“The founders of the great cosmogonies did not give mankind these teachings from some vague feeling. They gave them for the good reason that they were initiates. Out of their knowledge dis they shape the moral teachings. They knew how these would act upon the finer nature of man, and desired that their followers should gradually achieve the development of this finer nature. … Self-perfection is by no means self-seeking, for the imperfect man is an imperfect servant of the world and of humanity. The more perfect a man is, the better does he serve the world.
“The founders of the great cosmogonies are therefore the great initiates. Their teaching flow into the souls of men, and thus, with humanity, the whole world moves forward. Quite consciously did they work to further this evolutionary process of humanity.” ~Rudolf Steiner
The Great Cosmogonies
Whether we are talking about the founders of great schools of philosophy like Pythagoras and Plato, or the founders of great religions like Jesus and Buddha, it is clear to those who are real students of spirituality that they were initiates. I don’t know what school, if any, Buddha belonged to, but it is fairly clear now that Jesus was a member of the Essenes. Some of them came here as initiates already, yet studied under existing schools to give legitimacy to their teachings.
But why call these schools cosmogonies? They are cosmogonies because they deal with the true origins of the universe, the dimensions of matter, and the dimensions of spirit. These people didn’t limit themselves to studying only the third dimension as most scientists do, so didn’t come to false conclusions that don’t explain the rest of reality. They are cosmogonies because they delve deeply into the origins of matter, the universe, and man. In so doing, they show us the path to returning to the realm of spirit where death and destruction do not exist.
In all spiritual and mystery schools, there are teachings of morality and ceremony. These were not done by the teachers simply to exert power over others. They were developing those people for a spiritual awakening. They were training their students to be teachers and soldiers of a sort1 in the war against darkness.
So when a spiritual teacher tells her students not to eat a certain food, they should listen. Even though doctors and nutritionists may say it is perfectly healthy, it isn’t. The teacher of cosmogonies is evaluating not only the effect of the food on the body, but also on the mind and spirit.
Likewise, if the spiritual teachers advises against watching violent movies, or playing violent games and sports, listen. He is doing so only because he understands how those things can increase violent behavior. Violent behavior is not desirable in the spiritual student, obviously.
Teaching the Soul
The soul is not taught in the same way as the brain-mind. It is more an awakening of knowledge that is already their, but has been lost. So when esoteric teachers talk about teaching the soul, you can read it as awakening rather than teaching.
In any case, the language of the soul is different from those languages developed to communicate with the brain-mind. The soul understands symbols and geometric shapes. That is why Pythagoras taught his students geometry. While he is often honored today as a teacher of mathematics, his only interest in that field was to use it for awakening and training the spirit and soul.
Other teachers use music, chants and other sounds to help awaken the soul. Sometimes, apparently nonsensical statements found in scripture are worded in a strange way simply because of the sound of saying the words in the language of the original speaker. When translated, they do become nonsense for the sounds are not the same.
Many today do see the pursuit of self-perfection as egotistical. That is because the world of materialism has greatly distorted what it means to become perfect. It isn’t about having bigger muscles than anyone else. It isn’t about having many degrees from state accredited universities. Nor is it about having a bigger pile of money than anyone else. True self-perfection is about turning away from such materialistic activities and working on developing our spiritual faculties. It is the spirit and soul that are perfect, and their development is a good thing.
1 These soldiers use truth and knowledge to fight darkness, not guns and swords.
Illustration: Pythagoras and students in a sunrise ceremony.