The Gnostic Association
-- City of New York
What is Gnosis?
Through dictionaries we can affirm today that the word “Gnosis” is Greek and that in a general sense simply means “knowledge.” But in the most profound sense it has meant in many eras of humanity, the resurgence of a current linked to the explanation of the physical and metaphysical phenomena of man. "Gnosis" is a Greek term that refers to the experience of a very special kind of knowledge that is acquired by means of conscious intuitional insight: Wisdom. This wisdom should not be confused with intellectual erudition nor with the ability to perform lengthy memorization and repetition. This conscious intuitional insight is developed as a result of conscious introspection through the self-observation of all internal psychological processes (e.g., emotions, thoughts) as well as all external physiological reactions to sensorial stimuli, within the framework of simultaneous remembrance of the Being. This is the cornerstone of the inner psychological states of the world's greatest geniuses, such as Michaelangelo, Beethoven, Wagner, Mozart, Dante Alighieri, Leonardo Da Vinci, Homer, as well as the world's greatest renown prophets, such as Yeshua Ben Pandira the Christ (Jesus Christ), Muhammad, Moses, Ketzalkoatl, Fuji, Krishna, Kukulkahn, Padmasambhava, Siddartha Gautama Sakiamuni the Buddha, and many others.
Unfortunately, we come across with a shortcoming: as words cannot describe this kind of wisdom, we cannot therefore give you here a definition for Gnosis. Trying to define "Gnosis", as well as "Conscience", would be like attempting to empty all oceans of the planet into a four-ounce cup. We can, however invite you to give yourself a chance to experience Gnosis and all its applications in the diverse fields of human activity (e.g., science, philosophy/psychology, art, mysticism), as words can at least suggest us a series of steps and/or procedures for us to experience Gnosis as it truly is.
In a more descriptive manner, Theodotus identified Gnosis with the liberating knowledge of a series of matters: “What were we, what have we become, where were we, where have we been cast, where are we going, from what we liberate ourselves, what is birth, what is rebirth,” (excerpt from Theodotus). As an answer to these mysteries of existence, doctrinal development arises: man substantially tends towards union with the Absolute, the authentic and perfect, although ineffable; now then, due to specific destiny, man resides in exile in an imperfect world that imprisons and troubles him. The only path to liberation is knowledge of himself and the recognition of his separation from an ineffable and divine consciousness.
The fall of degenerated man in the foundation of the Theology of all ancient nations. Plato also bore witness in this manner, that such was the doctrine of the Orphics, which he taught. According to Philolaos, the Pythagorean (5th century BC), ancient philosophers said that psychic material, the human essence, was imprisoned within the “I” as in a tomb, as punishment for some error.
Gnosticism is in itself a verbal or grammatical structure which encompasses the idea of doctrinal systems of East and West that intend to return to consciousness, conditioned by animal Ego, its original state of infinity and universality. “One who attains knowing in this manner knows where he has come from and where he is going. HE knows like the drunk, who has regained awareness, that he has recovered what is proper to him,” (Gospel of Truth).
Basically, Gnostic studies begin with a correct relationship with oneself, in other words, with consciousness, its cosmic origin, its fall into the world of forms which is governed by fatality and the law of birth and death; the necessity that consciousness be awakened by its superior counterpart, in order to be able to reintegrate himself to his primitive state.
If it is true that we should take into consideration in any Gnostic system its Hellenistic oriental elements, including those of Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, India, Palestine, Egypt, etc., we should never ignore the Gnostic principles perceptible in the sublime religious worships of the Nahuatl, Toltec, Aztec, Zapotec, Maya, Chibcha, Inca, Quechua and other cultures Indoamérica, as well as those of the Far Eastern regions of China, Japan and Tibet.
The basic principles of the great universal wisdom are always identical. Both the Buddha, like Hermes Thrismegistus, Ketzalcoatl or Jesus of Nazareth, and other great Men (e.g., Krishna, Moses, Mohammed, Fuji, etc.), delivered a message and each of these messages from Above, in themselves, contain identical principles of a completely impersonal and universal type.
Gnosis, the initiatic science, the science of cosmic knowledge, is the synthesis of all doctrines; that is why the variants of its name are many, existing in each language.
The Greek word Gnosis, is but the Latin “Jina” rendered into English, its true writing (doctrine) is derived from the Pharsi and Arabic; originally it was not “Jina” but “Djin” or “Djinn,” and this is how we find it used by many authors.
Jan, Chhan, or Kan, Dan, Dzan, D’jan, Jain, Jian, Ioan, Kwan, Swan, Thanos, Thoan, Choan, all equivalents of Jana, Yana, Gnana, Gnosis, Knowledge.
But not everything is authentic Gnostic knowledge. In this manner we have doctrines that externally present characteristics that can be identified with Gnostic systems, but that essentially are not a Gnostic system. “Thought that is not, and is, Gnostic” is known as “Pre-Gnostic.”
“Proto-Gnostic,” is every Gnostic system in an incipient and germinal state, movements directed by an attitude that is very similar to that which characterizes the defined Gnostic currents.
The adjective “Gnostic” can be, and even should be intelligently applied both to conceptions that in one form or another relate to Gnosis as well as to Gnosticism.
The term “Gnostizant,” is very close to pre-gnostic due to its meaning, since the word really is strictly related to intrinsic aspects that possess a certain similarity with Universal Gnosticism, but integrated in a current that is not defined as Gnosis.
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