What is Gnosis?

The word "gnosis" is derived from the Greek language, and means "knowledge of an intuitive nature; the intuitive comprehension of spiritual truths." Gnosis is a knowledge that cannot be arrived at through books or lectures, but rather through one's own direct experience of reality. Gnosis is often referred to as knowledge of the heart, in contrast to knowledge that is obtained through the use of the intellect.
The Gnostic teachings contain systems and exercises through which every aspect of the teachings can be personally verified by each individual. Gnosis is not just theoretical, but one hundred percent practical. Through direct experience we surpass the boundaries of belief and disbelief, since both lead to ignorance. Rather than believing or disbelieving, accepting or rejecting, the Gnostic personally verifies in a direct manner the validity of the concepts he or she is studying. This personal verification leads to true knowledge and comprehension, not merely an intellectual or theoretical understanding of the teachings. Through Gnosis one personally learns to experience reality directly, quell the battle between doubt and belief, and comes to KNOW the inner TRUTH.

What do the Gnostic Teachings consist of?

The Gnostic teachings consist of a wide variety of esoteric disciplines, all of which are presented in a very practical manner. Exercises are given for the student to verify what he or she is learning, so that this knowledge is experienced directly. The ultimate goal of this doctrine is for the student to reach complete self-realization through the awakening of consciousness. The following list includes just a few of the many subjects that are taught and practiced as part of the Gnostic Doctrine:

Gnosis is called the 'Doctrine of the Synthesis', since it synthesizes the most important aspects of all major religions and esoteric systems of past and present in one doctrine. Yet Gnosis is not a derivative of any one of these systems. Gnosis predates all religions and systems, and is not the property of any individual or group. Rather, it is a timeless and perennial knowledge.

What is the origin of the Gnostic teaching?

Gnosis is the modern form of an ancient system of learning which has existed throughout the history of man's presence on Earth. This wisdom was not made available to the public, but revealed only to those who had the privilege to be initiated into the mysteries. Gnosis was taught in the mystery schools of ancient India, China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, among the ancient Gnostics, the Incas, the Mayans, etc. Intense persecution from religious authorities at various stages throughout history caused the initiates of these mystery schools to disappear from the public eye. During these times the Gnostic doctrine was not lost, but rather was taught and practiced in secrecy. Later, when the persecutions subsided, Gnosis reemerged once again.

At critical times in the history of man, such as the times we live in today, great spiritual masters or avatars appear on the earth to bring humanity key teachings to assist those searching for inner enlightenment or liberation. Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna, Moses, and Quetzalcoatl are well known examples of such avatars. The Gnostic doctrine, as taught in Gnostic centers throughout the world today, comes from the teachings, practices, and writings of a modern day avatar , Samael Aun Weor who synthesized the precepts of philosophers, mystics, and adepts from all times into an integrated and comprehensive system of knowledge and instruction. Gnosis, as unveiled by Samael Aun Weor, contains the synthesis of all major esoteric systems throughout the world, both past and present. This doctrine provides a complete and cohesive process whereby any person can awaken consciousness and achieve complete self-realization in one lifetime.

What are the Four Pillars of knowledge that Gnosis teaches?

A thorough study of Gnosis includes the research and study of the four fundamental branches, or "pillars", of knowledge that have been present in the building of all civilizations, united in one doctrine:

ART - a form of positively channeling creative energy; an instrument of communication from other planes of consciousness. One can see the superior expression of ART in sacred architecture (pyramids, temples, etc.), in the paintings and sculptures of the great Masters, and in their inspired music that elevates the human spirit.

SCIENCE - used for the investigation of the phenomena of the universe, for the discovery of the profound meaning of these phenomena, and to unite theory with practice, the intellectual experience with direct experience. Gnostic science serves to transform the conditions in which we live.

PHILOSOPHY - the study of a philosophy different from the New World model; it is the profound study of Initiatic Philosophy and the rediscovery of its esoteric roots.

MYSTICISM - the relationship of Man with the Divine, including techniques by which the individual can discover the true purpose of his existence and work consciously towards that final Liberation. It is said that as Man approaches the Divine, the Divine approaches Man.

What is Self-Realization and the Three Factors for the Revolution of Consciousness?

The main objective of the Gnostic esoteric work is the attainment of Self-Realization. Gnosis offers the complete system by which any individual may attain Self-Realization in one lifetime. The term 'self-realization' has often been misunderstood, and has been defined differently by various esoteric systems. In Gnosis Self-Realization is something extraordinary - it is defined as "the complete and harmonious development of all the infinite possibilities within man". The importance of Self-Realization, of "realizing your own Self", is summarized in the ancient saying, "In you is hidden the treasure of treasures. Oh, man, know thyself and you will know the Universe and the Gods."

Gnosis teaches that self-realization can be accomplished only through the practice of the three factors for the revolution of consciousness.

First Factor: The awakening of consciousness, of virtues, of the latent powers and faculties of our Inner Being. Since it deals with awakening and creation, the First Factor is called Birth.

Second Factor : The discovery and elimination of those psychological elements within each of us, those elements that hinder spiritual progress and keep us from living our life to the fullest. Since it deals with psychological change through the elimination of such inharmonious elements, the Second Factor is called Death.

Third Factor : Making the knowledge of how to reach self-realization available to all those who are searching and yearning for such knowledge. Since this process entails voluntary sacrifice for humanity, the Third Factor is called Sacrifice.

The founders of all great religions, and all initiates who attained self-realization by practicing the systems of these Masters, successfully worked with the Three Factors for the Revolution of Consciousness. The Three Factors form the cornerstone, the foundation on which the entire Gnostic Doctrine is built.


Will the Gnostic teachings interfere with my religious beliefs?

Gnosis does not condemn any religion, but rather teaches that all religions play a vital role in the process of humanity. Gnostic students today come from all types of religious backgrounds. Studying Gnosis, therefore, will help you comprehend the deeper significance of the various aspects of your religion - the esoteric aspects. This will in turn give you a much greater understanding and appreciation of your religion and its practices. Being part of an established religion, however, is not a prerequisite for the Gnostic studies.

What sets apart Gnosis from other similar groups?

Often, other groups focus on one or only a few aspects of esoteric knowledge. Some concern themselves with the development of psychic and mental powers, others devote themselves to meditation and the experience of enlightenment, and still others are concerned with astral travel, kabbalah, astrology, etc. The Gnostic teachings, however, encompass a vast array of knowledge. Gnosis has been termed as the 'Doctrine of the Synthesis' since it brings together the most important and profound aspects - the inner essence - of all religions and esoteric systems. The best and most useful aspects of all religions and all bodies of knowledge can be found in Gnosis. The Gnostic teachings are so vast and profound that it cannot be found in any other system. In fact, much of this knowledge has been taught secretly throughout the ages in hidden schools of mysteries scattered around the world.

Another difference between Gnosis and many other similar groups is the emphasis on practical applications and exercises. Within the Gnostic doctrine there is an enormous amount of exercises, literally hundreds, that are taught and practiced so that you may verify every aspect of the teaching through direct personal experience. Theoretical study alone is extremely limiting - the authentic seeker of knowledge must investigate personally and directly everything that he is taught so that he or she can make this knowledge real and alive within.

How long will it be before I see any changes in my life because of practicing Gnosis?

You will start seeing changes is your life almost immediately. Just as a child sees the world differently and with awe when it learns something new, so too will you begin to see yourself and your relationship with others in a different light. You will begin to see that your life acquires a different flavor, since new knowledge brings about new ways of thinking and seeing the world. In a short time, this constant inflow of new knowledge will help you cope with problems and situations in your life much more effectively. You will find yourself prospering spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and materially.

It is important to note, however, that nothing can be accomplished without some sort of effort involved. Even though you will begin to see important benefits in your life relatively quickly, you will not progress or "receive attainment" instantly. Progression in the Gnostic Esoteric Work is similar to that of any other activity or skill you wish to develop - it takes time, practice, and effort to learn the fundamentals and even more to master the skill. With patience and dedication, however, anything can be accomplished.


Is it true that the Gnostic teachings are freely shared throughout the world?

The Gnostic Centers throughout the world are non-profit organizations, relying entirely on voluntary student and participant donations. No person involved in the running and operation of such a center is monetarily compensated for his or her services. The goal of all centers is to share Gnosis with anyone interested, regardless of race, sex, religious background, occupation, etc. The Gnostic teachings can thus be considered as "free" by not having a monetary price set on them. This, however, does not mean that the teachings are superficial - on the contrary, they are among the most profound teachings that exist in the world today. If a monetary price was to be placed on them, then these teachings would be enormously expensive! Rather, the "fruits" of Gnosis are "bought" through the effort of the student - the more effort and work the student puts into studying, understanding, and practicing the teachings, the greater will be the fruits of his or her efforts.

Since Gnosis possesses such profound teachings, why isn't it more widely known throughout the world?

The Gnostic Movement has spread rapidly since its creation by V. M. Samael Aun Weor in the 1950's. Today, Gnostic centers can be found in many countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. Centers can be found throughout the world teaching in many different languages, such as Spanish, English, French, Japanese, Italian, German, Greek, Portuguese, etc. There are several hundred thousand students in the world today who are studying and practicing Gnosis.
There are two major reasons why most people are not familiar with Gnosis. The first reason is the content of its teachings: Gnosis is concerned with inner development leading towards self-realization, something that the majority of humanity is not genuinely interested in. It is unfortunate, but most people value their material, career, and social growth above all else. Although the Gnostic teachings can greatly help one to materially and socially advance, the majority of people, even if they have heard of Gnosis, do not pursue its teachings further. Thus Gnosis predominantly appeals to people who have questions about life and are actively seeking answers. This is underscored by the ancient wise saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." The second reason that Gnosis is not widely known is that Gnostic Centers do not actively try to recruit, influence, or persuade anyone to accept Gnosis against their will. Advertisements for talks and courses are usually placed in areas where people in the general public have access to them, such as bookstores, newspapers, etc. After seeing the advertisement or hearing about the course or lecture through word of mouth, it is the individual's decision whether or not to attend. Thus it is always through personal choice that one takes part in the activities of a Gnostic Center.

How can I learn more about Gnosis?

There are several ways you can learn more about the Gnostic teachings. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you may attend courses at the Gnostic Center. For a list of titles and dates of public courses being offered at the center, please go the Current Events page. If you would like to know the locations of other centers in Los Angeles and throughout the world, and in what language Gnosis is taught there, please go to the International Directory.

Another way to find out more about the Gnosis is through the books of V. M. Samael Aun Weor, founder of the Gnostic movement, who wrote over 70 books on all aspects of Gnosis (meditation, psychology, alchemy, kabbalah, astral travel, healing with plants, etc.). These books were originally written in Spanish, and are presently being translated into other languages, including English.

If you have questions regarding Gnosis, you may either call the Gnostic Center of Los Angeles, at (213) 664-8241, or you may send your question via e-mail to

Gnostic Center

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