Religious quotes and occult maxims
Inspirational quotations, wise maxims and wisdom teachings from the Sacred Texts of all times and climes
Discerning truth from falsehood and true teachings from fantasy is the first and most difficult step for the genuine seeker who sincerely wishes to progress on the path to the Light. So long as we cling to the opinions of others, to second and third-hand speculations from the pretenders to spiritual knowledge and the fantasies of conspiracy theorists we can have no inkling of what is True. Intellectual speculation is not knowledge. Neither is scientific opinion wisdom. All the true Messengers and Sages agree that Wisdom comes only from God. And in the degree that we draw nearer to God, whether through meditation, noble and selfless acts, or through deep and sincere study of the sacred texts of all times, do we come into the possession of Wisdom.
Be still, faithful and true.
Rest in me alone that dwelleth in thy inmost Heart and fear not
Nor suffer doubts
But what ere betide stand firm upon thy earth
With thy gaze fixed upon the eyes of Heaven who art thy Elder Brethren
And they will aid thee in thy time of trial.
The restless tides of 'Life in Death' do roll and rage and leap
Dashing their foam upon the Rock
They do but polish his rough habiliments to a dazzling whiteness
And smooth the jagged abutments to a beneficent softness
Yet strong withal and secure in their adamantine power.
Be thou that Rock
That the Aether-piercing Eagle of the Sun may behold thee with benevolent eyes
And find thee worthy to set amongst the other jewels who once were rocks
Within his Kingdom of shining gems!
Right thinking and right action
"Some disciples who listen to the Master's words have photographic memories, but the trouble with them is that nothing is ever developed!
'The disciple and the Master'
"The mirror of the soul cannot reflect both earth and heaven; and the one vanishes from the surface as the other is glassed upon its deeps."
"Of all the weaknesses which little men rail against, there is none that they are more apt to ridicule than the tendency to believe. And of all the signs of a corrupt heart and a feeble head, the tendency of incredulity is the surest."
"He who would enter into the realm of Wisdom must first divest himself of all intellectual pride. Prejudices, pre-conceived opinions and beliefs always stand in the way of true wisdom. Conceited opinions are always suicidal in their influences. They bar the door to the entrance of Truth."
Ralph Waldo Trine—'In Tune with the Infinite'
"Prosperity awaits the free. Him only can I recognise as free who is neither a slave to another nor to himself. This is my counsel:—When in dire distress, and when mental and physical energy avail nothing, then have recourse to the spirit of God; but do not appeal to Him before you have tried all other means, for I tell you beforehand, and time will prove its truth, that those who give way to discouragement sink under their own burdens.
'The Wisdom of Frya'
NOTE. You can read more about the Wisdom of Frya in our article about Atlantis.
"The first point of wisdom is to discern that which is false, and the second, to know that which is true."
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her."
"Wisdom hath builded her house,
She hath hewn out her seven pillars:
She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine;
She hath also furnished her table.
She hath sent forth her maidens:
She crieth upon the highest places of the city,
Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither:
As for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
Come, eat of my bread,
And drink of the wine which I have mingled."
NOTE. You can read an explanation of these enigmatical verses in John Temple's article on the hidden meaning in the Book of Proverbs.
"Seek that ye may find, knock, that it may be opened unto you;
For everyone who seeketh in truth, will find,
And who knocketh, to him it will be opened.
For I have said unto all Men: they are to seek the Mysteries of the Light-Kingdom which shall purify them and make them refined and lead them into the Light"
The wisdom of Paracelsus
"God does not rejoice to see fools and simpletons, who are ready to believe anything, no matter how absurd it may be; neither does He desire that only one wise and learned man shall be in each country, and that other people should follow him blindly, as the sheep follow the ram; but we should all have our knowledge in God, and take it out of the Universal Fountain of Wisdom."
"Those who believe they can learn anything without the assistance of God, will fall into idolatry, superstition and error. They may obtain great names in the world, and be admired by the ignorant, but their intellect is repulsed from the Light and will end in darkness.
"The art of deceiving and disputing, sophisticating, perverting and misrepresenting truths may be learned in schools; but the power to recognise and follow the Truth cannot be conferred by academical degrees; it comes only from God."
Paracelsus—'De Fundamento Sapientiae'
The teachings of Chrishna-Jeseus
"The blind Disciple ever seeks after the Teacher he has already found, but knows him not in the blindness of his non-perception, for his mind is overloaded with material rubbish, acting as a veil to conceal the Teacher's Light."
"There is a God of Light and a god of darkness; of Goodness and of sin; and evil men can neither see nor hear that goodness, or that beauty, or that Light, but turn away in disgust from the things that show the Spirit of the God of Light—just as good men flee from evil, and ugliness, and the darkness of sin."
"For all men are blind, and ignorant, and though they think they can see, or hear, and believe they know all things of the earth, and of man, they know nothing, and see nothing, and hear nothing, except that which their ignorance holds to be the Light and the Truth: which they are not."
'The Book of Sa-Heti'
NOTE: You can read The Book of Sa-Heti on this website.
The teachings of Li Wang Ho
"All men are Fools, and fools only have wisdom if they know they are fools. The rest are still fools—only more so: for they do not know it. On the other hand when a fool in his foolishness is happy it is cruel to make him wise before the appointed time. Better a happy Fool than a miserable Sage."
"There are as many ways to Heaven as there have been, are, and will be human beings, provided they sincerely wish for this divine felicity. The best a man can do is to thank the Celestial Spirits for all good things when they come; to be patient in all adversity; to ask for forgiveness when he has erred and offended against the Laws (which are engraved on each man's heart, if he will but heed and read them); thus, when he has gone astray somehow, help will always be sent to lift him up again; for the Gods are terribly patient. By avoiding evil to the best of his ability, he will keep the mirror of his heart clean, and the ever-loving Sons of Light will do the rest; for they understand: having once been frail men themselves."
"Only a fool believes there is no God, no Deity; and even he is not certain: for he can only believe in his own denial, and never know the Truth. But if such a one is alone in the darkness of night, or in peril, he sheds his disbelief in God like a snake casts off its scaly hide."
"Hatred is a form of mental suicide; for he who hates expends his Vital Essences and weakens his intellect. A wise man never hates, but only pities the doer of evil. Thus he gathers strength in his wisdom from the forces expended by his opponents in their evil acts and thoughts, and his mental and vital powers increase according to the strength of his forbearance. Remember also that he who gives way to spite ensures for himself an everlasting Dwelling-Place in the Nether Regions amongst his own kin. Then he will learn what true Spite really is."
NOTE: You can read The Teachings of Li Wang Ho on this website.
The Quest of Ruru
" Is it not a well known fact that most seekers prefer to live in a dream within the dream of Illusion? Is it not true also that most of those who profess to have a longing for probing into and learning the divine secrets prefer to solve them in their own ignorant and fantastic manner, rather than having them explained by the chosen Adept—appointed to this task by the Gods themselves? And how difficult it is to find such an Adept, and know him! How small, how very small is the mind of Man! Born in Illusion, he piles his own vain imaginings in a heap and gazes with adoring eyes at the vanity of his own dreams, which only add to the Illusions which blind him to TRUE Reality"
"Man is rewarded according to the purity of his heart. Those who seek the Light will be rewarded with that holy vision which raises them above all mundane things. Those who seek the darkness will be loaded with the sorrows of accumulated riches and responsibilities; their every hour will be filled with anxiety and fear, lest they lose their shadowy gains.
"The first will follow the golden path toward the Light of the Sun, and He shall release them from rebirth; the latter will stumble on the unlit road that disappears behind the dark side of the Moon; and there they must dwell amongst the shades of night until they once again commence the weary round of earthly life; illusive and full of woe."
NOTE: You can read The Quest of Ruru on this website.
The wisdom of Shakespeare
"Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
Fool'd by these rebel powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body's end?
Then soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:
So shall thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
And Death once dead, there's no more dying then.
We have read the most fantastic interpretations of this little-known sonnet, some so-called 'scholars' going so far as to claim that "almost every line...contains at least one word that is somehow related to money"(!!), whilst others say that it describes "the battle against the inevitable fate of death."
Neither of these ignorant 'interpretations' is correct. Why do we say this? Because Shakespeare was an Occultist! Unless we have been trained to read the symbols Occultists employ to conceal their meaning such 'dark' sonnets will forever remain beyond our understanding.
Let us now give YOU the real meaning of this sonnet. The 'soul' Shakespeare refers to is our Higher Self, imprisoned in it's house of clay, or earthly personality and physical body—'my sinful earth.' 'Sinful' because it is ignorant of any higher reality. Ignorance is the only real 'sin' and the cause of suffering, as all the True Teachers affirm. The 'short lease' refers to the brevity of our lives on earth; short indeed compared to the life of the Higher Self or Spiritual Ego. If we are to make real spiritual progress it must be clear that the attention most of us lavish upon our 'fading mansion' (the lower self and body) must be given up. Whether this is the pursuit of wealth, fame, or simply vegetating in front of the TV for hours on end, these 'hours of dross' all prevent the Higher Self from 'aggravating (archaic word for 'adding to') it's 'store' of spiritual knowledge. In enriching our Higher Self with wisdom we truly 'feed on death'—or the wisdom of this world—referred to by St Paul, and having conquered (or tamed) our lower self, there can be 'no more dying then', or any further 'births and deaths' for us (reincarnation), for we will have returned HOME!
This may all seem very simple now that we have explained it to you. But honestly ask yourself what you would have made of this sonnet without our explanation? It is in this way that all genuine mystical and occult sayings should be read. But beware of thinking that there is ever only ONE interpretation, for you would be very wrong! Occult Truth has many facets which can be regarded from many different perspectives, each of which is true in itself...but...it is not the WHOLE truth. For that can never be grasped in full on earth by any man or woman, be they the greatest Sage that ever lived. Or we might say that the 'whole Truth' is God, and he or she who presumes to know the Mind of the Creator is a presumptuous blasphemer of the first water.
"Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile;
So ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes."
Shakespeare—'Love's Labours Lost'
This is another of those "dark" sayings from Shakespeare which are inexplicable to the worldly-wise! We have read the most ridiculous "explanations" of this passage—ranging from the superficial to the utterly fantastic. We are not going to explain it this time, but we may say that these few, simple words conceal some of the very greatest Occult Truths upon which one might write a whole book. You can read more about the wisdom of Shakespeare in our article on The Magic of Poetry.
On the evil of ignorance
"Yea, ignorance is like a closed and airless vessel; the soul a bird shut up within. It warbles not, nor can it stir a feather; but the songster mute and torpid sits, and of exhaustion dies."
H. P. Blavatsky—The Voice of the Silence (reviewed on our Blavatsky Books page)
"O Friend! Hope for Him whilst you live, understand whilst you live: for in life deliverance abounds.
If your bonds of ignorance be not broken whilst living, what hope of deliverance in Death?
It is but an empty dream, that the Soul shall have union with Him because it has passed from the body. If He is found now, He is found then. If not, we do but go to dwell in Death."
'The poet Kabir'
"Whether thou hearest what is good or what is bad, treat the report as no affair of thine and hearken not to it. If thou must talk I beseech thee to tell people only what is good upon the earth and as for the reports of evil, hide them in the depths of thy heart."
"Ask not why God allows evil to exist in the world whilst thou thyself are doing thy utmost to stir up strife. If anything evil belonged to God He would stamp it with the seal of His finger. Likewise there is no evil in the hand of God because there is no evil in Him. All the evils of the world come from the hand of man."
'The Teachings of Amen-em-Apt'
NOTE: You can read further Teachings of Amen-em-Apt on our website.
This leads us on aptly to the next few quotations from the little-known Book of Fo. In the first of these, Fo's apparent refutation of forgiveness, atonement and redemption as means to salvation may offend some religious readers. Nevertheless he states the truth when he says that we ourselves must purify ourselves; no one can do it for us. But by 'purification' Fo does not mean ritual ablutions, nor does he refer to the exercise of purely natural functions such as sex, etc, which, provided they are natural can never be considered as 'impure' except by those 'holier than thou' fanatics and religious bigots who presume to suppress, distort and deny the instinct their Creator implanted in them! No, Fo here refers to the purification of our thinking; freeing ourselves from ignorance and embracing Truth, Beauty and Goodness in all that we think, say and do.
"The Voice of God hath said:
Hath proclaimed through the farthest space,
In words as strong as lightning;
In laws that shall outlast the mountains;
Every one shall possess in beauty
That beauty which he possessed in life;
Every one shall hold in darkness
That darkness to which he clung in life.
Every one shall ascend to Me
Who truly willeth to ascend to Me;
I have given him wings;
But if he clip those wings, who is in fault?
Neither in the highest heavens;
Nor in the earth, nor in the waters, nor in the air;
Nor in fire, nor in any element;
Can the spirit escape the consequences of its acts.
It cannot be forgiven;
It must purify itself;
It cannot be atoned for or redeemed;
It must purify itself; it must purify itself;
Sacrifice cannot make it beautiful; it must purify itself;
Offerings or prayers brighten it not;
It must purify itself; it must purify itself."
'The Book of Fo'
"How little do men heed spiritual things!
How slight is their knowledge of God!
They pass from earth as ignorant as children. They have no true insight into the Divine. All their religion is taken on trust from others;
They are too indolent to examine for themselves;
Therefore they live and die in darkness."
'The Book of Fo'
"There are those who do not study, or who make no progress in study; yet let them not despair.
"There are those who question not, or who question unwisely; yet let them not despair.
"There are those who see not, or who see obscurely; yet let them not despair.
"There are those who practice not, or who practice heedlessly; yet let them not despair.
"What another may do by one effort, some do by a hundred; what another might do in ten times, those do in a thousand."
'The Book of Fo'
"Two golden Gates there are which lead to Heaven;
The Gate of Innocence and the Gate of Repentance;
Happy are they found who do ascend through either,
But most blessed are they who enter through the first,
Who have retained their purity and light and truthfulness,
Repenting not, nor needing to repent.
'The Book of Fo'
You can read a review of the Book of Fo and download a free PDF of the book elsewhere on our website.
"Verily thy five windows are the five senses of thy Soul. He who closes them and admits not the light of this world shall see the Light of his Spirit. But he who opens them to all the world, shall sit in darkness, not letting his Spirit put forth any of her own glorious internal Light."
'The Book of Fo'
Fo here refers to the five physical senses familiar to us all. But these senses have their counterpart in the Higher Self of man, too, by means of which, we may experience the higher dimensions. But this can only come to pass when our physical senses are stilled such as in silent meditation. See our occult studies course article on studies and meditation for a simple and safe meditation exercise all can practise and benefit from.
"When all desires are in peace and the mind, withdrawing within, gathers the multitudinous straying senses into the harmony of recollection; Then, with reason armed with resolution, let the seeker quietly lead the mind into the Spirit, and let all his thoughts be silence.
And whenever the mind unsteady and restless strays away from the Spirit, let him ever and for ever lead it again to the Spirit."
"How happily constituted and near to the Gods is humanity! In joining himself to the divine, man disdains that which he has in him of the earthly; he connects himself by a bond of love to all other beings, and thereby feels himself necessary to the universal order. He contemplates heaven; and in this happy middle sphere in which he is placed, he loves all that is below him, he is beloved of all that is above. He cultivates the earth; he borrows the speed of the elements; his piercing thought fathoms the deeps of the sea. Everything is clear for him. Heaven does not seem to him too high, for knowledge lifts him to it. The brightness of his mind is not obscured by the thick mists of the air; the earth's gravitation is no obstacle to his efforts; the profundity of deep seas does not disturb him; he includes everything and remains everywhere the same."
'The Virgin of the World'
"Be religious, my son; Religion is lofty philosophy. Without philosophy there is no lofty religion. He who instructs himself concerning the universe, its laws and its principles, its beginning and its end, gives thanks for all things to the Creator, as to a gracious father, a good protector, a faithful teacher. This is religion and by means of it we know where truth is, and what it is. Knowledge increases religion. For when once the soul imprisoned in the body, has lifted itself to the perception of the real Good and of Truth, she cannot again fall back."
'The Virgin of the World'
NOTE: You can read reviews of the Corpus Hermeticum on our books page.
The Greatest Evil in Man is not Knowing God
"Whither are you carried, O Men, drunken with drinking up the strong Wine of Ignorance? which seeing you cannot bear: Why do you not vomit it up again?
"Stand, and be sober, and look up again with the eyes of your heart; and if you cannot all do so, yet do as many as you can.
"For the malice of Ignorance surroundeth all the Earth, and corrupteth the Soul, shut up in the Body not suffering it to arrive at the Havens of Salvation.
"Suffer not yourselves to be carried with the great stream, but stem the tide, you that can lay hold of the Haven of Safety, and make your full course towards it.
"Seek one that may lead you by the hand, and conduct you to the door of Truth and Knowledge, where the clear Light is that is pure from Darkness, where there is not one drunken, but all are sober and in their heart look up to him, whose pleasure it is to be seen.
"For he cannot be heard with ears, nor seen with eyes, nor expressed in words; but only in mind and heart can he be known.
"But first thou must tear to pieces and break through the garment thou wearest; the web of Ignorance, the foundation of all Mischief; the bond of Corruption ; the dark Coverture; the living Death ; the sensible Carcass, the Sepulchre, carried about with us; the domestical Thief which in what he loves us, hates us, envies us.
"Such is the hurtful Apparel, wherewith thou art clothed, which draws and pulls thee downward by its own self; lest looking up, and seeing the beauty of Truth, and the Good that is reposed therein, thou shouldst hate the wickedness of this garment, and understand the traps and ambushes, which it hath laid for thee.
"Therefore doth it labour to make good those things that seem and are by the Senses, judged and determined; and the things that are truly, it hides, and envelopeth in such matter, filling what it presents unto thee, with hateful pleasure, that thou canst neither hear what thou shouldst hear, nor see what thou shouldst see."
'The Divine Pymander of Hermes Trismegistus'
NOTE: You can read a full review of The Divine Pymander on our books page.
By 'soul' Hermes means the Higher Self in our terminology. The 'Havens of Salvation' refer to the Higher Astral realms, a description of which you can find in the sidebar: 'A Glimpse of Heaven'. The 'garment thou wearest', 'dark Coverture', 'living death', etc., all refer to the body and lower self. These Divine verses contain more true facts about the Higher and lower self and the way to liberation than a dozen so-called 'occult' books and are well worthy meditating upon.
Heaven and Earth
"There is nothing perfect upon earth, nor anything imperfect in heaven. God is good; man is evil. All things in heaven are immutable; nothing is immutable on earth. There is no slavery in heaven; on earth there is no freedom. Nothing in heaven is unknown; on earth nothing is known. There is nothing in common between celestial things and things terrestrial. All is irreproachable in heaven; on earth nothing is without reproach. The immortal knows no mortality; nor does the mortal know immortality. That which is sown does not always come up; but that which comes up has always been sown."
'The Virgin of the World'
NOTE: You can read more about Hermes Trismegistus and his teachings in our article about the Hermetic philosophy of ancient Egypt.
"There is a principle of the soul (Higher self in our terminology), superior to all nature, through which we are capable of surpassing the order and systems of the world. When the soul is elevated to natures better than itself, then it is entirely separated from subordinate natures, exchanges this for another life, and, deserting the order of things with which it was connected, links and mingles itself with another."
Iamblichus—'De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum'
The Wisdom of ancient India
"Those who worship thinking 'we have done sacrifices and pious works' attain only to the regions of the moon, and return to life and death (continual reincarnation). But those who follow the path to the Light with steadfastness, purity, faith and wisdom, attain the regions of the Sun; there is the refuge supreme, the land of immortality where there is no fear. From thence they do not return (to earth) again: it is the end of the journey (of earthly incarnations)."
NOTE: The explanations in parenthesis have been added by us.
"The (lower) mind is fickle and flighty, it flies after fancies whenever it likes; but let the wise man guard well his mind, for a mind well guarded is a source of great joy.
"Invisible and subtle is the (lower) mind, and it flies after fancies whenever it likes: it is difficult indeed to restrain. But is a great good to control the (lower) mind; a mind self-controlled is a source of great joy.
"Hidden in the mystery of consciousness (God), the (higher) mind, incorporeal, flies alone far away (back to its Divine source). Those who set their (lower) mind in harmony become free from the bonds of death.
"He whose mind is unsteady, who knows not the path of truth, whose faith and peace are ever wavering, he shall never reach the fullness of Wisdom."
NOTE: The words in parenthesis have been added by us.
"In the secret high place of the heart are two Beings who drink the Wine of Life in the World of Truth. The knowers of Brahman call them shadow (lower self) and light (Higher Self)."
"The (Higher) Self is subtler than the subtle, greater than the great; It dwells in the heart of each living being. He who is free from desire and free from grief, with mind and senses tranquil, beholds the glory of the Soul.
NOTE: The words in parenthesis have been added by us.
"When one sees Eternity in things that pass away and Infinity in finite things, then one has pure knowledge.
But if one merely sees the diversity of things, with their divisions and limitations, then one has impure knowledge.
And if one selfishly sees a thing as if it were everything, independent of the ONE and the many, then one is in the darkness of ignorance."
"May the light of sacred knowledge illumine us, and may we attain the glory of Wisdom."
With that final quotation from the Upanishads, we wish you every success in all Life's endeavours and hope this treasure trove of Truth from the Minds of the Great Sages and Masters of the past helps you on your path to the Light.
If you have enjoyed these words of wisdom you may also like the articles and resources given in our 'Further reading' list in the sidebar on your right.
© Copyright occult-mysteries.org. Article added 30 March 2012. Last updated 10 September 2022.