I’ll kick this off with a hypothesis.
Many people imagine that their depth of knowledge is more profound than it is.
What do think? Is this a sound hypothesis?
It seems to me that the phenomenon of instant experts is becoming ever more prevalent and this medium, the internet, has facilitated the pandemic of assumed expertise. Moreover, few check the provenance of their so-called knowledge. If THEY say it then it must be true. However, THEY say a whole bunch of things. We have a global game of Chinese whispers, which gives rise to some strange ideas.
I have been very fortunate in that many people over the years have felt that I needed the benefit of their wisdom. They never checked what I might know, being eager perhaps to soapbox or evangelise. By and large I have not argued the toss nor made an attempt to make them look foolish. I can usually tell if people are disinterested in listening quite quickly and because I am introverted, keeping quiet comes naturally.
Maybe the above hypothesis fits me?
Perhaps I am an arrogant being?
Having been a science academic it is easy to spot those who relied on rote learning or parrot wisdom, when they first tip up. Many want to know the answers and are not at all interested in understanding, they simply want a good degree. They want to know how to pass exams. So, there is a bit of a challenge, how to sneak some learning in under the exam orientation and grade fascination.
When I asked someone who new me in my previous metaphorical incarnation how good his Maths was, he was hesitant to respond because he knew the types of minds I was accustomed to working with. Other people may not suspect what I might have under the hood so to speak.
People place a lot of stock in being clever, brainy and top of the class. Parrot wisdom, “general knowledge” is not very deep. THEY are not the font of all knowledge. Wanting to be seen as clever is a strange thing.
Is clever the same as wise?
Are “facts” the same as knowledge?
What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?
Do you agree that we have a pandemic of assumed expertise?
The question anent initiation is one that is coming more and more before the public. Before many centuries pass the old mysteries will be restored, and an inner body will exist in the Church – the Church of the period, of which the nucleus is already forming – wherein the first initiation will become esoteric, in this sense only, that the taking of the first initiation will, before so very long, be the most sacred ceremony of the Church, performed esoterically as one of the mysteries given at stated periods, attended by those concerned. It will also hold a similar place in the ritual of the Masons. At this ceremony those ready for the first initiation will be publicly admitted to the Lodge by one of its members, authorized to do so by the great Hierophant Himself.
Four Words Defined
When we speak of Initiation, of wisdom, of knowledge, or of the probationary Path, what do we mean? We use the words so glibly, without due consideration of the meaning involved. Take, for instance, the word first mentioned. Many are the definitions, and many are the explanations to be found as to its scope, the preparatory steps, the work to be done between initiations, and its result and effects. One thing before all else is apparent to the most superficial student, and that is, that the magnitude of the subject is such that in order to deal with it adequately one should be able to write from the viewpoint of an initiate; when this is not the case, anything that is said may be reasonable, logical, interesting, or suggestive, but not conclusive.
The word Initiation comes from two Latin words, in, into; and ire, to go; therefore, the making of a beginning, or the entrance into something. It posits, in its widest sense, in the case we are studying, an entrance into the spiritual life, or into a fresh stage in that life. It is the first step, and the succeeding steps, upon the Path of Holiness. Literally, therefore, a man who has taken the first initiation is one who has taken the first step into the spiritual kingdom, having passed out of the definitely human kingdom into the superhuman. Just as he passed out of the animal kingdom into the human at individualization, so he has entered upon the life of the spirit, and for the first time has the right to be called a “spiritual man” in the technical significance of the word. He is entering upon the fifth or final stage in our present fivefold evolution. Having groped his way through the Hall of Ignorance during many ages, and having gone to school in the Hall of Learning, he is now entering into the university, or the Hall of Wisdom. When he has passed through that school he will graduate with his degree as a Master of Compassion.
It might be of benefit to us also if we studied first the difference or the connection between Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom. Though in ordinary parlance they are frequently interchanged, as used technically they are dissimilar.
Knowledge is the product of the Hall of Learning. It might be termed the sumtotal of human discovery and experience, that which can be recognized by the five senses, and be correlated, diagnosed, and defined by the use of the human intellect. It is that about which we feel mental certitude, or that which we can ascertain by the use of experiment. It is the compendium of the arts and sciences. It concerns all that deals with the building and developing of the form side of things. Therefore it concerns the material side of evolution, matter in the solar systems, in the planet, in the three worlds of human evolution, and in the bodies of men.
Wisdom is the product of the Hall of Wisdom. It has to do with the development of the life within the form, with the progress of the spirit through those ever-changing vehicles, and with the expansions of consciousness that succeed each other from life to life. It deals with the life side of evolution. Since it deals with the essence of things and not with the things themselves, it is the intuitive apprehension of truth apart from the reasoning faculty, and the innate perception that can distinguish between the false and the true, between the real and the unreal. It is more than that, for it is also the growing capacity of the Thinker to enter increasingly into the mind of the Logos, to realize the true inwardness of the great pageant of the universe, to vision the objective, and to harmonize more and more with the higher measure. For our present purpose (which is to study somewhat the Path of Holiness and its various stages) it may be described as the realization of the “Kingdom of God within,” and the apprehension of the “Kingdom of God without” in the solar system. Perhaps it might be expressed as the gradual blending of the paths of the mystic and the occultist, – the rearing of the temple of wisdom upon the foundation of knowledge.
Wisdom is the science of the spirit, just as knowledge is the science of matter. Knowledge is separate and objective, whilst wisdom is synthetic and subjective. Knowledge divides; wisdom unites. Knowledge differentiates whilst wisdom blends. What, then, is meant by the understanding?
The understanding may be defined as the faculty of the Thinker in Time to appropriate knowledge as the foundation for wisdom, that which enables him to adapt the things of form to the life of the spirit, and to take the flashes of inspiration that come to him from the Hall of Wisdom and link them to the facts of the Hall of Learning. Perhaps the whole idea might be expressed in this way:
Wisdom concerns the one Self, knowledge deals with the not-self, whilst the understanding is the point of view of the Ego, or Thinker, or his relation between them.
In the Hall of Ignorance the form controls, and the material side of things has the predominance. Man is there polarized in the personality or lower self. In the Hall of Learning the higher self, or Ego, strives to dominate that form until gradually a point of equilibrium is reached where the man is controlled entirely by neither. Later the Ego controls more and more, until in the Hall of Wisdom it dominates in the three lower worlds, and in increasing degree the inherent divinity assumes the mastery.
Initiation, Human and Solar – Chapter II – Initiation Defined
Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul
We might here enumerate the different types of KARMA, even though we have not the time to enlarge upon the subject. A book by itself of vast proportions could not contain all that might be said. We should bear in mind that Karma is imposed upon the ensouling entity through the medium of matter or of substance itself (which is colored by it) and that this matter or substance is intelligent material composed of deva essence.
- Cosmic Karma – Imposed upon the solar Logos from outside of the system.
- Systemic Karma – The working out by the Logos of effects set in motion in previous Kalpas, and which influence His present type of Body.
- Planetary Karma – The individual karma of a Heavenly Man, which is just as different from that of another Heavenly Man, as is the karma of the different members of the human family.
- The Karma of a chain, which is bound up in the life experience of that entity who ensouls a chain, and is a center in the body of a Heavenly Man, in the same sense as a Heavenly Man within His scheme is a center in the body of the solar Logos.
- Globe Karma – The individual destiny of the entity who is a center in the body of the ensouling Life of a chain.
These five existences above enumerated, who are worked upon by karma, are all cosmic and solar Lords of Light, Who achieved intelligence, and passed through the human kingdom many kalpas ago.
- Plane Karma – This is inextricably mixed up with the karma of the planetary Logos and of the Raja-Lord, and is dependent upon the interplay between these two opposite poles, – the masculine and feminine aspect of the Divine Hermaphrodite.
- The Karma of a subplane, or the destiny of certain lesser entities who manifest through these planes.
In these two types of karma, we have what one might term the “Karma of the Hierarchies” as it has been brought about since the manifesting of the solar system. It is the result of the past of this system, and not so much the working out of effects originating in previous solar systems.
The Karma of the kingdoms of nature as we know them on our planet:
- The mineral kingdom.
- The vegetable kingdom.
- The animal kingdom.
This is necessarily the karma of the different lunar Lords who ensoul these kingdoms, and who are working out their purposes through them. We must note that we have touched therefore upon cosmic, solar, and lunar karma. In the latter is hid the great mystery of the Moon, and her place in the planetary scheme.
The Karma of the Human Hierarchy 54, 55, 56 in its seven groups, and of the individual Monads. This in itself is a vast and intricate subject and – during the particular cycle of the Earth globe – can be divided into:
- World karma. (The seven root-races.)
- Racial karma, or the destiny and purpose of each root-race.
- Subrace karma, for each subrace has its own destiny to work out.
- National karma.
- Family karma.
- Individual karma.
All these different types of karma are intermingled and bound up in a manner inconceivable and inextricable to man; even the adepts cannot untangle the mystery beyond that of the groups affiliated with them, while the Chohans of the higher degrees work with the karma of the larger groups (which are the aggregates of the lesser groups).
54 Karma and Reincarnation, the fourth and fifth doctrines of the Wisdom-religion. These two are, in reality, the A, B, C, of the Wisdom-religion. Karma is the sum total of our acts, both in the present life and in the preceding births. It is of three kinds:
“Sanchita karma includes human merits and demerits accumulated in the preceding and in all other previous births. That portion of the Sanchita karma destined to influence human life in one or the present incarnation is called Prarabdha. The third kind of karma is the result of the merits and demerits of the present acts. Agami extends over all your words, thoughts, and acts. What you think, what you speak, what you do, as well as whatever results your thoughts, words, and acts produce on yourself, and on those affected by them, fall under the category of the present karma, which will be sure to sway the balance of your life for good or for evil in your future development.”
– The Theosophist, Vol. X, p. 235.
55 Karma (action) is of three kinds:
Agami: – The bodily actions good and bad – done after the acquisition of the discriminative knowledge. (Vide Shri Sankaracharya’s Tatwa Bodh, question 34).
Sanchita: – The actions formerly done, serving as seeds to grow the countless births; the store of former actions preserved. Ibid., question 35).
Prarabdha: – The actions of this body (i.e. birth) which give pleasure or pain in this life alone. (Ibid., question 36.)”
– The Theosophist, Vol. VIII, p. 170.
56 Karma. “It must be remembered that in every action of man the influence of his prior karma constitutes an important element. For the accomplishment of every action, says, Shri Krishna, we need five essentials:
- The actor.
- The determined will.
- Implements for committing the act, such as hands, tongue, etc.
- The exercise of these implements.
- The influence of antecedent conduct.
The work which a man does with his body, speech or mind, whether it be just or unjust, has these five essentials or factors engaged in the performance. (Gita, XVIII, 13, 14, 15.)
These five essentials of karma are divided into 2 groups in the Mahabharata:
- man’s present action (including the first four essentials) and,
- the result of his past action (which forms the fifth essential).
“At the same time it must be remarked that the result of human existence is not the work of a day or even a cycle. It is the aggregate sum of actions committed during innumerable previous existences. Each action may in itself be as slight as can be conceived, like the minutest filaments of cotton, – such that hundreds of them may be blown away by a single breath; and yet, as similar filaments when closely packed and twisted together form a rope, so heavy and strong that it can be used to pull elephants and even huge ships with, so the articles of man’s karma, however trivial each of them may be in itself, would yet by the natural process of accretion, combine themselves closely and form a formidable Pasa (rope) to pull the man with, i.e. to influence his conduct for good or evil.”
– The Theosophist, Vol. VII, p. 60.
A Treatise on Cosmic Fire – Section Two – Div. B – Manas as a Cosmic, Systemic and Human Factor
Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul
Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths.
For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.
If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water’s edge.
The water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark. The small truth has words which are clear; the great truth has great silence.
You must be a lotus, unfolding its petals when the sun rises in the sky, unaffected by the slush where it is born or even the water which sustains it!
Water is the driving force of all nature.
Leonardo da Vinci
The man who never alters his opinions is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.
One can not reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.
I have dreamed in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.
I feel most at home in the water. I disappear. That’s where I belong.
Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything – even mountains, rivers, plants and trees – should be your teacher.
Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.
Being on a boat that’s moving through the water, it’s so clear. Everything falls into place in terms of what’s important and what’s not.
The heart of a human being is no different from the soul of heaven and earth. In your practice always keep in your thoughts the interaction of heaven and earth, water and fire, yin and yang.
This land, this water, this air, this planet – this is our legacy to our young.
The fall of dropping water wears away the Stone.
The mill cannot grind with the water that is past.
Daniel D. Palmer
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.
No water, no life. No blue, no green.
In the deadly nightshade of digitalis dreams
the pupils closed so atom tight
n’er to let a single photon pass
to live a life in camera obscura
Where nefarious necrophiliacs line all the tombs
to languish lurid in gloom and shadow
each sepulchre tainted by the ochre fading sheath
which sheds the mamba skin scales
both as autumn leaf and lost leper’s fingers
Blessed with those primordial cataracts
in the labyrinth subterranean tunnels
ever to walk the fateful string in the penumbra
lest the retinas are scarred by even faintest light
By chance the weary Dweller stumbles on
tripping toe-wise onto some carved out stairs
harsh cut deep and in the cavernous wall
a sense of archway, doorway, door
how did he sense the Angel’s spoor?
The umbilicus of the vampire darkness
sucks the belly blood fast from him
the succubus’ pull of the old familiar
whispers warnings close his ear
“Step not beyond your cloying fear!!”
Sweet honey wafts winsome in the wind
borne hummingbird happy on busy wings
where golden dapples the translucent,
faint feathers of a mountain stream trickle
far from the land of morbid doom and her sickle
One more step through that golden gate
and the snap of tripwire seals his fate
a trumpet calls the amphorae of the Gods,
the pilgrim takes a diamond dusting shower
he washes wet in radiance of an infinite hour
Far beyond the spectrum of man’s open eyes
he feels that subtle shine of wisdom wise
soothed and healed and now soothed again
he hangs for aeons in the gap between
for dark he knows and light is as yet, unseen
The Dweller takes yet more a single pace
to earn the crown of olives, for his race
his heart now facets rainbow light delight
and into the utter radiance quiet easy strolls
the magma of white magnificence does him, now enfold
The mellifluous melody of ecstatic shining white
washes the cobwebs and decay of the Lord of night.
He the Dweller is yet a boatman too
he has been both vessel and its crew
between the clashing rocks, the portal
has squeezed him self, a simple mortal
Yet further the now enlivened Soul
he marches onwards to his goal
in the pure and white, white radiant stream
at last he has fulfilled his dreams.
The clear-spring clarity now does him fill
he has gained this by both his act and his will
Bows before the triumphant triangle, golden ore
he waits as the rod strikes a new lightning sight
it sears his being deep into his very abstract core.
He has earned this most rare and Holy rite
the Rod of Power him has total changed
and all his atoms are most re-arranged.
There is The sacred emanation font
where source of stream it can be found
There is not much that needs or wants
for he has sought the simple and the sound
his heart hears what others fail to see
the only block knows he now to ever be
The Dweller was always him
and he had sat on the Threshold for,
… … an endless
… … …eternity.
when wisdom arrives
it is like an old slipper
familiar to the foot
and slightly battered around the edges