A Prophetic Criticism of “Great” Religions – Up? Beyond the Beginner’s Spiritual Way of Saint Jesus and the Traditions of Mystical Cosmic Ascent via Spirit-Breath



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A Prophetic Criticism of “Great” Religions

The religious awareness and experience of the Western
world is trapped within an archaic structure of myths,
dogmas, and irreducible social conflicts that no longer
serve the true religious and Spiritual process of humankind.
These myths, dogmas, and irreducible social conflicts are,
even now, being forcedly perpetuated by the large-scale
cultural, political, and economic dominance of the religions
of the ancient world.

Human beings themselves cannot awaken to the esoteric
process that fulfills their Spiritual heart-impulse until
the spell of mythological and ego-possessed thinking is
broken. And a unified, whole bodily culture of humankind, in
which East and West will realize a new cultural synthesis,
cannot take place until all the old religions are submitted
to the Principle of Truth Itself—or to the Universal
Principle of Prior Unity and the Inherently egoless
Transcendental Spiritual Principle (or Self-Condition) That
Is Reality Itself. As a matter of urgent necessity (for the
sake of global cooperative order and peace), it must be
universally accepted that every human being, and every
collective human manifestation—and, thus, every
religion—must be always held subordinate and
accountable to the Self-Evident (and Universally
Self-Manifested) Truth That Is Reality Itself.

People tend to think of religion as a benign
influence on individual thought and behavior—and this
is, indeed, the case when the more benign aspects of
religious awareness and experience begin to inform the
thought and behavior of any individual. Yet, in the context
of the larger world of the collective of all of humankind,
religion is only rarely found to be functioning on the basis
of its benign aspects—and, indeed, most
characteristically, the ego-based and even negative aspects
of religion are most apparent in the collective (and
inherently non-sectarian) larger world of
all-of-humankind-together. And, at large, it is certainly
the case that very few individuals become truly creative
personalities, mystics, Saints, or even reliably good men or
women as a result of their religious beliefs and
associations.

Religion is, in general, an exoteric cultic
phenomenon that controls the thought and behavior of
individuals through external and psychologically
manipulative techniques. Thus, the principal religious
phenomenon that is common in the world is not true (or free)
religious awareness and benign behavioral habits on the part
of individuals. The principal phenomenon of religion is all
the separate and separative institutions that contain and
otherwise manipulate broad and massive segments of the human
population.

The primary institution within any religious
tradition is (itself) the religion—insofar as any
religion affects the world at large. And large-scale (or
“great”) institutional religion is—because of
its worldly public status—not primarily a benign power
in the world. One has only to look at the cultural and
political conflicts in the total world of today to see that
the immense institutions of ancient religion have now
become, for the most part, contentious, absolutist, and the
perennial sources of irreducible social conflicts. And
“great” religions characteristically are
“established” (and their power legitimized) by a
nearly indivisible union with the State (or the otherwise
secular national power). And the problem of all of this is
made extreme by the immensity of these “great”
religious institutions, each of which controls even many
millions of people.

The power of the “great” traditional
religious institutions is, for the most part, a worldly
power. That is to say, these institutions are actually
political and broadly social agencies that manipulate the
political, social, and economic motivations of the citizens
of all nations. The only public alternative is control of
the people by exclusively secular political institutions,
which tend to suppress and exclude not only religious
institutions but also every kind of benign religious (and,
otherwise, esoteric) awareness, experience, practice, and
association—and this pattern of enforced secularization
has also begun to spread to many areas of the world that
have, traditionally, been under the powerful influence of
religious institutions.

In the popular media of the present time, small,
non-“establishment” religious groups are often
(with negative and “demonizing” intent) called
“cults”—thus making such groups “fair
game” for hostile and suppressive commentaries.
Nevertheless, any religious (or, otherwise, esoteric) group
(or non-“orthodox” sect, or even “great”
religion) may appropriately be called a “cult”, if
the word “cult” is intended simply to mean a
system and a culture of devotion to a particular subject.
Therefore, all exoteric religions and all esoteric sects (or
cultural entities) are cults—and to use the word
“cult” with bad intentions is nothing but a power
game, whereby “established” cults (and the
agencies, within the larger society, which support the
dominance of the local “established” cults) make
suppressive efforts to subordinate, de-legitimize, and
exclude the non-“established” cults. Indeed, the
fact of the matter is that, in general,
non-“establishment” cults (or minority sects) are,
characteristically, oriented toward the promotion of a more
universal (or de-provincialized, and non-“tribal”,
and not at all “bonded-to-the-State”) form of the
religious (or, otherwise, esoteric) practice of life. Truly,
the worldly domain of the “establishment” of
so-called “great” institutional religions—and
not the small-scale, and, especially, esoteric, domain of
non-“establishment” religions and otherwise sacred
institutions—represents the more direct and practical
threat to human development, and (ultimately) to the
communication of the Truth of Reality Itself.

Why is it that “great” religious
institutions, which seem to be founded on the greater human
and cultural persuasions, ultimately become the primary
basis of social conflict and even personal neurosis? The
reason is that “great” (or popular, and,
necessarily, public-oriented, and even
State-“bonded”) religious institutions are
(because of their orientation) obliged to include (and
identify with, and even to pander to) masses of immature
people who have very little will or capability for the
practical personal and cultural exercise of true religious
or, otherwise, Spiritual (or esoteric) life. As a result,
the institutions of “great” religion develop much
like the institutions of State develop under the same
conditions of universal human immaturity—and, indeed,
because of that likeness, “great” religions (and
even all “establishment” institutions) are,
characteristically, “bonded” to the State in which
they are “established” (and by which their public
power is legitimized). Thus, true religion (or, otherwise,
esotericism in general) characteristically eschews mere
popularism, and all subordination to
“establishment” cults, and all tendencies toward
the non-separation between “religion” and
“State”.

Every popular (or even “great”) religious
institution tends—except during periods of renewal by
living Adept-Realizers—to become more and more
dogmatic, and, eventually, to become irrevocably associated
with fixed ideas that, in one manner or another (and to one
or another degree), deny the very (and, necessarily,
esoteric, recondite, and intensively demanding) Truth
relative to Which all religions (and all mere ideas) are
mere pointers. Likewise, the fixed-mindedness of dogmatic
popular religiosity also tends vigorously (and in a
presumptuous “culturally superior” manner) to deny
the religious authenticity or religious completeness of
people who belong to other religious institutions or
cultures. The conventional (or ego-based, and ordinary, or
merely public-oriented, and, therefore, less than
Truth-oriented) religious institution, like any other mortal
(or inherently threatened) entity in the world, tends to
become more and more centered in itself—and more and
more devoted (more or less exclusively) to its own survival
(and its own public power).

Conventional religious (or even esoteric)
institutions learn how to survive by serving and
manipulating a massive membership that is largely incapable
of true religious (or, otherwise, esoteric) responsibility
in practice. This is done by minimizing the true religious
(or, otherwise, esoteric) demand for literal and personal
conversion of mind and action, and replacing that difficult
demand with the “easier” (less rigorous) and more
secular demand for mere allegiance to systems of myth,
belief, ritual, dogma, and rote practice of ego-supportive
“methods” and ego-reinforcing
“techniques”. Thus, the condition for membership
in most institutions of “great” (or merely
public-oriented and society-bound) religion is allegiance to
fixed ideas and other outward or superficial signs of
belonging to the cult—whereas true religious (or,
otherwise, esoteric) practice is founded on active
conversion of body and mind to the Divine Reality, and on
the acceptance of behavioral disciplines that (at the very
least) make the individual an outwardly benign (or socially
self-restrained) character.

Of course, “great” institutional religions
do recommend various “social morality” attitudes,
but the practice of self-restraint is not made a condition
of membership—except, perhaps, in the case of a few
selected acts that are, often for absurd reasons, taboo.
Furthermore, institutionalized “morality” tends to
be associated with archaic, neurotic, and petty sexual and
social taboos, rather than with the truly human obligations
of ego-transcending love, service, and compassion. Likewise,
most religious institutions today have abandoned the
detailed (and even ancient) religious disciplines associated
with “right life”—including, for example, the
ancient recommendations relative to personal disciplines of
a healthful dietary nature—such as the obligation to
avoid meat or other killed food, impure food, toxic
stimulants, and so forth. And the esoteric and universal
Spiritual teachings that are the only real significance of
religion have been almost totally abandoned and even lost by
the non-esoteric “orthodoxy” of the
“great” religions.

In the conventional affair of popular religion, the
communication of rigorous religious demands (and, also, of
esoteric understanding and practice) is avoided, because
conventional religious institutions are trying to survive
(and, also, to achieve, or, otherwise, maintain, public
power) by acquiring and maintaining massive memberships.
Thus, conventional (or popular, public-oriented) religion is
promoted and sold by hyped appeals to the non-discriminating mind of “Everyman”.

In contrast to conventional popular religion, true
religion is a superior human impulse, founded in
self-understanding and profound psycho-physical conversion
(or change). However, over time, only false and merely
exoteric (or popular, and public-oriented)
“religious” inventions are communicated by
so-called “great” religions. And, at last, not
only is the esoteric Truth and practice of true religion
eliminated as the core of religious instruction, but the
survival pressures of dogmatic popularism make both Truth
and right practice unacceptable. Thus, over time,
“great” religions tend, in fact, to make true
religion secondary to “membership”—and,
likewise, “great” (popular) religions (or cults of
dogmatic belief) tend to become the enemies of authentic
esotericism (or of the experiential “knowledge”
and the “gnosis”, or the tacit
“knowledge-beyond-mind”, that makes both mere
belief and mere ideas obsolete).

This was the situation that confronted Jesus of
Galilee—and it was (and is) the situation confronted by
all prophets of true religion and all Realizers within
esoteric schools and traditions.

Since actual and mature (and both true and right)
religious practice has been generally (or popularly)
replaced by outward adherence to false (or deluding)
exoteric beliefs and merely superficial behavioral
modifications, the true esoteric core of religion has lost
its use within the “great” traditional cults that
exist today. The entire affair of traditional religious
institutions has become (in a sense) dangerous, because such
religious institutions long ago abandoned the practice of
making true religious and esoteric participation a condition
of membership within the “official” domain of
popular religious institutions. If the demand for authentic
(or wholly true and right) participation had, historically,
been continued, the institutions of religion that are now,
as a matter of convention, called “great” would
likely have remained small esoteric communities (if they
survived at all). However, the ancient religious
institutions chose gross survival and worldly power, to the
exclusion of Truth—and, therefore, they adapted to the
world, rather than persist in the demand that the world
change itself.

True religion is a universal and (necessarily)
ego-transcending psycho-physical motivation of human beings.
However, up to the present stage in human history, only
relatively few individuals in any generation have been
willing and able to make the gesture that is true religion
(or, otherwise, true esotericism). In their great numbers,
most people have, up to now, never yet been ready or willing
to adapt to the true (and progressive) practical, moral,
devotional, Spiritual, and Transcendental Wisdom-culture of
right life.

An authentic true religious (or, otherwise, esoteric)
institution must be devoted entirely to both the
communication and the practice of religious (or, otherwise,
esoteric) Truth and the relentless demand for right and
always greater human transformation (and, ultimately,
Perfect Truth-Realization). Historically, only relatively
few people in any generation of humankind have been
interested in accepting that Truth-message!

An authentic true religious (or, otherwise, esoteric)
institution must never subordinate itself or its message to
either the pattern and the demands of egoity itself or to
the stream of daily secular or worldly society. Indeed,
until humankind in general is able to become truly religious
(or, otherwise, Really Awake), true religion (or esotericism
otherwise) must remain largely prophetic in its function.
That is to say, true religion (or esotericism otherwise)
must (even always) accept the role of critic (and, thus, of
the “outsider”) in the (public and popular)
world—and true religion (or esotericism otherwise) must
never become like the world (or function as an
“insider” within the world) in order to become
powerful and “great” in the world.

 

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