soul, how the individual seeks to know the heart of all things. In the center of this image, we have a castle, a palace with seven bridges on the outside, surrounded by a moat of water. In the center we have a citadel or a mountain upon which a giant dragon rests. Likewise, there is a path in the very center, a doorway leading into this temple, surrounded by two columns, near the bridge, by the moat. We also have a hallway leading from the interior to the exterior, and the exterior into the interior. Around the circumference of this image we have different entrance ways, different pathways, which do not lead to the center, but lead to the circumference. Notice that each section of this cliff, each chamber, is inscribed with words, with letters, referring to different types of knowledge, which pertain to external things. There are 21 chambers represented in this image: 20 that lead nowhere, that do not lead to the center of this image, and one that leads to the center, the straight and narrow path, that leads to life, which leads to the very heart of religion.
So, this is a symbol of how the soul seeks to gain access to the truth. And, the tradition of alchemy, known as Allah-Khemia, from the Arabic and Greek languages, instructs us as to how the soul can unite and fuse with Allah, with El (the Lord in Hebrew). Khemia originates terms like chemistry, fusion, to unite, to cast a metal, to forge oneself into a divine image. As we are, we do not have the divine image within us, fully developed. That is something that we must cultivate.
When the Bible says, "God made man into his image, male-female he created them," that does not refer to the physical body; that refers to the psyche. That is a stage of development that one accesses by entering that straight path in the center. One develops into a true human being when entering the citadel.
Notice here there is an image of a tree, where a disciple is about to enter that very narrow and difficult gate, leading to the heart of the divine. That tree is a symbol of the Tree of Knowledge, the energies that we have to cultivate in order to access the truth. Everything else you see in this image is a waste of time: one circulates along these paths; there are many people circulating, circumambulating around this circumference. They may have studied different religions—whether Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism—receiving intellectual knowledge, receiving instruction, and yet feeling that hunger in the soul in which they do not feel satisfied. They realize that these teachings they have received are incipient; they do not get to the heart of the truth, from verifiable facts, from experience.
So, these forms of knowledge are incipient, as I said. They do not truthfully instruct the soul as to how to enter the true regions of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The intermediate path is precisely represented by this bridge, leading into the palace. Of course, the palace symbolizes the esoteric dimension of the truth, the kingdom of God. As I mentioned to you, the mountain is the symbol, from the alchemical tradition, of initiation, in which the soul initiates a new way of being; the soul is tested and instructed and provided with difficulties in order to overcome them, and gain knowledge, to fully climb that mountain, that Tree of Life, which is the divine.
That dragon is the symbol of God; the heights; the truth. What is a dragon? A dragon has power over fire, over water, over air, and over earth. Our mind is aerial: it is related to the air, to the breath. Our heart is fire, relating to emotion. Our body is the earth, density, materiality. And, our water is our creative energy, the Tree of Knowledge, the waters of life, which, when they are serene and controlled, make the mind serene and controlled.
Notice here in this image, there are two columns at the very center, before the entrance of this bridge, leading to the entrance of the moat. These two pillars, in Masonry, represent Jachin and Boaz. These are the two pillars that uphold the Temple of God. They represent wisdom and love, or mercy and love. God the Father, as wisdom; God the Mother as love, compassion.
In relation to these 21 chambers leading around the circumference, the 21st of which leads to the center, we have in the ancient Tarot, the 21st card, or Arcanum (meaning, law) which refers to the fool of the Tarot. In the image of the card, there is a person that must walk over a crocodile, which is the symbol of the mind, our defects, our errors, which we must cross over dangerously. We must cross over that moat of waters, that bridge that leads to the heart, the truth.
We are that figure, the one who seeks to enter the center. The one who, by overcoming, by walking the straight and narrow path within us, inevitably, by learning to become spiritual in a genuine sense, will overcome the challenges that one must face and enter into the Kingdom of God: by conquering those difficulties, by overcoming one’s errors, one’s defects.
In relation to these three stages, I'd like to relate to you a quote that Samael Aun Weor gave, which is very profound. He stated that, "Behind the letter that kills is the Spirit that vivifies." So, what is the letter that kills? We see in this image different teachings, different instructions, which may feed one intellectually for a time, but do not satisfy the soul. These letters, these many teachings, have killed people, spiritually. People who believe in the dead letter of any tradition, of any faith, who believe in their doctrine in a fundamental sense, have not only ended up killing their soul and their Spirit, but, even physically have caused harm. We only need to look at the Inquisition, and many other acts of violence perpetrated by certain religious groups, to see the evidence of this. Behind the scriptures, the letters, if we know how to read symbolically, spiritually, we find the Spirit that vivifies, that gives us faith, that is an affirmation of our own spiritual discipline, our own practice.
So, these three stages are represented in this image. I'd like to relate to you something profound, that I experienced when I first found this knowledge. I practiced the science of dream yoga very diligently, when I found this teaching about a decade ago. I remember having an experience, a vision, in which... you could call it a dream, but really it was a vision; a dream is something subjective, but a vision is given by God… in which I was flying in an airplane, and I looked out of the window and I saw a giant citadel, which is too divine to adequately describe; it was very holy and sacred. And, it reminds me of this image, in which, by putting into practice the wisdom of the Tree of Knowledge, the divine gave me insight into entering that path, which is symbolized by that palace. To have a vision or experience of a castle, a palace, symbolizes spiritual ascension, and flying in an airplane means one is raising one’s level of being to a higher degree. So, the language of dreams is highly scientific and spiritual
The Tree of Life
Of course, we must learn how to interpret those experiences, the spirit of that teaching. We have mentioned many times the Tree of Life, which is the symbol of the full development and manifestation of the divine within the soul.
Kabbalah comes from the Hebrew, "Kabel," which means "to receive." It is wisdom that we receive from experience. But, in the beginning we study this glyph with the intellect, so that when we have conscious experiences, we know how to interpret our visions, and to know their application to our physical life. How do these visions teach us about our daily experience, how do they relate? This is a map of the different dimensions of nature, but also the map of the soul. Above we have the highest regions of consciousness, and below, we have the lowest regions of consciousness.
The physical body is known as Malkuth, which means, "the Kingdom," where we are now. Above that we have Yesod, which means, "the foundation." This is the energies of our body and our vitality, which give us life. This is the root of the Tree of Knowledge; how we use that vital force determines how we gain knowledge, spiritually.
So, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil have the same roots, in this foundation, in Yesod. It is our foundation spiritually because how we use that creative energy is how we develop spiritual life.
Above that we have Hod, which means, "splendor." It is the emotional vehicle known as the astral body, which people refer to when talking about astral projection, out of body experiences, the world of dreams. When people dream at night, they enter this world of Hod, the astral plane.
Above that, on the right, we have Netzach, which means, "victory" in Hebrew. It is the mind, the mental plane. Above that we have Tiphereth, which means, "beauty." It is our will, our human soul. Above that we have consciousness, the Divine Soul, Geburah. To the right we have the Spirit, Chesed which is God within us; El in Hebrew.
Above that, we have the trinity. In many religions, this trinity has been represented. In Hinduism, this trinity (which in Hebrew is called Kether, Chokmah and Binah) have been known as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. If you remember the story of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita: Krishna was an emanation of Vishnu, which is the sphere of Chokmah, known as the Son or Christ in Gnostic terms. So, this trinity is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Christianity; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in Hinduism. These are energies, not people. These are forces that we can develop when we learn to meditate. These are aspects of "self," of consciousness, of who we are. The top trinity is the divine, the highest truth that we can cultivate within us.
In the second triangle, we have our humanity: Spirit, consciousness and will. A human being, a true human person, is someone who has incarnated "Hum." In Sanskrit, Hum means Spirit, which is our Inner God, our Innermost Being, Chesed in Kabbalah, which translates as "mercy." That Spirit manifests through the soul as humanity, our genuine humanity, our genuine compassion.
Below that, we have the lower trinity. If you notice this glyph, you can break it up into three sections; the first trinity at the top, Kether, Chokmah, Binah; this second trinity in the heart, the middle... if you transposed this image on to the human being, the top trinity is the head, the second trinity is the heart, and the lower trinity, or you could say quaternary (including Malkuth, this physical body) represents the lower aspect of our body. The top trinity is our divinity; our middle trinity is our humanity; the lower trinity or quaternary is our impurity. This is because our mind, our emotions, our energies and our body, tend to be polluted with many ailments: physical or psychological, egotistical, subjective. We seek to struggle against these defects and to conquer them.
This is an interesting image that we often study and emphasis: this is the Tree of Life. It is the map of the Being, the map of our soul. It is something that is very divine and profound; it is something that we can access and verify through internal experience and meditation. As the foundation of Gnostic studies, we study the Tree of Life in depth, and we will be going over this glyph in more detail, and in many different ways, because it is that applicable. It helps us to understand different traditions and religions, but, more importantly, it helps us to understand ourselves.
The Kabbalah of the Psalms
To synthesize many of the things that we have talked about—about conduct, behavior, consciousness, mind training—we have included this image, the quote from chapter 19 of the Psalms, verses 7-14. In this quote many of the things we have been discussing are very beautifully synthesized and explained, much better than I can profess. In terms of conduct, we have the following quote:
"The הָורֹת (Torah) of יהוה (Iod-Havah) is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the יהוה (Jehovah) is sure, making wise the simple."
Sometimes they translate יהוה as "Lord" but the real pronunciation is "Iod-Chavah," or "Jehovah." That is one of the many sacred names of divinity, which the Judeo-Christian Bible has translated erroneously. All the names of God have been simply broken down to G-O-D, rather than Jehovah Elohim, Iod-Chavah... these are different aspects of God relating to these Hebrew names that associate to the Tree of Life. Each sphere has its own name of God; different manifestations of God. In relation to the different spheres or levels of our consciousness, each aspect of the Tree of Life has its own divine name. In the Bible, when referring to the actual Hebrew names, tells us where on the Tree of Life we are looking at, what we are studying. The word Jehovah refers to Chokmah in Kabbalah, which is the second sphere from the top, on the top right of the top trinity. Chokmah means wisdom, truth, in Gnostic terms; it is Christ.
That “the testimony of Jehovah is sure,” means that when we experience the truth for ourselves, we are on a foundation stone; there is no deviation; there is no doubt; there is no fear; there is only certainty. It converts the soul, transforms us radically. It makes us very different beings. Also, it “makes the simple into the wise.” Who are those that are simple? People who believe in a religious tradition but who do not know divinity from experience. It does not mean to be simple-minded; we think of that as something negative. To truly be simple is to be like a child: innocent, pure. And, as Jesus said, you must become as little children if you want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
"The statutes of יהוה are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of יהוה is pure, enlightening the eyes."
What eyes are we referring to, spiritually speaking? What we perceive physically, or in the dream state, out of the body. That is something that we can experiment with and verify; that is the enlightening of our spiritual eyes; the enlightenment of the truth, of our perception.
“The commandment of Jehovah is pure,” meaning, his instructions about how to behave psychologically are from a perspective of purity. Remember the Tree of Life, or, you could say in Hebrew: "Otz Ha-Daath Tob Ve Ra": עץ הדעת טוב ורע …meaning, the Tree of Knowledge of Purity (Tob) and Impurity (Ra). This refers to physical impurity as well as psychological impurity, relating to impurities of the mind, of the subjective self.
So, the teaching of Jehovah is pure. It teaches us how to be holy, divine.
"The fear of יהוה is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of יהוה are true and righteous altogether."
Fear can also be translated as פַּחַד Pechad, in Hebrew. פַּחַד Pechad is a name associated with restraint of the mind; this does not mean egotistical fear, in the sense of fearing another person or to be afraid of an anthropomorphic God. That anthropomorphic figure does not exist; instead, God is an energy. The fear of God is clean, meaning, we want to purify our mind, our heart, our psyche, by learning to harness energy. To fear God does not mean some kind of debilitating state of mind. It refers to having reverence, awe, and such respect for the teachings given by divinity that we really feel responsible for our actions, and that we are conscious of not entering into error. Therefore, it is clean, meaning we clean our body, clean our mind, clean our heart—relating to the teachings of spiritual conduct.
“The judgements of Jehovah are true, and righteous altogether” because God is the one who can judge our inner world, to help us develop true self-reflection, self-analysis, self-judgement. To learn to be a law unto ourselves, by following the law within us, the divine.
"More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb."
Honey is a symbol of the transformation of the impure substance of the soul into the pure substance; the pollen, the coarseness of the mind, into the sweetness of the soul, the sweetness of God. Honey is a symbol relating to the Masters of the White Lodge, that hierarchy of Angels and Beings who have fulfilled the path. Those who have transformed the lead of the soul into the gold of the Spirit. It is a symbol of the alchemical science. The bee is a marvelous creature that is very mechanical, and very unaware of anything beyond its microscopic world, but within that is the symbol of our soul and how we can transform ourselves to develop something that is very pure and very divine.
"Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
“Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults!"
This is really at the heart of this teaching. Without cleansing our mind and heart from impurity, we cannot know God.
"Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression."
Meaning, to think one is very knowledgeable, spiritual, or elevated, when the truth is, if we examine our mind, we have a lot of wickedness. Let us not presume to be anything other than that which we are, and from that foundation, we learn to ascend.
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O יהוה, my strength, and my redeemer." ―Psalms 19:7-14
The Four Pillars of Gnosticism
The Gnostic tradition is founded upon four pillars, which we will be discussing in detail within the coming weeks. Gnosticism has been taught in accordance with four aspects of knowledge; science, mysticism, art and philosophy. We have been explaining many aspects of mysticism, and also the scientific bases upon which religion is founded, genuine "religare,” “to unite with the truth, with the divine,” in Latin.
We can say that science and mysticism as well as philosophy (love of knowledge) are all synthesized and expressed through art, genuine art. In ancient times, these four pillars were once integrated, meaning, this type of knowledge was unitotal, taught in a scientific, mystical, artistic and philosophical manner. The ancient schools of initiation, of spiritual studies, were not really split or schismatic, separated into different forms of study, as we have today. This form of knowledge was once universal and integral, in which genuine mystical teaching was based on facts, based on experiential wisdom in a scientific manner, through scientific investigation.
Many of the great artists of humanity, whether it be Beethoven, Wagner, Mozart, Chopin, many classical European composers, knew this teaching, and they expressed the beauty of the soul, and the drama of the souls longing to unite with God, in music. Likewise, the pyramids of Egypt, the great sculptures and architecture of the Mayans, of Rome, once embodied these principles. Also, our ancient schools of philosophy, once embodied a scientific and mystical doctrine, a love of wisdom that was once nourished by the contributions of science and religion.
We are going to talk about these four pillars in brief today, but in more depth within the coming weeks, so that we have a sense of how these traditions, or really how our most present-day traditions, which many venerate, have their roots in the ancient schools, and that these forms of knowledge should not be separate. They are universal and total, related.
To examine how these traditions originated from the same source, from gnosis—how gnosis is expressed through these four forms of knowledge—we are going to examine some of the etymology of these terms which, beyond the surface examination, unveil a lot.
We included as this image of science, the resurrection of Jesus before doubting Thomas. This is a beautiful image representing the nature of faith, the nature of verification, the nature of cognizant wisdom, of factually verifying for oneself the truth. The Apostles stated to Doubting Thomas that Jesus had arisen from the dead, and Thomas doubted. He said, “I will not accept this truth from you, until I verify it for myself.” Many people think and interpret this parable as something relating to skepticism, which is not the case. It refers to a quality of consciousness, called discrimination: to verify, to analyze, to investigate, to interrogate, to inspect, in order to know what is true and what is false from experience.
So, when Thomas finally place his finger inside the wound of the Lord, he then said, “Truly you are the Christ, you are the truth, and now I know that you are arisen from the dead." This is not just a literal story from the past; it is something psychological: how we as a soul have to doubt everything from a conscious perspective, to not accept what others say, or accept what we read. It is to test, experiment and verify, to know the Spirit behind the letter that kills, the Spirit that vivifies and gives life, spiritually.
The word science etymologically relates to that truth:
"Mid-14c., "what is known, knowledge (of something) acquired by study; information;" also "assurance of knowledge, certitude, certainty."
So, this is very important: it is what we are certain about. Science, today, prides itself on empirical knowledge; knowledge based upon the five senses. But, in esoteric studies, we follow conscious experimentation, conscious knowledge. We verify based on our perceptions, spiritually—beyond the five senses.
Physical science is not the totality of science. It is to the detriment of humanity to think that our physical sciences are the limit of all there is to perceive. Esoterically, we investigate from the consciousness, from the soul.
"From Old French science "knowledge, learning, application; corpus of human knowledge" (12c.).
We are familiar with these kinds of sciences; biology, botany, etc.
From Latin scientia "knowledge, a knowing; expertness," from sciens (genitive scientis) "intelligent, skilled," present participle of scire "to know," probably originally "to separate one thing from another, to distinguish," related to scindere "to cut, divide," from PIE root *skei- "to cut, to split" (cognates: Greek skhizein "to split, rend, cleave," Gothic skaidan, Old English sceadan "to divide, separate.”
So, we seek to become experts of meditation in this tradition. Through the science of meditation, of self-reflection, we can investigate all the mysteries of life and death for ourselves, from our soul.
Another key point is that it originally meant to separate one thing from another, to distinguish. This again refers to discrimination: to distinguish between what is true and what is false.
So, we need to be like Thomas: doubting the illusions of our mind and senses, to be certain about what it is that we perceive. That is the foundation of gnostic science.
Another interesting etymological root of science comes from scindere, which means "to cute, divide," and "to cut, split" which is where we get the Greek word skhizein, "to split, rend, cleave”—and look at modern science today: these traditions of modern science are very divided. People are very attached to the beliefs about the information that they have received from the senses, and they have no agreement. Many of them agree with each other one day and disagree another. As the founder of the gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor stated:
"What science rejects today, it accepts tomorrow." —The Perfect Matrimony
And, what science accepts today, it rejects to tomorrow.
In these studies, we prefer not to rely on dogma. We want to verify, to know for ourselves, and to not be split and divided into sects, but to be integral. We want to study things in a highly synthetic manner, to be cultured, to not be biased
The pillar of mysticism, as we have been explaining, pertains to sciences such as the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. It comes from the word, "myein" which means, "to close ones eyes to illusion, to the senses." This means, to be a meditator. In meditation, by abandoning the physical body, you can access the higher dimensions.
From the word “mystic,” late 14c., "spiritually allegorical, pertaining to mysteries of faith," from Old French mistique "mysterious, full of mystery" (14c.), or directly from Latin mysticus "mystical, mystic, of secret rites" (source also of Italian mistico, Spanish mistico), from Greek mystikos "secret, mystic, connected with the mysteries," from mystes "one who has been initiated" (see mystery (n.1)). Meaning "pertaining to occult practices or ancient religions" first recorded 1610s. —Online Etymology Dictionary
It can refer to ritualistic exercises associated with the Gnostic Church, and many other faiths, different churches, etc., which in this present day, are degenerated: they have lost their authentic unity, their power. Certain practices were never given to the public, because of their potential ability to create harm. Many of the rituals that we adopt, whether from the Catholic Church, or from other faiths, are the external manifestation of an internal source. They came from the abuse or misunderstanding of the truth. Meaning, the prophets gave their knowledge, but they gave certain exercises to different levels of beings, different persons of capability. They gave the highest rites and rituals and practices to those who could handle it and gave very introductory exercises for those who are not as a capable. This refers to the Spirit, the soul and the body of the doctrine. Every prophet gave mystical teachings in accordance with those three levels of knowledge.
Unfortunately, many people have the body of certain practices, the body of the teachings, and think that they have the whole teaching; they ignore that there are higher exercises that we can work with. In many of the books of Samael Aun Weor, he gives many exercises from the body, the soul and the Spirit of any teaching. He gave introductory, intermediate and advanced practices for students, throughout his literature, which can give us access to genuine mysticism.
Mystikos, from the Greek, means someone that has been initiated because of their practical works, the experience the divine, the truth.
In this image, we have included Jesus and his ascension. One point I would like to make in relation to this teaching of mysticism, is that by closing our eyes to illusion, myein, to the senses, to the body, to our mistaken perceptions of self, we can achieve the ascension of the soul towards the spiritual realms.
I remember once, many years ago, I awoke in the dream world, the astral plane specifically, and seeing my home, the outdoors, I went outside and looked to the sky in a very vivid state of mind, to invoke the Master Jesus. In the dream world, we can invoke the divinities through sacred sounds, mantras, prayers, in order to speak face to face with those beings. The secret name of Jesus is Aberamentho, from The Pistis Sophia, which we have available with commentary from Samael Aun Weor, in the book The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled. The Gnostic Bible refers to the sacred name of Jesus, his real identity, as Aberamentho. He is a very elevated being.
I invoked him, because I wanted to, like Thomas, know who he was and to speak with this great being who has inspired so many millions. I remember that he came, he was a powerful being, illuminated with a type of cognizance that was beyond my grasp. He appeared wearing a crown. His description is given in detail in a book called The Revolution of Beelzebub, by Samael Aun Weor. If you read that book, you will see how Samael Aun Weor describes how Master Aberamentho can appear in these internal worlds.
So, he came up to me, and I was a little bit afraid, because I wanted to verify whether this was a divine being, or that was I seeing a demon... because there are negative beings that can mislead us. And, to assure me and to calm me, he taught me something very beautiful. I suddenly saw myself third-person; he took my consciousness, and expanded it. The masters can give you light, can give you perception, can expand your consciousness as a blessing, to teach you something about yourself. So, I saw myself, standing there in my yard, seeing myself third-person as in a movie, and I saw him as a ray of light; he shot up into the sky. It was a dark, cloudy, stormy sky, very obscure and black, very negative, and suddenly, there was a hole in the clouds that emerged, like in this image, and above that I saw, in the heavens beyond me, was the galaxies and the stars, which is a symbol of the divine. I stood there and I saw him emerge, and from the Earth and he flew up into the sky in an instant, and I saw him disappear beyond the galaxy. I stood there in awe, because I wanted to attain that state too, but obviously I am not that capable. But he was teaching me that, if you want to know the truth of the divine, you must clear your mind. The mind is related to the air; the sky in the internal planes is the symbol of your state of mind. If it is cloudy and obscure, it means that you are filled with a lot of doubt, skepticism, negativity. If is it black clouds; it can mean negative emotions, negative states of mind; it can also refer to a cloudiness of perception: to be very asleep as a consciousness. He was showing me that my mind was that darkness, and then he shot up through the sky, and I saw the heavens, as in this image.
So, Jesus taught that to many people. Not just me. He was showing to the Apostles in the Gospels, how, through the light of the divine, which he has fully manifested, you can ascend from this physical world, from materiality and clear the skies of understanding, in order to see the truth. He was showing me genuine mysticism, that, if you want to be a real mystic, clear your mind. Work with the energy of Christ in yourself, to purify your psyche.
The Christic energy is, as we have talked about in different lectures, the creative energy. Christ is that force, that is within us, who can grant us access to the mysteries of life and death.
Genuine mysticism is having experience, to perceive spiritually in a very factual, concrete manner. It is nothing vague or ambiguous. I have had dreams where I have been at work, doing this or that... those are just mere dreams. But, a vision is where you are fully aware and in that state of mind, in that plane, dimension, and you know how to navigate consciously. To be a genuine mystic, a genuine occultist, one must learn how to travel in those states.
Continuing our discussion of the four pillars, we have mysticism also represented in art and in other sacred images of art. As I mentioned to you, science, mysticism and philosophy have developed their principles through artistic mediums. Whether through painting, through sculpture, through music and in different forms of transmission of this teaching, given through many beautiful works such as by Michelangelo, by Da Vinci, Hieronymus Bosch, and many other artists who were teaching other initiates this path. Since they were not allowed to give the knowledge openly, they had to give it secretly. Therefore, they did it in symbolic forms through art. They had a lot of time that they could not give lectures; they were not allowed to, so they would teach other initiates through art work. You could see that they were divinely inspired; the art that they conveyed shows a very high level of being, due to the impression that their works make on the soul.
So, the word art, etymologically, has many interesting meanings as well:
Early 13c., "skill as a result of learning or practice," from Old French art (10c.), from Latin artem (nominative ars) "work of art; practical skill; a business, craft," from PIE *ar-ti- (cognates: Greek arti "just," artios "complete, suitable," artizein "to prepare;" Latin artus "joint;" Armenian arnam "make;" German art "manner, mode"), from root *ar- "fit together, join” —Online Etymology Dictionary
These are very obvious meanings, but, if we apply this to our soul and psyche, our conscious work, we see that the path of the soul is a skill. It is an artform. To create the soul into the image of God, spiritually, is an art. Not just through painting, music or sculpture, but through spiritual discipline: it is an artform.
The act of creating the soul into the image of God is represented in this image. We have on the right, Jehovah, who is approaching Adam, who is the archetype of the human being made into that divine image. People think that this refers to how a physical God created a physical human being. But, this is symbolic. It refers to the beauty of the soul. In this image, the human soul—Tiphereth in Kabbalah—is represented by Adam, who has fully controlled his mind, his heart, his vitality and his body. The first five spheres of the Tree of Life, from the bottom to the center, are represented by Adam.
Jevohah represents all the divine qualities that we need to incarnate, represented by the other five spheres, sephiroth, of the Tree of Life: Kether, Chokmah, Binah (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), Chesed (the Spirit) and Geburah (the Divine Soul). Jehovah represents all those divine principles. The union of those two, Jehovah and Adam, is genuine religion, genuine art.
All of the great masters of art taught the path of awakening consciousness in their works, like Puccini's operas, Wagner's operas, Mozart's... These masters were teaching the path of the unification of the soul with God, through symbols, through physical dramas that people are entertained by, and are inspired by, but they don't really know the meaning. They don't see the Spirit behind the letter that kills. Many people become fascinated with classical music, but that doesn't mean they know the Spirit behind the musical notes, the mystical teachings that are embodied in that.
So, art, in all its forms, teaches how to we can unite with God. It teaches through that artform.
Also, looking further at those etymological roots:
*ar-ti- (cognates: Greek arti "just," artios "complete, suitable," artizein "to prepare;" Latin artus "joint;" Armenian arnam "make;" German art "manner, mode"), from root *ar- "fit together, join.”
This is very significant. To be "Arti" to be just, is to be a righteous person. To see that something is just right means that the soul is perfected. Likewise, to be complete and suitable, is to be complete and suitable to God: meaning that we have purified our soul, and so the light of the divine, the light of Jehovah, manifests in us. It also means to prepare, from "artizein." We must become prepared, and to know how to prepare ourselves, so that we can know the truth. "To join" is precisely represented in this image: how the divine joins with the human.
We will finally explain about the path of philosophy. We have included an image of Mary Magdalene before the resurrected Jesus. This is also a symbol of Sophia before Christ, before the Lord. Sophia means "wisdom." Christ is the divine.
So, philosophy comes from "philos-sophia." Philos means love, sophia means wisdom. You can also say that philos, as love, represents Christ, because Christ is love, that energy, that potential, which we need to activate in us. People typically associate philosophy as a body of knowledge, from "philosophy," a type of intellectual discipline. However, genuine philosophy, or love of wisdom, love of knowledge, is how the soul loves God through study, through Jnana Yoga. Jnana Yoga refers to, in Hinduism, the study of scripture, of meditation practices and their application, so that we can gain spiritual knowledge.
Many philosophers, such as Plato, Socrates, knew this teaching in depth, and they explained the path of how the soul unites with the divine in their doctrines. Such as Plato's Republic, and we will be talking in future lectures about the Allegory of the Cave, specifically, in depth. We will talk about how their teachings and their writings have inspired the Western cannon, the Western tradition, and how such teachings really have their roots in Hinduism, and many other early religions. We will also explore how these philosophies teach us how to unite with the divine.
So, to conclude, we emphasize that gnosis is built upon four pillars. The foundation of our spiritual life is based on how we cultivate our relationship with God, through mystical science, such as meditation, and the study of art forms, to inspire the soul. When we know the meaning of these art forms, we become enlivened, and we see that behind the great operas or the great classical compositions, or the statues of Kukulkan and the Mayan feathered serpent, that we see images such as the Kundalini force amongst the Maya and the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl in the Nahua language in Mexico. We find that these art forms teach us how to create our soul, art forms which can give us inspiration and strength. Likewise, we study the knowledge in a philosophical way, to know our relationship to God, and where we stand presently.
Audience: The four pillars, could that also be a combination of the left brain, which is the sacred masculine, and right brain, which is the sacred feminine? Because you were talking about science, and mysticism, philosophy, and the third eye, do you think that is the combination of that?
Instructor: Well, you could say that we have a more scientific hemisphere of the brain, and a more artistic side too. But, the four pillars themselves, rather than having a physiological relationship, are more related to the traditions that we study. How we biologically relate to certain types of thinking, pertain to mysticism as well as science, specifically. And, how the brain creates is an artform. The brain itself is the most beautiful vehicle for the mind. The brain is not the mind: the mind that thinks uses the physical brain to think, here and how. If we look at the Tree of Life, the mind itself (Netzach) is above emotion (Hod), and it is above vitality, sexuality, instinct, impulse (Yesod). But, the four pillars, in that sense, you cannot associate with our psychological constitution.
More importantly, the four pillars refer to aspects of our tradition that we study, and the framework by which we can understand ourselves in detail; which involves psychology as well, and occult anatomy.
Question: I grew up Catholic, and I am having problems with the Old Testament as far as... there is a lot of it that is about death and destruction and evil, which means many Gods. I looked up the Sumerian tablets which is Enlil and Enki and the Annunaki, and I am trying to decipher this... because, the way you're talking is that, within the Garden of Eden, from the research that I did, there was many Gods and there was a lot of deception...
Instructor: Well, Jehovah, in Hebrew Kabbalah is Iod-Chavah Sabaoth, Lord of Hosts. Jehovah is not just one being, but is the Christ, the divine manifested through all of those masters that have incarnated that light. So Elohim can refer to the angels. An angel is a perfected being, a being that fully manifests the light of Christ.
The Christ is an energy; it is a light, a force. That force is universal: its center is everywhere, and its circumference is nowhere. It is universal. It is a cosmic energy that manifests all of creation, and can manifest in any being that has performed the work.
Question: What about in the Old Testament where it has a lot of death and destruction, sacrificing of animals, first born children, and all of that?
Instructor: Those are symbols. We must sacrifice our own cherished self, first born beliefs about ourselves. Our first-born children is a symbol of certain psychological qualities that we carry inside; meaning our reputation, our self-esteem; things that we value about who we think we are. We also have to sacrifice the animal mind. The mind.
Question: So this has nothing to do with the Annunaki? This is all disinformation regarding the Annunaki, the reptilians?
Instructor: Well, I know a lot of people believe in reptilian beings, and I personally, in the astral plane have not met any of them, so I don't really think about this. However, I know when I look at myself in the mirror, psychologically, in the astral plane, and I see my own animal mind—because, you can visually see yourself as you are as a psyche, through a mirror. They teach you symbolically what you are as a consciousness, and you may see yourself like an animal.
Question: But we do have a reptilian part of the brain, the hippocampus, which is the fight or flight part of the brain...
Instructor: Even physiologically, science knows that we have qualities that are animalistic, that we inherited from an animal past. But, we go further in saying that, the psyche, the soul, is animalistic and not human yet. The human must be created. The human mind, a human being is a being that has perfect equanimity, in thought, feeling, impulse. And is fully manifesting the will of God.
The Bible is symbolic. It is written in the language of Kabbalah. So, people who read the Torah literally, end up very confused, and sometimes traumatized by that tradition, because people teach that God is jealous, angry, violent... But, the truth is, who is he violent towards? God is very jealous of our soul. And, is very violent against the mind, the ego, those qualities that are animalistic that prevent us from going towards the truth. So, God is jealous not in the sense of an old man that says, "You have to obey me, or you get kicked out of church." Instead, it refers to the eagerness of God to fully unify all His parts, that are trapped in suffering, to free us from suffering. If God was not jealous in that sense, we would be in trouble. God demands that he wants all the parts that belong to Him to be returned to happiness, to our source.
The Bible is written in Kabbalah, which even many Jews who read the Torah don't know Kabbalah in depth. Even those that study the Kabbalistic tradition, do so from an intellectual point. They do not awaken the consciousness and verify this in the internal planes what the teachings entail.
It is a symbolic language. People who read the Bible without knowing Kabbalah, is like trying to read Shakespeare without knowing English: it is just gibberish. You would think it is so cryptic, or you would read it literally and say, "Well, this is so dogmatic." But, there is some spiritual truths there that are hidden. If we do not know how to interpret, through knowing the science of the Tree of Knowledge, and the Tree of Life, the science of Kabbalah and Alchemy, that dead letter kills our soul.
You see many people in these traditions who are very devout, but they are dead spiritually. They just repeat information; they are just a walking memory box. They can recite the Torah and all of that, but are they conscious of what it teaches? The Spirit can vivify our soul: the Spirit behind the letter that kills.
If we read fundamentally, without an awakened, mystical, perspective, a scientific vantage point, and from a knowledge of divine art, the language of Kabbalah, we get confused and religion, philosophy, become something rigid and repressive, which is not what we teach.
Question: So, is one of the reasons that we suffer is because we are in duality, within ourselves? We're not as we think, as we feel, as we act, in cohesion. We have to get back to that which is unified. We are not abiding by the natural law, right?
Instructor: And, the law of Christ says, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." But, typically, our mind is trapped in duality: thesis / anti-thesis; belief / disbelief in our heart, where we also have like / dislike. In our motor center, our center of movement which we find at the top of our spine, we have: to do / not to do. Our instinct, associated with the base of our spine, is the center related to impulse, desire, certain activities that are beyond thinking; these relate to impulse, fight / flight. In relation to sexuality, one has either attraction or repulsion.
So, our psyche, it tends to be caught between a duality of, "Should I do this, should I not do this?" Our confusion results from not having equanimity. By observing the chaos of the mind, the heart, the body... we observe who we are psychologically, moment to moment, and seek to acquire a peaceful mind and to understand our own defects. Since we do not know how to be spiritual, to be genuinely conscious, we continue to suffer, and we also continue to be caught between this delusion of duality, of the pendulum of thinking for or against, like or dislike. That is the pendulum that keeps us hypnotized.
Question: What about the world apocalypse, from the Greek, meaning the unveiling truth?
Instructor: The Apocalypse is a titanic book too. It talks about the revelations of the soul, after facing many challenges and ordeals.
Questions: So, the unveiling of truth means learning this esoteric...
Instructor: From experience. From one’s consciousness. When you awaken in the internal planes, you go through your own inner apocalypse: your own ordeals and struggles—you have to face great tribulations and sacrifices. By learning to overcome them, the revelation comes, the light comes.
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