Confucious (551–479 BC) (Analects, II)
14. The Master said, A gentleman can see a question from all sides without bias. The small man is biased and can see a question from only one side.
15. The Master said, ‘He who learns but does not think, is lost.’ He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
Philo of Alexandria (20bc-50ce)
For the path of life is twofold, one branch leading to vice, the other to virtue, and we must turn away from the one and never abandon the other. (Specialis Legibus 4)
For you will find the house of wisdom a calm and serene haven that will readily welcome you as you enter; and it is wisdon’s name that is celebrated in the oracles by “Bethuel” (Gen. 28.2), which translated means “Daughter of God”; indeed, a true-born and ever-virgin daughter, who has obtained a nature intact and undefiled, both because of her own propriety and the dignity of him that begot her. (De Fuga et Inventione 50).
This is the heavenly nourishment, and it is revealed in the sacred records on the part of the First Cause when he says, “Lo, it is I that am raining upon you bread out of the heaven” (Exod. 16.4); for in truth God distills from on high the ethereal wisdom on minds well endowed and fond of contemplation. (De Fuga et Inventione 138).
Walter Hilton (ca. 1340-45- 1396) The Ladder of Perfection (Bk. 1, Ch. 30)
This is a point of the passion of love, the which by great violence and mastery breaketh down and mortifieth all lusts and likings of any earthly thing, and woundeth the soul with the blessed sword of love, that it makes the body sink, not able to bear it. The touch of love is of so great power that the most vicious or fleshly man living on earth, if he were once strongly touched with this sharp sword, he would be right sober and grave a great while after, and abhor all the lusts and likings of the flesh and all earthly things which before he took most delight in.
Proclus (412–485 C.E.) Platonic Theology, Bk.1, ch. 25
In short, there are three things which replenish divine natures, and which are the sources of plenitude to all the superior genera of beings, viz. goodness, wisdom and beauty. And again, there are three things which collect together the natures that are filled, being secondary indeed to the former, but pervading to all the divine orders, and these are faith, truth, love. But all things are saved through these, and are conjoined to their primary causes; some things indeed, through the amatory mania, others through divine philosophy, and others through theurgic power, which is more excellent than all human wisdom, and which comprehends prophetic good, the purifying powers of perfective good, and in short, all such things as are the effects of divine possession.
“Diligence and care frighten misfortune away; lack of care and diligence invite misfortune… If this is so, who has the right to speak of the wheel of fortune? It goes up, and it goes down. He who rises has only himself to thank, and the same can be said of him who goes down.”
Paracelsus (Selected Writings, Princeton University Press, p. 204)
“I Died as a Mineral”
Translated by A.J. Arberry
I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return.’
‘My heart has become capable of every form; it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,
And a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Ka‘ba and the tables of the Tora and the book of the Koran.
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take, that is my religion and my faith.’
The Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, by Ibn al-Arabi, tr. Reynold A xi, 13-15
‘Do not attach yourself, to any particular creed exclusively, so that you disbelieve in all the rest; otherwise you will lose much good, nay, you will fail to recognize the real truth of the matter. Let your soul be capable of embracing all forms of belief. God, the omnipresent and omnipotent, is not limited by any one creed, for He says, “Wheresoever ye turn, there is the face of Allah” (Kor. ii, 109); and the face of a thing is its reality.’ It is vain to quarrel about religion. ‘Everyone praises what he believes; his god is his own creature, and in praising it he praises himself. Consequently he blames the beliefs of others, which he would not do if he were just, but his dislike is based on ignorance. If he knew Junayd’s saying—”the water takes its colour from the vessel containing it”—he would not interfere with the beliefs of others, but would perceive God in every form and in every belief.’
(Ibn al-Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom 283)
Some timeless reflections by the great Christian theosophist, Jacob Boehme:
150. But the Holy Ghost teacheth in the holy Teachers, and the Spirit of Christ heareth through the Soul, which is the Divine House of the Divine Sound or Voice in the holy Hearer.
151. The holy Man hath his Church in himself, wherein he heareth and teacheth. But Babel hath a Heap of Stones, into which she goeth with her seeming Holiness and real Hypocrisy. There she loveth to be seen in fine Clothes, and maketh a very devout and godly Shew; the Church of Stone is her God, in which she putteth her Confidence.
152. But the holy Man hath his Church about him every where, even in himself; for he always standeth and walketh, sitteth and lyeth down in his Church. He liveth in the true Christian Church; yea, in the Temple of Christ. The Holy Ghost preacheth to him out of every Creature. Whatsoever he looketh upon, he seeth a Preacher of God therein.
153. Here now the Scoffer will say that I despise the Church Of Stone, where the Congregation meeteth; but I say that I do not. For I do but discover the hypocritical Whore of Babylon, which committeth Whoredom with the Church of Stone, and termeth herself a Christian, but is indeed a Strumpet.
154. A true Christian brings his holy Church with him into the Congregation. For the Heart is the true Church, where a Man must practise the Service of God. If I should go a thousand Times to Church, and to the Sacrament every Week, and hear Absolution declared to me every Day, and have not Christ in me, all would be false, an unprofitable Fiction and graven Image in Babel, and no forgiving of Sins.
155. A holy Man doth holy Works from the holy Strength of his Mind. The Work is not the Atonement or Reconciliation, but it is the Building which the true Spirit buildeth in his Substance; it is his Habitation. But the Fiction and Fancy is the Habitation of the false Christian, into which his Soul entereth with Dissimulation. The outward Hearing reacheth but to the outward, and worketh in the outward only; but the inward Hearing goeth into the inward, and worketh in the inward.
(Regeneration or the New Birth (1622), Chapter 6)
162. But a Christian is of no Sect: he can dwell in the Midst of Sects, and appear in their Services, without being attached or bound to any. He hath but one Knowledge, and that is, Christ in him. He seeketh but one Way, which is the Desire always to do and teach that which is right; and he putteth all his knowing and willing into the Life of Christ.
163. He sigheth and wisheth continually that the Will of God might be done in him, and that his Kingdom might be manifested in him. He daily and hourly killeth Sin in the Flesh; for the Seed of the Woman, viz. the inward Man in Christ, continually breaketh the Head of the Serpent, that is, the Power of the Devil, which is in Vanity.
164. His Faith is a Desire after God and Goodness; which he wrappeth up in a sure Hope, trusting to the Words of the Promise, and liveth and dieth therein; though as to the true Man, he never dieth.
165. For Christ saith, Whosoever believeth in me, shall never die, but hath pierced through from Death to Life; and Rivers of living Water shall flow from him, viz. good Doctrine and Works.
166. Therefore I say, that whatsoever fighteth and contendeth about the Letter, is all Babel. The Letters of the Word proceed from, and stand all in, one Root, which is the Spirit of God; as the various Flowers stand all in the Earth and grow about one another. They fight not with each other about their Difference of Colour, Smell, and Taste, but suffer the Earth, the Sun, the Rain, the Wind, the Heat and Cold, to do with them as they please; and yet every one of them groweth in its own peculiar Essence and Property.
167. Even so it is with the Children of God; they have various Gifts and Degrees of Knowledge, yet all from one Spirit. They all rejoice at the great Wonders of God, and give Thanks to the most High in his Wisdom. Why then should they contend about him in whom they live and have their Being, and of whose Substance they themselves are?
(Regeneration or the New Birth (1622), Chapter 7)
The best Acharya (Guru) is the prompter, the awakener, and the bestower of liberation. He points the path, shows the way to meditation practice. He awakens the means to know self through “That thou art, thou art that”. He bestows liberation through the Brahman knowledge, “all is of my form, there is not even a speck beyond me”.—Brahmavidya Upanishad 52-53
The secret knowledge of Yoga
This science should be bestowed on a devoted pupil,
who looks up to his Guru, and is dedicated,
to a householder or Brahmachari,
to a Vanaprasthi or mendicant,
the yogic knowledge gives eternal bliss.
—Brahmavidya Upanishad 46-56