A World of Difference
All throughout the world today, many people insist that religion has not kept in step with modern scientific advances. This feeling is not without some basis in fact. Much of the exoteric religious dogmas and teachings, having been formulated, as they were, during those early days before mankind was able to emerge out of its dark days of ignorance into the Age of Reason, were intended mainly for the masses of people who, during those ancient times, could only understand the very simplest explanations and concepts.
Then, electricity had not yet been discovered; there were no telephones, no radios and no television sets; and at night, people had to light up a torch or keep an open fire. There were no automobiles; most people walked while the more affluent rode on the backs of animals. There were no trains or buses, airplanes or spaceships. Water couldn’t be had by turning a faucet. There was probably a 99% illiteracy rate — reading and writing accessible only to the members of the nobility and the monastic scholars. People believed that the world was flat, that the Sun was God and that the Earth was the center of the Universe. What need was there of providing deeper explanations to people who did not have the capacity to understand.
Today, however, much has changed. And man has come a long way forward. It is only now that the Occult Sciences may be appreciated and understood. The true and deeper explanations to the mysteries of life have always been awaiting discovery by those who seek for them. But first, every seeker must have to understand and transcend the great differences between the Science revered by the materialists of this world and the Esoteric Teachings.
While the material sciences by their definition is confined and limited to the purely Physical or the material aspects of life, the Occult or the Esoteric Teachings which are little known and much less understood encompasses far more. Science, as a general rule, accepts only what the five senses can perceive and those that can be perceived by its puny scientific instruments. All things must be capable of measurement and physical verification before they can be accepted as a fact worthy of consideration.
However, there is so much more to life than what we can see, hear, touch, taste and feel. But then, since science cannot pin these down and stick them in a test tube, these must, for the moment, to science, at least, remain non-existent. We must accept that the physical laws are in full force and effect everywhere in this physical Universe, but, in addition to these laws, there are higher, spiritual laws that also apply and, in fact, take precedence. But the men of science are not aware of nor do they recognize these higher principles, so therefore, their knowledge remains, at best, partial and incomplete. It is mainly for these reasons that their findings and conclusions leave much to be desired.
The student of the Occult Sciences is open to realities apart from the physical and the material. Certain of them are capable of increased perceptions. Through the Development of their inner faculties, they are able to apperceive vibrations which are beyond the range of our physical senses and even of the most sensitive scientific instruments. Where the scientist can only surmise, speculate, deduce or infer, the highly proficient occultist, due to this increased awareness, claims to have the unique advantage of actual perception of the fact. And this knowledge is what he declares to all the world. The Esoteric Teachings embody all such declarations. Even as it is explained that all this knowledge can be drawn from an Akashic Record or that such can be available to everyone through the expansion of his own consciousness and the development of his spiritual faculties, the men of science are more inclined to disagree and deny the existence and possibility of the same.
Human development proceeds from the material to the spiritual. Before one can become open to the latter, one must first be sufficiently conversant with the principles governing physical existence. Such person will have undergone all the necessary experiences that will demonstrate for him the validity of the physical laws. And while he may not have encountered these experiences in his present incarnation, he maintains that he is fully cognizant of the operation of such laws owing to his having undergone all the requisite experiences in his previous lives. But such a preposterous doctrine as reincarnation is, likewise, not acceptable to materialistic, scientific minds. Still, it is strongly hinted that the spiritual person is far more experienced, more highly evolved. And therefore, while the materialists on the lower scale of evolution have yet to undergo their own very necessary experiences in order to obtain the proofs they require, the more spiritually-inclined student of the Occult finds it easier to accept Occult principles without the need for further and more elaborate proofs. To one who is ready, no proof is needed while to one who is not, no proof will suffice.
Almost exclusively through the development of the intellect, science can be mastered. But the higher levels of learning are reserved only for those who have earned the right to have access to them and who have proven that their possession of such will not bring harm, as much to themselves as to others. The mastery of the Occult Sciences, therefore, can only come to one through the development of his spirituality.This is simply one of those things Christ alluded to when he said, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things will be added unto you." And so it is that the principal exponents of the Esoteric Teachings are the prophets, the saints, the seers and sages.
Nevertheless, even the original proponents of Esoteric Teachings are themselves, subject to pitfalls and errors. Their comprehension is limited to the stage of development to which they have arrived. They understand much more than others, but they don’t understand everything completely. And not everything they believe to be true is, in fact, true. They are aware of far greater realities than most of the people in this world, but not all. Clearly, they, too, have their own limitations. No one is perfect but God.
We must, at all times, exercise prudence and caution. We must be aware of the limitations and strengths of these two divergent approaches to the attainment of knowledge. All the allegations and propositions of both camps must have to be analyzed, thoroughly, and put to the test of reason and personal experience. However, both are necessary. Both should complement each other. Both should work together for the common good. Only as we realize these truths can we make substantive advances in our own development.
Published by the Philippine Theosophist