What is the Ageless Wisdom?
Ageless wisdom is a term often used interchangeably with "Ancient wisdom", "Mysteries" or "Mystery teachings", "Esotericism" or "Esoteric philosophy", "Gnosis", "Divine Knowledge", and the "secret teachings of the ages". For the philosophically minded, it is sometimes referred to as metaphysics. While it has also been called "Theosophy" by the late Mdme. Helena P. Blavatsky (HPB), a Russian esoteric writer and teacher of the 19th century who reintroduced the Ageless Wisdom into the modern world, there is a recent trend of not using both terms synonymously. "Theosophy" is now used more to describe an approach in presenting the Ageless wisdom within the context of the teachings, methods and objectives of the present-day Theosophical Society (TS) and the strong 'Krishnamurti-ish' school-of-thought flavour that appears to go with it. In contrast, the modern usage of the term "Ageless Wisdom" refers to an approach influenced by post-TS authors and teachers such as Alice A. Bailey (AAB), Helena Roerich, Rudolf Steiner, Max Heindel, Torkom Saraydarian, Lucille Cedercrans, and the more recent Dr. Michael D. Robbins, Mang Mike Nator, and Master Del Pe, among many others, that tend to discard the mysticism, passiveness and the vagueness often associated with traditional theosophy. This new approach focused on the scientific (methodical) and practical value of esotericism and clarified its objectives (with the effect of seemingly redefining it) for students in the modern world. It also now espouses a more definitive paradigm, THAN just a collection or consensus (relative to what a majority wants to believe in) or "menu" of disconnected wisdom from various traditions for mere intellectual speculation common to the old approach. To be effective, the new approach is being presented as a coherent, methodical, and practical paradigm.
The Ageless Wisdom is a comprehensive world-view or spiritual paradigm that was passed down through the ages from remote times, often regarded as esoteric knowledge, encompassing a cosmology of the origin, nature, and evolution of the universe/macrocosm and its relationship to humans or the microcosm; the energies and forces that condition life, matter and world events; and the spiritual-natural laws governing them; and how to use these laws to redeem and spiritualize matter. In simple words and if viewed practically, it tries to provide answers to life's deepest mysteries such as the nature and purpose of life, causes of disease and sufferings, what happens at death and the afterlife, the existence of a supreme intelligence and a divine Plan, etc.. The Ageless Wisdom also provides practical guidance so that we can develop as souls and live as souls in the seven fields of human endeavor. Nobody can get into contact with it without causing powerful changes in one's life -- both in one's attitudes and life intentions.
"Passed down through the ages"
The Ageless Wisdom is not a religion, formulated by only one authority or teacher. In fact, it has existed even before human religions began. And each Teacher or Avatar who founded each of the major religions or spiritual traditions in the past tried to bring down to humanity portions or aspects of this Wisdom that is applicable to the evolutionary needs of their particular era. They came down every age to update these teachings and give out further revelation suited to the prevailing consciousness. But these wisdom teachings are not limited to religious doctrines and ethics alone, as we know it now. As mentioned before, it included cosmology, as well as spiritual principles governing all aspects of human endeavor in the seven fields of life which are: 1. Politics and governance, 2. Education & psychology, 3. Philosophy and communication, 4. the Arts, 5. Science, 6. Religion, 7. Finance and economics.
However, due to cataclysms, political upheavals, and religious persecution during the dark ages, much of the channels through which the ageless wisdom were passed along were destroyed /lost or corrupted or had gone underground (such as ancient manuscripts or mystery schools). Therefore, the Ageless Wisdom teachings that were passed down to us (publicly) through the ages to its present form are the product of reconstruction coming from secondary sources. Some of these sources are as follows:
- Comparative study of philosophical and religious traditions - much like the story of the blind men and an elephant, each of these traditions contain a strand of truth. By stripping them out of their peripheral doctrines and rituals, seekers can synthesize a coherent picture of spiritual realities they originally wished to convey (whole picture of the "elephant");
- Analysis of allegories contained in the world's literatures, myths, artworks, ancient architecture, and music passed down through the ages;
- Passing down of knowledge through oral tradition - these gave rise to the existence of secret or occult societies, esoteric schools, and ashramic discipleship succession in the past. This method prevented persecution during the dark ages, as well as a deterrent against some people from using the knowledge for selfish and manipulative ends;
- Discovery of the laws of nature through basic research on the physical sciences - these discoveries make us aware of the various laws of physics governing matter, which are but a reflection (or concretized forms) of the spiritual laws of the universe. They also confirm many esoteric propositions already long known before. Through science we come to know the 'What' and the 'How' of the physical universe, and while scientists are still presently denying the underlying spiritual causes behind physical phenomena, it is just a matter of time before they eventually confirm them;
- Information gathered through esoteric research and trained higher non-physical senses - This is sometimes used by well-intentioned esoteric writers who do clairvoyant investigation on historical or natural artifacts (like those belonging to antediluvian civilizations or races) or on subjects not yet accessible to scientific instruments to discover truths about them;
- Knowledge provided by those who already graduated into the Fifth kingdom - those who graduated from the fourth kindom (human existence) into the fifth (Soul) are also called Adepts or Masters of Wisdom. They sometimes provide direct information to humanity through incarnation and materialization of a physical form (Avatars), through a messenger or amanuensis (like in the case of ancient prophets and esoteric writers such as HPB and AAB), or through their eventual externalization in the future.
- Direct perception of truth through Soul infusion or Intuition - This is not a secondary source, but through spiritual discipline, this faculty can be developed. Great and transformative ideas, scientific discoveries, ideologies, schools of thought, and revelations of further wisdom/ esoteric knowledge can come through an epiphany or inspired intuitive moments;
It was Mdme Blavatsky who first attempted to synthesize and reconstruct all of the fragments of truth in world scriptures, myths, and other allegoral literatures into a coherent paradigm, which she published in her "The Secret Doctrine". It became the initial basis of what we come to know as the Ageless Wisdom in the modern world. Alice A. Bailey (AAB) provided additional details and much of the practical facets of the wisdom teachings coming directly from those who graduated from the human kingdom. However, they emphasized that these knowledge should only be considered as propositions or hypotheses. These teachings are not presented to people as an infallible revelation or dogma and they are neither offered for blind belief, but as a working hypotheses, so that by living them we can examine, test, and verify its assumptions, and thereby decide for ourselves its value on our lives. More imporant is that the Ageless Wisdom is not owned by anybody or by any groups or religious organizations.
Objectives in Esotericism (or the study of the Ageless wisdom)
It is possible that students and seekers of the old or initial presentation of the Ageless Wisdom thought that it was just being offered for perusal and comparative study in conjunction with other religious traditions, since earlier exponents appear to be hesitant in presenting it as a comprehensive and "stand-alone" paradigm apart from other traditions. However, as further information and deeper teachings were given out to the public beyond the initial phase revealed by HPB, it became apparent that the Ageless wisdom or esotericism is "not in any way of just a mystical and vague nature" for mere intellectual speculation. As AAB pointed out, "It is a science - essentially the science of the soul of all things - and has its own terminology, experiments, deductions and laws."
This new definition automatically gives it practical value. It can no longer be theoretical or merely for intellectual speculation. The seeker/student then, just like any scientific study, can test and verify for him/herself its assumptions. At first, there is a need for a thorough undertanding of its coherent theoretical framework; then its assumptions can be considered as hypotheses, like for example, the existence of inner or subjective realities behind objective forms. The seeker/students should be able to test, contact and experience these realities and bring back the findings and experiences gathered to our objective reality. And as one becomes skillfull, the accumulated knowledge can be utilized practically for the higher good of humanity. This higher good, if directly impressed by one's Soul, might be a small aspect of what is called "The Plan". "The Plan" often mentioned in esoteric literature is but a series of specific evolutionary objectives for the human race for a given period. (This Plan has nothing to do with the so called "NWO" - which is but a twisted version or probably an involutionary counter plan of some qlipothic dark lodge - often mentioned in conspiracy theories).
Alice Bailey and the Tibetan put it in this way, "Esotericism therefore involves a life lived in tune with the inner subjective realities; it is only possible when the student is intelligently polarized and mentally focused; it is only useful when the student can move among these inner realities with skill and understanding. Esotericism, involves also comprehension of the relation between forces and energies and the power to use energy for the strengthening, and then for the creative use of the forces contacted; hence their redemption. Esotericism uses the forces of the third aspect (that of intelligent substance) as recipients of the energies of the two higher aspects and, in so doing, salvages substance. Esotericism is the art of "bringing down to earth" those energies which emanate from the highest sources and there "grounding them" or anchoring them. As illustration: it was an esoteric activity of a worldwide group of students which resulted in the giving out of the teaching anent the New Group of World Servers, [A Treatise on White Magic, pages 398-433; A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Vol. II (Esoteric Psychology), pages 629-751] thereby grounding and fixing in the consciousness of humanity the fact of the existence and work of this basically subjective group; thus the work of that group was focused and their redeeming activity intensified."
an excerpt from "Education in the New Age" by Alice A. Bailey. ( Lucis Publishing Co.)
Other aspects of the new presentation
Central to the teachings of the Ageless Wisdom is the concept of the Great Plan. The univese is not following a haphazard path nor did it come into existence without a purpose. There exists a basic Intelligence behind the universe that maintains order and direction and to which we give the name of God.
Alice A. Bailey, author of 24 books on Esoteric philosophy, worked with a Teacher of the Spiritual Hierarchy of the planet for 30 years (1919-1949) to reveal a newer and more advanced presentation of the Ageless Wisdom to the mass of humanity.
The new presentation was revolutionary (transformative /game-changer) in nature and its focal point was the exposition of the Plan. Some of the highlights are as follows:
- Service to the Plan is the prime responsibility of all spiritually minded people. The Plan is not some vague or dreamy idealism or religious concept but a blueprint of a new economic, social and political order based on love, truth, justice, equity and cooperation. For the first time, students of the ageless wisdom were encouraged to be actively involved in world affairs, study the various problems confronting humanity, and work for its solution. It never wished for people to bury their heads in the sand.
- Removed the concept of authority (which is Piscean in nature) in the path of discipleship. Due to the incoming Aquarian energies and mental polarization of the planet, the new disciples can be self-taught and the only teacher he has to obey is his own Soul.
- Shift in emphasis of spiritual practices of esoteric students from the purely selfish intentions of personal "enlightenment" or "inner peace" or "progress in personal evolution" to that of the planetary perspective of sacrificial service to all of humanity. While Soul infusion is important, it doesn't become the end-goal. It is regarded as a process towards redemption on a planetary scale. The Whole (group consciousness/planetary evolution) is more important than its parts (individual evolution).
- The reapperance of Christ is imminent and only through humanity’s invocative appeal can it work out. Thus the Great Invocation was given out to humanity as a world prayer and invocation to let Light, Love and Power restore the Plan on earth. The reappearance of Christ as used here does not refer to the biblical “armageddon” or “end of the world”, but to the restoration of a Christ consciousness to the planet. If ever the Christ manifests as a person, it will be as a leader or pioneer in an aspect of human existence—be it economics, politics, governance, science, religion or other fields that needs to be liberated from selfishness, greed or materialism.