The Path of the Aspirant

…and the Search for Esoteric Knowledge

Maitreya GyantseFinding the Path of Esoteric knowledge is not easy. Many aspirants assume that if they read a book about esoteric knowledge they have found it. Esoteric knowledge is never readily available and is not given out in a simple logical format like a textbook at a university or college. Yet there are a few books that contain hidden esoteric knowledge scattered within their pages.

One technique used is the ‘scatter method’ where esoteric hints are scattered in bits and pieces within the text and it is up to the aspirant to find them and put them together, just like in a jigsaw puzzle, in order to get the entire picture. Sometimes it is right in front of your face, but if you’re not ready to receive the esoteric information, you will pass it by. This is one of the reasons meditation is so important. One has to learn to take time to meditate and think deeply on the more subtle ideas that may be found in some of these special books. It’s not memorization but more osmosis.

Entering the Path

Entering the Path of Esoteric knowledge can be compared to a jet going through the sound barrier. There are barriers and like the sound barrier it is invisible. In this case the barrier is within us. In the “Labours of Hercules”, Hercules had to see through the sweet words of Busiris and then battle Antaeus, the serpent, also rescue Prometheus before he was given Golden Apples of the Hesperides. The golden apples represent esoteric knowledge. Antaeus and Prometheus are symbols of particular types of barriers within us that we must face and overcome before we can enter the Path to Esoteric knowledge.

Before you can recognize what is esoteric knowledge, it’s necessary to first enter the Path of the Aspirant or the Probationary Path. The path of the aspirant can be likened to a wanderer, who wanders from teaching to teaching, listening to different teachers and lecturers taking many courses, experimenting with different techniques of self discovery.

This period of searching can last for one or more lives. One is on probation to see if they have the right stuff, that is, if their inner being, the deeper true self is ready to make the efforts needed to enter in. Then at some point the sincere aspirant is tested. Karma, the great tester, arranges it. Such tests happen naturally and will place the aspirant face to face with certain aspects of one’s life where the attachment is strong where a choice has to be made.

Just as Arjuna faced his own relatives and friends on the battlefield of Kurushetra where he had to chose to battle or not. Arjuna was being guided by Lord Krishna, whereas the probationary aspirant is being watched from afar by one of the teachers on the inner planes patiently watching and waiting to see the outcome. Such tests may have occurred before in a past life, if the student was unsuccessful, it can recur again in another life when conditions are favourable. The teacher (on the inner planes) may wait for many years with great compassion and patience watching for a successful outcome so the aspirant can move forward.


This brings up another important point that determines whether one may find the Path to Esoteric knowledge. It is necessary to have some KARMA with an esoteric school (ashram) or someone who already belongs to such a school. The esoteric school represents the ‘golden chain of Hermes’ or the link of the teachers of the school from the hierophant down to the neophyte. It is this link that is most important from an esoteric stand point. This has to do with what’s called the, ’Divine circulatory flow’. Once the successful neophyte has been accepted into the esoteric school ‘work on oneself’ earnestly begins.

The first goal is the awakening of the “Soul in incarnation” or the “Essence (swarupa),” that aspect of the Soul that lies dormant in all living beings but is stirring in the hearts of all aspirants. It is this ‘Essence’ that drives the aspirant to search out the Way.

The Neophyte

In the esoteric school the neophyte must transform any negative characteristics of the personality so that the ‘Essence’ can be born and stabilized. It is the ‘Essence’ that can use esoteric knowledge, not the personality. This is one of the reasons that esoteric knowledge is kept secret. If the personality were to have access to certain esoteric formulas and used them in a selfish way, then the evolution of that individual’s soul maybe delayed, for lives.

This is a great danger. Thus the responsibility of the teacher is great. That is why it’s necessary to have a teacher who is awakened, a soul infused personality, and knows the dangers and difficulties of the personality. It is the teacher’s responsibility to guide the aspirant through the labyrinth of the human psyche, pointing out the pitfalls, giving the correct disciplines that will help the sincere hard working aspirant to discover and awaken in their ‘Essence’ becoming a conscious awakened disciple.