commentary by Michael D. Robbins
In considering this whole subject of discipleship there are certain things of which I would like to remind you. If you will reflect upon them you will find they may change somewhat your idea of what constitutes discipleship but they will also enrich your general concept anent this subject.
1.Master DK is attempting the present an understanding of the new discipleship.
2.He has told us that, of the seven several “newer truths” for which He was responsible as a transmitting agent (seven in all), the “Teaching on the New Discipleship” was the second in importance (R&I 251)
The first point which I would like to bring out is that accepted disciples are in training for initiation. If, when they [page 694] approach the Path of Discipleship they fail to grasp this fact and to give the fullest cooperation, they postpone the time of that initiation. Their grasp of the fact will be demonstrated in the intensity of their proffered service. Planned service is one of the modes of the training. Disciples in the early stages of their work are apt to be primarily interested in themselves and in their own reactions and attitudes to the Master. The fact that they are working in a Master's group seems to them the fact of paramount importance.
3.Many important points about accepted discipleship and world discipleship have been emerging. These two stages have to be clearly understood and DK is clearing up a number of misconceptions.
4.DK puts pressure upon accepted disciples by reminding them that they “are in training for initiation”. This means that much forward progress is expected of them.
5.“The fullest cooperation” is expected of an accepted disciple; presumably this means cooperation with the Master Who has the disciple under direction and supervision. An accepted disciple who realizes his/her initiatory opportunity will demonstrate this realization in an intensity of proffered service.
6.Another important principle is stated: “planned service is one of the modes of training”—training the accepted disciple for initiation. We note that the service must be planned service, which engages the both the disciple’s understanding of humanity’s needs and his/her self-knowledge (so needed for one who is to know where and how best to serve).
7.DK seeks to distinguish the attitude of the accepted disciple from the attitudes of “disciples in the early stages” who are usually rather self-centered. They are overly concerned about their relationship to the Master and about His relationship to them. They forget that the Master’s group is primarily a serving group; it is an instrument of service. They think too much about the group and themselves in relation to the group rather than of the service to be rendered. The passage of time, however, will bring their attitudes into line with those of the more experienced members of the Ashram.
The second thing which I would like to point out is that there is a great difference between a Master's group and His Ashram. This is seldom realised. Many people can be found in a Master's group but the personnel of His Ashram are picked out of that of the group. In a group, the Master is in touch with and aware of the aspiring disciple and he has had a definite contact with Him, but this has involved a personality as well as a soul relation. But in an Ashram only that is to be found within the sphere of influence of an Ashram which is of the soul. Nothing of the personality is allowed to enter in—personality reactions, disabilities, limitations, personality thoughts and all that is material and connected with the lower nature, never reaches the Ashram at all. In the early stages, therefore, of a disciple's work, it is possible that there is little or nothing that the disciple will be able to contribute of any kind for a long time. Only those positively sensed intuitions and those definite soul impressions and impulses which the disciple may succeed in evoking (through meditation and growing purity of intention) can contribute anything to the life of the Ashram. There is consequently a law which protects the Ashram from your limitations. I have been using the word "Ashram" quite definitely in my effort to lead you to discriminate between a group and an Ashram. An Ashram is basically formed of those who through their knowledge, devotion and service have worked their way out of a group into an inner centre where the Master's energy, wisdom and effort is more easily available. In order to work their way from the group into the Ashram, disciples will need most carefully to discriminate between their high grade personality inclinations, their [page 695] responses to truth and ideals and their true soul reactions, spiritual wisdom and intuitive perception.
8.Another very important discrimination which Master DK seeks to bring to our attention is the difference between a Master’s Ashram and a Master’s group. A Master’s group is the much larger of the two; the members of a Master’s Ashram are chosen from His group. Members of an Ashram have, therefore, been subjected to a discriminating process of selection. Thus, an Ashram can be considered a select group, with all of responsibility that that may imply.
9.There is definite contact between the Master and the members of His group or groups, but this contact includes the personality of the disciple. We can see that all of the DINA disciples were in the Master’s group because DK was contacting them as personalities. Some of them were also in His Ashram. Later, when the Group of Twenty-Four was formed, and all were given to know they were now accepted disciples, it could be said that all members of that outer group were in His Ashram (at least on its periphery, for most could venture no closer to the center). Though all were in His Ashram, that group was certainly not DK’s Ashram in its entirety.
10.It is fascinating and important to realize that in an Ashram, only that which is “of the soul” is allowed to penetrate. No personality states, even high personality states, enter the sacred vibratory precincts of the Ashram. Personality reactions, limitations, thoughts and all that is material and pertains to the lower nature (i.e., all that with which we, as disciples, are all-too-familiar) are kept outside the ‘door’ (a vibratory barrier) of the Ashram.
11.This causes us to pause and consider: if we think we may be members of a Master’s Ashram, just ‘how much of us’ actually enters the ashramic ‘space’.
12.DK often speaks of the necessity for a disciple to contribute to the qualitative content of an Ashram. Here we learn a humbling fact; in the beginning stages of ashramic membership, there is very little a disciple can contribute.
13.If we have wondered just what we can contribute to the Ashram, the following sentence clarifies the matter:
“Only those positively sensed intuitions and those definite soul impressions and impulses which the disciple may succeed in evoking (through meditation and growing purity of intention) can contribute anything to the life of the Ashram.”
This is really interesting, because it means that when we succeed in touching high vibratory levels in our meditation work (or during the normal course of daily consciousness—as when an inspiration seems suddenly to arise), that success (in consciousness) is a tiny success for the Ashram. The extent, to which a disciple can improve the quality of the relationship between his soul and personality, or his personality and the spiritual triad, is a measure of his contribution to the Ashram. Every soul-illumination or triadal-illumination reaching the physical brain consciousness adds quality to the Ashram. This may be true as well of illuminations reaching the disciple when focussed on the astral or mental planes (for instance, in the hours of sleep).
14.We are told that there is a law “which protects the Ashram from your limitations”. Many new members of an Ashram (i.e., accepted disciples) still have much within their consciousness which is unfit for inclusion in the ashramic pool of thought. The Ashram must be, in some way, ‘vibratorily sealed’ against thoughts and feelings below a certain standard.
15.We could ask why the Ashram needs protection. An Ashram is a center of light, love and purpose upon the triadal planes of the cosmic physical plane. Most Ashrams are to be found on the buddhic plane (with some upon both the atmic and higher mental planes). An Ashram is a center for hierarchical work; it holds a responsible position in the administration and manifestation of the Divine Plan for this planet. ‘Vibratory interference’ with its plans and purpose cannot be allowed as the greater good would be compromised.
16.Just as at a stately and solemn gathering of cultured individuals the entry of an unwashed person with soiled garments would cause a disturbance, so all within our auras which is not cleansed cannot be allowed into the Ashram. Even more may be said—even personality energies which are (by personality standards) cleansed cannot be allowed. The vibration of such energies is still too low when compared to the quality of the energies assembled in the Ashram.
17.Of whom is the Ashram formed?
“An Ashram is basically formed of those who through their knowledge, devotion and service have worked their way out of a group into an inner centre where the Master's energy, wisdom and effort are more easily available.”
We are learning that three factors—knowledge, devotion and service—enable a member of a Master’s group to work his way into the Master’s Ashram. Does it surprise us that “devotion” is one of the methods? In this case we should interpret “devotion” as ‘devotion to the Plan’ rather than to the person of the Master.
18.We are given another discriminator between an Ashram and a Master’s group. In a Master’s Ashram, “the Master’s energy, wisdom and effort are more easily available”. This means that the Master is vibratorily closer to the members of the Ashram than to the members of His group or groups. His presence is more intensely felt and His energies more readily accessible.
19.Thus far, DK is speaking of two major groupings of human beings related to a Master’s work—a Master’s group and a Master’s Ashram. It should be said, however, that not all who are merely interested in DK’s Teaching (or in any Master’s Teaching) are necessarily in a Master’s group. More that a little interest is required to be included in such a group. I would say a strong interest in His work and a pledged determination to participate in that work to the extent possible are requirements for inclusion.
20.Master DK established several “Groups-of-Nine” (as reflected in DINA I). These groups were all part of the group of the Master; not all members of these groups, however, were yet in His Ashram. Our groups (for instance, the 28 Rules Group, and the LAWS Group) are still further removed from the presence and supervision of Master DK than those groups, and those groups (at least those formed during the DINA I period) were not yet confirmed ashramic groups (although they were related to His Ashram). We can see that some caution and humility are needed if this subject is to be properly understood.
21.DK is offering this information so that a number of us can work our way out of a group of people rather interested in His work into His group, and more specifically, out of His group into His Ashram. At the present time, Master DK no longer has the kinds of outer groups He once had in the 1930’s and 1940’s, but the time when He again will is, I think, fast approaching.
22.To enter His Ashram some principle discriminations are needed; He is now elaborating on the distinction between personality energies (unfit for ashramic inclusion) and soul energies (which are fit for such inclusion).
23.On the one hand we have “high grade personality inclinations and responses to truth and ideals”. These, of course, are of great value and are to be encouraged in all aspirants and disciples, but such inclinations and responses are not the same as “soul reactions, spiritual wisdom and intuitive perception.” Let us pause to realize the distinction. These different types of energy demonstrations come from different ‘places’.
24.Obviously, then, the more we learn to function consciously as souls-in-incarnation, the more rapidly we will be ‘transferred’ from the Master’s group (or from a group related to His work) to His Ashram.
25.Those who are gathered around the Teaching of Master DK (or of any other Master) cannot say with justification that they are a member of His Ashram unless, for other reasons, they know they are, and even then, they would be reluctant to say so unless in the company of those who could be trusted to understand. To say that one may be in the Ashram of a Master is not the same as claiming to be an initiate.
26.What is being suggested here is that accepted disciples are learning to live in such a way that they may really contribute to the content of the Ashram. This means they are learning to live beyond their personality—even beyond the higher demonstrations of that personality.
The third point which I would like to bring out is that disciples when they form part of an Ashram are subjecting themselves to a greatly increased pressure and are in a position to participate in much wider distribution of energy than heretofore. Today, as the Coming One nears the earth and draws closer to humanity, and as the inflow of spiritual energy from Shamballa into the hierarchical Centre becomes greater, there is a great keying up of human receptivity and a greatly augmented stimulation is taking place with varying effects. This involves an intensified aspiration and spiritual determination. It also signifies an opportunity of an unprecedented nature.
27.Let us review the major points made thus far: a) accepted disciples are in training for initiation; b) there is a great difference between a Master’s group and a Master’s Ashram.
28.The third point relates to pressure—a fact of life from which many people try to flee. Those who, as accepted disciples, are entering an Ashram will be subject to ‘ashramic pressure’, and this will intensify all aspects of their personality life (the good and the bad) and their soul life (the good—though perhaps not the best).
29.The higher energies are forcing their way into the energy system of the chela, and because of the greatly augmented reception of such energy, its distribution is also greatly enhanced. Those who can stand the pressure are in a position to give more in service. Thus the sacrifice of withstanding ashramic pressure is worth the pain which comes with that pressure.
30.The “Coming One” (at least this particular “Coming One”) is the Lord Maitreya, the Christ.
31.The Coming One is said to be nearing the earth. What may DK mean by this? Can “earth” mean the physical plane or the three lower worlds? It surely cannot mean the planet, for the Christ is already ‘here’.
32.There are, however, other Avatars who are ‘Coming Ones’, and They, at the time this group instruction was written, may have been nearing the “earth” (considered as a planet). The Avatar of Synthesis was, perhaps, the major one. It is said that He linked with the Planetary Logos at approximately the time that the Great Invocation (Stanza III) was released to humanity through Master DK and Alice Bailey.
33.We learn that Shamballa is behind the general intensification of vibration experienced by humanity, by discipleship groups, and by the individual disciple. Human receptivity is increasing along with intensified aspiration and spiritual determination. Three levels of human beings are, thus, feeling the Shamballically-driven intensification—normal human beings, aspirants and disciples. Of course, initiates and the members of Hierarchy are ‘feeling’ it even more intensely, but that subject is not under discussion at the moment.
34.If we wish to understand the source of the “unprecedented opportunity” with which we and all human beings are now presented, we learn that it is the esoteric approach of Shamballa. We are living in Shamballic-times. Never has the energy of Shamballa been constructively closer to humanity than during the last two centuries or so, beginning with the year 1825. Since the Shamballic Impact in that year, there have been at least two other Shamballic Impacts and, very likely, more which are imminent—perhaps in 2025 (though this possibility is not discussed in the Teaching). Even if there is no Shamballa Impact, per se, in that year, the Great Conclave of 2025 will be held. Such Conclaves are very strongly under Shamballic impression.
You have been told that when the Buddha came and worked on earth, many aspirants entered the ranks of accepted disciples and many disciples took one or other of the major initiations. There was, therefore, a definite shift of the personnel of the Hierarchy and a great expansion towards Shamballa and, at the same time, towards humanity. When the Christ made His appearance on earth, there was a similar and still greater climaxing effort which culminated in the inclusion of disciples in the Masters' inner Ashrams. Hitherto, these Ashrams had been kept for those who had taken the first initiation. Before the time of Christ only those who had taken the first initiation and were initiate formed the Ashram. Owing, however, to the growing sensitivity of humanity, it was then decided that disciples could be admitted into the Ashrams and so be mentally and astrally en rapport with the inner group and begin to form part of the Master's sphere of directed influence.
35.Master DK speaks of the great ingatherings of aspirants, disciples and initiates which occurred in the times of the Buddha and the Christ.
36.The ingathering at the time of the Buddha was preliminary. Aspirants became accepted disciples and disciples (accepted disciples) took one or other of the major initiations. (If we study closely what is said here, it becomes clear that those who are not yet accepted disciples are, in a way, considered “aspirants” (sometimes called probationary disciples).
37.The present dual process which sees Hierarchy moving both towards Shamballa and towards humanity seems to have begun at the time of the Buddha last physical incarnation, some 2500 years ago.
38.The Buddha is now a Shamballic Being, and at that time seemed to make His first well-defined contact with Shamballa (just as the Christ made His own contact some five hundred years later in the
). The Buddha’s Great Enlightenment was certainly a Shamballic Impression, for He contacted a measure of the “Greatest Light” which relates directly to the “Unfettered Enlightenment” of Shamballa. The Christ however anchored the first strand of Shamballic Will for the sake of humanity. What we might call the ‘Shamballic event’ in the Buddha’s life reached the mental plane; the Christ brought Shamballa all the way ‘down’ to the physical plane. Gardenof Gethsemene
39.The Christ’s initial externalizing work some two thousand years ago made an even greater impact that the Buddha’s work (in terms of ingathering) It represented, DK tells us, “a still greater climaxing effort”, and as a result disciples were included in the Masters’ inner Ashrams.
40.Now we must read very carefully. We are told that before the time of the Christ “only those who had taken the first initiation and were initiate formed the Ashram.” A little thought will reveal that the “first initiation” here discussed is probably the third initiation and that the “disciples” here referenced consist of all those who have taken the first planetary initiation (and can thus be accepted disciples, as can those who have taken the planetary second degree) but not the third initiation. (We remember that to take the first planetary degree is no assurance that one is or will immediately be an accepted disciple.) The clue that DK means the third initiation when He writes of the first is found in the words, “and were initiate”—a phrase which usually relates to those having taken the third degree. Probationary initiates (although they are initiates of the first two degrees) are not referred to as “initiate”.
41.From the time that Christ last appeared in physical manifestation, it was decided that the sensitivity of humanity was such that “disciples could be admitted in the Ashrams”, thus being in closer touch with the Master. We are speaking, as DK tells us, of admittance to the “inner Ashrams”. The meaning of the term “disciples”, (as here used) is, I think, “accepted disciples” or, at least, those whom the Master has been supervising for some time and who are no longer probationary, but at least pledged. An initiate of the first planetary degree, however, is not necessarily an accepted disciple, and so, according to the terminology we have been reviewing in this paragraph, could simply be considered an “aspirant”. While an initiate of the first planetary degree, the “Birth” is not necessarily an accepted disciple, most initiates of the second degree can be considered to be so.
42.It is often confusing to understand how Master DK uses the terms “aspirant”, “disciple” and “initiate”. From the foregoing we may conclude that, from a perspective often used,
a.all who are not yet accepted disciples (even though they be initiates of the first planetary degree) are still to be considered aspirants or probationary disciples;
b.when a disciple becomes an “accepted disciple”, he or she is no longer an aspirant, but is, well and truly, a disciple;
c.a probationary initiate of the first or second degree may be considered an aspirant or a disciple, depending upon the perspective employed, but is not really considered “initiate”;
d.the term “disciple” can be used to indicate one who is not yet an accepted disciple, but is often used to indicate only one who is an accepted disciple;
e.a true initiate (i.e., one who is “initiate”) is an initiate of the third degree (i.e., of the first solar degree). Sometimes DK differentiates between the first planetary initiation and the first solar initiation, but often, He simply says “first initiation”, and then it will be up to the reader to discern His meaning.
43.Important information concerning those who are members of an Ashram is here given:
a.members of an Ashram are mentally and astrally en rapport with the “inner group”. We note that astral rapport is included. Physical-brain and etheric rapport is not necessarily included. We would assume that mental-rapport would, naturally, be included.
b.an Ashram is the “sphere of the Master’s directed influence”. This means that a Master’s group is not part of this sphere, at least not to the same extent as the “inner Ashram”.
This is the opportunity which is held out today before the aspirants and probationary disciples. This effort might be termed an externalisation of the Ashram. You have been told that it is the intention of the Hierarchy to restore the Mysteries on earth. This is the first step towards that objective. If this embryonic externalisation succeeds in functioning and if those participating in this new effort manage to work with unity, love and understanding, and if this proves so strong as to withstand all disintegrating forces, then it may be possible later to increase the membership, power and size of any Ashram. [page 696] This lies entirely in the hands of the group. Every new person who is put in touch with the Ashram becomes a definite responsibility. The work of integration and of absorption lies with the Ashram and not with the individual. This is not easily apparent until disciples are accepted and integral parts of the Ashram. Such disciples constitute a definite problem.
44.DK has been speaking of the processes by means of which those upon the spiritual path ascend to the next level of spiritual attainment. The widespread opportunity to do so is even more intensely present today than it was in the days of the Buddha or the Christ.
45.Is there a distinction between the “aspirant” and the “probationary disciple”? If so, we might say that the stage of “aspirant” begins definitely before the first degree may be taken (and, as we have seen, may be considered as extending to the stage of Accepted Discipleship). The term “probationary disciple” may indicate a slightly greater degree of advancement than that of “aspirant”, per se, because the word “disciple” is included in the term (indicating, as it does, a greater degree of mental focus and, hence, of stability). From one perspective we might think of the term “probationary disciple” as beginning at the first planetary degree, the “Birth” and lasting until Accepted Discipleship. From another perspective, however, the term is used almost interchangeably with the term “aspirant”, and so can be regarded as beginning before the planetary first degree. It may be regarded as correct to consider the “Path of Aspiration” and the “Path of Probationary Discipleship” to be equivalent, though it is reasonable to think of the first path beginning earlier than the second.
46.The opportunity before aspirants and disciples today is to participate in the “externalization of the Ashram”. In these studies we are talking specifically about the externalization of Master DK’s Ashram, though some other Ashrams are, in general, part of this experimental process.
47.Hierarchy is intent upon restoring the Mysteries on earth. The ingathering, the ‘promotions’, and the general process of externalization is all part of this Restoration. The Restoration of the Mysteries should be considered in relation to Aries and to the “Forces of Restoration” which are powerful at the Aries Full Moon (nominally, Easter).
48.We can see that Master DK’s experiment with His own Ashram is a kind of test. It is an “embryonic externalisation”, an externalisation in its very earliest phases. Some sixty to seventy years ago He was writing in the present tense; now we know that the externalisation He intended did not succeed as He had hoped. His disciples did not succeed in working with sufficient unity, love and understanding and the effort, overall, did not withstand “all disintegrating forces”.
49.Had there been success, we are told, it would have been possible to increase the size and power of any Ashram. So Master DK’s work was a kind of probe, and the ‘probation’ failed. We see that Hierarchy (under Uranus, which is the exoteric ruler of Aquarius) is an experimenting group. When a hierarchical experiment is successful, it may be deemed wise (under the Law of Economy) to conduct more experiments of the kind. We should realize that (such is the nature of Hierarchy) many experiments with externalization lie ahead. The Hierarchy will externalize, but Their methods are often unanticipated.
50.DK speaks again of His group, composed of the several groups He had organized. Success or failure lay “entirely” in their hands. One feels the weight of responsibility which must have impressed itself upon early readers of these group instructions—readers who were, in fact, members of such groups within the Master’s group.
51.Then DK generalizes about the relationship of the accepted disciple to the Ashram. The newly accepted disciple is a “definite responsibility” and a “definite problem”—not only to himself, but to the Ashram.
52.Yet the adjustments required (integration and absorption into the Ashram) must come very much from the Ashram itself. Should we become accepted disciples, or should we recognize that we already are, we probably do not realize anything like the full extent of the problem to the Ashram we are or have been. Ours is not yet the ashramic perspective.
53.We can see why a Master must measure with great care the possibility of accepting a disciple. It is far from a casual choice, and the welfare of the Ashram is always at stake, as well, of course, as the welfare of the new accepted disciple who is inevitably placed under extreme pressure due to his acceptance.
The question now arises: How does a Master form and organise His Ashram or inner group of which the personnel is provided from the outer group of aspirants? It must surely be apparent to you that a Master, in forming His Ashram, proceeds as automatically as does the Creator. He meditates; He visualises; He speaks and that which He seeks to create and to materialise (in line with the hierarchical Plan) begins to take form. By the power of His focussed and directed thought, He attracts to Him those whose type of mind synchronises with His, because of ray, karmic relationships, point in evolution and love for humanity. In the words focus and direction lay the key to any technique or method of contributing to what I might here call the reservoir of thought which is an Ashram. It is a sustained focus, plus a dynamic direction which makes this reservoir of thought contributory to world service and creatively effective. The important thing for an accepted disciple to grasp is what the Master is seeking to accomplish through the medium of His group. This entails, finally, the enquiry, in the mind of the disciple, as to whether he thinks, focusses and works along lines similar to that of the Master. How close is the disciple to the Master's thoughts? The Master is prevented by occult law from using any pressure or power in the effort to swing the minds of those whom He is influencing into unison with His. He may not impose His will upon the disciple; His desires, aspirations and wishes must not be the enforced directing agency in the lives of those with whom He is in touch. He may impress their minds with what He feels is needed in periods of world crisis. He can express to them what He feels should be done. But it remains for the disciple to decide and prove. Disciples are in a Master's group because of similarity of ideas, even though they sense and express those ideas far less clearly than He does and see the vision as through a glass darkly. But their innate convictions are [page 697] basically the same and their task is to discover the points of contact, the analogous idealism for the group effort and then to submerge their entire individual lives and activities in the recognised effort. Behind this effort stands the Master—an initiating and distributing centre of power.
54.DK now discusses the procedure of forming and organizing an Ashram, which is an “inner group” when compared to the “outer group” of aspirants (as He names them here).
55.To do this, the Master meditates, visualizes and speaks (each of these acts representing one of the first three aspects of divinity). He forms His Ashram through a white-magical process. We can follow similar procedures (dim reflections of the Master’s process) as we attempt to form our groups upon the physical plane.
56.The Master uses the attractive power of “focussed and directed thought”. If aspirants or disciples are drawn to Him, via His thought, it will be because their type of mind synchronizes with His; because of similarity of ray; because of karmic relationships, a sufficient point in evolution and, very importantly, because of their love for humanity. We can see that the formation of an Ashram is a scientific process based on sound. We can also see that this process is very selective. Disciples do not ‘join’ and Ashram simply because they wish to. They must be fit to do so and appropriate for a particular Master’s Ashram; the criteria are specific and exacting.
57.Serious students of the Tibetan’s books should ponder on their relation to the Ageless Wisdom and more specifically, on their possible relationship to Master DK. Some of the criteria have been given and we have the opportunity to measure ourselves against them. We know of many potential students of the Bailey Books who begin reading in earnest only to discover that their mind does not synchronize with the Master’s mind; among other reasons, there may be a fundamental dissimilarity of ray. This is an important initial test. The “Blue Books” sound their own distinctive note and only those who can resonate to them to a significant degree will find themselves, eventually, within Master DK’s “inner group”. (Some, however, may be in His Ashram Who resonate closely to Him and who are not readers of His books, but reading His great Teaching is filled with advantages for knowing the nature of His thought.)
58.Of course, we must remember that Master DK is busy training the disciples from several Ashrams and upon various different rays (first, third, sixth and seventh ray souls were to be found in His Groups-of-Nine), but regardless of some ray differences and various fundamental ashramic affiliations, most if not all of the disciples on the outer plane who could be trained by Him, had at least a significant attraction to what He said in book form. If they were not second ray souls, it is likely they were second ray monads.
59.DK highlights the word “focus” with regard to making a contribution to the Ashram. We receive another definition of the term, “Ashram”: it is a “reservoir of thought”, and focus is required of those who would contribute to that reservoir.
60.There are at least two perspectives from which the idea of “contribution” is to be considered. We have just considered the possibility that a disciple may (and, really, must) contribute to the Ashram. Now, we consider the Ashram’s contribution to humanity and the planet. It is “sustained focus” and “dynamic direction” that make an Ashram “contributory to world service and creatively effective”. It seems it would also be incumbent upon any accepted disciple to serve the world (and the Ashramic intent) through a ‘sustained focus of thought, dynamically directed’. The implication is that accepted disciples must learn to serve through thought.
61.We come to the important idea that a disciple who is a prospective member of a Master’s group (or Ashram) must really come to understand the nature of a Master’s objectives when working through any particular group. What does the Master seek to see accomplished? It is a decentralizing question.
62.Do we, as prospective members of Master DK’s Ashram, think, focus and work along lines which are similar to the Master? How close, really, are we to the Master’s thoughts? This will not be a question easily answered, but there are many clues which can help us towards a reasonably accurate conclusion. The many books written by Master DK should reveal something about His thinking process, to which we may compare our own. (With much study of His books, of course, our thinking process may come to resemble His increasingly.)
63.As well, by reading the pamphlet, “My Work” and by reviewing the various activities Master DK sought to establish through the
and the Lucis Trust, the outlines of His external work should be no mystery and, again, we may measure our tendency to work in certain ways and directions against the work which He seeks to see accomplished. Arcane School
64.DK focusses on an occult law which prevents the Master from swaying a disciple’s mind. The Master may not use His will to enforce a disciple’s compliance with His thoughts, wishes, hopes and aspirations. The Master may not become an enforcing, directing agency in the lives of His disciples. The members of the Black Lodge are limited by no such constraints; they do not respect anyone’s free will. Should the Master impose His will upon His disciples, He could surely overcome them, but in the last analysis, the disciples would not evolve and, at length, would revolt from the imposition. Nothing of lasting value would be accomplished and they would be weakened instead of strengthened towards an eventual Mastership.
65.What the Master can do is to impress their minds (without imposing His will); He may express strongly that which He feels should be done. But according to the Sirian Law of Freedom, the disciple must be left free to decide the final issue.
66.Master DK compares the Master with His disciples; they both share a certain “similarity of ideas”, however fallible may be the disciples’ vision and however flawed may be their expression of those ideas. The passage of time will help them see the Master’s vision with increasing clarity and will develop their skill-in-action so that they may contribute usefully to the manifestation of the Master’s ideas. At first, as the Master scans the world for potential members of His Ashram, it is simply similarity in quality of thought which is sought.
67.A disciple who has the potential truly to be a member of a Master’s Ashram, shares with that particular Master certain “innate convictions”. Starting with the foundation of those shared convictions, the disciple’s task is to discover “points of contact” and “analogous idealisms”; then follows the submergence of the disciple’s life in the work of the Ashram, to the extent that the disciple may recognize that work.
68.Thus, similarity of quality is the basis of future cooperation. Once that similarity is recognized, the disciple is responsible for many adjustments and modifications in individual thought and behavior. The prognosis, however, will generally be good (over time) because the energetic basis for affiliation and cooperation is harmonious and sound.
69.Another important definition or description of the Master emerges: He is “an initiating and distributing centre of power”. The Master represents the monadic aspect to His Ashram. He is responsible to Shamballa for various initiatives on behalf of the Divine Plan. As well, He is the distributor of hierarchical, and to a degree, Shamballic energies and forces.
70.We can see why the symbol of the circle with a central dot is so apt for the Master in relation to His sphere of directed influence—the Ashram.
Every Ashram or inner group is essentially a reservoir of thought and that reservoir has for its spring or source, the ideas, dreams, vision and aspiration of the Master. This is impulsed by His monadic potency, influenced by the One Who is His Master and developed and fed by His experience, unfolded as His wisdom grew and His capacity to further the hierarchical Plan had been dedicated, used and increased. Then it becomes a clear pool of thought, augmented and fed from the spring of many lives, from the pure vision and consecrated dreams of many disciples.
71.DK emphasizes the Ashram as a “reservoir of thought”. He uses the analogy a “spring” which feeds the reservoir. The Master’s ideas, dreams, vision and aspiration are the spring.
72.We note that a Master, too, has dreams, visions and aspirations; therefore, these three factors do not pertain only to the astral plane and its energies, for the Master works from a vibratory level far ‘above’ the astral level.
73.The Ashram is, more specifically, impulsed by the “monadic potency” of its Master. The Ashram is ‘will-driven’ and its processes are part of the enactment of Divine Purpose as it is empowered by Divine Will—the Purpose and Will of the Planetary Logos.
74.Master KH is and has been the Master of Master DK. Thus the work of Master DK’s Ashram is “influenced” by Master KH and, really, is somehow ‘included’ within Master KH’s still greater Ashram.
75.From a more general point of view, the Ashram of any Master will be influenced by the One Who is to Him a Master.
76.Depending upon how we read the possibly ambiguous sentence containing the reference to the Master’s Master, we may find 1) that it refers to the unfolding wisdom and increasing capacities of the greater Master, or that 2) it simply refers to the lesser Master. My impression is that the sentence in question refers to the growth of the Master Whose Ashram is under discussion and that the reference to the Master’s Master is merely a part of the picture.
77.The monadic ray of a disciple may be different from the monadic of the Master of his Ashram, at least as concerns the disciple’s initial ashramic experience. After the second degree, however, the disciple may transfer into the Ashram of a Master whose ray is the same of his monadic ray (LOM 267). It is not stated, however, whether, in this instance, the monadic ray of the Master will be the same as the disciple’s monadic ray. The idea conveyed is that (in the new Ashram entered after the second degree) the ray of the Master inspiring the Ashram to which the disciple has transferred (whether the Master’s soul or monadic ray) will be the same as the disciple’s monadic ray. In cases where the disciple’s soul and monadic ray are the same as the soul and monadic ray of his Master, it could be said that he truly ‘belongs’ to that Master.
78.The ashramic “reservoir of thought” must be a “clear pool of thought” fed from the spring of many of the Master’s lives, and fed also from the “pure vision and consecrated dreams of many disciples”. Since only soul experiences can truly contribute to an Ashram, we must conclude that “pure vision” and “consecrated dreams” are of the soul.
79.It may be pondered with profit: “what is the thought content of a Master’s Ashram”? Do we have the experience of tapping into that reservoir of pure thought? If so, how is it different from reading the books written by the Tibetan? The question can, of course, be applied to gauging the thought content of other Ashrams.
To this reservoir of pure thought, every pledged disciple is asked to make his contribution and, if he can do so, it will enable the Ashram to meet the need and help every aspirant to pass off the Probationary Path on to the Path of Accepted Discipleship. Every centre or focus of power has a definite sphere of influence and a true, active Ashram is a positive force within the centre which we call humanity.
80.If we are “pledged disciples” we are asked to make our contribution to the ashramic reservoir of pure thought. It is obvious that, if we are to do so, our thoughts, at the very least, must be pure.
81.The purpose of our contribution is to assist the Ashram help aspirants off the Probationary Path and onto the Path of Accepted Discipleship. When we examine the content of this sentence we find the Probationary Path (trodden by aspirants and probationary disciples) preceding the Path of Accepted Discipleship.
82.In the book Initiation: Human and Solar, the chapter on “The Probationary Path” precedes the chapter on “The Path of Discipleship”. We may conclude that the discussion on the Path of Discipleship refers primarily to those who are pledged disciples and accepted disciples. The information on “The Probationary Path” would then refer to those who are aspirants and probationary disciples.
83.DK speaks of the “sphere of influence” of an Ashram. An important statement is made: “a true, active Ashram is a positive force within the centre which we call humanity”. It would repay our consideration to ponder on the various Ashrams with which we may be somewhat familiar, and determine the ways in which these Ashrams may be considered positive forces within humanity.
The disciple now naturally and rightly questions how thought power and spiritual instinct are related, how they can work constructively and how their interdependence demonstrates. I wonder how I can make the idea clear to you? Let me first call your attention to the fact that it is instinct which leads a disciple to respond to a Master's call or note, to His vibration and to His group. Instinct, in its early stages, is the name given to the response of the material mechanism to its environing material world—the three worlds of human evolution. Later, upon the evolutionary ladder, the mind appears as an interpreting agency and the nature of the mechanism and of the environment is slowly understood. The relationships become clarified. Spiritual instinct is the capacity of the soul to register contact with the Hierarchy of which the soul is inherently a part, just as in the body a man's mechanical, instinctual responses, reactions and reflexes are an integral part of the material mechanism. In the case of the spiritual instincts, [page 698] it is the intuition which interprets and illumines the mind. The power of thought as employed in the work of the Ashram is dependent upon the power of the disciple to focus and raise the conscious mind, to contact the soul and evoke the intuition. When that has been successfully done, then comes the unison of the three factors: mental illumination, soul impulse and intuitive perception. This triple combination will produce that type of thought which will be effective in activity, productive of the Plan, conducive to selflessness and motivated by love.
84.The Tibetan discusses the relationship between thought power and spiritual instinct.
85.We remember that an initiate of the first planetary degree must demonstrate spiritual instinct:
“Spiritual instinct, the lowest aspect of the intuition, indicates readiness for the first initiation; an illumined mind and spiritual intelligence are the definite sign that a man can take the second initiation, whilst spiritual perception or intuitive instinct signifies preparedness for the Transfiguration, the third initiation.” (DINA II 267)
We read here that “spiritual instinct is the lowest aspect of the intuition”. Thought power and the intuition are to be related.
86.Perhaps we had not realized that it is “instinct” by means of which we respond to the Master’s call, to His note, to His vibration or group. There is something inherent within us which answers to the vibration which goes forth from the Master. This is similar to, but not the same as, the unconscious instinct which directs the form nature towards gratification. Rather, it is the spiritual instinct of the incarnated soul.
87.We find that instinct (at whatever level it may operate) is a directing and relating agency.
88.Spiritual instinct is further defined: “Spiritual instinct is the capacity of the soul to register contact with the Hierarchy of which the soul is inherently a part… In the case of the spiritual instincts, it is the intuition which interprets and illumines the mind.” Instinct is the response of like to like; the incarnated soul answers to its source on higher planes. Just as the mind has interpreted and clarified the nature of the lower instincts, so, when spiritual instinct is operative, the intuition interprets the mind. Thus, is illusion dispelled!
89.Thought which is to be used in relation to the Ashram is of a special kind. This type of thought depends upon the power of the disciple to raise the conscious mind to contact with the soul, which act evokes the intuition. In short, the thought demonstrated in an Ashram is not only logical, reasonable thought; it is illumined thought—thought illumined by the intuition.
90.A union of three factors is required of those who would think in a way that is useful to the Ashram and contributes to the Ashram: mental illumination, soul impulse and intuitive perception. Thus “Three Minds Unite”.
91.We note the use of an unusual word, “unison” rather that merely “unity”. There is to be a “unison” (a sounding as of one note) between mental illumination, soul impulse and intuitive perception. This requires, of course, the relative completion of the antahkarana, ‘reaching’ at least ‘as far as’ the buddhic plane (the plane from which the intuition can be accessed).
92.Ashramic thought, then, is characterised by this ‘triple unison’; ashramic thought is “thought which will be effective in activity, productive of the Plan, conducive to selflessness and motivated by love.” A number of divine aspects are united in ashramic thought—activity, love and the selflessness of will, all these leading to the manifestation of that portion of the Divine Plan intended by the Master, as He is inspired by still higher Chohans and Shamballic Lives.
93.If we are to contribute to the Ashram’s reservoir of pure thought, it is in this manner that we must learn to think. The thoughts of a high-grade personality (unillumined by the soul) will be insufficient to meet the ashramic standard.
According to the ability of the group, as a whole, to function under the impetus of the spiritual instinct will be the success of the Master to carry out His plans through the medium of the group. Under divine law, He may not work alone; He cannot work alone. He can inspire, teach, ask for cooperation and give guidance as to the needed work. Beyond that, no Master may go. In this world cycle, the work of the Hierarchy is conditioned by the disciples, and they can well understand, therefore, why the last fetter cast off by a Master is irritation! No initiate can form a true Ashram until all capacity to misunderstand, to express irritation and to criticise has vanished. The power of thought of a Master, if misused, could be a potent destructive force. He must be able to trust Himself before His Ashram can run on right lines and with safety.
94.The ability of the group to function under the impetus of spiritual instinct is one of the major requirements related to the success of the group. A Master will not succeed in carrying out His plans “through the medium of the group” unless the group is actuated by spiritual instinct. This means that the soul contact of the members of the group is real and assured.
95.It is of very real interest to read that a Master may not, and cannot, work alone because it would be against divine law to do so. We are in a solar system conditioned by the great Law of Attraction and the principle of Right Relationship must be fulfilled. Our second ray planet is also strongly conditioned by this cosmic law.
96.Thus far, we see that a Master is not allowed to work alone and that He may not coerce those with whom He works. The Master inspires, teaches, guides and requests cooperation, but may not apply His will to enforce it.
97.We, as disciples, must come to realize just how much we can assist or retard the plans of the Hierarchy. It is arresting to read that “in this world cycle the work of the Hierarchy is conditioned by the disciples…” Finally, so it seems, humanity has reached its ‘Age of Responsibility’; it is no longer an infant humanity, and must, consequently, make those choices and self-determinations which will lead to progress or failure.
98.The Master speaks, almost humorously, of the need to be rid of “irritation”. He is not talking about disciples. Disciples have often been told they must cast off irritation. He is speaking of Himself, and of the other Masters Who inspire and guide Ashrams.
99.Masters are forced to work with and through Their disciples, who are, relatively, inert to say the least. Disciples do so many things which are simply at variance with the Master’s intentions and with the welfare of the Ashram, that one would think frustration a justifiable response from the Master.
100.However frustrated a Master may ‘feel’, He is not allowed to express that frustration through irritation and criticism. No initiate can organize a “true Ashram” if He is still conditioned by the power to misunderstand (for to understand all is to forgive all—we have been told). Similarly, the Master must have transcended all tendency toward irritation or criticism. Should He not have done so, and could He have organized an Ashram, its members would be “short lived”, for a Master’s thought is extremely potent, and if misused would become, as DK tells us, “a potent destructive force”.
101.What, really, is “irritation”? It is, I think we will recognize, a Martian and not a Venusian state. It is an identification with thwarted desire and a constrained wish to be rid of that which has thwarted the desire. Let us suppose that the source of irritation is another human being, and not circumstantial. During the moment that irritation prevails, the soul of the irritating person, is not seen—only the action or behavior which has caused the irritation is experienced. Thus, consciousness is denied an understanding of the source of the offending behavior and of the critical path by following which the offending behavior can be negated or eliminated. Thus irritation is both blinding and destructive, and works badly also on the individual who entertains it.
102.Irritation is born of the urgency for accomplishment. It arises when the urge to accomplish is much greater than the understanding of why accomplishment is not immediately occurring. When this thwarted urgency can be transformed into understanding (and correct action taken in the light of this understanding), irritation will vanish. In the Agni Yoga Teaching we are told that irritation or “imperil” is to be worn away through “cosmic perception”.
103.On our own much lower level of perception than that experienced by the Masters, we have all probably had experiences with the misuse of thought and speech by others, and, more importantly, by ourselves. When we ponder the damage we may have done, we can only imagine what would be the result if a Master could not control Himself!.
104.Of course, He could hardly become a Master unless compassion and self-control had established themselves immovably in His consciousness.
105.DK says a Master “must be able to trust Himself before His Ashram can run on right lines and with safety.” His long-training, through many lives of suffering, realization and service, builds this self-trust. I think we can see how far we all have to go before we are capable, spontaneously, of similar feats of understanding and self-control.
106.Still, it is always useful to emulate the Masters. As They are now, so we shall be—sooner or later. Every effort we make to love, understand and, overall, live harmlessly, takes us towards the condition which They have already achieved.
In this work of assembling the necessary thought power for constructive work, the etheric web is definitely involved. It leads then to a reorganisation of the web. Academic explanations do not help the student to understand this. When the mind (the instrument of thought) is the vehicle of soul life, soul light and soul love, and the etheric web is responsive to the inflow of energy from the mind, then the reorganisation of the individual etheric web takes place. The individual etheric body is only a part, an aspect, of the etheric web of humanity; the steady reorganisation of the many parts leads to a transformation of the whole, when enough time has elapsed.
107.We are familiar with the idea that the mind and etheric body are related. The mental/etheric signs are Gemini and Aquarius, and people born in or under those signs will understand much about this relation.
108.The power of thought rightly used will lead to a reorganization of the etheric web. It is interesting to read that “academic explanations” will not help us to understand this process. Apparently, it has to be lived.
109.The mind must be in a certain effective condition before it can be useful in bringing about the reorganization of the individual (and, later, planetary) etheric web. The mind must be soul-illumined and inspired, and the etheric body responsive to the inflowing energies of the mind. Then the reorganization of the etheric body will proceed.
110.Thus, if we wish to reorganize our etheric patterns, we must see to the condition of our mind and its relation to the soul.
111.DK envisions the transformation of the etheric body of humanity. This will only occur gradually when many people have managed to bring about the reorganization of their individual etheric body.
112.We can understand that the Age of Aquarius will be a time when such reorganization (under Uranus and Aquarius) may proceed apace. The energies which will be potent during that Age are the very energies need for this transformation. The continued strength and presence of the seventh ray during the Aquarian Age is also a great factor in bringing about this desirable reorganization.
The medium through which this takes place is the Mind. The mind creates or formulates those thoughtforms (or embodied energies) which express, upon the mental plane, the measure of the disciple's understanding of the Plan, and his [page 699] ability to convey the embodied mental energy to the etheric body—unimpeded by the emotional nature or by any lower upsurging desire.
113.We are to understand the importance of the mind in reorganizing the etheric body.
114.The thoughtforms created are to reflect an understanding of the Plan (to whatever degree possible). These thoughtforms are then to be conveyed to the etheric body and will have a reorganizing effect. The etheric patterns thus created will help to bring the physical plane into increasing conformity with the pattern of the Plan.
115.We note that the emotional nature is often considered an obstacle in this transmission from mental body to vital body. The Tibetan is here emphasizing the importance of a particular alignment—soul, mind, brain.
The etheric body is a web of light energy, impulsed or motivated by the type or the quality of the energies to which it responds, from the angle of evolutionary development.
116.The etheric body is capable of ‘carrying’ many kinds of energy—personal, transpersonal and transcendental.
117.How it does so is, however, a great mystery. We may lightly use the word ‘carry’, but can the etheric body really ‘carry’ and transmit energies which are not of the etheric plane?
118.Perhaps it would be best to think that etheric energies can undergo various kinds of repatterning according to the type of energy or force which is impulsing those etheric energies. On the etheric plane, there will be found etheric energies and forces; on other planes, other types of energy and forces will be found. Does astral force, for instance, really descend to the etheric plane, or does it impulse etheric energy, patterning it in a certain way? If this were the true modus operandi, then the way that mental energy impulsively patterns etheric energies would be different from the astral impulsive patterning, and soul impulsions would be different still, as would triadal impulsions—each leading to distinctive modes of repatterning.
119.We do not know enough about the physics of the inner planes to understand how these ‘patterning impulsions’ would operate, but perhaps the principle is clear: energies and forces remain on the plane appropriate to them, but their impulsive effects can be ‘felt’ on lower planes, such as the etheric plane, causing (according to the distinctive nature of the impelling energies) ‘differential repatterning’ on such lower planes.
It might be stated that:
1.Unevolved or savage man responds simply to prana or physical energy, vitalising the appetites of the lower nature, developing the instincts and thus laying the foundation of a physical vehicle as the outer garment of the soul. At this stage, intellect is embryonic; the physical appetites and the five senses are dominating factors. All this is due to the activity of prana as it pours through the etheric or vital body.
120.In point one, the Tibetan discusses the Lemurian stage of development—one that is strictly physical, sensory, and endowed with the presence of only an embryonic intellect. In the Lemurian state, even the life of desire is undeveloped, except for the crudest physical desires.
121.There are relatively few among today’s humanity who find themselves in this state. The spleen, sacral center, and the base of the spine center (functioning in a preliminary mode) are the centers activated.
2.Average man is impulsed by desire which is an energy, emanating from world desire and which—developing or organising the astral body—generates desire-energy. It pours into the vital body and galvanises physical man into those activities which will lead to the satisfaction of desire. This is a parallel process to the work of prana, impelling the animal instinctive nature into activity. These necessarily parallel and produce conflict—the first clash (within the man) of the pair of opposites. Gradually, the pranic energy becomes automatic in its activity; the shift of the consciousness is into the astral or desire body and the functioning of the instinctual nature drops below the threshold of the consciousness. Man then focusses his life in the astral vehicle and his etheric body becomes animated by the potent inflow of desire-energy.
122.The great majority of today’s humanity is emotionally polarised and impulsed by the energy of desire.
123.We note, interestingly, that desire both develops and organizes the astral vehicle. We remember that a principle creates a vehicle, and not the other way around.
124.We read that desire “pours into the vital body”; again, this is, I think, a symbolic way of describing the process. I hypothesize that astral currents remain on the astral plane, but cause those changes in the etheric body which impel that body towards the satisfaction of desire.
125.If prana activates the animal instincts and desire force impels towards the satisfaction of desire, the simultaneous presence of these two forces creates possibility of a conflict between forces, for the satisfaction of animal instinct may lead in a direction contrary to the satisfaction of certain desires. The Tibetan calls this the “first clash (within the man) of the pair of opposites”.
126.Astral energy is inherently ‘higher’ than the pranic forces driving the physical-instinctual nature; these lesser forces gradually subside into automaticism. Whatever becomes automatic soon drops below the threshold of consciousness. Consciousness, per se, then focuses in the desire body. The man is conscious of what he wants without having to attend consciously to his vital condition, which can be relied upon to support the acquisitions of desire.
127.Once this change has occurred, the main patterning within the etheric body is primarily impulsed by desire currents. Perhaps, it would be more accurate to say that the desire-impelled repatterning of the etheric vehicle is superimposed upon the patterning which is more instinctually based and pranically induced. Obviously, some of the original pranically-induced patterning remains as a foundation for the etheric pattern impelled by the energy of desire. The first pattern serves as a foundation for the second.
3.The developed man, with an integrated personality, gradually brings the etheric body under the control of mental energy and his physical plane activity is not then so much implemented by instinct or desire as by thought energy, dedicated to and expressing the nature of the man's plan. This plan indicates increasingly his intelligent desire—selfish in the early stages, complex and dualistic in the intermediate stages but slowly responding to the world plan and to the divine intent for humanity.
128.The next stage is that of the “developed man”, who has integrated the personality, selfishly at first, and soul-responsively, eventually.
129.Etheric patterning dependent upon the impulsion of prana or desire, gives may to a patterning impelled by mental currents, which, again, according to this theory, is superimposed upon the earlier two patterns. The etheric body comes under the control of mental energy.
130.The etheric body will be patterned according to the nature of a man’s plan. That plan initially does not conform to the Divine Plan, and it will take a long time before it does.
131.Three basic stages are as follows:
a.etheric patterning based on selfish personality plans.
b.etheric patterning based on mixed motives, on plans which have elements of both selfishness and unselfishness.
c.etheric patterning based on the plans of the soul which reflect, in some measure, the Divine Plan for this planet and are, hence, unselfish.
132.Plan is Pattern, as we know. According to the nature and origin of the plan which mentally imposed upon the etheric body, so will be the nature of the etheric patterning.
4.Finally, when the power of the Triangles (the spiritual name given in The Secret Doctrine to the soul) is being imposed upon the personality, then their energy supersedes the other energies and the personality—focussed now in the mind and responsive to soul impression—expresses upon the physical plane, through the medium of the physical brain and the body, the intent, potency and nature of the all-inclusive soul.
133.Finally the pattern imposed on the etheric field is impulsed by the “Triangles”. The term “Triangles” is another name for soul.
134.What is suggested is that the patterning in the etheric body becomes increasingly triangular.
135.This section immediately makes us think of Master DK’s project, “Triangles” (dear to His heart) and what may be its esoteric basis. Eventually, the Triangles work is to repattern the etheric body of the planet into a “network of triangles” which will be not only soul-responsive, but responsive to the spiritual triad, and even, in emergencies, to the Three Buddhas of Activity (the esoteric origin of the Triangles work).
136.One of the great geometrical themes occurring on our planet is the transformation of the quaternary into the triad or triangle. The esoteric bisection of the square is involved in this process. This was taught to Master DK probably by Master KH when He was Pythagoras.
137.Point number four tells us of the climactic, integrated stage in the repatterning of the etheric body. When it is accomplished, the Divine Plan may manifest on Earth.
138.This manifestation must be worked out microcosmically through the energy system of each individual, and when sufficient numbers of individuals have accomplished the task, it will become possible to think in terms of the triangularization of the enteric body of humanity, and eventually of the planet.
The individual etheric web galvanises the automatic physical body into activity. The energies, controlling the physical body through the medium of the etheric web, are the four mentioned above. The conflict in the brain consciousness of the evolving human unit begins to assume importance when the man starts to recognise these controlling energies, their source and their effects.
139.The physical body is an automaton to the etheric body (its higher counterpart).
140.Master DK has enumerated four types of energy which control the physical body through the medium of the etheric body: prana, desire, thought and soul energy.
141.When various of these energies come together, the potential for “internecine warfare” is strong and can hardly be avoided.
“Man is therefore (from the angle of force expression) a mass of conflicting energies and an active centre of moving forces with a shift of emphasis constantly going on, and with the aggregation of the numerous streams of energy presenting a confusing kaleidoscope of active inter-relations, interpenetration, internecine warfare, and interdependence until such time as the personality forces (symbolic of divine multiplicity) are subdued or ‘brought into line’ by the dominant soul. That is what we really mean by the use of the word ‘alignment’.” (EP II 340)
142.At first man hardly knows what is happening to him. There is conflict in the brain consciousness but, as yet, man is too unconscious of the causes of this conflict to do anything about it. Gradually the various contending energies are recognized, and their sources and effects are increasingly understood. Then the conflict becomes an important educative factor in consciousness; the man has entered the process of personality integration (however many lives it may take).
It is immediately obvious that the work of the disciple is, therefore, almost entirely within the realm of energy and forces. The study of occultism is the study of forces and of their origin and effects. An Ashram is a place wherein this study enters the laboratory or experimental stage. The disciple is supposed to be in process of becoming aware of the forces and energies which condition him as an individual; these originate within himself and produce changes and specific effects in his life-expression upon the physical plane. When he knows himself to be the "Life and the lives" (as The Secret Doctrine puts it), a sum total of forces and a controlling energy, then he can be a world disciple and work significantly in an Ashram.
143.A disciple works understandingly with energies and forces. Such work is characteristic of the Path of Occultism but not of the Path of Mysticism.
144.An important definition of occultism is given: “the study of occultism is the study of forces and of their origin and effects”. To be an occultist, significant time must be spent upon the fifth ray which is especially adept at deciphering the ‘Language of Energy’.
145.The practical occultist, however, is not simply a student. The Ashram is the ‘place’ where study turns into experimentation. An Ashram is something of an ‘occult laboratory’.
146.An occultist’s first area of observation and experimentation is his own energy system; he must become the master of his microcosmic self. We can see that a study of the seven rays and of esoteric astrology play an important role in producing the occultist. Through such sciences a man comes to understand himself far more objectively than heretofore possible, and in terms of energy.
147.The disciple aims to arrive at the point in consciousness when he knows himself to be the “Life and the lives”. DK again borrows from The Secret Doctrine—which is entirely justified as He was responsible, we are told, for imparting to HPB much of the information found within it.
148.In an earlier group instruction, Master DK spent much time describing the “world disciple” and the “accepted disciple” and differentiating them from each other. We now come to another definition of a world disciple, expressed in terms of energy.
149.When a man truly knows that he is the “Life and the lives” he is in position to work as a world disciple.
150.He can then work significantly in an Ashram. The word “significantly” is, itself, significant, because many may work in relation to an Ashram before the stage of world disciple is reached, but they will not be working significantly. To work “significantly”, one works in relation to the World of Significance which lies ‘beyond’ the World of Meaning. To enter the World of Significance and to work there, one must be an initiate of the third degree—which is another way of defining a world disciple.
151.The one who recognizes himself as the “Life and the lives” is, in fact, an initiate of the third degree—a world disciple, working “significantly” in an Ashram.
It will be apparent to you, therefore, that when a disciple enters into an Ashram and works in closer relation with his Master than heretofore, he begins to collaborate as far as is in him with his fellow disciples; then you have (in terms of occultism) a repetition of the relation between the "Life" of the group (in this case, the Master) and "the lives" (in this case, the disciples), of the central energy and the responding forces. From the Master's angle of the group problem, duality enters into the group expression. He, the central energy, must work through the forces. From the angle of the disciple, a force (which is himself) is brought into relation with other forces; [page 701] it must, at the same time, become responsive to an energy, that of the Master. This response comes through the recognition of identity of purpose, of origin and of nature, but not identity in the field of expression. You can see, therefore, that an Ashram is, indeed, a very vortex of forces, set in motion by the many types of energy within the ring-pass-not of the Ashram itself. The basic principles of dualism make themselves felt as the energy of spirit makes its impact upon soul force and personality force. Forget not that a Master expresses monadic energy, whilst disciples in His group are seeking to express soul energy and are doing so, in some measure, through their love and service. To this soul energy, they add personality force which arises from their being, as yet, focussed in the personality life, even whilst aspiring to soul consciousness. Herein lies their usefulness from the Master's point of view and herein lies their difficulty and—at times—their failure.
152.The Tibetan develops the theme of the “Life and the lives” analogically. In the earlier paragraph we saw how the individual disciple comes to understand himself in these terms. Now the analogy is extended to the group: the Master is the “Life” and the many disciples, are the “lives”.
153.The analogical extension becomes applicable when the disciple enters the Ashram and begins to collaborate with his fellow disciples.
154.In both the microcosm and the group, there will be an initial division between the “Life” and the “lives”. The Master faces a problem of duality and so does the individual disciple.
155.DK is entering into a discussion of energies and forces; energies are always to work upon forces, which are to respond to energies.
156.DK is speaking in the ‘Language of Energy’. The disciple entering an Ashram as an accepted disciple is considered “a force” or a “unit of force”. He is brought into relation with other forces (i.e., with other disciples), and has to learn to respond to an energy; the Master is the “energy”.
157.DK differentiates between the fields of expression characteristic of the Master and His disciples. The disciples’ “response comes through the recognition of identity of purpose, of origin and of nature”; the disciple recognizes the Master and responds to Him. Disciple and Master are, shall we say, qualitatively aligned, but their fields of expression are very different (the Master’s being much greater in scope and much higher in vibration).
158.The Tibetan wants us to understand the Ashram in energic terms as a “very vortex of forces”. Many types of energies and forces are brought together to create this vortex.
159.In an Ashram three types of energies/forces are brought together. Dualism still prevails, as monadic energy (provided by the Master) seeks to make its impact upon the union of soul energy and personality force. A process of “harmony through conflict” is at work in all Ashrams. Eventually the lower energies/forces are subdued and harmonized with the greater, imposing energy (i.e., that of the Master)
160.The Master expresses monadic energy within His Ashram. The members of the Ashram seek to love and serve and, thus, seek to express soul energy.
161.Although personality energy is not allowed to enter the Ashram, it is still an important factor in the Master’s consciousness, because so many of the members of His Ashram are still focussed in their personality life.
162.Personality is at once a great complication and a great opportunity. It can cause the failures of various disciples or the group; but its presence can also assist with the externalization process, helping the Master reach larger numbers of people through the personalities of His chelas—only, however, if those personalities are soul-infused.
Disciples within the Master's group or the Master's Ashram have a potent effect upon each other, for everything in their nature is accentuated. The Master has to watch carefully to see that He does not unduly stimulate the disciples' vehicles through the very fact of His relation to them.
163.Master DK is entering into the energy dynamics characteristic of the Ashram—especially characteristic among newly accepted disciples.
164.In this section He does not differentiate the Master’s group and the Master’s Ashram; similar problems arise in both centers of focus.
165.Not only does the Master have a potent effect upon the assembled chelas, but they have a potent effect upon each other.
166.In the initial stages of ashramic life, “everything in their nature is accentuated”—the good and the bad. This fact can lead to some peculiar behavior.
167.A Master need not try to stimulate His disciples; His very presence will do it. More often, He will have to attempt to offset the stimulation caused by His closer proximity, for He is more proximate to those within His Ashram than to those within His group, and more proximate to the members of His group than to many other human beings.
168.Disciples cannot forget the ever-present possibility of overstimulation. If a disciple succumbs to it, he may be damaged or, at the least, delayed. The Path of Initiation is one of necessitating increasing control, and overstimulation is a loss of control.
The individual disciple has, therefore, to watch the effect of three groups of energies which all make an impact upon him:
1.Those within his own nature (physical, emotional and mental) and those which come to him from his own soul.
169.Point one deals with microcosmic effects.
170.Both personality forces and soul energies can be stimulating. Although the reception and expression of soul energy is highly desirable, overstimulation can arise through soul contact. If soul energy leads to excessive personality stimulation, soul will soon be obscured. Of course, as one can understand, the obscuring of soul can arise through an excess of normal personality stimulation.
171.The idea that one must “watch oneself” suggests that the virtue of vigilance is needed by the accepted disciple entering the Ashram. Master Morya has much to say about this virtue.
2.Those which make an impact upon him as they come to him from other members of the Ashram or group. This effect will be dependent upon his being detached where he himself is concerned and thus responsive to what comes from them. The occult law is that the more you love the more you can respond to and include the point of view, the nature and the force of your fellowmen. This is vitally true also of a group of disciples. What protects most disciples from too great a sensitivity is their preoccupation with themselves and with their own development.
172.The second series of effects come from the other members of the Ashram, i.e., from his fellow disciples.
173.The disciple who is detached from his own energy system will, perhaps, be more responsive to the energies and forces coming from his brothers.
174.DK talks here about the revelatory, sensitizing power of love. The loving disciple may be extremely sensitive to impacts from his close associates.
175.The cultivation of this wide and inclusive love is a great necessity for members of an Ashram, but it can produce unexpected difficulties due to love-induced oversensitivity.
176.DK remarks, with His typical dry humor, that most disciples are protected from this difficulty because they are so preoccupied with themselves and their own development that they do not love enough to get hurt!
3.Those transmuted forces which come to the disciple from the Master or are definitely transmitted to him by the Master.
177.The third category of forces comes from the Master, or is transmitted to the disciple by the Master. Although the disciple may consider these types of forces very welcome, they can very definitely contribute to overstimulation and imbalance if not managed carefully.
178.We see that, in studying the types of forces for which the disciple must “watch”, we have focussed on the three aspects of divinity. The microcosmic forces of the disciple’s own energy system correspond to the third aspect; energies and forces from his fellow disciples, to the second aspect; and the energies of the Master to the first aspect.
The goal for all work done by disciples, either in group formation or in the Ashram, is the expression, within the group, of the causal creative process. This is summed up in the words which I have already quoted to you "the Life and the lives." You have the analogous idea and its sequence of effects in the realisation that the Master (spirit or Monad) reflects Himself in or inspires the disciple (soul) and the latter is thus enabled to demonstrate soul activity upon the physical plane.
179.The phrase, “the causal creative process” is brought forward as the goal of all work done by disciples in the Master’s group or in the Ashram. It is an interesting phrase. From one perspective, it demands the recognition of the content in the individual causal body and in the group causal body and the creative use of such content in line with the Plan.
180.All of us are endowed with a certain ‘causal content’; there is much such content of which we may be unaware. One of our tasks is to understand that which has been stored in the “treasury” of the individual and group causal body, and the application of the content, creatively, to the process of manifesting the Plan.
181.The phrase, “causal creative process”, may also be interpreted as the ability to live in the “World of Causes” and to work from that elevation creatively and in line with the Plan. From this perspective, the World of Causes is ‘above’ that of the causal body. It can be conceived as the world of the spiritual triad. The World of Causes and the World of Significance can be considered equivalent.
182.A threefold process of inspiration is discussed. When we think of the functioning of the Ashram, we must always remember the triplicity of spirit, soul and body, of Master, disciple/soul and the field of expression (whether that field is the general environment or the personality nature of humanity). The disciple is not the personality.
I would like to consider in greater detail the nature of a Master's group, sometimes called an Ashram. It might be valuable if I endeavoured to define an Ashram to you and so leave you with a clear idea of the difference between a Master's particular group, and the many outer groups which, though working under His inspiration and upon the Plan, are not definitely and technically His Ashram.
183.Master DK undertakes to clarify still further the nature of the Ashram. If we study what He says with care, we shall see that in this section He considers a “Master’s group” as equivalent to a “Master’s Ashram”. In earlier paragraphs, He differentiated between the two.
184.A “Master’s particular group” is here considered the Ashram. He differentiates that particular group from the “many outer groups which, though working under His inspiration and upon the Plan, are not definitely and technically His Ashram”.
185.What was the status of the Groups-of-Nine which He organized in the 1930’s, or of the New Seed Group organized in 1940. Were these to be considered the “Master’s Ashram” or the “Master’s group or groups”?
186.It would seem that these groups were not the Ashram, but were extensions of it. Many of the members of these groups were, in fact, in Master DK’s Ashram (if only on the periphery). By the time the New Seed Group was organized, all the members of this group, acknowledged by DK as “accepted disciples”, were in the Master’s Ashram. But, the Master’s particular group, His inner group, was much larger and deeper than that outer group. So although the Group of Twenty-Four (The New Seed Group) was, in a way, incorporated within the Ashram, it was not the Ashram itself, but only an outer extension.
187.Those groups were only a few, not the many outer groups discussed above. There were and certainly are now many outer groups, working, for instance, in relation to Master DK’s plans and more or less under His inspiration. Such groups probably have far fewer members who are technically members of His Ashrams than had the few groups organized in the 1930’s and early 1940’s.
188.We have, then, three types of groups.
a.many outer groups related to the Master
b.a few intermediate groups directly related to His Ashram, affiliated with it and meant to be incorporated within it. (Such were the Groups of Nine and New Seed Group.)
c.the Master’s own group, an inner group, His particular group, which is the Ashram, per se.
An Ashram is a subjective fusion of individuals and not of personalities, gathered together for service purposes. It is a blending of individual activity into one whole—a whole which is united on objective and vision but which may (and frequently does) have differing methods and techniques. The work of the Ashram is essentially the presentation to the world of those service purposes which are carried forward as seems best to the individual disciple, under the "impression of the Master" and with the cooperation of His group. A group of disciples is not pledged to do the same type of work in the same way and at the same time. They are pledged to work under the inspiration of their soul, as their souls may direct and dictate, strengthened by contact with the Master and with each other. They are related to each other through identity of vision and of vibration, plus mutual respect and complete freedom—particularly the latter.
189.Master DK continues to define the Ashram. It is a “subjective fusion of individuals and not of personalities gathered together for service purposes”. It is interesting and important to realize that “individuals” are not “personalities”. So often these terms are used interchangeably and, thus, inaccurately. The soul is the true individual. Therefore, an Ashram is a subjective fusion of souls.
190.We see that the nature of the Ashram is inseparable from the concept of service.
191.From the perspective of activity, many types of individual activity are blended into a whole. The unity preserved by this blending refers to unity of objective and vision. The variety factor is preserved in relation to method and technique.
192.Through an Ashram, “service purposes” are presented to the world. The service rendered is under “the impression of the Master”; the Master’s group cooperates in this presentation. But the service purposes may have very individual service expressions according to the individual nature of the various disciples within the Ashram. Disciples are given great latitude with respect to their mode of expressing service purposes. We have constantly to keep in mind the distinction between “service purposes” and methods of service.
193.DK deals with the concept of a pledged group of disciples. They are not pledged to identicalness of outer method. There pledge commits them to no outer rigidity. An enforced outer uniformity would be a prison.
194.The pledge is directed to the soul. Their soul (and not any outer expectation) is the source their inspiration, and to that source of inspiration they are pledged. The soul dictates the specific direction of their service expression. The Master and the Ashram determine the general “service purposes”. The strength of the Master is their strength and the fellowship of the Ashram supports their strength. But the specific direction and the ways and means are their own, according to their best spiritual judgment.
195.The proper method of disciplic relation is made completely clear: “They are related to each other through identity of vision and of vibration, plus mutual respect and complete freedom—particularly the latter.” Thus, the ideal is enunciated. Disciples are to relinquish their ‘supervision’ of each other, their attitudes of approval or disapproval; they are to trust the soul of their brother and, therefore, to feel confident about leaving him in complete freedom as regards his methods of cooperation with the Ashram.
As you ponder on this, I would ask you to realise that an Ashram is not a group of people, working under the tutelage of some Master. This is an important point to remember. It is—as said earlier—a magnetic point of tension, a fusion of [page 703] energies, directed towards a common centre and involving two magnetic factors:
196.We remember that individuals are not people. Master DK offers this most prosaic definition of an Ashram somewhat ironically. The picture painted is a parody of the deeper truth.
197.DK prefers to define the Ashram in energic terms: “a magnetic point of tension, a fusion of energies directed towards a common center…” The ‘personal factor’ is entirely missing from this definition. Thinking ‘personally’ is a great glamor caused by unrecognized habits of perception. Souls appear as “people”, but they are not. When we learn to see “people” as souls, our understanding of the true nature of an Ashram will immediately be transformed.
198.The magnetism of the Ashram draws those who are affiliated by ray, karma, and an orientation to think as the Master thinks. The “common center”, of course, is the Master.
1.A united urge towards group formation upon the mental plane. This is the higher correspondence to the herd instinct of the animal world and of the world of men, but is of a spiritual nature and quite differently motivated. The lower herd instinct is motivated largely by the instinct of self-preservation; the higher by the recognition of the immortal nature of the soul, and by the instinct to serve even with the sacrifice of oneself. The law of "death unto life" controls. When the magnetic pull of the group is adequately strong, then comes the death of the personality life. Until, therefore, the group of disciples in all its parts expresses this outgoing sacrificial urge, it is not an Ashram.
199.Although the majority of Ashrams are now upon the buddhic plane, such Ashrams have their mental layer; members of the same Ashram are, as we have understood, gathered together in thought.
200.It is interesting to see DK relating the “united urge” which helps to gather disciples upon the mental plane to the “herd instinct”. So, one of the “magnetic factors” which characterizes an Ashram is a kind of ‘mental magnetism’ which is of a spiritual nature and spiritually motivated.
201.The normal herd instinct serves the instinct of self-preservation. The higher (and spiritual) instinct to gather is based upon soul recognition and upon “the instinct to serve even with the sacrifice of oneself.”
202.Members of an Ashram are gathered together for the sake of service and sacrifice—both of which are deeply imbedded ‘soul instincts’.
203.DK states a law which prevails in relation to the Ashram—the law of “death unto life”. We can sense the Scorpionic/Piscean quality of this law. The planet Pluto is involved and with it, the idea of death and resurrection. Self-immolation is suggested and a rising from one’s ashes into new life.
204.We are learning that membership in an Ashram means the “death” of certain factors and tendencies in the human energy system. Such membership leads to the “death of the personality life” which occurs effectively at the fourth initiation.
205.If a group wonders whether it is really a part of an Ashram, it is given a standard which must be fulfilled. A group of disciples, “in all its parts” must express this “outgoing sacrificial urge” in order to qualify as an Ashram.
206.We note that the urge is “outgoing”, meaning that it reaches humanity in service. Sacrifice is motivated by the urge to serve and save and, eventually, by the Will-to-Serve and the Will-to-Save.
207.We can understand that the Great Ashram which is gathered by Sanat Kumara (and which comprises the entirety of the Spiritual Hierarchy) is greatly animated by the sacrificial urge, in reflection of Their great Exemplar—the “Great Sacrifice” Himself.
2.The magnetic pull of the positive centre at the very heart of the group; that means the magnetic pull of the Master. As you well know, theoretically at least, at the centre of the Ashram stands ever the Master, or else an initiate or a world disciple. His task is to blend and fuse the energies, tendered and proffered by the group (under the urge to serve) and to indicate the field of service. The mode of this instinctual activity is called occult obedience and this is voluntarily rendered and unitedly followed. When any group—working in this way under a Master—is moved by one spiritual impulse and functions through one firm organisation (like electrons around the positive nucleus in an atom), the potency of the group will become immediately effective and not before.
208.Here the Master is viewed as the “heart” of the Ashram rather than its “will” or “spirit”.
209.The disciples entering an Ashram are, therefore, following a type of magnetism which draws them together on the mental plane (as discussed in point one), but they are also drawn to the Master as a great magnetic center.
210.We learn something interesting about the magnetic centers of Ashrams. Usually, at the center of any Ashram is to be found a Master, but lesser Ashrams can also be found gathered around “an initiate or a world disciple”. In such cases, it would seem necessary that the initiate be an initiate of the fourth degree and that the world disciple be of that rank as well. It does not seem possible that an initiate of the third degree can stand at the center of a true Ashram.
211.The magnetic center of the Ashram blends and fuses the proffered energies of the ones who are gathered; He (the Master) also indicates the field of service. We understand these actions of the center point as occurring along both the first and second ray lines. Blending and fusing correlate with the second ray line and indicating the field of service is a directorial function along the first ray line.
212.DK gives us another insight on the nature of “occult obedience”. Disciples tender and proffer their energies to the center of the Ashram under the “urge to serve”. When they do so, they begin to function with “occult obedience” which is “voluntarily rendered”; the directing will of the Master or center is “voluntarily… and unitedly followed”.
213.We understand that “occult obedience” is never compulsory, but is willingly given, and is stimulated by the Ashram as a “magnetic point of tension”. Occult obedience is, first of all, given to the Divine Plan (as understood by the disciple), but since the Master of the Ashram and His Ashram faithfully represent the Divine Plan, occult obedience is also offered to the Master and to the prevailing rules and practices of the Ashram.
I would at this point indicate to you that the so-called inner Ashram is to the outer group what the soul and its vision is to the individual disciple, working in his personality vehicles. It is the place of interior resort. Disciples can, therefore, grasp their growth towards fusion as an Ashram (in process of physical exteriorisation) by the development of their spiritual recognition of the inner group potency and their facility to contact the Master—both as individuals or in group formation.
214.An important analogy is given so that we can keep in mind certain parallels between microcosmic process and group process.
215.The “inner Ashram” is likened to the soul and its vision. The outer group is likened to the individual disciple.
216.Why is the “inner Ashram” named the “so-called inner Ashram”? We have already seen this inner grouping which is the particular group of the Master described in various ways. A Master works closely with both His inner group and the outer groups which are closely affiliated with the inner group. There is a distinction, however. Members of the inner Ashram experience “Ashramic intimacy” to a higher degree than will those who are members only of the outer groups.
217.The inner Ashram is defined as “the place of interior resort”. Its protective function is thus emphasized. It is a ‘place’ of spiritual refuge and spiritual re-affirmation. It is a ‘place’ to which the ashramic members ‘retreat’ for purposes of ‘recharging’ and for inspiration and strengthening. The manner of seeking ‘interior resort’ is through meditative alignment.
218.DK’s small external groups were to grow towards “fusion as an Ashram” during the process of physical exteriorization which He had instituted. If the membership of these groups found in themselves an increasing spiritual recognition of the “inner group potency” (i.e., the potency of the inner Ashram) and if their facility to contact the Master, both as individuals and in group formation, was growing, they would know that their process of “fusion as an Ashram” was proceeding correctly.
219.All this suggests that the outer groups must come into increasingly close rapport with the inner group (the inner Ashram) and with the Master at its heart.
One of the things which a Master has to do is to teach His disciples to study and register truthfully their usual point of [page 704] daily focus. This constitutes the true introspective training, and when followed sanely and wisely leads to the realisation of the true, persistent, inner level of consciousness; it fosters also a recognition of the need to overcome limitation (frequently not the limitations usually registered) and the necessity for breaking the barriers imposed by the personality. This whole process might be summed up in the following words: The purpose of the Ashram and the training which it gives is to enable the disciple to live truly on every plane which he has succeeded in opening up to his consciousness. It is important to remember that no one is integrated into an Ashram until he has pierced beyond the confines of the purely personal levels of awareness; until he is sensitive to the ray and quality of the Master of the Ashram, and until he is normally soul conscious. The achievement of this involves great responsibility, and it is the shouldering of this responsibility which brings about the first indications of what I might call "ashramic consciousness"—a consciousness devoid of self-interest and always preoccupied with the essentials of spiritual living.
220.Perhaps few of us are so introspectively astute that we infallibly understand the nature and level of our “usual point of daily focus”. One must pause to assess this.
221.The introspective task of attempting to determine the level of this focus (if followed wisely and sanely—i.e., by avoiding all tendency towards morbid introspection) brings the inner levels of conscious into increasing realization. The obstacles which hold consciousness to a certain level will also be more readily perceived and the need to overcome such limiting obstacles will also intensify.
222.DK hints that the limitations discovered in this introspective process will not necessarily be the ones which are usually registered by the disciple. This is a general truth. In the training offered by DK, He confronted His chelas with an awareness of certain of their limitations which were entirely unknown to them. They had thought their major limitations were other than the ones DK considered still more hampering.
223.The Master offers a most practical description of ashramic purpose and process: through the measures taken during ashramic training, a disciple is taught to “live truly on every plane” which may be in process of opening to his awareness. We all know that we have various kinds of awareness of various planes, but we are far from “living truly” on those planes. Ashramic training makes this possible. Eventually we will become master of and on all those planes and will manifest as a Master of the Wisdom.
224.The members of an Ashram naturally function in relation to more planes than will the average individual. DK reminds us that no one is admitted into an Ashram until he has pierced beyond the normal, personal ring-pass-nots, and is sensitive to the ray and quality of the Master and His Ashram. Ashramic membership is reserved for those who are at least beginning to live as souls. For such individuals, their “normal” consciousness is “soul consciousness”.
225.When “soul consciousness” is beginning to be one’s “normal” state of consciousness, there dawns a tremendous sense of responsibility. If this responsibility is properly “shouldered” it will be an indication that the responsible and responding disciple is moving towards “ashramic consciousness”. We begin to realize how ‘joyfully burdensome’ it is to be a member of an Ashram!
226.True “ashramic consciousness”, as here defined, is “devoid of self-interest and always preoccupied with the essentials of spiritual living”. Ashramic membership is for those who have ‘shed the self’—at least the lower self. The defeat of the normal ego is an inevitable result of ashramic affiliation in its early stages. That little ego is considered a blockage to the enterprises which engage the members of the Ashram. It must go, and along with it all traces of self interest.
227.Let every disciple take into consideration what he thinks to be “the essentials of spiritual living”, and test to see whether his consciousness is preoccupied with those essentials!
The primary preoccupation of chelas at the beginning of their technical training is of a very varied nature and the Ashram life is usually merely an interesting background for daily experience and not the factor of importance which it should be, and not the main interest in the foreground of the consciousness. The necessities of daily living, the many and diverse family contacts, the resentments against life and its impacts, a dislike of criticism and of being misunderstood, the many problems of character, the pressures of psychic unfoldment and the pettinesses of circumstance frequently loom so large that awareness of the Ashram and its life is only an occasional inspiration instead of a fixed habit of life. The ability to make comparisons to the detriment of others (particularly of one's own fellow disciples or of one's own circumstances), the fear to let go and throw all one is and has into the life of the Ashram, foreboding as to the future and a host of mental thoughtforms, plus undue attention to the cyclic life of the physical body, present the Master with an appalling picture of the liabilities with which He is confronted. The factor of the attitude of the Master is one which disciples are very [page 705] apt to forget because they are so basically interested in themselves and in their reactions and problems.
228.DK discusses the usual preoccupations of chelas as they begin their technical training with an Ashram. The Ashram is seen as an “interesting background” for their usual daily experience, rather than occupying a place in the forefront of their consciousness. It might be said that their sense of values is not yet properly adjusted.
229.DK offers us a catalogue of the usual preoccupations (and troubles) which prevent ordinary disciples from placing the Ashram first. For them, awareness of the Ashram serves only as “an occasional inspiration instead of a fixed habit of life”.
230.Obviously, it takes considerable esoteric skill to live with a constant awareness of the Ashram and still tend efficiently to all that must be done. This is a great test for the disciple; can he infuse his daily affairs with ashramic quality? It will be found, I think, that if one lives with consistent ashramic awareness, that which must be done in the course of life in the three worlds will be better done. This remains for each disciple to prove.
231.We are presented with an “appalling picture of… liabilities” which confronts the Master as He surveys the psychological state of aspirants and disciples. Each of us will find ourselves involved with one or more of the various detrimental factors. These, of course, must be released and overcome if we are to enter into greater intimacy with ashramic process and with the Master.
232.One must wonder at the extraordinary patience of the Master as He persists with His program of spiritual training in the face of all these obstacles. What will it take for us to put that point of tension which the Ashram represents in first place, and all the points of extension (represented by our preoccupations) second?
233.In an effort to decentralize us, Master DK presents us with the Master’s problem. The Master certainly does not need our commiseration, but He certainly needs our understanding. Perhaps if we see our lives from His point of view, we will sooner disengage from those preoccupations which often render His attempts on our behalf futile.
It might here be noted that disciples in an Ashram are primarily occupied with world affairs. As a group they are pledged to world work; as individuals, they are learning so to work. Would-be disciples need to distinguish between the effect (magnetic and dynamic) of the group and the conscious effort which the group may make, under united desire and the direction of the Master, to reach the minds of those directing world affairs and world happenings. The outer happenings are, to a certain point, predictable; they are the precipitated effects of hidden causes which lie deep in the subconsciousness of humanity. These can be noted and (up to a certain point) offset or stimulated by the group potency. This is one of the major tasks of the Hierarchy. The Masters work in the light and in the realm of causes. Disciples are as yet necessarily involved in the world of effects and, therefore, of illusion.
234.Members of an Ashram have a ‘planetarized’ consciousness. They have transcended concern with strictly personal issues and are “occupied with world affairs”. They, thus, think in larger terms than will the average disciple.
235.The ashramic group is, as a whole, ahead of some of its individual members. There is a group-pledge to aid in “world work”. The various members are responding to this pledge and learning to work in this way.
236.DK is trying to give us an understanding of the scope of ashramic work. The Hierarchy is concerned with the salvage of humanity as a whole, and members of an Ashram are pledged to the same project.
237.DK asks us to make an important distinction between group effect and group effort.
238.The causes of “outer happenings” in the world are described in an interesting way. There is a certain predictability to the trend of such happenings (arising as they do from causes lying deep within the subconscious nature of humanity). One of the important tasks of the Hierarchy and its Ashrams is to be aware of these tendencies toward the precipitation of the subconscious life and to offset them or stimulate them as needed.
239.In this respect, Hierarchy serves as a great balancing factor. The life and fate of humanity would have been far worse than can be imagined without the intelligence and compassionate balancing of forces initiated and supervised by Hierarchy.
240.The sense of all this is that ashramic work is world work. Humanity is a great mass of seething, conflicted energies, and within this ‘energic strife’ Hierarchy must work. The Masters, as full members of Hierarchy, work in the light and, thus, with causes. Disciples cannot yet work this way and are still bound to the world of effects and under illusion. When they enter an Ashram, however, they are precipitated into a field of vast responsibility (and difficulty), and within this field (and though hampered by ignorance and illusion) they must somehow learn to work with increasingly effectiveness.
To work dominantly with the focal points of spiritual energy upon the outer plane immediately involves certain factors:
1.A deep unerring love which "sees" in the light. Love is truly the revealer.
241.We remember that Ashrams are “focal points of spiritual energy” within humanity.
242.The Hierarchy is the Hierarchy of Love. Only those who truly love are admitted into its ranks.
243.We understand, from what is here said, that love brings accurate perception. If one loves, one will see.
244.The sight motivated by love is lighted sight. Love sees the light in others and in the world. Love penetrates through and beyond the usual obscurations. Love sees behind barriers to the soul in all things.
245.Ashramic workers love deeply and see the light and, thus, the light content of all that is perceived is revealed.
2.The power to withdraw completely, as individuals and as a group, from the world of physical reactions, emotional biases, and to work purely on mental levels. There the disciple is focussed in his lower mind, but consciously oriented towards the soul and is becoming increasingly sensitive to the intuition and towards the vision and the Plan, as well as towards the group soul and to the Master—all in this order of response.
246.Ashramic workers have mastered a certain power of detachment which allows them to withdraw from the physical and emotional worlds. The world of mind is closer to the light of the soul, and they focus their consciousness in the illumined mind.
247.Most disciples are not yet possessed of uninterrupted causal consciousness. Their task is to focus in the lower mind, remaining aware of the soul, and open to the intuition with reveals “the vision and the Plan”. Disciples are also to be increasingly sensitive to the “group soul and to the Master”.
248.Master DK has given us an order of procedure. It begins with the ability to abstract from physical/emotional turmoil and to focus as a soul-illumined mind. This focussing will open to the world of intuition which will reveal the worlds in which the Hierarchy normally lives and moves and has its being.
3.Next follows the power, as a group, to formulate the desired thought-effect in such a manner that it will reach the mind or the soul of those you seek to contact, to project the thoughtform, built in such a way that it will be of the type and quality needed to evoke response, and so meet the need of those the disciple is seeking to help and strengthen. The projected thoughtform will embody the light and love, as well as the idea of the group in conformity with group vision.
249.DK continues describing how members of an Ashram work.
250.The next task is to build and project the desired thoughtforms so that they may be effective in the service of the Plan. This is a technical matter and requires that an ashramic member be, to some degree, a white magician. A Master is a white magician.
“9.Before a thought-form is by thee constructed, vision its purpose, ascertain its goal, and verify the motive.” (TWM 473)
251.Before undertaking the process of building in thought and projecting the thought, one must know why one is doing so. What is the need to be met? If the need is understood, the thoughtform will be built properly and the energies qualifying it will be suitable for meeting the need. A useful thought must be presented in the right ‘clothing’.
252.We note that the projected thoughtform “will embody the light and love, as well as the idea of the group in conformity with group vision”. The disciple is not building strictly individual thoughtforms. They are to carry the group note and to be representative of the Ashram of which the disciple is a member.
253.Let us summarize the ways in which to work with those focal points of spiritual energy which are Ashrams:
a.work with love and in the light
b.work from mental levels, in contact with the soul and increasingly, intuitively sensitive to the group soul and the Master
c.build and project thoughtforms which serve humanity by meeting its need, and which embody the quality of the Ashram
For how many is this kind of work possible? Not many, as yet. Disciples are usually more preoccupied with their desire to help than with the scientific techniques of helping. They need to take the desire for granted and then forget about it. I would ask all disciples at this time to make it their major effort to see the vision clear; to recognise, and know for what they are, those who are in high position, guiding humanity and whose responsibility it is to lead humanity out of slavery into freedom. Aid them with love because they are where they are through their individual destiny and the guidance of their souls. Life must be seen truly and faced as it is—not realistically from the world standpoint but realistically from the standpoint of the soul, whose vision is long and inclusive and who sees life as it is.
254.Master DK pauses to assess. Not many at this time can work in the ways proposed. Disciples are not yet very effective. They desire to help more than they actually help. They have much to master concerning the “scientific techniques of helping”.
255.There is a certain “glamor of aspiration” which negates right action. The one involved in this glamor is satisfied with aspiration which he (gladly and lazily) substitutes for effective action in service. DK asks us to move on.
256.DK asks for increasingly clarity of vision. He asks also that disciples recognize the true world leaders (this was written during the Second World War) and to “aid them with love”.
257.We see the Master calling for ‘spiritual realism’, not the cynical realism of the worldly minded.
258.The soul “sees life as it is”. The soul-conscious disciple will begin to see as the soul sees—with a long-range vision and inclusively.
259.If disciples do not see clearly, they cannot act effectively, and so the Master calls for this clarification of vision. One can sense that He wishes disciples to be far more effective than they presently are. This call, written more than sixty years ago, still applies to our situation as disciples in an unstable world.
The acceptance of facts is one of the first duties of a disciple. In the task of aiding humanity, as a part of the Master's group or Ashram, the fact that there are men and women placed in positions of power to carry out the divine plan is one of the first to be faced. This must be done uncritically, avoiding constant recognition of their limitations, with an understanding of their problem, with realisation of the call of their souls to yours and the pouring upon them of a constant stream of "loving understanding." They are more advanced disciples than you are—little as this may be realised. They are—consciously or unconsciously—under the "impression" of the Masters; there is little that the average disciple can do for them in moulding their thought or in shaping their decisions. I refer of course to the leaders of the Forces of Light upon the outer physical plane. But disciples and aspirants can surround them with a guarding wall of light and love; they can refrain from handicapping them with thoughts of criticism which can swell the tide of criticism which the worldly minded pour out upon them. As to attempting to reach and influence the leaders of the forces of materialism, I would ask you to refrain. It can more easily be done because the personality of the disciple will provide an open door of approach. But they are far stronger than the average disciple and the task would, therefore, be one of extreme danger.
260.DK is now speaking in first ray terms. The first ray “asserts the fact”, and under the first ray, disciples accept facts as they are. The Master calls such acceptance a “duty”.
261.The Tibetan is seeking to mobilize His disciples on behalf of the outer leaders of the Forces of Light.
262.These leaders need the soul support of those spiritually inclined men and women (presumably disciples such as those in DK’s groups) who understand their very difficult task. Criticism of these leaders is to be suspended, as is a constant reference to their limitations.
263.The souls of the leaders are calling to the souls of such disciples as those in DK’s group, for support. DK asks that a “constant stream of ‘loving understanding’” be poured forth upon these leaders.
264.The Master offers a sobering assessment: those leaders are “more advanced disciples than you are”. Workers in the field of esotericism are likely to be proud of their esoteric knowledge and fail to realize that the ‘verbal possession’ of this great Teaching does not necessarily elevate them in spiritual status.
265.Some of the world leaders in those days (and probably some today—Nelson Mandela, for instance) are “under impression” from the Hierarchy. They are often unconscious hierarchical workers who have (before birth it would seem) relinquished their consciousness their knowledge of Hierarchy in order to work more effectively on behalf of humanity.
266.DK asks that His disciples surround these more advanced world disciples with a “wall of light” and refrain from all criticism, which can have the adverse effect of “swelling the tide of criticism” directed against them by the “worldly minded”.
267.The same applies today. As potential or actual members of an Ashram, or at least as individuals gathered around the Teaching of Master DK, we can affect the world process positively or adversely through our thoughts. There are leaders in the world who need our assistance and support. As in those days, we cannot mould their thought or shape their decisions, but we can help to provide the positive atmosphere in which the best thoughts and decisions can be formulated.
268.DK has often said that it is useless and dangerous for us to speculate about the black lodge:
“3. Humanity and cosmic evil, focussed for many millenia of years in what has been called the Black Lodge. Speculation anent this Lodge and its activities is both fruitless and dangerous.” (EA 445)
In this group instruction, He advises His disciples to avoid trying to contact or influence the representatives of that Lodge who are outer plane “leaders of the forces of materialism”. Another sober assessment is given; these evil leaders are far more powerful than the average disciple, and the well-meaning disciple attempting such contact would be in “extreme danger”. As Master DK does not exaggerate, we have to take Him at His word. This danger would probably not arise from outer causes; the inner causes would be sufficient.
269.Were such contact attempted, the personality of the disciple would provide “an open door of approach”. We can be assured that the disciple’s personality would be adversely and negatively stimulated and his usefulness to the White Lodge threatened or damaged.
270.Disciples must learn to co-measure their capabilities. This is all part of the “acceptance of facts” which DK is emphasizing.
In the Aquarian Age (which is now so near, relatively speaking), there will be an externalisation of the inner Ashram upon the outer plane. Disciples, initiates and world disciples will meet for the first time in human history as disciples, recognising each other and recognising the Master of their group. The inner Ashram is a focus of souls, free and unlimited; the outer Ashram—under the future Aquarian experiment—will be composed of a focus of personalities and souls. Limitation will, therefore, exist; responsibility will require conscious recognition and there will be a necessary slowing down of both action and perception in the outer space-time world.
271.DK speaks of the impending externalization of the inner Ashram. The Aquarian Age will witness this externalization.
272.We note that the externalization will occur “for the first time in human history”. Whereas in the very early days of evolution the Masters walked among men, the men of the period were not members of an Ashram. They could not be. Human evolution had not yet done its work.
273.In the immediate future, disciples will recognize each other on the physical plane and will simultaneously recognize the Master of their group, Who, Himself, in many cases, will be in physical presence.
274.Towards this externalization we are all working, with greater or lesser degrees of consciousness. As far as our present planetary process is concerned, it is the “main event”.
275.DK again distinguishes between the inner and outer Ashrams. The inner Ashram “is a focus of souls, free and unlimited”; “the outer Ashram…will be composed of a focus of personalities and souls”. This, of course, is the problem and the potential.
276.We note the use of the word “focus”. An Ashram is a “focus of souls”; this requires pondering. It is a definition given in terms of the language of consciousness and energy. An Ashram is a focalization of consciousnesses and of energies.
277.We cannot expect that the externalizations of the inner Ashram will function with the same freedom as the inner Ashram itself. The outer time-space world presents its obstructions. This fact will have to be recognized and due allowance made. Patience and understanding will be required.
The true Ashram (of which the coming outer Ashrams will be but reflections) is not for lower concrete mind discussion. It is a focal point of receptivity; it embraces the effort to establish mutual contact through an united recognition of the vision, of the esoteric basis of life and the laws governing action. It is not a place, however, for long and silent meditation processes, for it is a point of tension where, together, the Ageless Wisdom in its more esoteric aspects is discussed, where the nature of soul relationship is recognised and where the fusion of auras and the inter-blending of the "Triangles" goes forward consciously. An Ashram is the state of mind of a spiritual group. It is a point of united thought; it is a centre for the clarification of the vision and not of physical plane methods of work. As disciples learn to integrate themselves into a Master's Ashram, they discover that the first thing they have to do is to establish a basic harmony between themselves and their fellow disciples and to reinforce the contact between their own souls, the ashramic group and the Master. Then they learn to comprehend—through discussion and experiment—the nature of the energies which are seeking world expression, and the nature of the forces which must be reduced to powerlessness, if these new incoming energies are to prove effective in bringing about the desired changes under the Plan.
278.It would seem that DK has been discussing the nature of the true Ashram to a great extent; He tells us, however, that the “true Ashram” “is not for lower concrete mind discussion”. Does this mean that the true Ashram cannot be understood through such discussion (which is probable) or that it is forbidden to discuss it in this way (which is advisable)? We have learned that only the intuition, love and pure reason will really penetrate the Ashram. The concrete mind is left standing outside the door.
279.The following explains why the concrete mind cannot grasp the nature of the Ashram. It is a most esoteric definition and emphasizes the esoteric dynamics of ashramic process: “It is a focal point of receptivity; it embraces the effort to establish mutual contact through an united recognition of the vision, of the esoteric basis of life and the laws governing action.”
280.The definitions of an Ashram as offered in this section are exceedingly esoteric and, therefore, useful to the discerning student. Some think of the Ashram as a center for meditative retreat. A number of outer ashrams in
, for instance, are that. However, a true Ashram “is a point of tension where, together, the Ageless Wisdom in its more esoteric aspects is discussed, where the nature of soul relationship is recognised and where the fusion of auras and the inter-blending of the ‘Triangles’ goes forward consciously.” India
281.We have to get used to the Ashram described in terms of the “Language of Energy”. The resulting descriptions are more accurate than those expressed in more conventional language.
282.The important factor of the “fusion of auras” and the “inter-blending of the ‘Triangles’…” is presented in the definition immediately above. We are to think of the Ashram as a center in which soul-fusion is achieved.
283.We note, however, that within an Ashram there is discussion of a certain kind. Master DK now and then tells us of the kinds of discussions which have occurred in Ashrams (often between Himself and Master KH, or between a Master and His chela during the hours of sleep). Such discussions invariably concern the deeper aspects of the Wisdom.
284.Once excellent definition after another is presented: “an Ashram is the state of mind of a spiritual group”. According to our state of mind, then, we will participate or not. Our state of mind must be held at a certain requisite point of tension if we are to enter that state of mind which is ashramic.
285.The Ashram is a “point of united thought”. The word “point” should be pondered. Through the necessary “point of tension”, the “point of thought” can be accessed. It is incumbent upon disciples who would be ashramic members to bring their thought processes to the requisite point—a point which reflects the Master’s purpose.
286.Further an Ashram is “a centre for the clarification of vision and not of physical plane methods of work”. The physical plane methods are left to the individual disciples. If the vision has been clarified, the methods will reflect the vision and will manifest that which the Master of the Ashram intends.
287.What is required of a disciple as he enters the Ashram? First a basic harmony has to be established with all fellow members of the Ashram. As well, the disciple’s soul contact is reinforced, as is contact with the ashramic group and with the Master. Entry requires a great spiritual deepening and strengthening, all occurring within a general atmosphere of love and harmony regardless of the ray of the Ashram. The Hierarchy is the Hierarchy of Love.
288.In the laboratory that the Ashram represents, important discussions concerning the nature of energy are pursued. The forces with which ashramic members must work are to be deeply understood. Right methods of applying these forces are to be learned. The nature of the opposing forces must also be comprehended if they are to be “reduced to powerlessness”.
289.All such discussions concerning occult energies are to render the ashramic member more effective in promoting the manifestation of the Divine Plan.
They learn also that there is no weakness and no strength in themselves, as individuals, which may not be submitted to the group "gaze"; thus they arrive at the stripping away of all the "veils" which prevent the clear light of the soul from shining [page 708] forth. The goal of all work done in the Ashram of any of the Masters is Truth—on all levels and at all times. As disciples learn thus to work from the point or centre of light, understanding and truth into which they are being steadily integrated, their exoteric usefulness and effective service will be greatly increased; they will—as a group—know what has to be done and find eventually that it is done.
290.To enter the Ashram is to enter the culture of impersonality. All that relates to the personality (as horrible or embarrassing as it may seem to the sensitive disciples) is subject to scrutiny by the “group gaze”. With growing impersonality, the disciple must learn to tolerate this revealing gaze, which strips away “the ‘veils’ which prevent the clear light of the soul from shining forth”. After all, the disciple is not his personality; the disciple, essentially, is the “observer” which is, essentially, the spirit.
291.Another great principle is enunciated: “The goal of all work done in the Ashram of any of the Masters is Truth—on all levels and at all times.” This potent sentence is to be pondered. The requirement is high.
292.This dedication to Truth, rightly pursued, reveals the Divine Plan and eventually the Divine Purpose.
293.The Ashram is a “point or centre of light, understanding and truth”. Disciples are being slowly integrated into this point or center, and as this occurs, their usefulness in the exoteric world is steadily increased.
294.Many disciples do not yet, with certainty, “know what has to be done”. The cultivation of “Truth—on all levels and at all times” will reveal what must be done, and, says the Tibetan, the group will “find eventually that it is done”. The wielding of Truth brings fulfillment.
295.Truth will dispel ignorance and reveal both Plan and Purpose. The Ashram exists to serve Plan and Purpose; the pursuit of Truth is the Ashram’s tool in this regard.
The major task of the Master in the early stages of training His disciple is to bring to an end the period of the disciple's intense preoccupation with himself, with his service, with his reaction to the Master or the promise of future contact with the Master, with his own ideas anent discipleship and his personal interpretations of truth. The Master takes a group of people with fixed ideas (which they are entirely sure are correct, being the best and highest they have been able to grasp to date) and with the conviction that they have reached a point where they have registered certain spiritual values and concepts, where they have evolved their own formulations of truth and where they are eagerly demanding the next step. The first thing, therefore, which He has to do is (using a strong and perhaps a strange phrase) to blast them wide open, give them a deep sense of insecurity as to the formulas and symbols of the lower concrete mind and so prepare them for the reception of newer and higher approaches to truth. This is frequently brought about by forcing them to question all the conclusions of the past.
296.When the disciple enters the Ashram, a process of ‘deconditioning’ must take place.
297.The newly accepted disciple is still quite selfish and self-absorbed. He still thinks of ‘his’ service, and of ‘his’ Ashram and Master in self-centered terms. All this must be brought to an end, and his strictly personal interpretations of truth adjusted to the spiritual facts.
298.The group that the Master “takes” into His Ashram has many liabilities. Self-assurance and fixity of thought are among them. Such people have, to their own satisfaction, evolved their own formulations of truth and are now “eagerly demanding the next step”.
299.DK surprises us in describing how a Master proceeds under these circumstances. He does not reinforce the hard-won convictions which His chelas have evolved through the use of their concrete mind. Instead He undertakes to “blast them wide open”. It is obviously a first ray process and gives the disciples a “deep sense of insecurity as to the formulas and symbols of the lower concrete mind”. In this way they are prepared for newer and higher approaches to truth.
300.Some of us are familiar with the Law of Repulse as it is presented along the seven ray lines. In each of these seven variations of a basic Law of the Soul, the effect of this ‘blasting’ will be apparent. Under this law the disciple receives a shock which turns him from his old way of doing things and opens him to new and better ways of approach.
301.One can imagine that this will not be a pleasant process for the disciple (unless the disciple is possessed of much first ray, and enjoys the destruction of the old and cherished).
302.The Master, we are told, will force us to question all the conclusions of the past. We will be forced to examine our life and hard-won conclusions truthfully and objectively, in the light of the Ashram. Much of error will be revealed in this needed process of deglamorization, disillusionment and destruction.
We have all—disciples and initiates of all degrees—to enter the secret place of initiation with a sense of blindness (or loss of direction) and with a feeling of complete destitution. The disciple needs to bear in mind that he has to become "a moving point and hence a line"; he ascends towards the Hierarchy and assumes the correct spiritual attitude but, at the same time, he descends into what he erroneously regards as the depth of human difficulty and iniquity (if necessary), preserving always his spiritual integrity but learning three important lessons:
303.The “place of initiation” is ever a secret place. It is a ‘place’ where the hitherto unknown is revealed. What will happen during the ceremony of initiation (and, more widely, during the ongoing process of initiation) is unknown. The “secrets of initiation” bring us “from darkness to light” (at least with respect to the permitted illumination of any particular degree).
304.DK speaks in Masonic terms. All candidates enter blindly, with a feeling of disorientation and destitution. They do not know where they are going, but they have trust.
305.No matter what the degree to which we may be making application, the experiences of that degree are actually unknown to us, howevermuch theory we may have accumulated regarding them. The supervising Powers mean us well, but we have to drop old ways to take advantage of that which They have to offer. This, of course, is a humbling (and necessary) experience.
306.In geometrical terms, the disciple has to become “a moving point and hence a line”. When the first ray type of motion, the motion of “progress onward” is applied, the point becomes a line. The antahkarana is built and alignment with the higher worlds becomes a reality.
307.The line is an ascending line and it leads into the Hierarchy.
308.Interestingly and importantly, the ascent is paralleled by a simultaneous descent. into the “depth of human difficulty and iniquity” (should this be necessary). Hierarchy is approaching Shamballa and humanity simultaneously. Newly accepted disciples are approaching Hierarchy and humanity simultaneously.
309.Eventually, the “Highest and the Lowest Meet”. As our scope of understanding expands, the height and depth of our experience ‘elongates’; we reaching into higher worlds and plunging into those which appear to be ‘lower’—and we are to be ‘at home’ in both.
1.The recognition that he shares all human tendencies, good and bad, and hence is able to serve.
310.In the process of simultaneously ascending and descending, three important lessons are learned.
311.One of the first and humbling experiences is that the candidate “shares all human tendencies”—all without exception. The good is in us; the bad is there as well (even if unexpressed or, at length, transmuted and transformed).
312.There is but One Identity in cosmos, and all things are included in it. We, essentially, are that One Identity.
2.The discovery that the thing which he most despises and fears is the thing which exists most strongly in him, but [page 709] which is as yet unrecognised. He discovers also that he has to explore and know these despised and feared areas of consciousness so that they become eventually an asset, instead of something to be avoided. He learns to fear nothing; he is all things; he is a human being but he is also a mystic, an occultist, a psychic and a disciple. And—because of all these acquired states of consciousness—he becomes eventually a Master. He has "mastered" all stages and states of awareness.
313.This statement is extremely chastening. Let us think of those things which we may have most feared and despised. Certainly, at first, these things have seemed “out there” and “in others”. Those who remain psychologically naïve will never see it in any other way.
314.Yet, we are advised that the thing we hate and fear most is not only in us but strongly in us. This should bring a reflective pause.
315.One can imagine that the Law of Karma is at work in this process, for that which we hate and fear is that which we seek to see changed. The changes we work to bring about in “them” (i.e., in the not-Self) are, when successful, really changing and transforming conditions which exist within ourselves. When an individual seeks to clear the world of certain abuses, he is simultaneously clearing himself of those same abuses. At first he will not realize this.
316.Conversely, if I have the psychological insight to remove my own projections from others and the world, the changes I succeed in bringing about in myself will induce similar beneficial changes in “them” and in the world.
317.The “despised and feared areas of consciousness” are, therefore, to be explored. This is the work of depth psychology—especially spiritual depth psychology. How can such areas “become eventually an asset”? Well, one can learn the pitfalls. One can learn how to overcome these hidden factors. One can serve others by helping them to release themselves from these factors. One can achieve ‘redemptive humility’.
318.Fear is a great opponent to the student of occultism. The true occultist has no fear.
319.DK says it: the disciple “is all things”. This passing statement should be taken literally. It is a metaphysical truth and has immense practical utility.
320.The initiate realizes himself as a human being, a mystic, an occultist, a psychic and a disciple. He is all of these. He does not seek to protect himself by erecting artificial barriers. There is nothing he is not.
321.The initiate has been through all manner of experiences and eventually becomes the master of these experiences. The Masters of the Wisdom have experienced the heights and depths of life and have won through. On the way to Mastership, one must be prepared to face all things—within oneself and within the world (only to find that they are the same).
3.The uselessness of past attitudes and dogmatic ways of looking at life and people (based usually on tradition and circumstance) when they separate him from his fellowmen.
322.The initiate discards much as he ascends. Old, outdated formulations have to go. They do not serve. They separate him from his fellowmen.
323.The initiate is rapidly overcoming the Great Heresy of Separateness. There is nothing good or evil in the world from which he feels himself separate, but of course, he has learned to overcome innate evil.
When he has really learnt these three things, he is initiate.
324.We will want to study these three factors with renewed care, for when they have been learnt, the one who learns “is initiate”.
a.the initiate shares all human tendencies
b.what is most feared and despised is strongly within the one who fears and despises; a man is all things and cannot separate himself from anything
c.old, separative attitudes and perspectives have to go
325.I think a careful reading of this group instruction will reveal the richness of its content. There is much to be pondered and absorbed.
326.The Tibetan wants to see us in closer relation to the Ashram, and sooner than later, functioning as full members of the Ashram (whichever Ashram may be ‘ours’). The methods for achieving this closer affiliation are clearly given. We have to acknowledge them and practice them so that achievement may soon eventuate.
With Love and Many Blessings,
Michael, with gratitude for the assistance of all co-workers.