commentary by Michael D. Robbins

As we study the various stages in discipleship through which all must pass, we shall discover that one of the things which happens is the irradiation of the daily life. This irradiation emanates from the world of meaning in which the disciple is learning to live consciously and always. One of the problems with which the Master is engaged in relation to His group of disciples is to teach them the deep significance of the familiar and also the importance of the truths which underlie all platitudes. This is perhaps the most difficult task of all because of the habitual reaction to the familiar and the need to do two things: Prove that the familiar veils an important reality and that by penetrating to the "world of meaning," the disciple discovers that he can enter into the first stage of the period of preparation for accepted discipleship.

1.We can understand irradiation as the permeating presence of soul energy--permeating through the personality and its three vehicles. It is a subtle matter; an intangible, extraordinary quality is present which is wanting in the average individual.

2.What does it mean to live in the “world of meaning”? It is surely a specific state of consciousness. Could we call this kind consciousness, “contextual consciousness” in which no perception is taken strictly at face value? Far more than the concrete mind is at work. In contextual consciousness all phenomena are related to noumena. All patterns presented to consciousness are related to archetypal patterns. The specific is seen within the context of the general, the part in relation to the whole.

3.The meaning of the familiar is customarily overlooked. The divine is “staring us in the face”, but we often fail to see it. We have become habituated to the familiar and have lost its meaning. Our awareness in relation to the familiar has become desensitized.

4.As disciples we must learn to see everything with a ‘fresh eye’, with ‘spiritual innocence’.

5.Platitudes are undervalued truths. Their ‘truth value’ has been worn away through habituation. What can remove the veils or obscurative scales of many years of inattentive perception? What can reveal the divine in the obvious? We can begin by adopting the attitude that (in relation to all perceptions) one is standing before a profound mystery; nothing is to be disrespected. All has its revelatory value.

6.In this paragraph, we learn that two things are required of the one who would be an “accepted disciple”. First we have the power to prove that the familiar veils an important reality. This can be done, at first, by treating the familiar as if it were unfamiliar. We might “look again”, “listen again”, to see and hear what the familiar veils. Pausing over the familiar until it reveals its secret can be a startling experience. We see how often we gloss over the meaning behind and enveloping the familiar. We think we know what things are, but when we pause in the consideration of an object, for instance, many more associations enter the mind, and we learn to ‘re-vision’ the thing observed within its larger context. The one who will not pause to consider will not enter the world of meaning. Con-sideration, according to its etymology, references the stars—the sidereal world.

7.The Tibetan offers a most qualified statement: “by penetrating to the ‘world of meaning,’ the disciple discovers that he can enter into the first stage of the period of preparation for accepted discipleship.” Not accepted discipleship; not the stage of preparation for accepted discipleship; but only the “first stage” of preparation for accepted discipleship. It would seem that disciples would want to learn much about the nature of meaning, as he would become an accepted disciple must have a relatively long experience functioning within the world of meaning before “acceptance”, technically understood, is possible.

8.Why is the world of meaning so important to the accepted disciple? Perhaps because the Master and His Ashram are forever related to an all-embracing planetary context. They ever work in relation to the “larger planetary picture” and to even more expansive contexts. The accepted disciple is a member of the Ashram (though on its periphery), and as such, must learn to think in larger terms than heretofore. Parts much be seen in relation to wholes, or there will be improper structure to thought and its execution. The Master and the Ashram implement the Divine Plan. That which They externalize must be that which is divinely intended. All things must be seen in relation to an encompassing Plan and Purpose. The beginning of the understanding necessary for this kind of work occurs in the world of meaning, which is the antechamber to the world of significance (where Plan, and eventually, Purpose are revealed).

9.Let us ask ourselves: “What is the greater context in which I understand all ‘presentations to consciousness’? Do I think in terms of humanity? In terms of our planet? In terms of the solar system and beyond (however theoretically)? What is the particular whole in relation to which I reference my thought?

The first stage which we must study is that of "Little Chelaship." In dealing with this stage, as with them all, I would remind you that I am approaching the subject from the angle of what the Master has to do, and not from the angle of the disciple's work. There has been so much written on that subject from the angle of the disciple and so many books put out on the subject that familiarity with the theme militates against true apprehension. The effort to understand has been focussed upon the disciple and his problems of character and personality.

10.Many readers may imagine that Master DK is repetitious in His Teaching. In fact, if it appears that there is repetition, the reader must pay greater attention to ‘the angle of presentation’. Is the apparently repeated topic being presented from the same angle as before? What is the context of the presentation—an individual, group, pan-human, or planetary context? There are subtleties to be observed if one is to gather the most from apparent repetitions.

11.In this case, the discussion of “Little Chelaship” is presented from the Master’s point of view. One of the values of this kind of presentation is that it is decentralizing. Many disciples think ever in terms of themselves. This presentation forces them to attempt to understand from the Master’s perspective.

12.Again, an important theme is emphasized: familiarity militates against true apprehension. Familiarity and mindlessness go hand in hand. One is reminded of one of the points in the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path—“Right Mindfulness”. Sanat Kumara is quoted in “The Crest Jewel of Discrimination” by Sankaracarya. He is reputed to have said, “Inadvertence is equivalent to death”.

13.So we are entering this important matter of disciplic development from quite a different perspective. Our context is thus enlarged, and the study should become, therefore, more meaningful.

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It will not be possible for me to indicate the work in detail. I intend only to show you as far as is possible how a Master prepares the probationer to step from off the Probationary Path on to the Path of Discipleship. At this point, I would like to point out that I shall be dealing with a period covering the stages of discipleship from the first stage to that of adept. At the fourth stage, the disciple emerges out of his Master's group and becomes what is esoterically called "a fixed aspect of the Hierarchy." This is a phrase which is necessarily quite meaningless to you.

14.Little Chelaship may be considered a stage of probationary discipleship. During this stage, the probationary disciple is really an aspirant, and not necessarily a “true aspirant” as DK later defines that term. Little Chelaship (though associated correspondentially with the first initiation) probably does not necessitate the taking of that initiation. We will proceed carefully, however, and attempt to draw the most reasonable conclusions. Master DK, probably intentionally, refrains from being too concrete when speaking of these matters. He seeks to avoid the ‘hardening’ of the concrete mind with its endless possibilities for rigid classification.

15.In the paragraph above Master DK is referencing a long period of disciplic development—a period perhaps of twenty or even thirty incarnations. On the other hand, for the soul that is truly intent, it may be a period of perhaps only ten incarnations.

16.The fourth stage of discipleship here referenced is that of Chela on the Thread. Such a chela is definitely a peripheral member of Hierarchy. The chela has mounted the Fixed Cross and upon that Cross has proven himself. Thus He can become “a fixed aspect of the Hierarchy”. He can be trusted not to deviate (as so many may and do) before the “Temptation in the Desert” is passed.

He comes then under the influence of Shamballa and the mode of preparing people for association with that first major centre is very different to that of preparing them for participation in the work of the centre which we call the Hierarchy. The one involves the development of love and of group consciousness; the other involves the unfoldment of the will and the attainment of the stage to which Patanjali gives the name of "isolated unity." This is a phrase which is quite meaningless to any one below the degree of the third initiation. In this discussion, I shall not be dealing with preparation for the various initiations and their specific differences. I shall be dealing with the growth of what is called "ashramic intimacy," with the approach of the disciple to the world of souls and to the unfoldment of his consciousness in relation to the Hierarchy. I shall be concerned with his growth in sensitivity and his subsequent and consequent growth in creativity—not the creativity of form as much as the creativity of vibration, its impact upon the world of men and the consequent later appearance of responsive organisms, in contra-distinction to created forms. I would ask you to reflect upon this thought.

17.When does the chela come under the influence of Shamballa? Perhaps, to some small extent, in preparation for the third initiation, at which point the monadic aspect is activated and consciously registered.

18.Two modes of preparation are here discussed. Theoretically we can discuss the second; practically, we are interested in the first—that of preparation for participation in Hierarchy. Love and group consciousness can be equated; much work still remains to be accomplished along these lines by the average disciple today. It is unsafe to approach Shamballa before love and group consciousness have been instituted.

19.The unfoldment of the will and the attainment of “isolated unity” are closely related. The one who knows that “the macrocosmic Whole is all there is” has attained isolated unity. This advanced state can only be approach when the heart is open. I would recommend the meditation in DINA II, 660-661, on the qualities of the heart center. When the ‘curriculum of the heart’ is fulfilled, the initiate is prepared to begin to grasp the nature of isolated unity. One must be a Master to grasp this realization in real fullness.

20.DK narrows His consideration, telling us what He will and will not do. His theme is “ashramic intimacy” and the disciple’s approach to the “world of souls”. The ensuing discussion is related to the unfoldment of ashramic and hierarchical consciousness.

21.The term “ashramic intimacy” is arresting. It suggests that many barriers which prevent communion with the Ashram are out of the way. As with all states of intimacy, daring and risk are involved; fear must be suspended. It is clear that before such intimacy becomes factual, there must exist considerable trust in both directions—from the disciple towards the Ashram, and from the Ashram towards the disciple. Can one imagine real intimacy if trust does not exist?

22.DK discusses the growth of sensitivity. It is, we remember, insensitivity which robs the familiar of its revelatory value.

23.Two types of creativity are discussed: “creativity of form” and “creativity of vibration”. With the first kind of creativity we are rather familiar. The creator brings forth new forms and presents them to the world. But what is “creativity of vibration”, leading to the appearance of “responsive organisms” rather than “created forms”?

24.Perhaps it is the capacity to skillfully alter vibration so that it conforms to the vibratory pattern which must be according to the Plan and Purpose. A truly responsive organism is characterized by much sensitivity between its parts and by a great sensitivity of its organic wholeness to other wholes. Unless intra-systemic vibrations are handled skillfully, there will be dissonance and lack of cohesion, and no real intra-organismic sensitivity. The kind of sensitivity of which we speak relies upon harmony; it is creativity of vibration which can create this harmony and produce those internal relations which allow “responsive organisms” to exist.

25.So, we are asked to become creative in the wielding of vibration—to selectively create the vibrations which we will radiate and choose the vibrations to which we will respond. When this type of creativity is operating correctly, the group organisms in which we participate will be externally and subtly healthy, and both internal and external responsiveness will reach a high stage of development.

26.Let us wield vibration creatively and in line with the greater Good. Let us pattern vibration creatively within any larger context in which we find ourselves a participant.

27.Creativity of vibration is subtler affair than creativity of form. It is far less tangible, but utterly necessary if responsive organisms are to be created.

This growth in sensitivity is difficult to understand. The members of a Master's group and of His Ashram have to become increasingly sensitive—sensitive to the Master and to His pledged workers. You cannot be made sensitive or be rendered sensitive by some type of process or ordered training. Men and women are sensitive, only they do not know it, being so preoccupied with outer matters, with form life and objective things.

28.This sensitivity is required if there is to be group cohesion. An Ashram is a cohesive spiritual organism.

29.Have we questioned our own sensitivity to the Master and to His pledged workers? This can be done in ‘quiet reflection.

30.An important point is brought forward. Training, per se, does not produce sensitivity. Perhaps, however, it may help us remove that which stands in the way of our innate sensitivity.

31.It is reassuring, is it not, to realize that we are inherently sensitive. It is our outer preoccupations which prevent us from utilizing the sensitivity of which we are already possessed.

32.The obvious question for us is, “with what are we outwardly preoccupied”. Preoccupation is of the nature of maya; naturally, when we are caught in the swirl of habitual activity we do not notice that it is habitual and a deterrent to sensitivity.

33.If we do find ourselves doing something in a rather obsessive manner which, propelled by its own momentum, refuses to stop, we may have detected a pattern which militates against sensitivity.

34.Preoccupation is a matter of ‘action at the periphery’; it is, in a way, a loss of center.

 Let me put it this way: What you say to yourself and to others—through your spoken words or your life—is so noisy that it is not easy to be what you are and to be recognised as a [page 711] spiritual being. The Master is guided by what He knows of you in your quiet moments of aspiration, by what you have demonstrated for years to be your fixed life tendency and by the manner in which you react at moments of crisis or tension. The task of the Master is to stimulate the disciple to be at all times what He knows him to be at his highest times. That is a simple and almost childish way of putting it but it serves to express the general idea.

35.The Master speaks directly of our noisiness. Words are often noisy, but a life-as-lived, may be noisy as well. Apparently we are putting forth many discordant vibrations of considerable amplitude; these vibrations act as a kind of barrier between what we really are and what we seem to be. The issue discussed here is one of transparency—a state which arises through the right kind of quietude.

36.How are we known? Certainly not by what we seem to be! Our fellow human beings may ‘know’ us in this rather indirect manner, but the Master (through deep love) has achieved the power of intimate comprehension and knows us as we are.

37.He sees us at our internal ‘best’ and is not dismayed by our outer and fallible demonstrations which will, one day, subside.

38.He knows us according to our “fixed life tendency”. We see here the need to become the “one-pointed disciple”. A constantly deviating disciple is still far from the goal.

39.As well, when crises and tensions emerge, what will we do? How will we respond? Such moments are testing moments, and that which is deeply recessed in us will emerge—for better or worse. The Master will see these emergences.

40.When, at all times, we can be what we are at our “highest times”, the Master’s work with us will have been largely accomplished. Obviously, this is everyone’s task. We know what we are when “at our best”; we know as well the constant deviations from this “best”, and perhaps, what brings on these deviations. The Master works with us wisely, but the lion’s share of the work is our own, under the guidance of our Solar Angel.

A Master does this because the need of the world for decentralised, forward-looking, loving and intelligent workers is so great, particularly at this time. Many have reached the point where they may become sensitive if the loud assertions of personality are dimmed and the light of the soul is permitted to pour through. Then the Master can be known and contacted.

41.Why should the Master bother with our training?—a rather small matter it would seem.

42.World need is so great that He must. He is evoking our best. Our best is stored within our causal body. We can see why causal consciousness is so necessary. In such consciousness we are aligned with our best and highest, and can express them.

43.A close study of the requirements above will show that personality assertions are related to the realm of sound, and soul presence to the realm of light. Indeed, the personality is, generically, an example of the third aspect of divinity (associated with sound), and the lighted soul of the second.

44.What is required of us is a kind of ‘fade out/fade in’—what is called in the film industry, a “cross-fade”. The second ray is the ray of quietude; the third, the ray of sound, and often, when unregulated, of ‘loud’ speech and thought. Outer sounds must fade out so the inner light may fade in.

45.The prescription for contacting the Master is simple and clear: less noise.

When you can get away from yourselves and your personal reactions, your own interpretations, and your personal demands, you will discover for yourselves how and in what manner the Master is seeking to impress you and the group with which you may be affiliated. You will become sensitive to that impression. You can then facilitate (as it is called) the activity of the Master by a profound and deep interest in the esoteric life to the exclusion of your own and also of the Master's individuality. There are many ways which can then be revealed which will aid the interplay between you, the disciple, and the Master.

46.We are to step back from the personality; we are to ‘get away from ourselves’. Apparently our preoccupations are shutting the Master out—not to mention the soul.

47.Master DK is asking for ‘depersonalization’, decentralization—a lessening of our preoccupation with the outer man. If we can succeed, the sensitivity we already have will make itself apparent.

48.Once that self-veiled sensitivity emerges we can assist the Master through our profound and deep interest in the esoteric life. This interest is to go forward in such a way that our own individuality and even that of the Master is of dwindling interest. Let us pause to ask, “Is this the case for us?”

49.Of course “the esoteric life” here referenced is not merely esoteric study. It is an attitude of deep and subtle responsiveness towards all occurrences, inner and outer. Such a life can only be pursued within an ‘internal quietude’ which persists in the midst of surface noise.

50.DK seems to be hinting at certain mysterious revelations which emerge in the midst of internal quietude, while deeply and profoundly living the esoteric life. These revelations are usually shut out by our self-generated surface noise.

51.The Master will not tell us how the interplay between us and Him is to be facilitated. We are to learn of these things in the quiet, away from the noise of our lower self.

52.I am reminded of one of DK’s important counsels from TWM: “Keep silence and the light will enter in.”

As all the rays are the subrays of the second ray, we shall be primarily concerned with the second ray modes of working with disciples; they form the basis of all the other techniques. The differences which may appear lie in the application of processes according to ray type and the utilisation of emphasis upon certain centres. Again, I would ask you to ponder on this phrase because it contains much information for those who can bring the light of the intuition to bear upon it. I shall be dealing with the relation of a Master and His group to the individual disciple and not so much with the attitudes and procedures of the disciple. This, you will note is a somewhat new slant.

53.The importance of the second ray is constantly stated in the Tibetan’s writings.

54.It is the modes of working on the second ray that those on all rays must learn. Love-Wisdom is the primary energy for both our planet and solar system. It is easy to forget this, as there tends to be an emphasis on distinction in the minds of many disciples.

55.Of course a Master working with His chelas needs to know the various differences and distinctions here mentioned, but the principal approach is that of the second ray.

56.Every ray can be correlated with one or more chakras. The heart within the head, correlated to the second ray, would seem to be a constant in all ray techniques.

57.Our approach, then, will be to understand the principal technique and other ray adaptations as necessary.

58.We are going to receive the ashramic perspective in this matter. We can act “as if” we were members of the Ashram, and attempt to understand the stages of discipleship from that rather different “slant”.

Basically and essentially, the disciple's attitude is not really of much importance in  comparison with the effect of the Hierarchy and its techniques upon him. The results are [page 712] inevitable, because they are dependent upon two important factors:

59.DK relegates the disciple’s attitude to a relatively unimportant position. It is the power of the Hierarchy and its techniques is emphasized.

60.It is important to realize that much that is of great importance to the progress of the individual disciple does not originate from within his individual nature.

61.It seems that if Hierarchy applies its techniques, the individual disciple will inevitably respond. However, the disciple to whom the techniques are applied must be fit to receive them.

1. The first factor is that directed, hierarchical impression is not imposed until the man has fitted himself through self-discipline to respond to it and is, therefore, nearing the end of the Path.

62.Hierarchy utilizes intelligence and correct timing in the matter of imposing “hierarchical impression”.

63.Under the Law of Economy, Hierarchy will not apply techniques to those who are unable to respond.

64.We note the role of self-discipline in preparing for proper response to hierarchical impression.

2. The second is the factor of group response. This means response in two directions:

a. To sensed human need, leading consequently to a pledged life of service.

b. To soul impression, leading to spiritual sensitivity.

65.The soul is group conscious, and the Hierarchy will not impose its techniques until that group consciousness has been somewhat developed.

66.If a disciple responds to human need, he will pledge his life to service.

67.Response to human need and to soul are both group responses—for, in fact, there is no “my soul and thine”, and the so-called ‘individual soul’ is something of an illusion.

When these two factors are established—even if unknown to the disciple in his waking consciousness—the grip of the soul upon the personality becomes irrevocable. Then, and only then, the Master can begin to work and the response will be effective, real and lasting.

68.When a man has risen through self-discipline and is capable of group response, it indicates a powerful and irrevocable grip by the soul upon the personality. It is interesting that the two factors of 1) sufficient discipline and 2) group response may not be apprehended to the disciple in his waking consciousness.

69.We are looking at the preliminary requirements which signal the onset of the Master’s work. The Master cannot work unless the “grip of the soul upon the personality” has become “irrevocable”.

Now let me enumerate for you again the stages with which we shall be dealing:

1.The stage wherein the disciple is contacted by the Master through some chela upon the physical plane. This is the stage of Little Chelaship.

70.This is clearly an external stage. The young disciple is insufficiently sensitive to anything but an outward recognition of the Master’s quality mediated through the Master’s chela upon the physical plane.

71.Of the first three stages, this stage can be correlated with the third ray.

2. The stage wherein a higher disciple directs the chela from egoic or soul levels. This is the stage called a Chela in the Light.

72.In the phase of Chela in the Light, the directing disciple may be discarnate or incarnate. The directing, however, occurs from soul levels.

73.In this second stage, the chela’s subjective sensitivity has grown beyond the sensitivity of the ‘Little Chela’.

74.Of the first three stages, this stage can be correlated with the second ray.

3. The stage wherein, according to necessity, the Master contacts the chela through:

a. A vivid dream experience.

b. A symbolic teaching.

c. The using of a thoughtform of some Master.

d. A contact with the Master in meditation.

e. A definite, remembered interview with the Master in His Ashram.

75.Of the first three stages, this stage can be correlated with the first ray. This stage, in general, represents a rather direct and relatively unmediated contact with the Master. In the last of the five modes of contact here enumerated, it is entirely direct.

76.When we come to the discussion of stage three of the Six Stages of Discipleship we will explore the implications of each of these five modes of contact.

77.We should continued to remember that each of the seven stages of discipleship (although we are studying then as the Six Stages of Discipleship) is being presented from the point of view of the Master and the Ashram

78.In each of the five modes of contact characteristic of Accepted Discipleship, we are to understand the Master as the prime initiator of contact with the disciple.

This is definitely the stage of Accepted Discipleship.

4. The stage wherein, having shown his wisdom in work and his appreciation of the Master's problem, the disciple is taught how (in an emergency) to attract the Master's attention and thus draw upon His strength and knowledge and advice. This is an instantaneous happening [page 713] and practically takes none of the Master's time. This has the peculiar name of the Chela on the Thread, or Sutratma.

79.Beyond the stage of Accepted Discipleship lies for the disciple the possibility of contacting the Master according to need as a Chela on the Thread.

80.We note that this type of contact is not initiated by the Master as was stage three, but by the disciple.

81.We note the two prerequisites: the disciple permitted to contact the Master must 1) appreciate the Master’s problem and 2) must only seek to attract the Master’s attention in cases of emergency. Such an emergency will never be a personal emergency; it will be an emergency in relation to the work which the disciple is performing on behalf of the Master and the Ashram. If we believe ourselves affiliated with a particular Master’s group or Ashram, how deeply do we appreciate the Master’s problem? The attempt to answer the question will be an exercise in decentralization—and humility.

82.We note that the contact accorded to a Chela on the Thread is not a lengthy one. Rather it is instantaneous and does not represent a significant interruption to the Master. Nevertheless, even this kind of very brief contact for appropriating the Master’s strength, knowledge or advice, can only be initiated in true emergencies.

83.Some sense of proportion should enter our minds. There are quite a few disciples who feel that the Master is rather constantly interested in them (as persons) and always available for consultation. I think we can see the error of this assumption through its lack of co-measurement.

84.We may question: “What is the nature of the “thread” utilized to set up a call to the Master.” We learn that it is related to the Sutratma or Life Thread.

5. The stage wherein the disciple is permitted to know the method whereby he may set up a vibration or a call which will entitle him to an interview with the Master. This is only permitted to those trusted chelas who can be depended upon not to use their knowledge for anything except the need of the work. No personality reason or distress would prompt them to use it. At this stage, the disciple is called a Chela within the aura.

85.The fifth stage is still more advanced. In this stage, the call to which the Master will respond will, in fact, require of Him a significant expenditure of time and energy.

86.The degree of trust required before the privileges related to this stage can be accorded is significant. Even dire personality distress will not prompt the “Chela within the Aura” to ‘send up’ a call for a direct interview with the Master. Only the needs of the work will entitle the chela to such an interview.

87.We must realize the extremely busy schedule of a Master. Probably we would be staggered at the number of important processes in which the Masters are engaged, and at Their efficiency in organizing such processes.

88.To be “within the aura” signifies great sensitivity to the Master’s vibration and quality. Such a chela can be easily overshadowed and can radiate the quality emanating from the Master and His Ashram.

6. The stage wherein the disciple can get his Master's ear at any time. He is in close touch always. This is the stage wherein a chela is being definitely and consciously prepared for immediate initiation, or—having taken initiation—is being given specialised work to do in collaboration with his.... At this stage, he is described as the Chela within the Master's heart.

89.The final stage of the six stages, goes by the name, “Chela within the Master’s Heart”.

90.Such a chela will certainly be a trusted initiate, with long experience in the service of a particular Master.

91.We can understand that such a chela will have to be very familiar with the Master’s work and problems. It is a tremendous responsibility to have access to “his Master’s ear at any time”. We can view the “Chela within the Heart” more as a collaborator of his Master.

92.The initiation or initiations referenced in this paragraph surely cannot be among the earlier initiations. There is reason to believe that the fourth initiation is the one probably under discussion. Interestingly, the heart center is the one emphasized at the fourth degree.

93.There is an ellipsis: “in collaboration with his…” We may speculate upon the omission if we wish. With whom or with what would a true initiate or advanced initiate collaborate?

94.The rhythm of the heart in relation to the rhythmic impulses by which a Master guides His Ashram may be considered in relation to this sixth stage.

7. There is a later stage of still closer identification, where there is a complete blending of the Lights, but there is no adequate paraphrase of the terms used to convey this name.

95.What does “a complete blending of the Lights” suggest to us? Surely, the light of the chela and the light of the Master.

96.We understand from this that it is a stage in which the term “identification” is significant. It is as if the chela finds no distinction between his own will and the will of the Master.

97.One thinks, perhaps, of the mysterious relationship between the Christ and the Master Jesus, for the first ‘became’, in a sense, the second.

98.It would seem that a very high degree of initiation is indicated, yet the term “chela” still applies.

I would have you note that the six stages above mentioned have been translated and paraphrased for occidental understanding and must in no way be considered as translations of the ancient terms.

99.It is clear that the Master is referencing certain ancient manuals on discipleship.

100.His great gift to us is His ability to translate what we could never understand into terms which we can.

Stage I. Little Chelaship.

This stage is so definitely exoteric that many people have left it far behind. The first indication that a man has reached that stage (from the angle of the Master) comes when the "light flashes out" in some one life; thereby the attention of the Master is attracted to the person. It might be said that the preface to the Master's interest falls into four parts and it is only when all four are found present together and simultaneously that this happens:

101.The fact that this is a definitely exoteric phase relates it to the third ray which, in one respect, is the ray of things obvious and external.

102.We are emphasizing the Master’s perspective, let us remember, so we are told how the Master recognizes a disciple suited to enter this stage. The man (not yet a disciple) flashes forth—i.e., his “light flashes out”.

103.From this perspective, we may gather that Little Chelaship occurs before the first initiation, because it seems to indicate a Master’s first noticement of the man. Little Chelaship (at least the beginning of that stage) probably cannot coincide with the first initiation because a Master must recommend a disciple to the Initiator for even that preliminary initiation, and this recommendation would surely follow upon long observation of the disciple.

104.DK speaks of four stages which lead to the flashing forth of the light and the attraction of the Master’s interest. We note that all four stages must be operative simultaneously if the Master’s attention is to be attracted.

1. The aspirational intent of the man upon the physical plane suddenly succeeds in enabling him to make a soul [page 714] contact. The moment that that takes place the light in the head is momentarily intensified.

105.In order to enter the stage of Little Chelaship, it is clear that that man must be an aspirant. He aspires to something higher (though he may not know its name). When the intensity of that aspiration is sufficient, he succeeds in making soul contact.

106.It is clear that soul-contact occurs long before the first initiation. As a man begins to reorient his life towards higher values, higher desires, he is reorienting to the soul/Solar Angel.

107.We see that it is the “light in the head” which the Master notices, by what means who may say? The ‘flashing out’, therefore, may be considered a phenomenon related to the light in the head.

2. The karmic agitation of the man's life becomes greatly increased and—apart from his own individual karma—he, for the first time, consciously takes part in and shoulders a part of the karma of his group. This dual karmic undertaking sets up a veritable vortex of force in the group aura. This attracts hierarchical attention.

108.We remember that all four of these requirements (prefacing a Master’s interest in a potential chela) must be in evidence simultaneously.

109.From what is said, we gather that some degree of group consciousness is under development. The man is no longer strictly selfish.

110.It might be that the sixth petal of the love-tier of petals is active in this regard, for it is a petal of sacrifice within the love tier. The sixth petal is also involved in the paying of karma prior to full concentration upon the third or sacrifice tier of petals. We recall reading how stressful is the period preceding the first initiation, when both Vulcan and Pluto are active. The sixth petal of the egoic lotus is associated with Virgo, and hence Vulcan is easily implicated. Pluto would be implicated as a force which begins to release a man from the Common Cross onto the Fixed Cross. Pisces is active in such a release, and Pisces is ruled by Pluto.

Of the sixth petal, the following is stated:

The Petal of Sacrifice for the astral plane; unfoldment is brought about by the attitude of man as he consciously endeavours to give up his own desires for the sake of his group.  His motive is still somewhat a blind one, and still coloured by the desire for a return of that which he gives and for love from those he seeks to serve, but it is of a much higher order than the blind sacrifice to which a man is driven by circumstances as is the case in the earlier unfoldment. (TCF 540-541)

111.The group aura here referenced must be the soul group focussed on the soul ray which is the same as the Master’s ray.

112.So there is a dual karmic agitation—individual and in relation to a larger group. This distress, and the possible intensifying selflessness which may result from it, attracts the Master’s attention.

3. The next point is not so easy to explain or grasp. You have been told that the soul is in deep meditation for the greater part of the cycle of lives of any one individual, and that it is only when a fair measure of personality integration is set up that the soul's attention is drawn away from its own interior considerations and egoic affairs to those of its shadow. When this happens, the egoic group is definitely affected and the Master (upon the same ray as that of the soul concerned) becomes aware of what is esoterically called "a downward gazing soul." On the Path of Discipleship, the ego is all the time consciously aware of the striving personality and there comes a stage when (towards the end of the Path of Evolution) the soul recapitulates the evolutionary processes of involution and evolution. Soul energy descends and personality force ascends and this takes place through a process of conscious descents and ascents. I refer here to the process which is undertaken by the soul under hierarchical impulse, and not to that in which the personality invokes the soul under the desperate need brought about in the lower consciousness by the gradual cessation of desire.

113.We are discussing (in relation to these four states) inner occurrences which attract the Master’s attention to the one who can become a Little Chela.

114.As presented in this paragraph, the “soul” is equivalent to the Solar Angel—the angelic supervisor of the aspirant.

115.It is important to realize that the candidate for Little Chelaship has achieved “a fair measure of personality integration”, though he is by no means a completely integrated personality (i.e., an initiate of the third degree). We recall that “integration” is one of the three terms which characterize the process occurring at the third degree.

116.The Master is aware of the egoic group which shares the same ray as His own. Apparently, He is also aware of the Solar Angels which are allied to the causal bodies of such ray groupings.

117.Thus far (in relation to the four processes being enumerated): the man is aspiring; there is karmic agitation, and, also, there is a “downward gazing soul” or “ego”.

118.We are reaching the end of the Path of Evolution, ready, perhaps, to begin the Path of Initiation (assuming that this Path begins at the first degree).

119.The “downward gazing soul” begins its downward gaze well before the commencement of the true Path of Discipleship.

120.In the paragraph above, we are speaking of some rather spiritually ‘aggressive’ actions on the part of the soul/Solar Angel/Ego. The soul descends, invoking the personality, which, in evocative response, ascends.

121.Again, we note that the personality (i.e., the man in the three worlds) has no control over these initiatives undertaken by the Solar Angel.

122.It would seem that the stage of Little Chelaship represents only the beginning of the Solar Angel’s more assertive approach towards its personality, for the light (representing soul contact) has only just flashed forth.

123.In the paragraph under discussion, however, DK may be discussing not only the beginning of the phase of little Chelaship, but the entire process, for the description seems to cover a span lasting more than one life, and Little Chelaship, itself, lasts for several lives.

124.DK is speaking very much from the perspective of how higher energy sources relate to lower. The desperate personality can invoke the soul, and the soul will respond. But what is here discussed is an organized program of soul-descent engineered by the soul/Solar Angel when recognizing that the appropriate time to do so has come. The soul response to personality desperation is not discussed.

125.A very interesting hint is offered: in effect, the gradual cessation of desire produces desperation. The failure of the lower world to attract (a natural development once a period of relative satiation is reached) sends the consciousness looking (upward) for that to which it can relate. The lower life becomes empty and in desperation the man looks upward to fill it.

4. Gradually the antahkarana is built and in this way the "greater Light and the lesser light" are consciously related. A path of light and energy is established or created between these two divine aspects. As time goes on, there appears in the egoic group what is technically known as the "linking light" or the "bridging radiance." This is the Path referred to in The Old Testament as "the path of the just is as a shining light which shineth more and more until the day be with us." In the esoteric [page 715] books it is referred to in the following terms: "Before a man can tread the path, he must become that path himself."

126.Although the Tibetan began this section as a discussion of the four part “preface to the Master’s interest” in a potential little chela, He seems to be expanding the consideration into some of the later stages of discipleship.

127.The antahkarana here referenced may be the first part of the antahkarana—that connecting the mental unit more fully to the causal body. The Ego/causal body, then, would be the “greater light” and the man upon the mental plane would be the “lesser light”.

128.It is quite clear that the Master is a keen observer of the egoic group with which He is affiliated.

129.When a man demonstrates a “linking light” or “bridging radiance” he is on the way to soul infusion. When the man is preoccupied with “the path of the just” he is more definitely building the higher part of the antahkarana—that part which we technically call the antahkarana.

130.For participation in this first stage of discipleship, then, the four requirements (the four prefaces to the Master’s interest) are:

          1. Aspiration
          2. Karmic expiation of a dual sort
          3. A downward gazing soul, increasingly more assertive
          4. The creation of a “linking light” or “bridging radiance” and eventually of the antahkarana proper.

      131.It can, however, be questioned whether the chela passing through the humble stage of Little Chelaship has, in fact, built a very solid relationship with the Solar Angel, let alone the spiritual triad (to which the higher aspect of the antahkarana is the link).

      These four stages have been described in The Old Commentary in the following terms:

      132.The fourfold enumeration is now expressed in its original, archaic and more poetic form.

      "The point of light shines forth. It waxes and it wanes. The point becomes a line through the starting of a vortex and from the centre of the whirling force, there comes a voice—invocative and clear.

      133.This section refers to the first of the four stages.

      134.The “point of light” is the light in the head.

      135.The “flashing out” of the light is equivalent to the line arising from the vortex. The vortex is a vortex of aspiration.

      136.The voice is an invocative cry; it has arisen from the vortex of aspiration.

      137.The whirling of the vortex is what makes the ascent of aspiration possible. The whirling generates ascending force which reaches towards the One Who sits in silent work.

      The One Who sits in silent work, alone and unafraid (because the part is not alone and the group is unafraid) looks down, catches the light, reflects the whirling force and hears the voice.

      138.This “One” is the soul/Solar Angel on its own plane. It is the “downward gazing soul”.

      139.The “silent work” is the work of the Solar Angel, per se, when its attention is largely detached from that of the personality. What that work may be is only vaguely hinted in a few references. A higher form of telepathy is part of such work.

      140.This “One” is entirely group conscious and thus unafraid. The group is unafraid because the vulnerability which often causes fear is overcome through the mutual supplementation characteristic of group relation.

      141.The part is not alone because it is engaged (‘below’) with other parts to which it is attached. The “part” has not achieved the “isolated unity” in which the One dwells.

      142.The ascending line of light is caught by the One; thus there is engagement between the two. The ascending voice is heard, and later answered by the “Voice of the Soul”. The whirling force of the lower is somehow reflected by the higher. It would seem that a corresponding motion is the response of the higher.

      Then from the silent point of power, a Word goes forth: Be still. Be silent. Know that I am God. The needed work will now begin.

      143.The downward gazing soul asserts itself through the power of a Word.

      144.This Word is that which mystics have down the ages heard: “Be still and know that I am God”.

      145.DK began this letter of instruction speaking of the unnecessary personality noise which obscured the soul, and our natural, inherent soul sensitivity. In this portion of the Old Commentary, the outer activity and noise of the outer form is subdued by the masterful soul/Solar Angel.

      146.This Old Commentary selection seems to be preparing the personality for the onset of the white magical process.

      Between the Great One and the little striving one, communion is established; the interplay begins; the mind assumes its rightful place. The Path is surely laid."

      147.We are discussing something a Geminian process.

      148.The “Great One” is the “Elder Brother” or the Solar Angel.

      149.The “little striving one” is the personality.

      150.Communion and interplay are Geminian patterns.

      151.The alignment of soul/mind/brain is established.

      152.The first part of the Path—the initial antahkarana, so necessary before the “Bridge of Light” proper can be built—is “surely laid”.

      153.And all this (at least a good measure of it) takes place before the Master’s attention is attracted to the one who is ready to become a Little Chela.

      When the four aspects of inter-related activity are present, then what might be called "spiritual habits" begin to form and are steadily established. Their united effect serves eventually to attract the attention of the Master. The contact is still too feeble and the grip of the soul upon the personality is still too weak to warrant the Master Himself doing anything directly with the aspirant. The stage is one of pure mysticism and of selfish spiritual purpose. The recognition of group relationship is missing; the knowledge of group inclination is not present; there is no true, unselfish desire to serve. There is only a vague desire for personal liberation, for personal integrity and for personal lasting happiness. This has to be changed into group emancipation, group cohesion and group joy.

      154.The four prefacing stages are called “four aspects of inter-related activity”.

      155.These four aspects contribute to the development of “spiritual habits”—new and soul-suited patterns of living.

      156.The Tibetan, as stated, seems to extend some of the four stages into areas of activity appropriate to stages beyond Little Chelaship, but the statement is made that the “united effect” of the four eventually attracts the Master’s attention.

      157.The Master may attend, however briefly, to the aspiring personality, but any soul contact thus far created, being relatively “feeble”, does not warrant the Master’s sustained attention. The truly Vulcanic grip of the soul has not yet been established. Once it is, the Master will increase His attentiveness.

      158.DK emphasizes the selfishness of this stage even though earlier He said that the potential Little Chela has begun to work off some aspects of group karma as well as his own. Probably the “shouldering” of an aspect of the karma of his group is not performed from really selfless motives. It is more ‘spiritually instinctive’. Refer to the earlier citation from TCF 540-541 on the experiences associated with the sixth petal of the egoic lotus.

      159.These thoughts may provide another indication that the aspirant is still working with the love tier of petals rather than the sacrifice tier.

      160.The little chela (especially at the outset) is still essential personal and selfish.

      161.The threefold equation offered by DK is most interesting.

          1. The vague desire for personality liberation must be transformed into group emancipation.
          2. The desire for personal integrity must be transformed into the will towards group cohesion.
          3. The desire for personal lasting happiness must be transformed into the will towards group joy.

      162.The third aspect of divinity is associated with the individual and with rotary motion. There must be a transformation into the second aspect of divinity represented by the group states enumerated immediately above. Group process is associated with “spiral-cyclic motion”.

      163.It would seem that in this stage (at least the beginning of it) there is insufficient love of one’s fellowman to produce an initiate of even the first degree.

      Members of the New Group of World Servers should watch with care for all those who show signs of having passed through the “birth” experience and should help them toward a greater maturity. They should assume that all those who truly love their fellowmen, who are interested in the esoteric teaching, and who seek to discipline themselves in order to attain greater beauty of life, are initiate and have undergone the first initiation. (R&I 667)

      Probably little chelas love themselves more than their fellowmen.

      164.We may think of little chelas as numbered among disciples, but really, they are probationary disciples who are more aspirants than disciples. We must remember that the term “aspirant” may, in certain contexts, signify those who have already taken the first initiation.

      The first stage, therefore, in the training of such an aspirant is to relate him to a more advanced disciple who will lead him gradually onward and give him the help he needs. The reason for this is that the disciple is closer to the aspirant, far from perfection himself and is also learning to serve. This stage of development covers the period of occult enquiry and esoteric [page 716] investigation and usually is spread over several lives. The aspirant at this stage runs from one teacher to another, according to inclination, opportunity and necessity. He is an example of instability but is carefully watched by the disciple who has transcended this particular stage of volatility; his task is to see that the aspirant escapes from this "network of futility," as it is sometimes called, and that he gradually settles down to the later stage of interior investigation.

      165.In this paragraph, the little chela is called an “aspirant”. That is what he actually is.

      166.The more advanced disciple or chela on the physical plane to whom the little chela becomes related, will direct and lead the chela upon the spiritual path.

      167.The one who leads and guides the little chela is far from perfect. He is only a disciple, though a more advanced disciple than the little chela. Because the guiding disciple is closer in development to the little chela, he can more easily supply the little chela with what he needs for progress.

      168.How many lives are “several lives”? Three, four, five, perhaps six. The stage of Little Chelaship begins, it would seem, before the first initiation, but may conclude afterwards. We will try to dray accurate conclusions. The Teaching does not say with definition that those in the stages of Little Chelaship or Chela in the Light must necessarily have taken the first initiation. Accepted disciples, however, must have taken the Initiation of the Birth.

      169.What characterizes this stage of Little Chelaship?—positively, “occult enquiry and esoteric investigation”. Many questions are asked, but the method of receiving answers is initially superficial.

      170.Again, associating this stage with the third ray, the aspirant runs here and there in search of answers, teaching and guidance. He often lands in a “network of futility:” (again suggesting the third ray). He is characterized by instability which suggests the importance of Gemini, the third sign (in its earlier application). He is more Mercurial than Venusian, for Mercury in this instance represents the concrete mind and Venus, the soul. The personality ray of Mercury may well be the third.

      171.We can see that the aspirant who is the little chela is very extroverted and only later settles down to the “interior investigation” which is the sounder and deeper approach of one who can call himself a true disciple.

      172.Perhaps some of are presently little chelas, but in all probability, serious students of DK’s Teaching have outgrown this stage. Perhaps a number of us have as a responsibility the supervision of little chelas. If this is the case, we have to help them escape from the “network of futility” in which they have become ensnared through unregulated, chaotic aspiration and lack of discipline.

      173.A guiding physical plane disciple is a point of stability in the life of a little chela.

      During all this period, the Master pays no attention whatsoever to the aspirant. It will be a long time before the aspirant will be admitted into His presence and make a personal contact. The chela who is supervising this interim stage reports to the Master at rare and widely separated intervals; it is only when the aspirant has reached the point where he "can enter into the light of the Angel," that the Master begins to take over his training. The disciple is now, irrevocably and finally, ready. This takes place at the third stage, that of Accepted Discipleship.

      174.The Master may have noticed the one who is ready to enter the stage of Little Chelaship, but no further attention needs to be paid to such an aspirant. The supervising attention of the guiding disciple upon the physical plane will be sufficient.

      175.How long will it be before the aspirant turned disciple will be admitted into the Master’s presence? If the stage of Little Chelaship lasts “several lives” and the stage of Chela in the Light a few more, perhaps it could be eight, nine or ten lives before the advancing chela is admitted into the presence of the Master as a true “accepted disciple”. Subjective (and largely unconscious) contact with the Master is always possible long before fully personal contact becomes possible.

      176.It is established, then, that the Master, although aware of the little chela, does not direct and guide his development. That is left to supervising chelas upon the physical plane.

      177.The guiding physical plane chela must be capable of reporting to the Master regarding the little chela’s progress. This seems to be a requirement, and the fulfillment of this requirement must be possible (at least on inner planes) even if the guiding chela is not aware of his capacity to make such a report.

      178.The intervals for reporting are, however, rare and infrequent, which makes one wonder whether a little chela might not have the same guiding physical plane chela for more than one incarnation.

      179.When is it that the aspirant can “enter into the light of the Angel”? It is certainly not before the first initiation. In fact, it would seem that the stage of “Chela in the Light” must have been passed, for a Master only takes over the training of a chela when that chela has moved from an “accepting disciple”, through the phrase of “pledged disciple” and into the condition where he may be technically “accepted” by the Master. This moving into the light therefore, will most probably occur not before the midway point between the first and second initiations, for at that time the stage of “accepted disciple” technically understood, may begin.

      180.Actually, DK states directly that the disciple ready for direct training by the Master is an “accepted disciple”.

      181.We may say that when a disciple can “enter into the light of the Angel” he can become an “accepted disciple”, directly supervised by the Master.

      These stages are all of them related to one or other of the initiations. This one, called Little Chelaship, is related to the first initiation. This initiation is connected with the physical plane and, for a very large number of people (as I have several times pointed out) lies far behind. All true aspirants have taken the first initiation. This fact is indicated by their intensive struggle to grow into the spiritual life, to follow the way of determined orientation to the things of the spirit and to live by the light of that spirit. I believe that many who read my words will recognise these determinations as the basic motivation of their lives.

      182.If all the Six Stages of Discipleship relate to one or other of the initiations, then we are being instructed about disciplic stages which correlate to perhaps six or seven initiations. But I do not think that the alignment between the stages and the initiations is quite so straightforward. The third stage (that of accepted discipleship) is possible of attainment well before the second initiation, so we see that a strictly linear, one-to-one matching of disciplic stages and initiations will not be entirely satisfactory.

      183.When the stage of Little Chelaship is here connected with the first initiation, I do not think that the earliest lives as a little chela are necessarily lived as first degree initiate. The Master must sponsor or recommend the disciple for initiation, and, as we have been told, the Master has very little to do with the little chela (paying no attention to him) especially at the beginning of his novitiate.

      184.Perhaps during the later stages of Little Chelaship (since this stage is said to take several lives) the first initiation may become a possibility.

      185.If all “true aspirants” have taken the first initiation, we must surely discriminate between the aspirant and the true aspirant, for the stage of aspiration must surely begin before the first initiation. (at which time the Christ is met face to face for the first time). From this perspective, it can be questioned whether a little chela is, initially, really a “true aspirant”, or only becomes so in the later stages of his little chelaship.

      186.Further characteristics of the first degree initiate are offered: “All true aspirants have taken the first initiation. This fact is indicated by their intensive struggle to grow into the spiritual life, to follow the way of determined orientation to the things of the spirit and to live by the light of that spirit. I believe that many who read my words will recognise these determinations as the basic motivation of their lives.”

      187.The word “spirit” frequently means “monad”, but in this case its meaning refers more to the soul as the source of spiritual life.

      188.DK seems to be suggesting that many who will read these words are first degree initiates and, as such, have passed or are rapidly passing out of the stage of Little Chelaship.

      This stage is a correspondence to the process of individualisation in Lemurian times and the stage of Little Chelaship is sometimes referred to as the "period of the Lemurian consciousness" leading, through the Atlantean stage of a Chela in the Light, to the Aryan stage of Accepted Discipleship. At this stage, the third and real preparation for initiation is consciously undertaken, because by then integration has been stabilised and the man is full grown and mature in his consciousness and is ready to subject himself to hierarchical impression without reservation.

      189.Wider correspondences to these Stages of Discipleship are now offered. Little Chelaship is “Lemurian”; Chela in the Light is Atlantean; and Accepted Discipleship is Aryan.

      190.As broad categories, these divisions are useful, but the analogy should not be forced.

      191.It is inferred that preparation for the first two initiations is not “real preparation for initiation” which can only be undertaken in the stage of accepted discipleship. The third preparation is the real preparation. In fact, it seems to be the third initiation which is here referenced as “initiation”, even though one may become an accepted disciple before having taken the second degree.

      192.The accepted disciple ready to prepare for the third degree is “full grown and mature in his consciousness”—preparing to become the “full grown man in Christ”.

      193.We find an inference that preparatory initiates of the first two degrees are not really ready to subject themselves “to hierarchical impression without reservation.” The one preparing for the third degree, however, is ready.

      194.In His correspondential classifications, DK is definitely equating accepted discipleship with the third degree—the initiation of “integration”, of maturity and of unreserved willingness to receive hierarchical impression.

      195.When we study these stages of discipleship, we should remain aware of the initiations to which they correspond, bearing in mind that when specific people and their lives are studied, there may be exceptions. Taking a real-life example, all of the members of Master DK’s New Seed Group were, technically, “accepted disciples” yet very few of them were preparing for the third degree. However, even if they were preparing for the second, it should be borne in mind that the second and third degrees will often be taken in the same life—so as accepted disciples, they were still very close to the third degree.

      There is no need further to enlarge upon this preliminary phase, upon the weary, though inspiring path of discipleship. [page 717] Much has been given out to the world anent this matter with almost undue emphasis upon purification, service and devotion. The reason that I say this is that they should be assumed to constitute part of the exoteric life expression of all true aspirants. They are not esoteric causes but exoteric effects of inner attitudes.

      196.The Path of Discipleship, we are told, is both “weary” and “inspiring”. To this assertion we can relate, can we not?

      197.The phase of Little Chelaship is “preliminary”, yet, it would seem, demanding in its own way. There are perhaps fewer initiates of the first degree than many disciples imagine, but their numbers will soon increase.

      198.In the literature focussed on the stage of Little Chelaship there is perhaps too much emphasis placed upon purification, service and devotion. A more interior approach is required, and the realization that these three factors are the resultant effects of inner attitudes.

      199.The modern disciple (of the kind the Arcane School sought and seeks to train) is assumed to be at least a little chela and probably beyond.

      As we continue our studies on the Stages of Discipleship, I would point out anew that for the majority of the aspirants in the world and for highly advanced people with a humanitarian consciousness, the first stage lies far behind. Many people today are "accepted disciples" and that is, as you well know, the third stage, and behind them, therefore, lie three experiences:

      200.DK views humanity en large and offers us some perspective. In this instance, He seems to equate aspirants with “advanced people” and therefore, reasonably, with “advanced humanity”.

      201.Sometimes, in the Teaching, it seems that members of “advanced humanity” are not even to be considered aspirants and certainly not disciples. But here the equation is made.

      202.We must note that the highly advanced people here mentioned have a “humanitarian consciousness”, so it is not merely that they are intelligent, but that they have heart. Advanced, intelligent people can also be selfish; this type would not be numbered among real aspirants.

      203.There are some aspirants, apparently, for whom the stage of Little Chelaship does not lie far behind. Perhaps they are now passing through that stage, or perhaps, while lying “behind”, the stage does not lie far behind.

      204.The implication in all this is that the stage of Little Chelaship lies behind most who will carefully read these words. This is another way of saying that Master DK is doing much of His writing for those who are initiates of the first degree.

      205.Are there many accepted disciples today? Master DK says so. Do these people know that they are accepted disciples? Not necessarily, but they may begin to infer or intuit the fact.

      206.Behind the accepted disciple lie the stages of Little Chelaship and Chela in the Light, and the first initiation! The implication here is that the little chela or the chela in the light may not be initiates of the first degree, but an accepted disciple must be. This is an important idea and may have to be compared with other references which seem to indicate otherwise with respect to the stage of Chela in the Light.

      1. The stage of "Little Chelaship"—elementary, testing and disturbing. It is sometimes spoken of as the "stage wherein the roots of the man-plant are shaken; the stage in which they (up till now embedded) are loosened and air and light disturb the peace of ages. This is the peace of death, the age of stone, the tomb of life."

      207.The stage of Little Chelaship is described in terms of the Old Commentary.

      208.We can sense in this stage the awakening which must occur before the first initiation becomes possible.

      209.The “roots of the man-plant” are shaken free from the soil of the ages. A great process of detachment is enforced. Vulcan and Pluto do their work. Saturn and Uranus are also involved.

      210.“Air and light” suggest the buddhic energy (air) and the light of the soul. The “peace of ages” is based upon ignorance.

      211.The soul is figuratively dead when under the spell of such a peace. It is the peace of the tomb. The lowest kingdom (the mineral kingdom, the kingdom of stone) rules, for materialism is long and well established. The spirit is entombed.

      212.We gather that the stage of Little Chelaship is disturbing. Can this stage be partially associated with the activity of the fifth petal of the egoic lotus? The dynamics for the fifth petal are described as follows:

      The Petal of Love for the astral plane; unfoldment is brought about through the process of gradually transmuting the love of the subjective nature or of the Self within.  This has a dual effect and works through on to the physical plane in many lives of turmoil, of endeavour and of failure as a man strives to turn his attention to the love of the Real. (TCF 540
      Italics MDR)

      The many lives of turmoil seem related to the disturbing nature of little chelaship. But it is probable that fifth petal activity begins well before the stage of Little Chelaship is possible.

      From a certain perspective, however, fifth petal activity corresponds to Leo, individualization and a relatively Lemurian stage of soul unfoldment. The sixth petal, then, would be Atlantean and the seventh petal the beginning of the Aryan phase.

      213.Yet, it must be remembered that Little Chelaship has at least a correspondence with the first initiation, and thus with the first of the sacrifice petals.

      2. The stage of "Chela in the Light." About this stage I am now going to speak.

      214.The stage of Chela in the Light (symbolically the Atlantean phase of discipleship) necessarily lies behind the true accepted disciple.

      3. The first initiation. This initiation ever precedes the stage of accepted discipleship. No Master accepts a disciple and takes him into His ashram in whom the birth of the Christ has not taken place. Saul must become Paul, as the Christian phraseology puts it. The babe within the womb of time emerges into the world of men and, from the standpoint of complete identification with matter (the mother), he becomes himself and seeks consciously to tread the ways of life and to become what he is. This is an esoteric repetition of the physical process of becoming a separate individual. Between the stages of "isolated individuality" and "isolated unity" lies one to which the name of "isolated identity" is given. It is with this stage we are concerned and its esoteric implications. Isolated unity describes the stage which the Master has  reached; isolated individuality is that of the disciple; isolated identity (with the soul) is that of the disciple up to and including the third initiation.

      215.Only in one instance, was there an accepted disciple in the Tibetan’s group who had not taken the first initiation—a very unusual circumstance.

      ”Such a group must itself be composed of people who have taken initiation. As one of your group members will only take the first initiation next life, it is obvious that the group initiation to which I refer will not be taken in this immediate cycle. The rest of the group have to wait for him.” (DINA II 24)

      The implications are arresting. If the members of the Tibetan’s outer groups under his direct supervision could not take group initiation in the present cycle, what can be said of contemporary groups?

      216.That Saul should become Paul is the symbol of the transition from the non-initiate state to that of the first initiation. The historical Saul was, however, already an initiate of the second degree rapidly working His way to the third.

      217.There is a close correspondence between the first initiation and individualization. The sign Leo is prominent in relation to both. Individualization is birth into the human kingdom. The first initiation is birth into the kingdom of souls.

      218.Three important terms are proposed:

          1. Isolated individuality, pertaining to the disciple
          2. Isolated identity, pertaining to the disciple up to the third initiation. This phase signifies “isolated identity with the soul”. It is an identification with soul but not with the monad or the life aspect.
          3. Isolated Unity, pertaining to the Master

            a. Isolated unity is the consummation of the Aryan [page 718] consciousness. Isolated identity is related to the Atlantean consciousness, from the angle of the higher correspondence.

      219.The correspondences are offered. We can link “Isolated Unity” with the Aryan consciousness.

      220.“Isolated identity” is certainly beyond the normal Atlantean consciousness (which is emotional), but in the series of three isolations, it holds the second or Atlantean place.

      b. Isolated unity is connected with the mental plane, is governed by the fifth Ray of Concrete Knowledge or Science, and is a reflection of the will-to-know. Isolated identity is connected with the astral plane, is governed by the sixth Ray of Devotion or Idealistic Sensitivity and is a reflection—distorted and unstable—of the will-to-love. Isolated individuality is connected with expression upon the physical plane, is governed by the third Ray of Active Intelligence, and is a reflection—again distorted and unsure—of the will-to-be.

      221.The correspondences given here are fascinating, but again must be treated as mental constructs.

      222.The fifth, sixth and third rays are correlated to the three ‘isolations’. One could also easily imagine the seventh ray correlated to “isolated individuality”, for the Lemurian consciousness is closely related to the physicality of the seventh ray.

      223.There is much of the first ray in “isolated unity”, for it pertains to the first ray Technique of Fusion. But the fifth ray (with which it is here identified) is closely related to the first ray, and resolves upon it. The will-to-know, however, might be considered the third aspect of the will (with the will-to-love as the second and the will-to-be, the first). So the highest of the three isolations is related to the lowest aspect of the three wills here discussed.

      224.Isolated Identity relates to soul identification, and thus to the Atlantean stage of consciousness, for the astral nature corresponds to the soul nature. The second of the three wills (the will-to-love) corresponds naturally to the second of the three ‘isolations’.

      225.The third type of ‘isolation’ is seen as a correspondence to the first of the three wills here listed—the will-to-be.

      226.Thus the three types of will are reflected in the three types of ‘isolation’. There is not a direct superimposition of one set upon the other, for then the will-to-be would correlate with Isolated Unity, and the will-to-know, with Isolated Individuality. Some justification, however, can be found for such correlations.

      227.All of us have passed through the stage of Isolated individuality aeons ago, and are not working upon the Isolated Identity which will culminate when we become Self-realized souls.

      On the buddhic plane, the plane of the divine intuition, these lower three expressions and their higher prototypes are harmonised and the expansive work of the three initiations (second, third and fourth) produces an absorption, a fusion and a blending process between the disciple and the soul (and eventually between humanity and the Hierarchy) which prepares for a major contact between man and the Monad. When this takes place, the soul, creator of reflection and shadow, is discarded because that point of consciousness has served its purpose. The shattering of the causal body takes place and nought is then left but fully conscious form and spirit. Until, however, man has taken the higher initiations, he cannot comprehend the significance of the above comments.

      228.Thus far, in the consideration of correspondences, we have had three types of ‘isolations’, three rays, and three aspects of the will. The Tibetan has correlated all these for us in an interesting manner.

      229.The buddhic plane is now discussed as the “plane of divine intuition” where these triplicities are harmonized.

      230.Whereas the first initiation was discussed in relation to “Isolated Individuality” and Little Chelaship, when the buddhic plane is considered, the first initiation is no longer focal. Three initiations (the second, third and fourth) all of them related to buddhi in different ways, are discussed instead.

      231.The watchwords are “absorption”, “fusion” and “blending”. To such processes the dynamics of the first initiation are not related. Perhaps in relation to these three terms we may consider the planets Jupiter, Venus and Neptune—in this order, or in others.

      232.The period from the first initiation to the second represents one unit of work. The sequence of the second, third and fourth initiations represent another unit of work distinct from the work of the first degree and the lengthy period which follows it. This is so because the second, third and fourth degrees may be taken in rapid succession, or even in the same life (as we are told—IHS 84-85)

      233.If Isolated Unity corresponds to the mental plane, what type of ‘isolation’ corresponds to the buddhic? On this we may ponder. It should be suggested however that without a fair measure of buddhic and even atmic realization, Isolated Unity cannot be achieve, for it is the state of awareness of a Master who is atmic-buddhic in His consciousness.

      234.If one wants to know what remains after the shattering of the causal body, the formula is simply given: “fully conscious form and spirit”. The form has absorbed soul and triad completely; or soul and triad have fully infused the form. Spirit, however, remains forever distinct and yet is all other things as well.

      In connection with this, I would remind you that though I am seeking to train many at this time for further expansions of consciousness, I am writing primarily for the future and for those disciples who, in years to come, will read my words and find their way into the Ashrams of the Masters. The Hierarchy builds for the future; it is not occupied with the present. All that it does is done with the intent to open the way into a wider and more expansive world. Humanity is preoccupied with the things of the present; the Hierarchy is working and laying plans for the future; Shamballa is engrossed with the Eternal Now  and with the dynamic life which has created the past, which controls the present (the centre of illusion) and [page 719] with the future. You may perhaps gain some idea or picture of the conditioning life of Shamballa if you will study the present era of human living. In it, people with the Lemurian consciousness, focussed on the past and concerned with the physical plane, are present; people with the Atlantean consciousness, emotional in content and focussed on the present, are everywhere to be found; and people who are definitely Aryan in their state of awareness, mentally focussed and occupied with the future, are likewise found. The three constitute one race of men and embody the whole of mankind.

      235.It becomes clear that DK is writing in order to assist students to find their way into the Masters’ Ashrams. This is one of His prime objectives. There the proper training may be received.

      236.DK as a member of Hierarchy is concerned with the future.

      237.The formula is useful: Humanity’s attention is on the present; Hierarchy’s on the future; and Shamballa’s on the “Eternal Now”—embracing past present and future.

      238.Yet another correspondence is given: Lemurian consciousness focusses on the past (as does ‘Lemurian psychology’); Atlantean consciousness focusses on the present (as does ‘Atlantean psychology’); Aryan consciousness focusses on the future (as does ‘Aryan psychology’).

      239.The past is related to the physical plane and Lemurian consciousness; the present to the emotional plane and Atlantean consciousness; and the future to the mental plane and the Aryan consciousness. The correspondences are useful, are they not?

      240.We are perhaps aware of the many groups of correspondences which have been offered in this chapter of the work. Perhaps a clearer picture of man’s development and the relation of that development to great historical ages are emerging.

      241.The study of the three great categories of human beings and their three types of consciousness is, says DK, revelatory of the conditioning life of Shamballa. It is clear that Shamballic awareness spans vast stretches of time and contains  all found therein in the present moment—the Eternal Now.

      Dear Brothers and Sisters,

      The material we have studied in this chapter is at once practical and theoretical. We have certain definite stages of discipleship under scrutiny. These stages relate directly to individuals such as ourselves and to those we know. At the same time, these definite stages of human development are related, correspondentially, to certain of the rays, to certain great phases of consciousness, and to certain of the root races.

      DK began this letter with a discussion of the world of meaning, which we related to an understanding of context. May we say that in this study, we have been led deeply into the world of meaning? The context of human development has been clearly set forth and, I would say, we have a clearer grasp of our place, as disciples, within the whole.

      Light, Love and Power to All,