Every spiritual tradition has reverence for the elders who are called many names: ascended masters, descended avatars, bodhisattvas who become buddhas, the Mother Lodge of the Sun, the Masters of Wisdom, saints, prophets, tulkus, arahats, yogis, yoginis, yidams, great initiates, shamans, kahunas, deities, devas, and hierarchical beings, to name but a few. The distinctions between these vastly different ranks of human and spiritual beings are often confused and deserve clear definition so that discernment can follow. Many of these highly developed beings are quite familiar to Western students of esotericism who tend to delve into the religions and mythologies of all cultures.
One can find a golden thread throughout all traditions that assures us that beings who are more evolved than the general populace live among us to plant the seeds of spiritual wisdom that take root in the soul of the aspirant on the path of spiritual development. These beings are not only alive now, but they continue to influence and inspire aspirants whether they are currently incarnated or not. Masters have reincarnated again and again to guide humanity on the progressive path of spiritual evolution from ancient times when they were priest-kings and priestess-queens who led cultures with the wisdom communicated to them from higher beings, to the great masters who live among us today and teach many types of spiritual paths to ascension.
We can examine the parameters of the different types of masters and avatars found throughout many traditions as we look for the golden thread of wisdom that runs through them all. We can learn about the personal lives of some of these beings through a variety of incarnations to create a picture of spiritual evolution in relationship to advanced humans who are currently taking on their higher spiritual bodies. Watching the evolution of a bodhisattva becoming a buddha reveals the spiritual path we are all traveling. Learning the signposts and ancient routes that take us up the spiritual mountain help illuminate the ascent and provide the life-wisdom needed to mount the summit.
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