The development of human society directly depends on the possibility of preserving and transmitting knowledge accumulated by the previous generations. Without the accumulation of knowledge, there is no progress, and without the transmission of it to others, there is no development of ideas and their practical embodiment. As for what concerns external knowledge, it is all fairly simple. There exist descriptions of various types of laws, formulas and definitions which are now taught in schools and universities. This knowledge relates to the world, and therefore it can be mastered only at the level of the mind, by reading and memorizing. And learning to solve problems, of course. But it is somewhat different with mystical knowledge. It can be said it is precisely the opposite.
The transmission of mystical knowledge at the level of the mind is limited by the fact that it can be rather difficult to express mystical experiences adequately in words, and to perceive adequately even this “down to earth” expression is almost impossible. There is a similarity between the transmission of information about the outer world and about the hidden side of Being, and that consists of the fact that in both cases, a person receives a collection of impressions about what he does not know. But in the first instance, this is information that has a relationship to reality, which is easily tested by experience; in the second, this is already the experience of a mystic, quite unique and describing the laws and manifestations of another reality. In fact, the language of expression of mystical experience most often is so complex that to understand it is sometimes harder than Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Furthermore, many mystics derive their own “formulas” by which people must come to God and acquire experience, and at times they contain radically different recommendations.
The transmission of mystical experience, from which essentially mystical knowledge emerges, in principle is a difficult task. All the more so because the experience itself can have different reasons, so to speak. There are certain “theoretical” revelations that are higher, such as, for example, the illuminations of Ibn Arabi at Mecca. And there is the practical experience of achievements of higher states of being in which it is possible to note stages and describe an entire Way to them, along with keys enabling a person to overcome the mechanicality of his reactions and to awaken himself to the perception of the mystical side of Reality. Furthermore, the experience exists of being in these higher states – at other levels of being possible for a person – and their own methods and their own language are needed for its transmission. Thus, the method and possibility of its transmission will directly depend on the way in which the experience was gained. Revelations can be transmitted only through expression of what generally can be formulated in words, and although some specific recommendations can be found in them, for example, how to pray and live in general, this is rare. Most often, they contain some general descriptions of Reality and different levels of Creation, in particular, the level of the existence of God. Or, as He is called in more modern writings, the level of the Absolute, or perhaps even the Source of everything. The language of revelations is usually complicated, the contents vague, and they basically provide rich fodder for interpreters who translate the exalted ambiguous meanings into something more understandable and down to earth. There is no other form for conveying revelations – only in their expression, seasoned with the sauce of description of one’s own experiences caused by them, and that is all. Even so, there are no doubt that the oral or written transmission of revelations produce a very inspiring action on seekers, bringing them a certain good.
Practical experience related to the achievement of higher states of being is conveyed according to the principle, “do as I do.” Here, as a rule, the presence of a living teacher is necessary, and in fact in our time, direct teaching most often is replaced by the organization of seminars and what are called satsangs. In transmitting such experience, living contact between the teacher and the seeker is simply necessary, although, theoretically, you can try to gain some practical knowledge from books in which it is described, although usually this is less effective. With a living teaching, there is always a practical part aimed at helping the seeker to repeat the path of the teacher, and as a result, to attain the same state of being. Far from always, however, a Master or teacher may precisely describe the reasons for his achievement. When the reasons and consequences of spiritual transformation are not always clear or are extraordinary, the principle of “do as I do” ceases to yield the desired effect. Porfiry Ivanov taught immersion in cold water, because the true reason for the change of his being was unknown to himself. With Osho and many others, a similar story occurred.
The gulf between the former and new state emerging after transformation -- after the descent of the impulse of God’s Grace – is sometimes so great that a coherent transmission of the achievement becomes almost impossible, because it ceases to interest the one who attained it. Acquiring higher Truth seems unconditioned by previous efforts, and they seem senseless and useless in some way. Then it remains only to describe the state in which you are in now, in order to somehow help those who search for answers to their questions from you. Lone gurus such as Jiddu Krishnamurti are most often in such a situation, and what they relate may inspire one to a search, but help little in the practical sense. Their knowledge for a time becomes a kind of beacon toward which seekers orient themselves, but the difficulties of verbal transmission and the turning of words into inaccurate notions in people’s minds nullifies all the possible use from it. Well, or almost all.