This is a special podcast recording of Manly P. Hall's, "What The Ancient Wisdom Expects Of Its Disciples."
This is a study concerning the mystery schools. A practical guide for those who wish to avoid the many pitfalls that can occur on the path of discipleship. It also shows how enlightenment is earned by personal dedication to a spiritual code of conduct.
Like Hall has done many times in my life, he helped answer many of the questions I have had about the secret mysteries and the path.
Manly P. Hall gives great advice to the student of the Ancient Wisdom with practical advice and insight. Hall explains the basic three grades of the Student, Disciple and Initiate. He suggests that that path is a long and arduous one, fraught with suffering and difficult lessons, where one's hope lies in one's sincere labor and dedication to truth, courage, love and egoless silence.
But the student must always remember that without labor, there is no inspiration, and none can do our work for us but ourselves. The Ancient Wisdom demanded many years of purification and preparation before the adepts were willing to instruct in even the simplest things.
Here are some great quotes from this podcast.
We may say the the Mystery Schools interpret truth along the lines of the familiar, clothing wisdom in symbol and allegory familiar to those who are supposed to receive it.
Each one of these Mystery Schools is invisible and unknown. They can only be found after long searching and repeated disappointment.
The seven schools, each composed of twelve initiates and their disciples surrounding a thirteenth exalted brother, are the God-ordained perpetuators of the Ancient Wisdom as it has come from the dawn of the world when the gods descended from the nebula of the sun and took up their dwelling place on the sacred island at the north polar cap.
The ability of the Mystery Schools to communicate with the invisible worlds is the basis of their power; for all the creative hierarchies dwell in the unseen worlds, and there the disciple must go in order to consult them. The reason for this is that the human race is the only one in our scheme of things that is equipped with both a physical and a mental body. The gods, so-called, have never descended into physical substance. Consequently, having no body composed of dense chemical elements, they are incapable of manifesting here.
In order to communicate with them, man must, therefore, learn to function consciously in his own invisible bodies. When he is capable of doing this, he can communicate with the spiritual beings who dwell in similar superphysical substances. Thus, while religion deals only with fancies, theorems, and beliefs, the initiates of the Ancient Wisdom go straight to the fountainhead of wisdom and, learning the will of the gods, make that will the law of their lives. The initiate does not guess, wonder or soliloquize; he labors with facts for he is one with the truths of Nature.
But man was never left to wander alone in ignorance. When the ties connecting him to the unseen worlds were broken, certain methods were established whereby the will of the gods could be made known. To this end, a certain number of men and women were instructed how to bridge the chasm which then separated the gods from men. The method of establishing this communication was the greatest of all the secrets of ancient occultism.
This secret has been preserved for the race, for at a later time all human beings will be able to communicate directly with the gods once more. During the great interval of ages, this wisdom has been perpetuated in the Mystery Schools, and a few chosen disciples in each generation have been given the sacred privilege of knowing the gods. This wisdom and the power and knowledge they have gained they in turn impart to a few chosen and beloved disciples. Thus the work is carried on.
Gradually a separation took place among the schools of the Mysteries. The zeal of the priests to spread their doctrines in many cases apparently exceeded their intelligence. As a result, many were allowed to enter the temples before they had really prepared themselves for the wisdom they were to receive.
The result was that these untutored minds, slowly gaining positions of authority, became at last incapable of maintaining the institution because they were unable to contact the spiritual powers behind the material enterprise. So the Mystery Schools vanished. The spiritual hierarchy, served through all generations by a limited number of true and devoted followers, withdrew from the world; while the colossal material organizations, having no longer any contact with the divine source, wandered in circles, daily becoming more involved in the rituals and symbols which they had lost the power of interpreting.
In the very early period of human differentiation, man was incapable of self-government, but was ruled by those appointed by Nature to preserve him and unfold him to the point when he would be capable of taking care of himself. We are told that when our solar system began its labors, spirits of wise beings from other solar systems came to us and taught us the ways of wisdom that we might have that birthright of knowledge which God gives to all His creations. It was these minds which are said to have founded the Mystery Schools of the Ancient Wisdom, for this Wisdom was the knowledge of the will of Nature for Her children.
The Masters are ever waiting to entrust their disciples and students who show desire to receive with that wisdom which the world so sadly needs. If the student desires to go forth and teach, he will be given a work to do - that is, if he will honestly, sincerely, and intelligently prepare himself for his labors. The reason why so many false doctrines are being taught is that people who have an idea do not ask themselves, "Is this theory which I have, true? Am I living the sort of a life that would permit me to receive real truth into my soul?
Am I unselfish, open, obedient, humble, and consecrated? Have I developed my mind so that it can think? Have I opened my heart so that it can feel? If I have not, then the thing which I have received is distorted by the glass through which it shines, and all I can give the world is a distorted image, a dishonest representation of truth. Have I actually consecrated my life and all that I am, unselfishly and without reservation, or am I only an intellectual dabbler? Am I a success or a failure in life? Am I surrounded by friends or by enemies of my own making? Am I respected by my community?
Do I allow other people to live their own lives, or am I trying to force my beliefs upon all with whom I come in contact? Have I, or have I not, consciously and beyond all possibility of mental exaggeration, received personal instruction from the inner schools? I and I alone know that. The rest of the world, except the enlightened few, must believe what I say. If I have not received such instructions, am I big enough to admit it and say, with respect to my doctrines, that they are only my own opinions; or am I palming off these opinions as cosmic truths upon no firmer ground than the fact that I believe them?"
There is another class of people who go about discussing the Infinite with ease and fluency who as yet have never acquainted themselves with the finite. A most interesting rule of the Ancient Wisdom is that none of its initiates discuss the Absolute. They explain the hypothesis of First Cause, but state finally that no human being, themselves included, know sufficient concerning it to give an intelligent opinion or definition; and no wise man presumes to discuss that bout which he knows nothing.