Discipleship in the New Age, I
commentary by Michael D. Robbins

The question might here be asked: How can this work out practically in a group of disciples — all of them individuals but all sincerely anxious to cooperate and aid in this work? Let me try and give a clear reply.

1.                  We begin with the premise: we, as disciples, are all “individuals”.

2.                  This means, obviously, we are not yet group conscious. The Tibetan undertakes to work with us, helping us move our consciousness out of the usual Leo centralization into the higher meaning of Aquarius.

3.                  The attitude of the disciple — “sincerely anxious”. This attitude is characterized by focus and an eagerness to do well. There is even some apprehension that one may not do well. There is the desire to live up to the expectations presented by the Master.

You have undertaken voluntarily to work together when proffered the opportunity by me. You are aiming towards a group solidarity which will be based upon the fact of your being souls. This should eventually manifest itself subjectively and essentially in the form of a group telepathic inter-communication, as group understanding also of each other’s problems and difficulties and, therefore, as a group opportunity to aid and help one another. This helping should not and must not come through personality effort or contact, or through the stating of problems related to circumstance and character, or through the tendering of advice and suggestion. We deal not with personalities in connection with each other in a Master’s group. At the same time, it should be possible for each of you to learn to strengthen and aid each other, avoiding always any intrusion of the personality. You can each learn to transmit your soul ray quality to a fellow disciple, stimulating him to greater courage, to finer purity of motive and to deeper love, yet avoiding the vitalisation of his personality characteristics. You should learn always to think of each other as souls and not as limited human beings.

1.                  A number of these disciples, for both karmic and dharmic reasons, were drawn to the Arcane School, and the Tibetan (intuitively knowing their past and their immediate possibilities), selected them. From much that He says to them, it seems many if not all of them had been associated with him before, for He begins many letters with, “Brother of Old”. Thus the magnet works.

2.                  It may be that others were not known to AAB personally and were contacted and included under the Tibetan’s suggestion.

3.                  All, however, had been offered opportunity, and all, according to their own free will and accord, had agreed to work together.

4.                  DK describes the nature of the “group solidarity” they are attempting to achieve. They can do this if they function “as souls”. If all goes well, they will become telepathic towards each other, have group understanding of each other’s problems and difficulties, and be presented with a group opportunity to help each other.

5.                  Then, DK tells us how such help should not come — not through the usual kind of personality helpfulness. He states an important principle which resounds throughout this work: “We deal not with personalities in connection with each other in a Master’s group”.

6.                  So, we ask ourselves, how do we strengthen and aid each other and yet keep our personalities from intruding, which intrusion would only vitalize personality characteristics? The wrong kind of blending feeds the fires of the lower life.

7.                  Another important hint is given: we have to learn to transmit our soul ray and quality to each other. What applied to those disciples then, applies to us now.

8.                  How do you, how do I, transmit our soul ray and quality to a brother? It would seem that we have to be in alignment with that ray to ensure that its qualities are permeating us. When we think of a brother, write to a brother, speak to a brother, the quality of energy which permeates our process must be recognizably that of the soul. One might say, “How can it help be anything but that of the soul?” A little experience, however, will reveal that many different kinds of energy may be pouring through us at any one time. Only the highest one is to be selected, and to it we must attune.

9.                  If we do manage to transmit our soul ray and quality to a brother we will, says the Tibetan, stimulate “him to greater courage, to finer purity of motive and to deeper love”. It seems that being reached by any soul ray will do this.  Being reached by personality energy is at once wrongly vitalizing and devitalizing. These are certainly worthy objectives, and so, a question for the day, and for many days might be, “Have I transmitted my soul ray and its quality to my brothers and sisters today?” “How do I know I have done so?” “How did I go about doing so?”

10.              This is why we have sometimes called the soul ray the ‘ray of contribution’, and the personality ray, the ‘ray of acquisition’.

11.              DK closes this most pregnant paragraph with the advice that we should learn to think of each other as souls and not as limited human beings. This makes sense of course, but how do we do it?

12.              Might we say that we ‘look through’, ‘look beyond’, ‘look within’ a brother? That we are not fooled by the first thing to meet our eye, nor misled by mere appearances? Probably this is not as easy as it may sound. Probably our consciousness is captivated by many superficialities, and deeper things go unnoticed.

13.              So the question is, “Who or what is the limited human being?” “Who or what is the soul?”

14.              Probably we should approach each other very cautiously so as not to be deceived. DK asks healers to concentrate for five hours upon prospective patients/clients before attempting any healing.

15.              What if we were to spend just one day looking for the soul in everyone we met? What qualities would be revealed? And what would we learn about our ordinarily superficial and, perhaps, judgmental approach?

16.              One very sound method of approach is to focus on people’s possibilities rather than their limitations, though, in truth, there must be a balanced apprehension of both if one is to become a wise mentor (as Master DK is).

We have, therefore, the following three objectives before us:

1. Group unity ... through thought, exoteric knowledge of each other and a constant sending forth of love.

2. Group meditation ... as a group of contemplatives, thus rooting this group within the kingdom of the soul and strengthening all the individuals involved.

3. Group activity ... resulting in the aiding of each other in specific problems of character but not of circumstance. Ponder on this distinction, my brothers.

1.                  These are the three objectives to be kept constantly in mind. Every group must develop these three — our group and groups included.

2.                  Note that group unity may be facilitated by an exoteric knowledge of each other. Knowing each other, even in an outer sense, is an ingredient to achieving this. (Of course, outer knowing may also act as a deterrent to the achievement of group unity).

3.                  Most essential, however, simplest and most difficult, is this “constant sending forth of love”. Each has to find his/her own way to doing this.

4.                  DK repeats the theme of contemplation, which can be thought of as ‘meditating as the soul meditates’.

5.                  What are the roots of a group? An interesting question. Where do they go for sustenance? We all have to learn to ‘take root upwards’, and this will be the source of our strength.

6.                  Often we may ask, how do we really strengthen the personnel of the group? The hint is given — in fact more than a hint — draw strength from meditation.

7.                  Then, an interesting distinction is offered. We are to help each other with specific problems of character but not of circumstance. Character is qualitative and belongs to the second aspect of divinity. Circumstances (that which ‘surrounds’) belongs to the third aspect. Disciples can handle circumstances by themselves if they are oriented correctly in the realm of character. To help in the realm of character is to assist in the building in of soul quality. Then effect will follow cause and the new pattern (being positive to circumstances) will rearrange such circumstances according to inner requirements.

Later, when the group is really established, it should begin to function outwardly and its life should begin to make its presence felt. It should steadily tend to increase the spiritual potency of all groups with which the group members are related and with which they may be associated. I refer to all groups which belong to the New Age and are working along spiritual lines. The eventual effect will be along the line of healing the various ills of mankind — physical, mental, psychological and emotional.

1.                  It takes time to establish a group. Those upon the second ray really understand this, as do those upon the seventh. Inward integration must always precede outward functioning, although outward activity, rightly pursued, is, itself, integrative.

2.                  There is the inevitable process of “growing into each other”. This need not take place in person. In subtle ways this “growing together” occurs.

3.                  Note that it is the group “life” that is making its presence felt. If the word is being used precisely and on purpose, then it is the first aspect of the group that is being referenced — the life aspect.

4.                  Notice that a rightly functioning group strengthens all other groups in which its members participate, or which they contact. It can be done it two ways. One can carry the strength of one’s group to individuals in other groups. Strengthening such individuals, one inevitably strengthens those other groups. Or one can carry strength to other groups as a whole even without specific contact to the individuals in such groups.

5.                  The principle is again clear: if we lift ourselves and our groups, we lift, to some extent, all those who are in any way resonant with us — in this case “all groups which belong to the New Age and are working along spiritual lines”.

6.                  Master DK takes the long-range vision here. What begins simply as mutual assistance between individuals and their groups becomes, at length, a movement in the direction of “healing the various ills of mankind”. Master DK is a master-healer, and, when He seeks to cultivate the groups with which He works, He has eventual global objectives in mind.

7.                  A principle emerges — harmony, love and unity can be transferred, can spread widely, and they heal.

There are certain simple but definite rules which should govern the interior spiritual life of neophytes in training for the various stages of discipleship. Let me here outline to you my suggestions for this simple and immediate work.

1.                  The Master speaks to his disciples as if they were neophytes. Indeed they are and so are we (relatively).

2.                  It would seem that one is not ready for instruction from a Master unless a requisite humility has been achieved. Disciples have “seen a few things” and have made certain adjustments in their consciousness which result in a reasonable sense of proportion.

First of all, all disciples practise regular and daily meditation. These meditations are each individually suited to the disciple concerned and vary according to ray, point in evolution and the stage of discipleship which is the immediate objective. These cannot be given here. These meditations will be given to you as suggestions for your use and acceptance. Endeavour at some stage in your meditation to link up with me but let this linking up take place after you have worked at and brought about an alignment with your soul. The reason that it is essential that you link up after alignment is that you can then avoid the glamours and the illusions of the astral plane whereon thoughtforms and masquerading entities personalise the teachers and the Masters and do so in their myriads. Add also to your meditation a short period wherein you will try and link up with your co-disciples, sending them love, soul force, and help.

1.                  Meditation is fundamental. It must be regular, practised daily.

2.                  Here we learn that DK devised individual meditations for His disciples. He was in a position to do this because he knew their ray(s), their point in evolution, and the stage of discipleship which was for them the immediate objective.

3.                  How many teachers today are in a position to do this? Very few, I would say. Approximations can be made by a sufficiently experienced teacher or by a disciple himself/herself, but that touch of certainty will be missing. They do not know enough.

4.                  Some of the meditations to individual students have been scattered throughout the DINA books, as they are of general value and are not dangerous if practiced even by those for whom they were not originally intended. Others were withheld for obvious reasons. Less knowledge is often less dangerous than more knowledge. Without a Master’s supervision, an overly earnest student applying himself/herself to an unsuitable meditation could do himself/herself real damage.

5.                  Notice that even though the meditations were given by a Master (although He did not say He was so, at that point), they are offered only as suggestions. A free-will response is expected and the free-will of the chela is respected.

6.                  Something fundamental is said here; link up with the soul before attempting to link up with the Master. Today a visit to the Internet will reveal perhaps thirty people channeling ‘Master DK’. Others ‘specialize’ in channeling other ‘Masters’. Why this glamor? Because the channelers failed to link up with their own soul before pursuing contact with the Master.

7.                  Indeed they found the ‘Master’, but it was the kind of ‘Master’ which DK here describes — “thoughtforms and masquerading entities [which] personalise the teachers and the Masters and do so in their myriads”. The problem may also be one of impersonation.

8.                  It is not a very ‘glamorous’ thing to link up with ones own soul. It seems ordinary, mundane — not special at all. Many (with insufficient “ego strength”) wish to be special. They do not know they have this wish, but they do, and they find their ‘specialness’ in becoming a channel for this ‘Master’ or that, or (in the case of some) for the whole ‘Hierarchy’.

9.                  The simple expedient of soul-culture would avoid this self-deceiving, unfortunate waste of time which misleads others who are gullible.

10.              It is amazingly true that higher spiritual contact is always possible for the human being, and that which is spurious does, at least, hint at the possibility of the real. Eventually, all misguided ones (and surely you and I have been among them — and to an extent still are) will “come ‘round” and choose a line of development which, however slow, will lead to real progress.

11.              So, first the soul, then the thought of the Master, then the thought of one’s co-disciples to whom one sends love. The formula is simple.

12.              Is there any other way to learn except through mistakes? Perhaps, under the fourth ray of Harmony through Conflict (humanity’s ray) there is not. But surely, at this stage of our development, we do not have to make so many mistakes. Our long and often bitter experience should now save us from the worst glamors and illusions.

13.              Always, wariness is required (and, yet, trust). Such are some of the paradoxes of the occult Path.

You would find it useful to keep what might be called a spiritual diary. This does not involve the daily entering of the day's events and has no relation to the happenings which may concern the personality. Note this. In this diary you should record the following:

1.                  Probably many of us have filled many journals with our musings.

2.                  DK tells us how it should be done. Ever is there the required discrimination between that which is strictly personal and that which carries evidence of the soul or its presence.

3.                  We are being weaned away from the third aspect of divinity, or at least being taught how to interpret it in light of the second aspect.

1. Any spiritual experience which may come to you, such as contact with some Presence, either that of your own soul, the angel of the Presence, contact with some disciple and eventually — when your life and work and discipline warrant it — contact with one of the Masters. Record this in an impartial way, preserving the scientific attitude and seeking ever a practical explanation before accepting a mystical one. A spirit of agnosticism (not of atheism) is of real value to the beginner and preserves him from the snares of the world illusion and of lower psychism.

1.                  Again, the Master lets us know we are beginners. In this whole question of “real group work”, we are simply beginners no matter how great our “individual” accomplishments may be.

2.                  What is a “Presence”? Is it not something real and yet, intangible? A Presence, as here described, will have no outer form, but it will have quality and a certain kind of energy. It is the touch of an entity of some kind (in this case a positive entity — for there are also negative presences).

3.                  The true “Presence” as far as we are concerned is the monad — the spirit which is at one with God the Father.

4.                  The soul is a kind of ‘veil’ upon that Presence. The Angel of the Presence veils the deeper Presence (which is, on this planet, the Presence of the “King”, Sanat Kumara, with Whom we, as monads, are at-one).

5.                  Every time a new and higher form of energy is contacted, it can seem as a presence. Every dimension of the spiritual triad, when really contacted, can seem as a presence. The monad is the Presence to which initiates aspire. And even the presence of the “Angel of the Presence” can, indeed, seem as a presence.

6.                  On the Path of Occultism we are dealing with the ‘progressive revelation of the unseen’. Such revelations come as ‘presences’ of entities and/or dimensions which has not previously been detected.

7.                  On the Path of Occultism, all progress is gradual. When we seek to leap and run instead of walk, we can get into trouble. Even the true presence of the Solar Angel is not all that commonly experienced in a manner sufficiently vivid.

8.                  The contacts discussed here can be vertical (the soul, the Master), or horizontal, one’s fellow disciple.

9.                  Note that contact with a Master is based upon merit — one’s “life and work and discipline” must “warrant it”. If we saw to fitting ourselves for the true requirements, contact with the Master would come sooner.

10.              We note the fifth ray attitude; an “agnostic” approach is encouraged. This is the approach of one who does not know with certainty. An attitude of agnosticism in one who, really, does not know, is a sign of humility and incipient wisdom.

11.              DK wishes to disabuse us of euphoric, exaggerative attitudes. It is better to see with accuracy from a somewhat detached position than to prematurely and enthusiastically embrace that which is not worthy of the embrace — namely the “world illusion” and “lower psychism”.

12.              Truth comes first; its pursuit precedes accomplishment. Those too eager for the result will fall into snares. The one who wishes to run must first learn to walk. He who would walk must be sure than he can crawl. Probably, only the experience of falling into the snares which await the unwary can instill in us, eventually, a respect for the “wise use of slow action”.

2. Any illumination which may come to you, throwing a flood of light upon a problem and revealing the way that you or the group should go. Any intuition which — corroborated by the reason — carries one forward into knowledge and evokes the wisdom of the soul and its registration by the brain, via the mind.

1.                  Illuminations are more than psychic hunches. They carry the quality of true realization and they “illumine the way” with the “light of the soul”. Higher illuminations from the spiritual triad and monad are also possible at sufficient points of development.

2.                  An illumination is more trustworthy when it involves a larger context, for instance a group context. The soul, at first, is the source of illumination and it thinks in terms of the group. One may also find one’s personal way clarified, but that clarification relates, principally, to the progress of one’s group.

3.                  What is the difference between an illumination and an intuition? In actual practice, maybe not much. Technically, an intuition is higher than an illumination. Illuminations can come from the soul focussed, at this time, on the higher mental plane. Intuitions are not accessed until the buddhic plane can be tapped. True intuitions are more embracing than the first order of illuminations. They also carry, perhaps, more of the quality of the heart (which is not the same as sentiment). “Illumination” can also be used in a higher sense and may relate to that “Enlightenment” which involved atmic realization and even monadic.

4.                  So it is no real use to split hairs; we are interested in registering higher contacts, from whatever plane they may originate.

5.                  We note that any registered intuition must be “corroborated by the reason”. If an intuition is a true intuition it will not be unreasonable, but the type of reason here referenced may be more related to what has been called “pure reason” or “inclusive reason” than to strict logic. Of course, given sufficient understanding of any context, logic, too, should corroborate reason. The word “logic” and “logos” have similar roots. Intuition should reveal a “divine order” which is ‘logoical’.

6.                  The reign of the apparently inspired yet untested ‘hunch’ presumed to be truth has gone on long enough. Knowledge pertaining to the spiritual fields will never be credited by the mind of humanity as long as we refuse to test our apprehensions.

7.                  Note that DK gives us a formula for manifestation. An intuition must be revelatory, increasing knowledge, evoking the wisdom of the soul, and must make its way into the brain via the mind. It should not remain as a vague ‘feeling’ or impression but must be concretized somehow.

8.                  We are very much working upon the link between mind and intuition. We call it “buddhi-manas” — it is a bridge to the higher worlds; it is the antahkarana.

9.                  To tread the Path of Occultism is to create bridges from one dimension to another. The way through must be cleared and ‘travel up and down’ easily accomplished.

3. Any telepathic happenings between you and your fellow disciples. This telepathic interplay should be cultivated but it must be most carefully checked and counterchecked and the strictest accuracy preserved. Thus we shall have the fostering of the spirit of Truth, which is the governing principle of all true telepathic communication. An Ashram functions telepathically when fully and rightly organised.

1.                  Telepathic registrations are to be noted. All kinds of these are possible. Any chakra can be involved telepathically with another.

2.                  We are largely interested here in telepathy between the higher centers and the aspects or vehicles they represent. The ajna center, the heart center, the head center — these are the major centers involved.

3.                  The ajna center is particularly involved at first. It is ruled by Venus and the fifth ray. Beyond the third initiation (after Venus has been ‘fulfilled’) it is ruled by Mercury and the fourth ray. Perhaps at such a time, this center becomes actively telepathic, for Mercury is a great intermediary.

4.                  DK is calling for the use of the fifth ray to check and countercheck all transmissions and receptions. Imagination is to ready to supply what fact does not.

5.                  So, we are looking for real telepathic events and the internal orientations or outer conditions which led to them.

6.                  The “spirit of Truth is the governing principle of all true telepathic communication”. What this seems to say is that if the life is governed by truth, telepathic interplay will be a natural result. It is as if truth opens the door. So does love, I think. If we could love and think truthfully, telepathy would result.

7.                  Then comes another one of those foundational statements: “An Ashram functions telepathically when fully and rightly organised.” We are probably dealing with the phenomenon of resonance. A chord of music sung by a choir will be ‘liberated’ when there is perfect harmony between the notes of the chord. Something is released which was imprisoned by inharmony. Thus discord is a ‘prison’ and freedom comes with harmony. A harmonious chord is a perfectly organized chord. An Ashram fully and rightly organized has achieved perfect harmony within itself and all parts of it are ‘free to communicate with each other’.

8.                  Another way to see this is that ‘dissonance is disruption’, and inharmony blocks communication. We all know the experience of “being on the same wavelength as another” and therefore, “understanding him/her immediately”. The converse is also true; there are people with whom we “do not see eye to eye” and, therefore, we “just cannot get through to them”.

9.                  When ray four and ray seven work in union, we shall see the beautiful harmonization and organization of not only Ashrams, but outer groups representing them.

10.              The moment when a chord flies free — that moment of perfect harmony is akin to the moment of received telepathic transmission. Impediment is “out of the way” and Mercury is free to make all links immediately and spontaneously.

4. Any phenomena of a mystical and spiritual kind should also be noted. The seeing of the light in the head comes under this category. Its brilliance should be noted, its growth and dimming; the hearing of the Voice of the Silence which is the voice of the soul but not of the subconscious; the registering of messages from the soul or from other disciples and world Servers; expansions of consciousness which initiate you into the conscious life of [Page 15] God, as it manifests through any forms and the hearing of the note of all beings. A close study of the third part of The Light of the Soul (the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali) will indicate the type of phenomena which should find its place in this diary.

1.                  DK calls for the registration of “phenomena”. Usually one does not wish to become embroiled in such registrations, but to the impartial observer, any kind of registration is appropriate for the spiritual diary.

2.                  The light in the head is a natural development. One does not “work at” creating it. It arises when soul infusion is sufficiently strong and when the quality of the atoms of the brain is sufficiently high. What is noted, however, can be tuned or intensified, and eventually used rather than simply registered.

3.                  Perhaps the voice will be heard before sights are seen. Hearing develops before sight. However, much will depend upon the ray type.

4.                  The Technique of Fusion from EP II (in the 380’s) should be studied. A relevant quotation is as follows:

“It will interest students to note how the first ray disciple, when employing this first ray technique of fusion, ends by producing second ray characteristics of which illumination, producing understanding love and sympathetic cooperation, is the predominant note.  The second ray disciple, through rightly applied technique, produces curiously enough, third ray results, of which the use of the creative imagination is the outstanding characteristic.  The third ray disciple through the development of the ‘power to inspire’ adds to his innate qualities certain definitely first ray potencies.  All are, however, subordinated to the second ray nature of the divine expression in this solar system.” (EP II 387)

5.                  Third ray types are connected to the voice (but also, the creative imagination is here mentioned). Second ray types are related to light. First ray types to inspiration and the access of power.

6.                  So the kinds of phenomena we register will have much to do with our ray patterns, which selectively evoke the presence of distinct phenomena.

7.                  What is the difference between the Voice of the Silence (or Voice of the Soul) and the voice of the subconscious? Most of the many voices we hear are voices of the subconscious. These are voices of the past repeating themselves in the present. The Voice of the Soul is a “still small voice”. It does not clamor for the attention of the disciple. It has a quality all its own and must come to be recognized by each one for himself/herself.

8.                  DK begins referring to some rather high registrations — some of which are discussed in the Yoga Sutras.

9.                  All these expansions of consciousness are suitable for entry into the spiritual diary.

10.              Perhaps we could say that entries should relate to unusual perceptions or realizations of meaning and significance.

5. Any experiences of a psychic kind which do not come under any of the above headings. Those mentioned above come under the heading of the higher psychism and concern the higher psychic faculties, spiritual perception, intuitive knowledge, mental telepathy (and not the telepathy which is based upon the solar plexus activity). The lower psychic experiences can also be noted — whether pleasant or unpleasant. Once noted, however, they should be forgotten for they are of no moment.

1.                  DK does not avoid that which is low. The scientific attitude towards impression demands that note be taken of any kind of registration, even if of a relatively low order.

2.                  So the world of “lower psychism” is also included when listing the sources of possible entries into the diary.

3.                  The lower centers are also potentially telepathic and attune the disciple to areas of potential registration which have nothing to do with living the higher life. Yet nothing can be avoided, and all must be understood.

4.                  DK simply advises not to dwell upon them. They mean little and are simply to be noted and then forgotten.

5.                  Presences, illuminations, intuitions, telepathic registrations, mystical realizations and expansions of consciousness, and psychic registrations of both a higher and lower kind — these are the impressions which are to be entered into the spiritual diary.

6.                  What is the purpose of a spiritual diary anyway? Perhaps to help us become more conscious of the subtle worlds and of registrations which, otherwise, might be noticed for a moment and then forgotten — their possible significance lost.

7.                  Eventually, after weeks, months or years of keeping the diary properly, patterns might begin to appear. One might begin to know how and why certain impressions occur. One might be able to approach the sources of such impression more consciously.

8.                  Normally, ordinary states of consciousness cover or overwhelm ‘newer’ types of states which are trying to emerge. The spiritual diary ‘saves the new from reabsorption into oblivion’.

9.                  Thus, the spiritual diary is a tool to facilitate the growth of consciousness.

Days may go by and weeks with no record. Let this in no way disconcert you. The sensitivity of the mechanism of the soul to spiritual vibration has to be cultivated and existing sensitivity to lower psychic impressions has to be tuned out; so many voices clamour for attention, so many impressions — emanating from the physical and astral forms around us — register upon our consciousness, that the vibrations and sounds coming from the subjective and spiritual world are lost and not registered and recorded. You will find it interesting to note, at the end of a few years, the difference in the data recorded and the development of sensitivity to the right kind of impression. This can only be realised after much time has elapsed and much spurious material has been eliminated, after being recognised for what it is: astralism, spurious claims and thoughtforms.

1.                  DK gives a word of encouragement. In the beginning of their spiritual unfoldment, students are eager for any experience which is out of the ordinary. They are tired of the habitual vibrations of life and seek some evidence that they are growing into new dimensions.

2.                  Because of this eagerness, truth may be sacrificed and no true progress occur.

3.                  Registration of the new and subtle proceeds in two ways: sensitization to that which is high and de-sensitization to that which is low (the “tuning out” of lower psychic impressions). It becomes clear that in this kind of training we are learning what to listen to and what to observe, and the converse. There is a jungle of impressions awaiting the newly attentive disciple. That which is truly meaningful and significant has to be separated from the thousands of potential, and often useless, impressions.

4.                  A discriminative ‘sieve’ is at work. First attempts may be crude and relatively non-discriminating. The registrations of a beginner will probably be of far lesser value than the registrations of one who is experienced in this process of ‘sensitive notation’.

5.                  Really, we are sorting the true from the false, the nuggets of real gold from the claims of “fools gold”, the precious ore from the dross, the pearls of truth from the trash of unchecked astrality.

6.                  DK is warning us against “astralism, spurious claims and thoughtforms”. The average channel accepts whatever comes along as real and does not put it to the test. It is a naïve approach and leads only to bewilderment.

7.                  When panning for gold how much dirt and grit must appear in the pan and be discarded before the gold appears. A disciple is one who is certainly learning the difference between what is true and what is false. Thus, glamor and illusion are eventually conquered.

Another question might here be asked: What should disciples in a Master's group look for as evidence of successful group work? First and foremost, as you well know, group integrity and cohesion. Nothing can be done without this. The subjective linking of the disciples with each other in their own group, and the linking of the group with other groups occupied with special work within the Ashram and the emergence (as a result of this) of a group and an ashramic consciousness are vital objectives. It is hoped that this will also [Page 16] eventuate in a telepathic interplay which will bring potent results and successful outer work. From these activities will emerge a group circulation of energy which will be of service in world salvage.

1.                  If group work is successful there will be “group integrity and cohesion”. The road to this is often long and hard, but, no doubt, working together on something other than group cohesion helps. When a group serves together (and does sit around wondering whether it has achieved cohesion yet), the cohesion and integration come all the faster.

2.                  Hence the value of service undertaken in common.

3.                  We are given the indication that when telepathic work eventuates because of right cohesion and integration, there is a greater probability of potent, successful outer work. Telepathic rapport is a means to an end. That end is perfect ashramic coordination in the manifestation of the intended ashramic service. The same is true (though to a far lesser extent) of outer groups which reflect the Ashram.

4.                  It is a certain “group circulation of energy” which DK hopes to see eventuate. This, we may realize, is an Aquarian ideal, and indeed, the new groups in process of formation are intended to be Aquarian groups — responsive to that intensifying constellational energy. Aquarius, we may remember, is the sign particularly associated with “circulation”, and more specifically, in this context, with right circulation of energy and the health and “well being” (a Shamballic quality) which it brings.

Each of you should remember that purity of body, control of the emotions and stability of mind are fundamental necessities and should be daily the attempted achievement. Again and again, I come back to these prime character requirements and — tiresome as the reiteration may be — I urge upon you the cultivation of these qualities. I would like to remind you also that you are adult and mature men and women who need not specific statements as to faults and characteristics. I seek only to make suggestion as to trends of thought. Note here the word suggestion, for that is all I seek to give. The disciple must be left free to follow a suggestion or a hint as seems wise to him. This entire work might be termed an experiment in esoteric commonsense and in willingness to accept suggestion. It is a trial of the intuition and a test in discrimination. This work to which I have called you is also an experiment in impersonality, in willingness to work and learn, in freedom to choose or reject, in observation and in techniques. All have their value.

1.                  The Tibetan is not wasting His time emphasizing and re-emphasizing the fundamentals. We too, should remind ourselves of these things, rudimentary though they seem. Without them, all hope of real progress is lost, because without them, the lunar lords will still remain in control, shutting out the light of the ‘solar sun’ (the Solar Angel).

2.                  The pyramid of initiation is build upon the square of sound character. One may fail to give this fact enough attention. How often does it happen that the structure built by a disciple comes crashing down because of a flaw in character. Each of us has surely experienced this in big or little ways. Sound character is the foundation. The word “sound” should be pondered.

3.                  DK throws His chelas back on themselves. They are to know their faults. These things are already precipitated and to a degree crystallized. But He can and will point out “trends of thought” which can be changed and lead to precipitations which are assets and not liabilities. DK, therefore, tells us that He will be focusing upon the plane of mind.

4.                  Again He emphasizes the chela’s freedom. Suggestions are given; hints are given. But there is no compulsion. The freewill is left intact.

5.                  A most arresting phrase is offered when describing His intended work with His chosen disciples: He calls it “an experiment in esoteric commonsense” and “in willingness to accept suggestion”. These are simple and deglamorizing ideas related to a new type of spiritual training. The “glory” is taken out of it; it is practical and down to earth. The planet Saturn (the chief planet of discipleship) is in evidence.

6.                  The work offered by DK is also “a trial of the intuition and a test in discrimination”. Here Mercury (the other planet of discipleship) is added to Saturn.

7.                  Then the following: “This work to which I have called you is also an experiment in impersonality, in willingness to work and learn, in freedom to choose or reject, in observation and in techniques”. All the principles are laid out from the beginning. The approach sounds almost scientific. Saturn, Mercury, Venus (the planet of the soul) and the fifth ray are all involved. We realize that we are engaged in the “science” of occultism and that we are attempting to following age-old laws and rules (based upon those laws) — rules which work. But our approach is up to us.

8.                  Would we not say that this is a “mature” approach to discipleship? We no longer have the guru assuming complete responsibility for the chela and expecting complete obedience to his every demand. Things have changed. The mental factor has entered far more prominently and the responsibility of the chela is much augmented.

9.                  Do we prefer this approach to discipleship? If so why? If not, why not? Would the former approach (a rather dependent approach) be more suitable to us or not?

10.              Probably sincere students of DK could no longer return to the old way, much as various tendencies within them might long for that return. They have been on that road, perhaps for a number of lives. Now something new is offered, and it is the truly “Aryan” way — involving self-knowledge and Self-responsibility.

11.              We can see how clearly DK laid out the requirements. For all His clarity, there were still problems. Ancient character tendencies surfaced during the training, and people fell into just the very traps against which they were warned.

12.              Can we see how carefully one must ‘walk’ this Path if we are to be successful?

This is an experiment likewise for me. I have worked hitherto with only three occidental chelas, of whom A.A.B. is one. I other two are totally unknown to any of you. I ask for your aid and cooperation during these early stages of the work as far as the reaching of conclusions is concerned. I ask you to stand together — no matter what eventuates or what forces may seek to separate you. I ask my disciples to love each other in spite of character and ray differences and to work loyally together for group coherence and integrity — no matter what diverse opinions you may hold or what may occur as time elapses. If you can hold together down the years and throughout this life cycle, then the group can carry forward into the future and work together on other planes, thus conserving energy. Can you persist and carry on? Can such a telepathic interplay be set up that the barrier of death will eventually prove no barrier at all and continuity of communication persist?

1.                  DK says a surprising thing; He gives His background in relation to the West and it is not extensive.

2.                  Everything is an experiment. The planet Uranus is strongly involved. The fifth ray with its “trial and error” approach will be followed. We are to learn as we go and refrain from premature conclusions.

3.                  Foreseeing all the dangers which almost inevitably will arise, DK tries to counter these impending eventualities.

4.                  He asks for the reservation of judgment, for unity in the face of the forces of separation, for love despite many differences caused by character and ray, and for loyal work towards group coherence and integrity. Really He is asking for the application of the second ray rather than capitulation to the usual tendencies of the third.

5.                  The Master has long range plans; He would like to keep this group together even on the inner planes. In terms of energy conservation it would be economical. What an amazing incentive is here offered! Continued work together down the years. Perhaps some of this work is going on even now with those who, in part, succeeded, even though the experiment as a whole was not successful — at least with respect to the precipitation of its full potential.

6.                  What DK is calling for is such a high quality of work that the result will be, essentially, a group transcendence of death. In asking this, He is virtually promising that the chelas assembled may anticipate working with each other for many more years and, even, for a number of future lives. It is clear that an ashramic group is gathering on the outer planes. If possible, it is meant to persist with integrity.

7.                  Probably such hopes will be accomplished the next time such an attempt is made. An initial failure is often the harbinger of a future success — providing the lessons of that failure have been learned.

Many such questions arise and time alone will give the answer. If there is persistence in effort, if there is the loyal link of love, if there is adherence to the group ideal and if there is mutual forbearance and understanding and patience, it may be possible that this group can be welded into a unit which will indeed be a living atom in the hierarchical body. You are all on the Path of Discipleship at some stage or another; in this lies opportunity.

1.                  The vision is offered. The necessary second ray virtues are urged upon the group members: love, forbearance, understanding, patience. These are not first ray virtues (as valuable as such virtues may be). Rather it is the quality of the second ray that is needed in this kind of group work, and, perhaps, in all group work.

2.                  As we attempt to create, in our own way, that which can endure in the good, these qualities present themselves to us for serious contemplation.

3.                  DK’s group was presented with the opportunity (Saturn) to become a “living atom in the hierarchical body”. An atom is not a very big structure. Perhaps, He was introducing, with the proffered opportunity, a sense of proportion.

4.                  The idea emerges however: discipleship means opportunity.

This is a body (small indeed) of disciples who — through devotion to truth, through their attempt to do their duty, and their mutual karmic relation both to each other and to me — have been chosen (in spite of limitations and faulty development) to work together towards the specific end of forming a nucleus of spiritual power and energy for the helping of humanity. But above all else, it is a group formed to inaugurate the methods of the New Age as regards group work, and the training of disciples and their preparation for initiation, along with other groups all over the world who have caught the new vision and are working under the inspiration and the impression of the Masters. The foundation of these schools of the Mysteries which will later be restored to the world and to which I referred in Letters on Occult Meditation may be possible if all of you measure up to opportunity. This should be borne in mind. The experiment may fail. Whether it does or not, real profit will in any case eventuate.... That you may one and all measure up to the opportunity and carry the work forward in the three worlds and in the kingdom where the light of the soul streams forth is my earnest wish and desire.

1.                  Again the sense of proportion. The group was small — very small when measured against the world’s need. But we have seen that small groups have done amazing damage. Likewise, they could become powerful for the good.

2.                  The reasons for the choice of these chelas is given; they have devotion to truth; they attempt to do their duty; they have a karmic relation to each other and to DK, Himself (no negligible factor).

3.                  They are to work together to “form a nucleus of spiritual power and energy for the helping of humanity”. This reminds one of Ramakrishna’s hope for His own disciples; perhaps, in some sense, he succeeded, especially through Swami Vivekananda.

4.                  The major reason for the formation of the group, however, is “to inaugurate the methods of the New Age as regards group work, and the training of disciples and their preparation for initiation”. We can relate to this purpose, can we not? It is a purpose which has hardly been fulfilled. We are at the very beginning of such inaugurations. The Aquarian Age has not even dawned. Our work together is the merest anticipation of the full glory of the ‘Group Age’ (perhaps to be realized when the Venus decanate of Aquarius is in full expression some sixteen or seventeen hundred years from now).

5.                  DK also connects the group training which He offering to the preliminary work of preparing for the new Schools of Initiation, the Schools of the Mysteries. We can see how all this work is interrelated and how we are definitely in preparation not only for the new modes of group work but for the new modes of occult education.

6.                  Realistically, the possible failure is noted. It is a passing remark. The real point is Master DK’s exhortation at the close of this paragraph. It is at once a blessing and a call to rise to the occasion. The field of work is outlined — both the three worlds and the world of the soul. The Master calls for his chelas to “measure up to the opportunity” in both worlds.

7.                  He was speaking to certain disciples at that time, some seventy years ago, but is He not speaking to us as well? I think He is. May we also rise to the occasion and measure up to the presented opportunity!