The mystery of the Holy Grail will help you understand that the Warrior Path is a Spiritual Path of the most profound nature, symbolized in the West as the quest for the Holy Grail by the Knights of the Round Table and in the East as the quest for Immortality by the Chinese Spiritual Warriors.
Originally, the real Knights of the Round Table—the initiated knights of France, Germany, Britain and other countries in Europe—and also the great Chinese Warriors, such as those from the Wudang Mountains, had spiritually enlightened Masters without whom the Warrior Schools could not have existed. The Teachers unveiled the mystery of the quest, what a Warrior should be seeking, but when the Teachers died, of course, the knowledge died with them.
In all the great traditions, therefore, the later generations did not understand what the quest was about, and it is that misunderstanding which is normally portrayed in books about the Knights of the Round Table and the Chinese Warriors. So their stories read like far-off memories of knights on a real quest mixed with materialistic ambition and ideas of worldly conquest, along with glimmers of truth. That, of course, is how it is in this world: everything spiritual after a while becomes degenerated into a material concept.
A good example today is Yoga. The original meaning of the word Yoga is “conscious union with God”. Now, how many Yoga students today really think that what they are doing is consciously uniting with God? In fact, in America there are advertisements for Yoga classes actually claiming that Yoga is not a religion, that it is not about spirituality, meaning to say it is only about physical exercises. That is how degenerated things have become! After a while, even the most spiritual knowledge becomes swallowed up and absorbed in materialistic consciousness, and then the materialistic consciousness denies that there ever was any spiritual connection in the first place.
That is what happened over the centuries to the great Spiritual Warrior Schools, including the Christian Knights of the Round Table, who originally had a spiritual vision or ideal that slowly degenerated and became a worldly quest.
So what is this quest for the Holy Grail and what is this quest for Tao, or Conscious Immortality?
I am using these two major systems as examples: the Chinese system of Tao and the Christian system of the Holy Grail. In the stories about the Knights of the Round Table, whether in English, French, German, Spanish, Hungarian, etc., the main idea is that the knights had to look for the Holy Grail.
Unfortunately, the writers of these stories had a fertile imagination but no real Esoteric Knowledge, because the Holy Grail is not a physical thing at all. Nor is the Tao, although the Chinese warriors went out looking for a fountain that would make them immortal when they drank its water. So by that time the knowledge had already degenerated, but the basic idea that the knights and warriors had to look for something, that there was something sacred they had to sacrifice their life for, was correct. But those who had not been initiated into the Esoteric Knowledge never found what they were looking for, and many of them died in misery because of their lifelong quest.
Of course, the normal understanding of the Holy Grail is that it is the cup that Jesus drank wine out of at the Last Supper, or the cup that Joseph of Arimathea used to collect Jesus’ blood when He was speared while hanging on the cross. So the knights’ stories were based on looking for a cup or a spear, and when they found it they would become immortal, that is to say, they would have omnipotent powers. Even the Germans during the Second World War were looking for this cup and spear, as did many people over the centuries. Of course, nobody has found them yet because, as I said, they are not physical things. Christ did have a cup, of course, and there was a real spear that He was killed with, but they are not objects of a quest for immortality, nor do they have anything to do with it.
The Way of the Spiritual Warrior is the quest for truth, but the truth lies somewhere within things. It is a spiritual quest and the Cup and the Spear and the Fountain of Immortality are only symbols of a deeper mystery that I’m going to tell you about.
What we are really questing for as Spiritual Knights, or Spiritual Warriors, is an invisible reality. The Physical World, the Astral World and the Mental World are part of what we call the Lower Creation, which is perishable. The Buddhic World, the Nirvāṇic World and the worlds above are part of the Higher Creation, and relative to the Lower Creation they are eternal. Of course, the most unstable reality is the Physical World, as you know, because in the Physical World everything is changing all the time; everything is being demolished and transformed into something else.
The astral dimension is also unstable. After death, you will exist for a while in your astral, or psychic, body. The intellectual types will only stay there a short time because they do not have much resonance with the astral dimensions, which are based on emotions; the more emotional types will stay there longer. Similarly, those of you who are intellectual will go to the Heaven World (if you manage to get there), and the more intellectual you were, the longer you will stay in those dimensions, because the Heaven World is a world of pure thought-structures, where your mind can explore all the possibilities of physics, science, mathematics, philosophy, theology, metaphysics or whatever. You can spend thousands of years in the heavenly dimensions, but afterward you have to move on and come back into incarnation again. No matter how long you stay in any one of these worlds, you eventually have to move on because in these regions of Creation you cannot stay forever in a particular condition—which is why you cannot find the Fountain of Immortality on Earth because immortality, of course, is a condition in which you never die. In the Physical World, Astral World and Mental World, there is no condition in which you never die, so none of these dimensions contains the Fountain of Immortality or the Holy Grail.
So if you want to become a Spiritual Warrior, this is one thing you have to understand from day one: Your quest will never be fulfilled here, in this reality. It has to be fulfilled in another reality.
What we have to establish about the Way of the Spiritual Warrior is that it is spiritual. You have to understand that there is a tremendous spiritual dimension within us that can only be approached by spiritual means. You cannot approach it by developing physical powers or psychic powers or mental powers. That is why this quest is so difficult. If you were told that there is a holy cup or a fountain of youth that will give you immortality, you would immediately want to figure out how to get it. But you—the personality—cannot go on this quest; you have to employ another part of you, a part of you that you are normally not aware of. You can call it the Self within you or the Fundamental Reality within you or the God within you or the Living Soul within you—whatever you like to call it, there is something in every human being, within the deeper regions of the Heart Centre, that is not part of this Creation. You have a physical heart and an etheric heart, which maintain your physical body and are part of this Creation; an astral heart, which maintains the functions of your astral body and is part of this Creation; a mental heart, which maintains your mental body and is part of this Creation; and you have a causal heart, which is a half-material, half- Light reality but is also part of this Creation. But then beyond that, in the Buddhic dimensions, you have the lowest stage of the Spiritual Heart, which is definitely not of this Creation. And within that is the real Spiritual Heart, which is like a dynamic Light whose every scintillating, oscillating “atom” is a moment of eternity. In the East they call it the Jewel within the Lotus, because the lotus flower represents the Heart Centre: Ōṁ Maṇi Padme Hūṁ. Ōṁ Maṇi: the “jewel”; Padme: “within the lotus”; Hūṁ: “we dissolve in it”.
In the West they call it the Rose in the Heart. Whether it is symbolically called a lotus flower or a rose, it is a deeper reality within us, which is our essential immortality. We are connected through the Heart to that great Jewel within us—or if you like, the Holy Grail or the Fountain of Immortality—the Conscious Immortality within us.
Continues in the next article “The Quest for the Holy Grail and the Feminine Principle.”
Excerpt from The Way of the Spiritual Warrior (Pages 259 -264)