THE ART OF DEVOTION TO SELF KNOWLEDGE

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY

To discover the detailed content of ancient philosophy is not made easy for us, due to the fact that writing these things down was not the normal method of transmission.  It is recorded in ancient scriptures, now to be found in the Indian sub-continent, that the laws governing the moral and psychological conditions in which man exists are not within his control. They are controlled by a system of cosmic influences recurring in cycles of many thousands of years duration.  Hence man finds that he is living within an age which may have predominant conditions, which he can do nothing about but learn to live and progress within the parameters of that age.

The details have come down to us from a previous age that around 5,000 years ago human life on earth entered a new age, one of mental and moral darkness.  The general rule for this age is that all human affairs would tend to run downwards towards more chaos and destruction, unless constant effort is made to maintain better conditions and remove the corrupt and ignorant practices. How true this appears to be from the history of mankind which we know of the last few thousand years.

At the time when the change in the age was occurring it is reported that a Divine Incarnation appeared on this earth to leave behind a teaching which would assist our efforts for survival and spiritual progress in this dark age. The teaching has been embodied in the scripture called the Bhagavad Gita, but nobody really knows when it was first written down.  It may have been kept as an oral tradition for many centuries before it was put into the current form.  The Divine Incarnation was given the name Lord Shri Krishna.  His life and his exploits are also recorded in other ancient works to be found in the Indian sub-continent.  Especially worthy of note is the nature of the pure love which he shared with the Gopis of Vrindavan.  In the account given the Gopis lost their sense of individuality in that divine love.

The essence of the knowledge contained in the Bhagavad Gita corroborates and compliments other scriptures which may be even older, called the Upanishads.  These may also have gone through a period of many centuries transmitted only by oral tradition.  Although they are difficult to understand it is clear that the essence of these scriptures has passed, in time, to areas where Pythagoras traveled to gain the wisdom which made him such a special person.  It is this system of philosophical approach to human life which was the guiding light for the Pythagorean Sufis.  Thereby the ancient philosophy has come into Europe in the present century in a form which we can make practical use of in our endeavours.