an essay by paul skorpen
Since Daskalos' passing nearly five years ago many, many people the globe over have asked me in letters and e-mails: How can I go deeper into Daskalos' work? Is there an advice that Daskalos had for seekers to work more intensively with the teachings?
Esoteric Christianity is by definition a lonely road to walk. The path guards against complacency and sluggishness, and therefore is weary of dogmatism, rigid ritual, and organization. The work is inner work, and is therefore conducted in relative isolation, or with a small group of like-minded people.
Daskalos, as many of you know, lived an incredibly simple and modest life. The trappings of spirituality held no enticement for Daskalos. He taught in the Stoa, which could be best described as a backyard shed. That Daskalos' outer life was so unglamorous, spoke of an inner life that was rich and bountiful.
How Daskalos designed his life and work speaks volumes to anyone wishing to go sincerely into, as Daskalos put it, 'the deep waters' of mysticism. Throughout the 70 years that Daskalos taught on the island of Cyprus he would travel from cell to cell of small groups of seekers. He would present the lesson, heal, close the evening with a Cyprus coffee and a causal conversation before returning home. There was no membership and no fanfare. Spiritual investigation was an integral, if natural, part of daily life for Daskalos and his students.
After Markides' Magus of Strovolos came out, and Daskalos' wisdom was opened up to the world, these study groups began to multiply to number over 100 from the Americas and across Europe. Daskalos was very pleased of the widespread interest in the teachings, but at same time he feared the work was becoming formalized. On June 7th, 1994 Daskalos delivered his last public lesson as that afternoon he would suffer a debilitating stroke. The study groups had grown to encompass thousands of seekers, and yet Daskalos said that morning (to a gathering of circles), 'Is it necessary for you to belong to a circle? Let me repeat that your best friend must be the New Testament, but not as a book to simply read, but to make it your own life! Though much has been taken out of the translations [of the Bible], and much has been distorted, yet there is much of the truth in it to find. And make the Holy Book your way in life.'
The Seeker's Relationship to The Truth...
'The truth,' Daskalos emphatically stated, 'does not belong to any one. Rather we belong to the truth.' The teachings that Daskalos openly offered the world were bestowed on Daskalos by St. John. The Apostle, John, (Daskalos' spirit Guide) received these heavenly teachings directly from Christ. In his forthcoming book on the life and teachings of Christ (to be published in Cyprus), Daskalos reveals that his work and teachings are entirely modeled on Jesus'.
The great Christian Symbol of Life was a gift to humanity by the Archangels over 3400 years ago in Egypt (well described in Daskalos' book on the subject), and contributed to by great mystics over the centuries. All seekers were encouraged by Daskalos to work on the Symbol that they may gain spiritual clarity and strength. Sincere work with the symbol would open doors to the spiritual worlds, and the eternal help that is awaiting our call ‹will answer. Daskalos trained a number of students over his many years of teaching, and it was his great hope that they would carry on the tradition according to their own level. Students of the Inner Circles were especially encouraged to write, teach and heal.
Daskalos, I believe, waited late unto his life before entering the world stage. He was 75 when people starting to arrive in greater, and greater numbers. Daskalos protected his privacy for so many years, so that he could work deeply and quietly. He was not a promoter of mass mysticism. In his final years he was able to write important books and preserve his work. After his passing the interest in his work has only increased, and will ‹ by all counts ‹ continue to increase. Daskalos would encourage anyone, no matter where they are in the world, to enter the teachings either alone or with a group of friends.
So What Was Daskalos' Advice?
In 1990-91 I spoke extensively with Daskalos of his vision of how groups and individuals should work properly with the teachings. Daskalos was very reluctant to pass any edicts or lay down any rules. He spoke of study groups which would be largely independent from one another and from Cyprus. The tradition of decentralized, nonhierarchical, work was very important. 'Our way,' said Daskalos, 'is open and free. Christ came here to give us back our spiritual authority. Anyone with a clean heart can contact Christ, John, myself and many, many other great ones.' The study groups were to work quietly, guided by their own inspiration. Should a circle need material (tapes and writing) Daskalos provided them. He was there to serve the study groups; the groups were not there to serve him. All were free to record his open lessons, and he permitted the copying of these lessons to be shared with sincere individuals. Many, many people recorded Daskalos' lessons, and they all have his permission to share the material with worthy individuals. His only wish was that no one profit from the sales of the tapes.
When asked how study groups should form Daskalos offered advice...
1.Study group guided by an Individual (Brother or Sister Guide): An initiator of a group should be well-grounded in the teaching, having himself studied and practiced the teaching for a year or longer before forming a study group. He/she cares for the direction and development of the group; preparing lessons and leading meditations.-
2. A cooperative study group: An alternative is to form a group with others where all contribute equally. These group works democratically. This means that each week, or each meeting, one member of the group can prepare a talk about an aspect of the teachings, such as elementals, and lead a meditation. The next meeting another member can focus on another theme. 'This can be very powerful' said Daskalos, 'as every one must work!' In the beginning a group may just want to listen to a tape lesson, share a reading (from the Bible and/or from the esoteric Christian tradition) together and then discuss it.
Who should participate...
Daskalos believed strongly that people should come to the work by their own will. He was against any type of recruitment. It was his personal policy only to offer advice when called upon. He believed that the study groups should work quietly, and they would be guided. Numbers were not as importance as the quality and level of the exploration.
How often should a study group meet?
As often as they wish. In Cyprus the Inner Circles meet once every two weeks. Other study groups meet every week. It depends on the needs and the time of the members of the study group. It is important to find balance between study and life.
Daskalos on maintaining the purity of the Teachings...
Daskalos felt very protective of these teachings, and was wary of any attempt to mix them with other work. As the teachings came from the highest source, Daskalos found them full, most powerful. He often taught: 'We are students in the esoteric Christian tradition. We believe that many, many other teachers and teaching have found the truth. The gardens of other traditions, East and West, have very beautiful flowers, and I encourage seekers to visit these gardens and taste the nectar. We are against dogmatism and prohibitions! I do ask that a seeker, and the study groups, to work within the esoteric Christian truth (which I believe has the most lovely flowers, and sweetest nectar) and that all other teachings are explored through our values and beliefs: love and reason. In other words after visiting other gardens, come home to ours. Remember that spiritual teachings, the fine fruits, need patience, dedication, and sincerity – with self and others – that we can taste these fruits. To fully understand the teachings of Christ a man or woman needs years, if not decades, or lifetimes! But we are walking on a very sure and full path.'
Daskalos stressed the important of developing the skills of...
invoking the Archangels for healing and guidance
exploring subconscious desires, that constitute our egoism, with the aim of transforming troublesome elementals into life-giving elementals.
Final advice for a study group?
When I asked Daskalos if he had any final words for the study circles, he said: 'I advise everyone to make a prayer before they start. It is good to clean the atmosphere before starting with spiritual work. Christ said that when 'two or three are gathered in His name He is among them'. This is a great promise! And a great truth! The presence of John [the evangelist] also blesses the study groups. I will not be here long, but even after I leave I will be with all study groups that work sincerely, with reason and with love. This is a promise I make to all of you.'