‘That which is not expressed by speech and by which speech is expressed, that alone know as Brahman, not that which people here adore.


–Kena Upanishad



Since the perfection of the All is in the Father, it is necessary for the All to ascend to him. Therefore, if one has knowledge, he gets what belongs to him and draws it to himself. For he who is ignorant, is deficient, and it is a great deficiency, since he lacks that which will make him perfect. Since the perfection of the All is in the Father, it is necessary for the All to ascend to him and for each one to get the things which are his. He registered them first, having prepared them to be given to those who came from him.


–the Gospel of truth



It all comes back, in a sense, to the term “esoteric,” which has been widely misrepresented and misunderstood. The concept is a keystone of Schuon’s thought (and appears in the title of one of his chief stud­ies, Esoterism as Principle and as Way)., Using the symbol of a circle and its center-a formulation that Schuon also employs in his writ­ings-another leading traditionalist author, Martin Lings, has described how esoterism is actually the link between world religions:

My intelligence had never been able to accept the exclu­sivist idea that there is only one valid religion. But now it had learned and most readily accepted the truth that the great religions of the world, all of them equally Heaven-sent in accordance with the various needs of different sectors of humanity, can be graphically represented by points on the circumference of a circle, each point being connected with the center, that is, with God, by a radius. The points stand for the outward aspects of the religions, whereas each radius is the esoteric path which the religion in question offers to those who seek a direct way to God in this life, and who are capable of compliance with the demands of that way of sanctification, demands far more rigorous and exacting than those of the exoteric way of salvation.

The secret (or inner) does not negate or deny the open (or outer), which can at times even be said to surround it, contain it, protect it, albeit perhaps unwittingly. In specifically Islamic terms, the tarigah (Arabic for path or Way) does not replace the shart’ah (the law, the highly developed code of rules and regulations that consti­tutes Islam); both start with the same foundational guidelines. But at the same time, since the esoteric path is one where movement takes place inside the circle, its progress may not always be dis­cernible to those on the circumference.

The secret is furthermore not clandestine out of paranoia or some perverse predilection for elitist exclusivism, but because exposure and publicity always crudely compromise the message being pre­served. As with the meaning of a fairy tale, any attempt to expose the esoteric to the light of rational analysis spoils it forever, robs it of all its magical meaning: truth vanishes in a puff of smoke under such circumstances. Ripping the veil off a hidden or sacred symbol reveals nothing of the inner clarity of the representation in ques­tion, but only the naked hollowness of the vision of the viewer.

The straight path-spoken of as “al-Sirat al-Mustaqfm” in the fati­hah, the all-embracing opening verses of the Qur’an-of true Sufism thus never really strays outside the circumference of the circle; nor does it meander in and out of it. It heads steadily (and usually with great difficulty) toward the center. As with a traditional craftsman, a painter, ,or a pianist, years of training in technique are required before the seeker is allowed the grace of improvisation-usually only when the center is within reach.

This demanding or rigorous path is never easy or comfortable, nor is it egalitarian or democratic, accessible to all. It is an initiatic way, the traditionalists insist, one of direct experience which cannot be spoken of to outsiders, not because the listener “should not” be told about it, but because they would and could not recognize the vocab­ulary, and the very attempt to verbalize it would do far more harm than good for the cause of understanding.

–Merton and Sufism the Untold story Pgs. 198-200


Jesus says:
“Come to know what is in front of you,
and that which is hidden from you will become clear to you.

For there is nothing hidden that will not become manifest.”


–Gospel of Thomas



He who knows both knowledge and ignorance together, crosses death through ignorance and attains immortality through knowledge.

–Isa Upanishad


When my Beloved appears,

With what eye do I see Him?

With His eye, not with mine,

For none sees Him except Himself.

— ibn al-`Arabi