“Only within his own soul can a man find the means to unseal the lips of an initiate. He must develop within himself certain facilities to a definite degree, and then the highest treasures of the spirit can become his own.
“He must begin with a certain fundamental attitude of soul. In spiritual science this fundamental attitude is called the path of veneration, of devotion to truth and knowledge. Without this attitude no one can become a student. … There are children who look up with religious awe to those whom they venerate. … From the ranks of such children are recruited many students of higher knowledge. … It is a blessing for every human being in process of development to have such feelings upon which to build. Only it must not be thought that this disposition leads to submissiveness and slavery. What was once a childlike veneration for persons becomes, later, a veneration for truth and knowledge.” ~Rudolf Steiner
It is unfortunate that many people think spirituality, as with some religious cults and churches, is all about worshiping individuals. Mr. Steiner explains that, while this may be true of children (and childish, or lazy adults), t is not true of the real seeker, the person seeking a higher life, a higher world. To that person, it is not about worship, but about gaining knowledge, wisdom, and truth. And true knowledge (Gnosis), wisdom and truth can come only from awakening your spiritual faculties and using them regularly until you reach a high state of enlightenment, a state where you don’t have to look up things in books, or debate them with intellectuals, he simply knows what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what is lies, distortions, or half-truths.
The important thing found in this quote is that we must get away from the primitive idea of worshiping enlightened individuals, including even the greatest prophets and messiahs such as Jesus and Buddha, and instead do as they taught us to. I admit that I haven’t read everything Buddha said, but I have read all the recorded sayings of Jesus, and at no point did he ever tell his followers to worship Him, and I’m sure the same is true of Buddha, Zoroaster, Quetzalcoatl and all the others. Jesus said that we should follow Him and do the things that He did. That is not at all asking to be worshiped. While we certainly should admire such advanced beings, worshiping them is concentrating on the material when we should be looking to the spiritual.
Another part of this quote is that the enlightened person knows truth. No matter how many times a lie is repeated by politicians, priests or the news reporters, he is not fooled. You can tell him a lie a thousand times, and he still doesn’t believe it because he has access to true knowledge. I have noticed in the media lately that there are stories expressing the idea that we are being exposed to way too much knowledge in the information age and it is overwhelming us. We can’t digest it all. First, I think it is more accurate to say we are being inundated with “data”, not “knowledge”. I don’t think it should be considered knowledge when we have no way of knowing if it is true or just someone’s fantasies. And many agree that we know have a generations that is highly ignorant because they pay too much attention to data that expresses what they want to hear, rather than gaining knowledge of what is real, and that is especially true regarding the seeking of spiritual knowledge. But with the Sun of Righteousness growing brighter every day, some are being awakened. We can only hope that enough will awaken in time to save the world.