The notes below are intended to complement or expand on the information given us by Henry T. Laurency and, before him, by Alice A. Bailey on the subject of esoteric pedagogy; to be precise: the particular problems that esoteric study presents to the students. These notes were compiled during many years of occupation with issues of esoteric pedagogy in theory and practice. Beside personal experiences much valuable information was gleaned when reading the works of G. I. Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, Idries Shah, and others. My indebtedness to all the eminent thinkers mentioned is hereby acknowledged.

These notes on people’s spiritual search perhaps will be criticized for being a study in psychology or sociology more than one of spirituality. This is correct, for the attention here has been directed at reality such as it is, and where these people are concerned it is less a case of spiritual quest than attempts, mostly unconscious ones, at satisfying individual psychological and social needs. The notes presented here are intended to benefit those very people, however, namely to help them reach a greater clarity about themselves, so that they may have outlets for their needs in better and more dignified ways, not abusing esoterics, and then perhaps make new and better efforts on the path of spirituality.

Lars Adelskogh


You Shall Not Believe!

In the ancient esoteric knowledge orders, belief was not permitted. In them, comprehension and understanding alone were important, not belief. Even the neophytes of the first degree were taught how not to believe. They were taught to see the difference between belief and critical assumption.

Belief is emotional. Belief is the absolute and unreasonable conviction of emotion, unamenable to correction or reason. Belief is individual, subjective, and may be however absurd. Belief rules in the present mankind because man cannot acquire knowledge except of definitively established facts in the physical world.

In contrast, critical assumption is mental. Opposed to belief, assumption is relative and relativizes. The critical person assesses possibility and probability, is aware that his assumption is preliminary, is valid until he will know. He is amenable to reason and desires correction. He constantly strives to know more and corrects his earlier misconceptions in the process. It need be pointed out that criticism does not mean dismissal, but judgement (the words “critic”, “critical”, criticism”, etc are derived from the Greek verb krino, “I judge”). You cannot rightly judge anything you dismiss without first examining it. The critical person strives to eliminate the mere subjective and mere individual in all his views of objective things and events. He aims to achieve objectivity and universal validity.

The esoteric student should, like the neophytes of old, take pains to eliminate belief. Most  of the things happening in the world are such as he has neither the time, nor the resources, or even the interest to investigate more closely. But then he should not embrace with belief what is publicly said or written about them, but rather take a skeptical, expectant attitude to such reports. There are lots of things on which the mass media dish up ready-made opinions that later prove to be false to fact. Often the mass media function as instigators of opinions for political and economic interests. During the preparation for the United States’ war of aggression on Iraq in the winter of 2003, all the big North American newspapers claimed that the Iraqi president Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and was in contact with the terror network al-Qaida. Now it is generally known and officially conceded that those two claims were false – we could as well add: they were lies in the service of war propaganda.   



The Beginner’s Lack of Esoteric Discrimination

In such esoteric groups as contain both beginners and more advanced students, it almost always occurs that some beginner makes propaganda for some quasi-occult “teacher” or writer, whom that beginner believes to be an esoterician and “equally good, if not better” than those genuine esoteric writers whose works the group is studying.

This is of course an instance of lack of discrimination in esoteric matters. In such cases it is customary that the older and more advanced pupils are silent as the beginner makes his propaganda for his authority or favourite writer. The older ones do the right thing here. The beginner must arrive at a better understanding by himself; he must not be forced to change his view. Only in such a manner will he be able to really understand, not by merely changing his belief in one authority for belief in another one, even if that other one is incomparably better. By being silent or showing their lack of interest, when the beginner makes his propaganda, claiming that “there is also other information to be studied”, the more advanced pupils give the beginner a hint that he in on the wrong track. It is the beginner’s fault that he does not take the hint, does not read the true import of the situation. Usually it is because of his fixation on, identification with, his interest for that quasi-esoteric “teaching” that the beginner is unable to take the hint and read the situation right. It is also the beginner’s fault that he underrates the teacher’s capacity not realizing that the teacher has long ago seen through such quasi-esoteric teachings.

In such cases it is of no significance that the “teacher” or writer with whom the beginner is enamoured has appeared only recently, so that the teacher of the group perhaps has not even heard of him before. For the teacher’s deeper esoteric understanding coupled with certain higher mental functions connected with it enables him to “place” that quasi-esoteric writer at once, put him in context on the basis of a few statements he has made, and judge the relative understanding of the subject he has attained. This esoteric discrimination is lacking in the beginner, and its modes of working are unknown to him.

The beginner’s lack of esoteric discrimination is due to the fact that usually he reads emotionally, seldom mentally. If you read emotionally, you grasp very little of the mental conceptual content of the text you are studying. Instead you are affected by the subjective emotional impressions you receive from the text. Two quite different texts by two authors, the one text quasi-esoteric, the other one truly esoteric, may give the emotional reader the subjective impression of conveying the “same message”, because they influence him emotionally in the same way. Usually it is only superficially that they have the “same content”, however. For instance, the same words and terms may be used in both texts, but the mental contents, conceptual contents, idea contents, of those same words may be totally different.


Some Examples of Lack of Esoteric Discrimination

A beginner claimed that “Martinus in his cosmology teaches the same as hylozoics”. He was helped to reach a greater mental clarity by the following exhortation, which he acted upon: “Sum up the 15 most important ideas of Martinus’ cosmology, and then the 15 most important ideas of hylozoics. Then you will see that not even two are the same.” Of course, the condition of proceeding in this manner is that esoteric student does not grasp the texts in too superficial a manner; for example, does not assume that two writers mean the same thing because the use the same words. For instance, Martinus writes about “development”, “kingdoms”, etc.  His concept of development, however, is not that of hylozoics, but some sort of exchange system, in which a faculty gained in a certain kingdom is lost in the next following kingdom. For instance, according to Martinus, the faculty of memory is characteristic of the human kingdom but is lost in the next following kingdom, the “true human kingdom” (we humans are not “true human beings” yet). Moreover, the entire process is an eternal circle: when we have attained the highest kingdom, we shall start all over again in the mineral kingdom. Consequently, only a very superficial thinking may assert that Martinus’ cosmology teaches the same as hylozoics as regards consciousness development.

Another beginner thought that Joshua David Stone in his writings taught the same doctrine as hylozoics. However, it is sufficient to acquaint oneself just cursorily with his book Soul Psychology to determine that such is not the case. In one passage of that book, Dr Stone asserted that D.K. in a dream told him that he, Stone, and his wife Terri are two soul extensions of the same monad, and that they were the only soul extensions of that monad incarnated at the time. In another passage of the same book, Stone enounces that each monad creates twelve souls, and each such soul creates in its turn twelve soul extensions, so that each monad has 144 soul extensions. These two statements by Dr Stone are sufficient proof that he has not the slightest idea of what is meant by monad in Pythagorean hylozoics, the original and only rational meaning.

Moreover, Dr Stone in other passages of his book refers to “D.K.’s teaching” on “twin flames”. D.K. never gave any such “teaching”, however, but this talk about “twin flames” (twin souls) derives from the so-called I am movement, which falsely presented its spurious doctrines as coming from D.K., M., and other esoteric masters. Such falsification must be pointed out. D.K. did so. He clearly and unequivocally distanced himself from the I Am Movement, specifically its doctrine on the “ascension” (see Alice A. Bailey, The Rays and the Initiations, p. 16.)

In genuine esoterics, the symbol of the “twin souls” does not denote two human individuals, but the greater and the lesser causal envelopes of the same human individual (human monad). The greater causal envelope (in esoterics often called the “soul”) remains in the causal world at the incarnation of the human individual, whereas the lesser causal envelope (often called the “personality”), enclosing the monad, accompanies the other envelopes of incarnation to the physical world. The greater causal envelope is permanent during the monad’s entire sojourn in the human kingdom, whereas the lesser causal envelope is shaped by the greater envelope prior to each new incarnation and is reabsorbed into it after the incarnation. Therefore, the greater causal envelope is traditionally said to be “immortal”, whereas the lesser envelope is said to be “mortal”. The greater causal envelope contains the quintessence of all experience the monad had and worked upon, all qualities and abilities the monad acquired since its first human incarnation. The lesser causal envelope, however, contains only those qualities and abilities which the powers of destiny intended to be part of the monad’s  equipment for the current incarnation.

It should be clear from what is said here that the two causal envelopes are not qualitatively equal. This is a fact that esoteric symbolism has always emphasized in various manners: for example by the symbol of the twins Pollux and Castor, the former of whom was immortal, the latter mortal; or the ancient Indian symbol (Rig Veda I, 164:20) of “two birds united with each other, sitting in the same tree, one eating the sweet fruit; the other not eating, watching only.” “Eating the sweet fruit” of course refers to the function of the lesser causal envelope to gather experience during incarnation. “Not eating, watching only” refers correspondingly to the function of the greater envelope, that of having generalized insights from the experiences of the incarnation while not having those same experiences itself.

This information should be sufficient to finally scotch the idea of “twin souls” in the romantic-emotional and all too human misconception of the I Am Movement and Dr Stone. The fact that it is a misconception should be apparent also through understanding of the fact of every monad’s sovereignty. This sovereignty, which is guaranteed by the laws of life, implies that not even the highest cosmic divinity could pair any monad with any other. It also implies that not even the highest cosmic divinity could determine the future path in evolution to be taken by any monad, for the monad must choose that itself. Not even the highest cosmic divinity can determine whether a certain monad will eventually progress much faster in evolution than its fellow monads in that natural kingdom where that monad is found at present. Such “fast-running” monads are always to be found, just like their opposites, the “laggards”, and both categories would soon render any system of permanent pair formation impossible, since the two monads would soon enough be in different natural kingdoms.  

It is ever apparent that quasi-esoterics does not hold water logically and that its false doctrines can always be refuted by means of basic principles of esoterics and hylozoics, ordinary logic, and common sense.


Hindrances to Learning

Work in the school is activity on a lower level, yet something that must be passed before you will be able to grasp the matters of the higher levels. The acceptance of this fact is one of the first conditions. One of the chief barriers to accepting this fact – even as a working hypothesis – is the overestimation of the role, potentiality, and knowledge of the learner.

The student’s three particular hindrances to learning: his constant demand for the teacher’s attention, his resistance to having those experiences that facilitate his learning, his expectation to decide for himself how, when, and where he should learn.

It is characteristic of certain students that they begin their study by laying down conditions of it. They want to learn, they say, but only this or that, only in this or that manner, etc. They would rather teach the teacher how he should proceed when teaching them. In so doing they hinder themselves more than they suspect.

People want to do certain things, and do them in certain manners. However, the way to be walked has its own demands, which may be quite different. What people want to do usually are such things as allow them to go on in the tracks in which they have already got stuck and which can hardly lead them in new directions, in which they could transcend their limitations.

“I can’t learn through books.” I want to experience the real thing, and I can’t do so through a book.” If I claim that I want to learn, but say at the same time that I cannot learn through books, this means that I protect myself from ever learning. Do not listen to what people say, look at what they are doing! You can learn something through a book, and this something can be so important that it will lead you to recognizing the real thing. Supposing you had never seen fresh onions. Admitted that dried onions are not the same as fresh ones. However, in the absence of fresh onions dried ones may give you a definite perception, an experience of how they taste, etc., which permit you to recognize fresh onions when experiencing them some time. Not having eaten dried onions you would never have recognized fresh ones. Also note how that everything-or-nothing thinking leads people astray: there is only one, final, great experience of the real thing, no intermediate stages between my present condition and the final goal. If I cannot reach the final stage now, here, and at once, then I will not condescend to studies at all.

“Explanation kills understanding.” The student’s demand for immediate explanation, the inability of impatience to wait for the growth of one’s own insight, demonstrate a lack of trust in life, trust in self, and trust in law. This is one more example that the twelve essential qualities are necessary to learning. Ask of yourself: do I demand as much insight from myself as I demand explanation from the teacher? If I demand insight, then should it not be the same as demanding from myself the effort that I need to make to reach that insight?

They pass from new age “teachings” and quasi-occultism into esoterics. But they really do not leave the deficient material behind them, but they add the new things they learn in esoterics to their old “learning”, and in so doing expand and aggravate their confusion already existing. They have got used to their state of confusion, therefore cannot desire clarity. People’s habits are stronger than their interests, their real interests from an objective point of view, something you may observe daily and hourly.


Errors Commonly Made by Beginners

A common error made by the beginner in esoterics is adding the new things he is being taught, the esoteric matters, to the old, the exoteric stuff; judging the new by the measure of the old. This is totally erroneous. Instead he should begin by making a clean sweep of the old things, especially if he has previously been engaged in quasi-esoteric studies. This proves impossible for most students, however. If indeed it is impossible for him, he should at least learn to keep apart what he learnt according to the exoteric views (including quasi-esoterics), and the new he is learning in esoterics, “putting different kinds of information on different shelves”.

Beginners usually assume that with the little esoteric knowledge they have learnt they have automatically acquired esoteric judgement, that using the few esoteric facts they possess they can judge all kinds of phenomena in life, people and their stages of development, etc. In fact, most beginners after two years of study have not discovered even all the general conclusions that are inherent in the skeleton system they have studied, so they are even less in a position to draw conclusions from particular cases (individual events, people, etc.). Just as in all kinds of study, judgement in this field is acquired only after long and profound study and as the result of mastering all the material available.

It is a similar case with questions put by beginners to the teacher about all kinds of particular cases, generally their own unusual experiences and their causes. Such questions are proofs of thoughtlessness. They do not realize that in order to make statements on causes in individual cases (except very simple conditions in exclusively physical reality), one must possess at least objective causal consciousness, since only that kind of consciousness can ascertain cause and effect in superphysical reality. The teacher either has that kind of consciousness or he does not have it. If he does not have it, he cannot make such statements. If he has it, he must not make such statements, for higher faculties must not be used to satisfy people’s curiosity. Thus no answer to such a question will come forth.


Misguided Self-Reliance of Beginners

Almost all people have acquired a certain measure of self-reliance, which has become habitual. Because of this self-reliance and also because of thoughtlessness, they consider it a loss of their freedom to put themselves under the discipline of a teacher. They entrust themselves to a surgeon to get rid of an appendix, but they question the teacher’s knowledge and experience in a field where they are as ignorant as they are of surgery. Premature independence often results in self-deception.

Two disciples witness: “I knew that the master was a great and good man before I met him. But only after he made me partake of awakening, did I realize that his goodness and greatness were far greater, were far beyond my capacity of understanding at the outset.”

“My teacher liberated me from that captivity where I was, that captivity where I believed I was free, whereas in fact I was going round in a pattern.”

The uncritical transposition of self-reliance into spheres where it does not belong is illustrated by the following statement of a disciple: “I decided to walk the path alone and struggled with doing so, until a voice said to me, ‘Go to a pathfinder who will show you a path through wilderness – or do you intend to find your own path and destroy yourself in the process?’”


Learning, Knowledge, and Wisdom

The Greek word sophós is usually translated “wise”, so that sophia is “wisdom”, philósophos is “a lover of wisdom”, etc. In the ancient Greek society, however, a skilled shoemaker was deemed sophos in his profession as much as a teacher of wisdom in his specialty. A more exact translation of sophos, therefore, is “skilled in his function”, “skilled in action”. Thus wisdom is the same as the ability to apply the knowledge, skill in action. Wisdom is practice. Knowledge is mere theory.

Learning (information), knowledge, and wisdom must be distinguished. Learning is mere amassed information, data on all sorts of things. These data need not be true, need not agree with reality. Even if they are true, they may be factually insignificant or unessential in some important context. Facts that are in themselves correct may become meaningless or misleading if ending up in a wrong context. Similarly, one erroneous datum among correct facts may distort the whole presentation.

Learning is not bad in itself. It fulfils a function on its level, is important as a step in man’s intellectual development. What is perceived as esoteric opposition to and criticism of learning actually is not criticism of learning in itself, only of the tendency to view learning as something which it is not.

It is often seen that the learned do not understand that there is something beyond learning, something much higher. You must always strive for something that is on a higher level than your present state if you want to progress, also in your own field.

Knowledge is nothing but facts, important facts, put into their correct relations to each other so that they form a context that is essential from the factual point of view. Many contexts, correctly combined into a greater whole, form a system of knowledge. Knowledge is not the same as expanded learning. No expansion of learning, however great, can replace knowledge. Knowledge is superior to learning, not in a quantitative, but in a qualitative respect. What qualitatively distinguishes knowledge from learning is the growth of understanding, the heightening of consciousness.

Wisdom is knowledge purposefully applied in action. No more than a mere quantitative increase of learning makes knowledge, no more a mere quantitative increase of knowledge makes wisdom. Just as a qualitative element distinguishes knowledge from learning, so a qualitative element distinguishes wisdom from knowledge. Where wisdom is concerned, this qualitative element is experience worked upon by the individual. It is by trying to apply his knowledge, by making mistakes and learning from them, working on those mistakes, that the individual grows in wisdom.

Of course, action is not enough. Wisdom is action with quality, the quality of consciousness. Wisdom is the power to realize. There is no wisdom if previously there is no common sense. Without common sense, wisdom cannot find any expression.

In esoterics the thesis applies saying that knowledge does not precede experience, but results from it. We learn by living, by making our own experiments in life. The knowledge we have received before experience has quite another significance through experience. Neither does knowledge afford us the power to realize. Man acquires that power by experience, by the endless number of unsuccessful experiences. That is why mistakes are necessary on the path to wisdom. That is also why it is said, sapere aude, dare to be wise, because it could equally well be said: dare to make mistakes.

Life-ignorant man lets himself be cast down by failures, blames himself, and loses his trust in life. The man experienced in life knows that mistakes are unavoidable and that he learns the most by making mistakes. He acquires trust in self through his failed attempts, for having made them he knows much more than before. Anyone who does not dare to act for fear of failing often misses valuable opportunities of learning. Many people also fear the criticism of others. Criticism must be taken into account and be used to liberate oneself from the dependence on the opinions of others. Invulnerability is a necessary quality, one of the characteristics of the real human being.

Just as there is a process of evolution leading the individual from learning to knowledge, and from knowledge to wisdom, there is a process of devolution befalling individuals and entire groups lest they take care: What became of the wisdom that decayed into knowledge? What became of the knowledge that decayed into learning? What became of the learning that decayed into information?

Seek wisdom while you possess strength! Otherwise you might lose your strength without finding wisdom.

“He that loveth wisdom loveth life. And they that seek her early shall be filled with joy.”


Curiosity, Desire to Know, Striving after Insight

Early in his esoteric study, the disciple is taught the difference between person and thing, the individual and the general, curiosity and the desire to know. Later he is taught the equally important distinction between the desire to learn and the aspiration to insight. Curiosity deals with personal and individual matters, and is typically emotional. The desire to know rises above personal and individual things, is directed to what is impersonal, superindividual, and general, and is typically mental. The desire to know often degenerates into some sort of craze for intellectual possessions, a hunger for more and more facts without consideration of their usefulness for the consciousness development of the individual or the collective. Aspiration to true insight rises above the desire to know just as the desire to know rises above curiosity. The aspiration to insight can be a manifestation of incipient causal consciousness.


Wrong Attitudes to the Study

The disciple has the task, not of scaling down the knowledge to his level, but of raising his own level, so that he is able to receive the knowledge with the import the teacher afforded it. In this connection recall Goethe’s definition of culture: “The capacity to receive something in the spirit in which it was said.”

Three ways or kinds of learning:

The way of the slave: He who memorizes a material and may follow it slavishly. He may regard himself as a student or even as a scholar.

The way of the scholar: He accumulates material according to his own desire and may subject it to criticism in the manner in which he has been suggested by authorities to believe to be right.

The way of the wise man: He is able to extract from the material the real facts it contains. He derives no pleasure from memorizing or from praise for his good memory. He studies only what is of importance for him and his task, not what others have drilled him to consider important. In so doing he finds material of the most valuable content, which comes from the truth and guides him back to it.   

Much of what the teacher says the disciple deems obvious, “so obvious that it need not even be said”. Here the disciple is in error. What the teacher says must be obvious to him at the moment it is being said or soon afterwards. If not, he has received the teaching too early, and so it remains for him to have that experience in the light of which what was said will be obvious. There are two truths that go unheeded by the disciple in this process. First: it was not obvious to him before the teacher said it, and thus there is a big difference between before and after. Second: the disciple is not a unitary being (if he were, he would not need discipleship); he “is not one, but many”; and the personality that understands the teaching to be right is soon enough changed for other personalities that do not. In particular, when he is in the world outside the school, he “is someone else”, one who in his doing and talking to other people shows that he has forgotten what he learnt. The teacher’s teaching does not aim at making him understand and see only in the teaching situation, where the disciple is in his work personality, but in all situations and above all in “ordinary reality”.

Generally, the efforts esoteric students make to understand the teaching are too weak. That being the case, they deny themselves a deeper, more comprehensive understanding. The weakness of effort shows in the fact that they ask too little, ask without thinking, ask the wrong questions, or formulate their questions in a vague, unclear form. When questions are not formulated clearly, the teacher has to extract out of the student, step by step, what he is actually getting at. Students need to put more effort into asking more and asking better. Intellectual laziness never was a path to knowledge and understanding.

When something in the teaching strikes you as being correct, you need not think much about it. Most people concentrate on whatever they agree with, and that is why they do not learn as much as they otherwise would. However, when something in the teaching strikes us as being strange or even unacceptable, we should pay especial attention to it, reflect upon it with great care. Because it almost always means that a true lesson has struck against some prejudice of ours, which tries to beat it back and so keep us in our self-made prison of thought.

In this connection, prejudice keeps it original meaning of “judgements passed before examination”. Nowadays, to many people the word “prejudice” has degenerated into meaning “view which I or my group do not like”. This is true in particular of so-called cultural radicals.

Pupil: “Why am I still confused, although I have studied for so long?” Teacher: “Because you do not seek intellectual clarity and order.” Pupil: “But that is precisely what I am doing!” Teacher: “No. Intellectual clarity and order are the inevitable result, if studies are pursued in the proper manner.” You have to study the knowledge according to its own principles, just like in practical life you have to wander the way as it lies there. If you study in a selective manner, picking out whatever fascinates you in a shallow way, skipping the ‘boring stuff’, the result must be confusion. If you then persist in doing so, confusion turns into a habit and finally your second nature. The condition actually resembles that of certain chronically ill people who have become so used to their illness, so adapted themselves to it, that they really do not want to be well.”

Attraction to esoteric study may be a good thing as a motive power, but is insufficient in itself. Many people believe that their interest or desire is preparation enough. They hear about a teaching, and what they hear attracts them. They assume that they must contact this teaching at once. What they assume here is that they can learn at once, and in the manner and in the order they decide themselves.

To perceive one’s own nothingness is valuable. To revel in emotions of one’s own insignificance, uselessness, etc., is a cheap but useless form of self-gratification.

All wishes and desires do not go against the will to learn, but some do.

People want continuity, what they call “order”, that is to say, things they recognize. However, this desire easily stifles the will to learn.

Discipleship cannot be a remedy for loneliness.

“I visited teacher X to have attention, company, and entertainment, but I only got realization and illumination.”


Selective Study

Many of those taking an interest in esoterics study selectively and read selectively. They do not give the whole of the material the attention it requires. They pick out what has a positive emotional impact on them, and drops what has a negative emotional impact on them; focus on what agrees with their established dogmas, what appeals to their emotional thinking and imagination, what stimulates their curiosity, sense of being chosen, self-importance, etc. And what they like or find exciting they commit to memory or seek more and more deeply. These things which they select, however, often are such as they least of all need.

Proceeding in this manner, they only become more confirmed in their fictions and illusions. Some of these people eventually come to see that “studies” pursued in this manner teach them nothing, bring them nowhere. The situation is typical of such self-study as is done without the guidance of a competent teacher. It is indeed a function of the teacher to direct the disciples’ attention to the things they need to learn in order to progress. The things they need are often quite different from the things they desire.

Generally speaking it might be said that those studying selectively challenge the teachers’ intention, experience, and wisdom. It should be natural to start from the assumption that the material has to be studied as a whole precisely because the teachers have presented it as a whole, and the teachers are the best judges of what the disciples should study. The disciples, being in the very beginning of their study, cannot possibly understand and judge the purpose of their study, cannot possibly know why they should study those very parts of the material that they are so keen on skipping.


False Knowledge

What can be done about deceivers and imitators? Such people as claim to be representatives of ancient esoteric knowledge orders, be in contact with the planetary hierarchy, even claim to be masters, etc? The counterquestion: can anything be done about it, and should it be done, even if it could? Deceptions, falsifications, imitations in the esoteric sphere is not a new phenomenon. Such things always appear as genuine esoteric knowledge manifests itself. The genuine Gnostic order and the countless quasi-gnostic sects during the first centuries of the Christian era illustrate this fact, and very clearly. Esoteric studies repeat a pattern. Why do we think that esoterics would be the only field of human activity free of imitators, deceivers, confusion, “paying passengers and stowaways”?

Perhaps we could convince some members of the spurious organizations that they had indeed been deceived. A few of them perhaps would understand esoterics and realize why the “teaching” they were studying was not the true one. But most of them we succeeded in convincing would not be capable of understanding, and would have been made doubly homeless, so to speak; that is to say, being deprived of their former belief and unable to find their bearings in esoterics. Therefore, the false teachings do esoterics a service by absorbing people who would otherwise enter esoterics too early and not be able to do something in it except disturbing esotericians. This is one of many meanings of the saying “apparently (or nominally) opposite things work together “. Another saying goes: “False gold exists in the world only because there is such a thing as real gold.”

Surely there is no harm in devoting oneself to false teachings? “Such things may afford people a certain pleasure and a foretaste of something deeper.” Of course. But it may also become a serious hindrance to those who are mature enough to leave this and proceed to something better, more genuine. Supposing that weaving had never been developed but people had remained at a primitive stage where they only could tie knots. Would it then be tantamount to destroying people’s “pleasure and foretaste of something deeper”, if you taught them how to weave, provided they were ripe for that step forward? To sum up: if you get to fixated on the preparatory stage of something, believing it to be the whole, you will not go further.   


The Need for Knowledge

More than anything people need to know. Very often they lack a larger base of knowledge. Begin by spreading information!

One example of the necessity of information is provided by the reality background, or rather lack of reality background, of the book Mutant Message Down Under by American writer Marlo Morgan. In her book Marlo Morgan claimed to have travelled through the Central Desert of Australia together with a group of Aborigines, and been taught their secret doctrines. Among the things she said she was taught was how to transform her organism into another form of life. In the book she also claimed to have been appointed a messenger for the Aboriginal people. Her book became a bestseller in the United States, Europe, and Japan. When it reached Australia, however, it was quickly exposed as a hoax because the text in many places reveals the author’s ignorance of the most trivial facts of everyday Australian life, which gives occasion to doubt whether she ever visited that continent, and also because representatives of all groups of Aborigines – there are not many of them – were explicit about the fact that they had never had anything to do with Morgan and of course had not “revealed” any such things as Morgan claimed. Instead, they all said that what Morgan says about them in her book is a fraud and as such deeply offensive. Morgan was confronted with all of this in a SBS radio programme that was broadcast on January 26, 1996. She then broke down and said: “I would like to say that I’m terribly sorry and my sincere, sincere apologies to any Australian Aboriginal person if I have offended them in any way.” (Source: The Weekend Australian, January 27 and 28, 1996, NEXUS New Times, April-May, 1996). Nevertheless, the book continues to sell as before. It has even been translated into Swedish and is featured in all new age shops, also such as display only four books besides lots of stones and American Indian kitsch.    


Real Knowledge

Content is only one of three characteristics of real knowledge. The other two are method and purpose. Using these three characteristics, reassess your assumptions about learning, understanding, insight, certainty, clarity! The criterion whether knowledge is esoteric or not does not pertain to the matter aspect, not even the consciousness aspect, but to the will aspect. What does that mean? The matter aspect has to do with the object of the study, its content, its material. Thus the fact that you are studying “esoteric stuff” is not the decisive point, because such “study” can be pursued on a very low level: the astrology you find in weekly magazines, interest in previous lives roused by motives of curiosity and self-importance.

It is not “esoteric teaching” merely because it is about the multitude of worlds, consciousness development, the hierarchy of teachers and helpers. It is esoteric teaching only when information on such superphysical realities is given in such circumstances as may have the effect of raising the consciousness of those receiving it. “Esoteric facts” presented in circumstances where appeal is made to credulity, the thirst for sensations, irresponsibility, and laziness (for example, where the members of the planetary hierarchy are presented as the errand-boys and nannies of mankind) are no esoteric facts, but components of a new belief system, usually of the stupidizing and dogmatizing sort.

The level of the esoteric study group determines whether it is esoteric study or not. Its level of consciousness must not be too low. However, not even this is the true criterion determining whether the group is devoted to esoteric study or not. As said, the criterion is in the will aspect alone. That is to say: Does the group, do the members of the group, strive to improve their being, do they try to overcome their weaknesses, to realize their dormant potentials? Is their work in conformity with the overall purpose, with the plan for the evolution of human consciousness?

“Knowledge must become knowledge to the one receiving it.” It is true that knowledge is something in itself, something material, like everything else in existence. This does not necessary imply, however, that it becomes knowledge to the disciple, that it performs the function of knowledge in his consciousness. To him, it will become knowledge only when he understands it as it is intended to be understood.

Knowledge consists in the intended relation between the consciousness of the teachers and the disciples.

You can learn more during half an hour when you are in direct contact with a source of knowledge, no matter under what circumstances this contact is established, than during years of formal study.

You can learn and equip yourself with a potential for knowledge that only later develops into real knowledge.


Reading Esoteric Literature

Anyone who starts studying esoterics on his own is wise in not demanding to comprehend what he reads at once, for this is impossible. The right method is to read the book through several times attentively. Then you will find that you understand more at each new reading, until finally everything has been clarified. You should allow some time to pass after each reading in order to give the subconscious the time to do its work, which facilitates comprehension. 

How many times do you need to read an esoteric book? You need to read it many times over also because you constantly change your state of consciousness, you apprehend what you read differently in different states and only in your highest states apprehends correctly what the text intends to tell you. In other words: a certain statement, a certain paragraph in the text may have a meaning that passes you in usual states. This meaning may be clear to you only at the twentieth reading, and it may be important to the understanding of the whole. Then perhaps you will forget that you had this insight, perhaps you must reconquer it at the thirty-fifth reading. The condition mentioned explains why nobody can say of basic esoteric works: “I have read that book. Now I want to read something else.”

You should also, when reading, ask yourself: “Who is reading now?” which is connected with the insight saying “I am not one, I am many.”



The human individual is so intensely standardized that an outside observer of mankind need not conclude that each individual has its own brain working independently, but rather that people are being governed in huge collectives by a few brains beyond the control of individuals.

This passivity has to be overcome by the prospective esoterician. It is not merely a matter of finding one’s task and doing it, which is a necessity. It is equally important to be active and self-determined in one’s own consciousness in relation to all external impulses, the bad suggestions of public opinion”, its ready-made views on everything and everyone. He is skeptical, as a matter of principle, to all such things of which it is said that everyone knows it”. He has understood this universal, passive, receptive state of consciousness to be a serious hindrance to consciousness development, his own and that of mankind.

This active inner state of the esoterician corresponds to an active outward life. To be ripe for discipleship you must have a sufficient inner drive, so that you are constantly active in suitable work without being pressured by others. People who degenerate into idleness in the pressure-free atmosphere of an esoteric school demonstrate that they do not have a sufficient inner drive and so are unripe for discipleship.



Should not esoterics be popularized? Yes, and it has already been done. The Key to Theosophy by H. P. Blavatsky is a popularization of her magnum opus The Secret Doctrine. The Knowledge of Reality by Henry T. Laurency is a popularization of his book The Philosopher’s Stone, which can in certain respects be regarded as a popularization of A Treatise on Cosmic Fire by Alice A. Bailey. Here popularization is taken in the sense of summary, simplification by exclusion of details that are unessential to the requisite total vision. Here popularization is not taken in the sense of an attempt made at gaining a larger hearing by adapting the presentation to the ruling illusions and fictions, idiologies, etc.

You can popularize something or make it more palatable or acceptable to a larger audience. There is a risk, however, that many a reader will concentrate on such things in the presented material as do not belong to the original thing but only to the popularized externals. And sooner or later you must direct the learner’s attention to the essentials, and then popularization will have to be left aside.

In fact, esoterics cannot appeal to large segments of the present mankind. This is so because esoterics has a negative, eliminating character. People generally want to acquire something, get something, without the need of refraining from, letting go of, anything. They desire encouragement, confirmation, reassurance, rewards. Esoterics goes against this tendency I its entirety. It deprives man of lots of false assurances. It makes a hole in false personality with a view to destroying it. In the beginning, it pulls down much in man, more than it builds up, it will seem. Such a thing cannot become popular, at least not in the current eon, the emotional eon.



Laurency: “Subjectivism in regard to the matter aspect is so ingrained in human thought that it can scarcely be elucidated in too many contexts.” A few such elucidations are made below.

There is a typical subjectivist constant error in how scientists approach phenomena and facts that do not conform to prevailing hypotheses. They assert that superphysical realities, factors, energies, etc. are improbable”. Now probable” only means what you may reasonably expect on the basis of what you already know”. In other words: an explanation or a hypothesis is more probable, the better it conforms to established views. And since they have chosen to remain ignorant of superphysical realities, explanations starting from those realities must always be improbable”. They do not see that their reasoning runs in a circle: We cannot believe anything that is part of what we have already said we cannot believe.” It is like fishing in the lake without having baited your hook, and then proclaim: There is no fish in the lake.”

Those who make comparative studies of religion are astonished that among widely different peoples in all times there are to be found descriptions of a higher reality” that agree on important points.  They have tried to explain this by what they call intercultural influences”. In other words, it is only a matter of echoing and copying in an endless chain from individual to individual, and from people to people. Thus Romanian historian of religions Mircea Eliade explains the sacred number seven”, occurring in all nations, as a borrowing or influence from Babylonia. 

These scholars do not realize that the simplest and most natural explanation is the objective existence of a higher reality, which of course is the same for all, independent of cultural background, and this reality is what mystics have contacted and described in similar terms.

It is remarkable that scholars cannot try this explanation even as a hypothesis. But they have for so long been occupied with mere subjective things, mere opinions without counterparts in reality, that they seem to have quite lost the sense of the existence of an objective reality out there” and in here”, common to us all.

Such hypotheses of borrowings of views between cultures as the only factor tell us more about the scholars themselves than about the cultures they believe they understand.

In an article in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter (9th April, 1981), Tor Ragnar Gerholm declared: Anyone can consult a statistical yearbook to easily convince himself that the world’s assets of non-renewable energy raw materials, metals, and industrial minerals have never been greater than they are now.” In writing this, this physics professor, fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences evidently mixed up two different things: 1) the objectively existing non-renewable natural resources, which of course can never increase but must constantly decrease as mankind extracts them, and 2) mankind’s collective subjective conception of quantities available for extraction such as they are indicated in various publications.

The rejection of the ether hypothesis” by scientists is an instance of subjectivism. At first they formed conceptions of the ether where they assumed it had certain qualities, such as producing an “ether wind”, etc. Later, when in the experiments they made they could not establish those qualities, they concluded that “the ether does not exist”. They did not see that the ether could exist nevertheless, although having other qualities than the assumed ones. Naïvely they started from the assumption that subjective conception equals objective reality.

Axiom: It is possible to formulate hypotheses without number on every unknown, yet-to-be-discovered thing. However many of these hypotheses can be exploded without therefore refuting the existence of this unknown thing.


Desire, Greed, and Curiosity

Virtually all organizations you contact work largely by means of your greed. They attract your interest because what they say or do appeals to your greed. This is concealed only by their appearance. If you stop listening to their words and look at their effect, you will soon see it.

Greed is the cause of loss and of the inability to profit from apparent gain. Insight makes us see the difference. If people had insight into what they really need, they would not mistake desires for needs.

Thinking in consumerist terms of supply and demand has become so ingrained in mankind that it has been transferred unreflectingly to the esoteric field. Therefore, criticism of commercialism and consumerism must be extended to include also the sphere of esoteric studies.

People often assume that they have something valuable and that by giving it away they can get something even more valuable. They also have a tendency to get rid of, not what they should get rid of, but what they want to get rid of. All of this is the basis of commerce, buying and selling, and it fulfils a proper function where it should do so, but it does not do so in the esoteric sphere.

Knowledge, realization, wisdom are the results of processes of consciousness, efforts made by reason. They are not commodities to be bought and sold.

Esoteric study must not be used as a self-therapy for any length of time. Therapeutic needs may be an entrance for some people, but then only in the very beginning. There are several such entrances that can function as such but not much more. There are many such things as may do a certain service at the beginner’s stage, but not at all at intermediate stages, and which are positive hindrances at higher stages.

Esoterics must not be viewed instrumentally, must not be exploited for purposes that are alien to it. Some people have tried to exploit esoteric knowledge for other purposes than the furthering of consciousness development. It is true that pursuing esoteric study you might acquire a greater general ability which can be useful to you in work life, in business life, etc. But if this is the case, it must be a quite unintended side-effect and must not under any circumstances be an essential motive, something intentionally strived for.

In the equipment of the beginner there must be something more than curiosity and the urge of acquisition, which is camouflaged greed. There must be something deeper and also the ability to forgo, the ability to let go of something already acquired. Curiosity and the urge of acquisition are among the most mechanical manifestations in man, have nothing whatever to do with higher consciousness. Curiosity is irresponsible, mechanical thirst for sensations which is found also in animals such as cats, dogs, monkeys, etc. To many people curiosity and the desire to know come first, and spirituality comes next. But the inverse order must prevail. The desire and search for knowledge is, at best, an intentional will to expand one’s consciousness.

In Africa, people catch monkeys by exploiting their curiosity and greed, their inability to let go of things once acquired. They tie a gourd to a tree at the outskirts of the village, and in that gourd they put a fruit. The hole of the gourd is large enough to allow the monkey to put its hand through it, but too small to allow it to take out its hand again, having once seized the fruit. During the night, monkeys are impelled by their curiosity to come close to the village. And in the morning, there is a monkey sitting at the gourd, allowing itself to be caught rather than letting go of the fruit.

If your esoteric study is motivated by greed, then it is more greed than esoterics. If it is conditioned by fear (fear of death, for instance), then it is fear more than esoterics.


Goals and Means

A common error in human thinking is to confuse the instrument and the end. Something that once filled a function for a certain valuable end may not do so any more because conditions have changed. Yet they will go on with the procedures, customs, rites, or whatever, and the understanding of the end they served is long gone.

It may be necessary for the disciple to conform to certain kinds of behaviour, to perform certain actions, in order to learn something. But when this conformism or adaptation of his behaviour becomes the principal thing or the only thing, the teaching has already stopped taking effect. Then instead of learning there is conformism.

Once you know the end, you can devise the means. The end does not justify the means, but provides it.

Some people believe that pursuing the evil path they can reach the good goal, but they cannot. Only pursuing the good path will you be able to reach the good goal.



We are being misled by superficial things, such as what people call themselves or what others call them, what representatives of organizations and activities call them or what other people call them. The United Nations as a peace-making organization is an instance of this. Many well-meaning and humane people loathe the United States’ war of aggression on, and occupation of, Iraq, and had preferred the United Nations to the United States in this role. It is a fact, however, that the UN, through its sanctions, has killed many more Iraqis, babies and infants above all, than the United States. (According to assessments by the UN organ UNICEF about 5000 children of ages 0-5 years died every month as a result of those sanctions, which were in force from 1991 to 2003.) Such a misconception of the UN roots in the very inability to perceive the real being, the real function, the real causes; in the condition of seeing only superficial phrases, names, and labels. We do not live in the atomic age, the space age, or some other such age. We live in the age of phrases. Do not forget that phrases are puffs of hot air coming out of the biggest hole in one’s head. “Words must die if people are to live.”

It is extremely common that a shallow layer of mental consciousness is being worked upon, a layer that is easily conditioned, mechanized, standardized.


Mechanization and Standardization

There are four factors which, when applied upon human beings, programme them like machines. These are the factors which are used by such organizations and individuals as indoctrinate, condition, and standardize people. Innumerable experiments, recent and ancient, have fully verified the presence and effect of these factors. They are: tension alternating with relaxation, sloganization, and constant repetition. How tension alternates with relaxation can be studied in an ordinary Wild West film: the very moment the Indians are chopping through the door of the settlers’ log-cabin with their tomahawks, we hear the bugle sounds of the rescuing cavalry squadron. Or a Lutheran sermon from the times when Christianity was essentially about three things: the dreadfulness of sin, the inevitability of judgement, and the reality of eternal punishment. At first, the horrors of hell-fire are painted in such bright colours that the congregation are almost writhing in the pews in their anxiety for their sins, and then saving grace is presented in such a way that they can breathe a collective sigh of relief that they are comfortably saved unlike the children of perdition out there. The technique is hardly more refined when applied in the fields we are discussing here. Emotionally charged slogans instead of properly defined terms make it impossible to have a clear conception of the subjects being dealt with. Constant repetition mechanizes perception, attenuates or eliminates the potential of understanding and consciousness.


Categories of Students and Workers

On the basis of long experience they divide learners into four categories: “sponges, funnels, strainers, and winnowers”. “Sponges” remember and keep everything without discrimination. “Funnels” keep or remember nothing. “Strainers” let the good wine through, thus forget what is valuable, and retain only the useless lees. The best are the “winnowers”, who keep the grains of knowledge but make the chaff go with the wind.

Likewise, practical workers can be divided into four categories. First the division into intelligent and stupid ones. Each group can be further divided into the diligent and the lazy. The intelligent and lazy will be the best leaders, for they have sense enough to delegate. The intelligent and diligent will be the best organizers. Even the stupid and lazy can be used. The stupid and diligent are just dangerous.


The Disciple’s Attitude to His Teacher

What the student takes as attractive or even the teacher makes appear attractive perhaps is not at all intended to be so. What attracts the student to the teaching or the teacher may be such things as the teacher has put there as an indicator by which he tests the suitability or unsuitability of the disciples.

To those who tend to get irritated about traits of the teacher’s personality, mode of presentation, style, etc., it may be pointed out that it is the task of the teacher to be at the service of those who are able to learn, not to be a nice or pleasant person to those who primarily seek what is nice and pleasant.



Enduring the criticism of others may be part of doing good to them. Think: “Let them have their criticism, what concern is it of mine?” How about improving the quality of criticism, so that it can be more useful? Most so-called criticism is so bad that even undesirable things are not criticised efficiently.

“The evil of another person can be averted; there is no escape from one’s own.”

According to an old observation, criticism has to evolve through three stages. The first stage: It is impossible, fraud, delusion, etc. The second stage: It is possible, true, and right, but it is unimportant. The third stage: It is important, but we knew this all the time. Then criticism can stop.


Criticism of Teachers

Esoteric teachers, appearing in public, are always criticised, blamed, accused of the most terrible things of which contemporary people can conceive, trumpeted as the worst among fools and miscreants. So it has always been, and so it will remain until a leading portion of mankind has reached the higher mental stage.

Some disciples are very upset about such criticism, try to defend the teacher and counter the criticism. This is not only a waste of energy and time, but quite erroneous action. The teacher does not in the least concern himself with those who from injudicious zeal try to defend him against the moralists. On the contrary, it may happen that he pulls his weight, “putting some more wood on the fire”. H.P. Blavatsky was a teacher of that category. Criticism from without is a tool, which such a teacher will use in his work with people. If he is a real teacher, he makes the most of any situation, using it to teach by it. If some of his disciples flee like scared rabbits when criticism is raging, returning crestfallen when it is dead calm again, then they have been put to the test without their knowing it, and thanks to this the teacher knows more about them than he knew before. Eruptions of public criticism against the teacher are like the storms in early autumn. They shake the apple-tree, so that the rotten fruit falls to the ground, while the fresh and good fruit remains in the tree.

Criticism from without never does any harm. Criticism from within, from a disciple, always harms, and the disciple himself most of all. It may be useful only in so far as its demonstrates the disciple’s immaturity, bad judgement, and general lack of civility. Therefore the teacher can use such a disciple as a warning example for some time, before he dismisses him from the teaching.


The Disciple Needs to Study Himself

Knowledge consists in the intended relation between the teacher’s consciousness and the disciples’ consciousness. Where, then, lies the fault, if the disciples do not learn? Does it lie with the teacher, the knowledge, or the disciples?

It appears that the disciple needs to study not just the teaching, but also himself. He needs to see through what it hindering him from learning, discover which changes of his attitudes he needs to make to help himself to learn.


Some Themes for the Study of Oneself

Here follow twenty themes for the study of oneself.

1. Any kind of study may start with the student’s demand for attention. However the study starts, it must not continue in that manner.

2. Study the assumptions behind your actions. Then study the assumptions behind your assumptions.

3. “Why did I do that?” may be a good question to ask. But you could also ask the question, and sometimes it is even more important: “How otherwise could I have done it?”

4. You have come a long way, but you do not know how long. You have a long way to go, but you do not know how long.

5. Compared to some, you have advanced. Compared to others, you have not progressed at all. Neither is truer than the other.

6. If your desire for “good” is based on greed, it is not good, but greed.

7. Exercise power by means of kindness, and you may be causing more damage than you could by strictness. Neither is right in itself.

8. Anyone who knows must discharge a function. Anyone who does not cannot arrogate one to himself; he can only try to do so.

9. Do not try to be humble; learn humility.

10. Assume that you are part-hypocrite and part heedless, and you will not be far wrong.

11. To copy a virtue in another is more copying than it is virtue. Try to learn what that virtue is based upon.

12. No practice exists in isolation.

13. If you seek a teacher, try to become a real student. If you want to be a student, try to find a real teacher.

14. The more often you do a thing, the more likely you are to do it again. There is no certainty that you will gain anything else from repetition than a likelihood of further repetition.

15. At first, you are not worthy of the insignia and external marks of the disciple. Later you do not need them. Finally you may need them for the sake of others.

16. If you cannot laugh frequently and genuinely, you have no “soul”.

17. When a belief becomes more than an instrument, you are lost. You remain lost until you learn what “belief” is really for.

18. When a teacher or senior disciple shows interest in your material welfare, you may be pleased. But it is often because you are not ready for any other help than this.

19. When someone asks for you to help in doing something, you perhaps imagine that it is because he cannot do it without your aid. Perhaps he is a disciple who wants to help you by connecting you with this work.

20. If you are lazy, count yourself lucky if someone points this out, giving you a chance to improve. Laziness is always your own fault. It is the sign that a man has persevered in uselessness for too long.

The above points 1–20 are in fact exercises in outwitting the false personality, which thrives on giving itself small rewards.

The false personality says: “Give me what I desire! The true essence says: Give me what I need!

The false personality places itself between the study and the individuals essence whose growth is the true purpose of the study.


The Teacher is Needed  – There is No Practice Without a Teacher

Some higher faculties and modes of perception may certainly ripen in a person who works alone, but the individual as a harmonious whole cannot ripen alone, because the wanderer does not know in which direction he is to walk. If he starts wandering in this state of ignorance, he cannot know where he is headed. Every step he takes may remove him further from the goal. In the beginning, too, he inevitably is at the mercy of his own weaknesses. Should he succeed in developing certain powers, those weaknesses are intensified as well. In consequence of this, he grows weaker, not stronger. This is true of everyone. The difference, where an accepted disciple is concerned, is that the teacher has undertaken to protect the disciple from certain aspects of the latter’s own weakness.

In old esoteric writings, non-transformed man is likened to an animal possessing faculties it cannot yet rightly use. “The more animal” a man is, the less he understands the role of the teacher. The teacher may appear to him as a hunter who wants to force him into a cage. He makes mechanical, instinctive resistance to the teacher’s attempts at imparting knowledge to him.

You are attracted to a certain teacher principally because of an intuitive perception of spiritual kinship, a perception that generally is not fully conscious. The esoterically ignorant may put forward their explanations invoking so-called rational factors, but they are of secondary importance.


Tasks of the Teacher

Understanding goes from universals to particulars, from the greater to the lesser, from the higher to the lower, from the whole to its parts. The corresponding is true of the teacher’s ability to teach and guide. He is able to, since only the one who has walked the way in its full length can guide another one on it. He alone can survey it all, see it from the beginning to the end and from the end to the beginning.

The teacher has the task of opening up the consciousness of the disciple, so that the latter can be receptive to higher impressions. To become receptive the disciple must see how much of his ordinary thinking is clogged with simplistic patterns and erroneous assumptions. Until he has had these insights, he cannot really understand.  

The teacher has the task of being himself, of radiating his being. Therefore, there is in the teacher no division into a public and a private personality. Such a person as shows one face in the classroom and another face at home cannot be an esoteric teacher. This oneness rules his inner being. His external behaviour may change, but his inner personality is unitary.

The teacher teaches with all his being. To make the disciple see that he has a fault that is hindering him, the teacher may behave as though he had this fault himself. In so doing he applies the old psychological insight that it is easier to see the faults of other people than those of oneself.

Of particular importance is that part of the teacher’s teaching which has the function of setting the disciple free from such beliefs as are part and parcel of his cultural background, the creeds and lies that any human society has established and given its official sanction. Truth cannot be built in a consciousness that in any essential respect is dominated by beliefs and lies. It sometimes may happen, when the teacher tries to set him free from such a belief, that the disciples gets into such a state of shock that he will be unfit for study for a certain time. But that only means that this was a necessary experience for the disciple.

The teacher strives to supply his disciples with a rich and diversified material, which in all its parts is designed for one single purpose: to develop consciousness. One part of this material appears constructive. Another part seems destructive, but that is a superficial view. It would be better to say that it is reconstructive, since the old must be pulled down before the new can be built. Everything in due proportion is a secret skill of the teacher.

Therefore, the teacher performs many tasks, or functions. Being a guide, he leads the way, but the disciple must walk it himself. Being a philosopher, he loves wisdom, which is what the word “philosophy” originally means. However, this love of his means action, not revelling in egoistic emotions. Emancipated from sentimentality, love rather manifests itself as will, not as emotion. It is unifying energy without reference to one’s self.

The teacher is the necessary link between the disciple and the goal. He embodies and symbolizes both the work itself, of which he is a product, and the continuity of the system, the tradition, or the chain of teachers. Just as the officer for all practical purposes symbolizes to the private soldier the government and its aims, so the teacher symbolizes the entire planetary hierarchy.

The old saw, “the craftsman is hidden in his workshop”, means that the teacher is one with the work.

The teacher has the task of provoking experiences that enable the disciple to receive higher impressions, higher knowledge. His task is not only that of conveying information.

The teacher has the task of communicating truth and reality. He has to reduce, not increase, the effect of his own personality, in favour of content. The teacher has not the task of being a psychotherapist. But he is there to give protection and guidance.

The teacher is kind to some people seeking him and strict to others. Those who are the objects of his kindness feel flattered and deem themselves special elects. They should not, however. The real state of affairs is the opposite and is connected with what the teacher can give. To people who cannot learn the teacher can give his kindness only. People who can learn, however, must sometimes be given a more definite, a firmer guidance, and this they may mistake for strictness. 

The teacher tests the suitability of a disciple by finding out whether he can set aside the fixation upon a certain technique, person, or school, and make himself open to receive a comprehensive teaching.


The Personality of the Teacher

It has become such a deeply rooted phenomenon in the present civilization that ordinary man plays various social roles that this has become generally accepted and is not looked upon as a bad thing. From the esoteric point of view, however, it is human immaturity.

The actor who becomes one with his part cannot be an esoteric teacher. The professional man who is carried away by his official role so that he has another personality during office hours cannot be an esoteric teacher. The function of the teacher cannot be performed by anyone who is temporarily obsessed by playing a part.

The esoteric teacher cannot be a world-renowned figure who attracts millions of followers. The degree of awakening he has attained is perceptible only to anyone who is awakened himself. Like a radio receiver man can pick up only what comes within his frequency range. The man who is fascinated and impressed by the personality of the teacher is incapable of using this impression for an expedient purpose. Man in development can only faintly descry the qualities and abilities belonging to the stage above his own. The teacher may even shut off the greater part of his radiation where the disciple is concerned, for the disciple does not need it, cannot use it. The bat is helped by a faint light only; sunlight would blind it.

Thus the teacher must be a unitary person. However, the inner unity of his personality does not correspond to the notions of the spiritual ideal man held by superficial moralism. The calm, immutable personality, the reserved, awe-inspiring type who never displays agitation, cannot be a teacher. For what is static, immutable is the opposite of what is alive and is useless in a life sense. Through exercise an individual may have reached such a condition, but in so doing has actually deprived himself of resources of expression by which he could reach other people. Then he has restricted, not enlarged, his field of activity and area of influence. Just as everything else, qualities and abilities are valuable to the extent that they enable man to achieve something. Nothing is an end in itself. Impassivity can be a tool, but nothing more. And like all tools it is useful only in situations where it is expedient.


The Teacher is Independent of Moral Fictionalism

To demonstrate the uselessness of moralism to his pupils, the teacher may do and say things that shock the pupils, such things as they have been hypnotized to regard as morally reprehensible. In so doing the teacher wants to point out to the pupils that what shocks them is not evil in itself, but their conventional, illusory view of evil. “What upsets people are not things but views on things.”

 Senior disciples may adopt similar patterns of behaviour, but then for other purposes. In this case their aim is to set themselves free from remaining illusions such as the demand for being liked, esteemed, appreciated in society. It is a necessary process to make oneself completely indifferent to and uninfluenced by moral illusionism, and there are many valuable qualities that can be acquired only after this has been done.



It is important to see that esoterics is not mysticism, has nothing to offer to mystics, to those who are occupied with the problems and strivings typical of the stage of the mystic. The prospective esoterician must have the stage of the mystic with its intensive emotionalism, illusionism, and egoistic wallowing in “spiritual feelings” behind him. He shall direct his energies towards becoming a mental self, a person characterized by common sense, objectivity, and expedient activity in accord with the laws of life.

A mystic and quietist appeared before the teacher. Assuming a posture of extreme humility and speaking in a low and deferential voice the man said, his eyes downcast: “I have come here for one thing and one thing only. As a man of God and peace, I beseech you to teach me how I can be totally incapable of being other than gentle and quite unable to use violence.” The teacher looked at him and said: “Has it ever occurred to you that if by any chance you were to become entirely incapable of violence, you would become quite useless. You wouldn’t be able to hit a nail into a wall. You wouldn’t be able to shake mud off your own boots. You would be completely dependent on other people instead of being able, as you should be, to contribute to the welfare of others.”

Certain categories of seekers are repelled by esoterics because, as they say, there is no “love” in it, which means that it does not reek of sentimentality. The emphasis of the idea of  “love” beyond a certain point has the opposite effect. Some of the people who most eagerly talk about how we should love one another are noted for killing each other. If you had not noted that, you will have fallen into the trap of imagining that people act upon what they are talking about.


The Group

Question: It is rather the rule than the exception that esoteric study and work groups are not efficient, that they fail in their task, and disband rather soon. Could something be said about what are the causes of this inefficiency and, conversely, what are the characteristics of efficient esoteric groups?

Answer: Groups are inefficient in so far as they are made up of inefficient people. Such people are not prepared for work above all; they come to the meetings ill-prepared, if they come at all; they allow social needs to gain the upper hand; demand consideration; bring false personality into the group (by “false personality” is meant everything in the individual’s personality that cannot further his consciousness development, only hinder it; negative emotions, for example). Groups that are dominated by such individuals will soon disband, since the serious-minded members leave it.

Conversely, groups are efficient in so far as they are made up of efficient people. Such people puts the work in the centre of attention; view the group activity, including the meetings, as a commitment; make constant efforts from within their being; show each other due, but not too great and misdirected, consideration; leave false personality outside. 

The great peril in a study group is that it decays so as to become a miniature tribe or family, a cult and an outer frame in which people seek and find satisfactions of their social needs, such as company, acceptance, support, attention, appreciation, recognition, rewards, self-assertion, playing social games, etc. in infinitum. To counteract such tendencies, the leader of the group takes measures with the effect of reducing social features and personality factors and emphasizing the work done by the group and without which it would lack a raison d’être.

The work of the group is in many respects an experiment: in esoteric common sense, intuition, and discrimination; in impersonality; in readiness to try and fail; in freedom to choose and reject; in observation and application of techniques.

Only the voluntary merging of individuals and groups motivated by common interest and aim is of value.

People can benefit from group work only to the extent to which they have overcome the four: ingratitude in good fortune, impatience in ill fortune, discontent with their lot, hesitation in serving their fellow men.


Success in Study

Question: Is there any rule-of-thumb way of telling whether oneself or another person is serious in his esoteric study and can be successful in the esoteric way?

Answer: Yes, there is. Serious people are prepared to start at the beginning and go a step at a time, not skipping the “elementary stuff” to pounce on the “advanced things” at once.

The factor most of all favouring this undesirable tendency is vanity. That is why most systems stress humility. It is not a virtue as much as it is a quality the disciple needs in order to be able to learn.

Progress in study comes through capacity to learn, and is irresistible. Nothing can stand as an obstacle between you and knowledge, if you are ripe for it. This also means that anything, even the least essential thing, can stand as an obstacle between you and knowledge, if you are not ripe for it.

Therefore, the teacher makes himself or the knowledge – or both – difficult of access in various ways. In so doing he protects the unworthy and the immature from contacting a knowledge which could only harm them. The worthy and the mature, on the other hand, cannot under any circumstances be repelled but temporarily. Therefore, half-awake junior disciples do the teacher and the teaching a disservice by trying to attract the immature to the teaching or to keep the unwilling by smoothing over unsympathetic aspects of the teacher or teaching, “sugar-coating the bitter pills”, etc.



Discipleship means hard work, pioneering and guiding work. Many aspirants fail, since they fail to make the best they can do, fail to say what should be said, fail to do the work assigned by the circumstances.

There are two levels of human service, a lower and a higher one. On the lower level, man does what he can. On the higher level, he does what the need indicates. Then, of course, there is the level where he does what he derives pleasure from, but that is not service.

People without insight, idealists for example, must constantly work on their own projects because of two traits that true esoteric workers do not have: fixation and ignorance of the real results of their actions.

Fixation always prevails when the man does not use the idea as an instrument, but the idea so to speak uses the man mechanically. We are being played with by our own toys. There are physical, emotional, and mental toys.

You are not a unitary being, you are not one. You are many. One part of you says, I want to learn how to serve, whereas another part says, I can serve now.

“Anyone who knows must discharge a function.” Therefore, if you do not discharge a function, it means that you do not know.

“He is our disciple who does our work.”



When esoteric teachers speak about secrets, hidden places, etc., this may be for reasons quite different from what many students expect. It may be a method to disclose superficial “seekers”, who are strongly influenced by secrecy and are on the lookout for whatever stimulates their curiosity. This is analogous to the army sergeant’s trick when he says to a group of new recruits: “Those of you who have got a higher education and so are unsuited to manual work, raise your hands!” and when hands come up says: “You are the ones who need the most training in manual work.” Playing on the disciples’ attraction to sensations can be a method of making them see how superficial are their attitudes, modes, and reactions; make them see that they are equipped with emotional buttons, as it were, that can be pressed to provoke certain reactions in them. If it is the disciple’s business to reach a more complete self-knowledge, then it is the teacher’s business to put him into situations where he can study himself.

What is said to be secret can also have an energizing effect on those who take a correct attitude to it. For such individuals “secret” means the discovery or winning of something particularly valuable.

Secrecy is often confused with privacy. For instance, a meeting or an organization need to be private to enable participants to concentrate on their work without being unnecessarily disturbed by outsiders.

The term “secret” also denotes the “inmost secret”, the superconscious. The same applies to “mysteries”. Traditional esoteric terms seldom have only one meaning.

Secrecy can also be a protection of what is valuable. In this world of our everything valuable is threatened, also spiritual things.


“Miracles”, “Paranormal Powers”

There is an ascending scale of what some people call miracles and others call paranormal powers:

The first stage is that at which the individual hears of miracles and blindly believes in them.

The second state is that at which he does not experience them, hears of them, but does not believe in them.

The third stage is that at which he experiences them, but still does not believe in them.

The fourth stage is that at which he can perform them and also does so. Then he has left belief and unbelief behind him.

The fifth stage is that at which he can perform them, but may refuse to do so.

The sixth and final stage is that at which he no longer wants to perform them or refrain from doing so. Then they may or may not happen.


Rules and Exhortations

Rules and exhortations given by the teacher to his disciples are seldom universally valid, but usually intended for that particular disciple or group of disciples at a certain time in a certain connection. It occurs that such rules and exhortations have been handed down to posterity and been conceived of as valid for all in all circumstances. Many rules earlier given are not valid any longer, since people’s consciousness has changed. Many of the sayings attributed to Jesus in the Gospels are such special rules. They are often taken literally and as universally valid. Instead these three conditions should be heeded: the right time, the right place, the right group of people.


Funny Stories Used in Teaching

In the East, they have always taught people by means of such things as Westerners perceive as funny stories only. They can do so, because in the East fairly many people are aware that such stories do not have a mere entertainment value. With the Western attitude – seeking only for the “funny side” of such stories, to laugh at it – you forgo the understanding you could have had. Our example of such a “teaching story” is Nasruddin and the Parrot. The story goes as follows: Nasruddin went to the market place. There was a man there who wanted to sell a parrot for 500 dinars. Nasruddin became upset. “A scandalous price for a bird,” he exclaimed, never having seen a parrot before. “But this is not an ordinary bird,” the man retorted. “It is a parrot, and it can talk.” Nasruddin was silent and returned home. A short while later he appeared again at the market place, bringing one of his turkeys for sale. He also brought a sign indicating the price, which was 1000 dinars. Now the parrot-seller was indignant: “My bird can at least talk!” he shouted at Nasruddin. The latter answered. “Admitted that your bird talks. But mine thinks.”

This story has at least three teaching points.


Higher Kinds of Thinking

A higher kind of thinking is characterized, among other things, by combining “contradictions” into a higher unity, or, put more exactly: the contradictions which the lower thinking believed it found were seen as mere apparent by the higher thinking.

One example: esoterics teaches us that we should forget ourselves and remember ourselves. To a lower kind of thinking this implies an insoluble contradiction, until the insight will dawn that the “self” spoken of is not one and the same: mechanical consciousness functions (“I am angry”, “I am sad”, “I am upset”) and the self-consciousness of the permanent self.

Another example: esoterics rejects the common belief in god – the belief in the angry, vengeful, and jealous god of the Old Testament – and therefore ignorant critics call esoterics atheist. Instead, esoterics teaches that every living creature is divine, potentially or actually, and so it is really more theistic than the ordinary belief in god.

A third example: we are enjoined to help spreading esoterics, and at the same time we are given various warnings and dissuasions invoking the immaturity of people, the risk of abuse and distortion. Both standpoints are simultaneously right and afford each other a limited applicability: Spread, but discriminately! Hold back, but discriminately! In this case discrimination holds the key to the paradox.

A fourth example, also concerning the spread of esoterics: It is said that every disciple who has reached beyond the beginner’s stage must help in the work of spreading the knowledge. At the same time it is said that very few people are ripe for receiving the knowledge. The contradiction that some people believe they find in these two statements is dissolved applying the following insight: It is indeed true that the knowledge cannot be the possession of everybody, cannot even be the possession of many. But we must make every effort to give it to as many people as possible. The spread of esoteric ideas is limited by the nature of the ideas themselves and by people’s inertia and inability to understand these ideas. But it must not be limited by our inertia.

We should try to raise our thinking from the level where it automatically views things in terms of 0 or 100 per cent, black or white, identity or non-identity, to that higher level where thinking observes relations. A typical question of the level of thinking in identity and non-identity: “Is the consciousness of the heart centre the same as essential (46) consciousness?” The answer might be: “All centres in man’s envelopes of incarnation have in themselves only mechanical consciousness, not self-consciousness. Essential consciousness is constant self-consciousness with simultaneous group consciousness. Thus the consciousness of the heart centre is not the same as essential consciousness. When the monad has once acquired essential consciousness, however, this will find expression through the heart centre. Therefore, there is a definite relation between the heart centre and essential consciousness. But note this: relation, not identity.”

In esoterics there is much talk about the importance of being flexible in one’s thinking, of reaching higher levels of thinking, etc. Even merely thinking the thought that there are more flexible ways of thinking, that there are kinds of thinking that are qualitatively higher, makes it easier to acquire this higher kind of thinking.



What was yesterday a ruling dogma is today an exploded error. This truth is understood by most people. But why do they not conclude from it that what is today a ruling dogma will tomorrow be an exploded error? They do not conclude this because they do not think in a perspectivist way.

One of the particular methods used by perspective thinking is the active work at the multi-valuedness of words, thus the fact that “one and the same word” has many meanings. One example is such work at the word “money” expressing at least four different concepts.

Consider the following statements: 1) “I want this money paid into my account.” 2) “I always have money on me when going out.” 3) “A surplus of money causes inflation.” 4) “Money is the root of all evil.”

Does the word “money” mean the same in the four statements? In examples 1–3, there is reference to money on three increasingly higher levels of abstraction: Money1 is a definite, concrete cash amount in a certain concrete situation (a definite time and place, etc.). Money2 is an indefinite cash amount in a recurrent typical situation. Money3 is all money used in society, cash, credits, debts, etc. In its turn, money3 is multi-valued, for it is uncertain whether what is meant is the totality of means of payment, or their purchasing power, or both. Money4 is not money at all in any of the senses 1–3, but is a metaphor of the desire for everything that money can buy.

Even reflection on the idea of the existence of several successive higher kinds of thinking is a factor working for the activation of those still passive, higher kinds of thinking.


To Overcome Thinking in Opposites

Two-valued thinking views everything in terms of contradictory, absolute, opposites: non-identity – identity. Multi-valued thinking applies the gamut: contradictory opposite – contrary opposite – complementarity – unity – identity. Contrary opposites are such opposites as appear absolute on a small scale, but enter (are subsumed) into a common concept on a larger scale (have a common ground): for example, the concepts of white and black are both subsumed into the concept of colour.

Two or more mutually contradictory statements can both or all be right, each one within its sphere of application, but not outside of it. It may be a case of different statements limiting or determining each other, describing different aspects of one and the same thing, describing different functions of one and the same thing, different actors with different functions in one and the same group. Everything must be seen in its context, in its relations with other things, in its relativity. This is the meaning of relative thinking, also called perspective thinking.

Apparently or nominally opposite things may work together. It is a well-known fact that people who later become very close friends need not be such as are attracted to each other or each other’s ideas to begin with. On the contrary, it may be that your opponent will become a closer friend than a person who befriends you at once. The friendship of Goethe and Schiller is an illustration of this.  

 “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, words that are attributed to Jesus of the Gospels, therefore should not be thought of as mere expressive of a noble feeling that makes you a better person, but as an exhortation describing a deeper reality that already exists in the relations between people.

A higher kind of thinking is characterized, among other things, by combining “contradictions” into a higher unity, or, put more exactly: the contradictions which the lower thinking believed it found were seen as mere apparent by the higher thinking.

One example: esoterics teaches us that we should forget ourselves and remember ourselves. To a lower kind of thinking this implies an insoluble contradiction, until the insight will dawn that the “self” spoken of is not one and the same: mechanical consciousness functions (“I am angry”, “I am sad”, “I am upset”) and the self-consciousness of the permanent self.

Another example: esoterics rejects the common belief in god – the belief in the angry, vengeful, and jealous god of the Old Testament – and therefore ignorant critics call esoterics atheist. Instead, esoterics teaches that every living creature is divine, potentially or actually, and so it is really more theistic than the ordinary belief in god.

A third example: we are enjoined to help spreading esoterics, and at the same time we are given various warnings and dissuasions invoking the immaturity of people, the risks of abuse and distortion. Both standpoints are simultaneously right and afford each other a limited applicability: Spread, but discriminately! Hold back, but discriminately! In this case discrimination holds the key to the paradox.

A fourth example, also concerning the spread of esoterics: It is said that every disciple who has reached beyond the beginner’s stage must help in the work of spreading the knowledge. At the same time it is said that very few people are ripe for receiving the knowledge. The contradiction that some people believe they find in these two statements is dissolved applying the following insight: It is indeed true that the knowledge cannot be the possession of everybody, cannot even be the possession of many. But we must make every effort to give it to as many people as possible. The spread of esoteric ideas is limited by the nature of the ideas themselves and by people’s inertia and inability to understand these ideas. But it must not be limited by our inertia.

We should try to raise our thinking from the level where it automatically views things in terms of 0 or 100 per cent, black or white, identity or non-identity, to that higher level where thinking observes relations. A typical question of the level of thinking in identity and non-identity: “Is the consciousness of the heart centre the same as essential (46) consciousness?” The answer might be: “All centres in man’s envelopes of incarnation have in themselves only mechanical consciousness, not self-consciousness. Essential consciousness is constant self-consciousness with simultaneous group consciousness. Thus the consciousness of the heart centre is not the same as essential consciousness. When the monad has once acquired essential consciousness, however, this will find expression through the heart centre. Therefore, there is a definite relation between the heart centre and essential consciousness. But note this: relation, not identity.”

In esoterics there is much talk about the importance of being flexible in one’s thinking, of reaching higher levels of thinking, etc. Even merely thinking the thought that there are more flexible ways of thinking, that there are kinds of thinking that are qualitatively higher, makes it easier to acquire this higher kind of thinking.

Something that is at first seen as being absolutely opposed to something else sometimes is later seen as being the former’s greater or essential context. For instance, representatives of religion are sometimes hostile to esoterics. With time, they will see that what is essential in religions is contained in esoterics. If the Bhagavadgita expresses the heart and essence of Hinduism (which no Hindu will contest), then the esoterician, too, will agree that this book contains many important esoteric truths and on no single point is at variance with esoterics. All esoteric students are exhorted to make a close study of the Bhagavadgita, for there is much to be learnt from it, such as: “To action alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive; neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction.” The Bhagavadgita, II:47 (Prof. Radhakrishnan’s translation).



Reflection is a real penetration of the object. This requires time, quiet, the suppression of superficial associations, energy. This is actually nothing less than “meditation”.

To live reflectingly means to initiate thinking on certain questions oneself, the opposite of being forced to think through circumstances; to draw thinking away from certain things and to bring it closer to other things, to raise the level in the direction of the more general; to draw conclusions about important things one has learnt, not to complain that esoteric teaching is too abstract.

To live reflectingly means, among other things, that you are so prepared in your thought that you will never be surprised at anything. So it will be because you have already contemplated all contingencies. Then you will never take the future for granted. The ancients always said of the future: “God willing.” They were prepared to die at any moment. They had no fear of death, for they knew: “Where I am, death is not; where death is, I am not.” The man who does not often reflect on his own death is already dead. Every day you should live in the awareness that this day could be your last. To live reflectingly is to live constantly with the seriousness of life before your eyes.

By our mechanical, non-reflecting thinking, we constantly make lots of assumptions. Then we base our actions on our assumption that those assumptions are correct, are reality, and we are astonished when reality proves to be quite different. Observe your unconscious assumptions! Then the assumptions behind the assumptions!

Very often we take unchangingness for granted, assuming that conditions are always the same, that things and states will last. The law of change rules everything in our world, however.

Always beneficial exercises include: distinguishing between what you know and what you do not know, things necessary and unnecessary, essential and unessential, what you know and what you do not know, fruitful and fruitless, harmless and harmful, imperishable and perishable.

It is a good rule saying that for every idea you receive from another think one yourself.


Causal Consciousness

Causal consciousness exists, albeit in small doses, also at lower stages, the stage of culture being the lowest. Understanding of esoterics presupposes some causal consciousness. Thus it is not a matter of some “all-or-nothing-condition”, as if all causal consciousness were acquired at the causal stage and there were no causal consciousness at all before that. Thus one should strive to enhance the degree of causal consciousness in one’s everyday life. Causal of course means “being connected with causes”. Anyone who strives to apprehend causes, grounds, and purposes approaches causal consciousness more than the one who does not strive in this manner. One seeks to make clear: How did this view arise? etc.

The most important work for the acquisition of causal consciousness is the effort to be self-conscious as often as possible and to endeavour to activate higher emotional consciousness through meditation on the essential qualities and unselfish service, and to activate higher mental consciousness through one’s study of esoterics and one’s effort to grasp the esoteric teaching as exactly as possible.

For those at lower stages and those walking the slog jog-trot through millions of years towards higher states, the exactness of their views is not very important. That is why they can learn something also through illusions and fictions, those “false gods” without which men cannot live. However, for those who have tired of following along with the large, grey mass, for those choosing the path of rapid evolution, exactness in details is of the utmost importance, and they are particularly keen on eliminating illusions and fictions. And that is the quickest path to causal consciousness.


Insights Necessary to Study

Understanding of the knowledge of reality becomes possible only when the individual has set himself free from his emotional illusions and mental fictions. Also the ways of looking at things that are dominant in mankind constitute insurmountable hindrances, so that the prospective esoterician must set himself free from them. He must not believe anything.

Three conditions of knowledge: the desire to acquire it, the ability to comprehend and understand it, the inability to abuse it.

Knowledge is necessary. But it is practically useless, if its consciousness does not demonstrate its energy aspect as well. Many difficulties arise because we do not use the energy of our knowledge. All consciousness expressions are simultaneously energy expressions.

That man will reach the farthest who does not know where he stands or where he goes, since all the speculations of ignorance in that respect are misleading.

If what you are going to study is qualitative and not quantitative, then you must adapt to this quality before you can start learning.

Before starting esoteric studies it is necessary to put aside greed, envy, enmity, and fear.

To learn something, you must be in contact with it, often and many times, perhaps from different perspectives, and you also have to give it the kind of attention and devote to it the energy it demands.

If you really want to learn, do not be surprised if someone tries to teach you. And do not lightly reject the method.

You must strive to be patient both with what you want and what you do not want, for each of them will try you. Exercise both kinds of patience and deserve the human name!

The disciple has assumed the well-balanced position between belief and rejection.

You need to have a certain sense of humour, that is: a sense of proportion. People who are obsessed with their ideas or their idealism have no humour, and that is a way of telling the true from the false. For false they are, those obsessed ones.

A man who teaches people about the superphysical should teach only about things which he considers true, things which he has experienced or realized to be in agreement with the basic ideas of the knowledge system and do not war against the facts of reality.

You must not assume that something is impossible to know or ascertain because you cannot know or ascertain it. Need a saint be more or other than what people consider to be a saint? It is not more absurd to assume that something may be ascertained than to assume that it cannot be ascertained. There may be individuals possessing quite different faculties of ascertaining than those you possess yourself.

A hero is an individual who exerts himself at whatever cost for the sake of values which are recognized by his community as vital. A saint, on the other hand, is an individual who exerts himself at whatever cost for the sake of what must be done, whether his community agrees or not. His source of knowledge about this necessity is factual, not a socially correct assumption. Learning how to learn also implies examining such assumptions as to their content of reality.

People are occupied with things which they like, things to which they are attracted and attached, whether in a negative or positive sense. This fact is obscured by the ruling moral illusionism.

Realizing the teaching means acting and being as anyone does who has realized that the teaching is real.

You study esoterics so that you will be able to explain it to those who know less than yourself. In fact, there is much in it that you cannot understand before you have explained it to others.

The disciple learns increasingly how to use his departmental energies instead of being used by them. Instead of being Jupiter, Mars, the Moon, Venus, etc., he uses these and the other energies. For instance, he sees through bad sides of his Moon, such as capriciousness, suspiciousness, melancholia, over-sensitivity, pessimism; uses its good sides instead, such as depth of perception, carefulness, dependability, faithfulness, sense of duty, courage, and staying power. He will succeed in this only as a 46-self (initiate of the fourth degree), but the acquisition is done step by step, and there must be “stages” even in the aspirant.


Three Teaching Points of the Story about Nasruddin and the Parrot

1) One person was indignant because another one showed that he considered thought to be better than speech. Was not the former indignant because his parrot, which might have been able to think as well as the turkey, revealed by its very chatter that it did not think, whereas the turkey, through its silence at least had the benefit of the doubt? 2) Even a bird can talk, but can it think merely because of that? What, then, makes me assume that I think merely because I talk? 3) Why do I assume that a bird cannot think merely because I cannot ascertain it? Are there other faculties and qualities that may exist without my (or my equals’) being able to ascertain them?


Posted on the Internet on December 7, 2010.