The term Gnosis means "knowledge" in Greek. This term refers to the type of knowledge that one has that is based on one's own practical experience. This Gnosis is based on knowledge that comes from the practical experience of its founder and is continued through the practical and direct experience of its teachers and students.
The founder of the Gnostic Movement is Samael Aun Weor, who completely awakened his consciousness. He said,
Do not follow me: I am only a signpost.
Samael and his wife Litelantes both sought only to help suffering humanity, by teaching the complete path to awakening, free of dogma, superstition or theory. The entire teaching is based on and directed by the practical experience of the student. The Buddha's words are carried on here: he said,
Do not believe me: find out the truth of these things for yourself.
This means that there is an emphasis on practice. Only by doing the practices that are taught in the authentic Gnostic tradition will you come to see the truth of the teachings of any religion.
Reading books does not change us in a fundamental way.
Having an intellectual understanding of various theories or schools does not awaken consciousness.
Our interest here is to awaken consciousness, to see for ourselves, directly, personally, exactly what all the great teachers have tried to tell us. We want to understand for ourselves what Jesus taught, what Krishna taught, what the Buddha taught. We do not want to hear another person's explanation, or what this religion says or that religion. There are many opinions but there is only one truth. That is what we want. And Master Samael, through his tradition and through his writings, is seeking to show us in a precise and very scientific way how we can best awaken our own consciousness so we can know for ourselves what the truth is.
There are many schools and books you can find that talk about awakening, and about meditation, astral travel, kabbalah, etc. but it is difficult to find anyone who can tell you how to use it all in a comprehensive and effective way in order to awaken, in order to not waste our time fooling around with all these things. Because really, we do not have such a long life to live that we can learn a little about this and a little about that and really expect that somehow we are going to get somewhere. We need to know what to do. We cannot afford to waste time filling our heads with ideas, with the opinions of others.
Religions are maps. If we want to travel to another continent, then we need a map that shows us in detail how to get there. Unfortunately, however, while there are many popular maps, and many who claim to offer everything one needs, none of the people who have used those maps have been able to return from the distant land and say, "Yes, this is the way." Instead, there are many who believe, yet have no real experience of it. The maps have degenerated with time due to politics, ignorance, greed, pride, fear, etc. So our map (whatever religion we follow or believe in) may get us out to the country, but from there we will be wandering for years without guidance, and we may never get to the place we set out to reach.
Awakening, the path to awaken our consciousness, to become a fully developed being, a fully developed person, is a very exact and very scientific path. Like Master Jesus said,
Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. - Matthew 7:13
One path. Not many paths. The Path of the Razor's edge is a straight path, and there is only one such road. It has been described by many different maps, each with a different style or language, but the path is always the same. Unfortunately for us, however, the available maps have degenerated and can lead us on the wrong roads.
Thankfully, Samael Aun Weor gathered the maps together and showed the way to go. In his teachings he expressed the essential heart of all religions, demonstrating in a practical way, without theory or dogma, that all religions are in fact expressions of the One True Universal Religion. And his teaching is entirely concerned with putting us on the Path. He was not seeking followers or a fan club. He was trying to lead us to a place where the map becomes revealed inside our own heart, where we can receive guidance and instruction internally.
Samael, by investigating the situation humanity is in, and by being an awakened person, was able to describe for us exactly where we are and what we need to do to change. If you are in the middle of the jungle you cannot see the way out. But someone who has already escaped, who is up high and can see everything around, can tell us, can help us. This is exactly the situation here. We are lost in the jungle with a cheap map. The problem is, the map we had before was made by someone who had never been where we are trying to go.
Even if the teaching we study came from a fully enlightened being, over time, all teachings degenerate. It is inevitable, as the knowledge is handled by people who are full of defects, thus the knowledge becomes defective. We are very fortunate to have in this teaching a very pure, very fresh teaching. We have over sixty books written by Samael, as well as thousands of lectures and talks. We have direct disciples who worked under his guidance for many years. These are tremendous things, whose value we are absolutely unable to estimate.
Sometimes, we don't like to hear the truth of our situation. Sometimes it can sound very harsh or exaggerated to us, or very cold. Or we have such faith in ourselves, such pride in our mind, that we believe we already know what we need to know. There is only one way to really know if we are working properly: by examining our lives, our hearts. Questioning ourselves, deeply, honestly:
Are we becoming free from suffering?
Do we have such equanimity that when someone screams at us we do not react with anger?
Are we deeply understanding the psychological problems that afflict us?
Are we deeply understanding the problems that affect others?
Are we becoming more compassionate? More patient?
For most of us, growing in this way is difficult. It is hard to accept suffering, to be kind in response to fury, to be peaceful in response to violence. It is easy to imagine ourselves being that way, but to be that way spontaneously is something else altogether.
We must be clear with ourselves, honest with ourselves. And this is difficult, painful.
If you have a bullet in your heart, the surgery will be unpleasant. Often, to fix the problem is as painful as the wound was in the beginning. But there is no other way to heal. There is no other way to cure ourselves, to become whole again. We have to bear some difficulty, some suffering in order for the disease, the wound, to be eliminated from within us.
Likewise, in order for us to escape from the jungle before we die in it, we must be willing to accept that we are lost, that we are in danger, and we must stop assuming that we know how to get out. We don't. If we knew how to get out we would not be here. If we knew how to get out we would not suffer any more.
We must stop assuming that we know ANYTHING. We must open our hearts and minds, and listen. And then, with maturity and internal silence, we will be told, from inside, what we must do in order to continue onward in our process to achieve the Self-realization of the Being.