Q: Is an exoteric religious tradition necessary?
Though it may not be easy to see how or why, everything in this world is necessary and has a purpose.
There are two classes of human beings:
- those that are mostly aware of external existence and therefore think and act with an almost total degree of outer awareness, motivation and response, and
- those that are also aware of internal existence to such a degree that it effects their thinking and behavior to a marked degree. These people are mostly affected by psychological and even psychic awareness. Though living side by side, they live in two different–even contradictory–worlds. Origen called the first type Somas–Bodies, and the second kind Pneumas–Spirit.
For the externally-oriented people, exoteric religion is a necessity, for by continually bringing God and spiritual principles to bear on their outer material life they very slowly begin to spiritualize their thinking and living. This can take a lot of lives, but it does inevitably happen.
For the internally and psychically aware people, esoteric religion is a necessity for it furthers their growth into progressively higher awareness until they transcend this purely material life and and become capable of passing into higher, subtler worlds where their evolution will be greatly accelerated. Until then, yoga can be the major factor for their development, not mere religiosity even if extremely “spiritual.”
So for some exoteric religion is necessary and for others esoteric religion is necessary and some need both together. It is all a matter of intuition and must be determined by the individual, not some external person, factor or authority.
The prime necessity is that each person figure this out for himself while respecting the needs of others, however different they may be.