The noun tradition comes from the latin verb “tradere” which means ‘to hand down, to pass on, to transfer and to communicate’. The meaning of tradition so is to pass on some kind of knowledge to someone else through the years.
We all know this meaning and we apply it to the most different categories of human activities: from food to religious and laic festivity, from clothing to folkloristic festivals; but when is about spirituality the meaning of the noun Tradition gets a deeper and wider meaning.
When we talk about Tradition with the capital T we refer to a different kind of Knowledge that is passed on in a different kind of way, and it hasn’t got anything to do with gathering together with friends and family and celebrate. Here we talk about the quintessence of those Principles that represent the everlasting basis of every real and proficuous research and practice, for those who honestly seek a higher dimension of existence, for the ones who are really interested in seeking the Truth about the real nature of the Creation.
There are some explanations that we need to get through. What does it means ‘everlasting’ and what do we intend with ‘Creation’?
These words are largely used and well known by most of people but, again as for the word ‘tradition’, their deeper meaning, the meaning that they presuppose at this level of consciousness, implies the realization of the subtler aspects of reality.
‘Everlasting’: Collins translate it with ‘never coming to an end’; ‘eternal’…
’What’ is eternal? How can be there something eternal, that ‘last forever’? As far as we can see in this world everything is in constant movement and thus forced to change its nature, to transform itself. This implies the concept of Time, of evolution, of birth and death. And for the materialistic aspect of life it is actually like this: nothing ever stays the same. So where do we find something ‘everlasting’? How can we apply this word to something if we can’t experience that or recognize it in the nature that surrounds us? Yet the word exists…
‘Creation’: again Collins ‘…the making of the universe, Earth, and creatures by God…’
Here we find ourselves on an even deeper level of consciousness. If for the concept of everlasting we needed an effort of philosophical intuition, for the idea of a Creation we actually need to step into the metaphysical and no efforts are required as we need to have ‘faith’ until we experience that which cannot be described by words or images because cannot be thought or imagined by our earthly faculties of the mind.
Therefore these are the assumptions to understand the real meaning of the word Tradition. These are the conditions to proceed in our description of the importance of something that refer to a metaphysical and everlasting aspect of reality.
We can go on…
‘The idea of a trascendental Unity, Oneness & Stability beheind all the flux and variety of phenomenal life is basal idea of the Upanishads: this is the pivot of all Indian metaphysics, the sum and the goal of our spiritual experience.’ ( Sri Aurobindo, The philosophy of the Upanishads)
Through the centuries different Traditions were kept alive and tramandated by the Sages and several schools were created to offer the possibility to the worthy to be initiated to certain kind of esoteric teachings.
In the Rgveda it is said that at the beginning the seven Rishis ‘saw’ It, the Scripture, and that’s why they were considered Seers. This Knowledge was there already, it needed to be manifested. It was not the elaboration of an intellectual work of humankind (unless we give to the word intellectual the meaning that Rene Guenon was used to give), it was a revelation, it dwelled to an Eternal and Metaphysical reality and therefore it was accessible only to an elite (again Guenon) that could actually posses it and manage it. When we talk about Tradition we talk about everything that was considered sacred across time and space, going through all those manifestation of the ‘divinity’ that has allowed humanity to develop a certain kind of consciousness. As single points sometimes more evident, other times more obscure and cryptic, all these teachings were part of a large figure, each of them complete in their form and function, yet referable to an ancient and lost corpus of integral manifestation of the Absolute.
We can say that every Tradition derives from a single unity, a single Principle,
something that has been lost in the world due to the corrosive effect of time, but that is always immutable and perfectly integral on another level of existence, on a subtler level of perception, whether we find it outside us or inside, cause ‘That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below’ (Hermes Trismegistus, Emerald Tablet).
to be continued…