To Know, Or Not To Know. That Is The Question!
The unceasing toil of each succeeding day has as its aim and justification this consummation: to make one’s last days sweet and pleasant. But each day also has its evening. If the day is spent in good deeds, then the evening blesses us with deep, invigorating and refreshing sleep, the sleep about which it is said that it is akin to samadhi (oneness with the object of meditation).One has only a short span of life on earth. But even in this short life one can attain divine bliss by wisely and carefully using the time. Two people, in appearance the same, ostensibly of the same mould, grow under the same conditions, but one turns out to be an angel while the other stays on with their animal nature. What’s the reason for this differential development? Habits, behaviour formed out of these habits, and the character into which that behaviour has solidified. People are creatures of character. (From a discourse delivered by Sri Sathya Sai Baba, a divine of India).
Author Lynn Picknett and her co-author, in one of their books, wrote
It is not difficult to understand the appeal of Gnosticism, although it was no easy option—the emphasis being on personal responsibility for one’s own actions—but at the same time the threat to the Church of Rome is obvious. As Hermes Trismegistus supposedly wrote: ‘Oh! What a miracle is Man!’, an exclamation that encapsulates the idea that mankind contains the divine spark. Neither Gnostics nor hermeticists grovelled before their God. Unlike Catholics, they did not think of themselves as lowly and evil creatures who were destined for purgatory, if not hell itself. Recognizing their divine spark automatically bestowed what we today would call ‘self-esteem’ or confidence—the magic ingredient in the process of fulfilling one’s potential. This was the key to the Renaissance as a whole, and the fearlessness it induced can be seen in the sudden opening up of the world through circumnavigation and exploration.
Worse still, as far as the Church was concerned, this notion of individual potential for godhood implied that women were as good as men, at least spiritually. Gnostic women had always had a voice, and even officiated at religious ceremonies: this was one of the major threats that Gnosticism posed to the Catholic Church. Moreover, the idea of mankind’s essentially divine status did not accord with the Christian idea of ‘original sin’—the idea that all men and women are born sinful because of the Fall of Adam and Eve (especially the latter). Because all children are the result of the ‘shameful’ sex act, that idea inextricably linked women and children in a kind of everlasting conspiracy against pure men and a vengeful God.
Gnostics and hermeticists, on the whole, had no truck with ‘original sin’.
To give up all the promptings of desire in the mind is the negative process; to implant ever-present joy therein is the positive aspect. The negative process is to remove all the seedlings of wrong and evil from the mind; the positive process is to grow, in the field thus cleansed, the crop of attachment to God! The plucking of the weeds is the negative stage; the cultivation of the crop you need is the positive stage. (From a discourse delivered by Sri Sathya Sai Baba, a divine of India).