On the Problem of Hierarchy and Obedience


”The exoteric foundation of the teaching quite deliberately separates the scientific basis, which corresponds completely to the laws of contemporary culture, of pedagogy, of comprehensible desciption and visible forms of teaching, from the texts, insights and studies which come from another reality, and so have a mysterious, initiatory and intangible energy and effect.“


From ”The Approach and Aim of »Yoga out of the Purity of the Soul«


Obedience has been valued through the ages as a cardinal virtue. In religious systems this virtue had and has a very important role, both in Eastern as well as Western traditions. Within the exoteric system and teaching structure of Yoga there are no hierarchical structures involving a compulsory personal duty of obedience. This virtue refers rather to the fundamental spiritual and mental attitude, which plays its part in the unit of our own individuality.Previously there existed a very direct and strict relationship between a master and a pupil. In oriental Yoga there is the tradition of initiation by a guru which seems very alienating to our culture and is often criticised in a very negative way. The guru is valued in India as the embodied form of God, as the truth in earthly form. For the pupil he is the absolute and represents the intangible self. So the pupil saw, and to some extent still sees today in his guru, his own I and the goal of his efforts. A total and unconditional submission to the guru was previously required in Yoga systems for the sake of spiritual success and sacrifice.

In the West the institution of the church took the place of the guru represented a secular yet compelling truth of the Holy Spirit, valid for all. Even after the Second Vatican Council the church has still taken the role of canonisation and states that without persevering in her no redemption is possible. Within the church therefore, obedience is rated as a cardinal virtue.

What is the situation in »Yoga out of the Purity of the Soul«?
The teaching structure consists of many individual bodies that bear responsibility for their work in an individual way. There is no director, no control system, there are no auditors, no first and last, no officials, no priests, no initiated. Within their positions, all individuals have their own power of attorney. Neither is there a guru nor similar position, which would work in a hierarchical way on others. For this reason the cult-activities, reverential rituals, adoration and genuflection usual elsewhere are omitted. The spiritual teacher only has a role in his area of expertise, and that is to promote, in teaching and meditation, deeper knowledge, spiritual insights and the development of artistic, aesthetic and spiritual perceptions. He also teaches corrections, demonstrates different exercises, stimulates creative potential through concentration, and encourage an awareness and energetic development of the inner substances of the soul.

The spiritual teacher is however not a guru who in a human way and in personal form demands submission from his pupils, and neither is he the director of a teaching structure in which he makes personal use of employees and helpers. Even though many students express a love for their teacher, this love is not of a limited and grasping kind, but more the expression of an uplifted, inner make-up of the soul, which emerges like an answer to the hidden dimension of the spirit and cannot be distinguished from a universal shimmer of grace.The student gives the teacher natural esteem and respect and, if it is developed in the soul, an inner but silently declared reverence for the spirit. Respect is valued as an essential attitude and virtue when working and communicating together. A duty to obey, however, is not required from students on this path of constantly growing awareness, neither in relation to a change in their private lives, nor in relation to obligatory study. With the studies of Yoga, students do not enter an order in which they can work their way up to higher hierarchical positions, or which they would be forced to enter in order to participate.The relationships that occur in a teaching organisation, or in courses of study, over a longer period of time, do not restrict the individuality of the seeker.

The consciousness of the oriental Yogi was composed so very differently that even the total surrender of the I did not lead to the surrender of the individuality in the inner. It was more a retreat from outer life and from the world that was demanded by the master of his pupils, so that they could live a greater purity and be unimpeded in their goal of meditation.
If nowadays students were to submit themselves totally to a teaching system or a teacher, the danger of confusion between the inner and outer structures of the personality would probably be so great that students would completely forfeit their individuality and creativity. In »Yoga out of the Purity of the Soul« the virtue of obedience is therefore transferred to the individual path of development and is thus lifted totally out of outer, system-based hierarchies.
The goal of Yoga is also not, as it once was, an escape from the world, but a conscious, orderly and light-filled entering into the manifestation of physical reality. In Yoga the individuality is not seen as a secular and global unit defined according to human forms of manifestation and differences. If it were only outer visible characteristics and qualities of personality that described the individual nature of a person’s being, then only in his physical embodiment would man, as an entity in creation, be an actual, independent manifestation. But man in his whole picture of being is a physical, cosmic and most unique form, which blooms in his infinite approach to the spirit, and particularly because of this inexhaustible approach to the spirit, keeps his individuality.

For this reason students do not start on the path of Yoga with a passive redemption through Jesus Christ. They do not seek a creed or an affiliation to a church or group, but rather they seek the challenge of learning, in order to attain ever new dimensions of insight into a creative reality. In the drive of this individual wish for the sublime truths of the spirit, the individual abilities and inner soul-qualities are revived. These are permeated with new light, ordered and in endless variations find their expression in the outer carrier, the body. Obedience is thus transferred from an outer system into the inner individuality, which, to its own extent and in is own process of development, communicates with the higher thoughts of the spirit.

Some will only be able to accept 10% of an inspired text, another perhaps 20%, and again another will be in complete agreement with a text. That limb, which represents the I of humanity, which is also reflected in a certain way in the healthy perception of the heart, receives a living current from the inspired reality of the spirit. Students retain their uniqueness from within. They see the uniqueness in the thoughts and their joyous forms of manifestation and thus bring them alive through learning. The Yoga practised in this sense is a path, which promotes the individual in an all-embracing way and protects the person from falling into the mass-suggestions of our era.

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