I heard from the Admor from Kalushin that in the previous times, the attainment of the Creator had to be preceded by the study of all seven external sciences called “seven maids serving the king’s daughter” and terrible asceticism.
Despite all this, a few found grace in the eyes of the Creator. However, from the time we have merited the teaching of the Ari and the service of Baal Shem Tov, it is truly suitable for every person, and people no longer need the aforementioned preparation.
– Baal HaSulam, Fruit of the Wise – Letters, pg. 116, Letter 38