commentary by Michael D. Robbins
Two questions always arise the moment the stage of discipleship is discussed: the problem of occult obedience and the nature of the vision. I would like to deal with these right at the beginning of any help which I may be able to give you. What is this occult obedience which a Master is supposed to exact? Today, the Masters are dealing with the highly mental type of disciple who believes in the freedom of the human will and consciousness and who resents the imposition of any so-called authority. The intellectual man will not accept any infringement of his freedom, and in this he is basically right. He objects to having to obey. This is today axiomatic. Out of this fundamental question, lesser ones arise which I would like to cite. Has the disciple to obey the slightest hint which the Master may give? Must every request and suggestion be accepted? Must all that a Master says be accepted as true and infallibly correct? Is the disciple wrong when he refuses (if he does) to recognise the Master's point of view and the statements He may make? Will the fact of Accepted Discipleship limit his freedom of opinion or choice, coerce his judgment and make him simply a replica in thought of the Master's thought? These are questions of importance.
1.The Tibetan begins to deal with two problems fundamental to all disciplic training: the problems of occult obedience and of vision.
2.There is much misunderstanding about the nature of occult obedience and Master DK seeks to set the matter straight at the outset.
3.The modern disciple is different from his more devotional and less intelligent counterpart of former times. Today’s disciple is often a “highly mental type” and, with that increase in mentality, has come an increasing demand for freedom, even though the principle of freedom is incompletely understood. The modern, intelligent and, thus, more willful disciple believe he has a personal authority which must not be infringed (even by a Master). DK speaks directly here; such disciples object “to having to obey”.
4.Overall, DK considers this a good development, but one can imagine that it will necessitate an adaptation in the approach long-used by Masters in the training of Their chelas.
5.DK lists many associated questions which relate to the nature of occult obedience. They all amount to a single question: “just how closely must a disciple obey his Master”? If a disciple becomes an accepted disciple will this fact “limit his freedom of opinion or choice, coerce his judgment and make him simply a replica in thought of the Master’s thought”? The very thought that this last prospect may eventuate is a true horror to many disciples, especially those who do not yet understand the nature of occult obedience, and who have not yet really entered the Ashram. Had they done so they would know that such fear-based thoughts are unfounded and have no basis in reality.
The obedience required is obedience to the Plan. It is not obedience to the Master, no matter what many old-style occult schools may say. The obedience which is asked of you is based on your growing recognition of the Plan for humanity, as it emerges in your consciousness through the processes of meditation and through definite service, based upon a growing love of your fellowmen.
6.DK states with utter simplicity the principle underlying occult obedience: “the obedience required is obedience to the Plan.”
7.The older types of occult schools emphasize much the necessity of obedience to the Master (personally), but DK says that this is not necessary, per se.
8.However, it should be said that since the Master, Himself, is invariably obedient to the Plan, and has a much deeper knowledge of the Plan than will be possible for any of His chelas, then, obedience to the Master is, effectively, obedience to the Plan.
9.DK spells out with great exactitude the nature of the obedience asked of His disciples and, really, of all modern disciples. We are expected to develop an obedience which is based on our “growing recognition for the Plan for humanity.” When we really recognize the Plan and its goodness, our obedience to it will automatically follow. In any case, Socrates thought so; for him, to really know the good was to do the good.
10.It is important to note that a true recognition of the Plan will emerge in the consciousness through three processes: meditation, true service and a growing love of humanity. It can be stated, then, that unless we meditate and serve, and not only serve, but serve with love, we will not recognize the Plan, and because of that non-recognition, will not be occultly obedient.
The obedience demanded is that of the personality to the soul as soul knowledge, soul light and soul control become [page 687] increasingly potent in the mind and brain reactions of the disciple. This whole problem of occult obedience would not arise at all if the rapport between soul and personality or between the disciple and the Master was complete and soundly established. The entire question is based upon the blindness and lack of knowledge of the disciple. As the rapport becomes more firmly established, no fundamental divergences of opinion can appear; the aims of the soul and the personality blend and fuse; the objectives before the disciple and the Master become identical, and the group life conditions the service rendered by both of them. It is, therefore, the limitations of the disciple which prompt the question and his fear that too much may be asked of him by the Master and his soul. Is this not true, my brother? It is the holding on to your personality interpretations, wishes and ideas which leads you to draw back from the word obedience. It is your liking for yourself and for your own point of view which—literally and factually—makes you afraid of a too prompt acquiescence in the known suggestions of the Masters. I would have you remember that suggestion is all that a Master ever makes to a disciple, even though He may make positive statements about human affairs. These statements may be entirely correct; the neophyte, however, is usually too blind or prejudiced by his own individual point of view to accept them. Obedience can only be rendered when there is a developed understanding and an inclusive vision; if that is lacking, the passing of time will adjust the matter.
11.At the root of occult obedience is a fundamental type of obedience about which some of us have been studying for many years, perhaps many lives: the obedience of personality to soul. None of us objects to the necessity of such an obedience, although we may appreciate that it is not always easy to achieve. The one who, as a personality, is obedient to soul will have no difficulty in understanding and practicing occult obedience. Obedience to soul naturally develops as soul makes an increasingly powerful impress upon mind and brain. If soul is merely a concept and not an experience, obedience to it cannot be understood and will not follow.
12.Now Master DK really gets to the point: the whole question of occult obedience arises in the minds of many disciples simply because, in their case, the rapport between personality and soul, and disciple and Master, is incompletely established. They are blind to the real experience of such a firmly established rapport and hence they (as personalities) question the value of occult obedience.
13.Our task is to ensure that rapport between personality and soul, and between disciple and Master, becomes established as firmly as possible. Then a fusion between these apparent opposites will occur, and with this infusion of the greater into the lesser, divergences of opinion (between chela and Master) will disappear. The lesser will ‘see’ as the greater ‘sees’ (at least to a far greater extent), and discrepancies in point of view will be negated. With the growth of such developments, it will be seen that both soul and Master serve the greater group; the disciple (considered as a personality) must learn to do so.
14.Really, the Tibetan is looking for “prompt acquiescence” from His disciples. He is wanting them to see more as He sees, and to render obedience to the vision which animates Him and which could animate them.
15.The Tibetan points the finger at disciples’ excessive attachment to their own personality interpretations, wishes and ideas, and to the fear that they might have to relinquish same if they were to accede to the Master’s wishes (and to the indications of the Plan). They like themselves and their established ways too much.
16.We remember in this regard that the Path of Discipleship is the Path of Sacrifice, and many lesser things simply have to be relinquished in favor of greater. Fortunately, the usual growth of light upon this Path is such that the reason for so doing is made ever clearer, and thus, to a degree, the task of relinquishment becomes easier than for the unillumined man of the world.
17.We are being told that we (if we are like so many disciples) have an excessive liking for our own point of view and do not wish to give it up. Maybe we should examine our lives to determine the extent to which this may be true. To what extent are we learning to see and understanding as members of an Ashram would see and understand? To what extent can we, as it were, look through the Master’s eyes?
18.Master DK reminds us that a Master will not coerce His chelas; suggestions are all He will make. Will the chela recognize the validity of such suggestions? Often he will not, because he is “too blind or prejudiced by his own point of view to accept them”. We see that our limitations in consciousness prevent us from availing ourselves fully of all that a Master may have to offer us. It would be the course of wisdom, then, to get rid of those limitations as rapidly as possible.
19.A close study of the DINA books reveals that quite a number of DK’s chelas reacted adversely to the “positive statements” which He made about world affairs and different groups of human beings. The Master’s statements proved, of course, to be correct and the disciples were left with the task of adjusting their point of view.
20.DK is a realist in this matter of a disciple’s adjustment to the Master’s perspective; if adjustment is not forthcoming in the moment, time (a great agent of detachment) will supply the wisdom with which the disciple can become more understanding and inclusive.
21.We may have noticed (after years of study) our point of view coming ever-closer to that of the Master. This is not a matter of indoctrination; rather, it is a growing into the consciousness of the Master.
This brings up the question of the vision, its nature and extension. Is this vision, which must exist before the disciple seeks admittance into a Master's group, a gradually unfolding process or an unconscious remembering of something once sensed and seen? Here lies the crux of the problem. Let me explain. The vision is a symbolic way of experiencing revelation. The gradual unfoldment of each of the five senses brought a steady emerging revelation of God's world and a constantly extending vision. The development of sight brought a synthetic aptitude to focus the results of all lesser visions brought to the point of revelation by the other four senses. Then comes a vision, revealed by the "common sense" of the mind. This [page 688] demonstrates in its most developed stage as world perception where human affairs are concerned, and frequently works out in the vast personality plans of the world leaders in the various fields of human living. But the vision with which you should be concerned is to become aware of what the soul knows and what the soul sees, through the use of the key to soul vision—the intuition. That key can only be used intelligently and consciously when personality affairs are dropping below the threshold of consciousness.
22.Having clarified the nature of true occult obedience, DK expands upon the nature of vision. We note that a “vision” must exist before a disciple seeks admittance to a Master’s group. Were there no such vision, there would be no incentive to seek admittance to something so apparently intangible and impractical as a group of that nature.
23.The main question Master DK poses is whether the vision which is to be acquired before entry is “a gradually unfolding process” or “an unconscious remembering of something once sense and seen”. Perhaps the truth will be seen as a combination of both alternatives.
24.A simple sentence starts our enquiry: “the vision is a symbolic way of experiencing revelation”. The vision is not the revelation as many visionaries seem to think. The same revelation may manifest itself through different visions. The vision is doorway to revelation. The tendency to mistake the vision for the revelation has led to many abuses based and much intolerance.
25.DK speaks of the gradually unfolding senses and their culmination in the synthetic sense of slight. Just as the Aryan Race (a ‘race-in-consciousness’) is the culmination of the previous four root races, so the sense of sight is a culmination of smell, taste, hearing, and touch (though taste and smell also have higher correspondence representing faculties more advanced that the sense of sight). Interestingly, the sense which correlates with the Aryan consciousness is, indeed, sight.
26.One type of vision of which DK speaks is revealed by the “common sense” of the mind. This sense is the “sixth sense”, occultly considered. Such a vision is not sensory, as that term is usually considered. Rather, it is possessed of intelligence.
27.DK tells us that such visions, in highly developed persons, work out as “in the vast personality plans of the world leaders in the various fields of human living.”
28.There is yet another type of vision which is revealed by what might be called the “esoteric sense”, which, occultly, is a “seventh sense”. It is the vision of what the soul knows and sees and requires the exercise of the intuition. This is the kind of vision which actuates a Master in all He does. The right use of the “common sense” and its wide vision leads to the possibility of eventually developing an intuitive recognition of soul vision. The first (the “common sense”) is strictly human; the second (the “esoteric sense”) is fed by the fifth kingdom of nature.
29.When can such a vision come to the aspiring disciple? Only when personality affairs are dropping below the threshold of consciousness. Many aspirants and disciples are still preoccupied with their personality and its reactions to life in the three worlds. This preoccupation leaves insufficient ‘room in consciousness’ for the descent of the higher vision. When, however, detachment from personality affairs becomes somewhat established, and a sense of spiritual values takes the place of older, personality-centered values, the light can enter.
I would ask you: How much of your present so-called vision is dependent upon what others have seen and how much you discovered for yourself by climbing arduously and earnestly the Mount of Vision and (from that eminence which you have arrived at alone) looking out over the horizon towards the next peak of attainment for humanity? A disciple becomes an Accepted Disciple when he starts climbing towards the vision, towards the mountain top; he can also register consciously what he has seen and then begins to do something constructive towards materialising it. This, many throughout the world are beginning to do. A man becomes a World Disciple in the technical sense when the vision is to him an important and determining fact in his consciousness and one to which all his daily efforts are subordinated. He needs no one to reveal the Plan to him. He knows. His sense of proportion is adjusted to the revelation and his life is dedicated to bringing the vision into factual existence—in collaboration with his group.
30.The Tibetan seems to be suggesting that not many of us really have a vision—at least a vision of our own. With respect to the vision characteristic of most of us, He uses the term, “so-called”, meaning that such a vision is not especially real.
31.In truth, we have to admit that, in matters of occultism, our vision is dependent on the fact that in order to ‘see’, we are, as it were, “standing on the shoulders of giants” (such as that giant of occult understanding, Master DK, and His gigantic mind).
32.The proper way to attain the vision is to discover it for ourselves by “climbing arduously and earnestly the Mount of Vision and (from that eminence which you have arrived at alone) looking out over the horizon towards the next peak of attainment for humanity”. The picture He paints is inspiring and throws us back upon ourselves and upon our ability to climb.
33.The strong suggestion is that a true vision cannot be handed from one to another. Many may adopt the vision of others, but the adopted vision is not real unless one has seen its contents for oneself.
34.Of course, in all fairness, it must be stated that a great Teacher like Master DK is also, to a very intelligent degree, seeing through the eyes of others. He often writes of the cosmic astral and mental planes, but admits that He has not been there (cf. R&I 200) But He certainly knows the difference between what He has seen for Himself, and that part of His universal estimation which is conferred by the vision of others—souls still higher in Their attainment than His own.
35.At least if we could discriminate between what we see for ourselves and what is theoretically based and drawn from the vision of the Master, that would be an important and sobering assessment.
36.There is nothing wrong in accepting the vision from a great Teacher, as long as one works to make that accepted vision a personal/individual reality by laboring continuously to see for oneself..
37.An important moment comes when the disciple pauses and asks himself the following questions:
What do I actually know for myself? This much be a most searching and self-critical inquiry. One must not let oneself escape scrutiny.
What do I merely think I know?
What do I assume I know because I have become habituated to the presence in my mental field of the knowledge of others?
What do I infer because I have been told by those who are apparently more knowledgeable than I am?
Upon which kinds of the above ‘knowledge’ do I base my life, and to what extent in each case?
38.Another important clarification concerning the nature of Accepted Discipleship is given. When one begins to climb the
for oneself, and when one begins to really do something about what one sees, one can become an accepted disciple. Both requirements are necessary: one must climb oneself and one must apply in service what one learns during the climb. Mountainof Vision
39.Because many in the world are today beginning to do this, it can be inferred that more and more disciples are stepping upon the path of Accepted Discipleship, technically understood.
40.A “World Disciple”, technically understood, is in advance of an accepted disciple. A world disciple is one for whom the vision has become a determining fact of consciousness to which he subordinates all his time and energy. The Divine Plan, for a world disciple, is more important by far than the personal living of his personal life. Really, a world disciple, is on the verge of the third initiation or has taken it, and so is thinking and acting in planetary terms.
41.Lesser disciples need to have the Plan revealed to them; a world disciple is beginning to know for himself the nature of the Divine Plan.
42.His sense of proportion is adjusted and, thus, he has passed through some important Libran experiences. Not only is his sense of proportion adjusted but it is “adjusted to the revelation”—not just to the vision. In other words, the world disciple has experienced revelation (the third degree) and has thus transcended the form of the vision. A world disciple (relatively of course) knows what is most important to the Hierarchy, and, thus (again to a degree) to Sanat Kumara and Shamballa. He has intuitive understanding of the deeper purposes moving the planet towards its destiny, and he is intent on cooperating fully with those purposes.
43.His vision (now enriched by true revelation) is no longer, strictly speaking, his own vision, per se. It is the vision of his Ashram and Master (whether or not he knows this consciously), and he is determined to bring this vision into factual existence.
44.DK adds the words, “in collaboration with his group”, because the world disciple is not an isolated figure but, having advanced far into soul consciousness, is working (consciously in most cases) with a hierarchically related group.
45.The world disciple knows “he travels not alone”, just as every member of the Spiritual Hierarchy knows this fact. His thoughts and actions are respectful of the larger group external with which he collaborates, and of the subjective group or groups to which he is responsible and in relation to which he is considered, occultly, a co-worker.
46.It is hoped that those who study Master DK’s words in this regard are at least “pledged disciples” or intent on firmly making their pledge. Then they can move understandingly towards the stage of Accepted Discipleship, technically considered. When they have succeeded in functioning in this stage, certainly for more than one life, and probably for several, they will in a position (because of greatly enhanced, selfless service) to be considered world disciples; their work will declare them as such. They will not and cannot declare themselves!
It is, therefore, a gradually unfolding process up to a certain stage. After that stage has been reached, it is no longer the vision which is the dominant factor but the field of experience, of service and of achievement. Ponder on this. Some day you will understand. There is both an unconscious deflection towards the vision and a conscious orientation towards it. There is one aspect of the vision which is oft forgotten by many disciples. That is the necessity—inherent in the right appreciation of the vision itself—for each who records it to become "bestowers of the vision." The moment that that takes place, the whole situation changes. Through the thoughts of all beginners runs the note of striving after the vision, of searching for it, of ability or inability to contact it and, frequently, [page 689] the distortion of the vision by defining it in terms of already imparted truths. The attitude of the neophyte is, therefore, based upon the need for vision, upon individual, personal need. But (upon the path of Accepted Discipleship) the disciple must get away from this because it is the path of spontaneous unconscious self-forgetfulness. The vision, once seen, becomes so important, that how you feel about it and your adherence to it seemingly fades out. You become absorbed in the vision and this absorption takes place upon the physical plane. Both mind and brain are preoccupied with what the soul knows and that is ever vision for the personality.
47.DK notes the gradual unfoldment in the process of developing and serving the vision.
48.An occult hint is given, presumably about the stage of either accepted discipleship, and even more related to world discipleship. As these stages are achieved, the vision, per se, is no longer the dominant factor; instead it is “the field of experience, of service and achievement” which becomes of dominating importance.
49.Vision, we remember, is symbolic of revelation. It leads and guides towards revelation. But comes the day when things are seen as they are, and then something must be done. One sees; one no longer simply longs to see. This seeing of the facts demands intelligent serviceable action. Experience has replaced the visionary anticipation of experience. The symbol has given way to the fact—as revelation reveals that fact.
50.DK speaks interestingly of “an unconscious deflection towards the vision and a conscious orientation towards it”. The part of us that, deeply recessed in the psyche, ‘remembers’ the vision as seen from the higher planes, deflects the disciple towards the vision even though the disciple may not consciously notice this deflection. A force within us impels us towards our destiny. At the same time the Master’s words and descending soul light (present factors) correlate with our inner, unconscious ‘memory’ of that which (now, from higher planes or long ago) we ‘unconsciously see’ or have seen. There is a definite conscious aspect to the vision and towards it the disciple consciously orients himself. Thus, both consciously and unconsciously we move towards the vision.
51.The Tibetan now speaks from the perspective of service, revealing as aspect of the vision which He says is oft forgotten: if one rightly apprehends the vision, one is inwardly compelled to be become a “bestower of the vision”. One may “see for oneself” (by climbing the Mount of Vision) but one does not ‘see for the sake of oneself alone’ (if the meaning of these words can be understood). Just as joy shared is joy doubled, so a vision shared is a vision, the power of which is much enhanced.
52.To share a vision is of course not the same as compelling others to accept one’s limited perspective—and all human perspectives are limited The registered vision is offered to others within the energy of reason, and they are left to do with it what they will.
53.The surest way of expanding the vision or improving its quality and scope is to bestow it. We are dealing with the phenomenon of the “overflowing cup”. That which is offered is replenished in ever greater quality (and quantity). Such is the Law.
54.Beginners are almost obsessed with the thought of achieving the vision, and suffer much over their perceived inability to contact it. DK brings forward an important point: that the vision is frequently distorted because it is interpreted in terms of already imparted truths. If a vision is real it is, in a way, new. We see what happened when Saul took the “new” truths bestowed by the Christ and attempted to adapt them to established Jewish and Greek thought. Distortions naturally appeared and for these distortions humanity in the Western world has been paying for many centuries. Even advanced initiates learn the hard way and create karma they must in later incarnations address.
55.The intuition conveys the new. New wine poured in old bottles suffers degradation.
56.The neophyte, in short, experiences a personal need for the vision and becomes almost desperate about achieving it. This is a much different attitude to that of the accepted disciple who is really beginning to see for himself and who treats the vision as a perspective of great use in the manifesting of the Divine Plan.
57.The strictly personal (and, therefore, selfish) approach to the vision must not be perpetuated. On the Path of Accepted Discipleship it must be dropped.
58.Then DK offers another of His excellent (and terse) definitions: The Path of Accepted Discipleship is the “path of spontaneous unconscious self-forgetfulness”. We may question ourselves according to this criterion when we wonder whether we may or may not be treading this Path.
59.DK changes “person”. He begins to address us as “you”, and so the advice turns very direct. Once the vision is truly seen, how we feel about it, or about our adherence to it, fades out. The vision itself becomes the main thing and the little “we” is no longer the important factor of consideration it long had been. In short, we take our eyes off the little self; the vision, and the Plan it is intended to reveal, take the place-in-consciousness once occupied by concern over the little self.
60.We are to be absorbed in the vision—on the physical plane. Not only is the mind involved but the brain as well. When the Tibetan speaks of involving the brain in any process, it means that the process has been brought down to the physical plane.
61.Another important definition emerges out of the last sentence in this paragraph: “Both mind and brain are preoccupied with what the soul knows and that is ever vision for the personality.” So then, “what the soul knows” is the vision, as far as the personality is concerned. And what the soul knows and what the Master knows are, for all intents and purposes, the same.
62.This kind of knowing (not only in the mind but in the brain) is not easy of achievement. To achieve this knowing is the purpose of occult meditation, and of the service process stimulated by occult meditation.
63.We are (here and now) to know what the soul knows. If we do, then a real vision has entered our consciousness, and will build surely to revelation, which will transcend symbolic presentation.
I referred above to the existence of disciples and of world disciples. A world disciple is a man or woman who has made real progress in the adjustment between the particular and the universal, between the specific and the general and between his own sphere of environal conditions and the outer world of needy souls. The problem with which such disciples are occupied is not the adjustment of relations between the inner spiritual man, the soul and its instrument, the personal lower self. Their major interest is how to fulfil the immediate personality obligation and, at the same time, produce an effect upon the environing world of men because of a strong inner compulsion and the need they feel to shoulder the service and the responsibility of their Master and His group. These men and women are always accepted disciples in the academic sense of the term and are able to render themselves receptive to spiritual impression; they do this, if they choose, at will. They are integrated people from the personality angle and susceptible at all times to soul contact. They are not yet perfect, for they are not yet Masters; the fourth initiation still lies ahead for them but their own imperfections are not their major point of soul attack or their major preoccupation; world need and world demand for spiritual and psychic aid rank paramount in their consciousness. They are clear-visioned as to people but they are basically non-critical; the recognition of imperfection is automatic with them but in no way negates loving understanding and readiness to assist on any level where the need appears to be of importance.
64.Master DK continues to clarify the nature world disciples and the differences between such disciples and disciples of lesser rank.
65.A world disciple has (consciously or unconsciously) built the first stages of the antahkarana and has thus penetrated into the realm of the spiritual triad. Therefore, the world disciple understands the “universal” view conveyed by the triad and the particular view of the personality. Because such a disciple works with cognizance of both triads—personal and impersonal, he can see in both general and specific terms. There is an ability to contain, simultaneously, both macrocosm (within limits) and microcosm; his own particular sphere of relations is always considered in relation to the larger environing sphere of humanity and to humanity’s need.
66.These definitions of a world disciple are very important. If we want to strive towards a higher level of achievement, we must know the meaning of that towards which we strive.
67.World disciples are Plan-cognizant and Plan-driven. Their microcosmic adjustments are well under way. Spiritually, they can take care of themselves and are not preoccupied with the adjustment between soul and personality.
68.They have entered a larger sphere of understanding and responsibility. If they are trained occultly (and the Hierarchy intends to train many more world disciples so that they can become more occultly conscious), they know they are responsible to an Ashram and to its Master. They feel an overpowering need to fulfill that responsibility.
69.One must be at least an accepted disciple, in the academic sense, to become a world disciple. DK tells us that they are integrated personalities; a truly integrated personality (understood occultly) is an initiate of the third degree. They are always susceptible to soul impression at will; this is important. They are not struggling to make contact with the soul and to live the life of the soul. Rather, they are already doing so, and are seeking to understand how their expression of soul energy in the world may be ever-more useful to the manifestation of the Divine Plan.
70.DK points out that world disciples are not yet perfect. This is an important statement, if we are to maintain the right sense of proportion. Ahead of them still lie the fifth and even the fourth initiation. The implication, again, is that the third initiation has probably been achieved, for He did not say that that particular initiation lay before them.
71.Despite their imperfections, those imperfections are “not their major point of soul attack”. This little phrase suggests that they are functioning as souls, and choose not to become preoccupied with problems within their microcosmic lower nature. Such problems are noted and given necessary but not excessive attention.
72.Rather, as conscious souls, they attack world problems. They become preoccupied with world demand “for spiritual and psychic aid”. These two kinds of aid can be distinguished, though the kind of psychic aid offered by world disciples is always infused with spiritual understanding.
73.When DK tells us that world disciples are “clear visioned people”, He is again suggesting the attainment of the third degree, for at that initiation, the “eye” is clarified. Venus (ruling, in one sense, vision) becomes a planet of great importance, and comes into prominence on the mountain top of initiation. Venus is the hierarchical ruler of Capricorn, the sign most associated with the third initiation.
74.We see that the world disciple is mastering the techniques of harmlessness, because, though endowed with the ability to readily see imperfections in his fellow human beings, he is not critical of those imperfections, but treats those possessing them with loving understanding. He is always ready to help, and, having passed through much pain on his long ascent, knows that criticism is far from the same as real assistance.
75.The world disciple is a junior member of Hierarchy and, in many cases, a conscious member of the Ashram.
76.It is clear that Master DK hoped that more of His accepted disciples could become “world disciples”, technically understood, and was seeking to enlarge their understanding of the disciplic stage potentially ahead.
[page 690] World disciples think in terms of groups with a steadily developing measure of inclusiveness. Their own group, their own circle of co-workers and their own field of service are seen by them in right proportion because they are not divorced from the environing All. They are active focal points for the Forces of Light in the three worlds of human endeavour and are to be found in every field and school of thought.
77.Because world disciples are significantly soul conscious, they think in terms of groups—for the soul, itself, is group conscious. All higher perspectives in consciousness are really examples of group conscious. At one point, group consciousness gives way to “universal consciousness”, in all its expanding varieties. Universal consciousness is still, however, group consciousness. The groups considered simply become ever larger until the ‘universal group’ is reached.
78.There is such a thing as ‘group egoism’. One may, indeed, learn to think in terms of a group, and so may all group members within such a group, but the group members may fail to relate correctly to other groups and to the “environing All”, as DK terms the larger context.
79.World disciples have transcended this limitation; they know how to relate their various groups to That which includes these groups.
80.The Forces of Light comprise both the Spiritual Hierarchy of our planet and also Shamballa. These Forces can (to a greater or lesser extent) work though world disciples who are active in ever phase of human endeavor (certainly not just the “religious” sphere) and in every school of thought.
81.It is obvious that DK wants us to be able to look across the great collection of those who serve humanity and to find world disciples in all of them—not alone in fields of service which may be familiar to us.
82.We can see that there is much that is Aquarian about the world disciple The sign Aquarius is active at both the third and fourth initiations and, so, this is not surprising. Aquarius confers both the group perspective and, later, the more universal perspective. This inclusive consciousness is characteristic of the world disciple.
I am not going to define for you active discipleship as ordinarily understood. Every esoteric student knows its significance, its implications and its responsibilities. I seek to develop in you that sense of world need and that capable usefulness which will make each of you who read and understand my words a disciple in truth and in deed. The primary task of the Masters is to develop in Their disciples a world sense which will enable them to see the immediate situation against the background of the past, illumined by the light of knowledge of the Plan which always concerns the future—except for those rare spirits who think ever in terms of the whole. The blueprints for the immediate plan are in the hands of the world disciples; the working out of these plans under the inspiration and help of the world disciples is in the hands of all accepted disciples everywhere. Neither world disciples or accepted disciples are mystical visionaries or vague idealists but men and women who are intelligently and practically seeking to make the ideal plan a factual experiment and success on earth. Such is the task in which all of you have the opportunity to help. Your ability to become world disciples eventually is dependent upon your capacity to decentralise yourselves and to forget your personalities. This forgetting involves not only your own personalities but also the personalities of your fellow disciples and co-workers and of all you meet. It means, also, that in the future you go forward into a greater measure of service, impelled thereto by the fire of love in your hearts for your fellowmen.
83.DK has, in His various books (starting from Initiation: Human and Solar), given much on “active discipleship, as ordinarily understood”. He seeks now to expand the consideration and to present His disciples with a vivid picture of world need, so that those disciples may develop in themselves “that capable usefulness” which will make of them “disciples in truth and in deed”. He is obviously attempting to “lift the standard”.
84.Many of the disciples He was addressing in these group instructions had been with him for ten or fifteen years (consciously, in this incarnation). He now was expecting of them greater world consciousness, greater selflessness and a more inclusive vision.
85.DK tells us of the primary task of Masters vis-à-vis Their chelas: it is the development in them of a “world sense” which reveals their past in relation to the future (which means, in relation to the Plan, for the Plan ever of the future). He does not expect that His chelas will yet be capable of thinking in terms of the whole.
86.The Master specifies the spheres of responsibility of world disciples and accepted disciples. World disciples hold in their hands the blue prints of a certain phase of the Plan for which they are responsible; accepted disciples (working under the inspiration of world disciples) are to help them implement a phase of that Plan.
87.Alice Bailey was surely a world disciple, and there were a number of accepted disciples gathered around her to help her implement the educative phase of the Plan for which she was responsible.
88.The same might be said of FCD (Dr. Roberto Assagioli), who was given the task of gathering the co-workers (not easy at first) who would help him implement his ideas for human salvage of a psychological kind. Apparently, this gathering eventually came to some fruition, and his plans for the psychological regeneration of humanity were concretely manifested through the growth of the world-movement in psychology known as Psychosynthesis.
89.DK distinguishes world disciples and even accepted disciples from “mystical visionaries”, known so oft for their impracticality. World disciples and accepted disciples are part of the Externalization of the Hierarchy and are much engaged with the Laws of Manifestation.
90.The envisioned ideals of world and accepted disciples are to become “factual experiments” successfully manifested in the lower three worlds. The Divine Plan must happen.
91.DK holds before His chelas the opportunity to become world disciples—the more rapidly so, the sooner they decentralize themselves and forget their personalities. He then expands the theme somewhat by insisting that not only must we forget our own personalities in the process of manifesting the Plan, but we must not become preoccupied with the personalities of others—our co-workers, for instance.
92.We can and will do this when our orientation is towards greater service, impelled thereto by the fire of love in our hearts for our fellowmen.
93.Simplistically, He is saying: ‘to become world disciples, love more, serve more’. It is obvious that the sense of criticism will prevent us from achieving this degree of discipleship. Really any marked deviations from the code of harmlessness will prevent the achievement.
One factor that should be touched upon here is that frequently disciples handicap themselves because, not having learnt to forget their personalities, they have an attitude of deep concern over demonstrated past failures and a consciousness of very real inadequacy. They become over preoccupied [page 691] with the personnel of the group and not with the group soul. You, as disciples, are too preoccupied with the inter-personality relationship and are not sufficiently focussed upon the group-soul and upon the Master, the centre and the focal point of energy of the group. If you would reject all criticism, if you cultivate the joy of relationship and seek ever to participate together in whatever spiritual blessing may be outpoured for the helping of the world, if you seek to contact the Master as a group, if you are in a position to know your group, and if you tune out all anxiety as to success or non-success in the apportioned service, you would greatly aid in the task with which the Master of any group is confronted. The needed fusion can always take place among disciples when they meet on the level of the soul and when the service to be rendered is the dominant factor and not so much the how of rendering it; for this each disciple is independently responsible.
94.DK speaks of a prevalent handicap amongst disciples: they simply have not learned to forget their personalities, and are preoccupied with their perceived failures (real or unreal). They, thus, feel themselves to be inadequate, and their sense of inadequacy depresses their consciousness.
95.As well, many disciples are preoccupied with the failures of their co-disciples. They focus on their co-workers form the personality angle and not from the perspective of the group soul.
96.In short, too many disciples are preoccupied with persons and not with souls.
97.DK really insists on the value of preoccupation with the group-soul, and also with the Master (considered as the focal point of energy of the group). He is asking us to “lift our sites”.
98.Then follows a list of most practical requirements for those who on their way to world discipleship. Such factors as non-criticism, joy in relationship, grateful recognition of blessings out-poured, group-contact with the Master, group recognition and the tuning out of all anxiety about success or non-success—all these would greatly help the Master help the disciples and, as well, the discipleship group.
99.We can review these requirements for ourselves and try to fulfill them. They are very reasonable, and we can understand why their non-fulfillment complicates the way of the group and reduces contact with the Master and His Ashram.
100.The final advice: meet on the level of soul and keep the service to be rendered in the forefront of consciousness. How the service is rendered is said to be an individual matter for which “each disciple is independently responsible”.
101.All this advice is so good, and, yet, so often forgotten. Something within us recognizes its validity immediately, and then, strangely, forgets after a longer or shorter time. The fire is lit and the fire goes out. At length however, the fire, once lit, continues to burn, and then steady progress in the application of Ashramic attitudes supervenes.
The Master does not train a group of men and women to be good and obedient disciples, carrying out His wishes and working out His purposes. He is training them eventually to take initiation and become Masters themselves and He never loses sight of this objective. You, as disciples, have, therefore, to learn to handle force and to draw energies into the destined area of service and this is a fact you must constantly have in mind. Disciples are chosen by the Master because, in spite of any or all personality limitations, they respond in their individual measure to the immediate vision of the united Hierarchy and to the methods which They propose to employ in materialising this vision. The hierarchical vision (as far as you can understand it) is the response of the Masters to the higher impression to which They are subjected and to which They accord Their assent according to ray and not according to point of development. The Master recognises those who recognise the Plan and are trying (with full or with qualified dedication) to help bring it about. He then stimulates them as a group, because they have identity of vision and dedication; this enables them, under that stimulation and inspiration, to become more effective in the chosen (self-chosen) line of service.
102.We return to the matter of occult obedience. DK seeks to dispel an almost childish attitude—namely that the Master is training men and women “to be good and obedient disciples”—like “good little boys and girls”. Of course, He want them to help Him carry out His Plan-inspired purposes, but they must do so for the right reasons—i.e., because they share His vision, and not simply because they acquiesce thinking, “He is the Master and, therefore, I must obey.”
103.The Master is not thinking primarily of a chela’s obedience to Him, but of the chela’s destiny—to take initiation and, eventually, to become a Master himself. DK tells us that a Master never loses sight of this objective when training His chelas.
104.It is no small matter to take initiation and the training is arduous. To become a Master is far more demanding still. Only disciples who are truly and powerfully motivated can achieve these goals. “Good little boys and girls” will not do!
105.One of the disciple’s main tasks is to learn how to handle force and to apply that force in the correct arena of service. The Science of Occultism is the science of energy-recognition and of energy-manipulation. This science cannot be expressed in moral terms alone (but, of course, morality has its own occult energetics).
106.We can see that Master DK wants His chelas to “grow up” and consider the Path of Occultism more factually, and in terms of the impersonal world of energy and force.
107.Many of Master DK’s disciples had considerable personal limitations. DK was certainly cognizant of these limitations when He chose these disciples to participate in His experiments. Their limitations, however, were not final deterrents, because they had the capacity to respond to the “immediate vision of the united Hierarchy” (however relatively limited that capacity might be). It was something about the unfoldment of their soul nature which made them fit to be chosen. They were seen as potential cooperators in the materializing of hierarchical objectives. Their limitations were liabilities which the Master would point out and which, they, under His advice, were to deal with in a responsible manner as rapidly as possible.
108.We should search our souls to see why we might think ourselves qualified to participate in this hierarchical work both now and later. Personality limitations aside, do we have the necessary vision of hierarchical intent and are we suited to cooperate with Their methods of materializing Their Vision of the Plan?
109.If the “hierarchical vision” is somewhat alive in us, we can be used. That vision, we are told, is the Master’s response to a still higher Vision conferred, we may assume, from Shamballa. All Masters respond, in degree, to this still greater Vision, not so much according to Their level of unfoldment, but according to Their ray.
110.We have to know our ray and, thus, find our inner group—the inner group or Ashram with whom we may fittingly and efficiently cooperate.
111.Then comes another of the great sentences which can be used as a ‘mantram of remembrance’:
“The Master recognises those who recognise the Plan and are trying (with full or with qualified dedication) to help bring it about.”
The idea of being recognized by a Master (most often for one’s personal qualities and one’s aspiration) is still far too prevalent. In the matter of recognizing a disciple, the Master looks for a disciple’s real usefulness, upon which He can depend when a disciple both recognizes the Plan and is earnestly trying to do something about that recognition.
112.Therefore, our approach to ashramic cooperation will be greatly facilitated when we come to understand the Divine Plan with greater depth, and when we begin to play our part in actually manifesting the portion of the Plan for which we take responsibility.
113.We remember, however, that the Master is not so much looking for individuals, per se, but for those individuals who can be welded into groups responsive to His impression and consequent guidance.
114.Those with “identity of vision and dedication” can be stimulated and inspired to work together along the lines of their “self-chosen” service. We remember that Master DK was not going to tell his groups of disciples exactly what to do in every particular. He was expecting that, together, they would take responsibility for certain phases of His work and, together, devise modes of effective work upon the physical plane.
115.When we think of ‘recognition by the Master’, we must always think in terms of group recognition. We are entering a group Age, and only those who are sensitive to the group idea and willing to work in group formation will receive (together) the kind of stimulation of which Master DK speaks.
116.Many of our old ideas are now up for adjustment. Many of the methods we have customarily used to judge ourselves (and others) are now to be modified according to our understanding of the newer methods of training now in use by the members of the Spiritual Hierarchy.
I would have you, therefore, ponder carefully upon the following recognitions:
1. The recognition of the vision.
2. The recognition of the Plan, for vision and Plan are not the same.
3. The recognition which the Master accords to a group of dedicated aspirants when He accepts them as His disciples.
4. Your recognition of the Master's ideas as goals to future endeavour.
5. Your recognition of each other as souls and servers.
117.Master DK is trying to train us in recognition. Such recognition will facilitate the illumination of our consciousness and, hence, our usefulness.
118.Of the vision, much has been said. It is important that we recognize that the vision and the Plan are not the same. The Plan is the ‘Plan of Love’ and those who love enough will recognize the Plan. Meanwhile, their vision they have acquired is a temporary expedient to lead them closer to an intuitive and loving recognition of the Plan.
119.The third recognition is related to the stage of Accepted Discipleship. We are here dealing not just with the recognition of the single disciple, but with a form of group recognition, which includes the individual recognitions.
120.Master DK recognized the entire personnel of the New Seed Group in 1940 and, in so doing, conferred upon all of them, individually, the status of “accepted disciple”. He did not go picking and choosing among them saying, “You are accepted and you are not.”
121.The fourth recognition proves that we can appreciate the Master’s intentions and problems. As potential members of an Ashram, our purpose is to understand what the Master seeks to see accomplished. According to the clarity of that recognition, so will be our usefulness to the Ashram.
122.Point five involves our recognition of each other—not as personalities but as “souls and servers”. This, very simply, requires that we see each other in the right way. Already we have learned that the members of Master DK’s groups were too preoccupied with themselves, personally, and with each other, also personally. This type of preoccupation would prevent the achievement of recognition five.
When these recognitions are properly understood, there will then be eventual recognition, by the Hierarchy, of a group of disciples who can be used as a channel through which spiritual energy, light and love can be poured into a needy and agonising world. The group will then be endowed with power to serve but it will not be power given to it by the Master. It will be a potency which it has engendered itself. This power which disciples wield comes as a response to a life rightly lived and love fully given. There is a great law which can be embodied in the words "to those who give all, all is given." This is true of the individual disciple and of a Master's group. Most aspirants to discipleship today do not know or realise this law; they do not give freely and fully either to the work of the Hierarchy or to those who need. Until they do, they limit their effectiveness and shut the door on supply, not only for themselves but for the group with which they are affiliated in service. Herein lies responsibility. The clue to supply is personality harmlessness and the dedication of all individual resources to the service of the Great Ones, without restraint and spontaneously. When you, as a disciple, try to live harmlessly—in thought and word and deed—and when nothing is held back materially, emotionally or from the angle of time, when physical strength is so given and the gift of all resources is accompanied with happiness, then the disciple will have all that is needed to carry on his work and the same is true of all working groups of servers. Such is the law. Perfection is not yet possible, it is needless for me to say, but greater effort on your part to give and serve is possible.
123.The five recognitions open the door to recognition by the Hierarchy of a group of disciples who can be used as a channel for that which Hierarchy can bestow, and wants to bestow—spiritual energy, love and light. Master DK is building groups—for the future, and over them He will preside, again in the future, and perhaps the not-too-distant future. Such groups will be fit to work in a practical manner with the Fourteen Rules for Disciples and Initiates found in The Rays and the Initiations.
124.It is not that the Master confers upon such groups the power to serve. This the group itself engenders from within itself. That power arises when the group can live rightly and when it offers love fully. The task of the Master is to stimulate and empower that which has been rightly engendered. There is much the Master can add to a group which (because of its own decisions and determinations) is proceeding along right lines.
125.This section of DINA I is filled with memorable statements. Among these is the following, expressing as it does a great Law: “To those who give all, all is given.” All of us are enjoined to ponder this most simple statement of occult fact. When we are just about to become initiates of the fourth degree, we must make this law factual in our lives, by, in fact, giving all.
126.The law applies to individuals and to groups. We learn the Master’s assessment: it is not much observed. Because aspirants and disciples do not give, freely and fully, both to the Ashram and for the helping of humanity, they limit their effectiveness. The riches of the universe are ready to pour into the wise hands of individuals and groups who give all. If, however, the giving is stingy or only partial, the door is shut on the sources of supply. It takes a long time before disciples come to realize this. Great trust is required to prove to oneself the validity of this law. A length there is no other choice. Having lost much (of time and opportunity) by not giving fully, the disciple finally decides to give ever more fully until all he has is given in the cause. As he proceeds (in confirmation of the law), all he may need to carry forward the work, will pour in.
127.DK has told us of a law. Now we know about it. Because we know about it, we are responsible for acting according to it. Thus He says, “Herein lies responsibility.”
128.Our education proceeds: “The clue to supply is personality harmlessness and the dedication of all individual resources to the service of the Great Ones, without restraint and spontaneously.” All spiritual workers naturally want to work effectively and to have enough resources (money, assistance, etc.) to do so. Now the clue to supply is being clearly delineated.
129.The requirements are easy to understand, so it seems, but difficult to carry out. A really thorough pondering on the nature of harmlessness is required of us at the outset; harmlessness is not what it often seems. Such pondering must be followed by an ability to assess our resources and to give them all, in the right way, of course—not holding anything back and giving spontaneously (without the long delay caused by personal conflicts over whether to give or not to give).
130.Again the Master addresses us directly as “you”. We are to try to live harmlessly in thought, word and deed, holding back nothing from the angle of thought, emotion, physical energy or time (and we are to release all this happily). It is not expected that the achievement of true harmlessness will be an immediate accomplishment, but the effort must be there. As well, we are to assess all the many things that can rightfully be given (from all dimensions of our being), and then, rightly, to give. One cannot give in such a way as to take that which may not be rightfully taken; therefore, karmic obligations must be understood and respected. Another way to say this is that “one cannot rob Peter to pay Paul”.
131.The ideal is here enunciated, and it is a beautiful idea. We should return to this section over and again, since conformity to its requirements will guide us to spiritual success.
The time will, therefore, surely come when you will, as individuals and as part of a Master's group, subordinate your [page 693] personal lives to the need of humanity and to the intention of the Master. You will be and not struggle so hard to be; you will give and not fight constantly the tendency not to give; you will forget your physical bodies and not give so much attention to them (and the result will be better health); you will think and not live so deeply in the world of feeling; you will sanely and wisely and as a normal procedure put the work of the Master and of service first.
132.DK envisions a future of greater freedom for His chelas. That freedom is based upon the subordination of their “personal lives to the need of humanity and to the intention of the Master.”
133.We are studying the universe as a great Hierarchy, and our personal/individual lives must be organized in a hierarchical manner. The personality and all its concerns must be subordinated to the soul and its wider life, love and wisdom.
134.In the future, we as disciples will learn to be; we will give freely; we will drop our preoccupation with our physical natures and our health will improve; we will think rather than being immersed so much in feeling; we will, finally, put the work of the Master and of service first, and we will do so not as an enforced discipline, but as the wise and normal procedure of our daily living.
135.It is useful to know that which will eventuate—however long it may take. Such knowledge inspires us to get on with the task and achieve sooner rather than later.
136.The principles are all so clear, but the resistance is strong; it has been so long in the making. We can see why Master DK regards us as under the sway of inertia.
What is that work? To provide a working intelligent and consecrated group of servers through whom hierarchical plans can be carried forward and to demonstrate, upon the physical plane, a focal point of spiritual energy. This can then be employed by the Hierarchy to help humanity everywhere, particularly in this time of crisis. The plans of the Hierarchy, as they embody the will of Shamballa, can be and are carried out; the process, however, is either a conscious one or an unconscious mass response to impression. Among the disciples of the world, the response and subsequent activity is a conscious one and leads to intelligent undertakings.
137.We are in a section in which the Master is summarizing certain essential points.
138.What really is the Master’s work? He is looking for groups through whom hierarchical energy and plans can be expressed. He is looking for focal points of spiritual energy.
139.The Hierarchy is seeking ‘group vehicles’ through whom They can work, pouring Their energy forth for a needy world.
140.Master DK is looking for conscious cooperators who can work in group formation. The Plans of Shamballa through Hierarchy will, indeed, materialize, but will this materialization be sooner or later; will it be with the aid of the conscious cooperation of those who should be willing to cooperate, or will it be through the slower method of mass impression? One way or the other, the Will of God will be done. Hierarchy naturally seeks for it to be done as rapidly, harmoniously and beautifully as possible, with the minimum of unnecessary pain.
141.Disciples in the world are obliged to respond consciously to Shamballic Will (to the extent they can) and to hierarchical plans as they reflect that greater Will.
142.A great experiment is underway, and disciples are being welded into the ranks of Hierarchy somewhat ahead of schedule. The Masters are trying to work directly with disciples—not only through Their initiates. The opportunity is intense. Can we rise to the occasion?
The task of the Master is to evoke from His disciples such a depth of consecrated love and such a realisation of today's opportunity that the personality aspects of their lives will fade out in their consciousness and their main preoccupation will be: What must be my service at this time? What are the non-essential things in my life to which I should pay no attention? What is the task to be done? Who are the people I can help? Which aspects of the Master's work should I endeavour to give the most help at this time? These questions must all meet with a balanced, intelligent and non-fanatical response and answer.
143. It is impossible to misunderstand the import of this final paragraph. Required of us are a deep and consecrated love and a realization of today’s unparalleled opportunities.
144.If we love enough and if we vividly realize the uniqueness of the presented opportunity, we will submerge our personality lives in the need of the hour—humanity’s need and the need of our planet.
145.The five questions given are clear enough, and we should not evade the opportunity of answer them. I would recommend that each of us stops now, and addresses each of the questions. The matter can be handled in five minutes, at least for the first superficial pass. Much pondering of each question will be needed to achieve greater depth.
146.DK cautions us: our response is to be “balanced, intelligent and non-fanatical”. We are to demonstrate the intelligent, loving realism of a true disciple.
147.These same five questions can be discussed in a group context. To do so will promote the kind of group consciousness Master DK is seeking to see us develop.
148.Let us do all we can to fulfill the evident requirements. “Herein lies responsibility.”
With Love and Many Blessings to All,
Michael with the cooperation of all Co-workers