The Taboo Against
Gnostic Traditions and Spiritual Masters


It is a curious paradox that the more a religious tradition is oriented around providing its members with actual spiritual experience or gnosis (rather than mere belief, ritual, and scripture), the more the surrounding society has tended to suppress it, throughout the centuries. The reason is not hard to discern. One's association with a belief-based tradition is often rather casual. For example, people marry and give up "their religion" to take on their spouse's, because their religion just doesn't mean that much to them. This is particularly true in contemporary materialistic western culture, where one's actual belief system (as demonstrated by one's actions rather than one's statements) is, in fact, scientific materialism. But a religion that provides actual spiritual experience changes one's sense of reality, and most states throughout history consequently have viewed such religions as a threat, because people with a radically different sense of reality are much harder to control. Thus the belief-based, orthodox sect of early Christianity won out over the gnostic tradition, because the Roman Empire found the former less threatening. The Christian gnostic tradition was forced underground, only re-emerging every now and then in the great Christian mystics.

Many of the new religious movements gain their force from a widespread dissatisfaction with the mainstream religions, which many feel are mostly "spiritually bankrupt" at this point. It is not surprising that many of them emphasize spiritual practice and spiritual experience, since they represent a kind of pendulum swing from the belief-based traditions. But for this very reason, they draw the centuries-old taboo against gnostic or experience-based religious traditions down upon themselves.

Nowhere is that taboo against gnostic traditions in force more than when a genuine Spiritual Master is at the core of a new religious movement, because it is well-understood that such beings have always been the most potent source of the spiritual revelation that enlarges and enriches one's fundamental sense of reality.

Adi Da Samraj   The Illusion of the Separation of Church and State



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